Vox Lux **
The first 15 minutes of this drama — depicting a school shooting from the harrowing perspective of inside the classroom — is as gut-wrenchingly compelling as anything you'll see at the movies this year.
But the moment writer/director Brad Corbet begins to focus on the lives of two survivors — a pair of sisters who write a hit song about the experience — Vox Lux becomes an unfocused meditation on how much it sucks to be a celebrity.
Pretty soon we're flashing ahead 20 years or so to find that one of the sisters (Natalie Portman) has become a Madonna-like superstar. She is resented by the other sister (Stacy Martin), who has been pushed into the background to raise the singer's daughter (Raffey Cassidy, who confusingly also plays the Natalie Portman character in the first part of the film).
With a Guys and Dolls Noo Yawk accent and pronounced swagger, Portman's character is supremely annoying. Worse, the songs that have supposedly made her a superstar (written by the Australian singer Sia) are no good at all, despite the fact that everyone in the movie keeps insisting they're fantastic. (FULL REVIEW)
Bill previews the Holiday movies you've GOT to see this Season — including Mary Poppins Returns, Vice, and On The Basis of Sex.
This Just In: CNN anchor Wolf Bliter reveals to Bill Newcott the part he was born to play in Mission: Impossible — Fallout.
Sign up to hear from us about what we're up to