‘Us’ Review (#2)
Us, is the second film by comedian-turned-horror auteur Jordan Peele. After the softly revolutionary Get Out, Peele had to meet high expectations with his sophomore film. And does it? Well, yes and no. Us is a good horror movie, but not nearly as good as Get Out, if not for any reasons other than Peele's own ambitions. If Get Out was Peele's Halloween, Us is his The Fog, or Christine.
'Happy Death Day 2U' Review
The first Happy Death Day was a pretty neat, if not very low stakes Blumhouse production and kind of the exemplifier of their format. It was a slightly above average, cheap, and brief horror/slasher with a kind of neat twist, i.e. Groundhog Day, but I'm being murdered. There was nothing really exemplary about it, compared to other BH productions that came out that year (Get Out, The Belko Experiment, Creep 2 or Ouija 2) but what it had going for it was a slightly fun black comedy tone, along with a campy but dedicated performance by Jessica Rothe as the heroine and trashy college girl, Tree. If I had reviewed when it came out, I probably would've given it a 2.5-3/5.
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Review: The Best Spider-Man Movie
Yeah I said it. — Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie. It marginally overtakes Spider-Man 2, and 100% overshadows the mediocre Spider-Man Homecoming (we got to be honest with ourselves). This is kind of shocking given Sony released Venom this year, which was one of the most hilariously bad superhero movies in a decade, and their last trip with them at the wheel of Spider-Man gave us The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (worse than Venom, but not as hilarious).
Hereditary scared me. So it was good. 4.5/5. See you next time — Ok, all joking aside, Hereditary is a damn scary film that is scary in ways that are pretty against the grain for most modern horror, or at least American horror traditions. If The Conjuring is the thesis for exemplary use of modern horror tropes and traditions, Hereditary is its antithesis or rather a synthesis of them + writer-director Ari Aster's hatred of family and knack for complete subversions of general taboos and story expectations (see his short The Strange Thing About the Johnsons if you need proof of this).
'Baby Driver' Review
Baby Driver is further evidence that Edgar Wright is the best goddamn and goddamn funnest filmmaker in the last 20 years. Baby Driver is firing on all cylinders (yes that's a car reference. Don't you judge me).
Ghost in the Shell: Ghost in the Philip K. Dick
At some point us as a culture are going to have to ask Hollywood why they keep doing these anime adaptations. No one asks for them, they don't do well in the box office and 9 times out of 10, they're gonna rub people the wrong way. By this token, it seemed like Ghost in the Shell would be the last IP that the west would think about touching (except for maybe Grave of the Fireflies). The 1995 classic, besides being one of the most impressive feats of animation of the time and arguably all time, is also a hefty narrative, that asks questions on identity, metaphysics, eastern spirituality, philosophy, cybernetics, consciousness, and the future and history of japan, all in 82 minutes. So it's disappointing, yet not surprising, that a film that nearly a half hour longer manages to contain none of this.
It's Pretty I Guess?
Beauty and the Beast is Disney's latest in the series of remakes of their animated classics, which include the mediocre to bad Alice and Wonderland (2010)and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) the pretty good Jungle Book (2016) and Maleficent and the GREAT Cinderalla (2015). The thing about these remakes is that, for better or worse, they tried to put a new spin on the original. AIWL, while flawed, went from being loosely tied together vignettes to a LOTR-esque epic fantasy; Cinderella was reframed to ACTUALLY be about Cinderella and give her some actual character (go back and look at the film. The main characters are the mice); The Jungle Book became centered around actual emotional and societal connection between Mowgli and the animals, and Maleficent was a Grendel level subversion of the tropes of fantasy good and evil.
It Has Something to Say
Get Out is Jordan Peele's (Of Key & Peele and Madtv fame) directorial debut and jesus christ, he is not playing around. Get Out is the best (and most original) movie to come out this year, and it's amazing that this is Peele's first film, and not his fifth.
Not Quite a Homerun, but close
Fences is the adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name, and Denzel Washington's 3rd film as a director-actor (after Atwone Fisher and The Great Debaters).
An Imperfect, but Sincere Love Letter
La La Land is pure, unadulterated, unsubtle nostalgia flick. Taking the tone and pseudo-fantasy elements from musicals of Classical Hollywood, slaps on new technology, and the new Grant/West in Gosling and Stone, Director/writer Damien Chazelle (of Whiplash fame) film that is a well acted technical marvel even if the story doesn't quiet cut it.
The God Incarnate is Back
Shin Godzilla (or Godzilla: Resurgence) can best be described as a post modern reboot. That is, it re-tells the first time the Japanese government and people encounter Godzilla, but the filmmakers are aware that you have definitely heard of Godzilla before so it chooses to forgo any elaborate back story of the creature, of the characters, or of the world Godzilla is in, and hops right to the task of making a well scripted, well directed, dialouge driven, suspenseful monster masterpiece
First of all, I want to apologize for that horrible play on words. I know, it's terrible, but I literally couldn't think of anything more appropriate for this movie. The Birth of a Nation is Braveheart with black people. I'm serious. That's the best description I have for it. It's a pretty good movie set around a violent historical event/period, which forgoes historical accuracy for the sake of pathos and making a myth out of the man at hand.
Pretty Good Remake to a Pretty Good Classic
The original 1960 film, The Magnificent Seven, is in a weird place in American pop culture. While it's usually considered one of the major classic Hollywood westerns, it's never been considered to be particularly great.
Better Than I Thought
Skiptrace is the latest film by Martial Arts legend, Jackie Chan and it has already done gangebusters (140 million) in China. I knew this movie had come out in July in China, and its US release date kinda snuck up on me. I wasn't actually looking forward to it for 3 key reasons.
A Sigh of Relief
Don't Breathe is another example of what seems to be a common theme this summer: high concept horror movies that are way better than they have any right to be( the other movies that fit this description are Lights Out and The Shallows). Don't Breathe is a really good, a tightly packed horror movie that doesn't overstay it's welcome and keeps you feeling tense the whole way through
Dead on Arrival
Believe me, no one was rooting for this movie as much as I was. That first trailer was great, probably created more hype for DC than Batman vs Superman. All the pieces were there. A great action director in David Ayer, the man behind Fury, End of Watch, and Street Kings; a star studded cast including Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Margot Robbie; a goldmine source of the Suicide Squad, a covert team of Super Villains saving the day, and after the abject failure that was BvS, Suicide Squad was the movie that was supposed to save the day, and bring hope to the DCEU.........So what the hell happened?
HOLY hell, I was not expecting this one. There was alot of hype and infamy surrounding this movie at Sundance. A new film with former Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, first time directors, and news that the movie caused walkouts because of farting and boners. One would think it would be a hot mess. Then the damn movie won best Director at Sundance and boy did it deserve it. Swiss Army Man is a beautiful film about the human experience, marvels of the body, and loneliness
The Future Aint As Bright
Independence Day: Resurgence, isn't a "bad" movie per se. It is about as good as movies like San Andreas, or Battle Ship, which I don't consider "bad"films; it just is so uninspired that it treads the waters of mediocrity, and that's a shame given how good (or at least earnestly endearing) the first film was.