Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The first hour of Cruella, Disney’s latest attempt to retcon an iconic villain from one of their classic animated films into a sympathetic character, is actually pretty fun. Full of over-the-top costumes, elaborately staged heists, and adorable puppers, it’s a campy Goodfellas by way of The Favourite. (Favourite scribe Tony McNamara worked on the script, so that makes a great deal of sense.) It’s energetic, visually arresting, and, despite being completely unnecessary and awkwardly forced, does a marginal enough job of humanizing Cruella de Vil, the two-toned, dog-hating antagonist from 101 Dalmatians.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Okay, that’s how you use a slowed-down maudlin version of a well-known popular song in a movie trailer. Well played, Edgar Wright, well played. This is, of course, in reference to the use of the use of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” in this trailer for his upcoming 1960s-set horror movie, Last Night in Soho. Which looks like a fine time. Check it out below.
Crazy action, a stacked cast, revenge, a long-lost parent…yeah, I’m in. If any of that sounds good to you, you’ll probably want to check out this trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Gunpowder Milkshake, which has all of that and more.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
As a child, Alexis (Jasmin Savoy Brown) witnesses her recently-returned-home-from-war father murder the rest of the family. Through this act of brutality, she regains her lost hearing, but experiences something strange as well. It awakens synesthesia in her—a neurological condition where one sense triggers another, in this case certain sounds beget vivid, colorful visuals. Sound of Violence picks up with Alexis as she ages and pursues a career in music, chasing the sensations sounds bring through more extreme measures, leading her down increasingly violent, brutal paths.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
As a filmmaker, Simon Barrett is best known for his collaborations with director Adam Wingard (Godzilla vs. Kong). The duo teamed up for You’re Next and The Guest, among others. Now, as so often happens, the writer takes his turn in the big chair, and the result is Seance, a solid if unspectacular debut that attempts to play with horror conventions to mixed results.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
The Saw movies built a following on intricate murder contraptions, explicit gore, and a mastermind of death with a flair for the dramatic. It’s been a few years since the last installment, and with a primary antagonist who’s dead, it’s tricky to continue a horror franchise. But not impossible. In walks Spiral, formerly Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed chapters two through four, returns with a film that, while technically a sequel, seeks to reboot things and take the narrative in a new direction.
Monday, May 10, 2021
What is there to say about Venom? In reality, it’s not good, but it is, however, a ton of fun to watch, mostly for Tom Hardy having an insane meltdown and giving a completely bonkers performance. I said I could Hardy banter with himself for hours, and, thanks to this trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage proving that the sequel actually exists, I may have to make good on my promise.
Friday, May 7, 2021
In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to make of South African oddity Fried Barry. Leaping boundaries of horror, science fiction, and gritty realism, among others, it’s certainly a wild, chaotic, immersive ride. And one I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch. I think. It’s the kind of cinematic madness that the Fantasia International Film Festival is tailor made for.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Guy Ritchie’s bank robbery actioner, Wrath of Man, has a protagonist named H (Jason Statham) and supporting players named things like Bullet (Holt McCallany), Sticky John, and Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett). It aims at being biblical in its execution of one man’s revenge. It’s stocked exclusively with vile, reprehensible, mean-spirited characters. And it’s so overwrought and overblown it watches like a caricature of the shitty Heat knock off it wants to be. So, in short, while a messy, it’s also kind of fun, unintentionally so most of the time. It’s a real mixed bag.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
I’ve been tracking the progress of writer/director Bao Tran’s The Paper Tigers for a while now. There weirdly aren’t many indie Kung Fu movies produced in Seattle, so when one does happen, you’re damn right it has my attention. After a long journey, the film finally premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival over the weekend, and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to delivering humor, heart, and face-kicking.