Wednesday, July 28, 2021
One thing I did not expect was for Disney’s Jungle Cruise, their latest cinematic adaptation of one of a classic theme park rides, to begin with an orchestral arrangement of a Metallica song. But here were are, and that’s as edgy as this movie ever gets.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Does M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie Old work? That’s going to be a matter of some debate and the answer promises to vary viewer to viewer. One thing that is clear, however, is that, for good or ill, this is a big swing that mixes psychological thriller elements, hellish body horror, and arch family melodrama. All within a framework that plays like an extended Twilight Zone episode, wrapped in the director’s magnificent formal touch. It’s wild and all over the place, messy at times, but also ambitious as hell and compelling end to end.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Sometimes a movie starts and you know immediately it is 100% your jam. That is precisely what happened with All the Streets are Silent: The Convergence of Hip Hop and Skateboarding (1987-1997), the new documentary from Jeremy Elkin and Dana Brown, which held its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. A love letter to both forms, the film tracks their parallel evolutions, from underground phenomena to mainstream staples, and ways in which, particularly in New York City, they collided and crossed over at a key juncture.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Hydra begins with every man’s worst nightmare, being killed at a urinal. Okay, maybe not, but it’s a definite concern and something to think about in the bathroom. It’s a hell of a way to kick off a movie, even if most of what follows fails to live up to the opening. Until the very end.
Monday, July 19, 2021
Orphan Cha Yeon-hee (Ahn Ji-hye) has spent her entire life wanting to be a heroine. If you’re not a heroine, you’re useless and of no value to anyone. So she believes. In her late-20s, living an aimless life, she lands a role as a stunt double in an action movie. Only when she arrives on set, she’s transported to a parallel world where she must become an actual heroine. The only question is: is she ready to face actual danger and do what she must to become a real heroine? So goes Slate, the latest from Gang director Jo Ba-reun.
A retired hairdresser walking across a small town doesn’t sound like the most exciting basis for a movie. But when that hairdresser is Udo Kier, and he’s on his way to style a former client’s hair for her funeral, as is the case in writer/director Todd Stephens’ Swan Song, it becomes an odyssey of near-mythic proportions, both epic and intimate in scope. Topped off by one of the best performances of the year, this is funny and sweet, sad and joyous, simultaneously soul-crushing and life-affirming, and deeply, deeply human.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Pig, a movie where Nicolas Cage tracks down his kidnapped pig through the seedy, cut-throat underbelly of the high-end Portland restaurant scene, is so, so much weirder than even that description makes it sound. Part truffle-centric revenge saga, part moody, introspective character study of a broken man trying to heal, it’s by turns delightful, mean-spirited, and moving, but always very, very odd and unlike anything else out there. Also, Nicolas Cage in a rundown deep woods shanty with a pig friend is just the most adorable thing.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Though it’s only been around a few years, the North Bend Film Festival has quickly become one of my favorite fests. Part of that affection is obviously geographic proximity. (It’s an easy drive from Seattle, so there’s minimal travel.) But it also takes place in an odd little hamlet nestled in the mountains. (North Bend is where Twin Peaks was filmed and you understand why when you experience the off-kilter oddness in person.)
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Ever wonder what Marvel Cinematic Universe staple Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), was up to betwixt the Wars Civil and Infinity? (And, you know, before the fate that ultimately befalls her in Avengers: Endgame?) As it turns out, she went on a wacky family vacation. Sort of. Sort of as in sort of wacky and sort of as in sort of family. Such is the tale told by her long-awaited first solo venture, Black Widow.
Monday, July 5, 2021
Popularly, Muay Thai tends to get more love than Silat, another martial art native to Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and the surrounding region. (As an example, there are like a dozen schools in the Seattle area that teach Muay Thai, but almost none with a curriculum that includes any Silat. Though Iko Uwais definitely holds it down, movie wise.) But the fighting style gets its due in Silat Warriors: Deed of Death (Geran), a low-to-no-budget actioner from director Areel Abu Bakar.