All posts by Alex Brannan

Ready or Not (2019) Movie Review

You’ve never met in-laws like this.

I imagine the pitch to Fox Searchlight for the new horror comedy Ready or Not started somewhere along the lines of that. Writers Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy may have thrown in some talk of a satire of the 1%, a bloody R-rated horror film with potential mainstream appeal, crossbows, and/or a board game-based “dominion.”

Busick and Murphy’s script begins with a wedding. But there isn’t a lot of champagne and doves at this wedding. Looming under the shadow of the Le Domas mansion, Grace (Samara Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien) are Continue reading Ready or Not (2019) Movie Review

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47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019) Movie Review

47 Meters Down: Uncaged shares a name and a director with 47 Meters Down. Both movies involve sharks. So I guess this is a sequel. The two films share no characters, but otherwise their plots are entirely the same. The only difference is in the title: 47 Meters Down had a cage, and 47 Meters Down: Uncaged does not.

If you read my review of 47 Meters Down, then you know it was one of my least favorite movies of 2017. It is empty, uninteresting, and had the most Continue reading 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019) Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) Movie Review

The first hurdle that The Angry Birds Movie 2 has to overcomes is following up the far superior short film Hair Love. It is a difficult task to headline after a short that is as beautifully heartfelt, tender, funny, and imaginative as that short is. And, as expected, The Angry Birds Movie 2 does not live up in any of those categories.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 has a beating heart in its feathery breast, to an extent. There is a rudimentary theme that has legs long enough to encompass the entire runtime. The skinny of it is that Continue reading The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) Movie Review

Luce (2019) Movie Review

Luce Edgar (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is a specimen of excellence, a future model citizen. A high schooler on his way to a prominent career in whatever he pleases, Luce is charismatic, intelligent, athletic, a quiet leader, and an ace debater. He has the ability to convince others that what he is saying is correct. The audience included, perhaps.

kelvin-harrison-jr-naomi-watts-and-tim-roth-in-luce-movie

When history teacher Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer) presents to Luce’s parents (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) a paper Luce wrote in the voice of Frantz Fanon, an anti-colonial revolutionary that argued for the necessity of violence to fight colonialization, his ideal character comes into question.

To Harriet, Luce may be Continue reading Luce (2019) Movie Review

Good Boys (2019) Movie Review

Good Boys is the film for people who think preteens swearing and misunderstanding the sexual themes around them is hilarious. If you want to see tween boys wielding sex toys as weapons or giving a sex toy as a gift or using a sex toy to practice kissing or barring doors with a sex toy then this movie is for you.

Otherwise, the bit gets old.

Directed by Gene Stupnitsky and written by Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, Good Boys is the spiritual successor to Continue reading Good Boys (2019) Movie Review

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Movie Review

The short story series created by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, which begins with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is beloved by some, infamous to others. Ostensibly a children’s book of campfire folk tales retold, the book often received criticism for Gammell’s illustrations, these shaded sketches of wispy, gangly, grotesque creatures and corpses.

As a child, these illustrations fascinated me, and they still hold up for me today as being some of the best art in children’s books. (Also high on that list would be Brett Helquist’s cover art for the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Interestingly enough, Helquist went on to do illustrations for the re-release edition of Scary Stories in 2011. People were understandably unhappy with the changes, but the art is still good in its own right).

A film adaptation of Schwartz’ books had been in the works for some time. Guillermo del Toro worked on Continue reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Movie Review

The Souvenir (2019) Movie Review

Honor Swinton Byrne is phenomenal in The Souvenir. The film from Joanna Hogg presents a coming of age story for Swinton Byrne’s Julie, who is in the process of making a feature for film school. If you don’t recognize Swinton Byrne’s talent by this late juncture of the film, then you will see it when she looks directly at you, through the camera, following filming a take of her own. It is a shot that really shouldn’t be this powerful. It is too reflexive, too direct. But Swinton Byrne carries the weight of the film that has played out before her, and she puts that weight on you when she goes direct-to-camera.

Julie’s relationship to the audience may be as fraught as her romantic relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke) is. For one, it becomes increasingly hard for Continue reading The Souvenir (2019) Movie Review