This is not the elegant, professional way to start a review, but I’ve got to do it. The way that a zombie’s head explodes in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die…boy, that’s something. Why, before now, have I never seen a zombie movie where the zombie’s dried-out corpse body spews purple dust blood? Just clouds of misting blood all over the frame. I love it.
Gaspar Noe is nothing if not an indulgent filmmaker. Visceral is a word often associated with his work. But he can go deeper, to the bone, when his work is at its most mature.
With Climax, Noe toes a line of maturity in filmmaking that can be difficult to parse. From one angle, his visual-forward approach to the film hearkens back to notions of a pure cinema. Aspects of colored flood lighting, minimal set dressing, deliberate camera work, and character movement take precedence over dialogue and plotting.
Think about Superman for a minute. He is an unnatural, unstoppable alien force. Sure, he is a force for good. But what if this near-omnipotent being chose to serve a different master: himself.
Brian and Mark Gunn’s script for Brightburn aims to envision what that “what if” comic would look like. It is speculative fiction, like how 50 Shades of Grey is its own story but everyone knows it started as Twilight fan fiction. The child who crashes to Earth in a spaceship is not Continue reading Brightburn (2019) Movie Review→
The 1989 Pet Sematary film is insane. By today’s standards, it is a dated horror aesthetic, and its scare factor is minimal. But its climax is a circus act of violent hilarity.
It makes for a good campy half of a Stephen King double feature, which is how I first came upon the film. Juxtaposing it with Kubrick’s The Shining may have caused some tonal whiplash, but that only amplified the enjoyment of seeing an undead child prey upon a rural family and their neighbor, played by the often imitated yet inimitable (sorry John Lithgow) Fred Gwynne.
Confusion washed over me when I first saw the trailer for Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Pet Sematary remake. What tone could this film possibly strike that would grant it success? The original was not Continue reading Pet Sematary (2019) Movie Review→
Jordan Peele understands the horror movie industry. Given he came out of the Blumhouse label with his directorial debut, the massively successful Get Out, this is no controversial statement. But his adept understanding of what works and doesn’t work about a horror film does not end at Jason Blum’s low-risk, high-reward model.
“Velvet Buzzsaw” refers to the former punk band of art manager Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), a music group that became outmoded and slipped into what former street artist Damrish (Daveed Diggs) calls “self-parody.”
Velvet Buzzsaw, the latest from Dan Gilroy, has similar punk rock ambitions that bleed easily into self-parody. Or maybe it’s just parody.
In its opening gambit, Buzzsaw sees a swirl of well-to-do art types at a Miami gallery exhibition. Manager Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) is trying to poach veteran artist Piers (John Malkovich) from Rhodora, while Rhodora courts Damrish. Critic Morf Vanderwalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) pauses from making passing critiques at pieces to stare agog at Continue reading Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Movie Review→
“Try doing one thing that scares you over break,” says a college professor to Zoey (Taylor Russell) after completing one of those let’s-open-our-movie-with-a-class-scene lectures. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones where the teacher is somehow talking about the exact thing the movie is about, or otherwise is planting a piece of crucial information in the student’s head. The ones that never actually feel like they are real classroom discussions.
This is the start of EscapeRoom, a film about the trendy entertainment exhibits where groups of people are trapped inside a room and must find clues and solve puzzles to get out. But the danger of Continue reading Escape Room (2019) Movie Review→