Park Hoon-jun’s The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion was a financial success upon its release in 2018, and it garnered some accolades in South Korea and beyond, particularly for its lead performer Kim Da-mi. It is altogether an exciting film, blending gritty action with more fantastical, comic book adjacent tropes (the medical experiments central to the premise are similar to the Weapon X program of X-Men lore). For its reported budget of US $5.5 million, the film looks slick. It’s a fun time.
The Witch: Part 2. The Other One does some typical sequel things. Namely, it expands the world of this story. The Subversion is predominantly concerned with the narrative of Ja-yoon (Kim), an adopted young woman whose past catches up to her. Her unique abilities and ailments point backwards to her origin as the victim of a medical experiment. We follow her Continue reading The Witch: Part 2. The Other One (2022) Movie Review→
The near-future of Crimes of the Future is marked by the progression of medical technology. And the progression of human evolution in the form of biological mutations. For some, vestigial organs and appendages serve as performance art pieces. Inner beauty takes on new meaning in a world like this. Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and Caprice (Lea Seydoux) have grown a reputation in the art world by performing live surgeries, during which Caprice removes useless organs which Tenser’s body spontaneously produces.
Hustle opens in Serbia. Stanley Sugarman (Adam Sandler) is being led through dark back hallways to a gym. There, he finds a bona fide big man, a 7-footer who doesn’t just block a shot, he palms the basketball and slams it on the other end. For Sugarman, talent scout of the Philadelphia 76ers, this is a good sight. Unfortunately, this prospect is too old to qualify for the draft. Sugarman crosses him off the list and moves on to a series of other not-quite-good-enough international players.
The 7′ 4″ Serbian prospect from that opening scene is real-life NBA player Boban Marjanovic (the player also appeared in a memorable cameo in John Wick: Chapter Three). Hustle is populated with numerous NBA figures, from Continue reading Hustle (2022) Movie Review→
When I went to see Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I was more excited by the “extended look” at Top Gun: Maverick than I was by the movie I had come to the theater to see. The ad was the dogfight training montage sequence that occurs early in the film, in which Tom Cruise’s Maverick hunts the helpless young Top Gun graduates with an all-out aerial assault, all set to the tune of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
It is a cracker jack sequence, very exciting and well-edited. Within the context of the film, you realize that the joke of the sequence—that the first person to get “shot down” by Mav has to do 200 push-ups—doesn’t track across the entire montage. For some reason, the rules change halfway through the montage so that everyone who gets shot down by Mav has to do push-ups. But as an isolated sequence where the rules are not very important, it is a superb set piece.
In Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the new re-imagining of the ’90s cartoon IP, the eponymous rangers are washed up celebrities, has-beens of an earlier time only faintly remembered by the few fans who wax nostalgic. Mostly, though, no one has any clue who they are. Chip (John Mulaney) has retired from the spotlight and has made a good go of it as an insurance salesman. Dale (Andy Samberg), meanwhile, still clamors for the high of fame at fan conventions at a booth in “Retro Alley.”
I have a distinct feeling that Alex Garland planted things in Men, the writer-director’s new film starring Jessie Buckley and a bevy of Rory Kinnears, which I have not entirely picked up on. Namely, allusions to religion and mythology which fly outside my knowledge structures. Yet what I did understand about Men, what was left after those allusions are stripped away and narrative and theme remain, was altogether so blunt and superficial that I in moments thought I was watching a parody of a specific breed of arthouse film. A parody of the exact film Men is.
Every once in a while, you might see something online about how the late comedian George Carlin was ahead of his time. That if he was still around he would eviscerate America in its current state. That he in some ways already did eviscerate modern America by criticizing topics decades ago that are still relevant today. These sorts of comments speak to the staying power of a singular comic figure. Similarly influential and boundary pushing comics — Lenny Bruce, for instance — don’t seem to get the same retrospective appreciation. What did Carlin do, exactly, to allow his comedy to seemingly transcend time?
Audrey Diwan’s Happening, which won last year’s Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, finds itself with a U.S. release date incidentally coinciding with legislative changes which make it all the more timely. It is a frank film about unwanted pregnancy and rigid abortion laws in 1960s France. Viewing it with American eyes, I imagine one’s appreciation for the content in the film may rest on individual politics. That, or one’s patience for quiet drama and arthouse chic.
In my review for Spider-Man: No Way Home, I didn’t call it superhero fatigue that fueled my lack of enthusiasm for Marvel. It was ambivalence. No greater evidence do I need for this ambivalence than meeting the trailer for a movie directed by Sam Raimi, one of my favorite directors, called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse ofMadness with a resolute shrug of the shoulders.
I think Robert Eggers is one of the most fascinating American filmmakers working today. The Witch is my favorite horror movie of the 2010s. It was an accomplished debut. Instead of going down the road of the “horror auteur,” though, Eggers turned to something more experimental in The Lighthouse, a film which sits unsteadily on the boundaries of multiple genres (I would call it a psychological horror fantasy dramedy sea shanty fever dream, maybe).