A Sublime Psychological Horror Film That Really Gets Into Your Head
Hereditary stars Toni Collette; in a flawless performance as a woman on the verge who goes back to her mother's home to bury her and ends up staying with her husband (Gabriel Byrne) and two children (Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro) in the home; which emits a sense of utter dread and alienation. The more that Collette digs; the deeper the terror grows. A brilliant climax and all-around superlative performances from a well-suited cast make Hereditary a contender for the best horror film of the 2010s.
Gritty and Harrowing Account of Undercover Narcotics Work
Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh play two beat cops graduating to agents who are given a rather diabolical case on their first undercover go-around. The two are tasked with gathering enough evidence to jail a ruthless drug lord (Gregg Allman).
The two go through a good amount of close calls with Allman and company and after trying heroin a few times; become full-fledged addicts. A move which prevents much of anything in the way of investigations to happen.
A strong cast and keenly realized ending make up for the lull spots that seem to plague the very middle of the film.
A Flawed But Ultimately Satisfying Raunchy Comedy About Pre-Adolescent Boys
Good Boys is a sincere attempt at recapturing the mindset of a 12 year old boy. It boasts a likeable premise, endearing characters, and an inspired script filled with unexpectedly graphic entendres, insults, and put downs. The boys are the target of many a neighborhood bully and are wanting to make their own money so that one of them can have a TV set.
The film is at its best when dealing with inane situations. It struggles with its inevitable dramatic material; which presented in such a slapdash manner that it's hard ot understand the content delivery. Good Boys does leave an indelible mark as one of the most profane examples of dealing with pre-teen angst.
Hilarious and Refreshingly Crude Take on High School's Last Big Hurrah
Beanie Feldstein (sister of Jonah Hill) and Kaitlyn Dever portray two studious seniors whom, on the evening of their graduation; realize they have not experienced anything close to what life has to offer them and make a pact to go all out that night. Feldstein and Dever are magnificently cast in two of the most endearing caricatures of teenagers since Rebel Without a Cause. The film teems with hilarity, heart, and presence of mind to know when to add just the right amount of sentimentality in without going sap on us.
To get to experience everything that everyone is the two girls decide to give there all and try a number of things all in one night. The results are bona fide extreme belly laughs and thought provoking ideals.
Olivia Colman, of The OC fame, helms this; which may very well be the decade's smartest and altogether funniest comedy.
Tense and Repulsive; A Serbian Film Gets Its Sharpened Point Across
A veritable parable of life in Serbia through the eyes of newcomer director Srdjan Spasojevic. The point; that you are going to be subjected to the most horrifying of all human abuses in history. The film delves into this brutal and dark territory as a story about a retired adult film star who is running out of money to support his family. He is offered a job to do one last "project" by a mysterious cameraman and his posse; who may or may not be connected to other things politically. Once he begins on this project he soon realizes the devastating results it is leaving behind. Enmeshed with elements of body horror, psychological thriller, and jet black comedy it is an assault on all senses and a complete mind bender. If you can work past the indescribably gruesome content within the film; you should be able to see it for its shining merits as well.
Bette Davis Nabs Eighth Oscar Nod for Portraying Narcissistic Socialite
Mr. Skeffington is a well-executed adaptation of the clumsily narrated book that its origins stem from. Davis is given the prime role here and her particular brand of screen histrionics and mannerisms fit her character to a tee. She enjoys toying with others' emotions with such coldness that you are left wondering about her true motivations. Claude Rains is equally impressive as her lovestruck; and ultimately heartbroken, first husband. His sense of empathy and caring toward her show us Rains at the opposite of the majority of his screen roles. The film runs for over two hours and 20 minutes; but with a large number of costume changes and a time travel of over 30 years it tends to go by expeditiously for the most part. An overlooked essential viewing for all Davis fans.
Harrowing and Uncompromising in Its Handling of Unimaginably Sensitive Material
Kathryn Bigelow directs this docudrama that depicts a racially charged police raid on an unlicensed club that would begin the infamous 12th Street Riots. Caught in the cross-hairs are a struggling R&B group called the Dramatics and two college co-eds visiting the club for weekend partying. The events unravel in heartbreaking and enraging ways. What would initially begin as a sadistic prank to ward off the co-mingling of the white females and black males leads to uncomprehensibly devastating results for all involved. A truly grim look at these events the picture veers far from sentimentality which keeps it at a clipped pace and allows for more structure surrounding the state of affairs amid the egregious hotel raid.
Uneven, and ultimately soft-boiled, King adaptation
Netflix Originals continues on their barrage of Stephen King adaptations with this horror/mystery about a field of very tall grass that seems to envelop its unsuspecting victims into its labyrinthine maze of nowhere. A brother and sister driving cross country to go back to residing iwth family happen upon a field in rural Nebraska where they hear the voice of a young boy shouting at them for help. So help they do and end up getting stuck in the tall grass. Later on other characters experience the same fate. Tension, when it is present, is cut straight away in favor of obnoxious banter between the frustrated characters. Yes, it's well photographed and edited; the acting is at par with what it should be but there is no sense of heart palpitating terror here and that becomes a problem for a horror film. A noble effort by cast and crew ultimately undone by the limp notes of just how macabre this grass really is.
Commmendable and forceful debut for visionary director Melina Matsoukas
The plot line of Queen & Slim is fairly simplistic. Two people who met on the dating app Tindr go to a late night dinner at a local diner. On the way to their respective locations from said diner they are pulled over by a trigger happy police officer who goes to extreme measures to demand their complicity in his minor traffic infraction pulling over efforts. When things go too far said cop ends up dead at the hands of our hero. What happens next is an arsenal of some very eclectic characters making brief; but impressionable, turns in their lives on the run from the law. The main characters are well etched and have enough enigma surrounding them to ensure that you don't view them as only people at their current state. The same cannot be said of the supporting players. While Bookeem Woodbine and Benito Martinez both turn in passable performances as the player past his prime uncle of our heroine and an empathetic sheriff who ends up getting a raw deal respectively; neither one gets enough time to sensibly develop either character. We aren't even told what happened ot Martinez at the end of the film. These minor infractions are not enough to bash this film on any level. The cinematography is breathtaking, the interactions between people (especially civilian and authority) are eerily prescient. The film appears to be motivated by its social message; not made to exploit it. The ending is gripping to say the least and the senses of hope and dread that bob around throughout the film give it a roller coaster feel; something rare to find in films that are not symbolic of the thriller, suspense, or horror genres. Matsoukas shows guts and gusto when handling her cast and relative newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith (in her first lead role) is astonishingly naturalistic as the strong-minded Queen. David Kaluuya has a vulnerable sensibility about him that allows you to see the winces of pain his character feels as he begins to understand that his life is irrevocably changed in ways he dare not attempt to comprehend. The film also features small performances from Chloe Sevigny, Flea,and Sturgill Simpson. Impressive child actors are put on display in pivotal supporting roles; notably Jahi Di'Allo Winston as the socially conscious son of a conservative mechanic.
Robbins and Freeman make a great team in this moving; if slightly overrated, Stephen King adaptation.
Do I feel that the Shawshank Redemption should be on the Top 100 films of all time list? No. Do I feel it is the best King adaptation out there? No. Did I thoroughly enjoy it? Yes.
Disregarding the answer to the first two questions; what we have here is a pretty watered down story about a man (Tim Robbins) who is imprisoned for the murder of his adulterous wife and her lover. While there he becomes a "better person" through the tutelage of a co-inmate; Morgan Freeman in a pleasantly subdued performance, who shows him the ropes of prison life. Everyone knows how the end of the film goes; but it is getting there that is the fun part, for the most part. There are scenes in the film of great fascination; scenes that may haunt you, scenes that may evoke shrill laughter, and scenes that may cause you to ponder the meaning of life. Overall viewing is worthwhile but not essential as this site and various others would lead you to believe.