Henry Selick (director of Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline and James and The Giant Peach) is back in the directors chair and it’s such a beautiful sight to see. Wendell & Wild is such a creative film that has a lot more to it than you would expect. The movie has a lot of commentary on capitalism and the prison system and it establishes that quite quickly, a private prison company known as Klaxton Korp has taken over a town and the viewer can tell how damaged and lost the town is due to the clever use of color. Speaking of which the animation is truly beautiful, it’s great to see stop-motion animation still kicking as it’s a genre of animation that is truly creative in every single way possible. There’s so much atmosphere and color to the film that it really makes the film it’s own character, speaking of which the characters are truly well written. Wendell and Wild are truly fun characters with a huge amount of depth to them as well being humorous, Wendell is played by Keegan-Michael Key and Wild is played by Jordan Peele. The film is just another reminder of how well the two work together, their comedic timing is truly unstoppable and when the two want to display serious moments they will definitely display some very strong ones. The protagonist Kat played by Lyric Ross is truly fantastic, the depth to her character goes a very long way. Including some flashbacks and her strong desire of wanting to see her parents again, the cherry on top is the Raúl Cocolotl a character who is trans played by Sam Zelaya. Raul is such a very well written character that adds to the overall film especially the bond between Raul and Kat which develops over time. Wendell & Wild is truly a bold film that really hits it out of the park with it’s themes, characters, character development and atmosphere. This is a film that will definitely go on to be a classic during Halloween time for years to come.
We are almost at the end of 2022 which is sort of crazy to think about, it’s been such a spectacular year for film and it’s only going to get even better from here! Let’s start with a movie I saw back in March at SXSW that is quite disturbing.
The Good Nurse is based off of a 2013 book of the same name by Charles Graeber which the book is about serial killer Charles Cullen. The true story of The Good Nurse is quite disturbing and I highly recommend reading about the case as it is very interesting. Right off the bat Jessica Chastain gives a really strong performance, she puts a lot of heart and emotion into the role that really captures her role. Eddie Redmayne is actually quite great here, it’s been awhile since he’s given a very solid performance but he really hits out of the park during the third act where he actually becomes very intimidating. It’s a great transformation of his performance that goes from being kind enough to downright chilling, while the writing during the first two acts isn’t anything to write home about. The third act on the other hand really pushes the movie into a thrilling atmosphere that invests the viewer quite well, the movie is just barely over 2 hours which does start to drag a bit during the second act. But luckily the movie quickly does get a lot better as it goes on, overall The Good Nurse is a solid enough crime drama with some very thrilling moments that I would recommend.
I’m not even sure where to begin with Blade Of The 47 Ronin, I’m sure the first question on everybody’s mind is “how on earth did 47 Ronin one of the biggest critical and finical failures of 2013 get a sequel?” To recap 47 Ronin released at the tip end of 2013 with little to no advertising and was attempting to be a fictionalized account of the forty seven ronin an actual group of real samurai under Daimyo Asano Naganori in 18th century Japan. A neat premise but very poor execution that had some okay action scenes and for whatever reason had Keanu Reeves involved, it was a largely forgotten about movie that nobody really thought of until last week when the sequel came out. Blade Of The 47 Ronin takes place 300 years after the first movie and has very little connection with the first movie, this one really ends up being more of a below average samurai movie that while like the first movie actually have some okay action scenes especially considering the budget of the movie. There really isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done before, the cast at least seems to connect with each other really well and for the script they are given they don’t do a horrible job, but the problem stems from being a beat by bear story. It’s another one of those “this certain person is the only who can defeat so and so now they have to find their true power.” It’s a lot of seen it and done it way better, if you took away 47 Ronin away from the title you would think this was just some terrible samurai movie. Much like the previous movie the characters are very poorly written who are given one or two personality traits and that’s it, lastly the movie is lacking in identity at least with the first movie you can actually point to what the movie is and what it was trying to do, with this one all you can really say is that it’s a bad samurai movie with a few decent moments. Blade Of The 47 Ronin much like it’s predecessor is going to be largely forgotten about, it makes complete and total sense on why this was quietly shoved on to Netflix.
Luckiest Girl Alive has the right material to be a really interesting movie on some very heavy subjects but the way the movie is crafted leaves it very disjointed. Mila Kunis does a really great job it’s definitely one of her best performances in awhile, the movie taking on subjects such as rape and school shootings comes as a surprise from this movie. On the surface it seems like it’s going to be another Netflix mystery movie that falls in line with what they usually release. But when these subjects do come up and are shown it comes as a shock, when the film does tackle these subjects it does a pretty good job of nailing down the point. However mixing these important subjects with a very subpar story is when the movie starts to fall apart, the cutting from the past and present is very messy plus it does not give the viewer nearly enough time to fully digest what exactly happened despite being almost two hours long. Lastly the movie juggles way too many ideas at once, between trauma, the mystery element, school shooting and rape it does well with certain ideas but leaves a lot more to be desired about others. Luckiest Girl Alive isn’t a bad movie it’s just a disappointing one that could have really been a home run.
I do want to start this review out by saying that this film is not for everyone, which should be a given considering a lot of what the film contains. It’s a very depressing and dark film that really doesn’t hold back some of which I will be getting into. Also I want to point this out now because it’s not being said enough, Blonde is NOT a biopic it’s based off a book of the same name that came out in 2000 written by Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also a fictionalized take on Marilyn Monroe’s life and career. Although sadly some of the stuff in the film aren’t far from the truth such as the abuse she went through, to start off Ana De Armas is absolutely incredible as Marilyn Monroe, she truly captures a lot of Monroe’s actions, her voice and her overall personality. Which ultimately makes the film that much more tragic down the road, the use of black and white, cinematography and the editing are all quite fantastic. They create this nightmare inducing film that really hits the viewer harder and harder as it goes on. Each of the three create hauntingly stunning scenes that capture a lot of dread, tragedy and depression, from the very first scene the film establishes the tone and that the film isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. We see Norma Jeane Mortensen as a child and how the film sets up it’s start into a huge nightmare. As the film progresses we see a lot of abuse, many people treating Monroe like she isn’t human and so much more. Ultimately what Blonde is showing is a tragedy of someone who wants to make it big, how fame is truly evil and how the industry uses it’s actors or actresses. It’s to the point where it becomes a horror film about fame and how it can damage someone who simply just wants fame and to star on the big screen. The ending is truly depressing and wraps the film up as terrifying as it can be, Monroe was someone who did not have an easy life at all and there is much to this day we do not know about her and quite frankly we may never will. It’s a truly dark film that is going to stick with me for a very long time.
Athena is one of those films where after you finish watching it you sit in silence just thinking of what you just saw mainly due to how powerful and striking the film is. Talk about a film that is aiming to be as raw as possible, after a kid is killed by the police everything completely slams down in France, particularly in Athena where chaos, protests and violence take place. The cast is truly fantastic for starters each performance is as raw as they can possibly be it genuinely feels like you are watching chaos happen in real time, the cinematography combined with the setting and atmosphere is truly top notch. The film immediately brings the intensity from the beginning of the film and keeps it for the rest of the film, combine that with such a striking beginning and you truly have a film that is one of the best portrayals of a huge rebellion. The direction from Romain Gravras is truly raw in every single way possible, there’s this huge factor to it that really blends in with the rest of the film. It’s truly hard hitting film that you must experience for yourself.
Entergalactic is one of the most beautiful films so far of 2022, I didn’t know what to expect going into this film but wow this definitely impressed. The cast does quite a fantastic job particularly Kid Cudi, Laura Harrier and Jessica Williams, they all put their heart and soul into their roles and really make the characters all the more interesting. By far what sticks out the most is the imaginative and beautiful animation, it feels like a hybrid of 3D and 2D animation but done in such a unique looking way. It makes the film pop out really well and adds quite a lot of flavor to it, there’s certain scenes that completely take you into the film’s own little dream like setting and invests the viewer with it’s visual style. Although the story itself is a very simple love story that has been done before, it still ends up being incredibly charming Kid Cudi’s character Jabari is a character that the audience could easily see themselves as. He’s an everyday citizen who goes through some quite beautiful arcs, the cast easily connecting with their character is what really makes the film standout, there’s truly something wonderful when you see how effortlessly the cast can connect to their characters and create a story that’s truly investing. Lastly there’s the music that just feels like a natural fit to the film the film actually serves as a visual companion piece to Kid Cudi’s album of the same name, which I have to give credit where credit is due. The film manages to standout on it’s own while also being a companion piece. Overall Entergalactic is truly fantastic despite some familiar love story elements the film is truly well done. Check this one out.
September flew by pretty quickly so now we are reaching the home stretch! October is my favorite month of the year and like previous years this month has a lot of good stuff to look forward to! As usual I’ll go over the movies I’ve already seen that I recommend and then we will get into the list.
Piggy – October 7th (Theaters I believe) and October 14th (VOD) – A Disturbing little movie Spanish and French horror movie that I saw back at Sundance 2022, it has some pretty neat commentary on bullying and some effective atmosphere!
Bitch Ass – October 14th (VOD) – Bitch Ass is one of those it’s so bad it’s hilarious movies, I gave it a 6/10 simply because I had such a fun time with it because it understands how to have fun. It’s a fun little slasher movie that I recommend watching with friends.
Slash/Back – October 21st (VOD) A simple but decent little sci-fi movie it has a lot of Attack The Block vibes to it so this is one to check out if you liked that one.
Now on to the list!
29. Bring It On: Cheer Or Die – October 8th (Syfy Channel) – Yes you read that right the Bring It On series is taking a new direction and going into the horror genre. This will be the seventh installment in the series (I have yet to see any but the first movie might check the series out this week) I don’t expect this movie to be good since it is going to premiere on the Syfy channel, but this is a case of my curiosity being very interested.
28. Spirit Of Halloween: The Movie – October 11th (VOD) – I appreciate these types of horror movies still being a thing, you know the kid friendly horror (although it is rated PG-13 the trailer has a Goosebumps like feel to it) I’m also a bit interested to see how they use the premise!
27. Old Man – October 14th (VOD)
26. Black Adam – October 21st (Theaters) – The only reason why I’m excited is because I like the whole premise of a film focusing on an Anti-Hero and fighting the heroes, the very least I hope Black Adam is a fun time as a lot of the comic book films this year have been a mess in terms of quality.
25. Rosaline – October 14th (Hulu)
24. Lyle Lyle Crocodile – October 7th (Theaters) – Potentially could be a lot of fun, I’m also very into the idea of Shawn Mendes voicing a crocodile.
23. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – October 5th (Netflix) – Another Stephen King adaption, hopefully this one is better than the last one we got this year (Firestarter 2022)
22. Werewolf By Night – October 7th (Disney+) – One of the few things Marvel has coming up that I’m actually interested in, the trailer was a lot of fun and felt a bit campy here’s to hoping the same can be said for the movie.
21. Dark Glasses – October 13th (Shudder)
20. Wendell & Wild – October 28th (Netflix)
19. Run Sweetheart Run – October 28th (Amazon Prime Video)
18. Significant Other – October 7th (Paramount+) – Maika Monroe has already hit it out of the park with Watcher which released a back in June, the trailer seems promising with this one!
17. Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind – October 11th (VOD) – So far the animated Mortal Kombat movies have been quite fun Scorpion’s Revenge (2020) was a very solid film that did the franchise justice and Battle Of The Realms (2021) while not as good as the previous movie it was still a solid fun time! Here’s hoping Snow Blind is just as good.
16. God’s Country – October 14th (VOD)
15. Till – October 14th (Theaters) – There’s been a lot of talk about Danielle Deadwyler’s performance, the film had it’s first reactions over the weekend and while the movie itself is apparently great but is on the weak side at times Deadwyler’s performance is apparently fantastic. Which makes me all the more excited.
14. Holy Spider – October 28th (Theaters)
13. Stars At Noon – October 14th (Theaters and VOD platforms) – Haven’t heard the best things about this movie but between Claire Denis and Margaret Qualley I can’t help but be excited for this one.
12. The Good Nurse – October 26th (Netflix)
11. Halloween Ends – October 14th (Theaters and Peacock) – I’m one of those people who loved Halloween Kills so I’m pretty excited for Halloween Ends, it will be interesting to see how the film closes the whole Laurie Strode and Michael Myers chapter!
10. V/H/S/99 – October 20th (Shudder) – After a really solid sequel from last year (V/H/S/94) I’m very interested to see how this one will be, as long as it stays away from being like VHS Viral this should be great.
9. Terrifier 2 – October 6th (Theaters) – A sequel that I’ve been waiting for awhile now, early reactions say it’s just as good if not better than the first movie!
8. Armageddon Time – October 28th (Theaters) – Between the cast, James Gray and the trailer there is so much to look forward to with this film.
7. All Quiet On The Western Front – October 28th (Netflix)
6. The Banshees Of Inisherin – October 21st (Theaters)
5. Hellraiser – October 7th (Hulu) – After the first reactions which came out recently, I’m very excited for this one! It looks like a breath of fresh air for the series that it most definitely needs.
4. Aftersun – October 21st (Theaters)
3. Decision To Leave – October 14th (Theaters)
2. Triangle Of Sadness – October 7th (Theaters)
1. TAR – October 7th (Theaters)…..just looks absolutely stunning!!
A Jazzman’s Blues is Tyler Perry’s best film in a very long time, while the movie is very flawed I do have to respect him for getting a film that he considers a passion project that he wrote back in 1995 out there. Having that said the movie definitely shows that it was written back in the 90s, mainly through the script that while does have some pretty powerful moments ends up being empty in some areas. The movie tackles racism in the Deep South in the 20th century, plus you have a forbidden love story thrown into the mix as well. A lot of the movie kind of repeats things a lot of other movies have already done and far better when it comes to this topic, the jazz scenes are definitely electrifying and a lot of fun to watch as well. The performances are all around pretty solid especially during the last half of the movie where it gets brutal in one particular scene, the first half of the movie is a bit rough writing wise. While there some moments that build the Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer) and Bayou (Joshua Boone) as characters and their chemistry. A lot of other moments feel like they exist just to draw scenes out, the last half is definitely the strongest especially the conversations between Bayou and Ira (Ryan Eggold). Overall A Jazzman’s Blues is definitely not a bad movie by any means, it’s just one that had the writing been a lot stronger could have been much more.