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Recent theatrical viewings

Started by Rev. Powell, January 26, 2009, 09:48:33 PM

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M.10rda

I loathe to post this one in the "Good Movies" section - however I don't think there's enough call for a second "Recent Theatrical Viewings" board in the "Bad Movies" section, so:

THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1 (2024):
The top-half of a drive-in double-bill and the half I was less interested in, so I either ignored the "Chapter 1" part or else I subconsciously figured it was maybe a prequel to the original? Imagine my surprise at the first of two quick-succession nasty shocks at the end of this piece of dreck: the story is "continued", KILL BILL-style, in a forthcoming "Chapter 2", presumably. Y'all LMK how it is, 'cause I ain't droppin' another $5 to find out. If this first 90 minutes is just set up, one might credibly question whether it could've been distilled into a 15-25 minute first act. The screenplay could fit on the margins of the drive-in concession counter's 4"x6" paper menu.

This stars - and was executive produced by! - Madeline Petsch, who plays "Cherryl Blossom" on RIVERDALE, a preposterous TV show that Mademoiselle used to hate-watch. Petsch is luscious on the RIVERDALE, but as is the case w/ the actors who play Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, you can never quite tell how good of an actor they are because the material is so risible. (The guy who plays Archie, for what it's worth, is clearly just a large slab of soap.) If Petsch was looking for an acting challenge, I guess TS:C1 could qualify, as much of the film is her, alone and silent, cowering in fear behind doorways and below windows. Unfortunately, she doesn't bring a lot of craft to the table, though she is better than the loathsome oaf who plays her boyfriend.

Why are we still getting these torment-> torture porn slashers in 2024? Again, there's next-to-no plot nor character development, thus it all adds up to little more than an opportunity to watch innocent (if annoying) people suffer at the hands of even-far-more-annoying psychopaths. If Petsch and her boyfriend behaved at ANY juncture like a sane, sober, capable adult, the film might actually generate suspense as a contest (as the Sherriff says in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) between Man and Steer. This never happens. Indeed, it would take the Coen Bros to inject cinematic juice into a film like this - heck, I might watch them remake the final 15 minutes of BLOOD SIMPLE at full feature length. Sadly, THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1 isn't directed by the Coen Bros, and ergo I got nasty surprise numbero dos when the credits rolled:

"Directed by Renny Harlin!" Oy... wotta' long fall from DIE HARD 2.......

0/5

I hope I won't see a worse film this year - but - at least the second-half of the drive-in double bill  ameliorated the endurance of the first half............

Rev. Powell

Quote from: indianasmith on June 08, 2024, 10:52:00 PM
THE WATCHERS (2024) - "In Western Ireland there lies a forest that doesn't appear on any map . . . "

What a great opening line!  This offering from M. Night Shamalayan is one of his best in recent years, deeply rooted in Irish mythology of the "fay folk,' alternating with creepy, building suspense and a few well-placed jump scares.  My daughters and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I haven't seen it, but it isn't written and directed by M. Night. It's his daughter's debut film.
I'll take you places the hand of man has not yet set foot...

M.10rda

The redemption of last night's trip to the drive-in:

IN A VIOLENT NATURE (2024):
I knew nothing about this when it was listed on my drive-in's website besides the title, poster image, and that I'd never heard of the director nor any of the actors. That was a big dice roll and ultimately a very smart way to go in. Distributed by Shudder, this was shot about 2-3 hours away from me in Ontario, Canada, and was clearly a labor of love.

Well, it's a "slasher" movie. Time will tell, but maybe it's The Slasher Movie. If Tarantino had ever made his rumored FRIDAY THE 13TH, I suppose it could've been something like this, though if it was Tarantino in KILL BILL/DEATH PROOF/BASTERDS mode, it might not have been this... satisfying? Perhaps that isn't the correct word for a film that (at least nominally with Tarantino films) assumes a deconstructionist or post-modernist attitude towards its subject. IN A VIOLENT NATURE is also unquestionably an art film. It probably has a place in conversations about IT FOLLOWS as well as the original TCM... and as well as, uhhh... Gus Van Sant's GERRY, David Gordon Green's GEORGE WASHINGTON, and Gyorgy Palfi's HUKKLE???

I bought into the premise about 10 minutes in, and though there are a couple of moments that border on the ludicrous, the film does have a sense of humor, and generally is so confidently handled that I could absorb a little self-conscious cringe. I don't think IN A VIOLENT NATURE is a stunt, though it may be an academic exercise of sorts. Nevertheless, if you just want slasher movies to deliver "the goods", I was pleased that auteur Chris Nash alternates between extremely tasteful discretion and FX that would make Eli Roth hide under some covers. Basically if you have two friends and one loves Bela Tarr and the other loves Andreas Schnaas, you could take them both to IAVN and I think they'd both leave happy.

Once I thought I knew where IN A VIOLENT NATURE was going, I settled in tolerantly and enjoyed its ancillary pleasures. Then in its final 15 minutes it takes a turn that is quietly audacious. It's not a HAUTE TENSION twist - it's not really a twist at all, just an authorial flourish that allows the film to mean something more than just the sum of its formal accomplishments.

4.5/5 - A must-see.

Also cleverly addresses (and overcomes) the same problems of sadistic identification that sunk THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1 for me.

Also, possibly the most outstanding sound design of this year.

Rev. Powell

TUESDAY: A mother comes to grips with Death when it arrives (in the form of a talking parrot) to take her terminally ill teenage daughter. Although the epilogue drags a bit, Daina Oninuas-Pusic's feature debut is a death fable that gambles a lot and goes in surprising black comedy directions, featuring a fine performance Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the most memorable on-screen Death since THE SEVENTH SEAL. It went on a little too long and got a little too on-the-nose preachy at the end, or it would have been a 4. Instead, it gets a 3.5/5.

As usual, I was alone in the theater.
I'll take you places the hand of man has not yet set foot...

Rev. Powell

KINDS OF KINDNESS: Three twisted modern fables from Yorgos Lanthimos: a boss dictates every aspect of his employee's life; after his missing wife returns, a police officer suspects that she's been replaced by a close copy; two cult members search for their messiah. Jesse Plemmons and Emma Stone star in each entry, with Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley showing up in supporting roles; Lanthimos' screenwriter Efthimis Filippou leans deep into absurdity, darkness and irony, making for a bracing trilogy about the implicit horrors of our times. Lanthimos seems intent on jettisoning any casual fans who came on board with POOR THINGS. 3.5/5.
I'll take you places the hand of man has not yet set foot...

Trevor

Quote from: Rev. Powell on June 21, 2024, 09:32:12 AMAs usual, I was alone in the theater.

That is becoming a usual thing here: cinemas / theaters are becoming used less and less. ☹️
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.

Rev. Powell

Quote from: Trevor on July 03, 2024, 04:11:17 PM
Quote from: Rev. Powell on June 21, 2024, 09:32:12 AMAs usual, I was alone in the theater.

That is becoming a usual thing here: cinemas / theaters are becoming used less and less. ☹️

Yes, here too, but there were about 10 people at the KINDS OF KINDNESS showing.
I'll take you places the hand of man has not yet set foot...

Rev. Powell

INSIDE OUT 2 (2024): Riley hits puberty and gains a whole new gang of emotions (anxiety, envy, embarrassment and ennui), as Joy and the old gang fight to preserve her childhood personality. Another clever script helping kids grasp the basics of psychology by personifying emotions, wrapping the lesson in comedy and adventure. 4.5/5.
I'll take you places the hand of man has not yet set foot...

M.10rda

I should see the INSIDE OUTs. I feel like I'd appreciate them. I have to say, it's harder for me to sit down and watch animated features alone than it was even a decade ago. I know many of them are good (I did like COCO when I finally got around to it) but w/ hundreds or thousands of unwatched films (nominally) for adults out there I am feeling less and less motivated to watch things primarily created for younger viewers.

It's also harder for me to watch them full-stop than it was even 3-5 years ago... I used to watch some w/ my niece but now, at 10 years old, she watches almost nothing but TikTok and Youtube videos. Last night her mother told us she was watching TITANIC and I almost passed out w/ shock. Hopefully it buffs up her attention span a bit.