Directed by Toby Meakins – Screenplay by Simon Allen.
This is the kind of film that, not too long ago, would’ve been the kind of horror picture that could be released in theaters and earned quite a bit of money, like Jeff Wadlow’s Truth or Dare, which this film reminded me of at times. Who knows, maybe it could’ve even done that right now in a post-lockdown America. We will never know because instead of being released theatrically this nostalgic tech-focused horror film was released without much fanfare on Netflix on April 15th. If you like those kinds of gimmicky horror films, then this might be the kind of film that you’d like to put on. But, with that having been said, I cannot recommend this fairly disposable horror feature, in spite of its relatively short 84-minute runtime.
Directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch) – Screenplay by Robert Eggers & Sjón.
Inspired by Icelandic sagas and Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum legend of Prince Amleth of Jutland (the latter of which was supposedly the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet), The Northman is a $90 million budgeted epic viking revenge film from Robert Eggers, the director of the relatively low-budgeted indie ‘art house-esque’ horror films The Witch and The Lighthouse. It is a dirty, violent, blood-soaked, and brilliantly-made film, and it is easily Robert Eggers’ most accessible film, even though it definitely isn’t your average big-budgeted action film.
Directed by Christian Tafdrup – Screenplay by Christian Tafdrup & Mads Tafdrup.
At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, critics and festivalgoers alike were introduced to one of Denmark’s latest filmmaking provocateurs, Christian Tafdrup. The actor-turned-director got his career as a filmmaker started with his first two feature-length efforts Forældre (int. title: Parents) and En Frygtelig Kvinde (int. title: A Terrible Woman), the latter of which starred Amanda Collin (who you may have seen in HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves) and was a relative hit that provoked some audience-members. Speak No Evil — Tafdrup’s latest feature film — was received fairly well at the festival, and is, reportedly, one of the best films that actor Robert Pattinson has seen in many years. I won’t go that far, but I will say that I think this very unsettling Danish thriller is Tafdrup’s best film yet.
Directed by Sian Heder – Screenplay by Sian Heder.
Whenever a film wins the Academy Awards’ Best Picture the spotlights start to assemble on top of it. People wish to poke holes in the film, call it overrated, and, in general, it suddenly has to live up to loftier expectations than it had to back when it was just a popular film. Moonlight was able to handle those spotlights, and it is still one of the previous decade’s great Best Picture winners (even though I preferred La La Land). Green Book, on the other hand, not so much.
In this edition of my recurring movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at one of the start of the year’s best shows, and I also give you my thoughts on a (currently) Oscar-nominated film. So, get comfortable, and get ready to read my thoughts on things like Apple TV+’s latest gem and the film that very well could earn Jessica Chastain her first Academy Award tonight.
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro – Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro & Kim Morgan.
Based on the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name (which was first adapted by Edmund Goulding in 1947), Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley follows a mysterious drifter named Stan Carlisle, who is hired by a carnival and soon becomes fascinated by the mentalist techniques that his co-workers have made a living off. When he leaves the carnival to thrive off the techniques that he has acquired, he became infatuated by the power of his act and the money that they lead him to. It won’t be long until he decides to fool the wrong person.
Directed by Charlie McDowell – Screenplay by Justin Lader and Andrew Kevin Walker.
Charlie McDowell’s Windfall takes place in a single location and mostly features three unnamed characters; a wealthy CEO (played by Jesse Plemons), his wife (played by Lily Collins), and the ‘nobody’ who is trying to rob their vacation home. The robber (played by Jason Segel) had planned to steal from the property while its owners were out of town, but, when they suddenly return home while he’s in their home, the robber has to improvise on how to get out of this situation unscathed. And the wealthy CEO? Well, he just wants to get him out of the house as fast as possible, even if it means having to lose some money in the process.
Directed by Steven Spielberg – Screenplay by Tony Kushner.
If you’ve been thinking that another West Side Story is pretty unnecessary, then you’re not alone. After all, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ 1961 musical film adaptation of the Romeo & Juliet-inspired Broadway stage play ended up with eleven Oscar nominations and won in ten of those categories including Best Picture. Often regarded as one of the greatest musical films of all time, the 1961 film has made people very familiar with the story. So, did we need Steven Spielberg to make a new version of the stage play? No, we definitely didn’t. But here’s the thing. Let’s be honest, we also didn’t technically need another Batman reboot. We didn’t technically need three different live-action Spider-Men in the last twenty years. However, even though we didn’t need those films, just like how I loved the vast majority of the Spider-Man films, as well as the new Batman flick, I have to say that Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is just wonderful. We didn’t need it, but I’m glad we now have it.
Directed by Shawn Levy (Free Guy) – Screenplay by Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin.
In Shawn Levy’s The Adam Project, we follow Adam Reed (played by Walker Scobell), a 12-year-old who makes a lot of witty remarks and gets into fights. Adam and his mother (played by Jennifer Garner) are struggling after the recent death of his father (played by Mark Ruffalo), and they’re still trying to adjust to their new normal. While his mother is out on a date, something incredible happens. After going outside to check on a mysterious sound, he returns to his family home and finds a wounded fighter pilot, who has let himself inside. It doesn’t take Adam long to figure out that this isn’t just any fighter pilot, this is himself from a dystopian future. This older Adam (played by Ryan Reynolds) has traveled back in time to save lives and the future, but, now that he is injured, he may need his 12-year-old self to accomplish the job.
Directed by Domee Shi (Bao) – Screenplay by Julia Cho & Domee Shi.
Turning Red, the 25th feature-length film from Pixar Animation Studios, takes place in Toronto, Canada in 2002 and follows a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl named Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), who thinks of herself as a grown-up and who dedicates a lot of her time to honoring her parents. However, things are about to change for Meilin. She both wants to take care of her family’s Chinese temple and go to a boy band concert with her supportive best friends, even though her mother doesn’t trust her friends and despises the boy band. Over night, something changes for Meilin, and when she wakes up she has turned into a huge red panda. She finds out that she can turn back into her normal self, but every time she has a strong feeling she goes right back to being this mythological panda, which obviously freaks her out.