REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark — Directed by André Øvredal.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an adaptation of a trilogy of children’s horror short story collections of the same name from author Alvin Schwartz. The film has been in development since 2013, and now Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal has finally brought the children’s short stories to the big screen in the form of a horror film that’s frankly really enjoyable if you know what you’re getting into. This is just scary enough to severely frighten teens, but I don’t think it is so frightening that it’ll haunt them at night unless they are young tweens, but you and your kids’ mileage may vary. It’s a cute and fairly effective horror film that, I think, has the potential to become a favorite for teens. Those who dug Annabelle Comes Home will be happy with this similarly cutesy horror film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)”

REVIEW: The Kid (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate Films

The following is a short review of The Kid — Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio.

Maybe it’s an unfair and impolite thought, but whenever an actor-turned-director gets an A-list cast for his next feature, I start to worry that the star-studded cast only agreed to appear in the film as a favor to a good friend who is trying their hand at a new thing that he or she is relatively inexperienced at. The Kid, a new somewhat-biographical western, is Vincent D’Onofrio’s second feature film as a director. His sophomore effort as a director features a cast that includes Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, and Dane DeHaan. I may never learn if they joined this film as a favor or not, but I can say that I enjoyed this film quite a bit. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Kid (2019)”

REVIEW: Big Little Lies – Season Two (2019)

Release Poster – HBO

The following is a review of the second season of HBO’s Big Little Lies.

The second season of Big Little Lies — now directed by Andrea Arnold, but more on that later — follows the so-called Monterey Five — Madeline (played by Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (played by Nicole Kidman), Jane (played by Shailene Woodley), Renata (played by Laura Dern), and Bonnie (played by Zoe Kravitz) — during the aftermath of Perry Wright’s death. Bonnie is struggling as she feels incredibly guilty about what she did. So guilty, in fact, that she considers turning herself in to the local police. Just as Celeste is struggling as a single mother, Perry’s mother, Mary Louise (played by Meryl Streep), starts to question not just her son’s death but her daughter-in-law’s claim that she is a victim. Meanwhile, Madeline’s marriage is coming apart and Renata’s financial security is at risk of collapsing. Continue reading “REVIEW: Big Little Lies – Season Two (2019)”

REVIEW: Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019 – Documentary)

Theatrical Release Poster – Magnolia Pictures / Camera Film

The following is a review of Cold Case Hammarskjöld — Directed by Mads Brügger.

In Mads Brügger’s Cold Case Hammarskjöld, a Danish filmmaker and journalist teams up with Göran Björkdahl from Sweden who has inherited a particular obsession from his father. Björkdahl is obsessed with the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN General Secretary who died in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia in 1961. Together, Brügger and Björkdahl hope to uncover what exactly happened to Hammarskjöld by investigating the theory that he was murdered. But, in doing so, Brügger and Björkdahl come upon a complex conspiracy theory about a mysterious paramilitary organization, the so-called South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR), with sinister plans for the continent. Continue reading “REVIEW: Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019 – Documentary)”

Exploring an Auteur’s Short Films: Ari Aster – Special Features #53

I don’t normally write about short films unless it’s a special occasion. This is a special occasion. I recently watched and reviewed Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary, the daytime horror fairy tale Midsommar. I have become a great admirer of Aster after having seen those two films, both of which I believe to be amazing works of cinema.

Since I saw Midsommar, I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. So, on Friday, I spent the entire day watching Ari Aster’s short films. Today, I want to talk about his flawed short films, some of which didn’t speak to me at all. In five separate sections, I want to describe the experience of watching Aster’s short films, as well as make some general observations as to what it is like to watch the raw material of a future auteur. Continue reading “Exploring an Auteur’s Short Films: Ari Aster – Special Features #53”

REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of Midsommar — Directed by Ari Aster.

As a Scandinavian, any film that revolves around Scandinavia or a specific part of Scandinavian culture, naturally, intrigues me greatly. So Midsommar already had my curiosity, but Ari Aster’s involvement pulled me in and seized my attention, as it were. Ari Aster is one of the most interesting new filmmakers. He is a gifted director whose first narrative feature — Hereditary — was one of the best and most disturbing horror films of the decade. With one of the decade’s best films in the genre under his belt already, his second feature film had a lot to live up to, and even though Midsommar isn’t quite as accessible as his directorial debut, Aster’s slow-burn second feature film showcases his distinct visual style, has thematical depth, and it proves that he is one of the most exciting new auteurs. Continue reading “REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)”

REVIEW: Replicas (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of Replicas — Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s Replicas follows William Foster (played by Keanu Reeves), a research neuroscientist who experiments with the concept of transferring a human mind — even that of a deceased individual — into the body of an android. William and his colleague Ed Whittle (played by Thomas Middleditch), however, are not finding much success, seeing as their best experiment ended with an expensive android speaking and then ripping its own face off. But the success of their experiments becomes much more important to William when he loses his wife (played by Alice Eve) and his three kids in a violent accident. As a direct result of the accident, William decides to secretly attempt to transfer his family’s minds into new bodies using the technology that his employer has provided the research division with. But William is faced with a tough decision when he finds out that he can only transfer three members of his family into new bodies. William has to not only decide which family member to let go, but he also has to wipe their existence from his family’s memories. Continue reading “REVIEW: Replicas (2019)”