Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster sets an intriguing pace from the start and carries the human side of the plot through the majority of its runtime. Despite holding back on introducing the titular monster until nearly the end of the film, Ghidorah still manages to be engaging by focusing on the human story without devolving into melodrama like films before it.
A mostly conventional biopic that seeks to redeem its main subject, featuring one of the year’s best performances.
While the film invites direct comparisons to Sound of Metal, Mogul Mowgli has different ambitions on its mind.
A dynamic central performance and a solid directorial effort makes Anne at 13,000 Ft. a film that’s not to be missed.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings brings the MCU’s first Asian superhero to the screen in a film that dazzles with elaborate set pieces and an energetic buddy energy between leads Simu Liu and Awkwafina. With impressive visual effects in its third act, Shang-Chi is certainly one of the MCU’s best looking films to date (outside of the colorful and vibrate Guardians of the Galaxy films). But even with fantastic action and visual effects, the film suffers a bit from origin story issues and, specifically, its handling of important exposition through inconsistent and repetitive flashbacks.
A solid entry to the beginning of a new era for Marvel
At times, The Night House feels like a paint by numbers psychological horror film with a surprising amount of visual flair. Other times, it’s a vehicle for a really fantastic and varied performance in lead actress Rebecca Hall. And yet, it is also guilty of being a convoluted mess housing bizarre occurrences in a maze of barely coherent plot threads. When it works, The Night House delivers effective jump scares and clever visual frights. Ultimately, however, the good parts of The Night House fight an uphill battle against a story that doesn’t quite know what it is until the last several minutes, when you’re likely to have stopped caring enough to piece it together.
Heder’s script has a few plot hurdles that keep it from greatness, but her heart is in the right place, and the film represents a promising step forward for her and Emilia Jones.
Nine Days is a refreshingly unique film that announces Oda as an exciting voice with important things to say. The film could have easily slid into familiar sci-fi territory, devoting less time to the more existential issues and more time on structural bureaucracy.
John and the Hole, the debut feature from Pascual Sisto, is a psychological thriller that’s filled with a disturbing coldness with a sliver of dark comedy undertones. For the most part, John and the Hole works as a mood piece, showcasing just how disassociated its central character is with his actions. It’s a film that sees a 13 year old boy drug his family, trap them in an open hole in the ground, and then go about his newly independent life without much thought given to his captors. Aside from a couple peculiar and out of place side tracks, John and the Hole manages to stay compelling and unsettling throughout.
Jungle Cruise, Disney’s latest film based on one of its theme park rides desperately wants to be the mouse house’s next Pirates of the Caribbean style box office juggernaut. Unfortunately, the film fails on this endeavor almost every step of the way. Whether it’s jumping from contrived set piece to contrived set piece, or in the uninspired and incessant bickering among the film’s central triumvirate (not to mention the utter lack of romantic chemistry in its leads), Jungle Cruise just doesn’t work as a complete experience.
If you’ve seen The African Queen, or Indiana Jones, or Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Lost City of Z, that seems like as safe a place as any to start when discussing Disney’s latest live-action adventure. Because Jungle Cruise feels largely indebted to all of those films, and pulls elements from each one, but still struggles to stand on its own.
Following his work delivering slasher hijinks to the time loop trope with Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U, Christopher Landon affixed his horror-comedy eye on the body swap genre with 2020’s Freaky. The film stars Kathryn Newton as Millie, a teen whose family suffered the loss of her father a year ago. Vince Vaughn co-stars as the nameless Blissfield Butcher, a deranged killer whose urban legend has him operating for decades in the Everytown (well, in California, at least), USA hamlet of Blissfield. When an ancient Aztec artifact causes the two to switch bodies, gruesome killings and funny misunderstandings ensue.
Settlers, the debut feature from writer/director Wyatt Rockefeller, is a sci-fi character study that never quite gets off the ground. Set on a lone Mars colony, it tells a tale of frontier desolation and isolation in a meandering and slightly unfocused way. A single family lives on the land and has to face the threat of people who appear to be marauders at first glance. As the film progresses, not much backstory (save for the bare essentials) is given as to who these people are or why they have staked their claim on the land. It becomes a moot point, however, as the film immediately becomes a 3-person character study with not much energy to the plot.
Throughout his tumultuous career, M. Night Shyamalan has been singularly focused on trying to surprise audiences. What’s most surprising about his latest film however, is just how little has changed in his bag of tricks. Old has all the hallmarks of Shyamalan’s storytelling style. There’s a preponderance of silly, inauthentic dialogue, tons of on the nose exposition, awkward comic relief that rarely lands as intended, and what seems like an active hatred for ambiguity. Yet, for all of Old’s silliness and lack of depth, it does provide a decent amount of suspense and is home to one really interesting concept.