I was not looking forward to 2020’s “The Grudge”. In the interest of transparency, I will admit that I have seen Takashi Shimizu’s original 2002 film, and I utterly hated it. It was a sluggish, overlong piece of work that, I feel, was incapable of overcoming its low-budget roots. There was very little that co-writer (Jeff Buhgler) and director Nicolas Pesce brought to my excitement. The only hope to be had had come from the fact that I recall loving Pesce’s previous film, the ultra-dark, black and white exercise in bleak cinematic macabre, “The Eyes of my Mother”. And for the first 20 or so minutes of this, I was worried. In the year 2004 (the year that the American remake of “The Grudge” was released, also directed by Shimizu--I wish he could say be pulled a Micahel Haneke; but nothing in both the remake or the original deserve that compliment), Fiona, a live-in nurse is seen visibly disturbed by events she had witnessed in a house she has just left.
He’s done it, he’s finally done it! Writer/director Tyler Perry has brought into existence, this demonic spawn of a film, this thing--this living, breathing creature from the depths of darkness where no light penetrates. Given what I’ve seen from Perry, I was expecting awful, but this far exceeds anything my mind could’ve conjured up. This spectacularly misogynistic monstrosity is one of the most inept films I’ve ever seen. Cheaply made, phoney, stilted, insultingly asinine...and all I can say is: Watch. It. Now.
“When you’re underwater for months at a time, you lose all sense of day and night.” Kristen Stewart laments in voice-over as the film opens up; a hint at the potentially Lovecraftian elements to follow. Lovecraftian horror, (a subgenre of fictional horror which *checks notes* places an emphasis of cosmic horror of the unknown or unknowable--with big, giant creatures!), certainly puts the vampires and werewolves Stewart faced in “Twilight” to shame. Admittedly, the thought of Stewart going face-to-face with an enormous aquatic monster--while ruminating on loneliness, the unknowable, the concept of nature getting revenge on man--is ripe for potential. However, all this potential is completely wasted.
Year: 2019 Runtime: 120 Minutes Director/Writer: Yuval Adler Stars: Diane Kruger, Martin Freeman, Cas Anvar By Mique Watson Adapted from the novel “The English Teacher”, writer/director Yuval Adler has made a film wherein for almost the entire run time, we have no idea what and who it is about: is about Rachel, a woman recruited... Continue Reading →
“Jojo Rabbit” is--at first glance--quite the peculiar film. It opens up with vintage footage of Nazi Germany; Hitler-hailing fascist nutjobs going wild in exaltation over their idol. All this while a German rendition of The Beetles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” plays...this is the part where you, the viewer, may start to scratch your head in bewilderment, then utter to yourself what I did during this sequence: What. The. Hell.
“Premature” brims with freshness in how it ultimately places its focus on the perspective of a young black woman and her lived experiences. Ayanna’s world is tactile and meticulously observed; it is one which lets viewers, into the lives of people living in New York’s inner city and the challenges that come with it.
"Bombshell," tells a tale of how neither predators nor victims fit into a box; anyone, no matter who they are, or how they identify, can be capable of harassing/being harassed. It showcases the events which brought each of these women, at first hesitant to speak up, to eventually speak their truths. This isn’t a film which will change anyone’s mind on politics: staunch, conservative viewers of Fox may be slightly put off by Hollywood’s opinion of their favourite news network
Oh, "What Keeps You Alive" is Hitchcockian, alright--in how one of the characters isn’t the way they seem at the beginning; in how a gasp-worthy plot twist comes right outta nowhere at the film’s midpoint which will surely elicit gasps. Unfortunately, it starts to make less sense the longer it goes on. Colin Minihan’s thriller presents a horrific nightmare about a new relationship. It presents the “never really knowing your own spouse” trope with fresh packaging which mostly succeeds in delivering a high-octane thrill ride.
Sexual assault is a crime that has been perpetrated upon far too many women; some who’ve unfortunately gone through this may find this film to be one too difficult to sit through. An experience like this is not one which needs re-living--especially when it hits this close to home (which happens to be the case of the director/screenwriter/producer, Cédric Jouaire according to my press notes). A best-selling writer is seduced, then kidnapped by a stalker who accuses him of rape. She claims that the rape occurred 20 years ago and that he has used her personal tragedy and exploited it by making it the plot of his latest novel. The author insists that this is merely a coincidence and that his work is merely one of fiction, yet the vengeful woman persistently forces him to confess.