Feb 24 2017

Get Out

Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American with a keen eye for photography visits his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) Caucasian family at their spacious estate in the middle of nowhere. All seems normal at first, but strange coincidences and interactions with Mr and Mrs. Armitage (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) begin to point Chris in the direction of the exit, but why, and will he get there fast enough? Written and Directed by Jordan Peele, one of the creative brains of comedic duo Key and Peele, this look to the classic horror/thriller genre bent towards racism in the 21st century and a politically correct world turns the model slightly on end to provide a poignant satire that is as socially critical as it is entertaining to watch. Splashed with Peele’s humor audiences will find sharp sub-context behind each joke and a rich appreciation for the genre. Plus, quirky but just believable enough performances from the ensemble keep this ride whizzing right up until its explosive end. Worth your while, Get Out is rated R.

Feb 17 2017

A Cure For Wellness

A young company man, Lockhart (Dane Dehaan) is sent to a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps to bring back his company’s CEO (Harry Groener); but, there must be something in the water, upon arrival Lockhart realizes getting out of this medical facility will be impossibly difficult under the watchful eye of Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs) and what of this special case, Hannah (Mia Goth)? This can’t possibly end “well,” can it? Drawing from the kitchen sink approach to anxiety nightmares Director Gore Verbinski has successfully created the next film to get under your skin, unsettle the soul, and leave you scratching your head wondering “what the hell did I just see?” Part homage to Hitchcock and German Expressionism this horrific psychological thriller is not an easy watch by any stretch. Critical themes of capitalism, personal freedom, what is “normal,” and escapism, see blatant thumping throughout, and, for the first two thirds work to create a relatively successful twisting semi-labyrinth, by act three though, the wheels come off and this train car on fire comes careening down the mountain in an expected cataclysmic force. Still, points for style and artistic liberties, this artistic schadenfreude certainly has its place in the suitcase of Dr. Caligari, take that for what it’s worth. A Cure For Wellness is rated R.

Feb 17 2017

The Great Wall

Two european mercenaries (Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal) in search of black powder navigate across the continent to the great wall of China only to find themselves embroiled in a centuries old battle between prehistoric space beasts and mankind. Learning the secrets of the Chinese nameless order will have to take a back seat while survival is more important. But the lessons imparted by Generals, Commanders and Strategists (Hanyu Zhang, Tian Jing, Andy Lau) will prove valuable none the less, what other stories might the great wall hold? Directed by Yimou Zhang and written by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro and Tony Gilroy this Chinese biblical spectacular-esque cultural clash between East and West offers visually interesting cinematography and choreography amidst one of the clunkiest scripts to grace theaters at a production cost upwards of 150 million dollars. Strained and stale dialogue is further pained by an emotionless and impossibly boring setup leaving nothing new to the imagination. In many ways it’s almost as though Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were discussing how they could crush the hearts of film goers. Affleck saying, hey Matt, so I think I’m gonna play Batman in this upcoming Superman v. Batman film, that’ll merge two potentially great worlds and blow people’s minds, surely this won’t be a turd, I dare you to top it. Damon replying, dude, hold my drink…. By the way Willem Dafoe is in this for some reason. Seriously, running an hour and forty three minutes that feel like an eternity with washed up CGI that further sullies the picture; producers should be braced for a U.S. failure but perhaps a major blowout overseas. Pass. The Great Wall is rated PG-13.