For the life of me, I’ll never be able to figure out the glut of product biographies being unleashed on audiences. We can’t be so bereft of material that we have to have a biographical film about the development of a hand held computer. I mean, the Blackberry was important and granted, a documentary would be great, but “Blackberry” on its own is just another stale drama that tries to enhance the mundanity of the development of Blackberry and transform it in to this “Wall Street” meets Aaron Sorkin suspense film about capitalism and the cut throat industries that battled to get ahead in the tech market.
Director Sam Esmail’s “Leave the World Behind” is a mean, nasty, and cynical apocalyptic parable that stages the quintessential end of the world scenario but also takes a magnifying glass to humanity and the inherent paranoia that transforms a scenario from working together to survive, to survival of the fittest. While some of the symbolism is a bit clunky in some spots, “Leave the World Behind” is a very volatile and relevant take on how we’re more likely to pick at each other’s bones and fight for scraps when resources become finite. While that does feel like old hat post apocalyptic fodder, “Leave the World Behind” is refreshingly complex and quite horrifying.
Now that Hollywood is once again considering a remake of “Barbarella,” it’s that perfect time to re-visit Roger Vadim’s wonky science fiction mind fuck. Jane Fonda fresh off of beginning her Oscar caliber career took a break to headline what is one of the trippiest science fiction adventure films ever produced. Decades later it’s shocking how much “Barbarella” was a precursor to magazines like “Heavy Metal” allowing the writers to build a world and an engaging heroine, while also fully embracing the inherent sexuality of the narrative.
Director Pierre Földes is not an artist prone to just giving us something that’s easily digestible and worthy of leaving us dangling. “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” is probably one of the most uncommercial movies of the year, and the fact that it’s fully animated also works in its favor. The animation style that is used along with the often intentional drabness of it all allows for an almost ethereal aesthetic; it’s one that feels so dream like. It’s almost like someone just ripped random imagery from someone’s subconscious and manifested it through some pretty good rotoscoping and 3D animation.
Back in 2007 after the collaborative efforts of Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez known as “Grindhouse” flopped, one of the popular elements of the double feature that lingered on was the mock trailers during intermission. After delivering a very popular faux trailer with “Thanksgiving,” director Eli Roth finally gives us what we’ve been begging for almost twenty years later. Thankfully while the whole faux grindhouse aesthetic has fallen out of favor with mainstream cinema, “Thanksgiving” ends as a pretty great slasher film with its own merits to offer the horror genre.
After sixteen whole years Eli Roth finally got around to taking his fake trailer from 2007’s “Grindhouse” and transforming it in to an actual feature length slasher film. We’re not bereft of holiday themed horror movies, but we’re about due for a slasher revival, and if you’re in the mood for “Thanksgiving” be sure to visit (or re-visit) these five horror titles that influenced “Thanksgivng.”
What hinders Nia DaCosta’s “The Marvels” is that it literally is all over the place. This feels like Marvel is trying to squeeze in so much in ninety minutes, and while often it succeeds in getting the idea across, it can also stumble here and there. Nonetheless, “The Marvels” still winds up being a bang up Marvel entry, one that’s packed with some excellent fight sequences, wonderful conflict, and a great trio of characters, all of whom present a common goal in spite of how they operate as superheroes. Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeua and Kamala Khan are all heroes in their own right approaching the ideas of the superhero in their own mind set.
I liked “The Meg” enough to consider it a fun bit of James Cameron-lite entertainment, but I wasn’t exactly clamoring for a sequel. With “The Meg 2,” director Ben Wheatley leans heavily in to more unique elements allowing Jason Statham to be more physically active this time around, while also embracing the Asian influence. You just know Statham requested at least one action sequence of him fighting bad guys, hence the re-introduction of Jonas Taylor. Taylor is still a brainy scientist, but he’s also an ecological activist who skirts the law by breaking on to ships and stealing information from criminals. While “The Meg” was basically “The Abyss” meets “Deep Blue Sea,” this time around director Ben Wheatley opts more for “Jurassic World” meets “The Deep.”