Get Out (4 out of 4 stars)
Get Out is easily the best horror film I’ve seen in I don’t even know how long. It’s a film not built on jump scares (I counted one in the entire movie) but on what horror movies should be built on: legitimate cinematic tension and fundamental creepiness. In his writer/director debut, Jordan Peele tells the story of a young African American man named Chris visiting his white girlfriend’s parents, only to discover that the other African Americans that live with and around the family are behaving in a rather unsettling manner. Along with great camerawork and a perpetual sense of uneasiness, Peele offers an interesting mixture of conventional humor and legitimately unsettling imagery. His stylistic blend of comedy and horror in his screenplay reminds me eerily of what Sam Raimi did with The Evil Dead, with the comic influences being less based on slapstick and more racial humor, drawing humor and feelings of uneasiness by being not at home with your surroundings in a racial sense. All of this is supported by two very grounded performances by leads Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in her cinematic debut and aided by a gut-busting LilRel Howery. This is a must see, folks.
Logan (4 out of 4 stars)
This is one of the most brutal movies I’ve ever seen, and I mean that on multiple levels. The action, as you’ve no doubt have heard, is extremely savage and intense. Now that Wolverine is no longer trapped by his PG-13 rating, he has free reign to human chainsaw his way through pretty much every bad guy in sight, and it is exactly what I always wanted. The dramatic standpoint of this movie, however, is something truly next level. The film begins in a future where almost all the mutants – good and bad – are dead save for Professor X, who has much less control of his massive powers, and Wolverine, who is slowly being poisoned from the metal in his body. When a young mutant girl with Wolverine’s set of powers arrives on their doorstep, however, the dying Wolverine and Professor X must attempt to pull themselves together emotionally and physically to bring her to a rumoured safe haven. Watching this movie is nothing short of heartbreaking. I more or less grew up with these characters, so seeing the emotionally and physically battered versions of Wolverine and Professor X was very painful for me. Hugh Jackman has never been better in his entire career. He portrays Wolverine as a cocktail of rage, depression, and regret, and you can just feel it oozing from every single frame he’s in. Logan is thus far one of the best superhero movies to come out of this decade. Absolutely go see it, but maybe wait a while between viewings. This movie takes a piece out of you.
Kong: Skull Island (2 out of 4 stars)
Kong: Skull Island has a couple of good things going for it. When Kong is onscreen (and he is for a decent amount of this movie) the movie gets good. His battle scenes against the monsters and the humans alike are epic and even pretty terrifying at times. The film also has an excellent sense of atmosphere, effectively capturing the sense of the 70s with the overall hues and color palettes. Pretty much everything else in this movie is either average or outright bad. Outside the two soldiers played by Shea Whigham and Corey Hawkins who have relatively little to do in the film, their commander played by Samuel L. Jackson, and a stranded World War II pilot played by John C. Reilly, there are pretty much no other interesting characters. A photographer played by Brie Larson and an ex-soldier played by Tom Hiddleston are supposed to be the leads, but the screenplay is too perfunctory and clunky to make them worth caring about. There’s also an absurd amount of slow-mo used in this movie. It got so repetitive that by the end of the first act, I actually made a mental note to see if Zack Snyder or Michael Bay were somehow involved in the production of this movie (neither are, thank God). The editing in this movie is pretty awful as well. Scenes often just start midway through a conversation at a completely different location from the one in the previous scene, and it leaves you wondering if you weren’t paying attention or momentarily fell asleep. If you’re a fan of King Kong and you just want to see him smash stuff, maybe go see it, but for everyone else, just save your money.