Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (11)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (10)
| Rotten (1)
But the singular aesthetic is gritty, beautiful and expressive, and somehow, you want to root for the love story of Eli and Anya, thanks to the charismatic performances of [Michael Patrick] Nicholson and [Chelsea] Lopez.
"Are We Not Cats" is a well-put-together film with a lot of striking imagery, but, as you may have already inferred, something of a specialty item.
Robin uses well-timed jolts and gross-out moments to awaken his solitary characters from their stupor, to shock them into acknowledging that their existence isn't confined to the soul's protective shell.
Lopez and Nicholson also appeared in Robin's short film of the same name, on which this longer version is based, and the roles hang on them comfortably, even at their most grotesque.
And while very much a film of two unequal halves, there's more than enough cinematic chutzpah on display here, especially in the early sections, to confirm the Floridian writer-director as a name to watch.
It's DP Matt Clegg who transforms Are We Not Cats into something so wonderfully weird on a visual level, that you can't help but become smitten by Eli and Anya's blossoming, albeit highly unconventional, relationship.
Edgy yet elliptical, the film manages to be both creepy and charming, even though the characters aren't conventionally sympathetic. Like the film, the committed performances feel raw and authentic.
Solidly directed by Xander Robin, Are We Not Cats is sly and sunless...As a piece of storytelling, it's a miscarriage with several unexplainable gaps, but in a visceral level, it has its impactful moments.
There's untapped potential ... which feels like it was reverse-engineered from the disturbing imagery of a scene that takes the ingestion of indigestible hair to its logical conclusion, and the movie ends when its third act should be starting.
I've been a horror movie buff for decades. I have never seen anything quite like what I saw in the last fifteen minutes of this film.
The tonal shifts leave you with a horror story that's earnestly sweet, a romantic comedy with a scene of shocking gore, and a directorial debut that makes Xander Robin someone to watch out for.
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