Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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1.5/10. 'Cats' is the film equivalent of being force-fed LSD and being immediately forced to sprint through a marathon, surrounded by anthropomorphic clowns who, though forbidden from physically hurting you, settle for assaulting your soul. A mind-numbing, eye-gauging slog that, if not for the two I own, would make me swear off domestic felines entirely. Reserve this for self-flagellation or intentionally turning your children into serial killers.
5.5/10. "Little Shop of Horrors" is a mixed bag of brilliant ancillary assets and exhausting liabilities that keep this film from being worth more than one viewing. Levi Stubbs gives a standout vocal performance as Audrey II, an extraterrestrial houseplant with a thirst for blood, and the cameos from Bill Murray and Steve Martin are highlights of the film. The puppetry and editing techniques bring Audrey II to stunning life, boasting some of the most impressive practical effects this side of Jurassic Park. These impressive components are made to suffer music that blends into indistinguishable monotony (though hints toward the varied and timeless melodies composer Alan Menken would contribute to 90's Disney classics), and camp laid on so thick – particularly in the lead performances – it feels more like a local amateur production than a high-budget film adaptation. It's a film that never evolves past it's opening number, characterized by bombast and excessive silliness. It was fun for the first five minutes, but to replay the same shtick over and over for an entire feature-length runtime had me hoping Audrey II would just hurry up and eat everyone so the credits could roll. The core of this film sinks if the buoys of cameos and Audrey II are stripped from it. This little shop isn't getting me as a repeat customer.
6/10. While uninspired performances from the main cast, most surprisingly from the unconvincing Watts, and a long runtime/slow pacing combination that makes the threat of "seven days" feel apt, dull it's impact considerably, 'The Ring' manages to crawl out from the well of horror-remake mediocrity with an abundance of unnerving visuals and an engrossing screenplay that deftly balances the genre chills of horror with the intrigue of mystery.
5/10. I commend this movie for it's social commentary - even if it lacks subtlety, there is a unique perspective explored in some creative and insightful ways. But for a film billing itself as a horror/comedy, it isn't at all scary, and aside from a few throwaway lines, the biggest laughs (which are few) derive from the B-movie caliber horror effects. There is a solid foundation that the right creative team might have made something great with, but what we are left with is a film that's demand to be taken seriously is muted by it's mediocrity.
9.25/10. A slow burn that might burn a little too slow for some, Ari Aster's directorial debut in 'Hereditary' explodes in the third act with enough existential dread to make up for the lack thereof in the first two acts, and then have some left to spare. Make no mistake, the first two acts are beautifully shot and scripted, meticulously setting the stage for the third act to have the devastating, disturbing impact that it did. But the third act is what sets this film apart and will cement it's legacy as a horror classic - as suffocatingly horrifying as it is satisfying. Toni Collette is incredible in the lead role, a woman who contends with the dark secrets that her recently deceased mother left for her to unravel, all while her family crumbles under a cascade of tragic circumstance. Ari Aster has the touch of a director with decades of success on his resume - his aesthetic and eye for detail make this an uncommonly beautiful film to watch, even as it turns toward the harrowing climax. If you don't mind the slow burn, this is a nearly perfect package of a horror movie: tight, deliberate, and ultimately one of the scariest films of the 2010's.