I don't think I've ever seen a bigger disservice on an imported film of any description than how Sony handled Stephen Chow's utterly amazing unconventional romantic comedic aquatic fantasy romp and return to vintage form that is The Mermaid. The second-largest (and, with an argument, far better) film on the planet right now behind only Deadpool, the closest thing it ever got to an advertising campaign was an MPAA rating two days after it opened stateside. No poster, no trailer, nothing. This is saddening, because behind all the hypnotically weird is a new kind of fairy tale cinema hasn't seen in a long time. Sweet and bitter, multilayered and surprisingly complex, imagery so amazingly inventive, ridiculously entertaining. It is one of 2016's hidden gems that deserves an enormous audience but needs a word-of-mouth following a la My Big Fat Greek Wedding to get it. That being said, if you see either The Mermaid or the film's native title "MEI REN YU" at a nearby multiplex, pounce. Everyone should see this film. (It's better than Deadpool)
(and if you're a Stephen Chow fan, a plethora of his regulars are back, including Iron Head from Shaolin Soccer, Chow's big jiggly teddybear partner in crime from Kung Fu Hustle, and most surprisingly, the young teacher from CJ7, who plays who can only be referred to as the Vesper of Chow comedies).
It took me a full 24 hours to formulate this opinion, so bear with me.
This film is the best definition "horror" piece I've ever seen in a theater, and maybe the best horror made since the turn of the century. I'll explain.
The Witch is complex. It is layered and detailed. It has more underneath the surface than any film I've seen in a very, very long time. Everything about it is deeply rich in its approach - the performances, the proceeding of events, the production design, EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE MEANS SOMETHING, which leads to the director Robert Eggers, who previously was a production designer and is making his directorial debut. All this amounts to an experience so beautiful, so stunningly unnerving, so satisfyingly bone-freezing and tense, that you'll sit and wonder about why horror on the mainstream, with a few special exceptions, is as superficial mediocre as it is.
This film is a work of true bravura filmmaking. Given the fact that it is the debut of Eggers who has yet to establish himself as a director, I can't call it a masterpiece. But, goodness, it matches - and sometimes surpasses - the bar-none greats of the genre. This makes me very excited about new filmmakers.
Gratuitously violent and sexual. Gore and nudity in abundance. Ample corniness. Shock value high. A brilliant superhero satire. Everything a Deadpool movie should be.
Damned I say it, this R-rated blood-and-balls super-but-not-hero epic that no one under 17 should see and is quite a bit but never too much is the best thing Marvel has produced in at least a decade.
Tangerine had the potential to be the most refreshing holiday film in years - a gonzo Christmas film fit for the least spirited. However, the film's relentless energy and pacing is thrown off by the visual style. The ridiculously fast shutter speed and burning color palette make for a bizarre, borderline nauseating experience, like a ninety-minute Instagram video, shot in CinemaScope, with three filters on it. The film was shot on an iPhone, so it might have been just that.
The anxiety melts the outer layer of skin off of your cold body. The panic causes you soak into your seat. The pure chaos combined with the bleak atmosphere freezes you to your seat, holding you captive, forcing you to endure the borderline unwatchable taking place onscreen. Like a broken limb, it is absolute torture to experience. Like a drug, you don't want to experience it, but at the same time you do, over and over again. Goodnight Mommy is the most infectious torture chamber of a movie to come out this year.