Review: On surface, Netflix-streamed Hush seems like a banal Blumhouse home-invasion thriller, which might only recycle good ol’ formulas. However, Oculus’ director, Mike Flanagan, flips out the low expectation with high-energized effective thriller with tense premise.
Written by himself and his wife, Kate Siegel – who also stars in this film, Hush straightforwardly brings audiences into the crime scene. After fast-introducing Maddie (Siegel), a deaf author living in a remote house in the woods as she desperately finds the most suitable ending for her upcoming novel; Hush introduces us to Sarah, her caring neighbor who frequently visits her. Not long after that, we recognize Sarah as a victim of a masked killer (John Gallagher, Jr. from 10 Cloverfield Lane), who brutally killed her in front of Maddie’s house without the host ever hearing nor noticing. Continue reading Hush (2016) – Review
Review: Jennifer’s Body helmer, Karyn Kusama made a surprisingly effective mystery-thriller with The Invitation. It burns slowly with groove when old friends are reunited in a fancy house of Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and David (Michiel Huisman). One of the guests is a very withdrawn Will (Logan Marshall-Green), who seemingly has something in his head (or his past) prior to this reunion.
The script treats audiences like a grown-up. Without trying to patronize us with background information, we are brought into the middle of the dinner where friendly, nostalgic conversation gradually reveals connection between people and some stories from the past. Continue reading The Invitation (2016) – Review
Review: Since 2000 – 16 years prior to X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men franchise has initiated a huge tidal wave of comic-book superhero movies into a stronghold of sub-genre. Consistently blending in metaphor, real-world issues, historical patrons, sci-fi flexibility, and abundant of interesting characters, X-Men stand-alone cinematic universe has also evolved into the most standfast, stable, and sustainable one among similar others.
With 5 canon movies and 3 spin-offs, X-Men has a large and deep universe with longest time-span to unofficially make two ‘timeline sagas.’ The original, present time saga consists of Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000) and X2 (2004) and concluded in a letting-down Brett Ratner’s The Last Stand (2006); while the clean-slate, retro saga was initiated with Matthew Vaughn’s First Class (2011), followed by time-travelling heavy Days of Future Past (2014) who cleared the mess before directly passed on to Apocalypse. Continue reading X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – Review
Review: In Triple 9, a group of dirty cops and ex-soldiers are blackmailed by Russian-Israeli mobs into doing a perilous heist with an almost zero chance to succeed. Their only option is making a 999 – a police code for ‘officer down’ – which will buy them some extra time to perform the impossible.
Similar to the on-screen heist, Triple 9 – with distinguished cast full of extraordinaires; dirty R-rated premise as well as gritty, crimson-dominating imagery – can’t help but going fast awry. John Hillcoat (Lawless) with first-time writer Matt Cook seems to realize that some elements could be combined into making a filthy thriller, like The Departed or Heat. The thing is, they do not know how to develop those fine combinations into a compact, poignant, morally ambiguous piece as it’s expected to be. Continue reading Triple 9 (2016) – Review
Review: Nobody is allowed to be single anymore. In sheer world of The Lobster, set in dystopian future, single people are looked after and assisted by an authorized party to find partner within 45 days. Should they fail to find partner during the specified period, they’ll be transformed into animals of their choice – for there’s a belief that it would be easier to find partner as an animal than as human.
After his wife leaving him high and dry, David (Colin Farrell) is taken to the Hotel – where the “matchmaking” program is conducted. Along other single people, he spends his day following sets of activities from dance class, manner class, to daylight hunting in the woods to capture loners – faction of single people who forbid romance. Within limited time, David must find a partner or he’s gonna be turned into a lobster – animal of his choice which “live for over 100 years,” “are blue-blooded like aristocrats,” and “are fertile all their lives.” Sicko. Continue reading The Lobster (2016) – Review
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Review: Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special might, in the surface, look like a cat-and-mouse family thriller; only it is not. In his fourth film, Nichols combines a great volume otherworldly force (similar to Nichol’s Take Shelter) and a serious parenthood issue (as in Mud), crafted into his usual ‘small’ slow-burn sci-fi. As a lite version of Spielbergian family blockbuster; it sometimes alienates the audiences, but it mostly holds them close with a full pack of mystery.
Mystery is an essential part in Midnight Special – the whole plot is moved by layers of it. Mystery revolves around a father, Roy (Michael Shannon), and his friend, Lucas (Joel Edgerton), as they’re on the run while protecting Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), Roy’s gifted son from a religious sect and the govt, which pursue him with their own agenda. Continue reading Midnight Special (2016) – Review