Queen & Slim and all the images you see in this review are owned by
Directed by Melina Matsoukas
Seriously, how weird is it going to be when Daniel Kalula finally sells out? True he was in that Johnny English sequel that I haven’t actually seen, but his career since 2015 has been an absolutely sterling one with great performances in Sicario, Get Out, Black Panther, and Widows. Now he’s back with this film which looks to be one of the standout films of awards season, so we can only hope that his star continues to rise or that his inevitable cash in project is one that is utterly hilarious; like when Laura Linney showed up in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel or how Nic Cage’s first film after Leaving Las Vegas was one-two-three punch of awesome nonsense called The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. ANYWAY! With this movie taking on such a hot button subject matter with a great cast and a stylish looking presentation, does it manage to be one of the best films of the year or were we all fooled into seeing an utter train wreck? Let’s find out!!
Ernest Hines and Angela Johnson (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who I don’t recall ACTUALLY being called Slim or Queen in the movie, are out on a rather mediocre first date when the Sword of Damocles that hangs over all people of color in this country comes crashing down on their heads in the form of a traffic stop. Within minutes of doing absolutely nothing, Ernest has a gun pointed at him and Angela is reaching for her cell phone to get this on film for both their sakes. The racists cop (Sturgill Simpson) doesn’t take long to shoot the unarmed woman in the leg and Ernest has no choice but to tackle the cop, wrest the gun away, and in the ensuing conflict he shoots the cop dead; leaving the both of them in a dire predicament. Know what is waiting for them if they get taken alive (which in and of itself seems like a slim possibility) Ernest and Angela get in the car and start driving as fast as they can to Angela’s uncle’s place a few hours away for shelter where they can regroup and come up with a plan. If they can somehow get to Florida and find a plane to take them to Cuba they should be safe at least for the time being, and so Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) gives them a bit of cash, a decent car, and the address of an old army buddy (Flea) who may just be able to get them that plane. Along the way however, they must contend with the closing in manhunt, staying under the radar, and making snap decisions on who they can trust, where they can hide, and just how much they can trust those they meet along the way. Can Queen & Slim manage to survive this journey and avoid the corrupt system that condemned them before they did anything wrong? What impact will their story have on the country and on those they meet along the way? Did any of those rich old jerks from Get Out think about these realities of being black in America when they were switching brains? I DIDN’T THINK SO!!
“I had to kill four white people for my freedom already, and now I have to deal with THIS!?”
The Dead Don’t Die and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Two things I’m not particularly well versed in are zombie movies and Jim Jarmusch movies; the former because I find many entries in the genre to be tedious and the latter because I haven’t gotten around to them yet. Good thing I get to kill two birds with one stone here as I guess even he couldn’t resist the allure of big box office gold with yet another zombie film! Then again, we’re kind of on the other side of the whole zombie craze, so maybe this is the PERFECT time for his indie sensibilities and surprisingly extensive connections to make the ultimate commentary on the modern interpretation of the genre! Or maybe it’s just a goofy comedy with the dude from Star Wars and Selena Gomez. The point is that you can never pin this guy down to just one thing, so it’s probably both at the same time. The REAL question though is whatever it ends up being, is it any good? Let’s find out!!
Police Chief Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) are living out their lives patrolling the small town of Centerville without much to worry about other than Hermit Bob (Tom Wait’s) possibly stealing chickens and the dead body in their police station that someone from the big city promises to pick up real soon. The town is filled with lots of colorful characters like Farmer Miller (Steve Buscemi) who’s a racist jerk, Hank Thompson (Danny Glover) who’s clearly getting too old for whatever it is that he does, and Bobby Wiggins (Caleb Landry Jones) who runs a really cool gas station filled with old school horror movie merchandise, and all of them certainly have their concerns about reports of the Earth being pushed off its orbit due to arctic fracking, but it’s not something they have much control over so they just keep doing what they’re doing. Sadly for the citizens of Centerville (except for Farmer Miller because screw that guy), the grave environmental catastrophes thousands of miles away seem to be having a global effect and the dead start to rise from their graves. Chief Robertson and Officer Peterson, along with the third and final cop in the town Officer Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) have to figure out the best course of action for dealing with this nonsense and they could use a little help from the new undertaker in town Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton) who seems to know her way around bladed weapons and might just have a plan for dealing with the undead rising from their graves. Can the cops as well as the rest of the citizens of Centerville survive this literal night of the living dead? What can be done even if they do survive it now that the Earth has changed its orbit and the moon is now glowing for some reason? What even was the last zombie movie I saw? Does Overlord count?
“Look, all I’m saying is that Nazi Zombies are technically zombies if you want to get pedantic about it, but they never follow the traditional zombie formula.” “What about Dead Snow?” “That was INTENTIONALLY tongue in cheek about its premise! It doesn’t count!”
The Snowman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Is anyone else super excited to see this movie? There’s something innately appealing about a serial killer movie, as morbid as that sounds, mostly because I feel they’re one of the purest forms of a Good Guy vs Bad Guy story that pits two characters against each other in a battle of wits to see who comes out on top! Face/Off, Death Note, Silence of the Lambs, Sherlock; the list goes on and on and I always find them to be at least somewhat enjoyable… though I have never seen that Alex Cross movie which I hear is so bad it’d probably ruin the whole genre for me. At least this movie looks better than THAT film did and from the trailers it looks like a rather interesting murder mystery with a neat little gimmick for the killer that certainly sets them apart from your typical slasher. Will this be another great film to add to the list, or will all the hopes I had for this melt into a sad little puddle like a snowman left in the sun for far too long? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventure of the hilariously named Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and if you think that’s just a poor translation; the writer of the book this is based on ALSO wrote a book called Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder. Anyway, Detective Hole is a complete and utter wreck when we catch up with him as he’s constantly drinking and sleeping on park benches despite the fact that he’s supposedly a legendary detective who’s solved all sorts of difficult cases… I think. The latest mystery he’s tasked to solve is a series of disappearances which may end up being homicides and he’s got a fresh new detective out of the academy named Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) to help and/or annoy him as he tries to find a connection between them. I’m not sure if he figures out that the connection is a snowman being built in front of the home of each victim (the movie is rather bad at conveying information) but that seems to be the killer’s signature; hence the title. Detective Hole has to get to the bottom of this case soon; not only to save whoever the killer’s next victim is, but because the killer seems to have taken a liking to the drunk detective and may be targeting him or his loved ones soon if he can’t catch him first. Can Detective Hole figure out who’s been kidnapping these people and cutting them to pieces; despite his hilarious name? Doe these recent kidnappings have anything to do with a case from six years ago that was led by Detective Gert Rafto (Val Kilmer) who died under mysterious circumstances? Seriously, did anyone read the script to this before filming? Were there pages missing or did someone ACTUALLY think that this all made sense?
Seems like a lot of effort just to make a point. Wait… what was the point again?