Tag Archives: James DeMonaco

Cinema Dispatch: The First Purge

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The First Purge and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Gerard McMurray

Do you realize that it’s ONLY been two years since the last Purge movie?  It feels like an ETERNITY since then, and that’s mostly due to the way that reality deviated in much worse way than Election Year had predicted, and we’re gonna be suffering through this waking nightmare for quite a bit longer; especially with the inevitable ideological shift of the Supreme Court.  Now the last movie managed to be my favorite movie of 2016 which puts me in a rather exclusive category of people who liked it more than La La Land, Arrival, and Moonlight, and I still stand by that decision no matter WHAT Rotten Tomatoes gave it!  The franchise has only gotten better with each movie, a feat that I a franchise has rarely if EVER pulled off, and the reason why is because the filmmakers BELIEVE in their premise and build upon it each time; expanding the lore, coming up with creative ways to murder, and most importantly hammering down and fine tuning its message that is stronger than most “respectable” movies that try to do the same thing.  With this one though, they’re not only going for their most radically political yet, but also make it a successful prequel which is rarely a good idea for ANY horror franchise.  Heck, do you even REMEMBER they did a prequel to The Thing or that Leatherface prequel from last year?  If there’s one franchise that has a chance of pulling it off though, it’s this one.  Does this movie manage to elevate the bar once again for smart and brazen horror films, or have they finally managed to bite off more than they can chew in a political climate that may be too hot for even THIS series to handle?  Let’s find out!!

With unemployment on the rise and an ineffective response from the government to fix it, the United States is breaking out in protests across the country which may SOUND like a reflection of our own time, but hold your horses!  We haven’t gotten to the takeover of the government by a Fascist political party!  Yes, in all this turmoil (much of it I assume is manufactured as a way to justify racist, classist, and nationalist policies), the New Founding Fathers of America gain enough popularity as a political party that they win the White House and presumably the other branches of government; paving the way for them to come up with a plan to fix everything by which I mean killing off poor people.  No wait!  We can’t be THAT blatant right away.  Let’s just call it… an experiment!  Yeah, that’ll work!  Using some rather sketchy science from a doctor of… something (Marisa Tomei), the NFFA has sectioned off Staten Island as the site of a sociological test to see if it’ll be the solution to increased crime rates which is, you guessed it, THE PURGE.  For twelve hours, paid volunteers who offered to stay on the island (and those who couldn’t afford to get off) will be able to commit ANY crime they wish, up to and including murder, and our tour guides for this night of horror Nya (Lex Scott Davis) who’s been organizing protests for this event from the beginning, her brother Isaiah (Joivan Wade) who’s considering partaking in the violence, and a local gangster named Dmitri (Y’Lan Noel) who has a history with Nya and is just as skeptical as she is of what’s REALLY gonna happen on this fateful night.  Will our heroes survive a night of unmitigated horrors doled out by fascist politicians and easy led fools?  Just how far will the government go to make this experiment the new law of the land, and will justice ever find its way back to them?  How is it that THIS franchise has never gotten an Oscar nomination, but everyone tripped over themselves to heap praise on Three Billboards when it’s message was a weak sauce version of the one in these films!?

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Now if Frances McDormand was IN the movie, THEN it might have a shot!

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Cinema Dispatch: The Purge: Election Year

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The Purge: Election Year and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by James DeMonaco

For the past few months, there hasn’t been a movie I was more excited to see than this one.  I still haven’t seen the first movie, but the SECOND one is a really great B-Movie in the vein of John Carpenter or even modern day directors like Gareth Evans.  It was more than just an action shlock-fest though as it really wanted to say something about its premise in between the outrageous violence.  This one though?  This looks like they’re going full-tilt on having something to say about society, politics, and violence in our culture!  In between the brutal murders and silly costumes of course.  Does this manage to be yet another sequel this year that ends up better than the previous film, or have they run out of genuine ideas and are now just parroting hot button issues?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place two years after the events of The Purge: Anarchy where Frank Grillo’s character from the that film FINALLY has a name (Leo Barnes) and has somehow found his way to being the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) who is poised to win the Presidential Election that year and will hopefully end the purge.  Unfortunately for her, the ruling party in the US Government (the New Founding Fathers of America, or NFFA) would very much like to keep their jobs and to keep the purge going so they can kill lots more poor people, so their plan to stop the senator is to change the rules of the purge so as to lift the ban on killing government officials; leaving them free to send a whole bunch of mercs (neo-Nazi ones of course) to take her out.  Well not if Frank Grillo has anything to say about it!  He manages to get her away from the assassins after their initial assault on the Senator’s home and they end up finding a few people trying to survive the night and more than willing to help the senator who will bring an end the purge once and for all.  These include Joe Dixon (Mykelit Williamson) who owns a small convenience store that is being threatened that night, his employee Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) who wants to help his boss, and Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel) who is one of the volunteers that helps people get medical treatment during purge night.  Can this rag tag group of badasses manage to outrun the NFFA?  Will Senator Roan be able to win the election, or should they find a way to ensure her victory this very night?  There have been what, fifteen purges already?  You’d think some of these people would find it all passé at this point.

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“We’re hardcore bro!”     “You’re all a bunch of posers!”

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