By Tony Beal
“No One Will Save You”
A young woman’s home is invaded by extraterrestrials.
When a genre film addresses trauma while staying true to its genre elements, it’s a treat, and “No One Will Save You” accomplishes this. For 90 minutes, it lives up to the phrase “all killer, no filler” with an active series of escalating set pieces and tension. In a movie with almost no dialogue, Kaitlyn Denver and director/writer Brian Duffield do an impressive job of letting the actions speak for themselves while depicting the isolation our character feels. The big reveal is slightly half-baked and causes an odd ending, but not in a way that ruins the movie. Combine this with some stellar creature effects, and you have a solid, exciting, and even scary creature feature.
A soldier in the near future becomes the unintentional protector of a robot girl who is more powerful than it seems.
“The Creator” is unfortunately a victim of bad timing given the current debate around AI, and it risks having its message being misinterpreted. Fundamentally, Gareth Edwards uses it as a metaphor for U.S. militarization in events such as the Vietnam War, and how it executes that will be up to the beholder, though I found it enthralling. Much of that is thanks to Edwards’ direction, which brings a combination of technology and natural beauty to its world, and the lead performances of John David Washington (with his dry charisma bringing heart to the character of Joshua) and newcomer Madeline Yuna Voyles (incredibly gifted at delivering a balance between emotional and robotic). I also greatly appreciate the tone of the film. It manages to stay true to its general message and idea without falling apart, though at times the imagery can risk coming off as exploitative or empty. It also mostly underuses its supporting cast, aside from Ken Watanabe’s stellar work. Ultimately, “The Creator” still comes through as a breath of fresh air in the modern blockbuster sphere that shows what director Edwards is capable of.
Five terrifying stories collide with a made-for-TV documentary to tell the seedy side of the ’80s.
The V/H/S films have never been particularly scary, save for a segment or two, with more emphasis on gratuitous gore. However, the newest installment is just dull without any real shocking nature to it. None of the five shorts have anything to say about the 1980s or the sort of fetishization the decade has received in recent years. Nothing about the shorts makes them particularly ’80s, aside from the aesthetic choices in the overarching story. This movie could be set in any decade, and it would change little. As stated before, this isn’t exactly a scary movie but instead just bores, which is the worst thing you can do in this genre. Not one of the ideas is given the time to explore; it just shows up and then is done with. By the end of the movie, you just feel like you wasted time.
“The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial”
A military lawyer finds himself questioning the guilt or lack thereof of his client who is charged with mutiny against his naval captain.
William Friedkin’s last movie is a reminder of how truly stellar he was as a filmmaker. Essentially an acting showcase for everyone involved, this new adaptation of the classic story is like a play properly translated into film without losing its original touch. Each character is complex, with the actors delivering stellar performances to match each character’s different shades of gray, namely in Jason Clarke and the late Lance Reddick’s work, which commands your attention. All the while, Friedkin knows how to shoot and edit to ensure their performances have maximum impact. It’s a film that demands your attention and will keep you engaged throughout. It’s one last gift from a master of filmmaking.
“The Marsh King’s Daughter”
“What Happens Later”
“All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” (Limited)
“Quiz Lady” (Hulu)
“Fingernails” (Apple TV+)
“Journey To Bethlehem”
“The Holdovers” (Wide Release)
“Your Lucky Day” (Limited)
“Dream Scenario” (Limited)
“It’s A Wonderful Knife” (Limited)
“The Killer” (Netflix)
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”
“Trolls Band Together”
“Next Goal Wins”
“Saltburn” (Wide Release)