By A.D. Beal
A figure from a woman’s past comes back and begins a murder spree, which she finds herself tangled into. Malignant is James Wan’s unapologetic love letter to horror. Combining the tones of classic Giallo films with underground 90s horror, we have a psychological/slasher/slight body horror feature, which masterfully balances scares, excitement and even humor (if sometimes unintentional). With such striking visuals and effective gore, as well as an incredibly committed performance by Annabelle Wallis, Wan transports you into a demented world, and it’s a ride that will not stop until the end. It’s very much not for everyone, especially if you’re not familiar with the more specific parts of horror this review is referencing. But if you can get along with it, it’s a blast. In theaters.
The Card Counter
An ex-marine, living a free life of poker playing to cope with a haunted past, finds himself having to face it once the son of a man he knew asks for his help in a dangerous plan. A quiet, patient film, like many of Paul Schrader’s previous films, The Card Counter is about a lonely man, content with his current existence, if still clearly hiding his pain. It’s the lead performance by Oscar Isaac that sells this movie. He subtly shows a range from pained to scary as he portrays William Tell. His character is so interesting that he actually overshadows the other characters, despite the best efforts of the other actors. It’s a very uncomfortable film with disturbing imagery and dark subjects, but if you can be able to stomach it, you will be rewarded. In theaters.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings
After ten years apart, a young man must fight against his father to save the world. A surprising work from Marvel, Shang-Chi is a story about the scars that family leaves behind. Bolstered by Simu Liu and Tony Leung’s performances, the title character and his father Wenwu are at the heart of the film and deliver some of the best scenes from the film. When the film focuses on these themes, it’s great, but it staggers when it doesn’t. Its comedy particularly is grating, with most coming from Awkwafina’s supporting character that we are unfortunately forced to hang out with most of the movie. Action-wise it is better than previous films. Despite the usual problems with superhero movies, there’s still enough good in this film to make the watch worthwhile. In theaters.
An assassin has 24 hours left to find those that struck her with a fatal poison. The worst kind of action movie, Kate has nothing really to it. Aside from the occasional entertaining action beat, the film is the kind designed to be screenshotted and clipped for Twitter posts, without any thought put into it. The actors try their best, but there’s only so much one can do with paper-thin characters like these. The neon drenched sights have become tiresome in this genre by now, offering nothing more than “Look at how cool this place is!”, instead of mood or tension. A potentially great film that can’t get past itself in its desire to be a John Wick clone. On Netflix.
• The Many Saints of Newark (Theaters and HBO Max)
• Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Theaters)
• The Jesus Music (Theaters)
• The Addams Family 2 (Theaters and PVOD)
• Titane (Theaters)
• No Time To Die (Theaters)
• Lamb (Theaters)
• Mass (Limited)
• Halloween Kills (Theaters and Peacock)
• The Last Duel (Theaters)
• Night Teeth (Netflix)
• Dune (Theaters and HBO Max)
• Ron’s Gone Wrong (Theaters)
• The French Dispatch (Theaters)
• The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain (Theaters)
• Antlers (Theaters)
• Last Night In Soho (Theaters)
• Army Of Thieves (Netflix)