By Tony Beal
The Foo Fighters move into an old mansion to complete their new album, only to discover the remains of its dark past. This is likely to be a movie that appeals primarily to fans of the band. If you’re unfamiliar with their music, you’ll not really get much out of it. There is some surprising gore here, and BJ McDonnell is a capable horror director with the set pieces. Unfortunately, it’s a film that can’t balance the horror with the humor, and the band members are awful actors. Perhaps you can argue that the film is intentionally trying to be silly and dumb, but that can only get you so far if your audience is not there for the band. One must still remember to make a movie that still works on its own.
A woman’s new boyfriend turns out to not be the man of her dreams during a trip. Mimi Cave shows some promise with her debut, giving the film a dreamlike sense through the lighting and camera work that calls back to old Giallo films of the 70s. Unfortunately, that’s all I can say in its favor—this film is another case of comedy-horror not balancing out. It’s hard to even call this a horror movie, as it is more of a psychological drama that occasionally has a freaky image. It’s hard to get invested in Lauryn Kahn’s script when you aren’t humored or scared, and it’s tougher with the two-dimensional characters that our usually talented cast are stuck with. It’s not a particularly interesting film, and the parallels between cannibalism and misogyny is odd and not clear. This really is a film that feels like two smashed into one with neither really turning out well.
A family prepares for the likelihood of their robotic companion’s likely death. “After Yang” reminds me a lot of when a family member or pet dies and the grief that comes with facing that inevitably. The story is presented as a series of episodes, the last few days of Yang’s life, finding out more about him, and the family’s reactions. The film touches on the melancholic discovery about who the person you thought you knew really was and the highs and lows of remembering them. It’s not overly somber, still having that feeling of love and care even in the face of doom, aided by the film’s visuals (which includes the rare aspect ratio changes that work and fit). Justin H. Min particularly stands out here as the titular android and his silent pain of wanting to connect with the outside world. It’s a shame to see A24 dump this, as it is one of their best in a while.
“The Adam Project”
A young boy meets his future self to save the future from the dangers of time travel. The idea for the latest collaboration between Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds is a good one. The film shines particularly in a few quiet scenes that remind us of the feelings of wanting to go back and fix what you did when you were younger. Unfortunately, the latter’s self-aware style from many of his recent films bleeds all over the movie, killing any form of sincerity or emotional qualities. Several actors in the film are barely used; they are less characters and more objects to advance the story. Levy’s directing is fine, an improvement from “Free Guy” but still far from the craftsmanship of “Real Steel” and “Night At The Museum.” It also features some of the worst needle drops from a recent film. By the end, you feel about it the same way as other Netflix blockbusters: dull, unimpressive but not terrible, and you forget about it quickly.
• “The Contractor” (Limited)
• “You Won’t Be Alone” (Limited)
• “Sonic The Hedgehog 2”
• “All The Old Knives” (Limited)
• “Cow” (Limited)
• “Father Stu”
• “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”
• “We’re All Going To The World’s Fair” (Limited)
• “The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent”
• “The Bad Guys”
• “The Northman”
• “Petite Maman” (Limited)
• “Vortex” (Limited)
• “Hatching” (Limited)