By A.D. Beal

A demon-like figure must decide where his loyalties lie: with humanity and his surrogate father, or an ancient sorceress, the Blood Queen, who seeks to bring about the apocalypse.

Something clearly went wrong during development on this film. Hellboy is a movie where no one seemed to be on the same page in production. Tone clash is present everywhere in this movie. Is it a dark, edgy monster film or a Deadpool-like comedy? The editing reeks of post-production issues, with rapid cutting, continuity breaks, and even unnecessary pop music entries straight out of Suicide Squad. The script is one that is exposition over showing, not just in worldbuilding but also in character development. The movie tells us to care about the characters instead of helping us to invest in them by following their journey. The cast does little to help the situation, as David Harbour (Hellboy himself) seems like he’d rather be anywhere else. Some interesting prosthetics and Neil Marshall’s somewhat slick action direction could not save this one.

High Life
A group of death row criminals are set on a strange journey to conduct experiments based around a black hole and procreation.

This is a very bleak and brutal film, not in violence but tone and development. The characters, even the “good” ones like Monte (Robert Pattinson) and Tcherny (Andre Benjamin), have no hope for complete redemption. They can only sit and hope their remaining days are somewhat stable. The dark, pale cinematography is robotic and inhuman, as if we are watching security footage instead of a movie. The performances are almost all deadpan, which works in the tone of the film, but became a bit tiring after a while. Its showcase of the human condition and how we are doomed to destroy each other will leave you thinking, though maybe not in the best mood.

The Beach Bum
The misadventures of a stoner poet named Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) on his quest to publish his novel.

Harmony Korine’s film does feel like a story taking place in a “high” world, where nothing is set in reality. Benoit Debie’s cinematography is chaotic and shaky with highly saturated colors, and the characters, even the normal ones, are all insane and rather awful people. Logic and consequences are thrown out the window. I loved every second of it. This is life on the wild side; uncensored and strangely creates a feel-good without completely glorifying the actions of the characters. Korine’s direction is always changing, and this is some of his best work yet.

Guava Island
A singer gets pulled into a tug of war between his own spirit and the well-being of his family.

Not even an hour long, Hiro Murai’s Guava Island is just wonderful. The film is beautiful and full of life, while still tragic. It’s a celebration of life, knowing that our time is short, and you must live each moment to the fullest. Childish Gambino’s music fits in and creates a strange, exciting musical feel. Each actor brings amazing energy and shows true commitment. The grainy, VHS style filming is perfect, and it captures the beauty in everything. A future classic.

NOTE: Only available on Amazon Prime.