Throwing down the gauntlet of 2018

It’s saying something if the first thing I remember about the movie year 2018 is not a movie, but a character. Thanos looms large – how could he not? With one fell swoop, Marvel solved its most prominent problem and made very, very sure that we wouldn’t forget their biggest, baddest baddie. He has depth – I believe him when he says that he fulfills his mission partly against his own will, and that it cost him everything. And he – goddamn it – is successful. Of course, my experience of Avengers: Infinity War was deeply colored by my favorite daughter sitting beside me who couldn’t believe that half her favorite MCU characters went up in ashes. Maybe this was this generation’s Bambi. Continue reading

It’s not just all in your head if it’s contagious

It Comes At Night made me realize that some horror movies have too many ingredients. This one here contains: a family of three in a boarded-up, but otherwise intact, creaky house in the woods, banks of fog, sleeplessness and nightmares. That’s it. There are no aliens, knife-wielding loonies, supernatural catastrophes, magical-realist occurrences, ominous messages from beyond, or ghosts of any kind. There is no longer any electricity, and there is also no nonsense about someone sabotaging the generator in the middle of the night because there isn’t one. Paul and Sarah and their teenage son Travis have to make do with camping lanterns. That sounds slightly arthouse-y and intellectual for a horror flick, but it’s way better than any other genre exercise I’ve come across lately, with the exception of A Quiet Place.

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Shut up, MacGuffin, before you get us all killed

It’s a good thing they still make them like this. A Quiet Place is more than one notch above the Insidious or Paranormal or Conjuring franchises; in fact, the movie has its roots as much in sci-fi than in horror, because they planned at an earlier stage to embed that story here into the world of Cloverfield. I don’t want to SPOIL the movie for anyone, but if you haven’t spent the last few weeks under a rock or in Area X, you know that A Quiet Place is about a family who find themselves alone in a post-apocalyptic world wherein you cannot make a single sound or the beasties in the woods will get you. It probably won’t surprise you all that much if I tell you that an early draft of the screenplay contained only one single line of dialogue. Continue reading