The Young Pope, Get Out, and More Short Reviews
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You need to know what to watch and you need to know what to watch now. Am I right? Last year I focused on the Women to Watch list each month*. This year, I'd like to give you more recommended viewing, more frequently. Short reviews, pointing you in the right direction.
*Is this something you'd like to see return? All feedback welcome and appreciated.
With that said, whoever thought this presidency was going to be the gift of endless material that artists have been waiting for: it now takes me two hours a day to simply sift through the morning news. So no, I'm not finding the current era stimulating to my productivity. Opinions and emotions pour out of me in buckets of liberal tears, but knowing what and how to write it? That's a challenge.
So with that in mind, here's what I'm calling a bunch of quick crits; short reviews to get you interested, watching, and talking about what's good.
Here's what I've been indulging in lately.
Quick Crits for March 2017
The Young Pope (HBO)
Ya'll know about this show with Jude Law as a forty-something pope from like, Boston, who blows up Vatican City with his raging populism and back to the Dark Ages (but with EDM and swanky sunglasses) platitudes? Thank you Female Film Critics for live tweeting this weekly - you had me from the Pope crawling out of a pile full of babies. If you've always wanted a show that's one part Fellini, one part Pasolini, and two parts Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, this is the only one available. Beautifully crafted by Paolo Sorrentino, I'm endorsing this with all my heart.
Get Out (In Theaters)
I had the great fortune to see an early screening of Jordan Peele's horror film, and I have hesitated writing a crit for a couple of reasons. 1) You really shouldn't read ANYTHING about it until you've gone to see it. Save yourself from spoilers or preconceived notions, and just go see it. You won't regret the purchase price. And 2) There are a lot of think pieces going around right now (rightfully so), and I'm still wading through them myself. This is a hugely important film not only for the horror genre, but for black filmmakers, writers, and actors who want to work within the genre. While I get my ducks in a row, I'll point you to my fellow critics and suggest these great pieces on what is certain to be one of the best films of the year:
- Get Out: Crafting a Masterpiece from the Horror of Racism - by Graveyard Shift Sisters
- Get Out (2017) - review by BlackHorrorMovies.com
- Why Get Out is the Best Movie Ever Made About American Slavery - by Stephen Thrasher at Esquire
Knock, Knock (Amazon Video)
I've ignored the pleas of my best friend and colleague to watch Knock, Knock since she left me several voicemails about Keanu Reeves making some kind of plea about "giving girls pizza and getting fucked." This quasi-absurdist horror/thriller/torture nightmare is currently on Amazon Prime for your viewing pleasure.
I've written about Eli Roth's work favorably in the past (Cabin Fever is a new classic, Hostel is the only venture into "torture-porn" I've found useful or important), but I've been hesitant to view him as an auteur. Why? I don't know, maybe it just feels unseemly, maybe he just comes off like a bit of a jerk (quite frankly, how many male filmmakers aren't jerks? #sorrynotsorry). But I've now seen Knock, Knock, and though it's not for all tastes (CAMP!), it speaks to that burgeoning auteurism.
The man has a real thing for depicting women as gorgeous, seductive villains who, once they've had their sex, are suddenly hideous, badly behaved children ready to deliver men to their deaths. One day, when I'm good and ready, I'll write the inevitable treatise - The Accidental Feminism of Eli Roth and White Male Filmmakers in American Horror ©.
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Finally, I wrote a piece for Screenqueens on the little seen (or at least, paid little mind to) Freddy's Dead (1991). Directed by Rachel Talalay who would go on to direct the cult classic Tank Girl, she's the only woman ever to work on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, or ANY OTHER horror franchise for that matter. If you're curious about what a woman (and a particularly feminist woman, I think) does with one of the most misogynist villains of all time, take a peak at what I discovered.
If you'd like to see longer, in-depth explorations or critiques of any of these, leave me a comment; I'd love to write them.