No Exit is a 95-minute adrenaline rush. Full of exciting popcorn thrills and a great performance by actress Havana Rose Liu, viewers should have a lot of fun with this one.
How far would you go for a stranger?
A small popcorn movie has just dropped onto Hulu. 2022's No Exit isn't anything groundbreaking, but it is a film that will rattle your bones for 95-minutes. Newcomer Havana Rose Liu is fantastic throughout this joy ride of tension and suspense. Our story follows a recovering addict named Darby (Liu), who learns that her mother is in the hospital. Darby escapes from the rehab center to go be with her sick mother in Salt Lake City. However, a developing blizzard stops Darby from making it there, and she has to stay overnight at a local visitors center. Here, Darby is stuck with a group of strangers (actors Danny Ramirez, David Rysdahl, Dale Dickey, and Dennis Haysbert) during the extreme snow. As Darby goes out looking for a phone signal, she discovers an abducted girl (Mila Harris) in a van in the parking lot. That's as far as I'll go with the plot, setting Darby up for a life-or-death struggle to uncover who among them is the kidnapper. No Exit does a pretty good job at keeping all its cards in the deck hidden, only revealing them when they need to.
Throughout all of the twists and turns, director Damien Power will keep audiences guessing and on their toes. The action sequences were solid throughout. While the tension gets turned up to 11 in the second half of the movie. The story is simple, but No Exit makes up for it with pulsating thrills, eerie cinematography (Simon Raby), bloody violence, and breathless sequences of suspense. Power's film always has a sense of mystery, while the fast-paced narrative kept one from ever relaxing. Liu's great performance is captured in a roller coaster of emotions and scares. While actors Ramirez, Rysdahl, Dickey, Haysbert, and Harris provide a backdrop of strong supporting performances. No Exit might send some viewers into a state of disbelief due to its bloody violence and harrowing scenes of anxiety. Personally, Power's picture gave me the medicine of adrenaline I needed. So, if you are looking for a fun and exciting movie to watch that will most likely give you some good jolts, then turn your attention to Hulu's No Exit.
No Exit is rated R (Restricted) Language | Strong Violence | Some Drug Content.
Stream it on Hulu.
Directed by Damien Power
Starring Havana Rose Liu, Danny Ramirez, David Rysdahl, Dale Dickey, Mila Harris, and Dennis Haysbert.
The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) is not good. Frustrating and misguided from start to finish. TCM tries to add legacy characters and social commentary. Sadly, the mixture of these themes is incoherent. Actors Elsie Fisher and Sarah Yarkin are the only good; everything else is bad.
I think I might be able to say that Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) will go down as one of the most disappointing sequels to come out this year, and it's only February. TCM squanders any meaningful potential for extreme gore and a rather pointless plot. The 1974 original (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is known as one of the best horror films ever made, and for good reason. The late writer-director Tobe Hooper's 70s slasher flick was incredibly effective: scary, nerve-racking, and claustrophobic. All of this was done by compelling documentary-style camerawork. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) became one of the most influential slasher films for a generation. Hooper even limited the quantity of onscreen gore. A lot of the kills happened off-screen, making it even scarier because you knew what was happening. This style of horror sent chills down your spine from start to finish.
Now, fast forward through all of the failed sequels, remakes, and reboots to good 'ole Leatherface, which brings us to 2022. 50-years after the original, Netflix decided to take from the 2018 Halloween (written by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride) playbook. 2018's Halloween completely ignored all of the previous sequels. Instead, it was a direct follow-up to the 1978 original. Gordon Green and McBride brought back Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), a legacy character from the original, who has been living with trauma ever since her first encounter with Michael Myers. 2018's Halloween was done right. We had characters that we cared about and bone-chilling scares layered on top. 2022's TCM tries to do this by bringing back the character of Sally Hardesty. Now, actress Marilyn Burns (who played Sally in the original) passed away in 2014. Actress Olwen Fouéré took up the helm of Sally, but her character is more of an afterthought in this movie. Fouéré is not really around until the plot needs her, and then her character is completely wasted.
If you would have taken out Sally's part in this movie, it would not have changed anything major. That's how pointless her character really is in this horror flick. So, I cannot even say that TCM is a legacy sequel because it isn't. TCM might play those cards in the trailers, but it's all a gimmick. Our story follows a group of youthful entrepreneurs heading to a small abandoned Texas town, Harlow. The group plans to auction off the town properties to create a trendy and hip utopia? Except, scriptwriter Chris Thomas Devlin glosses over many of these details. More or less, the setting is just to get a large group of Instagram influencers (I kid you not) to be trapped and slaughtered. Nice. Director David Blue Garcia tries to dabble with modern times, incorporating themes like school shootings, gentrification, and gun control. However, these topics are just sprinkled on top, adding nothing to the plot. They are just there. Moving on, an elderly woman (Alice Krige) and Leatherface (Mark Burnham) are still occupants of the town's orphanage.
One thing leads to another, yada yada yada, the old lady dies, and Leatherface is pissed. Cue Leatherface going on a rampage-killing spree throughout the town. All of the characters in this movie make stupid and bad choices, one after the other. I was frustrated with the writing decisions for these poor characters. They deserved better writing. Actors Elsie Fisher and Sarah Yarkin were the only small glimmers of hope throughout this bloodbath. Fisher and Yarkin provided some solid acting chops with the shoddy material they were given. So, if you are into extreme gore, a pointless plot, and throw-away characters, this might be the movie for you. However, I loathed this experience, all 81-minutes of it. Leatherface deserved better. TCM slaughters any potential this movie could have had, just like how they had Leatherface slaughter those Instagram influencers on the bus. Brutal, gory, and lazy. "Look how they [Netflix] massacred my Leatherface".
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is rated R (Restricted) Gore | Strong Bloody Horror Violence | Language.
Stream it on Netflix, if you dare.
Directed by David Blue Garcia
Starring Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Moe Dunford, Nell Hudson, Jessica Allain, Olwen Fouéré, Jacob Latimore, and Alice Krige.
Marry Me is a cute rom-com that will cheer you up this Valentine’s Day. The married at first sight storyline is simple, but J. Lo and Owen Wilson’s sweet chemistry is hard to resist.
Consensus = Cute!
Looking for something sweet and charming to watch this Valentine’s Day, then you should check out Marry Me, a new rom-com featuring actors Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. There isn't anything groundbreaking with Marry Me, nor should there be. Director Kat Coiro's romantic comedy has enough charisma and adorable vibes to fill your heart with happiness. The bar for rom-coms has never been that high and that's okay. There have been films in the past that have exceeded all rom-com expectations, becoming instant classics on their own. Looking at you Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and When Harry Met Sally... (1989). These films changed up the traditional romantic comedy formula, offering something completely new. Marry Me stays more closely to the formula, but the appeal here falls squarely onto the wonderful chemistry from J. Lo and Wilson. Kat Valdez (J. Lo) and Bastian (Maluma) are music superstars, and they're getting married before a global audience. Charlie Gilbert (Wilson) is a math teacher and has a daughter named Lou (Chloe Coleman). Charlie decides to take his daughter to the concert along with his co-worker Parker (a funny Sarah Silverman).
At the concert, Kat finds out that Bastian has been cheating on her minutes before their vows. In a split-minute decision, Kat picks a total stranger from the crowd (Charlie) and marries him instead. Think Lifetime's Married at First Sight but on steroids and with actual characters we care about (J. Lo and Wilson). From there, we follow Kat and Charlie's newly married relationship as it develops and blossoms. This is J. Lo's first film since 2019's Hustlers (her best performance to date). With Marry Me, J. Lo goes back to her rom-com roots (The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, Jersey Girl, and Shall We Dance?). Shot in the Fall of 2019 but delayed for theatrical release because of COVID, Marry Me has finally come out and can be a movie that will slap a smile on your face. Actors Silverman, John Bradley, Michelle Buteau, and Khalil Middleton help fill the movie's supporting cast, providing some solid laughs. So, if you and your significant other are looking for something to watch this Valentine’s Day, make it a movie night and go see Marry Me in theaters or stay at home a enjoy this bubbly movie on Peacock. J. Lo and Wilson's wholesome picture is a delight. So, sit back and let J. Lo's irresistible songs fill you up with everlasting joy.
Marry Me is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). Suggestive Material | Some Language.
See it in theaters or stream it on Peacock.
Directed by Kat Coiro
Starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, John Bradley, Chloe Coleman, and Sarah Silverman.
A Double Feature Review!
Oh wow, writer-director Pedro Almodóvar (Live Flesh, Volver, The Skin I Live In, and Pain and Glory) does it again. Parallel Mothers (Madres paralelas) is a moving and beautiful picture. Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit are both phenomenal. Emotional, reflective, and warm. Eye-popping visuals with a story that blossoms and reflects on a country’s past traumas. Five-stars. Nominated for two Oscars, Best Actress (Penélope Cruz) and Best Original Score, Almodóvar's newest picture is incredibly profound and beautifully told scene after scene. It is a tragedy that Spain decided not to select Parallel Mothers for an International Oscar consideration, instead choosing The Good Boss (which stars Cruz’s husband, Javier Bardem). Spain did this in part for political reasons, which is both frustrating and sad. "The half of the country that is conservative, they don’t like the movie. They don’t like that someone like me is remembering that period, that the mass graves are still there, that the families are demanding desperately to identify the victims. They think that period is finished. But I think it’s not finished – not until we find a solution." – Pedro Almodóvar.
Even with this snub submission from Spain, I was thrilled that The Academy still recognized Parallel Mothers in other categories, like Best Original Score (Alberto Iglesias), and Cruz even broke into the Best Actress category. The film is broken down into two parallel storylines. The first part of this story is between expecting mothers Janis (a fantastic Cruz) and Ana (a wonderful Milena Smit). Both women are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, is rejoicing that she was able to get pregnant, while Ana, an adolescent, is scared and ashamed of her pregnancy. Janis and Ana meet by chance at the hospital, and from there, Janis and Ana's lives are interwoven. There is a bond between Janis, Ana, and their newborn babies (Cecilia and Anita) that weaves in and out. The second part of this story reflects on Spain's past trauma as a country. Like a history lesson, Almodóvar presents Spain's Francoist dictatorship, which sadly controlled Spain from 1939 to 1975, front and center. During General Francisco Franco's reign of terror over the country, there were many atrocities committed. Atrocities that Spain still has not fully dealt with to this day.
Almodóvar's Parallel Mothers deals with some of these atrocities, namely a mass grave in Janis' home village, where her great-grandfather and other men from that village were killed and buried during the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939). There's an excavation that gives these men (who disappeared) an identity and dignity. Parallel Mothers is a powerful picture that grapples with motherhood, loss, death, and healing. To grow and move on, one must first understand the past. Almodóvar's statement in this film is bold and pointed, as it should be. On top of the strong direction and brilliant acting are the eye-popping costume and production designs (reds, greens, and yellows) and a lively score throughout. I knew that there was going to be something special with this picture during the opening credit sequence, in which colors of red, black, white splatter across the screen. Parallel Mothers is a complex but engaging film crafted by the hands of a master (Almodóvar). As Cruz and Smit's chemistry flourishes scene after scene, a captivating portrait will unveil. I have not stopped thinking about Parallel Mothers since I saw it two weeks ago, and I cannot wait to watch it again. In the end, Parallel Mothers is a film that radiates out of the screen and into one's heart.
Parallel Mothers is rated R (Restricted) Some Sexuality.
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Starring Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Rossy de Palma, and Julieta Serrano.
Flee (Flugt) is a powerful and heartbreaking picture. Boundary pushing, as Flee, blends vivid documentary filmmaking and stunning animation. Emotional, personal, and beautiful. If you were not able to see Flee in theaters, it's now streaming on Hulu. A must-watch. Flee has made history by becoming the first film to be nominated for Best International, Best Documentary, and Best Animated Feature. Flee is another movie that I cannot stop thinking about since I watched it last week. A Danish animated docudrama directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen that follows the true story of a man named Amin Nawabi, who shares his hidden past for the first time, of fleeing his country (Afghanistan). Amin is on the verge of marrying his long-time boyfriend and is a successful academic when he decides to share his hidden story with a close friend for the first time. At 36, Amin shares with us his past of how he fled from Afghanistan to Denmark as a refugee 20 years ago. Flee is a bold, personal, and saddening story of how war can tear families, homes, and lives apart. An immigration story that is incredibly humane, as Rasmussen shows the life-threatening dangers that refugees have to go through to escape.
Flee is a powerful movie that will leave a pit inside your stomach, but also finds hope for our society as a whole. We listen and learn Amin's pain as he tells us through the screen of what his family had to do and the experiences that got them to where they are now. Rasmussen's picture blends gorgeous animation with hard-hitting drama and a striking documentary layered underneath. Not only is Flee an immigration story but it's also a LGBTQ story. We learn that Amin knew that he was gay at a very young age but had to keep that part of his life a secret for a long period of time. We travel with Amin and his family as they make their way to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union (1988–1991). Amin goes into detail about the corruption of the Russian police and the human traffickers. It's raw and tragic, but one that people need to hear. Flee is a unique picture in its ability to weave together vivid animation and documentary filmmaking. I am not sure that Flee could not have been told in this way without the animation. Flee is a narrative of displacement and survival that will move one to tears. Genre-bending at the highest order, Flee deserves to win the Oscar for Best Documentary and Best Animated Feature this March. Powerful from the first frame and until the last. Flee is a movie that invites us to come in, listen, and learn.
Flee is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) Strong Language | Disturbing Images | Thematic Content.
Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Stream it now on Hulu.
I was pleasantly surprised with how much heart was in the latest Jackass film. Jackass Forever is really a sweet film of youth to adulthood. Silver fox Johnny Knoxville and crew might be getting older, but the stunts and silly gags are still wacky as ever.
Concussions aren't great, but as long as you have them before you're 50, it's cool, and Knoxville is 49, so we're good.
It has been 11-years since we last saw our rambunctious group of misfits and daredevils on the big screen (2010's Jackass 3D). Jackass Forever marks a return for the gross-out humor and slapstick comedy that will leave you laughing until it hurts. Jackass originally started out as a TV series on MTV that ran for three seasons from October 2000 to February 2002. Johnny Knoxville and friends then made their debut to film with Jackass: The Movie (2002). After that, the gang returned for Jackass Number Two (2006), Jackass 3D (2010), and now Jackass Forever (2022). There have also been a handful of spin-off TV shows, films (Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa), and bonus documentaries (Jackass 2.5 and 3.5). The latest trip of pain and glory features the group of old and new characters. The veteran actors returning were Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey, and Preston Lacy. While they are all aging, that doesn't stop our veteran actors from still attempting these dangerous stunts.
However, this may be the last time we see these veteran actors returning to Jackass. Those old bones can only take so many hits. Knoxville suffered a serious concussion, a broken wrist, and rib after being hit by a bull in one of the stunts. "I knew heading into this, this was my last hurrah with big stunts." It was a bittersweet moment knowing that this will be their last time in the ring as they pass on the torch to younger members. The new faces include Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Darkshark, and a guy named Poopies. What I was not expecting with this latest installment was the amount of heart and good spirit that went into it. Jackass Forever might be a kinder and gentler film than the previous, but that doesn't mean our band of rascals has matured. Jeff Tremaine returns to the director's chair. He has been filming these Jackass movies for the past 20-years.
Tremaine knows the game and has gotten even stronger in his filming techniques and slow-mo replays. One thing that Forever does and is not afraid to show off was the amount of male nudity. Where Hollywood still seems too scared with male nudity, Jackass Forever presents it front and center. There is a giant green penis monster that attacks the city. Steve-O has his entire crotch covered in honey and a swarm of bees covers it, in the stunt titled "The Bee Genitals." The group encounters bees, spiders, snakes, scorpions, vultures, and bears. While professional trainers handled the animals, making sure the safety of the animals is always there. Some of the stunts include "The Human Ramp," "Body Surfing," "The Flight of Icarus," "The Triple Wedgie," and "Ehren's Cup Tests." We are going into year three of COVID, and I really needed a good laugh during these hard times. Jackass Forever was the medicine to help lift me up, sending stitches to my sides. Through gross-out humor, slapstick comedy, and schadenfreude, Jackass Forever succeeds with the healing power of laughter. What a beautiful thing.
Jackass Forever is rated R (Restricted) Language Throughout | Graphic Nudity | Dangerous Stunts | Strong Crude Material.
Dedicated to the late Ryan Dunn.
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
Starring Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacy, Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, Darkshark, and Poopies.
I can confirm that the new Scream is a great movie. With No. 5, the Scream franchise proves time after time that it’s one of our best horror franchises. Bloody, brutal, and smart: Scream (2022) takes a slice at requels this go around. With clever kills and more meta-humor, you will have a blast! Wes Craven would be proud.
What's your favorite scary movie?
The Scream franchise has always been ahead of the curb. Ever since the late Wes Craven's (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, and Swamp Thing) 1996 original slasher made its debut at the theaters, it completely flipped the horror genre upside down. Scream (1996) was a grade-A horror picture. To this day, the original Scream is still one of the most influential slasher films to come out. Craven's film is wickedly funny, nerve-racking, and completely self-aware. The 1996 original took the horror genre by storm, and Craven captivated on that success and released Scream 2 (1997) one year later. Craven's No. 2 was an absolute stellar follow-up to the original. More gore and more tongue-in-cheek. Craven's sequel continued to be ahead of the curb. Scream 2 took on the deconstructive approach to sequels. Now, I need to mention while Craven's direction was brilliant, the writing belonged to screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who wrote No. 1, 2, and 4.
The power duo of Craven's direction and Williamson's writing is was made these two movies so good. Scream 3 came out in 2000 — unfortunately — No. 3 is the weakest of the Scream franchise. This is due to Williamson not coming back to write. That's not saying that Scream 3 is a bad movie because it's not. While it lacked balance in terror and meta-humor, Craven's direction was still fun as his film tackled trilogies. Both Craven and Williamson returned to the franchise 11 years later with Scream 4 (2011). Craven's Scream 4 returned to its razor-sharp form: clever kills, strong meta-humor, and thrilling scares. This time, Craven poked fun at the sequel/reboot frenzy that was running through Hollywood's veins. Scream 4 also had a killer opening sequence to die for, and it was the best opening since the terrifying original with Drew Barrymore. Sadly, Craven passed away in 2015 from a brain tumor. He was only 76. Ten years have passed since No. 4 came to theaters, and directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (2019's Ready or Not) have taken up the mantle to direct the fifth installment for the Ghostface franchise.
Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett take delicate care with this film, making something that would have made Craven proud. Screenwriters James Vanderbilt (2007's Zodiac) and Guy Busick (Ready or Not) penned the script for the latest slasher chapter. Vanderbilt and Busick work harder than ever to keep the franchise's meta edge in focus and succeed. They also wonderfully balanced the thrills and scares throughout, never missing a beat. Vanderbilt and Busick even dip their toes into the internet world of toxic fandom and requels, raising a glass to director Rian Johnson and 2017's The Last Jedi. So, it has been 25-years after the original streak of brutal murders that shocked Woodsboro, Calif., and a new killer(s) has decided to put on the Ghostface mask. With Ghostface back in fighting form, they begin targeting a group of teenagers to help resurrect secrets from Woodsboro's deadly past, prompting our legacy characters (actors Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette) to return. It was great seeing Sidney (Campbell), Gale (Cox), and Dewey (Arquette) back on the big screen.
Scream (2022) also introduces us to a handful of new characters (actors Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ben Ammar, and Kyle Gallner) as well. All of these actors did a great job in this film, but the two that really stood out to me were Barrera and Ortega. Barrera was in last year's summer musical, In the Heights, while Ortega is in a handful of upcoming 2022 films (The Fallout, X, and Studio 666) slated for this year. The Fallout just premiered on HBO Max and is on my list of new films to watch. Both Barrera and Ortega bring an emotional core to their characters, showcasing their strong acting chops. They have bright acting futures ahead of them. Scream (2022) is a blast from start to finish. This slasher franchise has always been ahead of the curb, gifting us with frightening and wickedly funny films. There were also some strong emotional scenes that got me a little choked up in this latest installment. Scream (2022) is a smart, brutal, and bloody return for Ghostface. Welcome back to Woodsboro.
Scream (2022) is rated R (Restricted) Some Sexual References | Language Throughout | Strong Bloody Violence.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Starring Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, Mikey Madison, Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ben Ammar, Marley Shelton, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and Neve Campbell.
A Double Feature Review! Read More!
Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza is a film chock-full of dream-like wonder. His most pure and lighthearted work as a director. Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim are born stars. We travel aimlessly through San Fernando Valley, almost like a fantasy of growing up. A joyous and romantic touch to cinema. PTA's Licorice Pizza is simply a wonderful picture. This coming-of-age dramedy will sweep you off your feet. I had a blast with this film from the beginning until the end. PTA is one of our greatest modern-day directors, making hard-hitting films like Boogie Nights (1997), There Will Be Blood (2007), The Master (2012), and Phantom Thread (2017). PTA's filmmaking style has always focused on deeply flawed characters dealing with regret, loneliness, and dysfunction. These types of themes are layered with dark undertones and a bold visual style. While Licorice Pizza still covers a lot of these themes, it's the director's lightest work to date. The aimless plotting might be a bit off-putting to some, but I was engrossed with every minute of it. You will fall in love with Licorice Pizza as we wander through the hills of San Fernando.
We follow the story of Alana Kane (newcomer Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (newcomer Cooper Hoffman) as they grow up, run around, and navigate first love in 1973. Gary is a 15-year-old high schooler who notices 25-year-old Alana on picture day. Or is she 21 or 28? Alana's age varies on what setting she is currently in. It's a type of fake it until you make it mentality. Alana is currently working as a photographer's assistant but is curious about Gary's breezy lifestyle and inspiring actor chops. The story blossoms from here. Gary is also an entrepreneur and starts up his own waterbed company called Soggy Bottom. Alana helps Gary with his company and also pursues her own career in acting. Both Hoffman and Haim are brilliant in this movie, while their chemistry shines throughout. It was bitter-sweet seeing Hoffman be in a PTA film, knowing that his late father (the great Philip Seymour Hoffman) was in five PTA films. Haim is a born star in the movie. She is a natural actress, and will completely captivate you from the first to the final frame. Licorice Pizza also deals with the 1973 gas crisis that was sweeping the country, and we even meet the hot-headed film producer, Jon Peters (a hilarious Bradley Cooper). On top of PTA's coming-of-age storyline, we also get a killer soundtrack that vibes and gorgeous tracking shots that moves to the beat of a drum. There is a lot to love with Licorice Pizza, one slice at a time.
Licorice Pizza is rated R (Restricted) Some Drug Use | Sexual Material | Language.
Directed by PTA
Starring Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, and Benny Safdie.
The Tragedy of Macbeth
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes...
“Behold! Cinema.” The Tragedy of Macbeth is so good that it's hard to find the right words to describe this Shakespearean film. Director Joel Coen’s gorgeous black-and-white picture is a work of art. Through the minimalist production design, gorgeous cinematography, striking visuals, and superb performances (Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Kathryn Hunter): The Tragedy of Macbeth takes a very theatrical approach to the sourced material. One that you could lose your head for. The Tragedy of Macbeth is the first film where we sadly don't get the Coen brothers duo (Joel and Ethan). But it is exciting to see Joel Coen continue at the director's chair, and his newest picture doesn't disappoint. Based on the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Joel Coen's adaptation to the beloved sourced material is striking and gobsmacking to look at. Shot in beautiful black-and-white; this Shakespearean film is a feast for the eyes. While watching this movie in the theaters, I was completely captivated by the production design (Stefan Dechant). The production design is minimalistic and very theatrical throughout. By doing it this way, Dechant amplified its haunting and unique features.
Not only does the production design deserve some Oscar love, but so does the cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel). Delbonnel was also the DP for Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch (2021). All of the actors (Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling, and Brendan Gleeson) bring their A-game to this film. Speaking old English is not an easy task, but if you do it correctly and gracefully, then it makes the viewing experience much purer. This group of actors does exactly that, making the viewing experience incredibly enjoyable. We all know the rise and fall of Macbeth, so I don't need to cover that. I will say that seeing Washington in another Shakespearean film (1993's Much Ado About Nothing) is a godsend. While McDormand layers the film with precision and heart. Lastly, Hunter gives a haunting portrayal as the three witches. Her performance will send chills down your spine. The Tragedy of Macbeth is a black-and-white beauty that needs to be seen. If you love Shakespeare and the theatre, then you will gobble up this film. A masterwork. It receives five-stars from me.
Want to hear more of my thoughts about The Tragedy of Macbeth? I spoke with my good friends, Matt and Ashley, on their podcast, Mashely at the Movies | Listen Here.
The Tragedy of Macbeth is rated R (Restricted) Violence.
The Tragedy of Macbeth is now streaming on Apple TV+
Directed by Joel Coen
Starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling, and Brendan Gleeson.
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