Prey is thrilling and electrifying from the first to the final frame. Dan Trachtenberg’s (10 Cloverfield Lane) film will pump your veins with a rush of adrenaline, while Amber Midthunder gives us a tour de force performance as Naru. Prey captures the spirit of the original. In the end, this film rules.
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."
Trachtenberg’s Prey is a prequel done right: gifting us with a tense, blood-flowing, and perfectly crafted science fiction film. Without losing sight of the Predator franchise's elements of horror and action, Prey uses its surroundings to its benefit. Prey is the fifth installment of the Predator franchise (Predator, Predator 2, Predators, The Predator). Seventh, if you include the two Alien vs. Predator spin-offs. Personally, I think this is the best film to come out of this franchise. It's definitely the best film since Arnie's 1987 original classic. Our film travels back to the Comanche Nation 300 years ago as we follow a young woman, Naru (a superb Midthunder), who is a trained healer and hungers to become a great hunter like her brother, Taabe (a strong Dakota Beavers). Set in the Northern Great Plains in North America — Prey goes back to the franchise basics and is grounded in strong execution and character development.
Naru is a fierce and highly skilled warrior and is given the opportunity to help protect her people from a highly evolved alien predator. The story is simple but it is also impeccably crafted from the first to the final frame. Full of suspense, thrills, and stellar action sequences, Prey grabs ahold of you and doesn't let go. You will be on the edge of your couch throughout its entire 100-minute runtime. This film should have been released in theaters. However, Prey did become the most viewed premiere ever on Hulu within the first three days of being released. Trachtenberg knows how to craft a picture; while Midthunder muscles her way through, delivering one of the best performances of the year. Midthunder's performance is fierce, compelling, and superb. Prey's representation is also important: an action blockbuster that showcases an Indigenous female warrior and her Comanche culture.
A picture that is rooted in tradition while also kicking ass. Not to mention Naru's trusting sidekick Sarii, her dog. Prey was shot in English and later dubbed in Comanche, with the entire cast performing an alternate all-Comanche dubbed version of the film. Both language versions are available on Hulu (domestically) and Disney+ (internationally). Trachtenberg's picture is the first film in history with a full dub in Comanche. It is also the first film to premiere in a Native language alongside the English version. In addition, the movie's cinematography and landscapes of the Northern Great Plains are stunning. While the action sequences are cunning, Prey does not lose sight of its quieter moments as we grow with Naru and her story. In the end, Prey was a film that completely took me by surprise in the best of ways. A picture that is rooted in its franchise, yet never forgets to tell Naru's own personal story.
Yes, there will be blood. Prey is rated R (restricted) For Strong Bloody Violence.
Streaming now on Hulu (domestically) and Disney+ (internationally).
Here's my personal ranking of the Predator franchise: Click here.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Starring Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Michelle Thrush, Stormee Kipp, Julian Black Antelope, Bennett Taylor, and Dane DiLiegro.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a beautiful little movie: sweet, funny, heartwarming, and irresistible. See it. 5-stars.
Based on the 2010 short of the same name, director Dean Fleischer-Camp and actress Jenny Slate returned to give us a feature-lengthen film. During its 90-minute runtime, we travel with Marcel as he searches for his missing family. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a picture that tackles the meaning of life in the deepest of ways. As the story blossoms, you will be holding back those tears. Jenny Slate continues to be marvelous as the voice of Marcel. Simply a perfect little movie and one of the best films of the year. Marcel the Shell is a little movie with a big heart. This mockumentary style feature will have you laughing, then crying, then laughing some more.
Fleischer-Camp and Slate have made a movie that grapples with the meaning of life, loneliness, and death. Fleischer-Camp's picture is poignant and utterly profound, gifting us with a gem of a movie. Our story follows a documentary filmmaker (Fleischer-Camp) who rents an Airbnb following the end of his marriage. While at the Airbnb, Dean discovers Marcel (voiced by Slate), a one-inch-tall talking shell with shoes who lives in the house with his grandmother Nanna Connie (voiced by the great Isabella Rossellini), and Alan, his pet ball of lint. Nanna Connie loves attending to her garden but has begun showing signs of Dementia. Marcel and Nanna Connie love to bond over their mutual love for Lesley Stahl and 60 Minutes. Here, Dean begins to record Marcel and his life around the house and posts their encounters on YouTube.
We learn that Marcel had a bigger family in the past, but they have gone missing. And so, the adventure takes off for Dean and Marcel to find his lost family using Dean's filmmaking resources. Fleischer-Camp's picture is both witty and heartwarming. Who would have thought that a one-inch-tall talking shell with shoes could provoke emotions buried deep inside you? Not to mention, the animation and stop-motion in this picture are stunning and gorgeous. Fans of the 2010 short will fall in love all over again with Marcel, while viewers new to Marcel and his charm will be won over instantaneously. In the end, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is both a whimsical and bittersweet movie that will uplift your soul during these hard times. Fleischer-Camp and Slate's feature shows us what it really means to be human.
Marcel: "Sometimes I find my mind wandering, thinking, 'What would my family think?' Do you think they could be out there?"
Nanna Connie: "Marcello, let's forget about being afraid. Just take the adventure."
Marcel: "Okay, then. Let's do it."
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is rated PG (Parental Guidance) Some Suggestive Material | Thematic Elements.
Marcel had his world premiere last September at the 48th Telluride Film Festival. Marcel and his movie are now playing in theaters everywhere.
Directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp
Starring Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate, Isabella Rossellini, Lesley Stahl, Dean's dog Arthur, and Alan the pet ball of lint.
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