Quick Reviews: Pinocchio, Three Thousand Years of Longing, Pearl, Blonde, Werewolf by Night, Halloween Ends
Quick reviews of six films that I have watched over the last two months.
I am not going to waste your time; Robert Zemeckis' (Forrest Gump, Flight, and The Witches) newest picture to the 1940 original animated classic is downright terrible. The fact that I had to sit through this was hell on earth. The hackneyed live-action adaptation of our beloved Pinocchio is a visually soulless, misguided heap of trash. Bloated with CGI and awful writing, Pinocchio (2022) is a mistreatment of the story's core message. In the end, wait for Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, which will be coming to select theaters this November and Netflix in December. 1 out of 5 stars.
Pinocchio (2022) is rated PG (Parental Guidance) For peril/scary moments, rude material and some language.
Streaming on Disney+
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Tom Hanks, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keegan-Michael Key, Lorraine Bracco, Giuseppe Battiston, Cynthia Erivo, and Luke Evans.
Three Thousand Years of Longing
George Miller’s (Mad Max: Fury Road and Happy Feet) Three Thousand Years of Longing is a marvel in visual storytelling. Captured by sheer ambition and grandeur, Miller’s picture is bursting at the seams. Miller adapted the film from a 1994 short story titled The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye by A. S. Byatt. Three Thousand Years of Longing definitely is not a film for everyone, but for those who are intrigued, let Idris Elba‘s storytelling magic take you to the stars and back. Plus, Elba and Tilda Swinton's chemistry together is romantic and magical. Three Thousand Years Longing is Miller at his most creative. 4 out of 5 stars.
Three Thousand Years of Longing is rated R (Restricted) For Graphic Nudity, Brief Violence and Some Sexual Content.
Directed by George Miller
Starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton.
Ti West's (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers, and X) Pearl is a Technicolor marvel filled with fresh gore and dark humor. A character study that gives Mia Goth the spotlight to reign supreme with her phenomenal acting chops. Goth's show-stopping 9-minute monologue blew me away. Give her all of the awards; she is marvelous. I could easily see Pearl becoming a cult film as we witness someone slipping into madness. West is having a blast here as he deconstructs the horror genre while paying homage to the golden age of Hollywood. Pearl is a colorful psychological slasher that blends The Wizard of Oz with Psycho making your head spin by the ending credits. West giving us both X and Pearl this year is cinematic gold for horror fans. Bring on MaXXXine! 4.5 stars out of 5.
I spoke with my friends Matt and Ashley (Mashley at the Movies) about our thoughts on Pearl. Take a listen! Click Here.
Pearl is rated R (Restricted) For Some Strong Violence, Gore, Strong Sexual Content and Graphic Nudity.
Directed by Ti West
Starring The Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland, and Emma Jenkins-Purro.
On a technical level (cinematography, editing, and score), Blonde is mesmerizing. While actress Ana de Armas' performance as Marilyn Monroe is riveting. Unfortunately, the film's direction and script, by director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly), suffocates the film to a point of no return. Rather than giving Monroe's character the humanity she deserves; instead Dominik exploits and dehumanizes her. Whereas movies like Judy (2019) and Spencer (2021) draped their protagonists (Judy Garland and Princess Diana) with compassion, Blonde evaporates that compassion into thin air. Blonde is a brutal and bleak viewing, even as a work of fiction. Not to mention a slog in pacing, clocking in at almost 3 hours. I also despised the way Dominik treated and handled Monroe's miscarriages in this picture. Grotesque and compassionless, almost to the point of being offensive. There are better ways to pay tribute to Norma Jeane, but Blonde is not it. For now, please let her rest in peace. 2 out of 5 stars.
Blonde is rated NC-17 (No One 17 and Under Admitted) For Some Sexual Content.
Streaming on Netflix
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, and Julianne Nicholson.
Werewolf by Night
As of now, Werewolf by Night is the best thing the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has released in 2022. A black-and-white Special that gleefully delivers the spooky thrills. In addition, director-composer Michael Giacchino‘s (composer for Up and The Batman) picture wonderfully captures the pulpy horror comics through its eerie atmosphere, gorgeous cinematography, and haunting score (also by Giacchino). While actors Gael García Bernal, Laura Donnelly, and Harriet Sansom Harris all deliver some great acting chops here. Definitely worth the watch this Halloween season. 4 out of 5 stars.
Werewolf by Night is rated TV-14
Streaming on Disney+
Directed by Michael Giacchino
Starring Gael García Bernal, Laura Donnelly, and Harriet Sansom Harris.
I really enjoyed Halloween Ends. It’s not as good as Halloween (2018), but it’s miles ahead of the not-so-good Halloween Kills. I appreciate director David Gordon Green (Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills, and Pineapple Express) for taking big story swings in concluding his Michael Myers/Laurie Strode trilogy. Ends went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting, and I loved it for that. It will divide fans, and that’s okay. Ends is more of a character study that slowly builds its tension up to the final act. Green chose to follow a new character, Corey (Campbell), this time around. Showcasing Corey's fall into madness and evil. An evil that spreads like a disease from Michael Myers. Not everything worked, but I was heavily fascinated by this story being told. Jamie Lee Curtis is solid as always, as she takes a final bow. However, Rohan Campbell was the real MVP of this movie. In the end, you will either like or hate Halloween Ends. There is no middle ground. 3.5 stars out of 5.
Here's my final ranking for the Halloween franchise. Click Here.
Halloween Ends is rated R (Restricted) For Bloody Horror Violence and Gore, Language Throughout and Some Sexual References.
In theaters and also streaming on Peacock.
Directed by David Gordon Green
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, and James Jude Courtney.
For Your Consideration:
Cup Of Soul Show
In Their Own League
Mashley at the Movies
Mike, Mike, and Oscar
The Movie Oracle
Next Best Picture
Reos Positive POV
The SoBros Network
Untitled Cinema Gals Project