If you have finished watching the film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
Yorgos Lanthimos directs a sumptuous adult fairy tale featuring Emma Stone at her very best.
Here’s the thing about Yorgos Lanthimos: you’re either on board with him, or you’re not. Even in The Favourite, arguably his most accessible film, there’s a sort of joyful grotesqueness to it, leaving the audience laughing and wincing simultaneously. His latest offering, Poor Things, is his most visually dazzling film yet, with moments of stunning beauty and bittersweet insight, but still isn’t afraid to test the audience’s sensibilities. It’s a film about what it means to be alive, every little disgusting aspect of it.
Based on Alasdair Gray’s novel of the same name, Poor Things opens in dreary black and white London, where eccentric scientist Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe) is overseeing an experiment that’s both miraculous and horrifying. Baxter, whose face looks like it was carved into several pieces and then put back together the wrong way, has brought a woman back to life after she committed suicide. The woman, whom he’s renamed Bella (Emma Stone, with a magnificent pair of eyebrows), initially has the mind of a toddler, but she’s learning and maturing at an astonishing rate. Bella refers to Godwin as “God,” and so far knows no one and nothing else but him and their home together. Continue Reading →
Thomasin McKenzie & Anne Hathaway burn up the screen in William Oldroyd’s unsettling thriller.
Eileen will likely be lost in the holiday season shuffle among such spectacles as the upcoming Wonka and awards-friendly fare like Ferrari. On the other hand, it’s unclear under what circumstances Eileen would make a big splash. It’s an odd, occasionally off-putting little film that wouldn’t work as well as it does if not for the scorching chemistry between its two leads.
Based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s (also odd and occasionally off-putting) novel of the same name, Eileen stars Thomasin McKenzie as the titular character, a lonely young woman stuck in a miserable rut. Living in the most depressing town in Massachusetts circa 1964, Eileen is forced to take care of her alcoholic, mean-spirited father (a chilling Shea Whigham, still somehow not one of Hollywood’s biggest stars), a former cop who’s taken to waving his gun at their neighbors. Working as a secretary at a juvenile detention center, though she’s in her twenties she comes off as someone much younger, a meek and awkward child merely dressing up as an adult. Eileen also has a child’s taste for doing things like ignoring her hygiene, stuffing herself with candy, and compulsively masturbating, while maintaining a rich fantasy life involving rough sex with a detention center guard, or murdering her father. Her boredom has reached pathological levels. Continue Reading →
“Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again…” So begins Daphne du Maurier’s gothic masterwork Rebecca, one of the most famous opening lines in fiction. Rebecca proved a hit upon release in 1938 and has remained in print ever since. Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation, coming just two years later, netted him his first Best Director nomination. That interpretation of the text has come to be considered a classic, and with good reason. Its misty black-and-white photography and mysteries hypnotize. Continue Reading →
The Lost Daughter
Much to the Republican Party’s dismay, the birth rate in the United States has been gradually on the decline, hitting an all-time low in 2020. Couples are not only waiting longer to have children, they’re having less of them, with an average of 1.6 per family. While climate change and cost of living expenses are the primary factors in the decision to have fewer children (or none at all), a small part of it can also be attributed to more people accepting a difficult truth: that raising children can be an incredibly hard and thankless task. Maggie Gyllenhaal makes an assured debut as a writer and director in her adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter, a complicated and strangely moving psychological drama/thriller about two women who bond over this truth. Continue Reading →
The Call of the Wild
Disney continues to shuffle off Fox's remaining output with this limp, awkward adaptation of the Jack London novel.
Jack London started writing The Call of the Wild at the dawn of the 20th century after traveling through Yukon country during the height of the Gold Rush. It was in this period of blind human ambition and greed that he conceived of a story told through a dog’s eyes. The very good dog, Buck, starts as a civilized house pet before being stolen and sold as a sled dog in Alaska. There he gets passed from owner to owner, some much nicer than others, and along the way discovers that his destiny is not with humans but with the beasts of the wilderness, like his ancestors before him.
It’s a beautifully written and visceral adventure about the brutality of man, the overwhelming power of nature, and the freedom we’re capable of when we turn our back on society’s rules. On the other hand, the new film adaptation of The Call of the Wild has all the thematic weight of an Air Bud sequel.
Director Chris Sanders, who is very accomplished in the world of animated film with credits like How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo & Stitch to his name, finds himself in no man’s land in the world of live-action. In order to really dig into the book’s themes and capture the harrowing journey Buck goes through, it’s necessary to make it a brutal animated movie like Watership Down. But that would be too much for any Disney-owned studio. Instead, we get a very saturated version of the novel that relies on a CGI dog that looks like a reject from Marmaduke. Continue Reading →