With Covid-19 and everything, it’s easy to forget new movies are still being released and while the current stress of the situation has driven me to plunge into the home-y comforts of classic movies I’ve seen a jillion times, I took some time this past week to catch three 2020 releases.
Remi Weekes’ debut horror film centers around a couple of Sudanese refugees seeking asylum in London, and uses ghostly visions and witches as a greater metaphor about confronting and ultimately dealing with, or not dealing with, your identity. If this sounds very Jordan Peele , you’re not alone. However, while Weekes certainly borrows heavily from what Peele has done with Get Out and tried to do with Us, he also carves out a distinct visual style of his own. The production values are outstanding and while the pacing suffers, especially towards the end, the story is generally compelling enough to get past that. The characters are genuine and well developed, thanks in large part to the performances of the two lead actors, Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku. His House lays its themes and messages on thick, but they’re important enough to listen. Grade: B (NETFLIX)
If His House hits you over the head with its themes, Possessor does the exact opposite by not arriving at any kind of point. The new film by Brandon Cronenberg, David‘s ray of sunshine, is easily the most visually interesting film I’ve seen in 2020, but the buck stops there for me. The movie introduces themes of invasion of privacy on a government level, loss of control and personal freedoms, seeing the world through a different POV, some juicy trans stuff, ect. and then never crafts them into any kind of coherent social message. It’s a gorgeous piece of art but one that is fairly hollow and not even solid work from indie darlings Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott can make you take away anything from the film other than outward appearances. Grade: C+ ($4.99 rental on Amazon Prime)
The most fucking ridiculous movie I’ve seen all year, Money Plane is the action/adventure brainchild of the Lawrence Brothers. Yes, those Lawrence Brothers, from the Disney Channel. Brother Andrew directs and Matthew and Joey play awful supporting characters, surrounding themselves with a slew of dried up 90s actors (Thomas Jane, Denise Richards and as much as it pains me to say, Kelsey Grammer) and the stiffest action movie star imaginable, wrestling legend “Edge.” The sets are cheap, the plane looks like a storage shed someone decorated with purple curtains and the dialogue goes no where. This is aggressively stupid stuff but you do get Frasier Crane cursing up a storm and Matthew Lawrence in a fake mustache. It’s probably the worst film of 2020, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was the most fun I’ve had watching a movie all year. Grade: Obligatory ‘F’ (HULU)
Next week, 2020 Movie Reviews are back with David Fincher‘s Mank, the new Riz Ahmed indie Sound of Metal and the low-budget college rom-com everyone is buzzing about, Shithouse.