Saturday, March 23, 2019

Us, 2019 - ★★★★★

Jordan Peele's latest directorial effort is a film just as creepy as Get Out and features another original story concept from one of the most original minds in Hollywood. It's hard to believe that this actor/filmmaker who seemed to be on a one-note career has completely switched over to become a master of suspense, crafting unique "horror" films. Peele delivers another amazing film with Us, the story of a family who comes to grips with a carbon-copy version of themselves in a Santa Cruz beach setting.

The movie builds slow at the start but kicks into high gear when the "red" version of the family arrives. With a clever and original premise that delivers twist and turns similar to Get Out, Peele is able to simultaneously resurrect Luniz's 1995 rap hit I've Got 5 On It and 1986's Hands Across America. I won't give away any spoilers, but the real motivation of the "red" family is a great story twist that made me think about the connection of events in the film long after I left the theater.

It's really early for Oscar talk considering we just had the last ceremony a month ago, but Lupita Nyong'o is a standout amazing star in this film. Her performance as her doppelganger is so creepy and calculating that you can't believe the same actress is playing both characters. I thought she was excellent in 12 Years a Slave (her Oscar-winning role), but she's even better in this film. The rest of the cast, led by Winston Duke is strong and supports Nyong'o's herculean effort. We also get a wonderful contrasting performance by Elizabeth Moss in a supporting role. Everyone in the cast is having a blast delivering Peele's vision here.

Jordan Peele has done it. He's gone two-for-two with his first two films, both earning 5 stars on my scale. I can't wait to see what he does next and I'm hoping he'll veer slightly from this type of film as I'd love to see what he can do in another genre. Go see this movie right now on a big screen and buckle up for a signature Jordan Peele ride.

The Dirt, 2019 - ★★½

Entertaining but way "extra" and over the top. I realized how free Crue songs I really know. Most of the acting is sub par but Machine Gun Kelly (Tommy Lee) really stood out as a rapper who may really have a future in acting.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Paddleton, 2019 - ★★★★

Available on Netflix, this is a small, short and simple movie with a real look at the "Right to Die" decision. This film is basically just Mark Duplass and Ray Romano on a bittersweet buddy road trip for 90 minutes. Duplass' Michael has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and enlists the help of Romano's Andy to fill and deliver a lethal prescription of pills. It's hard to believe that these two best friends have really nothing in their lives but each other, but that premise makes the movie's ultimate decision that much more critical and painful to watch. Outstanding acting from the two comic leads in muted, low key, real performances. This is a swift breezy movie to watch with real stakes at the end. While there are some dull moments (including way too much old school kung Fu movie references), this is just more proof that the Duplass brothers know how to make good movies.