Movie Mondays ~ Monday, July 15, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, July 15, 2019

This past week was not one to allow me much free time for anything, let alone movie watching. I did manage to rent a flick via Redbox and that film earns this week’s coveted and sole #MovieMondays title for the only flick to be reviewed. I will certainly do my best to sneak in at least a second this next week.  As always, thanks for reading! ~ Chris K.

 

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 07/08/2019 – 07/14/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)

 

 

 

79. Us

Horror, Mystery, Thriller (2019)
Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker

 

I wouldn’t call horror one of my favorite movie genres. Growing up, I did enjoy films like THE EXORCIST (which remains my favorite horror film of all time) and that wonderfully cheesy but unforgettable TRILOGY OF TERROR with THE ultimate 70s icon of said cheesy films but I loved every second of her on the screen, Karen Black. I also spent a lot of time in the backseat of my parents’ Ford station wagon munching on contraband pop and popcorn while watching classic slasher films and eerie creature features at the drive-in — everything from TERROR TRAIN and THE FOG to WOLFEN and THE OMEN. When I saw that Jordan Peele, the talented writer and director of GET OUT, a film that scored high marks from me during its run at Oscar time, had a new film and this time it was of this genre, I was intrigued. And then I saw clips, and I was doubly intrigued. (Pun intended for those of you who have seen the film already. Heh.)

 

This is one of those times when I can’t tell you much about the plot without ruining it for you, so I will tell you that we meet a young girl who has some troubling experiences at a beachside amusement park, memories that never seem to have left her. When she and her family return to the same beach and park, childhood fears appear to rise to the surface again…but that’s not all. It seems our beautiful and fun little family of four have some visitors in the driveway and just wait until they see who has come to make their presence known. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke are cast well as the visiting couple, and other performers including the two talented young actors who play their children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) as well as Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker serve up good work. The problem does not lie in the acting. It lies in the manner in which the story is told.

 

I won’t lie to you — given how MUCH I was looking forward to seeing this, I knew I was setting myself up to be a little disappointed, and once a key reveal takes place to attempt to fill in the gaps (oh, you’ll still have plenty left when you’re done watching), I didn’t really find the explanation all that satisfying. In that way, this film for me was the total opposite of Peele’s previous film, where I felt I took away quite a bit from the ultimate turn of events. There’s one more attempt near the final chapter of US that felt to me like the final good jab a boxer gets in before he falls to the floor. Perhaps it was inserted into the film structure to win viewers like me still on the fence, and while I’ll admit, this additional ‘whammy’ does fill in a few holes and add a little bit more interest to watch it one more time in the future armed with all that I now know, it still didn’t clutch me the way a really eerie, clever and magnetic story draws me in — THE OTHERS and THE SIXTH SENSE are two more recent examples that come to mind. THE GIFT with Cate Blanchett was another strange and spooky mystery that was captivating from scene to scene, and I’m sure the talented director at the helm Sam Raimi had more than a little bit to do with that.

 

US features good performances — I felt the key actors did an admirable job with their tough roles, roles much more beefy with lots more to do than traditional parts. But the writing seemed a little lost at times and there were a few opportunities where I found myself yawning because I had just experienced a scene almost identical to what I was experiencing at that moment. So too much redundancy across the cinematography, script and plot structure did leave me bored at times, but if you like horror and you appreciate a fresh perspective, I will say that there are elements of this story that I found original and for that reason, refreshing. I just wish that they might have been expanded upon in a more interesting way rather than saying and showing me the same thing again and again. Find new, different ways to continue telling me that story and keep me hooked.

 

 

Score: 81

 

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