Enjoyed Tom Hanks much more in News of the World (2020) than I did in the recent Elvis (2022) (as I mentioned in last week’s In Focus). While the plot of this post-Civil War western seems familiar to other movies, and the eventual conclusion never in doubt, the performances across the board, the specifics of this journey, and strong direction from Paul Greengrass, make this film worthwhile and a great watch. Finished my targeting of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s complete filmography this week with a viewing of Killing Gunther (2017). Arnold was a lot of fun when he finally shows up in the last act, but the rest of this bloated silly movie about hit men leaves you wanting more. Definitely could have been 20 minutes shorter in the middle, no question.
I’m always intrigued to see what fantasy director Guillermo del Toro has up his sleeve (even if the art direction ultimately proves more compelling than the stories if I’m honest). So I’ll definitely be sampling at least a few episodes from his new Netflix series Cabinet of Curiosities (2022) in the coming week. Extra points for dragging 80s wackadoo Crispin Glover out of the mothballs to add some color to an HP Lovecraft tale.
Sorry Jordan Peele, but my biggest “Nope!” of 2022 is Fall, a high concept movie taking place at high altitudes. Two extreme rock climbers scale a 2000km radio tower, but have no way down when the rusty structure collapses beneath them. It’s the cinematography (aided by seamless special effects) that makes this film the anxiety-maker, full of straight-down shots of this tower, or upshots during the climb. This survival film kept me in suspense the entire film. Aided by my natural fear of heights (and my larger fear of falling from those heights) I watched much of this film fists clenched. The editor put in just the right amount of foreshadowing the initial collapse to have me saying “Nope! Nope, nope, nope…” for much of the film’s runtime. Yes, there are a couple narrative hiccups in Fall but it doesn’t undercut the film’s glorious 90 minutes of suspense. Recommend.
Like two-thirds of our hosting trio, I’m giving a green arrow to Halloween Ends (2022), though I didn’t love it as much as I loved Halloween Kills. Fans have a right to feel bamboozled by the bait-and-switch marketing, which focused on Laurie v Michael and made little-to-no mention of Corey. But just because the movie isn’t what you wanted doesn’t make it a bad movie. Ends is a solid capper to David Gordon Green’s “Haddonfield Saga,” which focused on how Michael Myers affects the entire community, and not just Jamie Lee Curtis. I think what Green is trying to save is that evil is an infection, it got to Michael’s doctor in Halloween 2018, it got to Tommy Doyle and the rest of the townies in Kills, and here it gets to Corey. Jamie Lee Curtis once again found a way to evolve her character — from teenager to trauma victim to survivalist and now recovering survivor. Having Laurie accept the fact that Michael was never after her, and see her take on some of the maternal traits of her daughter — that’s a real way that some people deal with the death of a close loved one — allows us to see, for a brief minute, what Laurie would have been like if she’d never met the boogeyman. As for Corey, you can dislike the character but there’s no denying Rohan Campbell did a terrific job. The hardest thing Green and company had to pull off was Corey’s transformation and alliance with Myers, and that’s where the movie falters. It needed more work to help the audience overcome the implausibility of it all, but for me, it’s still a Recommend. More thoughts on Letterboxd