ON DVD & Blu-Ray: February 25, 2020

The movies are nothing alike in terms of what they're about, how they're directed, tone, nothing. There's nothing similar about these movies at all really except for that, from the moment they begin, there is a sense of supreme assuredness in where they're going and how they're meant to get there. This feeling arises at the beginning of a fair amount of movies because there are so many that begin with such promise yet so many of them tend to lose themselves along the way or lose momentum or more often than not encounter the issue of knowing where they want to go without being sure of the best, most effective way to get there. Three years ago, when Jordan Peele's Get Out began to play in front of me, I was granted the sense of this supreme assuredness that continued throughout the entirety of the runtime and through to that perfect conclusion. It wasn't difficult to see every aspect had been labored over and planned to a T; as if not only the script, but the way in which each shot was constructed and how each line was delivered held a certain weight and intention. Every element had seemingly been executed with precise detail so as to convey this strong, specific point of view. In short, Get Out was a movie where every piece held a purpose all of which led to a culmination that fully displayed the power of the narrative, the charisma of the characters and the masterful way in which the filmmaker used the genre he was operating in to make his complex ideas accessible. This is all said not in an attempt to remind readers of how satisfying Get Out is, but to say all of this is very much true of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out as well.

On the surface, Knives Out is a movie crafted in the vein of Clue or an Agatha Christie murder-mystery, but these genre constructs are only present to (mostly) serve as the conduit for writer/director Johnson to better express his feelings about, his concerns for, his frustrations with and his fears concerning America in 2019. Johnson is known for having split the Star Wars community in half with his previous film, Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, but before he took on a Star Wars movie he began his career in smaller fare like Brick before moving into bigger, but still very original features like The Brothers Bloom and Looper. Each of these films have a distinct nature in terms of the type of storytelling or genre Johnson is conveying his voice and ideas through and that is very much the case with Knives Out. When Johnson is working within a genre that allows him the room to elaborate on characters and scenarios in the way that he very clearly enjoys doing it is a formula that is almost unstoppable. Knives Out is a near-perfect film not only because it serves this allegorical purpose, but also because it can be enjoyed simply as a murder-mystery as it is wholly satisfying on just this level. Full review here. Video review here. A+

As a parent who has seen Frozen approximately 108,054,523,678,245 times it would be easy to go into a sequel with a cynical mindset expecting directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck to repeat themselves or simply recycle the rather exceptional visual and auditory elements that worked so well the first time, but have been consumed so frequently since that it now seems there was never any other option for what that film was meant to be or be received in any other way than becoming the cultural milestone that it did. There is also the inherent fear that studios will play it safe to the point they will simply re-fashion the first film to include a few new characters and a few new songs that will have the old characters go through the same motions of learning the same lessons, but never actually having them grow in any real or meaningful way. With this film in particular though, this never seemed as if it was going to be a concern-otherwise this sequel would have arrived three years ago. What made the idea of Frozen II exciting from the first teaser was the fact it seemed apparent the writing and directing team were intent on not repeating themselves-at least as far as narrative went-for even though Frozen II ultimately comes to explore many of the same themes touched upon in the original film it isn't doing so in a re-purposed fashion, but more expanding on them-namely, the idea of love not solely being that of a romantic quality, but that this greatest and most mysterious of all emotions is maybe even more genuine when there is no romantic factor to the equation, but is instead a pure, authentic, respectful appreciation of and connection to another being. This is a sequel that is admittedly a tough one to crack as it explores the ripples left over from the first film's complex emotional arcs. Furthermore, there's this idea that the world of Frozen only needed to be expounded upon if there was a desire for it and while the answer to that might seem obvious given the amount of money the first film made when taken on face value there was no real need to fill in further historical moments from the history of Arendelle. Still, Frozen II has many things on its mind and chief among them is allowing its two protagonists to come to terms with how they wound up in the crazy positions the events of the first film landed them in; if Frozen was about Elsa and Anna figuring out who they are then Frozen II is about them figuring out who they were meant to be and how well that aligns with who they've actually become. Video review here. B

Infamous director Richard Stanley returns with an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft short story, Color Out of Space, starring Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson about a secluded farm that is struck by a strange meteorite with apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world. Needless to say, I'll be catching up with this one soon. 

1 comment:

  1. These movies at least deserve our attention and we can always watch them whenever we are in need of relaxation and entertainment.