This year we were once again lucky enough to cover the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, and though we came on a bit late, we were able to catch a shorts film block from the festival as well as some features! This year the shorts block was solid, and I took on the #MeToo shorts block. This list of short films covers the topics of sexual assault, rape, toxic masculinity the like.
The gallery of genre entries was great once again and I loved the substance these directors brought to film.
It’s hard to talk about “The Lodge” without giving away too much, but it manages to be more of a haunting drama in the end, than a horror movie about the supernatural. What Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz do is examine the horrors of pure grief and how it can unravel us mentally, and keep us always on the brink of breaking and submitting to pure disturbing madness. “The Lodge” is sure to keep audiences talking, mainly for its incredibly beautiful production design, and absolutely meticulous direction that will draw parallels to “Hereditary.”
Mike Flanagan has managed to become one of the most recurring auteurs for Stephen King’s adaptations, and “Doctor Sleep” is a particularly heavy undertaking. Even for the now seasoned filmmaker, “Doctor Sleep” is a tough artistic task that has to appeal to general audiences, while also tying in to Stanley Kubrick’s original masterpiece, and appeasing King, who went through every length to ensure “Doctor Sleep” was detached from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation. It’s a shame the movie didn’t quite click with audiences and grab higher numbers, as it’s easily my favorite film of 2019, bar none.
Hollywood loves to look for new angles on public domain fairy tales and intellectual properties. They’re always looking for a platform for a brand new franchise, and they either go the horror route or the action route. If one fails, they automatically revert to the other a few years later. “Cinderella” and “Snow White” have been brought to the big and small screen as pseudo-horror movies and action bonanzas, with varying degrees of success. The one fairy tale that hasn’t dodged the massive overhaul for a new generation is “Hansel and Gretel.”
A group of bank-robbing bikers hits a town where the local marshal has given up on carrying a gun years before after an incident on the job, their violence force the marshal to get back into action and defend his small town.
It’s hard to imagine a more bizarre experimental movie I’ve come across in years. Jack Henry Robbins’ film “VHYes” at its best is a funny, smart, experiment with nostalgia, while at its worst, it feels like a weak pilot for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim expanded in to a near feature length movie. Some might appreciate the jarring changes in tone and bite size comedy that is peppered throughout “VHYes” and while I thought it left much to be desired, it also had a lot going for it, with some fascinating commentary about nostalgia and memories. It really wants to be “Amazon Women on the Moon,” at the end of the day, but it ends as a mildly fascinating meshing of genres, and comedic bits.
Yet another year, yet another series of Oscar nominations where the nominees are somewhat obvious, and the usual suspects. Despite the Oscars’ consistently low ratings, the nominations remain much discussed until the night of the big ceremony, and this year the Academy locked out some considerably great performances by minority actors. This is five great Performances by People of Color that the Academy ignored.
I think that when the smoke clears, director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is going to be a lesson to Hollywood that—people want dark, violent comic book movies… which shouldn’t be what’s learned, if you ask me. “Joker” lends credence to the long held opinion that comic books are art and not just pop fodder for adults that refuse to grow up. Comic book movies, much like comic books, can be compelling art, and “Joker” proves that, even in spite of its inherent flaws. “Joker” is a shockingly good movie, even though it really wants to be a Scorsese film.