Get the F– Out!

Get Out is thoroughly entertaining and just plain good — a nice surprise.  I think it likely to hold up in the Top 10, even with the assumption that this year will fare much better than last.  Is it on the level of another ‘get out’ story, Ex Machina from a couple years ago?  Not quite.  But it’s a fun, frightening feature for folks (quintuple-‘F’!!).

Now compare to that last effort by M. Night Shyamalan.  No comparison, and M. Night’s been doing this for decades.  It makes it all the more remarkable what Jordan Peele (yes, of Key & Peele) has accomplished.  Let’s see, he wrote and starred in Keanu.  The cat movie.  Well-regarded, but a silly cat movie.  Very next movie, Get Out.  Whoa, what a turn.  Much respect.  Quite the way to break out of slapstick.

There are a few silly moments in Get Out, which serve nicely as comic relief.  You might call them ‘audience pleasers.’  They weren’t bad at all, but hardly integrated into the larger story as deftly as the Coens or Vince Gilligan would pull off.  So a little incongruity there.  But no matter: I urge you to Get Out and see this movie.  8/10

Comparison Notes (all highly recommended): Being John Malkovich, Invasion films, Sound of My Voice, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Film Brief: Enough Said

The romantic comedy Enough Said, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Toni Collette and Catherine Keener consists of a weakish story housed in a film that didn’t seem to quite know if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama — but in that way you can argue it reflects real life.  It compares unfavorably to Sideways or Apatow comedies, but nonetheless I liked the performances and was entertained: a mild recommendation, conditional that the trailer appeals to you.  It does have a high Tomatoemeter reading, but for me story and characters matter;  6/10.

Film as Soufflé

email 12 Nov 2008

Most of the time, a character moves through a story as a single person, changed from the beginning of the story to the end only by the experiences he endures.  But there is another type of story being told in recent years in which a player merges into or takes the place of another.  Identities can be mixed, renewed or transposed, with possibly a simple, singular flip, or, as is the trend in the films I write of today, with ever evolving complexity which can reach a crescendo of rotating parts, a constant folding of one personality into or under another.  The successful enterprise I liken to a soufflé, that dish wherein a light, fluffy cloud of beaten egg whites is delicately yet deftly cut into the heavy mass of the soufflé’s base over and over again until perfectly stirred into a homogeneous casserole which when baked will deliver culinary magic.

The best example I can think of where characters are juxtaposed and layered in this manner is the Lynch masterpiece Mulholland Dr.  I’ve written about and discussed this film enough already (previous post).  The NY Times reviewer Stephen Holden likened the character and plot development to Russian dolls, which is another way of looking at my soufflé analogy. Continue reading