By: Henry J. Fromage –
I got out to Los Angeles for the first time last week and took advantage to see some cool Indie films- and that was pretty much my week.
101. The Blackcoat’s Daughter
The directorial debut of horror royalty Oz Perkins (son of Anthony) is a damn creepy exercise in style and suggestion, and a film that has a really unconventional rhythm and approach to chronology that will keep you guessing. It’s a story of a couple of boarding school girls (Kieran Shipka and Lucy Boynton) stuck at school the first weekend of winter break for various, and ultimately insidious, reasons, as well as the story of a young woman (Emma Roberts) headed in the direction of the school. Blood will flow.
Speaking of blood, this is an audacious French horror film about a Veterinary school Freshman and vegetarian who’s forced to eat meat as a part of a hazing ritual and starts to develop some unconventional tastes that her older sister and schoolmate may share, and it’s dripping in the stuff. Julie Ducournau marks herself as one of the most exciting and absolutely fucking twisted young voices in horror today. Truly, the genre is having a heyday.
103. Mr. Church
Literally the only film on a flight across the country I hadn’t seen outside of the new Da Vinci Code, and fuck that, this updated Driving Miss Daisy that nobody in the 21st Century requested or needed does feature Eddie Murphy trying to act- and the man can act just fine when he wants to. But it also features some at best exhausted and at worst actively harmful Hollywood race relation cliches and a runtime that feels like it’s eight and a half excruciating hours. Something to die in a nursing home to.
104. Ghost in the Shell
Director Rupert Sanders may be all style over substance, but what style. Somehow translating the language of anime into live action film, the world he renders here is thrilling and full of neon-soaked and baroque detail, and the action scenes he engineers with one of our best action stars, hard stop, in Scarlett Johansson is bone-crunching and kinetic. Sure, the plot doesn’t have anything to say that decades of techno-punk sci-fi ruminations on the state of the soul in an artificial world haven’t already, but I enjoyed it quite a bit all the same.
I’m not sure why this got such bad reviews, but I’m entirely sure why everyone’s already forgotten about it a few months after it came out. Generic, if well-lensed action from The Master‘s Mihai Malaimare, who’s making an interesting career arting up Hollywood actioners like this and A Walk Among the Tombstones, is the main calling card. Jamie Foxx isn’t asked to do much but keeps it credible, and the plot is cut + paste action boilerplate- great to toss on in the background and do something else to.