By: Henry J. Fromage –
This week was actually a single day thanks to work, and what an eclectic day of film watching it was indeed.
219. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
The mistake many will make with this film is reading it as anything but a comedy- sure the darkest fucking comedy imaginable, but pure Yorgos Lanthimos-brand comedy nonetheless. Drawing inspiration from the myth of the sacrifice of Iphigenia due to her father Agamemnon killing the goddess Diana’s favorite deer, this oblique revenge tale features all of the deadpan delivery and just otherworldly weirdness of Lanthimos’s dual breakouts, Dogtooth and The Lobster, but arguably amps it up even further. Barry Keoghan’s strange face is the perfect canvas for the ain’t quite right young man terrorizing surgeon Colin Farrell’s family, but it’s Nicole Kidman who turns the unprecedented trick of having one foot in Lanthimos’s signature universe and one foot in our own- she really doesn’t get the recognition she deserves for her near unmatched versatility.
220. Brawl in Cell Block 99
S. Craig Zahler is only two movies in (after his hyper-violent and hyper-entertaining debut, Bone Tomahawk), but he’s already created his own utterly unique universe- a film world in which the bone-crunching B-movies of yesteryear are inhabited by witty and verbose men of action (played by cast-aside character actors relishing the chance to take a bite out of A-grade material). Vince Vaughn’s career may have taken a turn towards laconic badasses in his underrated season of True Detective, but in this relentless prison fight/revenge flick it crystallizes into a bold and pure new direction- when you have other critics making comparisons of the star of Fred Claus to Lee Marvin, you know you’re witnessing something special. Good god, the gore effects in this thing, too.
221. Thor: Ragnarok
After leaving the theater for this, I posted “Let’s just have Taika Waititi make all of the movies from here on out.” and I didn’t mean ‘all the Marvel movies’. I can’t really understate how much I enjoyed this technicolor, Jeff Goldblum-saturated, Tessa Thompson-dominating, Heavy Metal-rocking marvel of a flick- hands down my favorite of the series so far. Waititi takes probably the least successful of the Avenger franchises and makes it his own weird playground of in-jokes, eye-popping design, surprisingly effective and perfectly dosed drama and action, and just pure goddamn fun. This was probably already true after Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but I’ll watch literally anything he ever makes, ever again. His comedic talent appears to be limitless.