By: Henry J. Fromage –
This week, for the first time in three years, my travel schedule aligned with the Wisconsin Film Festival, the first four flicks below being my bounty.
104. Escape Room
The first wide-release film of 2019 that seemed worth a visit (January truly is a wasteland), I finally got around to catching this very Saw-indebted escape room horror film and generally enjoyed the creativity and thrills on display. Is it the most original concept ever? Hell no. But it is plenty entertaining enough for me to give the inevitable sequel a go. Three Beers.
105. Under the Silver Lake
David Robert Mitchell follows up It Follows with an eccentric modern-day Los Angeles noir mystery starring Andrew Garfield as a conspiracy theorist and kind of asshole who stumbles on a bizarre, sexy, and maybe even a tad dangerous real-life conspiracy. Languorous and winding and full of little absurdities, fans of this very specific subgenre (see: Inherent Vice) will find plenty to like. Three Beers.
106. High Life
When first announced as a collaboration between French arthouse legend Claire Denis, austere Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, physicist Aurelien Barrau, and celebrated novelist Zadie Smith (an early departure) with a cast involving folks like Robert Pattinson, Mia Goth, and Andre Benjamin, it was hard not to get excited. Well, Smith might have been the missing link here, because while the imagery and design are quite unlike any Sci-Fi you’ve seen and the acting is compelling enough to hold the screen, the absence of a compelling narrative through-line cripples the film. Langeurs feel just a bit longer when your central aesthetic is claustrophobia. Four Beers.
107. The Twilight Zone (2019)
I’m as down as anyone to see the exciting new directions that Jordan Peele takes his newfound career as the preeminent horror maven of the present day, but I’ve liked but not loved what I’ve seen out of his new Twilight Zone reboot. Everything’s slick and the cast is aces, but the twists and moralizing are a bit on the nose so far- I’m hoping some subtlety gets re-injected into the proceedings, although I’m certainly not going to stop watching. Three Beers.
108. What We Do in the Shadows (2019)
Okay, it’s my second cheat entry, but this is my watch list so I’m doing it. Another TV show, this time at least based on a film, I’m happy to report that the the TV version of Taika Waititi’s and Jermaine Clement’s beloved vampire mock doc is just as charming and hilarious. So far it’s a new cast with some familiar parallels to the film’s, but with some welcome new additions like Natasia Demetriou’s boy’s club-busting female vampire and literally deadly boring “energy vampire” Colin Robinson- everyone’s watercooler nightmare. Two Beers.