Oh, the not quite horror
- Hereditary (2018): Much acclaim has come the way of Hereditary, a horror movie that provides less horror than advertised, but manages to conjure an unsettling sense of dread. I wasn’t as taken by it as I expected to be, especially as first timer Ari Aster uses a lot of style to compensate for a less than convincing story. To be fair, I am yet to be truly impressed by movies about spiritualism and possession, because this brand of supernatural horror just falls flat most of the time. Hereditary does a good job in defying certain expectations without relying on jump scares, as Toni Collette offers a classic performance. You could even argue for some mind-twisting interpretations about blind followers and echo chambers as well, but ultimately Hereditary left me wanting more. 7/10
Team parents all the way!
- Blockers (2018): Is a comedy in the spirit of Neighbours (2014), which I also liked, so it’s no surprise I enjoyed Blockers too. Three parents go nosing around in their kids’ business to find out they have embarked on a sex pact and the parents themselves then try to intervene. You see the comedic avenues available right there. Thanks to a likable cast (particularly Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz), director Kay Cannon puts together a funny little thing, that even touches on some more serious matters – tactfully. Sure, there’s a lot of physical comedy in this, so if you enjoy that, then Blockers is for you (I do). If not, life’s too short for this nonsense. 7/10
The passion of the T-Rex
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018): I don’t mind clichés that much, which is probably why Fallen Kingdom was a bearable, borderline enjoyable ride. It helps that dinosaurs fascinate me – just think about walking around a place that holds living beings taller than two-story buildings! Ok, so my dino-fascination is stuck at the level of a ten year old, but what can you do? There’s a lot you can dislike about this sequel to the already semi-convincing reboot, starting with a lame villain – obvious reason why, it’s not one of the dinosaurs. Sure, there’s this mean, hybrid killing machine, but it’s stuck in a boring old mansion, which is part of why the movie doesn’t do much with the premise. So what did I like? I liked some of the action, I liked Chris Pratt and I liked the T-Rex bile. 6/10
Alas, the great Alexander Payne falters
- Downsizing (2017): If anything, Downsizing is a distant relation, perhaps a third cousin, of Fallen Kingdom – a movie about how going small will save the planet from dying out. It’s a very ambitious thought experiment, that fails to really take off beyond the ‘very interesting, but’ phase. You get these miniature people, who consume less and have way more buying power, which is supposed to be a tempting proposal for those who want to do good and curb melting ice caps. But I never got beyond how this miniature world would work without the non-miniatured world around it, which is the primary reason why there’s this (unsustainable) buying power conversion rate (e.g. 100k USD converts to 12kk USD). There are times when Downsizing feels important, like it’s saying something poignant about mankind’s willingness to self-sacrifice. Alas, this feeling of importance has no staying power, which is why, in the end, the movie takes you nowhere. 5/10
Standard in non-standard
- Ideal Home (2018): This story about a neglected child that gets taken in by his gay uncle works well thanks to Steve Coogan’s and Paul Rudd’s shenanigans. It’s not a spectacular ride in celebrating same-sex parents, but it does paint a relationship that occasionally steps out of the stereotypical – the flamboyancy is there (a gay cowboy cook will get you there quickly), as is the drama. Not sure why the harsh IMDb rating, but it gets a 6/10 from me for the amusing little tale that it is.