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Who has the popcorn?
Jordan Peele returns to the big screen with Us, the follow up to his cult-hit directorial debut Get Out. This movie certainly has a lot to prove – mainly being whether Peele is a one trick pony or really has potentially for longevity in Hollywood.
Us is a home-invasion thriller laced with nostalgic cultural references and classic cinematic scares. The plot focuses on Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o)- who had a traumatic experience at Santa Cruz beach as a child, her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and children Zora and Jason (Shahidi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex). As they decide to take a vacation at Santa Cruz, Adelaide becomes increasingly anxious about her old demons, and soon has to face what happened all those years ago.
The performance from Lupita Nyong’o in this movie is incredible, she alone is reason enough to warrant repeat viewings (I’ve seen it twice in the last week and already plan to see it again).
This is a story of humans; what divides us, what these divisions mean and how those devisions hurt everyone. Peele’s direction takes a tight grasp on horror and comedy, balancing both perfectly. Us makes it clear that sometimes, the scariest truths are hiding in plain sight.
The MCU’s first female-led and co-directed superhero film has certainly made an impact across the globe, having already surpassed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, and it’s no wonder; Brie Larson shines as the film uses memories and flashbacks to stitch together the character of Carol Danvers, an Air Force test pilot with a troubled past on Earth and also an energy powered creature from another planet who can fire photon blasts from her hands.
The storytelling technique is both innovative and appealing, and is one of the things I enjoyed most about the movie. It’s great to see a movie of this kind focusing on a woman who has followed orders her whole life finally crafting an identity of her own in a shifting moral landscape.
Towards the end of the movie, when Larson takes literal flight, we see the first moment of true visual poetry and catharsis. It’s also an indicator that, fortunately for us, the most interesting parts of her journey are still ahead of her (which lays a great ground for a sequel!).
What Men Want
What Men Want is a gender-swapped remake of the 2000 movie What Women Want starring Mel Gibson, who learns some important lessons about empathy and humility when given the ability to hear women’s thoughts.
This version stars Taraji P. Henson as Ali, a woman trying to succeed working as a sports representative in a workplace full of men. Sick of being surrounded by toxic masculinity, Ali drinks an ominous tea from a psychic she sees at a girl’s night, then hits her head (a screenwriter favorite) and somehow is given the power to hear men’s thoughts.
The movie recruits a cast of comedic all-stars including Wendi McLendon Covey and Henson’s hilarious, yet grounded performance keeps us rooting for Ali even at her worst. Although What Men Want isn’t a comedy standout, it’s still a very much enjoyable romp.
Which movie will you see?