Drunk Monkeys


Grieving grandparents (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) attempt to rescue their grandson and former daughter-in-law from her abusive new husband’s family in Thomas Bezucha’s modern-day Western. The film boasts accurate 1960s period detail and an introspective score by Michael Giacchino. Digital photography adeptly captures western vistas with a sense of awe, while color timing matches the character-driven narrative’s progressively darkening tone. Granted, some viewers may be irked by the inconsistent ways in which gratuitous violence interrupts the laconic pacing. See it for Costner and Lane’s performances, as well as Lesley Manville’s (Phantom Thread) devilish turn as the Weboy clan’s matriarch.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Possessor

Possessor embodies the definition of a mind fuck movie. It thoroughly dismantles preconceived notions about genre and eradicates the boundary between “low” and “high” art. Andrea Riseborough (Mandy) plays an agent who inhabits people’s bodies via brain-implant technology to commit assassinations. However, the longer she stays in a host increases her risk of permanent brain damage. Comparisons to his father’s work is inevitable, particularly eXistenZ, but Brandon Cronenberg’s vision is equally original and assured in execution. The film is layered with meaning and contains visually arresting in-camera practical effects. Not for the squeamish, Possessor is a transgressive work of art.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Dreamland

It’s a shame Dreamland most likely won’t reach a wider audience. Other critics have unfairly compared it to Bonnie and Clyde, but what Dreamland lacks in narrative cohesion and thrills—save for an intense dust storm sequence—it compensates with its interiorized character study. Lyle Vincent’s (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) cinematography, Meredith Lippincott’s production design, and Patrick Higgins’ score perfectly capture Depression-era period detail. Most of all, the film is buoyed by Margot Robbie (who also served as a producer), whose performance as bank robber Allison Wells continues to exhibit her innate ability to inhabit compelling, characters.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Unhinged

Road rage becomes revved to the max in this thrill ride about a man who terrorizes a mother and her son. Although plots points are fairly predictable, the story contains a few tense sequences, include a brutal murder at a diner. Caren Pistorius (Slow West) continues to exhibit range in a role that allows for vulnerability and ingenuity. But Russell Crowe is the main draw to see the film. His menacing performance and Ford truck render New Orleans claustrophobic—they always seem to be tailgating your bumper. Unhinged isn’t Duel or Speed, but it’ll keep you entertained for 90 minutes.
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Devil's Junction: Handy Dandy's Revenge—A Disappointing Chiller

Killer toys can be creepy. To name a few: the ventriloquist dummy in Dead of Night (1945), the Zuni doll in Trilogy of Terror (1975), the animated puppets in Puppet Master (1989). The horror sub-genre is no slouch when it comes to producing scares; in fact, it has seen a resurgence with such films as James Wan’s Dead Silence (2007) and the Child’s Play remake (2019). One of the most recent entries, Devil’s Junction: Handy Dandy’s Revenge, features plenty of slicing-and-dicing, but fails to get the heart racing.

Open House 1-4 A Play on Real-Life Horrors

Horror films often provide temporary escapist entertainment from the world around us. Other times they can reflect the horror in real life. Brad Holloway’s short film, Open House 1-4, does the latter. The narrative concerns a realtor (Tanya Christiansen, I Still Believe) trying to sell a house in an upscale neighborhood. On full display are her prejudices toward potential homebuyers. Got sandals, dreads, or tattoos? Nope. Do you look Latino? Try elsewhere. Are you black? Wrong neighborhood. White and wealthy? Welcome, come on in!

Hand in Hand

Ennio Ruschetti—who is perhaps best known as serving in the Art Department for Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth (2015)—has been directing his own short films during the past few years, one of his most recent being Hand in Hand. His own flair for interesting stories is on full display in this horror-comedy. Just as Luis Buñuel explores the implausibility of leaving a room in The Exterminating Angel (1962), Ruschetti capitalizes on the equally bizarre instance of politicians being unable to stop shaking hands.

Double Tap

Double Tap is an ingenious horror short in the modern-day technological horror subgenre. Initially the title made me think of Columbus’ rule in Zombieland (2009), but upon viewing the film the meaning became crystal clear. The concept is clever: a teenager named Chilli (Olive Gray) scrolls through her never-ending Instagram feed, double-tapping nearly every post to like them. But when she passes on a chain letter-like post, things go from bad to worst.

Home with a View of the Monster, Intellectual Horror

Alex and Todd Greenlee’s Home with a View of the Monster keeps audiences on their toes. A trippy exercise in the horror of the bizarre, the film’s visuals and fragmented narrative begs for multiple viewings to unpack all of the script’s layers. Broken into five chapters, a stylistic choice that is reminiscent of the structure of a Tarantino film, the narrative unfolds in a disjointed fashion and explores the psyches of its central characters.

TOGETHER Mashed Multiple Genres to Great Effect

Ryan Oksenberg (Damage Control) returns with Together, a genre thriller that is one-part horror, one-part comedy, one-part family drama, and 100 percent fun. Who would have thought a zombie film template would so seamlessly combine with a narrative about biohazard removal? Following a prologue of a man (David Otten) attacking a couple in the woods, the attention shifts to Julia (Arielle Hader), a young woman who runs a small biohazard cleaning service and lives in a trailer park. Julia is haunted by childhood memories of her father’s alleged suicide, a trauma that is exacerbated as she takes care of her ailing mother (Karin Collison).
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The Point / Loma Beat (Formerly The Point Weekly, Point Loma Nazarene University)