IT FOLLOWS

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. It has its plot holes but gets big points for originality (we don’t need another haunted house movie) with a relentless, homicidal, supernatural stalker passed on like an STD. The film doesn’t explain what it is, how it came to be, what’s its agenda. It simply is what it is and does what it does. The working class suburban setting and the real-looking teens lend the film a gritty feel. The camera work, the low budget, and the minimalist score give it a real =Halloween= vibe.  The moral dilemma presented to the characters and the audience places this a cut above the pack,

FF=1

FOCUS

Will Smith has matured into this sort of role, where he’s the teacher rather than the student.  He’s smooth, the cast is excellent (Margot Robbie is new to me but she’s easy on the eyes) and the script has some interesting scams. I didn’t feel any real chemistry between Smith and Robbie that’s no biggee.  Hardly a riveting film but I was engaged and entertained (although the end was hard to buy). A lightweight diversion.  Some days that’s all you need.

FF=1

JUPITER ASCENDING

This is a tough one.  I expected to hate it, but because of the Wachowskis’ involvement, I gave it a go. It’s bad, old-fashioned space opera from the Planet Stories days, but not as awful as you’d expect from the reviews. The visuals are super, the story is preposterous, the actors do what they can with the roles (except for Eddie Redmayne who is consistently terrible).  I love astronomical eye candy, so I guess I’m a sucker for these visuals.  You def need to check your brain at the door, but if you’re throwing a party, you could put this on your big screen with the sound off and you’d have cool wallpaper.

FF=3

SEVENTH SON

Sure it’s got Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, but you know this by-the-numbers Joseph Campbell template by heart.  It’s been done and done a lot better.  (Hint: the boy is Luke, Bridges is Obi Wan, the black witch is Vader.) Not worth the 100 minutes.

FF=3

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In a word…dark. Dark mood, dark lighting (sometimes I couldn’t see what was happening). Supposedly based on a true story. Bana is okay as the cop, but Edgar Ramirez is super as the ex-addict priest. The trouble with the film (for me) was its length and the sense of deja vu throughout. Okay, another word…”cliched.” I guess I’m done with demonic possession flicks. Once you’ve seen The Exorcist and experienced its resonance, where do you go from there?

FF=3

WHILE WE’RE YOUNG

I thought this would be an okay rom-com for a late Saturday afternoon, but it turns much darker than you’d expect. An “All About Eve” vibe creeps in along with questions about personal and professional integrity. I was far more engaged than I thought I’d be. Great performances and I fell for Naomi Watts (again).

FF=0

THE FORGER

I rented this thinking it was a caper film but it’s really a family drama. Three generations played to perfection by Plummer, Travolta, and Tye Sheridan (the kid from “Mud”). The art forgery/scam seems like an afterthought.  The boy’s brain cancer sets the story in motion at a leisurely pace. Not for those looking for an action film but it has its rewards.

FF=1.