Tag Archives: Glen

US (2019) – My rating: 6.5/10

Us is a horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele, who produced the film alongside Jason Blum and Sean McKittrick (with the trio previously having collaborated on Get Out and BlacKkKlansman), as well as Ian Cooper. I am not a fan of horror flicks but I am a fan of Lupita Nyong’o, so I saw the movie. Honestly, Us was more of a mystery than a horror movie, which I thought was interesting. The film follows a family who are confronted by their doppelgängers (a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person) and has grossed $102 million worldwide. Us received praise from critics for Peele’s screenplay and direction, as well as for the score and acting.

In 1986, Russel (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Rayne (Anna Diop) Thomas go on vacation with their young daughter, Adelaide (Madison Curry) to Santa Cruz, CA. While at the beach carnival, Adelaide’s mother goes to the ladies room, leaving Adelaide with her father, who is trying to win a prize playing one of the carnival games. Bored watching her father play, Adelaide wanders off and enters a funhouse, where she encounters a doppelgänger of herself in the “hall of mirrors”. After a short search by Russel and Rayne, a traumatized Adelaide is reunited with her parents but unable to speak about her disappearance or what she experienced.

In the present day, a now adult Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) heads to her family’s beach house in Santa Cruz with her husband Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and their children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). Adelaide, never forgetting the traumatic incident from her youth, is apprehensive about the trip. On the other hand, Gabe is eager to impress their friends Josh (Tim Heidecker) and Kitty (Elisabeth Moss) Tyler, purchases a boat ignoring Adelaide’s emotional status. Once settled at the beach and into their indivisible activities, Jason suddenly wanders off. He encounters a man in a red jumpsuit, standing alone on the beach with his arms outstretched and blood dripping from his hands. Jason does not tell his family about the man but later draws a picture of him. Later that night, a strange family of four appears in the driveway of the beach house. After several attempts from Gabe get the invaders to identify themselves, they attack him and break into the beach house. The Wilsons realize that the four intruders are doppelgängers of themselves, led by Adelaide’s double, Red. Being the only doppelgänger capable of speech, Red tells the Wilsons the story of a girl who lives a happy life while her shadow suffers. The family is then separated by their opposites —  things start to get wild and seriously dangerous.

There is no way I can tell any more of this thriller without spoiling it for you, so I’ll leave it here. I can only say, the adventures between the original humans and the Doppelgängers get pretty intense. From the Tyler twins, Becca Tyler/Lo (Cali Sheldon) and Lindsey Tyler/Nix (Noelle Sheldon) who don’t really like the Wilson children, to Adelaide’s true story revealed, you will see a whole new side to Us. The acting was brilliant and the special effects were outstanding. For me, horror is not how I would define Us. There were a few scary moments but nothing earth shattering and certainly nothing we haven’t seen before. Us was extremely bloody and the anticipation was at an all time high, as we waited to find out what was really going on. There were times I couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t real and I didn’t like the way Us ended. When it all became clear, I was ready to vote for a rewrite of the final results. I’ve heard many opinions about Us, some say they liked it and some say it was a waste of time and money. You will have to go see it for yourself and make your own determination. Us is exciting and entertaining so you won’t lose on that accord, Check It Out if you like thrillers.

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (2018) – My rating: 9/10

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a biographical film directed by Marielle Heller.  The screenplay is by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on Lee Israel’s 2008 memoir of the same name. Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the true story of a writer who has fallen on hard times and turns to illegal methods of making ends meet.   This movie has flown way under the radar, as it appears to have been looked on as the book Lee Israel wrote in the movie.  I’m so glad I got to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? it’s truly a block buster in it’s own right.

**** SOME SPOILERS ****

Following the critical and commercial failure of her biography of Estée Lauder, author Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is struggling with financial troubles, writer’s block and alcoholism. Because her agent Marjorie (Jane Curtain), is unable to secure Lee with an advance for a new biography, she is forced to find another way to make money.  Lee lugs a ton of heavy books to a pawn shop for books but can only get $2.00 and some nasty attitude for all her effort.  Further, her beloved cat is sick and needs medication.  Lee decides to sell a personal letter she received from Katharine Hepburn to Anna (Dolly Wells), a local book dealer in order to cover her expenses.

While at the library conducting research about Fanny Brice, for a novel she’s planning to write, Lee happens upon an actual letter from Ms. Brice folded in the book. She swipes the letter and offers to sell it to Anna, who can’t give much due to the letter’s lack of interesting content. That’s when Lee begins to forge and sell letters by deceased writers, playwrights and actors, by embellishing them with juicy,  intimate details that command a higher price. Anna, who is a fan of Lee’s writing as an author, attempts to initiate a relationship with her. Lee being very private and unfriendly most of the time, rejects the relationship with Anna.

When one of Lee’s letters written by Noël Coward raises suspicion for its unguarded discussion of his sexuality, she is blacklisted by her buyers. Unable to sell the forgeries herself, she has her new best friend, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) sell the letters for her. While Lee was away attempting to enhance her forgery business, she trusted Jack to take care of her apartment and her cat. Upon her return, she ends their relationship after finding her apartment trashed and her cat dead.  Later Jack and Lee are served with a court summons by the FBI for forgery.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is based on a true story and presents a nice change and a nice rest from all the action movies.  There are times when you think Lee is going to do something predictable, then surprised when she does something totally opposite.  Although I’ve told much of the story, I’ve also left out much of the story.  Melissa McCarthy has given a fantastic performance if not her best performance.  She is completely believable and convincing as the writer, Lee Israel.  Richard E. Grant was absolutely brilliant as Jack Hock, a friendly gay man with a secret.  I  was thoroughly entertained and learned a thing or two about the world of authentic letter buying.  For me, this movie is what going to the movies is all about.  Excellent story — Brilliant acting — Check It Out!

[Can You Ever Forgive Me? is Oscar nominated for Best:  Actress, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay]