The end of Halloween is here…hopefully. In addition, there were some films released that were really good. Below are my thoughts on the films I saw this week. If you’d like to see more of my scores for films and thoughts, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd here.
Halloween Ends (Theaters/Peacock)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell and Will Patton
Synopsis: Back in 2018 director David Gordon Green began a journey. It was 40 years after the original Halloween, and Green returned star Curtis to the world as an older, grizzled and haunted Laurie Strode. She was waiting for her menace, Michael Myers, to return after all this time. And return he did. It was a fantastic film, meant to be a direct sequel to the original, that breathed life into the franchise. That, understandably, created excitement for what was planned as a trilogy. The second film, Halloween Kills, dampened some of that enthusiasm upon its release last October. Now, Friday, we got the final installment of the trilogy with Halloween Ends, a film meant to be the definitive ending of Michael Myers’ journey. After 13 films and 44 years, which seems like a good thing. This film takes place four years after the events of the first film and finds a wistful and introspective Strode now trying to live in peace with her granddaughter, Allyson (Matichak). At the same time, the residents of Haddonfield are struggling in the wake of Myers’ brutal attack. One in particular, Corey (Campbell), is an outcast thanks to an ugly incident that took place a year after Myers’ reign of terror. About the same time, he gets involved with Allyson, he crosses paths with another who helps unlock something powerful and potentially evil in him. Can Laurie stop Corey and prepare for the return of Myers, who disappeared without a trace four years earlier? Can she end the reign of terror? Will we care about this ending? The ending to the first two questions is probably fairly apparent to those who’ve watching this franchise for more than 40 years. The answer to the last question, for me, was sadly no. It is time for Halloween to end. We do get something that feels like a more definitive final act but it doesn’t play out as well as we might have hoped. This is an oddly told and paced film that mostly doesn’t work. The third act showdown we all know is coming is OK, not great. Green’s trilogy started with a flourish but ended with a whimper. I wasn’t fond of Halloween Kills but after consideration, I think this final installment is possibly worse. Either way, it didn’t live up to the potential we all saw in 2018.
Rating: Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language throughout and some sexual references.
Lyle Lyle Crocodile (Theaters)
Starring: Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley, Brett Gelman, and Shawn Mendes
Synopsis: Hector P. Valenti (Bardem) is a showman looking for a new hook. When he stumbles into an exotic animal shop he finds a singing crocodile named Lyle (Mendes). He takes Lyle home and together they form a bond and develop an act. But when it comes to bringing the act to the stage, Lyle hits a case of stage fright. In debt, Hector takes to the road, leaving Lyle in his family Brownstone in New York City. About 18 months later, the Primm family moves in. Josh (Fegley) meets and bonds with Lyle quickly, and soon his parents (Wu and McNairy) do as well. But a nosy neighbor (Gelman) and the re-appearance of Hector threaten to out Lyle, forcing him to share his talent if he wants to prove he belongs. Lyle doesn’t speak, only sings, and Mendes does a great job at that. Otherwise, the expressions and movements of Lyle help build the character and endear him to the audience. Bardem and Wu also have musical numbers, and both do a nice job in those roles. I enjoyed the story here and the way the film is put together. Josh Gordon and Will Speck do a nice job directing the film, which is family-friendly and brings you into the world and story. I had a fun time with this film and the original music.
Rating: Rated PG for mild peril and thematic elements.
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Isabela Merced, Sean Teale, Kyle Allen, Bradley Whitford, and Minnie Driver
Synopsis: The story of Romeo and Juliet has been told many times on stage, on screen and in print. And it’s been told many ways. But, undoubtedly, you’ve never seen it told quite like this. This film opens with Rosaline (Dever), a Capulet whose father (Whitford) is trying to find her a husband in a secret affair with a Montague, Romeo (Allen). Their love is like a whirlwind, but both are ready for it to be public. They plan to reveal themselves at the Capulet Ball. But before Rosaline can get there, she is sent on an arranged outing with a potential suitor, Dario (Teale). In her absence, Romeo connects with Rosaline’s cousin, Juliet (Merced), and sparks fly. Now, a jilted Rosaline finds herself in the middle of the greatest love story of all time and possibly pulled into her own great love story. Dever is fantastic in the lead role here. Her comedic timing is strong and the script gives her plenty of fun moments. I enjoyed Whitford and Driver—who plays Rosaline’s nurse and confidant—in their supporting roles. Merced and Allen are fun as Romeo and Juliet, while Teale has some great moments as Dario. He and Dever have great chemistry, which makes the whole thing work. This is a familiar story but it’s never been told in quite this way. The third act is a lot of fun, too, with some wild moments and twists that work well. I enjoyed this one a lot for its creativity and originality. It’s a clever and fun journey.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and brief strong language.
Triangle of Sadness (Limited Release)
Starring: Dolly De Leon, Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, and Woody Harrelson
Synopsis: This new film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and won the prestigious Palm d’Or as the best film of the festival. It’s a wild comedy that runs nearly two and a half hours. We begin with models Carl (Dickinson) and Yaya (Dean) who are struggling. They argue about money and gender roles but seem to be trying to make their relationship work. Soon, we travel with them to a yacht, where Yaya has gotten passage thanks to her work as an influencer. There they connect with more wealthy Europeans, some who’ve made their fortune in questionable arenas. Soon, the pair and other guests attend a Captain’s dinner that goes horribly wrong. The captain (Harrelson) is an interesting character, and in the aftermath of the dinner, more goes wrong. It’s a wacky journey that takes you through unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed the creativity here from writer/director Ruben Ostlund. Harrelson is a lot of fun in his supporting role, while Dickinson and Dean, who tragically died in August, do a nice job as the focal piece of the narrative. This film isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, though some sequences might elicit that response. It’s more an amusing commentary on money, class and generational gaps. That being said, the run time does wear on you. The film drags in spots. I enjoyed some of the outlandish sequences and the fascinating ending but I would have preferred a tighter film getting there. Still, this is original and creative, and it’s a film worth seeking out.
Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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