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Review: ‘Get Out’

“Black is back!”

Meeting a partners parents for the first time is usually a somewhat uncomfortable experience, and in “Get Out” the situation is no different.

Awkward dad jokes, an overtly competitive sibling and a mother who specialises in hypnosis. Yes, it’s your traditional ‘meet the parents’ set-up.

DANIEL KALUUYA as Chris Washington

The directorial debut from Jordan Peele (MADtv, Key & Peele) presents the audience with a film balancing precisely on the line between psychological thriller and dark comedy.

At several points in this film you will experience the urge to laugh, although whether your giggle is the result of humour or horror you are never quite sure.

When African-American photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is invited by his Caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her family, race is an issue from the beginning.

The insistence that her father would have voted for Obama “a third time” is later reinforced by the man himself, as Bradley Whitford embodies the role of friendly/desperate Mr Armitage with a conviction that is winningly cringe worthy.

Mrs Armitage’s (Catherine Keeper) contemplative assessment of Chris is no more comforting, particularly when we see her command of the two (black) servants using little more than the clink of a spoon on her teacup.

Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keeper as the creepy Mr and Mrs Armitage

It soon becomes clear that the warning “Don’t go to a white girl’s parents’ house!”  delivered by Chris’ best friend, and provider of comic relief, Rod (LilRel Howry) is more ominous than first thought.

Bleak comedy soon gives way to spine-chilling mystery as Chris is paraded as the star attraction of a garden party where wealthy, white people prod his muscles and patronisingly insist “Black is back!” with an intensity which transcends mere curiosity.

The casting of Daniel Kaluuya may have been controversial when revealed, but it is the Brits former non-entity in Hollywood combined with Peele’s chaotically choreographed writing which makes this film stand out.

The casting of a more prominent actor would surely not have cemented us so securely in a film where the progression of the sinister is so rapid.

The unpredictability of the script, the haunting, string-filled soundtrack and a cinematography where symbolism is subtly emphasised all combine to create a thriller where the audience cannot guess what is going to happen next. It is satisfying for those sick of the predictability of thriller films, yet to label it as “crowd-pleasing” could not be further from the truth.

“Get Out” is a triumph of cinema, a socially relevant but unique concept which reveals more messages with every viewing.

The audience teeters uneasily between the realms of farce and fear as we are presented with a world which is assuredly unrealistic, yet at the same time disconcertingly familiar.

This Changes Everything

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Dir: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Staring: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansen, Samuel, L. Jackson, Robert Redford. Cert: 12A. Run Time: 136 minutes.

“The price of freedom is high… and it’s a price I’m willing to pay. You told me not to trust anyone and this is how it ends: Everything goes!” Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers tells Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and he wasn’t wrong.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier invites audiences back into the billion dollar franchise that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however unlike it’s other ‘Phase 2’ cohorts, Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, this movie has a very substantial link to 2012’s ‘Marvel’s Avengers Assemble‘.

With the constant bombardment of superhero movies following largely the same format, complicated sci-fi mumbo jumbo plot that the lead character must save us from, it was refreshing to see Cap 2 change things slightly as the movie took the tone of a political thriller.

The high tech first world security council, SHIELD, developed throughout Cap’s numerous predecessors, yet strangely absent from Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, is central to the plot.

The enemy here is from within, which means no-one is to be trusted, and who better for a lead role in this type of plot than a whiter than white patriot Steve Rogers, however Cap isn’t the most complex of characters, so it was good to see Scarlett Johansen’s Black Widow with her murky past take on a fuller role in this movie.

The villain of the piece, The Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan is surprisingly disappointing, his identity reveal came as no surprise and  the character feels as if he has been merely introduced, rather than actually dealt with, in this instalment.

Of course, the key strength of these Marvel movies is the way they tie into each other, they all feel part of the wider universe, and with this in mind, this movies climax, will have major repercussions for future instalments and for green lighting these risky decisions Marvel President, Kevin Feige deserves credit.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower – DVD Review


Ezra Miller, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman star in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Ezra Miller, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman star in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman): a freshman in high school with problems, but not the kind of problems usually found in your typical high school drama. It is only when Charlie meets his best friends Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) that his problems finally seem to dissipate.

Unlike other book-to-film adaptations, “Perks” was written, directed and produced by the author, Stephen Chbosky, making it very true to the book. The screenplay is emotive and really brings the characters to life (with the aid of the actors). There are also well placed moments of humour amidst various difficult storylines and character backgrounds.

Chbosky made many attempts to adapt the book into a film but something was stopping him every time. However, only eleven years later he came across the perfect cast and filming began in the summer of 2011. It was then that Steve, as he is informally known, felt the timing was right. This is how the great cast was formed.

Logan gives a believable and genuine performance as Charlie. As do the other members of the cast with their respective characters. Ezra portrays Patrick in a way every fan of the book would be proud of: exuberant, quirky and very funny. Emma plays Sam in a way that you don’t see her as that girl from “Harry Potter”.

The soundtrack is stereotypically of a generation who have just left the ‘80s behind them and are embarking upon the fresher scene of grunge with tracks from Sonic Youth and Galaxie 500 making an appearance; and although they’re not a ‘90s band, we cannot forget about Charlie’s favourite, The Smiths

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is very different from other American teenage dramas because of the characters and their stories. They are written in such a way that you believe they could be real. Their backgrounds are believable and moving, and although there is a simmering love story between Sam and Charlie, it is never over-powering, which is refreshing.

This was a great cinema and home experience. After being a fan of the book and waiting not-so-patiently for the film, I can say it was worth the wait. It is easily my favourite film of all time.

Film Review: The Croods

Everyone loves a good animated film. Toy Story probably made them fashionable, quickly followed by the likes of Shrek, Madagascar and The Incredibles. The Croods is one of those loveable family-friendly films. It tells the story of the Croods, a family who are among the last people on earth. They live in the safety of their cave, emerging once every few days to hunt for food. The protagonist is Eep who, despite all outward appearances, is the stereotypical stubborn teenage girl. She breaks the strict rules set down by her father, Grug, and ventures out of the cave one night. This leads the family on a venture of survival and Grug having to deal with Eep’s first teenage crush, Guy.

Despite the title, there was no ‘crood’ humour; the comedy flows from start to finish. The family unit is as dysfunctional as you would expect from an American on-screen family; a rebellious daughter, an over-protective father, a dim-witted son, an animalistic baby daughter, a battle-axe grandmother and the sensible mother who holds it all together. This leads to some great scenes with the family trying to survive not only a pre-historic apocalypse but also each other’s personalities. The storyline is entertaining and keeps up with the pace of the humour. There are scenes that everyone can relate to, from family spats to more tender moments. There is a strong theme of love throughout, from Eep’s crush to the love of a father for his daughter. Animal lovers will also be pleased with some cute and not-so-cute creatures playing a blinder in support roles, chiefly ‘Belt’, the sloth who is, according to Guy, is a “Conversational. Navigator. Also keeps my pants up”.

The blindingly attractive leading couple, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, are perhaps wasted behind the facades of their animated characters but Nicholas Cage, the voice of Grug, blends in well with his on-screen persona. The supporting cast is made up of Catherine Keener, Clarke Duke and Chris Sanders, to name a few.

All in all, The Croods is a very enjoyable film with strong comedy and a decent storyline. It is yet another DreamWorks film that is universally watchable. If you are babysitting, going on a date or treating an elderly relative to a trip to the cinema, The Croods is definitely a good option for all occasions.

Album Review: Tyler, The Creator – Goblin

Odd Future’s figurehead Tyler, The Creator releases his sophomore album Goblin, the first from the collective to have a release on a major label. The most hyped release of the year doesn’t live up to expectations, with few quality tracks, the album eventually suffers from a lack of musical ideas and a running time which could do with having at least 20 minutes shaved off it.

‘Radicals’ is one of the standout tracks on the album. It takes the vitriol up a notch; menacing beats are laced with a genuine anger in Tyler’s voice as he veers into an almost militant style of hip hop. “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school, I’m fucking radical” whilst the intensity subsides as a more enlightened Tyler tells us “im not saying to just go out and do stupid shit, commit crimes. What im trying to tell you is do what the fuck you want, stand for what the fuck you believe in, and don’t let anybody tell you you cant be what you want. I’m a fucking unicorn.”

The visceral intensity continues on tracks like ‘Translyvania’ and ‘Nightmare’ which sound exactly as the titles suggests. The tracks have slick grooves attached while Hip Hop juggernaut and track of the year contender ‘Yonkers’ maintains this vibe. While ‘Tron Cat’ sees him spouting the darkest raps on the album. A track so lyrically depraved that even his most ardent supporters will find it hard to stomach. “These tracks work almost on intensity alone, but there isn’t much else happening. He shows it doesn’t all have to be extremely dark on tracks like ‘Her’ where the bravado takes a back seat. But the track fails to land musically. ‘She’ sees Tyler join forces with Frank Ocean in a slow and forgettable RNB affair.

The album’s title track refers to everything to that point in Tyler’s life. The media pressure, the broken home. It’s Tyler spouting a stream of consciousness while a contrasting voice allays his fears. It happens again on album closer ‘Golden’ and while they are pretty decent tracks you can’t help but feel both are drawn out.

‘Sandwitches’ sees Hodgy Beats lend a hand in one of the album’s better moments, which acts almost as OFWGKTA’s call to arms. ‘Window’ sees a whole host of OFWGKTA member’s guest in a tune which serves no other purpose than as a platform to introduce some of his crew. ‘Fish’ and ‘Analog’ are another two tracks which have discernable grooves, while tracks like ‘Bitch Suck Dick’ are nothing more than parody.
It’s not an album for the easily offended, the groups’ defenders claim they are satirising the ugly parts associated with hip hop. Dependent entirely on how you want to perceive it, this could very well be a bit much for some people. Regardless of how you perceive it, eighty minutes is a bit much to listen to the misanthropic ranting and ravings of anyone, regardless of how skilled they may be in delivering it.

Tyler The Creator – Yonkers
Tyler, The Creator – Sandwitches (Live on Jimmy Fallon)

Odd Future Interview

By Paul Mullin