Review of reviews: Music & Film
Music & Film
Directed by Jordan Peele
Something’s not right in suburbia.
Jordan Peele is “positively fearless,” said Peter Debruge in Variety. In his directorial debut, the writer-actor best known for the sketch-comedy series Key & Peele has blended race-savvy satire with horror to create a “bombshell” social critique that’s most remarkable for refusing to pull a single punch. Daniel Kaluuya stars as a young black man who agrees to visit his white girlfriend’s parents in the suburbs and learns gradually that the family’s welcoming demeanor obscures deeply sinister intent. Early on, Get Out is “both unsettling and hysterical, often in the same moment,” said Brian Tallerico in RogerEbert.com. Kaluuya’s Chris at first politely brushes off casually racist remarks, and it’s unclear whether we’re witnessing routine awkwardness or something more menacing. Though the movie loses some of its satirical edge in the third act, by then it’s become an impressive horror thrill ride. Never does Get Out settle into being “the kind of film that exists to let the audience clap itself on the back for being above it all,” said Dominick Suzanne-Mayer in ConsequenceOfSound .net. Peele’s chief targets are white liberals who too easily dismiss racism, and that focus serves him well. Even in its most routine genre moments, this horror movie feels “intriguingly unique.”
John Wick: Chapter 2
Directed by Chad Stahelski
An honorable assassin returns to work.
“There’s a strange comfort in just how good John Wick: Chapter 2 is,” said David Sims in TheAtlantic.com. The pulpy pleasures of the 2014 original came as such a surprise that you could worry its success was a fluke. But the installment wisely doubles down on the franchise’s inventive world building and “balletic” approach to ultraviolence. Once again, Keanu Reeves plays the titular assassin, a calm professional who “fights like a guntoting sorcerer.” Here, he must fulfill a blood oath by killing an Italian mafiosa, and because he has less at stake personally, we get more of the character’s zany parallel reality, in which hit men follow a strict code of conduct and live together in a luxury hotel where business stops at the door. “Some of this world building is fun, and almost all of it is dazzling,” said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. But Wick, a widower who first came out of retirement when an intruder killed his puppy, has no interests here behind his work, and that will burden a franchise. Still, Reeves is perfect in the role, said Stephanie Zacharek in Time. He radiates a lived-in cool, and “he knows what’s awful and what’s funny about every scene.”