Movie Review Weekly Roundup: March 21 – March 27, 2021

Promising Young Woman (2020) directed by Emerald Fennell and starring Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, and Alison Brie.

The following is part of a weekly compilation of movie reviews from The Buzz Track staff. These movies were watched in the previous week, and the reviews were originally posted on Letterboxd.

Midsommar (2019)

DIRECTOR: Ari Aster.
WRITERS: Ari Aster.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama, Horror, Mystery.
LENGTH: 2h 28min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: March 21, 2021.

I want to love this movie. I wish I could like it. But I could not fall in love with any of the characters nor with their stories. Most all of the main characters, except for Dani and Josh, are hallow shells of humanity. Dani’s story arc is a sad trip into a psychological meltdown. Her boyfriend, Christian, is completely shallow. He is an endless supply of narcissism and selfishness and holds very little interest in other people. His college buddy Josh was the only other character to have a well-rounded personality. But Josh suffers at the hands of being a plot point to move the story along. I was coming into my initial viewing of this movie after seeing Ari Aster’s previous film, which I enjoyed. I had high expectations for this one, but it seems they were placed too high.

Don’t Tell a Soul (2020)

DIRECTOR: Alex McAulay.
WRITERS: Alex McAulay.
GENRES: Drama, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 23min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: March 22, 2021.

Here we see how Stranger Things is introduced to The Office. The movie is better than I would expect going in at first. But I doubt it will make it to my top favorite list of movies for this year. I thought it was well-acted for such a mediocre story. Nothing else special really stands out to me while I was watching it. However, I find it rather depressing to see Mena Suvari look so withered, aged, and sickly for the role as she is close to my own age. Almost like I took her character’s haggard appearance so personally.

Promising Young Woman (2020)

DIRECTOR: Emerald Fennell.
WRITERS: Emerald Fennell.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Drama, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 53min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: March 27, 2021.

Sigh. This movie is a mixed bag of ups and downs for me. The upside is how I can understand and empathize with the emotional trauma the main character experienced in her past, which serves as the motivation for her story. The downside that I struggled with the most is the plot. The execution of her plan for revenge falls into place so perfectly. Everything falls into place at the right time. There is only one “hiccup” within the story attempting to throw the audience off track and make them believe her plan has a flaw. It is the scene with her and the random stranger wearing the fedora hat. Oh, no! She is “caught” in the act! Her plan of revenge is in ruins! Nope, it really is not. It is just a moment of distraction. Ultimately, I believe the intention of a perfectly designed plot ruins the believability of the character’s motivation. Therefore, I am walking away from this movie with the belief it is just a missed opportunity to reel me in as a true believer in its story.

Crazy Samurai Musashi (2020)

DIRECTOR: Yûji Shimomura.
WRITERS: Atsuki Tomori.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action.
LENGTH: 1h 32min.
LANGUAGE: Japanese.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: March 27, 2021.

The entire movie is basically samurai larping. The production concept feels like a marketing scheme to rake in the money at the box office. The premise of the story is about one man battling hundreds of fighters during one continuous camera shot. There are a few other single-take movies that are way more worthy of your time. For example, Russian Ark (2002) and Timecode (2000) immediately come to my mind. Find a copy of those two movies to watch immediately.

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