Movie Review Weekly Roundup: January 2 – January 8, 2022

Above the Shadows (2019) is directed by Claudia Myers, starring Olivia Thirlby, Alan Ritchson, Jim Gaffigan.

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.


Above the Shadows (2019)

DIRECTOR: Claudia Myers.
WRITERS: Claudia Myers.
MPAA RATING: TV-14
GENRES: Drama, Fantasy, Romance.
LENGTH: 1h 51min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch, Prime Video, or Hulu.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: January 7, 2022.

I like this romantic drama even though I don’t care about MMA fighting as a sport in general. It is as if this movie is a modern retelling of Rocky (1976) but told from Adrienne’s point of view. The story centers on Holly, who suffers from Middle Child Syndrome. Early in the movie, she falls into a limbo of non-existence from everyone she knows after her mother passes away from cancer. The movie’s tone is a mix of a drama, a romantic love story, and a small amount of science fiction. Holly’s character motivation is rather plain and straightforward. She wants to be acknowledged and wanted. She might not be able to contribute a lot. But she wants to be a part of something bigger than herself. I rather enjoyed the movie, to be honest. The production quality and the acting performances are pretty solid. I will probably enjoy watching it a few more times at some point soon.


Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

DIRECTOR: Drew Goddard.
WRITERS: Drew Goddard.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Drama, Mystery.
LENGTH: 2h 21min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: January 8, 2022.

Prerequisite films that should be watched prior to this one are as follows in any unimportant order: Cloverfield (2008), The Cabin in the Woods (2012), and Identity (2003). I must say Bad Times at the El Royale is a very well done movie, even some of its story elements appear familiar. The performances from the cast are amazing, which is especially noticeable in the scene when Father Flynn is voicing his concern about the early stages of dementia. Another prominent value worth noting about this movie would be the sound mixing. You need to view this movie (with a definitively equal amount of listening) with a very good sound system.


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