Since Disney is apparently still dead set on making live-action versions of all their classic movies, they should just say have the director of The Lure helm their new The Little Mermaid. Make no mistake, this is not the mermaid tale you know, as director Agnieszka Smoczynska takes the original Hans Christian Andersen tale and gives it a much-needed Nine Inch Nails spin.
Two mermaids, Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) come to dry land. What’s the first thing they do? Well, join a band in a burlesque nightclub, of course! What makes The Lure such an unique and fun movie is how the director manages to balance the dream-like look of the movie and the matter-of-fact way it treats the story. The mermaids are immediately treated as superstars, and no one seems shocked to find out that mermaids are real. The film also touches on a romantic storyline that, while not as powerful or fun as just following the singing career of two mermaids, is done well enough that you get caught in the story.
To be honest, the reason you should see this movie is because of the musical numbers, as they are great. The energetic choreography, the colourful directing and the groovy songwriting gives the movie an infectious and sexy vibe that really resonates with the disco/punk-nightmare that encases The Lure. The first half of the film feels like an ABBA music video, dream-like sequences with incandescent lights and colourful dancers and side-characters. The second half brings the tempo down a notch and the songs become more ballad-like with a gothic visual style with lots of shadows to reflect the plot. The Lure will be your next favourite Polish mermaid musical horror film.
A Kaiju appears in Seoul, Korea and proceeds to wreak havoc, Anne Hathaway is drinking in a bar. The way those two are connected is surprising, but writer-director Nacho Vigalondo somehow makes it all feel natural. What was initially marketed as “Anne Hathaway’s kaiju movie” is much more than that. Yes, Colossal uses tropes and visual cues from kaiju movies, but at its core this is a character study.
Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a struggling alcoholic who moved from New York to her hometown after her boyfriend kicks her out of their apartment. She now spends her days working at a bar with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), while news of a giant monster start to come. Vigalondo explores heavy themes like Gloria’s self-destructive alcoholism and Oscar’s toxic masculinity, all while offering enough laughs and thrills to make this one of the most fun movies of the year. Jason Sudeikis gives the best performance of his career, and proves he’s more than a comedic actor. Some people may turn away at some of the character developments and twists, but Sudeikis and Hathaway sell those twists with their performances. And, you know, there’s a giant monster destroying a city.
Colossal is a kaiju-sized look at alcoholism and how it destroys lives, at guilt and depression. A movie about facing one’s demons and conquering them.
The premise is simple enough. You have your teenage girl duo in Anytown, USA. When the most exciting thing to happen in your town is the gossip about a teacher dating a local celebrity fireman, what can two girls do to gain more Instagram followers than create a blog to report crimes they cause themselves? Tragedy Girls is a slasher-comedy for the social media age where likes matter more than anything else. Mean Girls meets Heathers meets Scream.
Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp – yes, Negasonic and Storm – star as Sadie and McKayla, best friends who also happen to be bloggers by day and serial killers by night. Their chemistry is so real I was not surprised when the director Tyler MacIntyre told me they shared an apartment during production to really get into the relationship between them. The way the girls talk so casually about dismembering a classmate while discussing prom is both funny and a bit disturbing, but mostly just fun. Tragedy Girls is still a slasher, so expect lots of gore and enough creative ways to kill someone to satisfy fans of the genre. There are beheadings, dismemberments, woodchopping and more!
Tragedy Girls is sharp, witty and very original. It explores how far some are willing to go for self-validation in a very fun and unique way. The characters could have come off as annoying and narcissistic, but instead they are very endearing and charismatic girls that almost make you forget they are homicidal sociopaths.
Your new favourite French coming-of-age story about a vegetarian-turn-cannibal is here! This movie got a bit of a reputation after some viewers fainted during a screening in Toronto, but Raw is far more than that.
Justine (Garance Marillier) is leaving the pressures of her strict vegetarian parents behind for the first time to enter vet school. She is finally letting herself loose and exploring her true self. Her sister also goes to the same school, but she doesn’t really pay attention to Justine. During the craziness of initiation week, Justine is forced to eat raw rabbit liver, this will awake something primal inside her. Soon, she will crave for all the meat her vegetarian lifestyle deprived her of, moving on from your normal salmon and rabbit to an insatiable hunger for human flesh.
Garance Marillier is a revelation. Raw would be a ridiculous movie if she weren’t able to sell her character as believable, and she effortlessly convinces you cannibalism is as normal as puberty. Director Julia Ducournau makes cannibalism a beautiful metaphor for growing up an outsider in your teens, and for Justine becoming a woman. Despite the sweet and kind of sensual coming-of-age story, this is still built as a horror movie. Ducournau made one of the most visceral and jarring viewing experiences in recent memory. The practical effects and make-up will make you feel ill, and the violence and gore is handled as matter-of-fact, but it’s shot in a beautifully artistic way that will prevent you from looking away, despite how much you will want to.
Rafael Motamayor is a journalist and movie geek based in Norway. You can follow him on Twitter @GeekWithAnAfro