The Sparks Brothers

A heart-felt tribute to an enduring band that has a devoted cult following.  Directed by Edgar Wright, the movie briefly discusses the Mael brother’s formative years in California before diving headlong into their sixty-year career.  The Sparks Brothers serves as an introduction to the incredible volume of work Sparks has released, twenty-five albums and counting.  The stories detailing the band’s trials and tribulations take on a Spinal Tap quality, with fame and fortune always just out of the band’s grasp.  I walked into this movie knowing a few Sparks songs, and left with a sincere admiration for one of pop music’s genuine craftsmen.  Contrary to what Sparks says, they do not “dick around”.  Recommended.

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Released five Years after The Conjuring 2, The Conjuring:The Devil Made Me Do It (or C3) shows how horror movie sequels have diminishing returns.  I enjoyed The Conjuring 2, with its wacked-out funhouse sensibilities.  C3 has many of the same elements as C2, and this time around they felt too familiar.  C3 has several good scares, but nothing in it surprised me.  The performances were also underwhelming, with Vera Farmiga’s Lorraine Warren and Patrick Wilson’s Ed delivering perfunctory turns as the self-styled demonologists.  Recommended for Conjuring completists only.

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A Quiet Place II

Like all great monster movies, A Quiet Place II is merciless and uncompromising. The movie avoids jump scares and builds genuine tension to an extraordinary degree. Whereas the first movie borrowed thematic elements from the Alien franchise, the sequel’s influence is the original Jurassic Park, minus the awestruck reactions, kid-friendly stuff and comic relief. QP2 is a monster movie that earns the right to takes itself seriously through taut direction and excellent acting. Highly recommended.

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The Woman in the Window

In The Woman in the Window, Amy Adams plays Anna, an agorophobic-asexual-alcoholic child psychologist who’s life turns into a weak copy of Rear Window.  The movie mainly exists as a device to persecute and torture Amy Adams’s character.  If you enjoyed seeing Adams essentially repeat her character from Sharp Objects, you may enjoy this movie.  As it stands, the movie doesn’t let her take any pleasure from her voyeurism, and instead repeatedly punishes Anna for her transgressions, past and present.  She’s Joan of Arc with a telephoto lens.  Not recommended.

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