Frozen 2 (2019)

Frozen II posterDirected by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee. Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad. Runtime: 1h 43 min. Released: November 22, 2019.

I’m a big fan of the original Frozen and six years later, it’s fun to revisit the characters but it doesn’t work nearly as well. When Elsa (Idina Menzel) starts hearing a mysterious siren voice, she inadvertently awakens an enchanted forest by singing the Oscar-nominated song “Into the Unknown” to it.

Soon, Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad) leave the comfort of Arendelle to travel to the autumn-bound enchanted forest and set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.

The heart of the film is Elsa trying to find herself and her origins, and that is well-written. She’s only ever wanted answers for who she is and her journey of self-discovery rings true. The overall plot only works when it’s focused on Elsa.

Idina Menzel’s the star here. Her song “Into the Unknown” is great but “Show Yourself” is the real hidden gem of this film. It’s the most memorable emotional moment in the film and it’s an honest show-stopper, and if I ever re-watch this film, it will be for this sequence alone.

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Idina Menzel in Frozen 2. (IMDb)

Josh Gad still works well as Olaf and his Samantha bit is hilarious. His one solo song “When I Am Older” is fine. The songs are still adequately catchy – you’ll hum a couple of them, if anything – but they aren’t that memorable. Jennifer Lee’s writing is also so concerned with Elsa, Anna gets a boring storyline.

Kristen Bell still brings her A-game but she doesn’t get much to do here. Her voice is pretty during “The Next Right Thing,” but she’s sidelined for most of the first half of the film it’s not that emotionally strong as it should be. She finally gets her chance to shine in the third act, but for the most part she’s limited to trying to tag along with Elsa to protect her, though Elsa needs to do this on her own.

The relationship between Anna and Kristoff is annoying. Kristoff spends the film trying to propose to Anna. He keeps saying the wrong thing, digging himself into a deeper hole, that sends Anna on tangents misunderstanding what he’s saying.

It’s played for comedy but it made me cringe. It’s annoying because it becomes apparent this bit will be the focus of their relationship, as Kristoff’s poor communication turns their story into a bad romantic comedy. Conflict caused by poor communication is a giant pet peeve of mine, and I expect to see it in romantic comedies, but not Frozen 2.

That’s what Kristoff is written as here, a walking miscommunication. At one point, he wanders off to plan an elaborate proposal as the others go on without him. This is where Kristoff sings his solo song “Lost in the Woods” as he fears Anna is leaving him behind. It’s a love ballad that’s filmed like it aired on MTV, a moment of self-parody that doesn’t really work here.

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Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel in Frozen II. (IMDb)

It’s unfortunate a lot of this doesn’t work because there’s a lot of good, even great, things about Frozen 2. The animation’s breathtaking. The visuals make this worth watching even if I don’t love the story, because some of the animation is what I’ll remember best about this. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee also do an awesome job directing the action scenes.

The enchanted forest as a setting is great and it answers questions from the first film in rewarding ways, and the tribe within this forest is very interesting. Also, the elements of nature are handled so creatively here. This whole aspect is smart and well-written, and the only great scenes in this film involve Elsa.

I wish I could have tunnel vision just for Elsa’s story, because everything about it is perfect. Alas, the peripherals and other aspects of the film border on weak, and, as a whole story, the same magic of the first film isn’t here.

Score: 63/100

Note: Apparently 19-year-old me loved the original Frozen (review here), so much I gave it a 97/100. I love the original but man, now that’s a high score.

29 Days of Romance, Review #2: Marriage Story (2019)

Directed by: Noah Baumbach. Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern. Runtime: 2h 17 min. Released: December 6, 2019.

Noah Baumbach takes his direction to another level with Marriage Story, an intimate and unflinching look into the separation of a married couple, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) Barber as they try to maintain some normalcy for their son Henry (Azhy Robertson).

The film feels so raw it’s almost like a documentary, as if we step into their household and watch their fights and watch how this whole divorce unfolds. The chemistry between Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson is fantastic here. You can sense the tension, but also the love that’s still there.

Johansson is excellent as Nicole, an actress who has been acting in Charlie’s plays at his theatre company in New York throughout their marriage. Now that their marriage is ending, she takes son Henry and heads out to California, where her mom Sandra (Julie Hagerty) and sister Cassie (Merritt Weaver) live.

She also heads out there because of an upcoming television series that she’s starring in. Scarlett Johansson gives a sense of Nicole’s kindness like Charlie talks about in the film’s opening. She has the presence that when she talks, people listen. The kindness aspect is interesting when it turns on its head during the divorce.

Adam Driver’s only marginally better as Charlie who wants to stay in New York and fight to be able to stay in his son’s life. His fight here is raw and we feel the exhaustion that this divorce is putting him through. Both Driver and Johansson are convincing and natural enough that they could just be playing themselves. That’s part of the attraction of Marriage Story, it feels so natural and real-life that it’s terrifying and heart-wrenching.

The film’s situation is escalated to this boiling point thanks to Nicole’s divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern). Dern is great at convincing us that she’s nice and just wants what’s best for Nicole and her son, but she’s a real viper and just wants a win for her client at any cost. She’s evil, and Dern plays it perfectly. The character is made more interesting because of Charlie’s initial lawyer Bert Spitz (Alan Alda). It’s obvious that Charlie doesn’t stand a chance because Spitz is too nice compared to Dern’s Fanshaw, so it paints a picture that to win in this business you really do have to be a snake in the grass.

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Adam Driver and Azhy Robertson in Marriage Story. (IMDb)

As for the other cast, Julie Hagerty is delightful as Nicole’s mom Susan and Merritt Weaver is great as Nicole’s sister Cassie. We learn that Charlie doesn’t really talk to his family so Nicole’s family is like his family, and that adds such an interesting layer that he’s losing so much more than just Nicole. Azhy Robertson is also very good as Charlie and Nicole’s son Henry, as they both fight for him because he’s the only thing they both really want.

The film does a solid job about showing us both sides to their story and doesn’t ask us to choose sides. Charlie seems to be in the right some time, as does Nicole. I don’t want to spoil any of the character stuff that happens why they’re both in the wrong at times, but when it’s Charlie it’s a character flaw and when it’s Nicole it’s because it feels conniving. Though, on Nicole’s side I think the truly snake-like actions are inspired by her lawyer.

All the bitterness and blame explodes in a scene that’s emotionally raw and terrifying. It’s a shouting match where the actors show the best they have because the dialogue flows so naturally. Though, the acting is equally good in scenes where they’re just talking and you can feel the anger in their words. Marriage Story is just a captivating drama with some very funny moments, too.

Baumbach’s characters are created so well and they’re so rich. The emotional scenes make this a great, albeit uncomfortable, roller coaster of the couple’s ups and downs. It’s like we’re in the son’s shoes, watching Mom and Dad argue because we’re about to get two Christmases. The characters are uncomfortable with the situation and so are we, as the lows are heartbreaking and the highs are enjoyable, so we learn to love those when they’re there.

Score: 90/100

29 Days of Romance: Review #1, Little Women (2019)

Little Women. Directed by: Greta Gerwig. Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh. Runtime: 2h 15 min. Released: December 25, 2019.

Jo March (Saiorse Ronan) reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.

Set during the Civil War, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy Little Women because period films are hit-or-miss for me. It’s hard to define this as only a period film as it’s such a timeless story. I loved it from the scene and really loved it when Jo started to look back on her life and all four sisters are together. These scenes are the best for me, but the scenes work in both past and present.

It works so well because all the performances are brilliant. Saoirse Ronan is the perfect Jo March as a character hungry for her own independence and adamant about keeping it. She’s headstrong and likable. She’s passionate and personal, and it’s so interesting that she doesn’t want to marry, given societal expectations. Instead, her love affair is with her writing and Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrell) is secondary to it. And man, Ronan headlines this ensemble so well.

Emma Watson plays Meg March, the oldest March sister. She doesn’t marry rich and we see her struggles with that. Watson is as charming as ever as Meg. Florence Pugh as Amy March shines. She’s the March sister that is most in the shadow of Jo, and spends much of the film in Europe.

This is one of Pugh’s many great performances this year and she’s quickly becoming one of my favourites. She plays to such a range here, especially since she’s only supposed to be 20 years old in the present, so when Jo reflects, Pugh convincingly plays a 13-year-old character. It works because of what she does with her voice and her attitude, even though Pugh obviously doesn’t look 13 years old.

Eliza Scanlen also does well as the youngest sister, Beth, and Scanlen is really the only actress whose name I didn’t know (now I know I recognize her from TV’s Sharp Objects). She plays the quiet character perfectly and some of the scenes where she plays piano over at Mr. Laurence’s (Chris Cooper) house are so, so good. It’s fascinating watching these sisters and their ups and downs, each wanting different things. Their chemistry is also what helps make the film so damn entertaining.

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Emma Watson, Saiorse Ronan and Florence Pugh in Little Women. (IMDb)

Laura Dern is also perfect as the matriarch, Marmee March. The character’s compassion is obvious from the first scene and Dern is just so believably selfless and kind in the role. The fact that she can play someone so human and turn around and play a devilish lawyer in Marriage Story shows her just how versatile she can be.

Timothée Chalamet also makes for a great Theodore “Laurie” Laurence here as he befriends the March sisters and becomes a key part in some of their lives. Meryl Streep also shows up as Aunt March, and the fact that Streep’s performance here is maybe the seventh best at worst just shows how many great performances director Greta Gerwig is able to get out of her stars.

Greta Gerwig seems to write the perfect adaptation here. I say “seems” because I haven’t read the source material (by Louisa May Alcott) nor seen the 1994 film, but I don’t know how this can get any better. With the performances and writing, I absolutely fell in love with the March family here as the film went on. Gerwig depicts the time so effortlessly and their struggles as women in that day in a way that’s easy to understand through its dialogue. The look and the feel of the film is so well-directed to a point where by the end of the film you’ll feel like part of the family.

There are so many funny and heartbreaking scenes here, too. There are just so many poignant and emotional scenes hear that worked that I was at least choked up a lot. The performances and music and everything about it make this so charming, and when a film is this good, I just have a big smile on my face and am close to tears whenever there’s a moment that really works for me. And let me tell you, a lot of these character beats worked for me because it’s so well-written and the cast sells every moment.

I knew nothing about the March sisters before this but now I feel like I’m part of the family, and this is a special film. I thought this film would be good but I didn’t even see the trailer, so I was surprised when this ended up being my favourite film of 2019.

Score: 100/100

The Wedding Guest (2019)

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom. Starring: Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, Jim Sarbh. Released: March 8, 2019. Runtime: 1h 36 min

The Wedding Guest, directed by Michael Winterbottom, is billed as a thriller. Sure, there are some thriller elements, but that is just felt in a few select scenes.

It starts out more like a mystery. Jay (Dev Patel) is a British Muslim man who rents two cars, purchases guns and duct tape and travels to a city in Pakistan. We do not know a thing about him, and at this point we don’t even know his name. We just know he does not speak Punjabi.

When he gets to his destination, he kidnaps a woman, Samira (Radhika Apte), who wants to escape an arranged marriage. This aspect is spoiled in the trailer (so I’ll spoil it here). A friend from college, Deepesh (Jim Sarbh), wants to save her and pays Jay to kidnap her.

Samira is fine but we never really get to know other than she’s searching for forbidden love and gets close to it. Her wanting out of the arranged marriage is what sparks the premise, and the using that culturally relevant topic is an intriguing concept for a film, but the thin story never rises above that. The film also does not delve deep enough into Samira’s character.

They just remain mysterious. Authorities look for Samira, but Jay and Samira never have to deal with them as they go from city to city using fake aliases, fake I.D.’s and fake passports. Jay and Samira only know that her disappearance is a point of interest in the English papers in India and Pakistan.

As Samira herself puts it, India is a perfect country to run away in because there are “one thousand million people living their own lives.” This idea lends itself to the anonymity of the characters themselves. We never really know the characters, despite spending about 90 minutes with them.

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Dev Patel in The Wedding Guest (IMDb)

The characters are not compelling, either. They’re portrayed well by Patel and Apte, and I’d like to see more of her. However, they stay too mysterious throughout to have any strong development. We just know Jay is in it for the money and Samira is a wild card. The film’s predictable regarding how their characters grow together, but it’s unpredictable in story.

Unpredictability is a good thing, but in this case the story is hard to predict because it’s so thin. It’s a girl wanting to escape an arranged marriage and that’s it… There’s some intriguing developments thrown in to hold attention, but then it just falls back into a dull, but comfortable, pace. This just feels more consistently like a dull drama than thriller or mystery.

The strong acting will try to convince viewers there’s a soul, heart, emotion or any semblance of a story here. They’re really quite good so I bought into their chemistry of having to trust each other in this strange scenario, but the dialogue is so boring and the story so pointless they could never fully sell it.

Score: 50/100

Sinkhole de mayo! Slaughterhouse Rulez (2019), The Hole in the Ground (2019)

Note: I wanted to post a couple shorter reviews today (well, the review of “The Hole in the Ground” is the usual length but “Slaughterhouse Rulez” is much shorter) because both of these horror films have sinkholes in them. So, there’s that!

Slaughterhouse Rulez. Released: May 17, 2019. Directed by: Crispian Mills. Starring: Finn Cole, Asa Butterfield, Simon Pegg. Runtime: 1h 44 min.

Note about this post. My reviews usually always have me talking a bit about the plot, so there are some (minor) spoilers, so you’ve been warned. 

This is one helluva forgettable horror comedy mashup. Honestly, I watched this in April so that’s a reason, but I’m convinced I forgot everything about this within a week.

Basically, there’s a guy named Don Wallace (Finn Cole) who’s accepted to a prestigious British boarding school called Slaughterhouse School. That’s the first red flag. A headmaster named The Bat (Michael Sheen) instructs that the forest near the school is a restricted area. If you needed a reason to make this feel like “Harry Potter,warning students not to go into a restricted forest is one of them.

It’s restricted because of the fracking going back on there. A fracking company has created a giant sinkhole. When they dig too deep, they release some horrors onto the academy. The big problem of “Slaughterhouse Rulez” is that it doesn’t get into any horror until an hour in besides foreshadowing like school rumours. The horror is mediocre at best when it arrives, but this holds little entertainment value.

It wastes a lot of time on a weird academy hierarchy that Willoughby Blake (Asa Butterfield) aptly explains to Wallace. The popular Clemsie Lawrence (Hermione Corfield) is the apple of Don’s eye, but a popular guy named Clegg (Tom Rhys Harries), who I think is dating Clemsie, won’t allow that. Again, if there’s anything you need to compare this to Harry Potter, it’s this Clegg jackass who is basically a more irritating version of Draco Malfoy.

The film also wastes a lot of time on professor Meredith Houseman (Simon Pegg). There’s nothing wrong, usually, with dedicating a lot of time to Simon Pegg, but when his character is mostly just trying to keep his relationship afloat with Audrey (Margot Robbie with little screen time), it just gets pointless. The film just wastes Pegg. Nick Frost has a couple of laughs in a bit role, but he’s still wasted. And wasting those talents is what is most unforgivable here.

Score: 40/100

The Hole in the Ground. Released: March 1, 2019. Directed by: Lee Cronin. Starring: Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen. Runtime: 1h 30 min.

“The Hole in the Ground” follows Sarah O’Neill (Seána Kerslake) who is just moving to the Irish countryside with her son, Chris (James Quinn Markey). Deep in the woods behind their home, they find a gigantic sinkhole with no real reason of being there.

Soon after finding it, Chris starts displaying bizarre behaviour and she thinks it has something to do with the sinkhole. Some of Chris’ bizarre behaviour, as seen in the trailer, is him crawling around on all fours and eating a spider. Bizarre, sure, but even more-so when you consider he’s terrified of spiders at the beginning of the film. You never know, he could just be getting over his fear in a unique way. Or something’s wrong with him.

It’s a Creepy Kid horror film, so it’s surely the latter. Even at 90 minutes, the film is very slow burn. I think that’s a given nowadays for the studio A24. Though, this was an A24 acquisition after production, but it just happens to suit its usual pacing for horror films well. It puts emphasis on a creepy atmosphere. This is one of the creepiest atmospheres for a Creepy Kid movie I’ve seen since “Home Alone.” I’m joking, Macaulay, though you’re hella creepy in “The Good Son.” Writer-director Lee Cronin, and co-writer Stephen Shields, do an admirable job with the atmosphere.

The Creepy Kid tropes are all here, but there aren’t a lot of friends for Sarah to confide in that this might not be Christopher. However, there’s an old kook in the woods the townsfolk have nicknamed Walkie Talkie, birthname Noreen Brady (Kati Outinen) who claims her late son James just changed and was convinced he was an imposter. Her husband Des (James Cosmo, “Game of Thrones”) has some great lines when he tells Sarah that it was something only a mother would notice. Her describes her noticing things as “pebbles until it becomes a landslide.”

The film’s unique for a Creepy Kid horror film and the atmosphere is strong, but it’s rather boring throughout because not a lot happens. A highlight during the first hour is an unsettling talent show. You have to get through about an hour of often boring creepiness for 20 minutes of action. The finale is unique and is the first time the film promises to be really scary because of a fear of the unknown. Some of the lore here is also rather interesting.

The last 20-plus minutes, atmosphere and the acting are really the only strong aspects here, and that’s not enough for me to ever re-visit this. One good thing can be said about the atmosphere, because if it were not so strong, I probably would have fell asleep halfway through. As for the acting, Seána Kerslake is good as Sarah who’s just really curious to know what the heck’s happened to her son. Her anxiety is strong and she holds a strong head through it all.

James Quinn Markey does a great job of being convincing enough that he could be Christopher. And I almost felt bad for him when Sarah literally runs away from him, even though he’s getting up to creepy shit the entire time. One plus for the acting is that I didn’t find him irritating, which is a big plus in my book for these films. Kudos, kid, you’re not annoying.

Score: 60/100

Crawl (2019)

Released: July 12, 2019. Directed by: Alexandre Aja. Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson. Runtime: 1h 27 min.

In Florida, a Category 5 hurricane has just hit. Haley (Kaya Scodelario) goes to check on the well-being of her estranged father, Dave (Barry Pepper). She finds him unconscious in the crawlspace of their childhood home but cannot get him out because she realizes they’re trapped in there with alligators, and the crawlspace is going to flood… Cue the thrills.

Tornadoes and sharks (“Sharknado”). Hurricanes and heists (“The Hurricane Heist”). Even clowns and tornadoes (“Clownado,” yes, it’s a real movie). It’s all the rage these days to mesh these things together in campy B-movies. “Crawl” is already one step ahead of the rest by not naming itself “Gatorcane.”

“Crawl” is a smarter title because I love dual meanings. I’d assumed it was called Crawl because gators crawl around. But when watching this, I realized it’s also called that because a lot of it takes place in a crawlspace. I smiled because dumb stuff like that makes me happy.

This film is unique is in the way that it doesn’t want to be a B-movie like “Sharknado.”. The film takes its stakes seriously, but it finds a way to be very fun. The premise also feels fresh. I wasn’t expecting a one-location thrill ride for most of the film. The threat of flooding adds stakes and claustrophobia, too.

Writing duo and brothers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen utilize the sets well for the characters. They know when to have some great, tense set pieces inside the house, and when to take scenes onto the streets, where we catch up with some looters. Alexandre Aja brings great direction to these scenes and the film in general.

The combination of a hurricane and alligators is plausible here. There’s a believable reason as to why the gators are in the crawlspace. The house has been left alone for awhile as it’s been in escrow and the gators found their way in from the swamp. When Dave comes back to the house, the gators are already there. This just happens to be during a hurricane.

Haley passes an alligator farm on the way to the house so if you would have told me the hurricane destroyed a gate and they escaped, I would have believed that, too. I’m pretty sure these gators join the party later, anyway. The gators themselves look very fine, by the way. They definitely look believable enough on the $13 million budget.

The film does a great job of balancing thrills of a disaster movie for fans of those films and it will also satisfy the fans looking for a fun summer season creature feature. I know you’re here for the gators or the hurricane, but we should talk about the humans. Scodelario and Pepper play their roles well and the estranged father/daughter dynamic is strong. Their chemistry also strengthens as the film moves along. There’s also a coach dynamic which offers standoffish tension in the relationship.

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Kaya Scodelario in “Crawl.” (IMDb)

Haley is a competitive swimmer and Dave’s coached her throughout her career. Her being a swimmer also gives her a very particular set of skills for this situation (skills that make her a nightmare for gators like them), and that’s the most convenient thing about the film. The idea of her out-swimming the gators isn’t super plausible, but it’s interesting. I mean if Michael Phelps, the fastest man in a pool, can almost beat a great white shark, surely this unknown competitive swimmer has a fighting chance at outrunning Florida’s meanest gator community, right? Right? Tune in Sunday at 8 p.m. on Gator Week to find out!

There are some strong character beats and dialogue about her being an apex predator and needing to have a better mentality to win is fascinating. This aspect brings out some solid one-liners and the coach pep talks made me feel amped up. I really wanted to punch some gators. In one scene they talk about their relationship. It’s a surprisingly lovely character moment. Before it gets too sappy, Dave says, “We’re gonna beat these lizard-brained shits.”

I think that’s the right mentality for the film: Have enough character development that we care about these people and give us some nice moments, but then straighten out the priorities and get right back into kick-ass gator action. It’s in the character building that the film threatens to be boring when it gets too dialogue heavy. There aren’t many scenes like that, and the horror set pieces are diverse enough and the obstacles introduced entertaining enough to make up for it.

It’s also important that we don’t care too much about the stars because we want to see them get munched on. It wouldn’t be fun if they got out of this without looking like they just survived Hell in a Cell (Brawl-space in a Crawlspace?) with a bunch of gators. Don’t fret, though, because any audience appetites for bloody action will be satisfied with the poor expendable characters. More importantly, the gator’s appetites are satisfied, too. And that’s really what makes the world go ‘round.

Score: 75/100

The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

The Dead Don’t Die. Directed by: Jim Jarmusch. Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny. Runtime: 1h 44 min. Released: June 14, 2019.

My reviews usually contain spoilers so you’ve been warned about that. However, here, I don’t really talk about a lot of the major plot points because nothing really happens. 

This is the first Jim Jarmusch film that I’ve seen and man, I should not have started with this one.

In Centreville, seemingly the only crime reports are Hermit Bob (Tom Waits) causing trouble. But more trouble comes for the town, especially for Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) and Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) when the dead start raising from their graves.

Usually there’s no reason given for why the dead come back to life, and that probably would have worked better for this. Jarmusch uses it as a commentary on the environment, as there’s polar fracking that’s affecting the daylight and everyone comments on it and keeps commenting on it.

It’s a strange set-up, but what’s stranger is that the reason for the dead coming back to life is the polar fracking and because it’s throwing the Earth off its axis. This becomes such a big thing that we get about five or six hints about this before someone literally says the zombies are here because of the polar fracking.

That doesn’t make much sense to me, and just explaining it as they’re zombies, it’s what they do, come back to life is a more believable explanation. One unique thing it brings to zombies is that, since they’re coming back to life because the Earth axis being affected, when they’re killed, blood doesn’t come out. Dirt flows out.

That’s a bit of the on-the-nose commentary you can expect here, but in dialogue it’s usually brought up by Hermit Bob (“the ant colonies are all jacked up like it’s the end of the world.”) By the end of the film, Jarmusch also shoehorns commentary on capitalism as well, the usual staple of George A. Romero’s zombie films.

In this, it’s not subtle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as pretentious as Hermit Bob watching the carnage of the zombie horde from the woods and monologuing about the zombies just being hungry for more stuff and basically recapping the film (“remnants of the materialist people, zombies all along.”)

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Adam Driver in “The Dead Don’t Die.” (IMDb)

I don’t know enough about Jarmusch to know if this is always his level of subtlety, but it’s bizarre. His dry sense of humour is unique but I’m not a fan of it. I like dry humour just fine, but it should be funny. For the most part, the film isn’t funny for me. There are a couple of visual things I liked, like when Ronnie pulls up in a smart car. But there aren’t many laughs at all. The humour is more-so just annoying because it repeats so many jokes.

There’s a recurring thing when the film’s original song “The Dead Don’t Die” by Sturgill Simpson plays. It’s a great song and I thought the film was named after it, because it sounds like an old song, but it’s an original song. Everyone always comments “oh, I love this song.” It’s funny the first time it’s used but when the bit is used about six times, it gets old. Same with when Ronnie says “This isn’t going to end well.” He literally says it seven times by the end of it. It’s played for a pay-off joke near the end which might be amusing to people who like the film.

But it didn’t pay off for me because by that point, I was so bored by the film I didn’t care about anything happening on-screen. It’s just one of the most boring films I’ve ever seen. Nothing really happens. The comedy never worked for me and it’s the least scary zombie film I’ve seen. It’s an honest shame, too, because the cast is filled with a lot of funny people.

Adam Driver and Bill Murray play off each other well enough for what the dialogue allows them to do. Tilda Swinton’s a highlight as a samurai-wielding coroner who is just weird and gets weirder as the film progresses. Chloë Sevigny is totally fine for the first half but the character is just dull. Near the end, she’s whining so much and complaining at everything that happens that I honestly couldn’t wait for her to get eaten by the zombies. Am I a bad person? Probably, but if you’ve seen this, you’ll know what I mean.

Donald Glover and Caleb Landry Jones are fine as their characters who hole up in a hardware store when the zombies descend. The criminally underused include Steve Buscemi and especially Selena Gomez. Her arc isn’t even concluded well. There’s also an arc with three kids at a detention centre that you won’t give two shits about. That’s what “The Dead Don’t Die” is for me, a boring film that I didn’t give two shits about.

Score: 38/100