Sharp Objects Cherry Review

This week’s Sharp Objects is all about the ways that we take our pain out on ourselves instead of others. Camille turns all of her anguish, grief, rage and guilt inwards, while the women in her life – Adora, Amma, even Jackie – use it as a weapon on those that surround them.

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Sharp Objects Closer Review

“Closer,” last night’s episode of Sharp Objects, dropped a shoe that we’ve been waiting to see fall since Camille first arrived in Wind Gap, Missouri. Her article about the dead girls of Wind Gap has been published, and while her angelic editor (he calls her ”cubby” – can you think of anyone less suited to a nickname like ”cubby” than Camille Preaker?) is thrilled at the hits they’re getting, the reception in Wind Gap is a little less than warm. And, in keeping with Camille’s tradition of bad timing, her no-punches-pulled exposé goes live on the worst day possible.

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sharp objects ripe review

We’re at the halfway point of HBO’s eight-episode miniseries Sharp Objects, and if we’re just listing out plot points, it doesn’t really feel like four episodes’ worth of stuff has actually happened. But the story reveals of Sharp Objects are so fundamentally tied to the character reveals, and the more we get to learn about Camille – who’s sent her article off to her editor and yet remains in Wind Gap, listening and observing, gathering data that doesn’t mean much to us as of yet but seems to mean a lot to her – the more we learn about the brutal little town that made her.

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sharp objects fix review

In “Fix,” last night’s episode of Sharp Objects, we’re introduced to the softer side of Camille. Amy Adams has until now played Camille as a prickly, self-destructive tempest who mostly drinks, seethes and observes. But this week we’re treated to flashbacks of Camille’s more recent history, and we start to understand her tragedy: that, despite her best efforts, she’s doomed to fail in the role of big sister again and again.

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Sharp Objects Dirt Review

The second episode of HBO’s Sharp Objects – titled “Dirt,” and it’s now clear that each episode will be named after a different word we see carved into Camille’s skin – brought us much further into the mystery of Wind Gap, Missouri. After a gorgeous but inscrutable first episode, “Dirt” answers as many questions as it asks. Creator Marti Noxon and director Jean-Marc Vallée are building a world that’s as much about substance as it is style, meeting elegant, impressionistic editing with a tidy pace and plenty of plot momentum.

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Sharp Objects Vanish Review

Last night, HBO aired “Vanish,” the first episode in an 8-hour miniseries based on Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects. Flynn’s an executive producer of the series, along with show creator Marti Noxon and Blumhouse Production’s Jason Blum. The three creatives make something of a powerful triumvirate, especially when paired with episode director Jean-Marc Vallée, who’s responsible for every episode of last summer’s huge HBO hit Big Little Lies. With these bona fides, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Sharp Objects’ first episode is so deeply, immediately compelling, but it will still come as a relief to die-hard fans of Flynn’s book who feared the author’s fierce, unflinching voice might not translate to the small screen.

In short: it does.

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Hereditary Spoiler Review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ari Aster’s Hereditary.)

In its opening days, Hereditary has sailed past tracking expectations and earned A24 its biggest weekend release yet. Ari Aster’s indie horror film has been generating conversation since its January Sundance screening, and now that it’s on nearly three thousand screens, that conversation has gotten a lot louder.

And there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to Hereditary: the soul-chilling performances, the elegant and unusual art design, that balls-out (uhm, literally) ending no one saw coming. But under the polished, cinematic horror of Hereditary is a rougher, truer horror, one that will stay with audiences long past that shocking conclusion.

The real horror of Hereditary is in its relentless, unblinking look at family dysfunction.

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A Quiet Place Producers Interview

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place had its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival on March 9th (read my review here), during which a theater filled with rowdy film fans sat in riveted silence, absorbing this terrifying, largely dialogue-free horror film that is unlike any other.

A Quiet Place producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller (The Purge, Ouija, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jack Ryan) spoke with me about that memorable screening, what it was like working with real-life married couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt, and the twisty road to delivering those sound-hunting beasties.

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Wildling Review

Wildling is Fritz Böhm’s first feature film, and it’s such an assured debut, darkly mystical and elegant. This nighttime fairy tale tells the story of Anna (Bel Powley), a young woman who’s spent much of her life locked in a room like Rapunzel, with only “Daddy” (Lord of the RingsBrad Dourif, in an equally untrustworthy role) as company.

Daddy treats Anna with tenderness, warning her against “the wildling” that stalks the woods surrounding their remote fairy tale tower. He seems loving and protective – but he’s also keeping Anna in seclusion. We watch her grow from toddlerhood to young womanhood in the confines of the same tiny room – and all the while we keep seeing Daddy inject a mysterious substance into Anna’s tummy. These opening scenes are disorienting, diving right into the narrative instead of offering any tidy context, immediately eliciting intrigue and perplexity from the audience. The context comes later, as Wildling’s story grows clearer but never less strange. Read More »

Cloak & Dagger Review

Freeform debuted the pilot of Cloak & Dagger, the new young adult Marvel series hitting small screens on Freeform in June, at SXSW today. An hour into this world, it’s clear that it’ll be among the upper echelon of Marvel television. Granted, that’s not a terribly high bar to cross, but Cloak & Dagger does so with style and powerful storytelling. Read More »