(Welcome to Classically Contemporary, a series where we explore the ways in which new releases echo classic Hollywood or how classic Hollywood continues to influence modern filmmaking.)

With our current nostalgia boom in full swing, there’s certainly a fair amount of fatigue invading our daily viewing. This could explain why we’re seeing a bevy of films sidestepping certain eras and evoking specific genres. In a recent column, I looked at how Serenity was steeped in the world of ‘40s noir and ‘90s neo-noir and this seems to be happening a lot with weird trash cinema. Maybe because there’s little risk for high reward, but movies with lower expectations are jumping into specific film genres with abandon. Such is the case with the Octavia Spencer-starring thriller, Ma.

Ma stars Octavia Spencer as Sue Ann, a lonely vet tech still suffering the psychological scars from high school. When a group of teens ask her to buy booze for them, Sue Ann sees it as a way to relive her youth. But the desire to rewrite the past soon becomes an obsession.

Read More »

godzilla king of the monsters box office

Godzilla: King of the Monsters proved to be the reigning champ of the weekend box office as well. On its opening weekend, the Michael Dougherty-directed monster movie raked in $49 million domestically, beating out Aladdin and fellow new entries Rocketman and MaBut despite its evisceration of the competition, the Godzilla King of the Monsters box office still disappoints in relation to its projected earnings and the rest of the Legendary MonsterVerse franchise.

Read More »

Ma Trailer

It’s rare to see a movie that is so ballsy as to literally introduce a gun in the first act, only to potentially refuse to have that gun go off, defying the law of Chekhov’s Gun in fiction. Such may be the case, though, with Ma, a strange new thriller that eventually tips into straight-up horror. Much of the film, directed haphazardly by Tate Taylor, is all about hinting at what might be going on inside the mind of a seemingly friendly lady played by Octavia Spencer. As is often the case, the setup is better than the payoff.

Read More »

Ma Trailer

A Blumhouse movie starring Octavia Spencer? You have my attention. In Ma, Spencer plays a lonely woman who offers some teens a chance to crash in her basement and knock back a few cold ones. But Spencer’s house has some rules, and if the kids break them, well…there’s going to be trouble. Ma comes from Tate Taylor, who also directed Spencer in The Help. Watch the Ma trailer below.

Read More »