Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame) makes an auspicious debut as a writer/director with the horror film Get Out. More psychological thriller than out-and-out horror spectacle, the film focuses on Chris, a young black man and photographer accompanying his white girlfriend Rose on a weekend trip to meet her parents for the first time. Though they’re good liberals, Rose’s folks’ attempts to make Chris comfortable stirs in him a sense of little micro-affronts, and the unsettling demeanors of the family’s black servants further prod the embers. Much of the film’s apprehension builds through our observation of Chris trying to decide if he’s justified or overreacting to the little breaches he experiences in this enclave of rich, white privilege. Entrenched and perceived racism are put under the microscope, and then spattered to the four corners of the screen. In addition to delivering enough jolts to keep horror fans pleased, Get Out is also one of the smartest, funniest, and most socially astute films to come around in a while. Read a full review of Get Out.
Director Michael Bay becomes officially “James Cameron-Lite” with this fifth installment in the painfully self-perpetuating Paramount/Hasbro summer franchise that, at nearly two-and-a-half hours, is nearly two-and-a-half hours too long. This latest entry is simply dumb, dull, and pointless. Apart from a jaunty performance from Sir “I’m Game for Anything” Hopkins, as a member of a fraternal order dating back to King Arthur (Tucci, no less), there’s very little meat to the discombobulated, lazy scripting by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Ken Nolan. Let’s recap: King Arthur, Yeager as “the chosen one,” Guardians of the Galaxy’s Haddock as a fusty Oxford scholar whose destiny is to save the Earth, and, oh yeah, Bumblebee regains his true voice. It’s apparent from the outset that audience members new to the series should not choose this particular outing as an entry point unless they’re very high. You’re going to need to watch a full season of Ultraman and take two viewings of Pacific Rim before bedtime to wash the awful stank of Transformers: The Last Knight out of your head.Read a full review of Transformers: The Last Knight.