MaXXXine

MaXXXine

2024, R, 104 min. Directed by Ti West. Starring Mia Goth, Kevin Bacon, Moses Sumney, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Monaghan, Elizabeth Debicki, Giancarlo Esposito, Halsey, Sophie Thatcher.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., July 5, 2024

There’s an audacity to writer/director/editor Ti West’s horror triptych that began with Seventies rural slasher X, then skipped back to 1918 for prequel Pearl, and now leaps back to the future with MaXXXine. Part of that boldness is that he could only bring their themes of sex, cinema, and violence to full fruition when the trilogy is complete. Because, just as Pearl’s unmasking of aged killer Pearl (Goth) had its symmetry with the story of X’s final girl, Maxine Minx (Goth again), now MaXXXine arrives in 1985.

Timing is one of the elements that ties the trilogy together. Six years (and one bloodbath) after X’s aspiring movie mogul waxed poetic about video giving the means of production to the masses, that future has come to pass. Maxine is now a star – but only to the leering middle-aged men that ogle the pornos she’s pumping out in the Hollywood Hills. She wants real fame – to follow Marilyn Chambers and Brigitte Lahaie into horror flicks, and from there into mainstream celebrity, the only thing that matters to her.

Maxine’s passion and flair for reinvention is core to the film series, but that old saying about the past not being done with us comes down hard on her. All the components set up in X – the footage and bodies left on the farm, the televangelist raging about sex and sin, the multiples lives that Maxine has left behind – all come hurtling back in the gold-toothed grin of private investigator John Labat (a delightfully sleazy Bacon), and the leather-gloved hands of an unseen killer, targeting everyone in Maxine’s life.

On the surface, MaXXXine is set up as a modern addition to the febrile, salacious, post-Dressed to Kill slashers of the Eighties, where sleaze and psychopathy smash into each other on the Sunset Strip. While West is a modern master of gore, dealing out some of the most creative and gruesome onscreen mutilations in recent years, he’s got more on his mind than just tits and ass and entrails. The Maxine he and Goth established in X is no shrinking violet: Instead, she is committed to her oft-repeated mantra that she will not accept a life she does not deserve. But who decides what she deserves?

In reviving the era of neon and denim, Satanic Panics and PMRC stickers, West’s re-created Hollywood is as impressive a feat of onscreen reconstructive archaeology as Quentin Tarantino pulled off for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. Indeed, while MaXXXine wraps up the X trilogy, its insight into the horrifying allure of Tinseltown would make for a fascinating triple bill with Tarantino’s fairy tale and Damien Chazelle’s crash-and-burn masterpiece Babylon. The silver screen dream is dead, West seems to say, and the only survivors are those prepared to cross lines and bust taboos – and even then, the rewards may be slender. Maxine’s desire to star in a sequel to a movie that even her Fangoria-reading best friend, Leon (Sumney, excelling as a skate punk video store nerd) can only call underrated puts her in the orbit of director Elizabeth Bender (Debicki, coldly sardonic), whose own definition of success seems like a warning.

Headlining it all is another remarkable performance from Goth. It’s hard to imagine this series working with anyone else in the lead role(s), and this older Maxine is hardened in ways that none of her Eighties final girl precursors ever were. If you’ve been paying the slightest attention to the earlier films, there’s no doubt how this will all play out. The pleasures are in watching Maxine navigate through the bloodshed to the denouement she deserves, and watching West cut into the seductive allure of cinema.

Showtimes

Thu., July 18

digital 12:45, 3:45, 6:40, 9:35

Fri., July 19

digital 11:45am, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Sat., July 20

digital 12:40, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Sun., July 21

digital 11:45am, 2:50, 6:00, 9:00

Mon., July 22

digital 1:30, 4:20, 7:20, 10:15

Tue., July 23

digital 1:30, 4:20, 7:20, 10:15

Wed., July 24

digital 12:45, 3:45, 6:40, 9:30

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Thu., July 18

digital 10:45

Fri., July 19

digital 10:45

Sat., July 20

digital 9:00

Sun., July 21

digital 9:50

Mon., July 22

digital 10:50

Tue., July 23

digital 10:50

Wed., July 24

digital 10:05

Thu., July 18

digital 10:45am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:25

Fri., July 19

digital 10:45am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:20

Sat., July 20

digital 10:45am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:20

Sun., July 21

digital 10:45am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:20

Mon., July 22

digital 12:55, 3:50, 7:25, 10:20

Tue., July 23

digital 1:15, 4:10, 7:25, 10:20

Wed., July 24

digital 12:55, 3:50, 7:25, 10:20

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Thu., July 18

digital 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:25

Fri., July 19

digital 10:45

Sat., July 20

digital 1:00, 7:00, 9:55

Sun., July 21

digital 7:30, 10:25

Mon., July 22

digital 7:30, 10:25

Tue., July 23

digital 7:30, 10:25

Wed., July 24

digital 7:30, 10:25

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Thu., July 18

CC/DVS, digital 5:15, 7:45

Fri., July 19

CC/DVS, digital 7:15

Sat., July 20

CC/DVS, digital 7:15

Sun., July 21

CC/DVS, digital 7:15

Mon., July 22

CC/DVS, digital 7:15

Tue., July 23

CC/DVS, digital 7:15

Wed., July 24

CC/DVS, digital 7:15

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Thu., July 18

CC/DVS, digital 12:00, 8:45

Fri., July 19

CC/DVS, digital 10:45

Sat., July 20

CC/DVS, digital 10:45

Sun., July 21

CC/DVS, digital 10:45

Mon., July 22

CC/DVS, digital 10:30

Tue., July 23

CC/DVS, digital 9:30

Wed., July 24

CC/DVS, digital 10:30

Fri., July 19

digital 11:30

Sat., July 20

digital 11:15

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Thu., July 18

digital 10:40am, 1:20

Fri., July 19

digital 9:30

Sat., July 20

digital 9:30

Sun., July 21

digital 9:30

Mon., July 22

digital 9:30

Tue., July 23

digital 9:30

Wed., July 24

digital 9:30

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Thu., July 18

digital 11:20am

Thu., July 18

digital 3:50

Fri., July 19

digital 10:30

Sat., July 20

digital 10:30

Sun., July 21

digital 10:30

Mon., July 22

digital 10:30

Tue., July 23

digital 10:30

Wed., July 24

digital 10:30

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Thu., July 18

digital 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:10

Fri., July 19

digital 10:30

Sat., July 20

digital 10:30

Sun., July 21

digital 10:30

Mon., July 22

digital 10:30

Tue., July 23

digital 10:30

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., July 18

digital 9:45am

Fri., July 19

digital 9:40am, 3:00, 8:15

Sat., July 20

digital 9:40am, 3:00, 8:15

Sun., July 21

digital 9:40am, 3:00, 8:15

Mon., July 22

digital 9:40am, 3:00, 8:15

Tue., July 23

digital 9:40am, 3:00, 8:15

Wed., July 24

digital 9:45am, 3:15, 8:30

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Thu., July 18

digital 11:05am

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Thu., July 18

digital 10:00am, 1:00

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Thu., July 18

digital 10:40am, 1:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., July 18

digital 11:05am

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Thu., July 18

CC/DVS, digital 11:25am

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., July 18

digital 1:45, 4:35

Thu., July 18

digital 10:30am, 1:30

Thu., July 18

digital 11:00am

Thu., July 18

digital 11:15am

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second, 512/495-9600, www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

Thu., July 18

digital 11:15am, 2:00, 4:25, 7:00, 9:45

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., July 18

digital 12:00

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

MaXXXine, Ti West, Mia Goth, Kevin Bacon, Moses Sumney, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Monaghan, Elizabeth Debicki, Giancarlo Esposito, Halsey, Sophie Thatcher

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