Posts by Billy Ray Brewton

REVIEW: THE BEGUILED

Oh, Sofia Coppola – the all-time purveyor of manic pixie dream girls in all their forms and fashions. She has made a career out of exposing the complexities, the vanities, and the authentic realness of women and that sometimes gets lost in most mainstream pictures. Add to that her distinct and unmatched sense of dreamlike malaise and she has very much created a sub-genre unto herself. Her latest effort, The Beguiled, is a remake; something unfamiliar to her as a filmmaker. She took a dark, sordid, and unusual little Clint Eastwood film from Don Siegel (one of the kings of
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REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

As a kid, Spider-Man was totally my bag. For me, there was Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. And, until Sam Raimi entered the picture, the only cinematic representation I had was the 1977 film, which is more ridiculous camp than anything else (though it does retain a few charms.) Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were rock solid, with the sequel serving as the best comic book movie I’ve ever seen until this year. Spider-Man 3 was a disaster of epic proportions, and something I still don’t quite understand. Enter Andrew Garfield. His Amazing Spider-Man was a delightful change of pace,
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REVIEW: THE MUMMY

What did people expect from The Mummy? Seriously? I’ve read the negative reviews, some of them bordering on outlandish overkill, and none of them are really that eloquent at pointing out why the film isn’t entertaining. It’s like critics are disliking it for the sake of disliking it, as if there is a reason to root against the Dark Universe. Give Universal Pictures a break, you guys. They don’t have any superheroes to sell tickets so they have to resort to the properties they have. Sure, The Mummy might not have been the best way to kick off a series
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REVIEW: ROUGH NIGHT

First off: I hated this movie when it was called Very Bad Things. It didn’t work with gents and it doesn’t work with ladies. Why? Tone, baby. It’s all about the tone. Trying to take a movie that is, essentially, about the accidental death of a stripper and inject it with whimsical comedy and emotional messages about friendship is doomed to failure no matter how you slice it. Here is a film that is so painfully unaware of what it wants to do and how it wants to do it that that, at times, it’s like you’re watching a mediocre
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REVIEW: IT COMES AT NIGHT

Here in the South, we have a saying – “Bless her heart” or “Bless his heart.” We use this as a precursor to saying something negative about someone. Example: “Gladys, bless her heart, has just never had the best taste in paisley linens.” By the Rules of Southern Etiquette, using this phrase cancels out anything negative we might say afterward. It’s a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, if you will, and universally recognized if your entire universe is The South. So, with that explanation out of the way, I offer these three words to It Comes at Night: Bless
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REVIEW: THE COMMUNE

Thomas Vinterberg is the master of shocking revelation and painful discomfort. In his 1998 masterpiece, The Celebration, a birthday gathering to honor a beloved patriarch is rocked to its core when his son announces that he and his sister were sexually abused by the man as children. His 2012 film, The Hunt, dealt with similarly controversial subject matter, with Mads Mikkelsen as a beloved teacher accused of a terrible crime against children. In his latest picture, The Commune, Vinterberg has mellowed out a bit – not a long, but a bit. In fact, one could call his latest film “hopeful”
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REVIEW: THE LOVERS

So: let’s break this review down into three things The Lovers gets right and the one thing The Lovers gets wrong, with there being an overlap. When I’m this split on a picture, I find it’s best to break it down on a very simple level and see where I stand after the smoke clears. The Lovers is about a long-time married couple, Michael (Tracy Letts) and Mary (Debra Winger), who couldn’t have less tolerance for one another at this later stage in life. They are still together out of habit more than anything else. Unbeknownst (or not) to one
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REVIEW- ALIEN: COVENANT

Ah, Ridley Scott. What an enigma. At 79 years old, he has made his bloodiest, grisliest, and most hyperactive film to date. Alien: Covenant feels like a young man’s film, in the way that Mad Max: Fury Road felt like it had been directed by someone in the vibrancy of their youth. Ridley Scott has always had an up-and-down career, peppering some real flashes of brilliance with long, hard thuds that never made much sense at any stage of their life. For me, Prometheus was closer to the latter than the former. It just never worked for me. I never
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REVIEW: CITIZEN JANE – BATTLE FOR THE CITY

“I really dug the film Citizen Jane.” “Oh, what’s it about?” “City planning.” “Huh?” “City planning. The planning of cities.” “I think I’ll skip that one.” And that would be a terrible mistake. Sure, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is a film about city planning, but it’s primarily about the people who defined the movements in New York City and how their impact is still being felt all these years later. In a time when gentrification is destroying cities all across the country, Citizen Jane seems relevant now more than ever. And, though gentrification could not be stopped in
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That Thing About Hindsight: Mary Lambert’s PET SEMATARY 2

There is something so fucking unhinged about Pet Sematary 2. I was ten when it was released in theatres, and I remember seeing it with my mother. I had been a huge fan of the original, and as a kid, the sequel seemed pretty amazing. When I got older, it seemed like a real piece of shit. But, as a 35-year-old man – it’s sort of a work of batshit genius. It was as if the filmmakers said to themselves, “There’s no novel to follow on this one, so all bets are off. Think of the wackiest, bloodiest, most horrific
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