Hello everyone! I hope that you are having a great August and that you and your family are healthy and well. Today I have 2 recent movies to update you on: The Green Knight and Candyman. The 2 films don’t have much in common except for the fact I seem to not enjoy them nearly as much as most seem to be. Unpopular opinions are always an interesting experience for any film fan but let’s break down my thoughts on both films:
The Green Knight
Director David Lowery is one of the most compelling and effective directors working today. I love his version of Pete’s Dragon he did for Disney and appreciated his bold contemplation of grief and our human legacy in A Ghost Story. Very few directors can so seamlessly move from mainstream fair to arthouse indie with such ease, while still maintaining a clear and obvious point of view. It’s very impressive.
Now we have his take on the Arthurian legend ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ in The Green Knight. I must own when I first saw the film I did not enjoy it. I found it obtuse, confusing and slow. However, almost everyone I know loved it, proclaiming it the best movie of the year that I decided to give it another watch. I rarely do this but they were doing a virtual screening last week so it was convenient so why not?
So what was the result of my second watch? I still don’t love it but I did appreciate it more. It was nice to be able to watch it at home where I could take a break if needed and even have the original story open to provide insight into the confusing sections.
There are positives to the film. Dev Patel is wonderful. I am a huge fan of his. I loved last year’s Personal History of David Copperfield. I love Lion and Slumdog Millionaire is one of my favorite films of all time. He’s great in this film and is easy to root for even when he is being a scoundrel.
The Green Knight is also a beautiful film with gorgeous cinematography by Andrew Droz Palermo. It’s the kind of movie they should make an artbook for because it is so stunning.
All that said I still find the narrative to be unnecessarily confusing. Going from dream, to reality, back to dreams without any clarification is baffling and certain choices don’t make any sense like Alicia Vikander playing two characters. Are they supposed to be twins? What does that mean?
The whole movie in general lacks a sense of purpose. What is it trying to say? I am sure whole video essays will be made expounding upon it but whatever its message is certainly left me cold.
I’m struggling with what rating to give it because I did appreciate it more the second viewing, but I still didn’t love it. In the end, I have to be authentic to my experience and not worry what other people think.
5 out of 10
Everyone who reads my reviews knows I am not the biggest horror movie fan. However, I have been trying the last few years to get out of my comfort zone and watch movies like Halloween, Scream and more. Being a big fan of Get Out I was intrigued by Jordan Peele’s name attached to the new sequel to Candyman (he’s a producer and writer) I decided to give the movie a try. I was hoping it would be a gripping horror movie with a message like Get Out. Unfortunately, that was not my experience. Others seem to be loving this film but I thought it was a very weak entry into the horror genre.
I will say I have never seen the original Candyman but my brother has and we watched the movie together. He helped fill me in on anything I was missing from the previous film. It’s billed as a ”spiritual sequel” so I don’t think watching the 1992 film is required to understand this film.
Candyman tells the story of artist named Anthony who moves into the Cabrini-Green neighborhood of Chicago where housing projects have been left abandoned in the place of large skyscrapers, which he is now living in. In looking for inspiration for his art he starts to dive into an urban legend of the Candyman which comes to prey on victims when they say his name into a mirror 5 times.
Writing that description it sounds more fun than it is. The problem is director Nia DaCosta fails to build up tension well. There’s a ton of exposition but we aren’t made to care about the characters so when they are put in peril it’s not as tense as it should be. For example, there is a scene with some teens in peril that we barely know, so the horrors that happen are more by-the-numbers than exciting.
There are some gross scenes but that’s not enough to make for a compelling movie, especially in one obviously trying to say so much. Like I said, most of the messaging is in long sections of exposition, not through dynamic character growth. Instead of being enlightening I found myself waiting for the next gruesome scene because at least then something fresh was happening.
Candyman reminds me a lot of Velvet Buzzsaw but not as good because at least that film had top-tier acting (some of the acting leaves much to be desired particularly by supporting players here) and it had a sense of humor about it’s characters and kills. This is blandness masquerading as a socially conscious horror movie.
For an interesting perspective from, Robert Daniels, a Black film critic I admire click here.
As for me, I cannot recommend Candyman. If you see it let me know what you think!
3 out of 10