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Joey’s Home Movies For the Week of May 23rd – ‘The Batman’ and ‘X’ Offer Two of the Year’s Most Satisfying Experiences

"The Batman" (2022) Cinematography by Greig Fraser
Warner Bros Pictures

Welcome back to my Home Movies! This week, we have a new take on the Caped Crusader in The Batman, as well as an A24 horror offering in X. Both are highlights from early on in 2022. What else is hitting shelves today? Read on to find out…

Joey’s Top Pick

Warner Bros Pictures

The Batman

The first truly huge film of the year happened to be as good as everyone had hoped for. The Batman leaned into the character’s detective roots, allowing Matt Reeves to truly do something a little bit different. For my money, it almost entirely works, resulting in a tense yet satisfying experience. My rave review here on the site included the following:

We have seen Batman in a number of incarnations on the silver screen. Tim Burton had a gothic and moody take. Joel Schumacher had a campy one. Christopher Nolan had a grounded yet epic take. Zack Snyder had a bleak and dark one. Now, it’s Matt Reeves‘ turn, and he’s managed to find something else entirely. The Batman is a blockbuster action film, sure, but it’s not just that. It’s also, and arguably more so, a police procedural. Reeve is imagining the Dark Knight in perhaps his truest form, which we’ve never quite seen in a movie form. In doing so, this is something special and very different for the genre.

The Batman presents us truly for the first time with a cinematic interpretation of The World’s Greatest Detective. This version of the character is as much a sleuth as a superhero. It’s a new feel for this type of film, giving it a weight that never feels overly grim, even if it’s probably the most serious of the lot. By feeling like a cross between SAWSe7enZodiac, and the darker comic book takes on the character, we’re given a full meal. The movie looks at Batman as though he’s closer to a literary figure, given respect and a reality. There’s some of what Nolan did so well here, but it’s also very much blazing its own trail.

Recommended Viewing

A24

X

Ti West is a filmmaker that doesn’t lack for talent. X represents not just some of his best writing and direction, but one of his best premises as well. It’s not for everyone, to be sure, but I was quite impressed by the execution here, including Mia Goth. This is some of what I said in my review (found here) of the film:

Throwback horror serves many a purpose when it’s done well. Not only does let you appreciate what’s come before, but it also potentially introduces a whole new audience to the glory days of the genre. In making X a hybrid of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a behind the scenes look at the making of something like Debbie Does Dallas, the film manages to blaze its own trail while bowing its head to cinematic history. Regardless of if you’ve seen 70’s fare or not, you can understand what’s being homaged, as well as what’s being satirized or even given a new spin. The movie is very good on its own, but the more you get it, the better it becomes.

X is a great example of how you can honor the genre classics while still very much doing your own thing. Plus, in mixing horror with pornography, it’s a surprisingly deft showcase for how both types of filmmaking has an entrepreneurial and independent spirit. Writer/director Ti West knows his scary movies, but he also knows how to pay tribute while not just being a copycat. His affection meets with his strong storytelling to delivery arguably his most complete flick to date. West has made throwbacks before, but this is his best one yet.

Also Available This Week

Dave Grohl stars as himself in director BJ McDonnell’s STUDIO 666, an Open Road Films release. Credit : Courtesy of Andrew Stuart / Open Road Films

The Burning Sea

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Measure of Revenge

Ray Donovan: The Movie (TV)

RoboCop: The Series (TV)

The Sinner: The Complete Series (TV)

Studio 666

Umma

Criterion Corner

Criterion

Mississippi Masala

From The Criterion Collection: “The vibrant cultures of India, Uganda, and the American South come together in Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala, a luminous look at the complexities of love in the modern melting pot. Years after her Indian family was forced to flee their home in Uganda by the dictatorship of Idi Amin, twentysomething Mina (Sarita Choudhury) spends her days cleaning rooms in an Indian-run motel in Mississippi. When she falls for the charming Black carpet cleaner Demetrius (Denzel Washington), their passionate romance challenges the prejudices of both of their families and exposes the rifts between the region’s Indian and African American communities. Tackling thorny issues of racism, colorism, culture clash, and displacement with bighearted humor and keen insight, Nair serves up a sweet, sexy, and deeply satisfying celebration of love’s power.”

Stay tuned for more next week…

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Written by Joey Magidson

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