Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, we have two unique filmmakers really going for it. There’s David Cronenberg going back to body horror with Crimes of the Future, as well as Alex Garland‘s latest in Men. Which film wound up with my top pick this week? Read on to find out…
Jessie Buckley is terrific in Men, a film from Alex Garland about gaslighting and toxic masculinity that is, well…a lot. Especially at the end, when it really goes off the deep end, you have to be on its wavelength. That said, I liked so much more of this movie than I didn’t, I can’t help but recommend it, if only for others to check it out. Here is a bit from my review on the site:
Without question, Men is a lot to take in. Just know that going in. Finding the horror in emotional manipulation, gaslighting, and toxic masculinity is tricky ground to traverse, but this latest A24 elevated horror film largely succeeds. It asks a lot of you, both in terms of its formal presentation as well as its thematic elements. Writer/director Alex Garland builds on the love of challenging genre cinema that he’s been crafting as a director, with Men fitting in solidly between Ex Machina and Annihilation. Less likely to get awards attention than the former and less likely to be a cult favorite like the latter, it still very much carves its own unique path. If nothing else, it’s more evidence that whatever Garland crafts is worth taking notice of.
What makes Men more than just an exercise in suffering is striking visuals, tremendous acting, and an open-ended nature that leaves at least a bit open to interpretation. This slow burn will leave a mark on you, that’s for sure. The question is just whether it will be a positive one or not. For my money, while there are missteps, much more works here than does not. Plus, there’s at least one sequence in the movie that you literally have to see in order to believe. Garland fans are going to want to pour over this one for as much meaning as possible.
Crimes of the Future
The return to body horror for David Cronenberg wasn’t quite the cinematic event some hoped for, but it did result in an enjoyably weird flic. If the movie didn’t fully live up to its promise, Crimes of the Future still has plenty to offer Cronenberg fans. My review here on the site included this bit:
David Cronenberg is undeniably known for being a pioneering storyteller in the world of body horror. In fact, odds are, if you have a favorite Cronenberg film, it’s likely an example of body horror. Whether it has been a prime focus or just an element in his work (The Fly probably being the most successful of his outings), it’s largely what the man is known for, cinematically. After a period away from the genre, he’s returned with Crimes of the Future, a movie that sees him dipping his toes back into the ground he helped pave. While it lacks the prestige and awards friendliness of something like Eastern Promises or A History of Violence, he’s not fully trying to gross you out. In that way, the flick plays like a re-introduction for Cronenberg to body horror. Depending on how that sounds to you, that’s a fair assumption of how you’ll react to this one.
Crimes of the Future presents Cronenberg again mixing gore and social commentary, but it’s not quite as out there as the premise would suggest. Any of the speculation about how there would be outrage and walkouts during the Cannes Film Festival were overblown. The finale has something potentially upsetting, but it’s not nearly as extreme as you’ve been prepped for. To that end, keep your expectations in check.
Harry Potter: 20th Aniversary – Return to Hogwarts (TV)
Pam & Tommy: Season One (TV)
*No Criterion Releases this time around, but check back soon!*
Stay tuned for more next week…