TL;DR This Week In Cinema: Stranger Things
Welcome to Beat's weekly rundown of what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. This week, everyone wisely backs off the major releases, because the alpha is in the house and hungry for box office dolla$.
That's right, folks: for those still not suffering from costumed-hero fatigue, Benadryl Cumberbund is here to serve up a few hundred platters of green to the folks at Marvel.
For those tired of super-people, the delightful and despicable Paul Verhoeven dishes up a disturbing black comedy-thriller, some boys rob some banks, and animated fare from around the world arrives to cleanse the palate.
Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where your mind is the scene of the cr- no, wait, that's Inception.
It's copped flack for nicking Christopher Nolan's vision of a city folding in on itself (one degree removed from both Paprika and M.C. Escher), and for casting the world's palest woman (the goddess Tilda Swinton) in the role of an originally Asian character, but Benedict Cumberbatch's turn as the reality-bending doctor still looks like the stuff of dreams. Plus, hey, it's got Mads Mikkelsen and Chiwetel Ejiofor!
And dreams feel real when we're in them, right? It's only when we wake up that we realise that something was actually... Strange.
tl;dr Don't forget your totem.
Old-school provocateur Paul Verhoeven whips out the sex and violence he's known for in a psychological thriller that boasts one of the biggest trigger warnings TL;DR has ever handed out. This one's about sexual assault, people. You've been warned.
Elle (Isabelle Huppert), the CEO of a successful video company, is brutally attacked in her own home by a masked man. She doesn't report the crime, nor make much fuss over her rape. She simply sets about finding out the man's identity and exacting her revenge.
It's blackly funny stuff, growing more hair-raising as time passes, but the real draw of the film is Huppert's magnetic performance as the lead refusing the victim role. Sharp, acerbic and not for the faint-hearted.
tl;dr Verhoeven explores methods for dealing with rapists.
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Busy boy Ben Foster teams up with Star Trek's Chris Pine to wreak havoc on the banks of the Southern states, with Jeff Bridges as your typical "days from retirement" sheriff wondering whether or not dem bois err doin' all that bad.
After skinnying down for post-chemo Lance Armstrong in The Program (and for the overly robey Medivh in Warcraft), Foster has chubbed up to play a more believable ex-con no-gooder, and is well-paired with reportedly stellar screenwriting efforts by Taylor Sheridan (of Sicario fame).
Oh, and of course, this is a gritty Western-style film where people frown a bunch and look swarthy, so naturally the soundtrack is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Hey, can't complain. They do good.
tl;dr Just don't tell anyone how you got the dough.
ONE PIECE FILM: GOLD
One Piece is the biggest-selling manga series of all time, and it's been running since 1997. It has 82 collected volumes of manga, 757 anime episodes, 38 video games, 13 animated features, two OVAs (essentially short films) and five television specials. So basically, you have a lot of catching up to do.
Put simply, it's pirate heaven. Everyone is battling to find One Piece, a grand treasure that will bestow upon its bearer the mantle of Pirate King. Our protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, is a crazy kid who eats Demon Fruits to gain supernatural abilities that will aid him on his quest.
In Gold, the Straw Hat Pirates (Luffy's mini-army of followers) arrive on the island of Gran Tesoro, which exists autonomously from the world government. Here, the Golden Emperor seeks to use his considerable fortune and power to expand his control over the planet.
Whatever, shut up and enjoy the pirate punching.
tl;dr Time for sword fights, big money and zero nihilism.
ROBINSON CRUSOE: THE WILD LIFE
Oof, this one's a stinker. Kid-friendly as it seems, the jokes in the trailer are all incapable of walking and so clichéd as to genuinely OFFEND ME. Pls to stop turning literary classics into crap now pls.
I dunno. The animation's fine, I guess? Let's be honest, folks, you're not going to go see this, even if you're still trying to find light in the world after The Walking Dead premiere (link contains spoilers). Even if your children beg.
If they do beg, take them to see Zootopia. Or maybe go to the zoo! No, wait, that's a terrible idea...
tl;dr Pictured: class in adaptating literature for screen.
And now for THE VERDICT - maybe you only get to see one of these flicks on the big screen, and you don't wanna waste that night out. So, drum roll please...
You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darlings. Bend your mind around Marvel's Doctor Strange, but only if you've not the stomach to sit through Elle.
Until next week!