JORDAN Peele returns to form with his glorious, awe-inspiring third film as director that will surely take audiences on a thrilling ride.
Reuniting with his Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, Peele focuses this Western sci-fi story on two siblings who run a Hollywood horse-wrangling business set up by Otis, their recently deceased father (Keith David), out in the secluded desert area of northern Los Angeles.
Kaluuya and Keke Palmer are on winning form as brother and sister OJ and Em. They are very much opposites and it’s their chalk-and-cheese relationship that makes for an entertaining pairing.
Where Em is an extroverted, fast-talking charmer OJ is a somewhat introverted, hard-working man who inserts heavy meaning into his few words of dialogue and pensive looks as a suspicious flying object appears in the sky.
Hoping to cash in on the cultural obsession with UFOs, the siblings hatch a plan, with the help of electronics store worker Angel (Brandon Perea), to capture footage of the sinister visitor but soon realise that they are not the only locals hoping to profit from this alien phenomenon.
Nope is certainly a film obsessed with the power of screen images.
The visual and sound effects are breathtaking with a sinister beauty informing the appearance of the otherworldly threat but as with all Peele’s films, he tells it through a distinctly Black lens.
Nope reminds audiences that Black cowboys were and continue to be a part of the Western cultural landscape through nods to Sidney Poitier’s 1972 movie Buck And The Preacher and by creating an alternative-history link between the first moving image of a Black jockey to these horse-wrangling siblings.
Yet, even with all these deep, pensive references and serious examination of society and culture, Peele never forgets his comic origins.
The script’s sharp humour, visual gags and expert line delivery provide hilarious moments of relief to the horrifying tension of this overarching predatory threat.
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The summer blockbuster is back, baby!
Strap in, it’s about to get gnarly.
THE true story of how the Eiffel Tower – Paris’s most famous monument – overcame trials, tribulations, major resistance and engineering impossibilities in 1889 to become one of the world’s most recognisable constructed landmarks SHOULD be the focus of this big-budget biopic about Gustave Eiffel, the genius behind the building.
Instead, the makers have chosen to centre the narrative on a tedious “you aren’t good enough for our daughter” fictional romance between Gustave (a fabulous Romain Duris) and his invented beau Adrienne (Emma Mackey from Sex Education).
The flimsy reasoning behind this seems based on little more than “A” for Adrienne is the same shape as the Eiffel Tower but the upshot is that the genuinely fascinating history behind how the tower was designed and built is side-lined for nearly two hours of lingering glances.
It’s all beautifully lit and directed and the visuals are lovely, but the excellent cast deserve so much more than this hammy style-over-substance script.
Unlike the iconic tower which still dominates the Parisian skyline, the structure of Eiffel just doesn’t stand up.
WHERE IS ANNE FRANK?
THIS beautiful feature animation directed by Ari Folman retells the true story of Jewish teenager Anne Frank who lost her life in the holocaust through the eyes of Kitty, the diarist’s flame-haired imaginary friend.
Voiced by Emily Carey, Kitty is brought to life from the pages of the diary and finds herself in modern-day Amsterdam not yet knowing anything of the tragic fate that has befallen Anne and the rest of her family.
Taking the diary with her, and instigating a police hunt for it – and her – in the process, Kitty undertakes a quest to find her friend.
In doing so the tale of Anne’s devastating ending unfolds via flashbacks, while parallels are also made with the contemporary refugees Kitty encounters living in Europe today.
The format is an inventive way to tell the story to younger audiences, and works well to be informative and engaging without being patronising for the age group it’s aimed at, and the up-to-date setting and references ensure it’s relatable.
However, at times dialogue can slip over into feeling preachy, and the animation does lose its way in the final closing scenes, with a weak ending not befitting what precedes it.
- TALKS are in process for a Pac-Man movie after the success of Sonic The Hedgehog.
- THE prequel to horror film Orphan will come to screens this month.
- ETHAN Coen has cast Margaret Qualley in his new untitled film.