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Quickie Pop Culture Notes

St. Maud

I’ve been craving some good horror and thrillers. Here are a few movies I watched recently.


He’s Out There is total garbage. A film comprised almost entirely of scenes where a woman and her two daughters scream at sounds. It takes ’til roughly 85% of the runtime for us to really clock the killer and when we finally do, it’s absolutely not worth the wait.

Gunpowder Milkshake was pretty much just wasted potential. Gobs and gobs and gobs of wasted potential. A phenomenal cast (Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti) and a great concept were just undermined by a film that pulled its punches at every turn. What should have been a funny, gonzo nod to John Wick simply wasn’t funny or badass or surreal or good-looking enough to become competition for its inspirations.

A Quiet Place 2 was a fine follow-up to the original. The kids and monsters really stole show here…and there were a couple of scenes that were so tense I was genuinely uncomfortable.

Nocturne was one of those “wasted 2 hours of my life movies,” with a pace so unbelievably tortuous I almost gave up on it several times. But I wanted to mention it here because I feel like it could have been so much more than it was. It was about a young woman who clearly has some mental health issues who becomes more and more obsessed with making it in the world of classical piano when she gets possession of a dead virtuoso’s notebook. Here the film takes a turn for the tedious when boring and confusing quasi-supernatural things start happening in conjunction with the main character’s unraveling. The things is, there was absolutely no need for any sort of supernatural element. The film would have been much more entertaining if it had simply been a character study and rumination on the quest for perfection. It also would have been much more interesting if anything–anything at all!– had happened in first hour of the film besides the actress staring balefully at everyone. It’s shame the movie was such a shitshow because the final scene is actually powerful and jarring. As the main character plummets to her death, she imagines she is giving the performance of a lifetime. The film ends with her dead and bloody, a genuinely creepy death grin on her face, as people mill about, ignoring her corpse. She’s oblivious to them in her perpetual heaven, they’re oblivious to suffering. It’s a good ending! But if you want to watch disturbing psychological thrillers about quest for perfection, may I suggest Black Swan and The Perfection?

St. Maud is the incredibly impressive directorial debut of Rose Glass. With its amazing performances and gorgeous cinematography, it’s allowed to have a (somewhat) formulaic plot. But I’ll say this: you may know where you’re going during St. Maud but you’ll feel pretty uncomfortable getting there. I can’t wait to see more from Glass.

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