MEN & CHICKEN / THE NEON DEMON / SWISS ARMY MAN / THE PURGE – ELECTION YEAR / MIKE and DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES [Reviews]: Fistful of Films!
You requested it. You begged for it. You got it. Thanks to our newest parishioner to enter the pearly nerd gates of the Clergy of Cool — professional Rotten Tomatoer, Chris “Holy Spirit” Sawin — GHG has itself a new feature around here. Welcome Fistful of Films, the monthly/bi-monthly spotlight of the most overlooked, on-the-line-of-being-cult-geek films of the moment.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Men & Chicken has so much to say regarding diversity and embracing someone despite how peculiar they seem or how they look. This powerful message is wrapped inside a ton of outrageous humor and a mystery seemingly leading to nothing but dead ends. Director — and forthcoming film scripter of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower — Anders Thomas Jensen has created a comedy unlike any other that is original, delicate, and absolutely bonkers. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and undeniably impressive, Men & Chicken breathes new and peculiar life into the comedy genre. 4/5 Bibles.
Bronson director Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon is similar to David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars in the sense that they’re two films that feature intriguing performances and something fascinating buried deep within its layers of bloody absurdities. The visuals of The Neon Demon are spectacular and the score is incredible, but the film itself lacks proper direction, a coherent storyline, and a worthwhile conclusion. 2.5/5.
Swiss Army Man is a one of a kind adventure that borrows elements from comedy, drama, fantasy, and musicals to deliver a brilliantly bonkers, wildly original, weirdly heartwarming, and strangely human experience. If Michel Gondry somehow directed Weekend at Bernie’s meets Where the Wild Things Are, then you may end up with Swiss Army Man, except–obviously–there would be more flatulence and hyperactive boners. 5/5.
The Purge: Election Year is ridiculously vulgar even for an R-rated horror film. They say words that rhyme with “blunt” and “rocksucker” more than any other theatrically released film of recent memory. The sequel is this incredible balance of not only horror, but action and science fiction, as well. Many of the vehicles in the film are modified in ways that seem directly influenced by Mad Max: Fury Road while the guns blazing sequence that saves a helpless Senator Roan (Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell) and a wounded Leo Barnes (Captain America: Civil War‘s Frank Grillo) jump starts the action featured in the film and it barely lets up at all from then on out. Smart, ludicrous, and more fun than it has any right to be, The Purge: Election Year is the creepiest, most vulgar, most violent, and the most pulse racing Purge yet with absurd qualities you can’t help but enjoy. 4/5.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a poorly written comedy with performances so destitute you’ll want to start a fundraiser in order to either pay for better acting lessons for the entire cast, or hurl enough money in their annoyingly rich faces to pack it all up and go home without the option to ever return. The story is forced into this formulaic and nonsensical corner that literally just rips off the events of Adam McKay’s Step Brothers. This is comedic regurgitation that is about as amusing as a violent case of diarrhea. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a clogged toilet overflowing with steamy clichés and thick, chunky mediocrity. 0.5/5.