The Seagull

There has been a long history of movies being named after animal. I don’t want to give a lot of examples, so I will instead just pick a recent one, The Lobster.

The Lobster was surreal and weird. Is The Seagull going to be just as surreal and weird? Will it explore different concepts? Will it be about birds at all?

Or, as I realized later on, will it just be a remake of a very famous Anton Chekhov play from over a 100 years ago? Yeah, it is that one. And this is my only time to point out that the play has had many adaptations, modern versions, some movie, some references in TV shows. But most importantly a few years ago was a modern play version called Stupid Fucking Bird.

I want to watch Stupid Fucking Bird the movie.

Face
Instead I am stuck with this arguably not stupid fucking face.

Set mostly in the early 1900’s, close to Moscow, on a small lake estate, The Seagull is about a wealthy-ish family and their issues. I say wealthy-ish, because they have servants, but also apparently they are too poor to leave the area or better there lives in other ways.

The main patron of the estate is Sorin (Brian Dennehy), whom is getting ill and would rather live in the city. His sister, Irina (Annette Bening), is an aging actress who is living in Moscow mostly but she returns to the estate in the summer. Irina’s son, Konstantin (Billy Howle), is a modernist, who fancies himself a poet and a playwright, hoping to the way plays are told and to become famous himself. Konstantin is madly in love with a local farm girl and his muse, Nina (Saoirse Ronan), who dreams of being a famous actress. And finally we have Boris Trigorin (Corey Stoll), a relatively young author who is very famous in Moscow, whom Irina has been seeing for some time as a celebrity couple.

Also Elisabeth Moss is hanging around during this time, but I couldn’t possibly tell you what her actual job or purpose is. Maybe beloved neighbor.

Most of the story takes place a few weeks over the summer. A lot of the main characters are jealous or infatuated with other ones, even if they are in other relationships. Some of these relationships are out of prestige, out of love, out of settling.

A lot of sex starved people, who might have parent issues, who can orgasm seemingly after a couple of forbidden kisses.

Also starring Glenn Fleshler, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham, Jon Tenney, and Michael Zegen.

Boat
Only bad things can happen on a boat.

The Seagull is about a small group of people who all want to fuck a different person. Not everyone will leave disappointed either! Some will succeed, some will be left to pick up the scraps, and that is life.

The ideas behind this story in 2018 don´t feel original at all, but if it was originally scripted in the late 1800s it was probably original as hell at the time of release. It may have inspired most of the similar stories for the last 100 years.

And yet, it doesn´t matter, as I am here just to judge a film.

The film does has really fine acting of course. Bening is a star, and Stoll does a lot more than I expected from him based on most of his previous roles. Moss provides some good comedic relief, and Ronan is fine as usual. I did find Howle a little bit strange though. It really felt like he was meant to be played by Eddie Redmayne, but he canceled or was too expensive so they settled.

The story though is just okay. It has some chuckles. It has a pointless intro flashforward. And really, I do not know why the cast wasn´t speaking with Russian accents or anything. It was just lot of clearly American people talking occasionally about Moscow and it kept throwing me off.

2 out of 4.

Anything

I can’t remember the last film that had as much casting controversy as Anything. In fact, this controversy is probably why it took a long time to come out, in an extremely limited release, waiting specifically for everyone to forget about it. Maybe the last movie with this much controversy was The Last Airbender. But I am sure something else was controversial between then and now. Who knows.

Anything is controversial, because Matt Bomer is playing a transgender woman. Why couldn’t they have just cast an actual transgender woman? After all, A Fantastic Woman was able to do it and it kicked butt.

The controversy is a fine point. Another point is that the woman is a sex worker, and that is just a really a stereotype that these women can’t get out of. So having it a focal point of the film is pretty much just more lazy writing.

And again, I can’t really argue with these points, but I will still try to judge this film on its overall film quality and not the controversy.

Bomer
Although in this case, it is important to teach the controversy.

Early Landry (John Carroll Lynch) is not having a lot of fun at the current stage of his life. His wife died, and now he is alone. He loved his wife and didn’t really have friends, nor was he super close with his other family. He was hoping to live many many more years with her, but a car accident happened, and now he is left with nothing.
So he tried to kill himself. And it was unsuccessful, but the attempt still happened. Now he is living with his sister (Maura Tierney) and her family, but it is obviously awkward. Once he sells his old house, he has plenty of money to live anywhere, and he wants to live in…Hollywood.

A cheap place of course, he doesn’t need a big place, just a living room, a kitchen, and a bed room. So he lives in a rougher part of the city, but he wants to try something different. He needs change, or else he will just repeat previous actions.

And he immediately meets Frida (Matt Bomer), his neighbor, who expands his world view on what it means to be a nice or decent person. She is crude, she is a sex worker, and she is still for whatever reason willing to talk to this old southern cracker.

Also starring Tanner Buchanan.

Family
And his sister is pretty much not cool with any of this.

It took awhile for Frida to appear. In fact, I assumed she might have been a really minor role, and this whole thing was a bit more overblown. But once she appeared, she really didn’t go away. Well, once, and that was for plot reasons. But she was a major player, basically a costar.

The problems with Frida is that she is basically fulfilling the “Magical Negro” trope. Instead, she is the magical trans person that introduces our regular old man to a different way of accepting people. He doesn’t go in hating and mad at this change, but welcomes it, but it is still a struggle, because she is a different person than any person he is used to. But she is there to fix his life more so than he is there to fix her life.

Basically, this is a movie about a character moving on with his life after his wife’s death, and this lady is his way to find a new purpose. So she feels more like a tool than a character, to fix him, and it feels worse given that they decided for this tool to be a transgender woman sex worker.

In other words, it is a lazy plot device, used badly, and is used as a way of building this false sort of representation. You know, without real representation. So this is certainly a movie that is skippable by most measures.

HOWEVER, I will have to point out, that Lynch is great in this role. He is very strong overall and it does a good job of showing off his skill set. It is just the other stuff that majorly brings it down.

1 out of 4.

Disobedience

This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

WorldFest isn’t known for its big releases. No, it is an independent movie festival, so seeing one of those giant movies that is going to win an Oscars would probably be very rare.

On that note, for the film Disobedience, it is probably the first time I heard of a movie months before I knew it would be at WorldFest. It was directed by Sebastián Lelio, who directed Gloria a few years ago (haven’t seen yet still, but a remake soon with him still at the helm for America), and A Fantastic Woman, which just won best foreign film.

Needless to say, I was excited about his next film. Hell, very provocative posters for this film have gone up and maybe that is why it is famous (okay, that is the reason). Let’s bring on the sexy times.

Group
Nothing sexier than candles, flames, beards, and dark clothing.

The story opens up with Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) is giving a sermon about the differences between Man, Angels, and Beasts, and the idea of choice. Oh, this is totally a synagogue as well, very very conservative Jewish. Somewhere in Great Britain, a little local community. The women sitting on the second story only. And then he goes and dies.

His one and only daughter, Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz) is living in NYC. She left the community she grew up in, abandoned her family, to live alone. She is a bit of disgrace. No one talks to her anymore. But someone sent a message through the grapevine that her father was dead, their Rabbi and spiritual leader, so she heads back over ready to face her past and her peers.

The ceremonies take place at the home of Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola), Rav’s spiritual son, whom he took in when he was in his teen years to begin his devout training, so sort of a brother to Ronit. He is now married to Esti (Rachel McAdams), a big shocker to Ronit. They invite her to stay in their guest room while she deals with her father’s loss and the annoyance from the community.

We learn of course that some members of the group had an intense past. This past is why Ronit ended up leaving their community, seemingly never to return. How dare she mess that up, right?

Kiss
Rachel and Rachel standing on a street. R-A-C-H-E-L-I-N-G.

Setting this in a conservative Jewish community with very little out of it first took me awhile to figure out where this film was set. It is a modern film, it just took until the last 20-30 minutes before someone pulled out a cell phone for any reason. It could have been in the 60’s/70’s, or it could have been modern, given their conservative nature, who knows!

The three main leads give really good acting performances. Weisz is the powerhouse here, Nivola has his moments at the end, and for the most part McAdams is a quiet force building over time. They all feel very vulnerable and real in their roles, giving an extra umph to the story.

It just took forever for the story to really grow and move forward. It was definitely boring. I am fine with a slow burn story, but it was hard to keep my eyes open early on and even by the end there was still some struggles.

I like that we got an in depth look at a community that is old dealing with “modern issues”, and it seems to be something that the director is playing with lately. It is something worth being told, but the payout doesn’t feel necessarily worth it.

2 out of 4.

Basmati Blues

I first heard about Basmati Blues at least 2 and a half years ago. I tend to rather frequently look up the Wikipedia List of Musical Films By Year. It is always good to know what is coming up, because damn it, I like musicals. Just like how I waited for almost two years for The Greatest Showman.

But this was different. This one had the star of Room , which was wildly popular at the time, and it was a goddamn musical. It just took forever to come out, with delays, and then eventually a quiet VOD and even quieter DVD release.

This is a film they tried to bury, instead of riding off of her coattails. Can it be that bad?

Dance
Foreigner learning to do local dance scene? Check.

Rice 9 is amazing! It gives more protein, more rice per yield, less waste, and blah blah blah. It has been genetically modified to be the very best rice there is and can do a lot for hunger and poverty!

The designers of this crop are the father daughter team of Eric (Scott Bakula) and Linda (Brie Larson), although Linda did most of the legwork despite her younger age. She is passionate about helping save the world and happy that she works for a company that is trying to get things rolling. However, there is a problem. Their rep that was supposed to go to India to sell the plant to a small group of farmers to prove its effectiveness got into some really bad trouble. He wouldn’t be welcome in those parts.

The heads (Donald Sutherland, Tyne Daly) need to find someone new to send over stat. Someone who is passionate, kind, and believes in their product. And although she is just a scientist, they think Linda is just the girl for the task.

Now we have a girl going to a country she has never been, to peddle a product she loves, to farmers who are mostly resistant to change. And because she is alone, why not throw in some love complications as well? Oh yeah, also, the corporation is bad.

Also starring Utkarsh Ambudkar as our love interest / competitor, Saahil Sehgal, and Lakshmi Manchu.

Musical
Corporation revealing their evil ways in a plan with office workers? Check

No, I wouldn’t say it is that bad. But it is is that forgettable. There were definitely songs and it was definitely musical songs. I imagined this could be a movie where the songs came out naturally and realistically, like Begin Again or so. These songs however are mostly the show stopper type films, breaking the ordinary, music playing in the background. I have no hate for these type, I love them!

Just this one didn’t have too many and they weren’t too spectacular (spectacular). I can’t remember really any of the songs, just maybe 1-2 seconds. None of the tunes stuck in my head and maybe only a few made me smile.

The plot and the story is relatively weak. I am happy it was anti-corrupt corporations and not anti-genetically modified food, which is where I thought it would go. They are totally fine with genetically modified food, just not fine with dick companies who lie.

It was strange to set a musical in India and not go harder for the actual Bollywood feel. We had a Bollywood ending number, and the rest was just standard fare. The cinematography during the songs is incredibly low key, and just felt like a movie that was filmed in about a week.

Basmati Blues is the thankfully not the only musical to come out this year. Check out Hearts Beat Loud for my current number one if you need something to get you moving.

1 out of 4.

Love, Simon

Love, Simon is an upcoming movie based on the book. That book was called Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda.

I don’t know anything about this film going into it, but I wish, wish, wish, it had the same title as the book. That is such an exciting title! And one that would probably turn off a lot of potential viewers. Heck, it makes me think of Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Who doesn’t want to be associated with that masterpiece?

Oh well. Sometimes you have to make the money decision instead of the fun, original, cool decision.

Friends
Best friends until the very end, no secrets between them, none whatsoever.

Simon (Nick Robinson) is your typical high school teenage senior. He has regular parents (Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel), who might be a bit rich sure, and a younger sister (Talitha Eliana Bateman) who wants to be a chef. He has some BFFs for most of his life in Leah (Katherine Langford) and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), including a new girl to their group Abby (Alexandra Shipp).

Oh, an he is gay too. Totally loves the dudes. Just hasn’t told anyone despite knowing it for years.

But then something changes. Their school/community have their own little Post Secret group that still is in use, where people can post rumors, or comments about their lives. And it turns out that someone else in their school is gay. Well, secretly gay.

So Simon decides to email him and set up a correspondence with this Blue fellow to share their feelings. In secret of course. This email turns into a bit of a fascination for Simon. He longs to hear back from his secret friend, and even finds himself falling in love with his words.

Unfortunately, the longer he obsesses over his email, the more likely he is to screw up with these emails and accidentally let his secret out.

Also starring Logan Miller, Keiynan Lonsdale, Miles Heizer, and Tony Hale.

Friends Friends
What a diverse group of totally normal friends!

If I had to describe Love, Simon in the least amount of words, I would just tell you “Never Been Kissed, but gay.” For those of you familiar with that movie it should be pretty obvious. A person in school has a secret, the secret is found out, and it ends with romance! A lot of movies have similar plots, but this one really drives home these aspects.

And after saying all of that, that is not a negative on Love, Simon. I loved Love, Simon. It was cute, it felt real, it was modern and topical. Robinson as a lead had a constant look on his face to show he was hurting on the inside, unsure of how to express his feelings that are giving him so much angst. The pressure builds on him throughout the movie, once his secret starts spreading without his knowledge and consent. And finally, by the end, the acceptance of his fate, his character has different body movements and an aura about him. It is a wonderful change to process.

I hated the people that were dicks, I loved his circle of friends, and the consequences of his lies and actions went completely believable ways. This is just a nice feel good romance teenage coming of age story. I cried several times, from both being upset and sad, to happiness. It was good amount of feels. An appropriate, non groping amount of feels.

And unsurprisingly, this feels like a film I could easily watch again and again for years to come.

4 out of 4.

On Body and Soul

What comes from Hungary? Some lame jokes, some World War I starters, and that is about all I can think of from my America centrist point of view.

So hey, I was excited for them just for having a film nominated for Best Foreign Film. Dozens of countries every year submit a film and only five are ever chosen, and only one wins. If Hungary has a rich film history, I am unfortunately unaware of it. If I have reviewed a Hungarian film before, then I totally forgot about it (just checked, shit, they had Son of Saul and White God. Totally forgot which country. Good job, Hungary!).

And now they have On Body and Soul. And I am thankful for Netflix for buying this film up so that lame uncultured swine like myself can watch it before the Oscars, and not five months after the fact.

Sleep
This is the kinky way Hungarians sleep together.

Taking place in some in Hungary, I have to assume, we have a slaughterhouse. They do good work there. Or at least, they kill cows and sell that meat for money. People have jobs, people are not sad.

Endre (Géza Morcsányi) is the CFO of the place, and is pretty complacent with his life. He is old, he is stagnant, he has a small group of friends. And a new girl starts to work there, much younger. Her name is Mária (Alexandra Borbély) and she is the quality inspector. She checks the cows and makes sure they have the appropriate grade rankings based on, you know, cow stuff.

Endre tries to talk to her, but she is off putting. Mária is very autistic, including a perfect memory and loves precision, so she makes some people upset when she is giving cows a lower grade than normal for technically correct reasons.

After an event occurs at the shop, a psychiatrist (Réka Tenki) is brought in to ask everyone questions to determine who the most likely culprit is. She is the first to find out that Endre and Mária are sharing a dream, where they are deer in a wintry forest. This connection is brought up to them, and it is up to them to figure out what to do with this knowledge, if anything.

Deer
You know, just being a deer, doing deer stuff.

On Body and Soul was a very touching film. Not physically touching, given how much Mária hated physical contact (note: I really enjoyed the mashed potatoes imagery). Just emotionally touching. Two lost souls who are very different, who find each other in an extraordinary way.

Not that I am implying there is a happy ending, just that technically, they find each other.

The Endre character is interesting in that he is supposed to be a normalish guy. A guy who has just been around for a loooong time and now is just drifting peacefully into retirement or death or something. I found at various points in the film that I hated him and found him endearing.

Mária is the real star though, and of course, Borbély. This is not some ¨hey look at the weirdo, being all autistic¨ sort of film, and it does not feel like it is making fun of people on the spectrum. We get to see her with a lot of struggles and a lot of pain. Seriously, a ton of pain. We get to see her grow, or attempt to grow, as she determines if she even can try to love another person.

There are some gross moments, there are some graphic moments (it is a slaughterhouse after all). But in the end, I still really enjoyed it the same.

3 out of 4.

Fifty Shades Freed

With Fifty Shades Freed coming out, it makes it the second trilogy to end in 2018 already, and it is only halfway through February! The other one was of course Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which was also complete shit.

I don’t know a lot about the point of this trilogy, but looking at the ad spots online, on youtube, on Hulu, the one thing I realized is that whatever the plot was, they certainly did not want to show it to the viewer. They just wanted us to see people being rich, doing some sexy stuff, and being rich. Rich, sex, rich.

Maybe that is the main point of the movie? Maybe they expect the plot to just maintain “oh, their relationship!” and it be an okay story overall.

edding
Is the wedding the climax, or just the beginning?

The movie begins with the saying of I do from our leads (Which is answers that question). After all, he proposed at the end of the second film, we don’t need to see them planning for it and all that shit. Let’s just see Anastasia become Anastasia Grey (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) stays the same. Which is one of those plots about the movie, him staying the same.

Now we can watch them traveling the world, honeymooning, sexing, being rich. You know. But some guy goes and steals some data from Grey’s company, cutting it short! Oh snap! Now we have some man, or some lady, trying to do bad things to them, and he has “no idea at all why!”. Security is beefed up and some things are a little bit less sexy.

But don’t worry, we still have time to deal with other issues. Like how they never even talked about when they would want kids or if they wanted kids at all. Perfect thing to do post marriage. On that note, that weird ex mistress of his that taught him all of his kinks? You’d think that would be important, but in this movie, it is basically just dealt with in a single scene and ignored the whole way through after it. Yay!

These people are in this movie: Brant Daughtery, Bruce Altman, Eloise Mumford, Eric Johnson, Hiro Kanagawa, Kristen Alter, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Max Martini, and Rita Ora.

SmallBoat
Will the SeaDoo scene be the new boat scene from the previous film?

This film is shit, and everyone knows it is shit. The people who put it out know it is shit. The reason the plot is hard to tell is because there is no discernible plot in the whole movie. Bad plot reasons for man to be bugging them. Characters act stupid and don’t understand what is being told to them, and intentionally characters put off obviously important information until it is too late. We have a couple who still doesn’t make sense together, who just get really kinky around each other I guess. Whatever happens never really looks like love.

We have a main character male who is emotionally and physically abusive at times, yes still in this movie. We have a cartoon bad guy. We have a scene where someone gets slapped twice and kicked in the stomach causing a short term coma, some how.

The infamous boat scene was recreated almost with a house they go to in Colorado. Watching the car go up the driveway, we then see several angles around the house, switch switch switch. It is still full of romantic (maybe? hard to tell when it all sounds the same) pop music, to fill any sort of space they might have for character growth.

And just in case you forgot the other films, near the end, we get to see a long montage of the first two movies, of their romance scenes and travels. Yes, we still see that damn boat again in this film. They did it just to troll me.

And then at some point the movie ends, without resolving one of the major plot issues their relationship had with his ex mistress lady he couldn’t ever stop confiding in. Hooray!

0 out of 4.

Song to Song

I have put off watching Song to Song as much as possible. At this point in my career, I am more likely to check out the director before watching an unknown movie for only one reason. To see if Terrence Malick was secretly the director.

Because if he is, I need to go into the movie with a completely different mindset than literally any other film.

I need to have hawk eyes to figure out just what the main plot of the film is going to be, especially when the narrators decide to switch on me, or even be from characters I never paid attention to.

No one else makes me waste my time like Malick. And I just need to know before seeing if a movie how mad I will be five minutes into it.

Lighs
Yeah, get that bitch some Christmas lights…

What do Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Holly Hunter, Val Kimer, and Bérénice Marlohe have in common?

They are all in this series of maybe related scenes “film,” and have been tricked into working with Malick!

Dynamic
Look at all these dynamic camera shots!

2017 was a year of change for me. I gave up watching the Sharknado movies, because heck, they didn’t need my review saying they were shit on top of the pile of reviews saying they were shit, as it did nothing. Everyone agreed they were shit and I realized I can stop. I also gave up on the Transformers films, because fool me four times, then fuck me over.

I think…I think I might have to do it for Terrence Malick films. Which is a significant director still in the film community, so it is not something that I can say lightly. Or maybe I will never see them in theaters again, and only at home…where I can distract myself with my phone.

At this point when it comes to directors, I am still willing to watch things that Luc Besson has dealt with, even if I generally hate it all, whereas I feel like I will just burn into painful flames if I have to watch a complete Malick film.

They are all now just feeling the same at this point. I can’t imagine saying new stuff for the next film, I didn’t even really say new stuff for this film.

Song to Song is just home made movie trash.

0 out of 4.

Call Me By Your Name

I have been reviewing for over six years, but only over the last three or so have I gone hard into getting those Oscar nominated films in as well. And every year we have movies hyped throughout the year about their chances, for their actors, directors, and so forth.

I usually can always get to the super hyped films early enough to not feel so late in the conversation.

That feels less true for something like Call Me By Your Name, which has been hyped consistently for so long this year. It feels like this is the only film people are talking about, on multiple categories. And yet, it took me so. damn. long. To see.

I didn’t even get to see it in theaters, but instead a dinky screener, because it turns out an invite was lost for me over a month ago. Oh well, I did get it, well before Oscar nominations were announced, this has just been one of my bigger fears of a film I thought I’d never get to see.

Shirts
To avoid uncomfortable moments like this, I generally opt to be on the “shirts” team.

In the early 1980’s the world was a wonderful place, now that Nixon and Vietnam and Disco were done. The sun was shining, but the globe wasn’t too warm, and people tended to chill a bit more. In 1983, and in Italy, it was a wonderful, quaint place to be. Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) recently turned 18 and was living with his parents (Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar) in the Italian countryside. His dad was a professor of archaeology, so he was there for statues and pots.

And this summer, we are getting Oliver (Armie Hammer) to join them for a few months. He is a graduate student and he is going to assist the professor in work and writing. Sounds way better than my summers in graduate school.

Elio and Oliver are very different people, as Elio is a quiet person for the most part and a lover of playing music, while Oliver is far more outgoing. Elio has a girlfriend, Marzia (Esther Garrel), an actual Italian girl, and things are getting serious. But Elio is young and unsure of himself. In fact, he is starting to find Oliver mesmerizing.

But what does he know about love? Is he gay? Is Oliver gay? Does any of this matter in the 1980’s?

Cafe
Where the shorts are always short and the cafes are always cafe-y.

Call Me By Your Name is a film that is talked about so much due to three reasons, and all of them are guys. Chalamet carries this film despite his actual real life young age and has had an inedible year all around, also having parts in Lady Bird and Hostiles. He gives off this aura of insecurity and realness that makes it easy to love his performance.

Hammer, the co-lead but going for supporting actor nominations, is always an acting force, and his normal bravado in his roles still comes through with this one. His arrogance and superiority are extremely intentional given his characters age and experience compared to Chalamet and is no wonder he starts to swoon over him. Hell, everyone who watches this film will swoon over him.

And of course we have Greatest Small Role Actor Ever, Stuhlbarg, who the last few years has been in so many amazing roles with various screen times. He gives a wonderful speech near the end and just feels so wise throughout that he does a wonderful job.

The countryside is a good location, as are all the details about the time period. But if I am being honest, I don’t see what really sets this apart from any other forbidden romance type film. It is very well acted, it doesn’t rely on sex to sell it (Hammer notwithstanding), and yet I don’t think it needs the long run time. It drags in some areas early on for me and well, shit. I can acknowledge it is a good film, but certainly not one that I have fallen in love with, nor will it make my top of the year lists.

Every film can’t be for everyone, but this one is still pretty good with some fine acting samples.

3 out of 4.

The Shape of Water

People don’t like Guillermo del Toro like I like Guillermo del Toro. Wanna know how I know? Because I gave Crimson Peak 3 stars. Great film, you should check it out. Decently creepy, and very beautiful.

Unfortunately, we are never going to get the Hellboy 3 he invisioned (now that the reboot is coming), but it seems to me like The Shape of Water is him telling an offshoot Hellboy story without needing Hellboy. Or at least, a prequel about Abe before he joined the B.P.R.D.

And I am a bit annoyed that this review is coming to you so late in the year, well after the wide releases, because I wanted to be in the forefront, waving my del Toro flag around, hoping that my eyes bleed from beautiful awkwardness.

Egg
There it is, love at first sight.

Way back a long time ago, long long ago. Let’s say the 1960’s. Yeah, that sounds good. Somewhere in Baltimore, close to DC, lived a mute girl by the name of, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins). She led a simple life, generally alone in her world. She would wake up late at night, bathe, masturbate, eat, and head to work because she worked as an overnight cleaning lady.

She had a friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer.) who worked with her and did all the talking for the duo. She also had a neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), an eccentric artist who a lot of strong opinions on everything. But she has no one to love, to really be intimate with, outside of the occasional Giles snuggles.

Well, at work one night, a strange shipment comes in, and their head of security (David Hewlett) says it is their most important thing ever! It comes with its own team of scientists, led by Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) and some sort of federal agent, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). And sure enough yeah, it is some sort of Creature from the Black Lagoon! Or at least an Amphibian Man
(Doug Jones) from the Amazon Rain forest and rivers where he was worshiped as a god.

Oh fun! A creature that people are afraid of, who is being abused, who also has communication problems and is alone. Well, Elisa seems to have a connection to him. She feels his pain and wants to put him at ease. And when his life is on the line and other countries want him dead as well, she is going to have to put a lot more of herself out there than ever before.

Also starring Morgan Kelly as a below adequate pie flinger.

Shannon
Michael Shannon desires only above average pie flingers.

At this day and age, it is very hard to give us a sort of “star crossed lovers” story and have it believable. We get it. People can be with anyone at this point. Romance against all odds.

So what about a woman and an amphibian man. Not a man who turned into a fish creature, but you know, some entity that evolved on its own, completely separate from humans, despite being humanoid. See, this is the new stuff that storytellers need to be tackling, the things that the Republicans have been warning us against.

Hawkins gives an astounding performance as our mute lead, and I am surprised there currently is not a giant campaign against her taking actual mute actresses work, or whatever. She does an amazing job, doing so much with those eyes and her smile. Shannon and Stuhlbarg are a bit cartoon-y, but that is okay given what they end up doing. Shannon’s villainness started off slow but really escalated near the end during the climax. I was very scared in the scene with Spencer.

Jenkins continues his eccentric small characters that he has been doing recently, and Spencer is unfortunately playing a role she keeps getting put into. She needs a better agent to showcase her range instead of the same thing over and over.

The film is stunning to look at, the Amphibian Man is detailed in every facet (and orifice). Doug Jones is finally being acknowledged for his astounding work in the creature field. There are so many positive things to say, but really, just see it for yourself for a different experience.

By and by, this is probably the finest piece of interspecies erotic ever written.

4 out of 4.

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