Spling reviews Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Love and Monsters and His House as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a drama, a sci-fi comedy adventure and a horror mystery drama.
Starting off with a film now on Showmax…
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
A pair of teenage girls travel to New York City to seek out medical help.
Writer-Director: Eliza Hittman
Stars: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder and Théodore Pellerin
– Abortion is a hot topic, which makes this drama a possible trigger depending on your personal convictions.
– Journeying with a teenager, we find a girl whose unexpected pregnancy sends her on a cross-country journey from Pennsylvania to New York City in order to carry out an abortion.
– Travelling with her cousin, the drama cleverly weaves present day concerns around toxic masculinity and gender politics into day-in-the-life moments.
– Several references to the nativity story give this film a curious subtext as a girl struggles to come to terms with her unplanned pregnancy.
– Living through her experience, Never Rarely Sometimes Always has a docudrama edge with a fly-on-the-wall take.
– Non-judgemental, empathetic and anchored by solid performances, the film has a pure and immersive quality as you’re transported into the character’s world.
– Scraping money together, sleeping in subways and on trains, the vulnerable teens are forced to get street smart quickly.
– Deliberately slow-moving, allowing one to slip into its Manchester by the Sea mood, it’s artfully presented and emotionally engaging.
– While intimate in one sense, there’s some distance with the characters, possibly owing to the sparse script.
– Relying on visual storytelling, it’s still nuanced enough to get a semblance of the characters and their predicament.
– At times powerful and heartfelt, this authentic road trip film offers important insights from considering abortion to support structures.
– The drama doesn’t concern itself with the fall out of her decisions but does make subtle assertions, touching on overarching social issues.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a movie on Netflix…
LOVE AND MONSTERS
Seven years after he survived the monster apocalypse, lovably hapless Joel leaves his cozy underground bunker behind on a quest to reunite with his ex.
It’s from South African director, Michael Matthews, best known for Five Fingers for Marseilles
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick and Michael Rooker
– Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure comedy about a young man who musters the courage to leave an underground bunker.
– This is a quirky and zippy blast of popcorn fun headlined by Maze Runner regular, Dylan O’Brien.
– A charming Peter Pan type, his Wendy is on the other side of Neverland forcing the young upstart to use his wits, picking up some valuable tips from friends along the way.
– Adopting a cheeky tone similar to Warm Bodies and post-apocalyptic action in the vein of Zombieland, Love and Monsters is a spectacular thrill ride.
– The characters could have had more depth but this lightweight yarn revels in its comic book charm, compelling soundtrack and eye-popping visuals.
– Playing like a graphic novel adaptation, the pulpy blend of feel good comedy and over-the-top action make for great entertainment.
– Moving at a quick pace, there’s rarely a dull moment and while it could have been much more substantial, its lighthearted energy and winsome attitude is welcome.
– Leaving the door open for a sequel, part one does enough ground work to show its potential as a young adult version of Resident Evil.
It did just enough to get a solid 7 on the splingometer!
And finally a film on Netflix…
A refugee couple seeking asylum struggle to adjust to their new life and home in an English town.
Writer-Director: Remi Weekes
Stars: Sope Dirisu, Wunmi Mosaku and Matt Smith
– His House is a brilliant reimagining of the haunted house horror genre and a suprising feature film debut for Weekes.
– Hotel Rwanda and The Last King of Scotland were bold enough to capture some of the atrocities of genocide, xenophobia and tribal rifts.
– Yet, horror has a way of going to the heart of things, more subdued and cerebral than Hollywood in His House, which frequently ventures into a surreal dimension.
– His House taps into the wilderness of films like Stephen King’s 1408 with some strong influence from the psychological housebound horror of Rosemary’s Baby.
– Casting unknown co-leads helps immerse us in their world as the house comes to represent post traumatic stress disorder, repressed memories and the ghosts of their past.
– Living in a state of alienation, feeling the pangs of dislocation and facing the imminent threat of deportation – these conditions are perfect for intense drama, suspense and horror.
– It’s much more than an emotional undertaking, acknowledging the refugee crisis and allowing Africa’s real horrors to seep into the film.
– Using darkness, sound and imagination – His House doesn’t shy away from nightmarish and otherworldly sequences, creating uncertainty and trepidation.
– Using the genre as a form of cathartic poetry, His House brings difficult human experiences into clear view, making it more haunting and important than pure entertainment.
It did just enough to get an excellent 8 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS… docudrama realism and cinema purity underpin this sparsely scripted, slow-moving and nuanced abortion drama… A solid 7!
LOVE AND MONSTERS… a driving soundtrack, eye-popping visuals, an upbeat tempo, a charming lead and comic book flair compel this thin yet fun adventure… A solid 7!
HIS HOUSE… imaginative visuals, convincing performances and gut-wrenching themes power this refreshing haunted house nightmare… An excellent 8!
For more movie reviews, previous Talking Movies podcasts and upcoming Bingeing with Spling watch parties visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!