It Comes at Night

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Swanner: It Comes at Night tells the story of the world after some sort of plague has ravaged the population. Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his family live hidden in the forest away from whoever still lives. Things change when a younger family enter their home and the two families need to learn to trust each other. Trey Edward Shults wrote and directed this psychological thriller. 

Judd: “Tells the story”… Story is an awful strong word for this movie. Story implies there was a plot; a beginning, middle, and end. The movie began, and it ended, but what happened in the 90 minutes between doesn’t amount to much of a “story”. More like a series of happenings, or a chronological list of events; not really a story.

Swanner: I was trying to be polite. In reality, It Comes at Night fills 90 minutes with nothing. As I mentioned to you while standing outside the theatre shaking my head, I did think the cinematography was the stand out, offering up interesting visuals. It was the only thing that got me through the series of happenings.

Judd: It Comes At Night is one of those movies that thinks the less plot it has, the more interesting it becomes – it wants the audience to fill in the story. I really liked seeing a diverse cast, when it very easily could have been all white — and had it been made by any studio other than A24, would have been.

Swanner: I don’t care how artsy they makes out Shults to be, it still comes down to “is it entertaining?” “Was the audience scared? Could they identify with the characters, and did they leave the audience wanting more? I can tell you my audience wanted more… like maybe the horror film we were promised. I applaud A24 for giving filmmakers an opportunity to make the film they want but, don’t make it at the audiences expense.

Swanner: 1 star
Judd: 1 star

Wonder Woman

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Swanner: Wonder Woman offers up the origin story of Diana Prince. It starts with Diana as a child on an island of Amazons where she learns to battle — Tt’s the Amazon thing to do. After years of training, Diana grows into the warrior she was meant to be, but things change when a pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crashes his plane near the island and he tells Diana of the World War going on. Since Diana has pledged her life to bring peace to the world, she sets her sites to the heart of the battle. Gal Gadot plays grown up Diana. 

Most of us grew up with Lynda Carter playing Diana in the 70’s and then in syndication. Never a big fan of series or of the character, I had never heard the origin story, so I was quite entertained during the first portion of the film. I also found myself liking the character more than I had the first time around because the film isn’t played for camp, but also because Diana, like Captain America, has a very pure mission to do good and, at this point, not jaded like so many of the superheroes. Screenwriter Allan Heinberg tells Diana’s story of innocence and hope. We get to watch Diana discover her own powers as she battles the Germans. We also see how awful the world can be, but Diana won’t allow us to give up on it or it’s people. 

It’s definitely a Girl Power movie. The film takes place in 1918 when the roles of women are nothing more than a secretary or mother; Diana is something to see. The movie makes a point to poke fun at the all male “intelligence” of the era and the snide remarks of a women place. The band of misfits that travel with our heroes are lovely additions to the story; with each of them as interesting as the next, and all necessary to parts of this story. It felt like I was watching something new and different. Director Patty Jenkins gives us a new set of eyes to watch what never feels like just another super hero film. Clocking in at 2 hours and twenty minutes the film never feels slow or gets bogged down with the usual silliness we normally get from the genre. 

Swanner: 3 ½ stars