Mooreviews’ Must Watch/Might Not Have Heard of Movie Recommendations (April 30th)
To make the current quarantine life a little easier, every two weeks I’ll be throwing out some recommendations of films that everyone can access across different streaming sites!
Where can you find it: Amazon (HERE)
With big MCU players like the Russo Brothers producing and Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman leading the charge, 21 Bridges was an incredibly fun, action packed thriller that many people missed out on last year.
Following a dedicated NYPD detective (Boseman) on the hunt for a pair of cop killers who uncover a conspiracy within the department, the film offers a variety of thrills that stem from Boseman’s stellar lead performance. He brings out the sense of righteousness and determination anyone would want in their lead action hero and boasts this sense of confidence to heighten the intense gun fights, chases, and discoveries. There’s one huge chase sequence between Boseman’s Andre and Michael (Stephan James), one of the cop killers, that’s absolutely thrilling from start to finish and Brian Kirk’s direction is very strong. Even with the story having some over-complicated conspiracy twists and turns, it certainly does its job in providing a surprisingly unique story about loyalty and morality as well as a genuinely engaging plot that’s always on the move.
21 Bridges was a big surprise for me last year in how good of an action thriller it was, and those that check it out now will not only be surprised by how good it is, but find a new appreciation for Boseman.
Where can I find it: Amazon (HERE)
While there have been plenty of adaptions of Stephen King novels, both good and bad, recently, none have been as great as Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of King’s 2013 sequel to The Shining – Doctor Sleep.
The sequel follows an older Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor) as he helps a young girl named Abra (Kyleigh Curran) defeat a strange cult led by the mysterious Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and faces the demons of his past. Frankly, you just won’t find a better performance from McGregor as his makes all of the hurt, care, and desire for redemption that Danny feels incredibly relatable and personal. Watching him go through all of the horrors of The True Knot’s plans and returning to the Overlook hotel is an absolute treat for King fans and fans of the horror genre and Flanagan creates some real-life horrors that will leave their mark on viewers. The way the film delves into battling inner demons, death, and even legacy are horrifying in how real they’re portrayed and it shows how Flanagan really knows what makes King’s stories so scary. Not to mention, Ferguson is an absolute gem as Rose as she is easily one of the most intriguing and devious King villains ever brought to the screen – and Ferguson steals every scene she’s in.
With Doctor Sleep, Flanagan set a new standard for creating a modern adaptation of King’s work that, personally, even rivals and succeeds Kubrick’s legendary adaptation of The Shining. It’s an absolute must-see for any horror fan and frankly, anything Flanagan does should be on anyone’s radar in the future.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
Where can I find it: Netflix
While there have been plenty of adaptations of the Jungle Book story, Andy Serkis’ 2018 adaptation for Netflix, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, strikes a unique tone that makes for a fresh take on a classic.
Although it leaves the Disney songs behind and mostly follows the same story of a boy named Mowgli (Rohand Chand) who’s raised within the jungle, writer Callie Kloves adds some great variations to the story we all know. There’re new characters, new relationships Mowgli has, and even a much grittier tone and look to the classic characters and story. Serkis’s adaptation touches on more adult themes of Mowgli’s existence in the jungle and its effects on a nearby village and is boasted by a great lead performance from Chand. The film also has an incredible voice cast with plenty of top acting talent like Cristian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris, and even Serkis as Baloo. Not to mention, with Serkis being THE name when you think of visual effects, the film and character models look absolutely stunning.
With his take on Mowgli’s story, Serkis proved that he’s a treat both in front of and behind the camera and it’s a unique take that fans should definitely take a chance on.
Taking a tech approach to storytelling and featuring a knock-out performance from John Cho, Searching is a thrill-ride that simply can’t be missed.
Putting a web-cam spin on a parent’s worst nightmare, the film follows a father (Cho) attempting to piece together why his daughter Margot (Michelle La) has disappeared and ending up finding some dark secrets. The use of telling this story through computer screens has been used in more recent found-footage horror films, like Unfriended, but writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, in his feature debut, utilizes this to create an incredibly detailed and complex thriller that’s much more than meets the eye. The way Cho’s David goes through social media and Margot’s internet history to uncover her digital footprint comes off very realistic and its makes for an incredibly modern detective thriller perfect for the times. While Cho is much more known for his comedic roles, he’s absolutely immaculate as David and you really connect to all of the pain, worry, and determination as a viewer. It’s a pure nail-biter with plenty of twists and turns so strong that I can still hear the mind-blowing gasps from the audience when I saw it nearly two years ago.
Frankly, there’re very few debuts I’ve seen as bold and strong as Chaganty’s with Searching and with a career-best performance from Cho as well, it’s a film that simply can’t be missed.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile
Where can I find it: Netflix
If you’re looking for a unique look at the story of serial killer Ted Bundy, then John Berlinger’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile NEEDS to be on your watchlist.
Chronicling the crimes and trials of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, the film is not only an excellent look into the evil acts of Bundy, but also his personality. Zac Efron legitimately puts in the best performance of his entire career so far as he perfectly emulates the charm and deviousness of Bundy that made him so elusive for years. Berlinger’s approach to telling Bundy’s story is something I deeply appreciate as it focuses more on his home life and impact he had on American media rather than his gruesome murders. It’s an excellent build-up of questions and trying to delve into Bundy’s twisted mind and the ending is so perfect to me in how it reveals the film’s most pertinent and burning questions. Not to mention, Lily Collins also puts in an incredibly powerful performance that shows how strong Bundy’s influence was and will leave viewers shook.
The film and Efron’s captivating performance truly embody every descriptor in the title and if you have a Netflix account, this film has to be the next things you watch ASAP.
Anna and the Apocalypse
Have you ever wondered if zombies, musicals, and Christmas could work together? Well, wonder no more as John McPhail’s Anna and the Apocalypse proves that it’s quite a magical mixture.
The film follows a group of teens attempting to survive a zombie outbreak in their small English town of Little Haven during the holidays. If you’re a huge fan of zombie comedies like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, then Anna and the Apocolypse needs to be on your watchlist. From the gory, outlandish kills to the hilarious lines and musical numbers, the film evokes all of the Christmas spirit and Halloween horrors that viewers could want in one sitting. It’s refreshing to have a movie filled with original music and that’s original in concept while hitting the beats of a variety of genres. It also boasts a strong lead performance from Ella Hunt and she more than proves herself to be a kick-ass zombie slayer and stellar singer.
With these times being so dreary and dull, why not brighten up the mood with a film like Anna and the Apocalypse that brings a variety of laugh and an upbeat spirit that makes it feel like the holidays 365 days a year.