Tuesday, July 25, 2017

[Review] Maudie


Sally Hawkins gives an incredible performance in Maudie, a genuinely heartfelt portrait of a modest Canadian folk artist named Maud Lewis.

In the small village of Marshalltown, Nova Scotia--we meet Maud (Hawkins). She's hunched, has a prominent limp, and is a bit peculiar. But what stands out is her sweet personality and passion for painting: flowers, birds, butterflies... Eventually, she gets job working as a live-in maid for Everett (Ethan Hawke), a grunty and distant fellow who lives in a tiny, rustic shack on the backroads.

Things don't go very smoothly at first. Early on, Ethan Hawke's character is so cruel and unlikable that it's difficult to approve of this situation. But eventually, the two form a mutual bond, and things lighten up as Maud begins to exhibit her craft, putting her charming touch on any canvas that she can get her hands. Pretty soon, the town catches wind of her paintings, and the demand for them goes through the roof. So much so that Maud becomes a nationally renowned artist. With all the knocks at door, and all the money coming in, the dynamics in the household certainly shift.

Fittingly, the film itself is artistically shot, displaying some great views of the picturesque seaside town and its beautiful surrounding landscapes. It also captures the changing of the seasons and the extremities between the hot and cold weather, which is sort of representative of Maud and Everett's complicated relationship. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side image of the shack before and after Maud arrived, because she practically transforms the place with her colors. Sally Hawkins is absolutely fantastic in a performance that I think is Oscar-nom worthy, from her evocative expressions, to her impressive range of emotion, to the deeply-felt depth she embodies the character with. There are definitely some tearjerking scenes that stick with you long afterward.

This story is all about tough lives and how they're lived. How art can be an escape or a coping mechanism amidst the harsh times. And how little old Maudie made the world a nicer place.

* 8.5/10 *


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Monday, July 24, 2017

[Review] Dunkirk


Seminal director Christopher Nolan returns with his newest film, Dunkirk, an expertly crafted World War II thriller that leaves you breathless.

It focuses on the efforts of the Dunkirk evacuation, where upwards of 400,000 British and French soldiers were essentially trapped in a harbor by German forces (also a subject in this year's under-the-radar Their Finest). The hostile narrative is presented through three different perspectives: land, air, and sea.

The film wastes no time plunging into the center of the crisis. It's intense. It's engulfing. And it's immersive. The film's visual scope is nothing short of astounding, giving us a 360-degree impression of the area with expansive views of coastlines, shifty seas, cloudy skies, scattered vessels, and the point where they all converge. The sound design pummels with booming tenacity, and Han Zimmer's clock-ticking score escalates the urgency, while doubling as a racing heartbeat as well as inhales and exhales as the characters dodge bullets and bombs and fight to stay above water. This is a very wet film--to the point where you might feel the urge to throw the characters some towels.

The ensemble cast--including the likes of Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and newcomer Fionn Whitehead--is solid all around. And while there isn't one main protagonist or standout performance, the actor who actually impresses the most is, surprisingly, pop star Harry Styles. He's legitimately good in this, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Aside from a couple varying time frames, Nolan has no major tricks or plot twists up his sleeve with this film, and there aren't any lofty concepts at work. It's a very straightforward, matter-of-fact tale of rescue and survival that's told with minimal dialogue, and it's just as impactful anything he's done.

* 9/10 *


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Saturday, July 22, 2017

[Review] To the Bone


Based on her own real-life experiences, writer-director Marti Noxon's To the Bone adeptly follows the struggles of a young woman battling anorexia.

That young woman is 20-year-old Ellen (Lily Collins), a sarcastic and artistic soul who enters an inpatient group home under the guidance of an unconventional doctor, played by Keanu Reeves (!).

It's a surprisingly subdued film, and for the most part, it avoids melodrama. The narrative approaches difficult subjects of body image, addiction, and illness--with honesty, insight, poignancy, and even humor. Lily Collins gives a really good performance as the central character, but the film refreshingly casts a lot of focus on the rest of the ensemble in the home, too. They're an eccentric and sympathetic bunch, and the way they all interact with each other is the most interesting aspect of the story. We witness them all strive to get better under the same roof together, through the ups and the downs.

Of course, this isn't a definitive depiction of eating disorders, but its intentions come from a good place. Unfortunately, the film's final act delves into some strange existential sequences that just don't feel consistent with everything that comes before it. Still, that 'everything that comes before it' is pretty substantial.

( 7/10 )


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Thursday, July 20, 2017

[Review] Tramps


Released on Netflix back in April, Adam Leon's Tramps is a sprinting street caper with a hint of romance, and it's worth checking out.

Set in New York, the story revolves around Danny (Callum Turner) and Ellie (Grace Van Patten), two young strangers whose lives become intertwined during a botched briefcase exchange. From there, they must team up and scramble in order to track down the correct briefcase. The case's contents are a mystery, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter what's inside.

The whole thing takes place over the span of about 24 hours. Throughout the jaunt, there are dicey mix-ups, complications, and feelings that get in the way. The snappy editing and handheld camerawork captures the hustle and bustle of the city, while giving the film a sense of immediacy and momentum, which is fitting for the brisk 80-minute runtime. Turner and Van Patten both exhibit realism-based performances that blend with the aesthetic. Great comedian and filmmaker Mike Birbiglia even shows up as a small-time crook, and I love the guy, but frankly he seems out of place here.

In terms of themes, concept, and style, Tramps covers well-trodden territory, and it definitely works as a similar companion piece to Leon's previous little indie flick Gimme the Loot. But even though it never feels like you're watching anything new, it won't disappoint if you're a fan of this genre.

( 7.5/10 )


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

[Review] 47 Meters Down


Last year's The Shallows was a surprisingly well-crafted tale of shark attack survival. 47 Meters Down feels more like a secondary version of that, but it still has its moments of suffocating thrills.

While vacationing in Mexico, Lisa (Mandy Moore, fresh off "This Is Us" success) and her sister Kate (Claire Holt), get coerced into scuba-diving down into Great White Shark territory, with just a cage of rusty bars separating them from carnage, because you know, there's nothing like putting yourself in the way of a creature that will tear your limbs off. As you can guess, things go wrong. Terribly wrong.

The majority of the film is set amidst ominous ocean depths--the thick, inky darkness of the water giving the impression that the sharks could come out of nowhere, and at any moment, and they do...striking with major jolts of intensity, while instilling fear, panic and screams. Between the chomping madness, there are a couple of lulls in the midsection, like the scene where the sisters spill their figurative guts to each other, and it's never quite convincing. And let's just say the dialogue isn't this film's biggest strength. The biggest strength, of course, is the sharks. Now they're convincing.

Despite the pitfalls, there's just enough urgent tension, hefty obstacles, wire-snapping setbacks, and shark action to make 47 Meters Down a decent escape from a hot summer day. Plus, Shark Week is approaching!

( 7/10 )


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Monday, July 17, 2017

[Review] War for the Planet of the Apes


This Apes reboot has come a long way since young Caesar--now the saga's wise and weary protagonist--was basking in the arms of James Franco. The latest installment, War for the Planet of the Apes swings further into dystopian darkness, playing as an Exodus-like swan song.

As we check back in with the story's stoic leader, he's a bit more grey. A bit angrier. And he's doing his best to keep his village safe from attacks by human soldiers. But when tragedy strikes Caesar's family, he sets out with a couple of his trusty comrades in order to infiltrate a military base and take down its sadistic, Apocalypse Now-esque Colonel (played intimidatingly by Woody Harrelson).

The film is part grueling journey, part prison camp escape thriller. There are surprises around every corner, up every tree, through every tunnel, and amidst every cold and snowy mountain. Let's just say "Game of Thrones" isn't the only place where Winter Has Come... And while the film unleashes a couple of explosive battles, this time around it casts more focus on the smaller, quieter moments--which pack just as much power in their somber plot turns and poignant imagery. This definitely isn't the easiest watch. If it weren't for Caesar's commendable will and the funny new comic relief character "Bad Ape" who dons a blue jacket vest, this would almost be a complete downer. In fact, the film's second half is essentially like watching a Holocaust drama, with just a slight window of hope.

Michael Giacchino's musical score heightens the intensity and deepens the emotion. And like its predecessor, the film's technical proficiency astounds--from the immersive sound design, to the lush cinematography, to the startlingly realistic renderings of the apes and the impressive motion-capture work. And yes, Andy Serkis deserves to be praised for his behind-the-effects performance as Caesar.

In the end, the 21st century Caesar solidifies himself as one of the best on-screen heroes of this generation. And War for the Planet of the Apes is a STRONG conclusion to an excellent trilogy.

* 9/10 *


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Saturday, July 15, 2017

[Review] Okja


Director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) partners up with Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment for Okja--a weird, sublime, and ambitious eco-parable that can be seen exclusively on Netflix.

Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) lives in the mountains of South Korea with her pet "superpig" named Okja--a snuggly mix between a pig and a hippo. It's not the most convincing CGI job, but you just have to roll with it. Anyway, when Okja is taken by the controversial Mirando Corporation (led by a wicked and teethy Tilda Swinton), Mija must go desperate lengths to get her beloved companion back.

Like the superpig at the center of this tale, the film itself is also a peculiar hybrid, flinging a delirious mix of oddball tones and eclectic genres at us. It's a whimsical and poignant coming-of-age tale of girl and creature, a dystopian thriller of worldly proportions, an absurdist humor piece of consumer culture, a cartoonish satire of corporate corruption, and an in-your-face exploit of animal cruelty. And somehow, it still has room for Jake Gyllenhaal's wackiest character to date.

This is a film that refuses to settle for one route. In fact, it just proliferates in all directions at once. And as jarring and jumbled as it is, it somehow works and coheres the more the story progresses and unfolds. Bong Joon-ho stages the provocative vision as a frenzied circus that's ready to combust at any moment. And while we've seen all these elements separately before, we've never seen them together quite like this. So Okja definitely gets points for being super unique.

( 8/10 )


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

[Review] The Hero


Sam Elliott leads the way in The Hero, a familiar but nicely layered portrait of an aging star longing for the success of their prime.

Lee (Elliott) is a former Western movie icon. Nowadays, he'd just like to land a role that doesn't involve voicework for BBQ sauce commercials. He also gets invites to Lifetime Achievement Award ceremonies, but they only add salt to his wounds. As far as his personal life goes, he's trying to get back in touch with his estranged daughter (played by Krysten Ritter), and he even sparks up a relationship with a spontaneous woman named Charlotte (Laura Prepon), who's around his daughter's age (kind of awkward). Oh yeah, and he's just received that damned cancer diagnosis.

Sam Elliott's fantastic performance is the main draw here. It's magnificently graceful. It's deeply self-deprecating. And there's a lot of emotional turmoil behind those thick eyebrows and mustache. The film is interspersed with Western-style dream sequences that not only intensify Lee's nostalgia, but also function as metaphors for him attempting to run away from his own fate.

But despite the sad story and melancholy tone, there are plenty of sunnier moments along the way. Laura Prepon's character is a beam of light, who also spends her nights as a stand-up comic, which sets up some unexpected appearances from Ali Wong and Cameron Esposito. Then there's all the amusing times when Lee goes over to the house of his only friend (played by Nick Offerman in manchild form) to smoke a lot of weed, watch movies, and relieve stress.

The Hero doesn't quite meet the greatness of its avuncular films (like The Wrestler or Crazy Heart), and its ending doesn't completely satisfy, but it's still moving to witness Sam Elliott in such stellar form.

( 8/10 )

Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

[Review] The House


The House is so bad that I felt like it owed ME money.

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler play Scott and Kate, a couple of suburban stiffs who, with their clearly unreliable friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), haphazardly open up an illegal casino in a basement in order to help pay for their daughter's college tuition. We all know college is expensive, but in the words of the wise DJ Khaled: "Congratulations... you played yourself." 

Not a good idea. And neither was this film. Or at least the execution of it. I immediately knew things were gonna be rough when it opened with the overplayed and on-the-nose song "My House" by Flo Rida. And despite the funny cast, the film can't land a joke to save its life. It's almost exhausting to watch how hard it tries. I may have mustered up half a chuckle throughout the entire thing.

It's just not that amusing to watch a bunch of dull and obnoxious adults gamble, fight, and reap money off of each other, especially when there isn't even a chip of effective humor or satire to it. The achingly thin premise stretches into a ridiculously vile and violent third act of underground crime cliches and a loosely strung together plot involving cops, city supervisors, mobsters, and debts--making the film seem longer than it really is, and double as miserable.

The House is a loathsome exercise in bad taste. The dice rolled, and so did my eyes.

( 3/10 )



Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

[Review] The Big Sick


Kumail Nanjiani writes and stars in The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographical dramedy that is as delightful as it is poignant. It's part Don't Think Twice and "Master of None". Part 50/50 and "Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths. And it's one of the best films of the year so far.

Kumail (portraying himself) is a Pakistani immigrant in Chicago, working as an Uber driver by day, an amateur comedian by night. He's also a compulsive liar, but with good intentions, if that makes any sense. Anyway, when he begins dating Emily (Zoe Kazan), some major obstacles arise in their relationship--like Kumail's wholly traditional parents (Zenobia Shroff & Anupam Kher) who are adamant about arranging a marriage for him. And then there's a serious medical emergency (ah, now the title makes sense) that strikes uncertainty in Kumail and Emily's future together.

Co-written with Emily V. Gordon, the film conveys an excellent script. It's thoughtful, clever, thorny, and heartfelt all at once. The humorous dialogue is always laced with an undercurrent of tragedy, and that's very much indicative of the film's overall tone. There are moments that will make you laugh out loud, as well as ones that will tear your heart out and bounce it on the floor. All of the gooey yet effective streaks of sentimentality feel entirely earned. Oh, and the callbacks. The callbacks are really good. But one of the most interesting aspects about the story is the exploration of the dynamic between Kumail and Emily's parents (played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who are both pleasantly fantastic here). Like its own rollercoaster--it constantly fluctuates between hostility and bonding amidst a personal crisis. Also great, of course, is the leading man Kumail, with a wide-ranging performance that easily stands head and shoulders above his smaller roles.

The Big Sick is about the complicated relationships we encounter. The doozies that life drops. The intricacies of family and culture. And the power of comedy that can sometimes help us through it all.

* 9.5/10 *


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Monday, July 10, 2017

[Review] Spider-Man: Homecoming


If it seems like there's been a lot of Spider-Man iterations on the big screen over the last 15 years, that's because there has been. The latest, Spider-Man: Homecoming, is a merger of sorts, pulled in by the almighty Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while this film can't help but have some Spidey déjà vu, it's still a lot of swooping, sticky fun.

How does one even concentrate in high school after they've become the Spider-Man and done insane stuff like fighting alongside the Avengers? How does one balance studying with keeping the streets safe, all while getting home in time for Aunt May's (Marisa Tomei) dinner? This is the web of conflicts that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) wrestles with here, while under the watchful eye of his mentor, Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

Even though Spider-Man may feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, the film itself is light, jubilant, and spiked with humor. While it boasts some impressively rendered setpieces, like a death-defying close call at the Washington Monument, or a splitting debacle on a Staten Island ferry, the film's most endearing moments come when Peter is hanging out with his best friend (Jacob Batalon), gushing over his crush (Laura Harrier), and during the teen comedy stretches and high school blunders that are always just a few steps away from becoming a "Degrassi" episode. And speaking of things getting real, the stakes skyrocket when Peter must face off against the story's powerful winged villain, Vulture (played with a teeth-grinding grit by Michael Keaton), who runs on "alien junk."

One of the keys to the film is that we never get the impression that Spider-Man is invincible, or that things come too easy for him. After all, he's a rookie in the superhero world (and, again, only 15 years old). A freshman just trying to figure everything out. The talented Tom Holland is great for the role, playing Spidey with a wide-eyed glee and a bounce in his step, while still remaining vulnerable and virtuous. It's these aspects that make the seen-it-before tropes tolerable. Fresh, even.

So what's next? Prom? Graduation? Oh, and be sure to *stick* around after the credits.

* 8.5/10 *


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Saturday, July 8, 2017

[Review] Beatriz At Dinner


Salma Hayek gives a splendidly tenacious performance in Beatriz At Dinner, a meditative and strikingly relevant drama of culture clash.

Beatriz (Hayek) is a spiritual soul, making a living at a holistic healing center, and as a personal masseuse for a haughty couple (Connie Britton & David Warshofsky) in the Hollywood Hills. One day, they invite Beatriz to stay for dinner with a few other guests. And well, it doesn't take long for things to get uncomfortable, as Beatriz finds herself at odds with the table's bigot and controversial real estate mogul (played by John Lithgow).

The whole film takes place over the course of one evening, and director Miguel Arteta stages the tension-filled scenes with an unhurried but substantial touch. Through character backgrounds and cross-table conversations, the topics of racism, class, privilege, immigration, property seizing, and different views of the American Dream arise--and that's all before dessert! It isn't subtle, but in a political climate of drastics, not a lot is...

Salma Hayek is the guiding force of the film, embodying a richly drawn character who's all at once compassionate and sensitive, hard-nosed and confrontational. And as despicable as John Lithgow's character is, he plays the jerk role incredibly well, and with a Trumpian arrogance that is, let's be real--probably not a coincidence.

Just like the conflicts in the world today, the film portrays an ongoing struggle and unfortunately offers no easy foreseeable resolutions. Beatriz is a healer, but ironically, the pain that shows in her own face is undeniable. And like the film's unsettling ending--it haunts.

( 7.5/10 )

Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

[Review] Despicable Me 3


I'll always stand by my adoration of the first Despicable Me film, but I found its sequel Despicable Me 2 to be unsurprisingly mediocre, and its Minions spin-off to be mildly fun at best. So I wasn't really stoked for Despicable Me 3. And well, my feelings haven't changed.

Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) is now happily living with his new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and their three adoptive daughters, and yes, the Minions. But things get flipped when Gru and Lucy are fired from the Anti-Villain League. What ensues is an episodic smorgasbord of a plot involving a former '80s child star named Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) who's bent on world domination, Gru getting pulled back to the villainy side by his wacky (and painfully obnoxious) twin brother, a random search for a unicorn, and a Minion Idol side story that should've been bopped from the air.

Somehow, there's a whole lot of nothing and too much of everything going on at the same time. Amidst the colorful and zippy animation, the film is stuffed with frantic action sequences that all just blur together, an onslaught of try-hard gags, tiresome Minion antics, scattershot humor, and a soundtrack by Pharrell Williams that sounds completely phoned in. There's also even less heart and warmth this time around. It's a nearly unwatchable mess. An assault on your senses - as if it's constantly tapping on your shoulder, waving stuff in front of your face, and yelling in your ear. The whole thing is wildly disjointed and incredibly unfocused. In fact, there are THREE different directors listed in the film's credits, and the incoherency definitely shows.

This movie isn't just despicable, it's an abomination. Oh brother, indeed.

( 3/10 )


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

[Review] Baby Driver


Consistently buzzing writer/director Edgar Wright returns to deliver Baby Driver, a playlist-inspired action flick with a stylish, high-octane spin of its own.

Ansel Elgort plays Baby. That's his name. He's a quiet and mysterious music junkie (his iPod earbuds rarely leave his ears), who also happens to be an amazingly skilled getaway driver for a bankrobbing crew (which includes Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx). Baby wants to get out of the game though, so he can run away with Debora (Lily James), a down-to-earth girl he meets at the diner. But unfortunately, that won't be so easy under the intimidating grasp of his boss, played by a sly Kevin Spacey.

It's a film that fires on all cylinders. The flashy editing and kinetic camerawork... The escalating conflicts within each beat of the narrative... The way the rock & soul music synchronizes with the exhilarating tempo of the chase sequences and shootouts...  It's all crafted with thematic precision. There's even a bit of sweetness to it as Baby cares for his deaf, wheelchair-bound foster parent (played by CJ Jones). And fittingly, there are several cameos from significant musicians along the way--from renowned Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, to indie-pop singer Sky Ferreira, to southern rap artists Big Boi and Killer Mike (I mean, the film does take place in Atlanta).

As fun as the film is, the ending stretch does drag on a bit longer than it needs to, but Baby Driver is still guaranteed to be an electrifying trip to the movies. Just be careful driving on the way home. ;)

* 9/10 *


Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

[Review] Transformers: The Last Knight


The opening scene of Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth installment of Michael Bay's exhaustingly crappy Transformers series, boasts a myriad of giant spiked fireballs raining down over a medieval battle, and one of the first lines of dialogue yelled is "This is what the end looks like!" And I couldn't help but think "This better be the end..."

With all the talk of Lancelot, Merlin, and magic, for a moment I wondered if I accidentally walked into a straggling matinee showing of the latest King Arthur film. But no, amidst all the swords and dragons and aliens, this is actually a Transformers movie, and Mark Walhberg is back to save the day (he must've requested extra shots of his triceps this time), and he's very much in the "Not all Transformers are bad" camp. Anthony Hopkins even shows up to prophesize the events.

It's as if Michael Bay set out to make the messiest and most bloated movie possible, and succeeded. It's like a kid tossed all their different action figures into a box together and Bay took it and decided to morph it into a plot. A very awful and incoherent one. This is a hodgepodge of dizzying, headache-inducing chaos. A stinky clunker of clashing CGI metal. An explosive cinematic fart that seems to be making things up as it goes along. There's also some painstakingly corny schmaltz that shows up about every 10 minutes. And did I mention that the runtime is almost three hours long?

This thing is also riddled with uncomfortably forced and cringeworthy dialogue that sounds like it was written by an asshole. But a couple of the lines are hilarious, whether intentional or not, like when Josh Duhamel orders Mark Walhberg to drop his gun, and Wahlberg says "I'm not dropping shit." Either way, there was a lot of shit dropped throughout this movie.

( 2/10 )

Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach

Monday, July 3, 2017

[Review] The Beguiled


Director Sofia Coppola returns with The Beguiled, a southern gothic suspense tale that stings with promiscuity and constantly pulls the curtains back on innocence.

Nicole Kidman is the headmistress of the Farnsworth Seminary, a sheltered school for young girls - Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning are cast as the notable residents. Things get shaken up when a wounded Yankee (played by Colin Farrell) stumbles from a Civil War battle onto their secluded property. After they nurse him back to health, boundaries are crossed, tensions boil, and legs are lost.

This is a dark film, but not as much in tone as I mean actual the picture. The moody mansion is steeped in natural, shadowy light--the candles hardly making their presence known--the sun barely peeking through the surrounding trees before it fades at the oft shaded windows. It all comes with a smirking sense of humor, too. The dialogue is laced with not-so-subtle innuendos, while deceit fills the humid air as the screwy dynamics of the house unfurl and we witness the conniving, highly secretive interactions the characters have behind each other's backs.

It's exquisite drama. Beautifully costumed. Superbly acted all-around. And even though The Beguiled doesn't exactly ignite any new revelations in the end, it's still a juicy and potent dish.

( 8/10 )

Be sure to Like Fade to Zach on Facebook!
And Follow me on Twitter: @Fade_to_Zach