MONKEY MAN – Review by Susan Granger

Dev Patel makes his writing/directing/producing debut with Monkey Man, a grim action-packed revenge thriller set in the squalid (fictional) city of Yatana in India. Patel plays an unnamed Kid who grew up in the forest with Neela (Adithi Kalkunte), his hard-working single mom who kept him enthralled with Hindu stories from the Ramayama revolving around about the mythological monkey deity known as Lord Hanuman. Awkwardly scripted as an underdog story with nods to the obvious influence of the Bruce Lee/John Wick genres, it’s filled with so many graphic close-ups that narrative/political coherence is often discarded, despite energetic cinematographer Sharone Meir and rapid-fire editors David Janesso & Tim Murrell.

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MONKEY MAN – Review by T.J. Callahan

Monkey Man is an animal picture of a different kind. Dev Patel directs and stars in this dark and dingy, seedy and scheming, bloody and bombastic, knockdown, drag out fight fest filled with cultural and political undertones. Patel is Kid, a slumdog who’s out to infiltrate the millionaires of a make believe Mumbai to achieve revenge for family and his fellow CASTEaways. Monkey Man is inspired by the legend of Hanuman, a part human, part ape Hindu god who embodies strength and courage. Kid, who barely makes any money as a bare knuckle fighter in a monkey mask, takes beating after beating, finally realizing he needs to fight for a purpose instead of because of the pain of his past.

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NOPE – Review by Susan Granger

After huge success with Get Out followed by Us, Jordan Peale tackles a sci-fi/Western/horror story, set in Southern California’s picturesque Agua Dulce, where “O.J.” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) are trying to continue a family tradition. Peale is a bit too subtle this time because, while there’s plenty of tension, often evoked by Hoyte Van Hoytema’s striking cinematography and Michael Abels’ score, the stakes are pretty low.

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NOPE – Review by T. J. Callahan

In his third film, writer, director, producer Jordan Peele sticks with the delivery of ample servings of horror and mystery that earned him a seat at the big kid’s table, but adds a healthy sprinkle of spicy Sci Fi as he kicks it up a notch with NOPE. Set in the mountainous desert north of Los Angeles, NOPE is about brother and sister horse wranglers who believe aliens have camped out in a cloud over their family’s ranch. When they decide to get video of the creepy occurrences to cash in on the phenomenon, they get more than they bargained for.

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Valentine’s Day Special: Men We Love – 2022 Edition

To celebrate Valentine’s Day 2022, AWFJ is posting this virtual Valentine to express our love for our male colleagues who’ve embraced the causes of gender parity and inclusively, and to honor the work they’ve done and are doing to level the playing field for women working in film.

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CANDYMAN – Review by Lonita Cook

You know his name. You dare not say it five times, lest you be on the sad end of his thrash-that-ass hook. Directed by power visionary Nia DaCosta, Candyman stars rising sensation Yahya Abdul Mateen II as Anthony McCoy, a painter struggling to put together his next gallery show only to find his work inspired by the legendary tale of the Candyman.

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CANDYMAN – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Beyond its success at breathing new life into a decades’ old story, Candyman is a reminder that horror movies don’t have to be formulaic scare machines. Fun though body-count movies can be, more ambitious horror films operate on different levels, delivering the shocks and scares while exploring material that’s disturbing on a different level.

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CANDYMAN – Review by Leslie Combemale

Candyman leverages visual art and the film’s stars to consider the history of racial subjugation, the ongoing trauma of police violence and discrimination, and the way white supremacy continues to be leveraged to benefit white America. It’s when it rises above subtext and action and is telegraphed through conversation that it loses its audience.

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CANDYMAN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

I had never seen the 1992 horror film Candyman, and I’m so glad I watched it before I saw the new movie of the same name. This is being promoted as a “spiritual sequel” to the ’92 film, but it’s very much a direct follow-on from the original story. Both films use horror to delve deeper into humanity’s dark side.

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US – Review by Brandy McDonnell

The brilliant writer-director deftly avoids the dreaded sophomore slump following his socially conscious 2017 Oscar-winning blockbuster “Get Out,” for which he became first African-American screenwriter to win the Academy Award for best original screenplay, by crafting an even more ambitious, frightening and twisty thriller.

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