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The Scarlet Ink

Spring 2024 Movie Catch-Up

A catch-up review of multiple Spring 2024 films I saw and have not yet discussed.

There’s been a decent amount to see these past few weeks, so I decided to do what I generally do when I can’t pick just one film to review and write about multiple of them. This mid-spring has seen a lot of solid releases, which is nice, as the weather is finally getting nicer and we’re all wanting to get out of the house. While I did miss the opening of a couple of fun releases like Abigail and Godzilla x Kong, I’ve gotten myself to the theater a few times recently, and I want to discuss everything I haven’t gotten to talk about. I also didn’t get to any of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man showings or the rerelease of The Phantom Menace, but I was more concerned with the new films.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (5/10)

I’ve been a pretty big Ghostbusters fan for a lot of my life. I love the first two, and honestly don’t mind the 2016 one all that much- it’s been a few years, but I remember liking it enough. Afterlife was perfectly fine, but very forgettable, and it did come with a truly awful ending. This new entry may just be the most unnecessary in the entire franchise, which is really saying something. Nothing even remotely interesting is attempted here, and while it makes for a fine enough theater trip, your money is better spent on a ticket to something else. I’m truly baffled as to many of the decisions that were made in the making of this film, but the main one is why it was released in March. It would make all of the sense in the world to release this in June; it takes place in the summer, and is about a ghost with ice powers. If anything, it just proves that the studio had very little faith in the film and dumped it in one of the emptiest months of the year. It is very difficult to find anything to say about Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire; it’s probably the single most forgettable 2024 film I’ve seen so far, so much so that I had accidentally typed Ghostbusters: Frozen Kingdom at first. This is a very easy skip, and I only really recommend it if you are a hardcore Ghostbusters fan, or if you need a safe pick for family movie night.

Immaculate (7/10)

I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed Immaculate; what seemed like a very safe and stereotypical religious horror film is actually very different from many of those that I’ve seen. The first portion of the film, while solid, does lead you to believe that this is just another Pope’s Exorcist- an early to mid Spring release that deals with religion, horror, and a mediocre Rotten Tomatoes score. However, as it starts to progress, I started to feel a lot of the passion that went into the making of this film. It’s clear that Sydney Sweeney really wanted to get it made, as she apparently fought for it pretty hard after it was scrapped at some point. She makes for a great lead, and I hope that she continues working in horror, as she could easily fit in next to Jenna Ortega and Mia Goth as this decade’s scream queens. While many plot points are likely comparable to something you’ve seen before, Immaculate puts a decent enough spin on things to keep it interesting, and the final twenty minutes are genuinely great. The climax and falling action are easily the most intense horror scenes I’ve witnessed in a new release since Talk To Me last August, and left my jaw on the floor at a few points. Of course, my enjoyment could be partially due to the fact that I saw it in an empty theater with two friends, but I still believe that this is a solid horror film even after that angle is removed. This is definitely the best horror movie of 2024 as of now, and if you’re looking for something to scratch that itch, Immaculate will get the job done.

Monkey Man (6.5/10)

I was honestly somewhat disappointed by Monkey Man. Yes, I did have fun, but it is not what I was expecting from the marketing. Everything I had heard about Dev Patel’s directorial debut led me to believe that it would be in the vein of something like The Raid where the entire runtime is nonstop, high-stakes, brutal, and intense action. Instead, it’s essentially another John Wick movie. Now, I’ve only seen the first two entries of that series, but I find them to both be pretty lackluster. The stories are uninteresting, the acting is shabby, and while the action is cool, it’s not cool enough to make up for the rest. Monkey Man is better than the first two John Wick films for a few reasons, but I still had a lot of the same complaints. I do think that it’s shot a lot better than that series; this is a very colorful film, and there’s a lot of fun camerawork throughout the movie. The performances are at least pretty good, as well- everybody is at least trying, especially Dev Patel, who deserves a lot of recognition for his efforts. It is most definitely an impressive debut, and his dedication to stunts is very commendable, as he ended up being injured fairly severely multiple times. The Indian setting is interesting to look at, and does provide for some solid action setpieces set among the chaotic streets or packed businesses. However, this is where my praises end. While the action was good, I honestly think there could’ve been a bit more of it. Maybe this was just me expecting The Raid, but I found that the story sections between fights went on far too long, and found myself losing interest, as the story and its characters really are not that great. If you’re a fan of this type of movie, you’ll probably like it; I enjoyed myself, but would most definitely not call it anything special.

Challengers (9/10)

I was pretty unfamiliar with Challengers up until its release; I remember a couple of pictures from it being released months ago, and completely forgetting about it afterwards. It took the trailer being released for me to realize that this is actually a tennis movie, and that it was also apparently supposed to be very good. People were hyping it a lot around the release window, and I got to the theater for its opening weekend. Challengers ended up being so much more than just a sports movie; this is an intense, emotional, and dramatic story revolving around three characters, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. All three actors really sell it, and I was very impressed with how all three handled playing different versions of their characters that were ten years apart in age. While I loved every moment of this film, my absolute favorite part might just be the score. If I had taken any guess as to what the soundtrack for Challengers would have been before going in, it would not have been an insane synth/dubstep track, but it ends up working really well. Only Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross could pull off something like that, and it never gets old, even though the film uses it several times. Challengers is probably the best movie you can see in the theater at the moment,

The Fall Guy (7/10)

David Leitch has once again proven that he’s mastered the art of the 7/10; I have never been blown away by anything he’s made, but everything is always consistently enjoyable. Atomic Blonde is a genuinely solid and serious action film, Deadpool 2 is a great sequel that I honestly prefer to the first, Bullet Train is a very fun action-comedy, and now The Fall Guy serves as both another entertaining blockbuster, while simultaneously being Leitch’s love letter to the stuntmen of Hollywood. Leitch fits right next to directors like Chad Stahelski and Sam Hargrave that began their careers as stuntmen before becoming directors- Stahelski with John Wick and Hargrave with Extraction. His knowledge of this field shows through in The Fall Guy, where he’s able to create something of his usual style that also gives the audience a bit of a closer look at a process often overlooked. I personally loved seeing a film like this show a lot of what goes into the filmmaking process; there are a lot of scenes that discuss the intricacies of stunts and directing, and movies like that are always fun to see. When an artist makes a piece of art that is about the artistic medium they specialize in, it can make for some really fun experiences; think The Fabelmans and X.

In addition to all of this, the cast knocks it out of the park, as expected. Ryan Gosling is so entertaining in roles like this, and it’s a shame he doesn’t get more comedic work- this is his funniest role since The Nice Guys. He had great chemistry with everybody, but bounced particularly well off of Emily Blunt and Winston Duke. Emily Blunt is an actress that I’ve developed a lot of respect for; she’s great in stuff like Oppenheimer and carries much of A Quiet Place and Sicario, but I would like to see her attempt some more lighthearted roles. I have no interest in seeing Jungle Cruise, but if she can be as charismatic and fun as she is in The Fall Guy, I think it would be great to see her add some more variety to her filmography. As for Duke, he really hasn’t gotten a whole ton of work outside of Marvel films; he’s hilarious in Us, and I really hope he gets more roles, as I really enjoyed him here. Even in his Marvel appearances, I think M’Baku is a pretty interesting character, and it’s a shame he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to show off his abilities more. Apparently, this film is under performing, which is a little surprising. It’s directed by David Leitch, has Ryan Gosling, and is a pretty fun action comedy. That’s everything that general audiences love, and you would think that this would be a perfect movie for your coworker to tell you about at the water cooler. Maybe it’ll get a bit more traction in the coming weeks, but I doubt it, as the release slate is pretty packed, especially as we approach Memorial Day. However, I’m sure Leitch will still get more directing roles. He ensured that he got at least a few more with all of the Deadpool money, and I’ll always be at least a little interested in what he does.

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