Friday, August 27, 2021

Don't expect sweets from 'Candyman,' but dumb-fun 'Friends' may surprise

Don't say "Candyman" out loud five times while facing a mirror or you'll be looking for real trouble -- in the worst ways imaginable.

Of course, three previous films about the scary and fabled hook-handed killer already have warned us about all that. This same-name reboot from producer and co-screenwriter Jordan Peele ("Get Out," "Us") aspires to bigger and better things -- literally and figuratively, while marching to colossal beats visually, too, in the hands of methodical director and co-writer Nia DaCosta ("Little Woods").

Much of it succeeds, a little rings loudly with redundancy, and the last reel explodes into creepiness of the don't-look kind -- from, uh, skin-crawling closeups to blatant butchery. (Intriguing shadow puppets intrude often, too, offering relevant scenes of urban violence in a stylish slasher film-turned unwavering message movie.) 

The couple (Yayha Abdul-Mateen and Teyonah Parris) at the center of the piece are successful Chicagoans working and living around the site of the troubled and now demolished Cabrini-Green housing project, where a spooky prologue opens proceedings years earlier. He's a talented painter, she's a rising curator, and their world-is-an-oyster life means dealing with arts-scene monsters as much as with gentrification, cops and bee stings.

There's some good news for fans of  the 1992 original as well, with smartly placed cameos from the legendary Tony Todd, Vanessa Williams, and the voice of Virginia Madsen.

("Candyman" is now appearing in theaters all over the place, including close to 50 in northeast Ohio alone. Just be careful what you look for!)

Rated "R" by MPAA: bloody horror violence and language, including some sexual references; 1:31; $ $ $ out of $5

Ironically, Lil Rel Howery, the scene-stealing agent from Peele's massive "Get Out," also opens today in "Vacation Friends," a raw and rowdy comedy that will make you laugh out loud more times than anyone else will ever actually know ('cause you'll never admit to it).

Think "The Hangover" films with a pair of couples instead of bachelor party pals, getting in and out of dumb and disturbingly distasteful jams, first on a vacation in Mexico -- where they initally meet -- and then during a wild wedding weekend in Atlanta. 

Everyone in this quirky quartet sparkles. That means Howery and Yvonne Orji, as his main squeeze, and wrestler-turned legitimately funky funnyman John Cena, with Meredith Hagner, as his unfiltered, live-in love, all saying and doing outrageously silly stuff they certainly never learned in drama class. It's an unexpected hoot that reportedly was supposed to star Will Smith and Nicolas Cage more than a decade ago. Who knew?

("Vacation Friends" is now streaming exclusively -- and at times, hilariously -- on Hulu.)

Rated "R" by MPAA: drug content, crude sexual references and language throughout; 1:43; $ $ $ out of $5

1 comment:

arjun said...

great movie and great info thanks for sharing love to read it keep it up