Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: XX

of 8 viewers "Liked" "XX" (2017, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Trash - "To be fair, I should preface this review with the fact that I don't like most anthology films. Rarely seen outside the world of low budget genre, they always feel inorganic and unbalanced, and if a segment is bad, you just have to sit there and wait. And in terms of being unbalanced, XX is possibly the most heavily weighted anthology I've ever seen. "The Box" is a bore that feels completely pointless in its resolution. "The Birthday Party" is utter nonsense, and not a horror movie, but I was pretty intrigued by its incompetence, really showing off how they roped in a famous musician and let her do basically whatever. "Don't Fall" proves without a doubt Roxanne Benjamin is a to-watch talent as a director, and I cannot wait till she meets the right screenwriter to let her shine. And "Her Only Living Son" is the best segment, and the anchor of the film. Sofia Carrillo's stop motion wraparound is marvelous, and I feel it was a missed opportunity to not showcase it more aggressively. And anthologies are even hard to write about because of their inconsistency and lack of cohesion. So I guess I'm done." - 2.5 Stars

Clark Little (R) - "I do not like meatloaf. I've had meatloaf that people bragged about. Meatloaf that has won contests. I've had every conceivable form of meatloaf, but it just doesn't work for me. However, when you break down the dish to all its separate ingredients, I like everything involved. But when it all comes together, it becomes a "mushy mishmash" of familiarity. I'm a fan of anthologies. I'm a fan of short films. I am also a fan of females and XX is the culmination of all of these, but it became visual meatloaf. I enjoyed one short and the interstitial stop-motion animation. But that wasn't enough for me to not send it back to the kitchen." - 2 Stars

Lord Battle - "I enjoy every horror anthology at least once, even the ones I hate. I also enjoy short films more when they are tied together with even the loosest of wrap-around. XX had a particularly interesting wrap-around, that caught both my attention and imagination. It's just too bad that the shorts were neither horror nor art-house enough for me. XX is ultimately confusing and easily forgotten, although I really enjoyed the "Don't Fall" segment." - 2.5 Stars

The Ascendent (R) - "At several points during its life-cycle, horror-anthology XX (2017) had at least eight different directors attached to it, ranging from Mary Harron (American Psycho) & The Soska Sisters (American Mary) to Jennifer Lynch (Surveillance). Eventually settling on a final group five (featuring The Invitation's Karyn Kusama and the highly-anticipated debut of singer/songwriter St. Vincent/Annie Clark), XX (2017) was one of my most-anticipated horror films of 2017. The sole reason for that was simple. The testosterone-driven genre of horror, needed more stories told from the perspective of (three-dimensional) women. Unfortunately, XX (2017) fell short for me, merely because I exited each segment feeling like something significant was missing. Jovanka Vuckovic's segment "The Box" (based on a short story by Jack Ketchum) is eerie and shot tremendously well, though it meanders into its flaccid closing moments. Annie Clark's (St. Vincent) segment "The Birthday Party" is (beautifully) contemporary in its cinematography and rife with dark humor, but isn't as clever as it believes it is. Roxanne Benjamin's (who co-wrote Clark's "The Birthday Party") segment "Don't Fall" is traditional in its approach but it sticks out like a sore-thumb in this set of films, choosing to create its marks with a bazooka rather than a paint brush. Finally, while Karyn Kusama's segment "Her Only Living Son" comes off as the most cohesive of the segments, it still suffers a bit from its run-time capping at 20-minutes, feeling rushed, notably during the transition to its finale. XX (2017) is a frustrating experience in that every bit of this film is well-shot & cast but in this case the pieces don't combine coherently for a greater whole." - 2 Stars

Huntress - "I generally enjoy anthology films, but something about XX reeked of complacency. The film felt too comfortable relying on the fact that it only featured female directors and that that would be its main draw, not the film itself. And I wouldn't have cared if the segments delivered, but as they stand, the extremely out of place "connecting" scenes were my favorite. I could have watched an entire film based on those. The four main segments, although they looked good, ranged from okay to forgettable and none of them stood out. The one thing I'll always remember is that these segments were all directed by women. And that's just unsatisfying." -2 Stars

Dabbles - "I really liked the second story and all of the production for everything, especially the wrap-around. But I loved how out of place the second one is. Very enjoyable all the way though." - 4 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "In terms of quality this film moves all over the place but it kept my attention.  There are some fascinating interstitial animations that are the right kind of strange and display a real level of craft. Often the stories themselves left me with a feeling of "this didn't QUITE work for me but I really like what they did with this idea, or that actor, the food looked amazing, etc".  This was an anthology of female directors and I do think this contributed to an overall tone and thematic bend felt fresh and fun enough to feel unusual if not original. Worth a watch." - 3 Stars

Math Mage - ""The Box": the contents will make you lose your appetite... forever! It's exactly as boring as it sounds. "The Birthday Party": a really cool music video with a really long intro. "Don't Fall": I expected 20 minutes of idiots hanging from a cliff, instead they get werewolf'd in record time. "Her Only Living Son": Rosemary's baby grew up, also there is racism." - 1 Star

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

The creature's reaction to XX was underwhelming. Everyone had a favorite but no one was really attached to their pick, often feeling each short could use a specific improvement. However, everyone seemed to agree that the wrap-around was not only entertaining but artistically satisfying. It came as quite a shock when the credits began to roll and no one could seem to figure out who directed the segment.

The initial thought was that perhaps the director was male and they were hiding his name to keep with the all female theme. But after a little internet research, Trash discovered that the wrap was in fact directed by a female named Sofìa Carrillo, whose name appears twice on the XX IMDB page under "Other Crew"...

This only seems more bizarre after I found a video on YouTube that made Sofìa Carrillo not only seem like an equal but also a very important addition...

I'm not sure what actually happened with Sofìa Carrillo but I hope this post helps her get a little credit for the best part of XX.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 3/9/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

No comments:

Post a Comment