Jordan Peele had one of the most unexpected second acts in Hollywood history. rise from cult hero of the sketch comedy scene to arguably the most important mainstream author to emerge in American cinema in the past 20 years, with Peele portraying himself as something of a Rod Serling of the 21st century, telling modern parables about our culture through the lens of horror and science fiction. With his latest film, Nope, Peele looks skyward to create thrills that are on the largest scale he’s ever done as an adaptive alien terrorizes a California ranch run by a pair of disparate siblings, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer). With the help of former alien watchers, electronics store clerk Angel (Brandon Perea) and hired cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), the Haywoods set out to capture famous, irrefutable evidence that the aliens exist.
Peele’s other films have generally operated on a smaller scale, with get out and We drawing inspiration from more intimate, character-driven horror/thriller films, and while Nope features at least some of the most disturbing imagery to be seen in any major release in recent years, Peele seems to be more interested in creating a full-fledged blockbuster with his latest effort. With this film, it seems that Peele has taken over a page from Steven Spielberg’s early work – with a hint of Close Encounters and a whole bunch of Jaws be in Nope‘s DNA. Once again, Peele showed just how adept he was at directing actors – a skill that was no doubt honed during his years of experience as a working actor – by drawing superb performances, and often very funny, from its talented cast. Palmer is getting her biggest stage yet to show why she’s such a beloved young talent in her time working on Nickelodeon and Broadway, and she doesn’t disappoint. She’s excellent as a free-spirited Emerald and clashes well with the more steely, work-oriented OJ. For quite some time now, Kaluuya has been one of the finest actors of his generation, having enjoyed a strong run giving compelling performances in several interesting films. After his breakout performance in Peele’s revered debut get out, Kaluuya grew stronger as an actor; appearing in Black Pantherstarring in the acclaimed drama queen and slender and steal the show in Steve McQueen’s ensemble crime thriller widows– which was no small feat, given that it starred Viola Davis and featured a host of excellent performers such as Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson (among many others) in its sprawling cast . But Kaluuya’s success crescendoed with an Oscar win in 2021 for his gripping performance as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, and he’s returning to the big screen to give another big, unique performance to what he’s already shown. While not as flashy or dialogue-driven as Palmer’s performance, Kaluuya’s is just as finely calibrated. We always know what OJ thinks and feels through Kaluuya’s on-screen presence, he’s good at bringing the character to life with his physicality. It would be in Kaluuya and Peele’s interest to continue their fruitful creative collaboration for years to come. Meanwhile, Brandon Perea is a terrific find in what is only his second credited performance after the Netflix series the OA: As Angel, he brings out a lot of the film’s humor and gives a unique take on a well-worn type of character. And Steven Yeun, who is perhaps best known for his role in the long-running zombie show The Walking Dead gives a memorable supporting performance as a traumatized former child actor, who now owns a small amusement park near the Haywoods’ ranch.
Nope represents another triumph for Jordan Peele and shows that the breadth of his cinematic abilities has yet to reach its limit. In a market overloaded with reboots, sequels and superheroes, it’s nothing short of a Hollywood miracle that a filmmaker as creative and fortuitously minded as Peele is given the resources to tell his original story. to the public in a multiplex. In theaters now.
Thor: Love and Thunder
This new adventure for Marvel’s God of Thunder has the unfortunate task of following one of the most beloved MCU films to date in Thor: Ragnarok and also coming out at a time when the overexposure to Marvel stories may have reached breaking point with six movies and seven TV series set in the universe released in 18 months. Therefore, Thor: Love and Thunder was met with a critical review it may not entirely deserve on the merits of the film itself.
love and thunder is a relatively average entry into the MCU with both more memorable and forgettable movies to come out of the franchise (not to mention the Thor series itself). Taika Waititi, who recently won an Oscar for his film JoJo Rabbit, brings his patented 10 jokes per minute style of humor to the film, which Chris Hemsworth expertly performs. Since the success of Ragnarok, Hemsworth really found his voice in the role of Thor after struggling to make the character his own as quickly as many of his colleagues managed to do, which makes love and thunder a good vehicle for him to show his charm in the role. The movie is also notable for bringing back Natalie Portman as Jane, Thor’s long-lost love who hasn’t appeared in an MCU project since 2013. Thor: The Dark World. Portman gives a reliable, solid and surprisingly heartfelt performance.
The film is not without merit and is still entertaining even if not all the jokes land and the visuals are poor for a film of this scale; it just feels like the Marvel machine is starting to run on fumes and no longer able to surprise anyone or return to its former glories. Next up for Marvel is Ryan Coogler Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, who is grappling with the tragic weight of continuing this saga after the death of Black PantherChadwick Boseman, the original star, and it remains to be seen if the studio’s grip on the industry begins to loosen.
In theaters now.