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Movie Review: ‘It Comes at Night’ Paints a Dark Portrait of Intense Drama

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It Comes at Night Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he best horror is the type that gets under your skin and leaves you feeling uneasy and uncertain for what may transpire on screen. It Comes at Night burrows itself deep into the scariest depths of our minds, placing the viewer in a tough situation with no easy answers. What’s most scary is the inhuman nature of distrust and survival that turns decent people into desperate messes of violence for one more day of food, comfort and life. All of these may be common themes for most zombie pictures, but rarely do they hit this hard.

It Comes at Night Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Someone needs to see a doctor.

Writer and director Trey Edward Shults treats his audience with such respect that he doesn’t bore us too much with the specifics of this apocalyptic scenario. There is a disease that has wiped out most of humanity, turning your skin bumpy, your eyes different colors and your mouth a leaky fountain of black goo. If someone is infected, it’s best to put them out of their misery and burn the body. Simple enough, but not so easy when it’s a loved one that has to be put down.

The first victim we see is a grandfather, approaching death’s door with wheezing and weariness. A family of three wheels him out to the woods, silently shoot him and set his body aflame. For Paul (Joel Edgerton), he sees this as a necessity for survival, but his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) don’t find it as easy.

It Comes at Night Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Joel Edgerton stars as Paul in ‘It Comes at Night.’

They don’t have much choice, however, as Paul runs a tight ship to keep his family alive. They’ve secluded themselves in a boarded-up home in the middle of the woods, free from the infected cities and desperate souls begging for a scrap of food or a drop of water. They have everything they need, from batteries to lanterns to recyclable water to a working car. It’s the most ideal of living conditions for such an apocalyptic scenario, but there is still a looming fear if someone were to break in or if the disease infects more family members.

Most important among Paul’s rules is to never venture outside the only door in the house to the woods when night falls. What happens during the night that makes the woods so dangerous? I don’t know and I doubt anyone in the house wants to find out either.

Tensions mount higher when Paul finds Will (Christopher Abbott) breaking into his house, desperately searching for supplies for his family. Paul doesn’t trust him, even when he finally meets Will’s wife and young child. Will makes a sufficient deal of trading livestock for room in Paul’s shelter, but trust is still low even in the most calming of scenes. There’s always a voice present in Paul’s mind that this family could try to steal their resources or may be infected. And given the recent death of a loved one and a gun-toting duo that ambushes him on the road, his fears are as understandable as they are unnerving.

It Comes at Night Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Paul’s son Travis grows suspicious in ‘It Comes at Night.’

Travis becomes a central point of the story as the most quiet, relatable and complicated character, where every sleep brings with it new nightmares. It’s impossible to shake the terror of what might be behind the door to the outside, what might be lurking in the woods and when the disease may strike him down. He spends more time listening than speaking, hiding away in the attic to hear every conversation, trying to comprehend the motivations of the adults.

Related: Movie Review: ‘Wonder Woman’ Finally Brings Heroism to the DCEU

His refusal to communicate past some passing conversations creates another barrier of paranoia, adding to his conflicted emotions that his dad might be wrong and that Will’s wife is too attractive to ignore. Travis has nightmares of being infected with his mouth vomiting black and his skin displaying bumps. Is this an early symptom of the disease? He doesn’t want to find out with his refusal to accept the very grim prospect of dying a quick death.

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.


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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.


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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.


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