Midnight Movies: Stylish Thrillers & Disappointing Remakes

It’s been a while since we’ve spotlighted movies on this site, and while this writer has yet to make that trip to the cinema since pre-lockdown days, the make-shift home cinema gets the job done. This recent batch of movies ranges from the sinisterly uncomfortable, to the stylish and visually thrilling, and disappointing.

Wind River

Wind River is a tale that puts the spotlight on the often-ignored crimes against Native American women. It’s a harrowing and uncomfortable story that successfully provokes a sense of rage over the loss of such a bright life. While most crime movies focus on identifying the criminal, Wind River chooses to firmly put the spotlight on its victim, reminding us of the strength of the victim in her final moments. It’s a brutal tale, one that is reflected in the harshness of the cold landscape of its setting. In a film that sees Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen delivering a subtlety captivating performance, Wind River is the type of character-driven thriller that won’t be so easily forgotten.

The Lion King

The 1994 Disney animated classic is a childhood favourite for many, and this live-action remake failed to capture the spirit of this beloved classic. Now, not there were a few bright spots as the soundtrack, helmed by Elton John, is as captivating as it was in the animated. Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner were a welcome addition to the cast as they brought life to the comedy-duo Timon and Pumbaa, and the death of Mufasa was just as traumatising in this version of the tale. However, it’s also worth noting that the bests moments of the movie are made up of components that were already effective in the original. So, instead of enhancing the Lion King story, Disney chose to create a clunky copy of the original that was awkward to watch and inauthentic in its execution. Disney’s live-action franchise’s overreliance on nostalgia has proven to be ineffective in its long-term effectiveness, especially as the quality of these remakes remains to be significantly weaker than their original counterparts.

Related Post: The Pros and Cons of Live-Action Remakes

Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale is a smart, and stylish thriller that follows seven characters that find themselves at the charmingly sinister El Royale. In its prime, the El Royale was a hot-spot for its high-end guests, but beyond its charm, the El Royale hides a shady secret. However, it’s not just the building that hides behind its lofty exterior, but so do our characters, all of which have a sinister motive for staying at the El Royale. Bad Times at the El Royale effectively ramps up the tension as we unravel the secrets of this hotel and its customers, treating viewers to a visually stylish and sinister thriller.

Ready Player One

Book adaptations are hard to get right. Granted, this writer has no prior knowledge or has read the book, but if the intent was to create a world that celebrates the world of gaming, then it sure hit the mark. Visually, Speilberg takes us on an adventure that pays homage to the games that defined many viewers’ childhoods. It’s non-stop action as this virtual reality creates an immersive game-like atmosphere that’s thrilling and nostalgic. Sadly, this visual spectacle fails to provide any depth to our characters, but it’s an action-packed sci-fi thriller that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

What movies have you been watching?
Did you enjoy any of these films?
Let my know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Midnight Movies: Stylish Thrillers & Disappointing Remakes

  1. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch that Lion King remake. I think the original was good, but there are other Disney movies I liked more. I did see the Broadway play of it last winter, though. That was amazing. Man, I miss live action theater.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with the live-action Lion King. The original is much better. I was hoping to get to see Lion King at the theatre this year, but that won’t be happening now.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I recently watched the original animated Lion King movie to properly view it with a critical mind and ADORED it. Brilliantly executed. I’m scared for the live-action one though. I’ll probably still try it for the heck of it but I’m convinced it won’t capture the heart of the original. I also had a lot of fun with Wind River! Underrated thriller that had fantastic performances and a captivating story! Ready Player One was a disappointment for me, considering how much I loved the book. Sure, Spielberg did some stunning visual stuff with plenty of pop culture references for us, but the story is a mediocre adaptation to the original story. I look forward to the book sequel by the author though. I wonder if it’ll be a money grab or an actual attempt at another fantastic nostalgic tale! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The animated film is stunning. It was a staple of my childhood and to the day it’s still a favourite of mine. The live-action does not hold a candle to the original, but Timon and Pumba are quite funny in it and Mufasa’s death is just as heartbreaking. Everything else just fell flat though.
      Why people aren’t talking about Wind River is beyond me. It’s such a brilliant film.
      I think it’s clear that Ready Player One was focused on the spectacle instead of the depth of the story. I feel like if I had read the book, I’d be disappointed as well. I’m curious about the sequel though.

      Liked by 2 people

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