Taxi Driver homage/ripoffs are coming around frequently enough almost to count as a whole new genre, and here is the latest travisbicklesploitation picture. There are a few ideas in it, but its pretty laborious, overextended and repetitive. Ronnie (Zachary Ray Sherman) is an angry loner who lives with his cranky old mom in Van Nuys, a neighbourhood in LAs San Fernando Valley. His application to the military has been rejected, and now he does nothing all day but obsessively watch and create “alt-right” YouTube videos ranting about libtards, Muslims, feminists, gold-diggers, Chads, Stacys, black people and, of course, cucks – that insidiously nasty phrase for wussy male liberals.
There is a mild side interest in gauging this movie for conscious or unconscious borrowings from Taxi Driver. Like Travis Bickle, Ronnie loves porn and guns. Especially guns. Like Travis, Ronnie has a humiliating, catastrophic date with a politically minded liberal woman way out of his league. Where Travis monologued fanatically at himself in the mirror, Ronnie does it to his laptop camera. Where Travis drove a yellow cab, Ronnie is rejected for a job at an Uber-type firm because hed have to drive his moms car, which has dodgy stickers all over it – a witty touch.
The new take offered by writer-director Rob Lambert is having Ronnie finally get a job in hardcore porn: he has to play the pathetic loser husband whose wife is having athletic sex in front of him with a member of one of the ethnic groups that Ronnie despises; ie, he has to be the cuckold. Is that the socio-sexual origin of “cuck”? Well – interesting. And so is the implication that alt-right grandstanding is effectively the new porn frontier. But the film runs out of steam and becomes heavy-handed and ugly in parallel with Ronnies gruesome descent.
READ MORE FROM SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/apr/15/cuck-review-taxi-driver-ripoff
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.