Friday MMGC Round-up for April 6, 2024

Letters and demons and monkeys, oh my! Here is what our critics reviewed this week!

Monkey Man

Dev Patel’s film mixing myth, politics, and action thrilled us, mostly

Carl Wheeler – The Reel Godfather

The action sequences are where Monkey Man truly shines. Director Dev Patel (yes, the actor pulls double duty) orchestrates visceral fights that blend brutal hand-to-hand combat with traditional weaponry along with whatever else anyone can get their hands on. There’s a kinetic energy and visual flair that’ll bring a grin to the face of any action junkie, making you wish you could rewind and watch it all over again.

Time for a Reel MONKEY MAN review

Michelle Kisner – The Movie Sleuth

With judicious use of flashbacks, the narrative reveals Kid’s motivations piece-by-piece and the tragedy that helped shape him into the person he is currently. Through donning the monkey mask, it is apparent that Kid is less of a character and more of an archetype, a representation of an oppressed minority that has not been given a voice to articulate their suffering or the means to oppose it.

With Devotion Nothing is Impossible: Monkey Man (2024)

MontiLee Stormer – Movie Reelist

The fight sequences, whether in the ring or on the VIP Club floor, are kinetic ballets of punches kicks, and biting. This is an urban Chaos built within the imagination of civil and political unrest after all, so bodies take more than their share of beatings, shots, and stabbings, and the result is a hyper-realistic and immersive fantasy where good (with a lot of punches to the head) prevails over evil.

Movie Review – ‘Monkey Man’ takes thrilling South Asian myth and action mainstream

Nate Adams – The Only Critic

Propulsive as it is brooding with style, not to mention Petel peppers the film with an arsenal of sick needle drops, among them Rick Ross’ “Devil is a Lie,” “Monkey Man” aims for something gritter and more authentic than the entourage of “John Wick” imitators who have come in its wake (not that those movie’s aren’t fun, but substance is always nice). Trying to land somewhere in the ballpark of “Oldboy” with the kinetic friction of “Enter the Dragon,” “Monkey Men” finds Petel playing Kid, who we see in the opening moments fighting in a boxing ring with a gorilla mask and Sharlto Copley’s ring leader howling to the hungry onlookers

‘Monkey Man’ review: Dev Patel goes bananas with explosive directorial debut

Chris Williams – Chrisicisms

Dev Patel’s Monkey Man is one of the best revenge movies in a long time. A grimy and brutal piece of pulp, it’s an ultraviolent scream against long histories of corruption, systemic abuse and exploitation. It’s not afraid to be ugly or rough; the sweat and blood nearly drip off the screen. And yet, it’s also imbued with a thoughtfulness that sets it apart from other movies of its type. It’s an announcement that while Patel is a fascinating screen presence, he’s also a force to be reckoned with behind the camera. 

Dev Patel delivers a bruising and surprisingly soulful directorial debut

The First Omen

Arkasha Stevenson’s prequel to Richard Donner’s iconic 1976 film brought the body horror, the gore, and a lot of nuns

MontiLee Stormer – Movie Reelist

The First Omen nails the 1970s satanic panic/nunsploitation like Michael Winner’s The Sentinel (1977) and giallo filmmaker, Bruno Mattei’s The Other Hell (1980), both in the overall look, and ethereal pacing. 1971 Rome, from costumes to cars to music to cinematography feels meticulously researched, allowing the setting and atmosphere settle into a background process without being obtrusive. Nell Tiger Free is the naïve, skittish Margaret, whose “troubled” past is sheltered compared to what she’s about to go up against. Sonia Braga is Sister Silvia who is every nun we’ve ever been afraid of and for solid reasons. Ralph Ineson replaces Patrick Troughton as Father Brennen, but this time around there is a sad desperation that was missing the first time around. There isn’t a campy bone in The First Omen and nothing is intentionally played for cheap laughs.

Movie Review – ‘The First Omen’ deftly sidesteps canon for a better mythology

Carl Wheeler – The Reel Godfather

While The First Omen occasionally stumbles in pacing, especially in the middle act, it regains momentum for a satisfyingly grim finale. The film smartly integrates elements that will be familiar to fans of the original, yet maintains a fresh perspective that keeps the story compelling.

Time for a Reel THE FIRST OMEN review

Wicked Little Letters

An anonymous poison pen campaign rattles a post-War seaside village

Becky Fixel – Week 99er

While Wicked Little Letters is full of laughs, it does seem to leave you with a bit of a sad feeling at the end. When the culprit is revealed, you realize it was the only outlet they could justify for the time. And that no matter what the cost, and who it hurt, it wouldn’t stop the letters. Which, is not only a dark twist but also one that makes you wonder how far they would be willing to take it.

Wicked Little Letters – Crude True Crime Mystery with a lot of Laughs

MontiLee Stormer – Movie Reelist

Director Thea Sharrock leaves the heavy lifting to researchers who want to dive more into the original story, and writer Jonny Sweet’s script leaves the comedy a few shades darker than baby-poop brown. The mystery is easily cracked and the humor relies on ribald language, so there’s no need to make it more than 100 minutes of swears, libel, and elaborate penmanship.

Movie Review – ‘Wicked Little Letters’ is a poison pen scandal heavy on the swears

About the author

MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy, and Senior Content Editor for Movie An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.