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Bones and All Review | The Cannibal Mystery Tour

NYFF: Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell star in Luca Guadagnino’s heartfelt cannibal film.

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Why 2022 has become the year of cannibalism is well beyond me. Earlier in the year, we witnessed Daisy Edgar-Jones’ breakout performance in Fresh (which is streaming on Hulu now), and later this month, The Menu comes out; which apparently isn’t about “having friends for dinner,” but I’ll wait to confirm that until I’ve seen the film myself. And now entering the fray is Bones and All, a new film starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, who’s far better here than the Escape Room film from last year would suggest (see what a film committed to making its actors shine does?) as two drifters who are the kind to have “friends for dinner” and they go on a self-discovery road trip across the midwest. 

As someone who appreciated Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name — this is not an endorsement of its subject matter — I was excited for Bones and All. It is perhaps a bit ironic considering the subject matter and someone in Call Me By Your Name (I’ll let you decipher that), but let me tell you at the door before you enter: Bones and All is not for those with a light stomach.

Director Luca Guadagnino on the set of Bones and All, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Maren (Russell) has an insatiable appetite to bite the flesh off of others. Bones and All pulls no punches from the very start (within 10 minutes she’s invited over to a friend’s and lets her urges get the best of her). We quickly learn that this is not a one-time thing and has likely been happening since she was three. Her father has adapted to a drifter lifestyle as much one can — as evident in the way he is able to quickly pack up and leave for another state after this particular occurrence. But this is the last straw (or bone) and Maren’s father leaves her with all of the essentials: a small stack of cash, a birth certificate and tape recordings. So naturally, Maren sets off on a Cannibal Mystery Tour across the Midwest while listening to her tapes and discovering the 13 reasons why she craves flesh (okay, it’s not 13). Along the way, she meets a wide range of interesting people, to say the least. 

Russell carries the film’s emotional weight as a girl trying to find herself. It sounds cliché, but put yourself into the shoes of Maren under these circumstances. Maren has also never met her mother, but as many films with similar stories go, you should never meet your heroes (maybe “hero” is too strong of a word in this case). There’s a scene in a medical facility that is just brilliant and Guadagnino shows that he understands how to turn up the dial with tension on the drop of a hat.

In the past year, Mark Rylance has gone from animatronic Elon Musk-type in Don’t Look Up to a tailor for a Chicago mob family in The Outfit — one of this year’s finest and streaming on Peacock — and has now combined the two with his performance in Bones and All. Rylance plays Sullivan, make sure to call him Sully, who is the first checkpoint along Maren’s journey. Sporting a long ponytail — he also has a ponytail that gets a bee one added with each victim. I believe it was in her pit stop in Columbus, Ohio, where she is tracked down at the Greyhound station by Sully. 

But fear not! Sully has morals. “Eaters don’t eat friends,” mutters Rylance with this every southern accent that gives you chills. It’s an unsettling performance that garnered a number of laughs and applause from the audience.

Speaking of performances that garner laughs and applause, Michael Stuhlbarg appears in the film completely unbeknownst to me and is given the chance to chew up the scenery. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and now Bones and All make Stuhlbarg 2-for-2 this year with screenings where there were cheers upon his arrival. Disclaimer: His presence can be found on the IMDB page for the film, I was just unaware. Stuhlbarg’s performance in his short cameo is perhaps even more unsettling than Rylance’s, but his presence was met with applause from the audience and you’d think John Krasinski just showed up as one of the Fantastic Four! Jokes aside, Stuhlbarg is not here to give a fireside fatherly chat, that’s for sure. This put a smile on everyone’s face, including my own, and really breathed life into the film just as it was beginning to grow tired. He even gets to deliver the titular line. 

And Chalamet cannot go unmentioned for his performance as Lee. Simply put, Bones and All isn’t his story as much as Call Me By Your Name was. But Chalamet makes up for that in any scene he’s in. He represents another type of drifter and you see the humanity continue to come out of him as the film progresses. It’s also just great to see him play an eccentric character like he also did in Don’t Look Up (no prayer here, though). Everyone knows this, but Chalamet is just one of those actors who’s evolving right before our eyes, and this is yet another great performance under his belt. 

One last warning: Don’t go into Bones and All on a full stomach. I’m absolutely flabbergasted by the fact that anyone could sit and eat popcorn during this film, yet nearly everyone in the extremely full theater was chewing something. It’s the fact that you graphically see flesh being eaten that’ll make anyone with a light stomach hurl. Generally speaking, I’ve got a good tolerance for that type of stuff, yet Bones and All pushed me to my limit.

Director Luca Guadagnino on the set of Bones and All, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

But Bones and All cuts deeper than just its three courses of Russell, Chalamet and Rylance. It deals with the concepts of loneliness and the morality of the cannibals’ actions. And at its core, Bones and All is a lovey story, albeit a bit unconventional. The relationship that blossoms between Maren and Lee reminded me of the relationship between George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp’s characters in Wolf last year. In both instances, the characters are under unique circumstances and are “lone wolves” for lack of a better term. The duos find comfort with each other and there’s beauty in that.

The way in which Bones and All is able to change its tone from a dramatic scene to a more comedic one and then into a horror scene is both a strength and a weakness. I mentioned early a scene in a medical facility, which is the most effective example of this change of tone. And quite honestly, for the majority of the time, it works. However, the third act of Bones and All goes for a big, emotional ending that but chooses an odd way to get from A to B. The tone in this particular scene really diverts from the tone of the rest of the film. It’s an effective jumpscare, I’ll give it that, but it could have been worked into the story a bit cleaner so it wouldn’t be such an odd change of pace. And there clearly was a plan in mind for where the film wanted to end — and I think that this plane sticks the landing — it was just an odd means to that end.

Guadagnino is one of the great working directors and should be credited for bringing original stories to the silver screen. Bones and All may not have worked on every level for me, but the performances are all great and the film is really supplemented by its supporting characters. Notice how these supporting characters, whom you could even call cameos in some cases, actually enhance the film rather than being a cheap way to get audiences to clap like an MCU film? Bones and All manages to accomplish both with great supporting actors that mean something to the overall film. I must admit, I’m very impressed that Guadagnino found a way to integrate such a personal and oddly touching romance. Was Bones and All my cup of tea and will I be rewatching it any time soon? Not exactly, but it’s another hit for one of the best working directors today.

Bones and All held its world premiere in Venice on September 2 and will be released in theaters on November 23.

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Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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Adventure

Arthur the King is an Epic Masterpiece

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Arthur the King movie poster (Lionsgate Films)

Here follows the review of Arthur the King, a story of deep connection between people and dogs. Not all heroes wear capes, some have wagging tails and would cross a river (and jungle) for you.

Plot

Desperate for one last chance to win, Michael Light convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team gets pushed to the outer limits of endurance, a dog named Arthur comes along for the ride, redefining what victory, loyalty and friendship truly means.

Arthur Foundation

Mikael Lindnord raced through a jungle in Ecuador and after feeding a few meatballs to a stray dog made a friend for life. The dog followed Mikael and his team through the rough terrain. Mikael named the dog Arthur and took him back home with him.

Arthur and Mikael Lindnord (Photo taken by Krister Goransson)

The Arthur Foundation collaborates with various organizations in different countries that work towards animal welfare.

Click on the following links to reach out to Mikael Lindnord.

Movie Review (no spoilers)

The movie is based on the memoir, Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord, who was the athlete who participated in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador. It is important to note in the movie they refer to him as Michael Light. Even though the original race took place in Ecuador, the movie changed the location to the Dominican Republic. The original race took place in 2014, while in the movie the race takes place in 2018.

Mark Wahlberg portrays the part of the Mikael and delivers an excellent performance alongside Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel and Ali Suliman. Ukai, a stray dog, was a real champion portraying the role of Arthur. The film takes us through picturesque locations in the Dominican Republic. The suspense was felt at every turn and corner and you are kept glued to the screen with a gripping storyline. The story balances the journey of Mikael and Arthur and eventually joins their path like a jigsaw puzzle.

Mark Wahlberg as Mikael Light (Lionsgate Films)

A fictional backstory is provided of Mikael’s competitive journey as well as the journey that Arthur took to get to Mikael. The movie successfully tells a deep story of connection between dogs and people. If you want to know more about the real story, you can check your local bookstore or Amazon for a copy of Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home

This movie is a 5 out of 5 for me. The connection between Mikael and Arthur is brought to life in this epic masterpiece. Arthur found a home in the heart of Mikael and thanks to Mark Wahlberg and Ukai, this film adaptation of ‘Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’ became a memorable movie.

The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the important scenes of the movie. Arthur the King has a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is no post-credits scene so no need to wait till the end.

Arthur the King Official Trailer (Lionsgate Films)

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Entertainment

A Must-See Satanic Panic Horror – Late Night With the Devil

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Written and directed by Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes, Late Night With the Devil follows a late night TV host Jack Delroy, fighting the plummeting viewership of his show by welcoming in people from the occult in order to change that, but of course, everything doesn’t go as smooth as planned.

David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy Late Night With the Devil (2023)

David Dastmalchian has appeared in a lot of films however always in smaller roles including The Dark Knight, Prisoners and more recently The Suicide Squad. This film allows Dastmalchian to take on the lead role of Jack Delroy, the host of the late night show at the centre of this film, and he genuinely does a great job. There’s a real range of emotions which his character goes through during the course of this film and he depicts them so well.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, you’re going to really appreciate the use of practical effects in this. There’s plenty of stretchy and gooey gore for all of the horror fanatics that will have you shouting at the screen. 

From left to right: Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss

If you want to hear my full thoughts, check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your opinions in the comments.

Late Night With the Devil will be released in cinemas from 22nd March and on Shudder on 19th April.

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Reviews

‘I Love You, Guys’ Review | A Poignant Exploration of Celebrity Vulnerability and Human Resilience

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We are living in an era where celebrities are worshipped like deities and sometimes, people forget that he or she is also a normal human being. If we feel happy or sad at certain moments, they do as well and even though a lot of people always surround them, they get vulnerable too. Although a lot of filmmakers forget to show that aspect of their lives, Billie Melissa Rogan takes the bold approach of showing the truth. Her directorial debut, ‘I Love You, Guys,’ is a poignant story about a celebrity fighting her inner self to maintain her celebrity image. The result is a stunning piece of art that resonates long after the end credits roll in.

The short film opens with a profound close-up of the young singing sensation named Sky (Becky Bush). She has made a name for herself by making and singing really exceptional songs. As a result, she is adored by her fans. Even though it feels like Sky has everything she wants, viewers see her submerged in a bathtub as she tries to battle her anxiety. Just then, Sky gets a phone that she’d be performing state-side. Now, that’s where we get to know about her vulnerable state for the first time. Although she says that she is really happy with the above-mentioned news, her face tells a different story. Despite her impending stardom, Sky has not started to feel the massive weight of mounting pressure, a sentiment audiences get to see in her conversations with bandmate Ryan (Pedro Leandro) and girlfriend Taylor (Celi Crossland).

Becky Bush in a still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

As the story moves forward, we get to know that ‘I Love You, Guys’ is about the fragile nature of the human spirit as much as it is about celebrity culture. It not only navigates themes of depression, it also highlights the turbulent emotional journey of Sky. One of the best aspects of the film is how Rogan masterfully brings Cory Varney’s screenplay to life. She managed to capture every minor detail of Sky’s emotions with utmost precision. Despite the fact that it is her first-ever film as a director, we get a sense that we are watching a flick helmed by a seasoned filmmaker.

Another aspect that makes this film such a compelling watch is its cinematography. Jenni Suitiala has done a phenomenal in showing expressions through vibrant colors and Rogan has made full use of the settings to give viewers a visually striking film. Whether it is heated arguments or silent moments of despair, each frame feels authentic and draws audiences into Sky’s personal life.

Apart from Rogan’s direction, Varney’s script is this film’s biggest strength. The writer has undoubtedly done a stunning job of showing the humanity of these characters. There’s a reason why Sky’s struggles feel very personal and it is because we have endured such moments in life. Moments where we doubt ourselves even when we know we are more than capable of doing a particular thing. Not every smiling person is happy. Sometimes he or she is smiling just so that no one finds out about the tough times they are going through.

A still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

Acting-wise, Becky Bush has given a performance that is surely going to open several doors for her. She delivers a magnificent performance by infusing Sky with a beautiful balance of vulnerability and strength. The way she manages to convey an innumerable amount of emotions is spectacular. I believe this is one of the most apt depictions of mental turmoil. Meanwhile, Pedro Leandro and Celi Crossland are just as spectacular. Every interaction between the characters feels genuine and nuanced.

All in all, ‘I Love You, Guys’ is a testament to how resilient a human spirit can be. In just 15 minutes, Rogan, Varney, and Bush take viewers on a journey that’s thought-provoking and talks about a subject that no one talks about. The writing, direction, and performances achieve a lot more than just viewers’ attention. The film offers a compelling examination of the human cost of pursuing fame and success. A poignant story that touches on themes of ambition, relationships, and self-discovery.

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