Two wickedly funny and entertaining dark comedies
“Triangle of Sadness” (US-Rated R)
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean Kriek, Woody Harrelson, Dolly De Leon
Where to watch: Video-on-demand
Quite possibly the wackiest film of the past year!
That’s saying a lot for “Triangle of Sadness”, in a year with films like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” making headlines.
Here again, though, we have yet another outside-the-box picture that you won’t forget anytime soon.
However, unlike “Everything Everywhere…”, the approach with “Triangle of Sadness” isn’t extreme absurdity. Instead, it’s simply holding up a mirror on some of the shockingly bizarre ways of modern humans. And the reflection is everything but flattering!
But boy oh boy, it is hilarious!
Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean Kriek), a couple of influencers, are invited to a luxury cruise ship alongside a group of out-of-touch wealthy people, helmed by an unhinged boat captain (Woody Harrelson). The situation takes an unexpected turn when a brutal storm hits the ship.
Practically every part of this film is relatable. From its commentary on social standing and status, to debates about capitalism and materialism versus socialism, gender roles and even racism. It should be required viewing for college sociology or social psychology or social-cultural anthropology classes, and would spark some fascinating discussions.
It’s blessed with some really fine performances, including Dickinson and Dean (sadly Dean passed away last summer before the film was released in the fall). And even though he’s not on-screen for that long, Harrelson is always a pleasure to watch.
But the cast member most people are talking about – and the one you’ll likely remember the most – is Dolly De Leon as Abigail. What happens to her character is probably the stuff of dreams for some, and nightmares for others.
De Leon was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, and is up for a British Academy Award in the same category. She was snubbed by the Oscars, though.
The film itself was the winner of the Palme d’Or, the highest prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and it’s now Oscar-nominated for Best Picture and Director for Ruben Ostlund, and earned an especially well-deserved Best Original Screenplay nomination for Ostlund.
“Triangle of Sadness” is wickedly delightful, and will have you laughing hysterically, and shrieking in horror. Not in the scary way, but you’ll be covering your eyes in shock, all while praying you don’t miss a thing!
“M3GAN” (Rated C)
Cast: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Where to watch: In theaters, Video-on-demand
Much more straight forward, and nowhere near as cutting or deep, “M3GAN” still manages to be an amusing look at what so many filmmakers have been warning us about the future; when our robots, computers, personal assistants – THE MACHINES – will rise up against us!
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll that’s programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by Gemma (Allison Williams, “Get Out”), a brilliant roboticist, M3GAN can listen, watch and learn as it plays the role of friend and teacher, playmate and protector. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of her eight-year-old niece (Violet McGraw), she decides to give the girl a M3GAN prototype, a decision that leads to unimaginable consequences.
Looking like a creepy, demented young Scarlett Johansson, M3GAN is played physically by 12-year-old New Zealand actress Amie McDonald (wearing a mask), and voiced by 18-year-old Jenna Davis.
Even replete with funny lines and laughable scenarios, we’ve seen quite a few movies like this before, so it’s certainly not groundbreaking. So, while it’s listed as a horror, it’s much more “funny” than “frightening”.
This one won’t be up for any Oscars. But that’s fine. Released in January, among the Oscar-bait flicks and the usual beginning-of-the-year cast-offs, “M3GAN” is a much-needed and pleasant surprise, and far more entertaining than expected. And a whole lot of fun.
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.