Monarch Movie Minute: ‘The Fits,’ ‘The Automatic Hate’ and ‘Amy’
‘The Fits’ (2015) | NR | 72 min.
In the eyes of a child, the idea of growing up can be a scary, uncontrollable and nightmarish experience. This experience is brilliantly embodied by newcomer Royalty Hightower in “The Fits.” Although the film is quiet and may appear merely as a standard coming of age movie, the film proves to have many ideas bubbling beneath the surface.
Having spent most of her time in the boxing gym of the rec center that she and her brother frequent, Toni (Hightower) eventually begins to stray away from the sport when she develops a fascination for dance. Although her tomboy reputation follows her to the dance troupe at the recreational center, Toni eventually begins to make friends and find her path as a dancer.
When the other girls begin to experience a string of unexplainable seizure-like fits, Toni does everything in her power to avoid being the next one to suffer. As the phenomenon becomes more prevalent to the girls, they begin to see it as some sort of rite of passage. Because of this, Toni is left with the dilemma of either fighting the fits or accepting it.
First-time director Anna Rose Holmer does her material and themes justice by bringing in a very subtle horror element to her story. Accompanied by an eerie and alarming soundtrack along with imagery that will stick with the audience for days, “The Fits” is a film that demands attention and earns it every step of the way.
This film is available on Amazon Prime.
‘The Automatic Hate’ (2016) | NR| 100 min.
In a film about family and the demons that they pass down to one another, “The Automatic Hate” follows the character of Davis (Joseph Cross) who starts the film by meeting Alexis (Adelaide Clemens), a cousin he never knew he had. As he begins to investigate his family tree, Davis discovers that his father has hidden a long lost brother that he’s done everything to cut from his life.
Curious about the abandoned part of his family, Davis ends up meeting more cousins and an uncle who is very reluctant to make amends with his brother. As Davis and Alexis begin to uncover the dark reason for their fathers’ estrangement, they slowly begin to develop an unconventional friendship that might prove more dangerous than anticipated.
For a movie like “Automatic Hate,” the mystery that follows the characters to an uncomfortable degree has to drive the story throughout. There has to be patience and timely development that eventually leads to some form of payoff for the audience. While the mystery itself is intriguing and unravels to a twisted conclusion that satisfies audiences, the film seems only interested in the end product rather than the actual structure of the plot itself.
Every clue that Davis and Alexis unearth comes so easily that it dampens the reveal that feels rushed. Still, there is so much going on with the characters and the themes of the film, it certainly serves as a darkly gripping tale of hereditary downfalls that doesn’t disappoint.
This film is available on Netflix.
‘Amy’ (2015) | R | 128 min.
Winner of the 2015 Academy Award for best feature documentary, “Amy” recounts the life of troubled Grammy winner Amy Winehouse. Although everyone remembers the relentless tabloid updates of Winehouse and her alcohol addiction, filmmaker Asif Kapadia seeks to tell a more personal story that centers on the relationship between the artist and the fame that can taint the soul of the artist.
Made up entirely of archive footage and layered with interviews from friends, relatives and collaborators, Kapadia takes his viewers on a journey of Amy Winehouse’s life. From her childhood in a broken home to her untimely death in 2011, “Amy” turns the singer from a fallen celebrity into a humanized figure that succumbed to the trials of fame.
When reflecting on Winehouse’s time as a celebrity, people unfortunately only remember her as nothing more than an addict with messy relationship issues. Even if her music didn’t resonate with most, it was hard to deny Winehouse as a talented singer with deep and personal lyrics. Kapadia not only wants the viewer to appreciate this, but to also celebrate a talent that was trumped by tragedy.
What Kapadia also does to make “Amy” such a knock out is have his audience grow with Winehouse and become more personal with her. When she eventually does fall from grace and slowly kills herself, the audience has to watch someone they grew with and feel the same sting that her friends and family feel. As sad as “Amy” is, it is also a knock out portrait of celebrity and fame that isn’t afraid to pull its punches.
This film is available on Amazon Prime.
— Straight to DVD.
— Well, there goes 2 hours of my life!
— Add to my queue.
— A must see.
— Mind blown!