Men ½

Forbidden Fruit

Genuinely trying to use the Lord's name in vain less, but Jesus Christ, Garland. Not many directors out there where I both have a film of theirs that I adore as well as absolutely despise, so welcome to a very exclusive club, Alex Garland. (I now want to revisit Ex Machina to make sure that I'm not crazy for having loved that when I saw it back when.) The term "Elevated Horror" as a whole is something anyway that, if it were a person, I would want to strangle its scrawny little "Erm, actually..." neck with my bare hands. Hate it, get rid of it, throw it in the trash, but there has been a fair collection of movies that I've at least enjoyed which have been plastered with that title. Men is the total bottom of the barrel with "Elevated Horror," with minimal actually scary content, a copy and paste aesthetic that's in indistinguishable from countless other films distributed by A24, and an overall experience that gets tears out of you not out of fear, but out of being bored to death. Maybe the slowest hundred minutes I've ever experienced? I was already in DNF territory after about fifteen minutes, even though I don't do those, and it never picked up from there. Have you seen the trailer for Men? Congrats, you have seen the film truncated into a runtime that suits its subject. All men are the same, and they suck. That's what this movie has to say. That's all it has to say, and it's then just hilarious if it wasn't also just sad and a little mind-numbing that Buckley's character is so flimsy beyond her being someone who goes through traumatic experience after traumatic experience. Who is she beyond what happens onscreen? I have no damned idea, and it almost feels like Garland himself could care less. The depth of a liberal college arts film class final is extended into feature length with a big fat goose egg being added to justify any sort of extension. Kind of anti-matter in cinematic form, like how I felt when I watched Gotti, not offensive whatsoever so much as it would be more worthwhile of your time to watch an unmoving brick wall. The finale features an extended bit of body horror that's honestly pretty gnarly and with effects that range from disturbingly convincing to just absolutely horrible, and there's one shot from it that I am absolutely certain will be a meme on Twitter when this movie releases on digital for screenshots. I should at least be into that, but it comes too little too late after dead air that suffocated my lungs. I do think that Texas Chainsaw Massacre is overall probably a "worse" movie, but at least something like that kind of "knows" that it's a piece of shit and is rolling around giggling like a little girl in its own guts. The greatest sin of Men is that it's an awful movie that seems to really think it's being and saying something super worthwhile for its viewer. I think because of that, and I'm wholesale shocked that this was even going to be possible, Texas Chainsaw Massacre has been dethroned as my least favorite film released this year. Someone please check on Garland, and A24 as well for that matter, to figure out what the hell happened.


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