The Menu (2022)

The Menu is a 2022 American black comedy horror film directed by Mark Mylod and stars Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Holt, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Reed Birney, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo. 

Tyler and his companion Margot Mills travel by boat to Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant owned and operated by celebrity chef Julian Slowik, located on a private island. The other guests attending the dinner are Lilian, a food critic; her editor Ted; wealthy couple Richard and Anne; George, a post-prime movie star amd his personal assistant Felicity; and business partners Soren, Dave, and Bryce. The guests are given a tour of the island by the restaurant maitre d’ Elsa, who notes that Margot was not Tyler’s original guest for the evening. 

The courses and Slowik’s following speeches start to become more distressing and violent. On Slowik’s orders. one staff member kills himself and another cuts off Richard’s finger when he tries to leave the restaurant. The restuarant’s main investor, while strapped to a harness with angel wings is drowned in front of the guests, who later try to flee when Slowik gives them 45 seconds to escape, but are caught by staff and are threatened by Slowik that any attempts to leave will result in more severe consequences. Slowik proclaims all the guest were selected because they make a living off exploting the work of artisans like him, then declares that the night will end with everyone dead. Since Margot’s presence was unplanned, Slowik gives her the choice of dying with either the staff or the guests. 

Slowik turns on Tyler, revealing that he was invited personally and knew all along that the dinner would end with everyone’s death, which infuriates Margot, since he knowling coaxed her to join a trap for dying. It is revealed that Margot is a prostitute named Erin (who had sex with Richard) whom Tyler has hired for the evening, knowing that she would die. Slowik humiliates Tyler further by forcing him to cook (which he does very poorly) in front of everyone, then coaxes Tyler to commit suicide by himself with his necktie in a nearby storeroom. Slowik decides that Erin belongs to the staff and asks her to retrieve a barrel needed for dessert, falsely saying that Elsa forgot it. 

Elsa sneeks into Slowik’s house, which contains a replica of Hawthorne, only to be attacked by Elsa. Erin kills Elsa in self-defense by stabbin her in the neck. After seeing newspaper clippings of Slowik’s past life in barely decorated office, Erin finds a radio, calls for help, and returns ti the restaurant with the barrel. A Coast Guard officer arrives from his boat, bringing hope to the guests, holding Slowik at gunpoint. The officer then reveals himself to be a line cook in disguise and returns to the kitchen. 

Due to Erin’s disloyalty, Slowik now claims that she belongs to the guests, but Erin mocks his dishes and complains that she is still hungry. Having just seen a photo of a young, happy Slowik working at a fast-food restaurant, Erin asks him for a cheeseburger and fries. Moved by her simple request, Slowik prepares the meal to her requests. Erin takes a bite and praises his food, then asks if she can get it “to go.” Slowik packs the food for her and let’s her leave. Erin finds a boat docked nearby and escapes the island. To end the dinner Slowik pays tribute to s’mores by covering the guests in marshmallows and and hats made of chocolate. 

Memembers of the tiny 1% get stuck on an island owned by an amazing, yet insane chef and his equally talented cooks. The guests, aside from Tyler, Richard, and Anne, think they are just going to be tasting some of the most exquisite foods and wines in the world in a beautiful location. That is just a portion of what these guests get at this insanely expepensive restautant on the secluded island of Hawthorne. The food and wine may be considered tasty, but the portions are miniscule and the disturbing “performances” both leave you hungry. You think the first “performance” is just a show and the only one, until every course is followed by one, making it hard to eat, because you instantly lose your appetite. 

This film is considered a black comedy (dark humor), but I don’t understand why. How is someone drowning, someone shooting themselves, and someone having a finger cut off funny? It’s not, it’s disturbing. I didn’t chuckle not once for the almost two hour runtime. I found that the violence was too much and with less of it, this would have been a very enjoyable movie. With a great cast, I was expecting something great, but what I got was just a long movie where people eat, drink, and die. The acting is superb, the clothing is gorgeous, the food is prepared beautifully, the scenery is breathtaking, but the story is weak. The entire film is spent in and around the restaurant, mostly inside, giving the film a claustrophobic, cabin-fever feel, especially since there is no way for guests to leave unless Slowik allows them to. It’s Slowik’s way, no ifs, ands, or buts. 

Slowik is a very powerful and strict man with a booming voice and a stare that feels like it’s slicing you in half. He claps really loud to get everyone’s attention and every time he does, you jump and get angry. He is a brilliant, but twisted man and very unpredictable. He is equal parts intriguing and scary and the character seemed to have be created just for Ralph Fiennes. 

This movie jumps from really slow to really unsetting really fast far too much, making it hard to enjoy. Why this is categorized as a black comedy I don’t understand. Death is not something to laugh at and the deaths in this movie are very obscene. They are over the top gory, where you want to look away, but you still hear the sounds and that’s just as bad. Most of the film is dark too, not just because it’s at night (aside from the begining), but it seems there is hardly any light regardless. Slowik may want a certain ambience in his restaurant and house, but it’s hard to see clearly at times and it’s hard to enjoy the movie overall because of this. 

Normally I enjoy weird movies, but this one was not just weird, but so disquietning, that I found very little enjoyment in it, aside from the fine acting from the main cast and the lovely attire and food arrangements. Had I had known about all the grusome dying beforehand, I would have seen something else altogether, as that is more offensive and perturbing than entertaining. Adults only 2.5/5 


The Batman (2022)

The Batman is a 2022 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman and directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig. It stars Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis and Colin Ferrell. The film follows Batman, who has been fighting crime in Gotham City for two years, unveil criminality while going after the Riddler, a seriel killer who goes after Gotham’s high society citizans. 

On Halloween, Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell Jr. is murdered by a man who calls himself the Riddler. Hermitlike billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has worked as the sharp-eyed Batman, investigates with the Gotham City Police Department. Lieutenant James Gordon finds a message written for Batman by the Riddler, but Commissioner Pete Savage scolds him for bringing hero to the crime scene and makes Batman leave. The Riddler soon after kills Savage and leaves another message for Batman. 

Batman and Gordon find a thumb drive left behind in Mitchell’s car containing pictures of Mitchell with a lady, Annika Koslov, at the Iceberg Lounge – a nightclub operated by the Penguin, mobster Carmine Falcone’s lieutenant. While the Penguins pleads stupidity, Batman notices that Selina Kyle, Annika’s roommate, works as a waitess at the nightclub. Batman follows her home to ask Annika questions, but the roommates disappears, so he sends Selina back to the club to get answers. Selina shuts off comunication with Batman when asks her about her relationship with Falcone. 

The Riddler abuducts Colson, straps a timed collar bomb to his necks and forces him to interrupt Mitchell’s funeral. When Batman showas up, the Riddler calls him via Colson’s phone and threatens to denotate the bomb if Colson cannot answer any of the riddlers his is given. Batman helps him answer the first two, but Colson refuses to answer the third one, because the answer maybe the Penguin, who may track him to make a drug deal. 

Batman and Gordon follow the Riddler’s track to a runned down orphanage, funded my Bruce’s murdered parents, where they learn that the Riddler holds a grudge against the Wayne family. Selina tells Batman that Falcone is her father, though Falcone doesn’t know. She learns that Falcone strangles Annika because Mitchell told her that Falcone was the witness and decides to kill him. Batman and Gordon arrive at the lounge in time to stop her, but the Riddler kills Falcone as he is arrested. The Riddler is unmasked as forensic accountant Edward Nashton and incarcerated in Arkham State Hospital, where he complains about failing to kill Bruce. He doesn’t realize Bruce is Batman, whom he idolizes when he became a criminal. Batman learns through searching Nashton’s apaprtmant, that he has stationed car bombs around Gotham and had an online following that plans to kill the may-elect. 

Being a big fan of Christian Bale’s Batman, I was skeptical about Robert Pattion playing the character, but he does a great job. The film is action packed, violent, disturbing and uses lots of foul langauge. Over half of the movie is filmed at night. The effects are great, the all of the costumes are fantastic, except for Selina’s/Catwoman’s mask, that’s basically just a pointed ski mask that’s been cut up. At least the terrible Halle Berry Catwoman had a sexier costume. 

Robert Pattinson is outstanding as Batman, bringing to the character a ruggedness, toughness and sensitiveness. Zoe Kravitz is great as Seline Kyle aka Catwoman, bringing sexiness and resilience to her role. Paul Dano is amazing as the Riddler. Colin Ferrell is fantastic as the Penguin and the costumes and makeup are so well done for his character, that he is completely unrecognizable. Jeffrey Wright does a superb job as James Gordon and John Turturro is terrific as Carmine Falcone. Peter Sargaard does a fine job as Gil Colson and Andy Serkis equally good as Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler. 

The film is very well done, but parts are very slow and too much time is spent on the Riddler, so the movie should have been called The Riddler and not The Batman. It is a very long film at nearly three hours and does drag on, making wonder if it’s ever going to end. I found myself at times very bored and some scenes are really hard to watch, especially those involving the Riddler. Many scenes are too long like the scene in which Batman, Gordon and the rest of the investigators are investigating Riddler’s apartment. The Riddler escapes his home and they just stay a bit too much longer inspecting his place, instead of trying to capture and lock him up and then going back to his place. Also the scene where Batman visits Naston in jail and Nashton starts getting angry and upset, is stretched out too far and Batman doesn’t get to say much to him. 

Had the film been shorter, less violent and disturbing and had more sunlight, it would’ve been more enjoyable. It wasn’t awful, because the acting, costumes, makeup and cinematography was magnificent, but it wasn’t sensational. Sorry Matt Reeves, but Christopher Nolan’s Batman has you beat. 18+ 3.5/5