The Shape of Water

Fox Searchlight (2017) 123 min. R

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Cinematography: Dan Laustsen; Editing: Sidney Wolinsky; Production Design: Paul D. Austerberry; Set Decoration: Jeffrey A. Melvin & Shane Vineau; Costumes: Luis Sequeira; Score: Alexandre Desplat

Stars: Sally Hawkins (Elisa Esposito), Michael Shannon (Richard Strickland), Richard Jenkins (Giles), Octavia Spencer (Zelda), Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Robert Hoffstetler), Doug Jones (Amphibian Man), David Hewlett (Fleming), Nick Searcy (General Hoyt), Stewart Arnott (Bernard), Nigel Bennett (Mihalkov), Lauren Lee Smith (Elaine Strickland), Martin Roach (Brewster), John Kapelos (Mr. Arzoumanian), Morgan Kelly (Pie Guy), Marvin Kaye (Burly Russian), Brandon McKnight (Duane)

The Shape of Water is indispensable in furthering understanding of director Guillermo del Toro‘s sprawling, shared multiverse of fantasy films. It’s a fulfillment of his artistic aspirations, clarification of the obsessive themes and surreal subject matter dispersed throughout his cinematic diaspora. Moreover, the movie is a genuinely sincere and loving homage to the sort of flicks the director himself adored as a kid and which wielded the strongest impact on him as an artist, inspiring him to eventually immigrate to America’s moviemaking mecca.

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Let Me In

Overture/Hammer (2010) 116 min. R

Director: Matt Reeves

Screenplay: Matt Reeves; based on screenplay & novel Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Cinematography: Greig Fraser; Editing: Stan Salfas

Production Design: Ford Wheeler; Set Decoration: Wendy Barnes

Costumes: Melissa Bruning; Score: Michael Giacchino

Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee (Owen), Chloё Grace Moretz (Abby), Richard Jenkins (The Father), Elias Koteas (The Policeman), Dylan Minnette (Kenny), Ritchie Coster (Mr. Zoric), Cara Buono (Owen’s Mother)

Just when you think every last twist has been teased out of the vampire theme along comes an unexpected little sleeper like Let Me In, one of the most haunting horror films Hollywood has given us since The Ring. Only a derivative studio film could seem this original, so it’s no surprise to learn that like that movie, Let Me In is also a remake of a foreign film, Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In of 2008, based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s bestselling Swedish novel of the same name. Continue reading