‘Countdown’ is Mostly Whatever Except When It Gets Its Demon-Fighting Groove On

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CREDIT: STXfilms

I love dorky PG-13 horror movies like Countdown. They only occasionally transcend the trappings of their formula, but they almost always have their shameless pleasures. I enjoy giving myself over to silly yet potentially evocative premises like an app that tells its users exactly how soon they are going to die. Am I fooled into believing that such an app could actually exist and be accurate? No, but I’m happy to pretend that I am. And I look forward to discovering the circumstances that make the main characters believe. The trouble comes when these pictures devolve into people just running around and screaming at each other, and that happens too often in Countdown. But then PJ Byrne shows up as a man of the cloth who got into the religious lifestyle because of the prospect of fighting demons, and he might just be the best cinematic priest I’ve ever seen.

I give Countdown 25 Demon-Fighting Latin Texts out of 50 Frantic Runs Through a Hallway.

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Movie Review: ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ Proves That There Are Still New Ways to Make a Movie

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CREDIT: A24

Starring: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock

Director: Joe Talbot

Running Time: 120 Minutes

Rating: R for A Mild Mix of Profanity, Brief Nudity, and Drug Use

Release Date: June 7, 2019 (Limited)

The Last Black Man in San Francisco has one of the most (if not THE MOST) valuable qualities in cinema, and art in general, insofar as it truly feels unlike anything else that has come before it. It’s about lifelong pals Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) and Montgomery (Jonathan Majors), who have a sort-of-magical journey living in the title city while squatting in the house that Jimmie claims his grandfather built years ago. The story is based on Fails’ own life, and I greatly appreciate the visionary perspective he provides along with director Joe Talbot.

This isn’t a movie I loved right away, but it’s one that I want to keep in mind to see how it sticks with me months, years, or even decades from now. It is one that I can imagine expanding in my mind as I digest more of its unique flavors. I saw it about a month ago, and I haven’t thought about it too much unprompted since then. For now, as I’m purposefully reflecting upon it, I must make sure to note my love of an early scene in which Jimmie and Montgomery skateboard through the city to the tune of a Philip Glass-esque composition, and I must also mention that former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra plays a dorky tour guide. So that’s where we are in 2019.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is Recommended If You Like: San Francisco Geography and Architecture, Discovering a New Voice, Sorry to Bother You, Blindspotting

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Squatters