Mia Goth Reveals the ‘Pearl’ Within

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Pearls Prays for Popularity (CREDIT: Christopher Moss/A24)

Starring: Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland, Emma Jenkins-Purro, Alistair Sewell

Director: Ti West

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Rating: R for Bloodlust Breaking Free and Some Peaks at Naughty “Stag Films”

Release Date: September 16, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Did you see this spring’s X and wonder what the deal was with that old lady? I know I sure did. Well, it turns out that Ti West actually made two movies at once, so now we get to discover what Pearl’s formative years were really like! It’s 1918, Mia Goth has shed the old lady makeup, and she and her family are living a semi-secluded life to avoid the horrors of World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic. But Pearl longs for so much more than that! She wasn’t born to care for her paralyzed father (Matthew Sunderland) and simply wait for her husband’s return while her domineering mother (Tandi Wright) browbeats her into submission. She can’t help but dream of stardom, which she hopes to achieve while hanging out with a local hunky projectionist (David Corenswet) and auditioning for a dance troupe with her sister-in-law (Emma Jenkins-Purro). And if any of this doesn’t work out for her? Hoo boy, you’d better stay out of her way.

What Made an Impression?: I haven’t seen very many movies set in the 1910s, so I didn’t know quite what to expect in regards to Pearl making the most of its setting. But I was still thrown for quite a loop. When the title character starts dancing around her barn and serenading her animals, I was getting wholesome classic sitcom vibes in the vein of Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. The fanciful font used in the credits is also reminiscent of fantastical programs like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Maybe those shows were taking some of their cues from Old Hollywood? Regardless of the exact nature of the influences, this is an unmistakable throwback to an era when all of the main character’s most melodramatic emotions are all over every single inch of the celluloid.

Let’s make absolutely no mistake about it, this is a 100% tour de force for Ms. Mia Goth. With her big saucer eyes and ethereal voice, she’s always been a distinctive screen presence, and that’s never been truer than it is here. Her sheer force of will ensures that the connection between the two movies (thus far) in this series is as deep as possible. Pearl and her other X character of Max are historical doppelgängers, bound by a shared desire to become a star at all costs. When that drive manifests itself in the form of an impromptu song-and-dance number with a scarecrow, there’s no question that I’m all in. You all should feel the same.

Pearl is Recommended If You Like: Classic Hollywood, Classic sitcoms, Classic slashers

Grade: 4 out of 5 Axes

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 3/18/22

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Human Resources (CREDIT: Netflix)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Deep Water (March 18 on Hulu) – Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas directed by Adrian Lyne.
The Outfit (Theaters)
Umma (Theaters)
X (Theaters)

TV
Human Resources Season 1 (March 18 on Netflix) – Big Mouth spin-off.
Atlanta Season 3 Premiere (March 24 on FX)
One Perfect Shot Series Premiere (March 24 on HBO Max) – Based on the Twitter account.

Music
-Charli XCX, CRASH
-Rosalía, Motomami

‘X’ and ‘Umma’: Short Titles, Ambitious Scares

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Umma (CREDIT: Saeed Adyani/Sony Pictures); X (CREDIT: Christopher Moss/A24)

Umma:

Starring: Sandra Oh, Fivel Stewart, Dermot Mulroney, Odeya Rush, MeeWha Alana Lee, Tom Yi

Director: Iris K. Shim

Running Time: 83 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Terrifying Memories and a Terrifying Present

Release Date: March 18, 2022 (Theaters)

X:

Starring: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Scott Mescudi, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, James Gaylyn

Director: Ti West

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Rating: R for Plenty of Sex and Violence

Release Date: March 18, 2022 (Theaters)

This week, we’ve got a couple of new horror releases arriving with pithy, vague titles. They pair well as a potential double feature, so I decided to go ahead and review them together. They’re also both operating in familiar subgenres with their own unique flourishes that you may or may not see coming. Let’s dig in.

First off, we’ll take a look at Umma, which to English speakers might sound like baby-talk. In a way it kind of is, but anyone who knows Korean will surely clock what’s in store. Starring Sandra Oh as a single mother named Amanda who lives alone with her daughter (Fivel Stewart) in an electricity-free home, this is one of those supernatural tales in which a ghost attaches to a person’s soul and just won’t let go. The East Asian pedigree suggests a throwback to the early 2000s when The Ring and The Grudge inaugurated a wave of J- and K-horror. But while those influences are certainly noticeable, a story of what we owe and inherit from our mothers resonates across cultures.

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