ALEXXANDAR MOVIE REVIEWS: Say yep to ‘Nope’ | Local News

“Nope” (Science-Fiction/Mystery/Horror: 2 hours, 10 minutes)

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott and Steven Yeun

Director: Jordan Peele

Rated: R (Profanity, violence and bloody imagery)

Movie Review: Director-writer Jordan Peele gave audiences the apt “Get Out” (2017), which starred the always-effective Daniel Kaluuya. He followed that movie with the engaging “Us” (2019). With “Nope,” he creates a sense of otherworldly awe while continuing his trend of attention-getting mystery/horrors that are audience pleasers. 

“Nope” follows the work of siblings Otis “OJ” Haywood (Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Palmer). They are the proprietors of Haywood Hollywood Horses. They train stallions for various media. As the Haywoods work their ranch, strange occurrences happen in their isolated California city. They see and hear strange currencies they cannot explain. 

With the aid of technician Angel Torres (Perea) and cinematographer Antlers Holst (Wincott), OJ and Emerald set out to record the unidentified aerial phenomena to create their “Oprah moment” Emerald says.

In the movie, an energetic Keke Palmer’s Emerald quips, “But that’s why back at the Haywood Ranch, as the only Black-owned horse trainers in Hollywood, we like to say since the moment pictures could move, we had skin in the game.” She says this to a majority white soundstage crew while trying to sell them on using Haywood Horses. The moment is humorous, but the scene is impressive highbrow comedy that a response is a delayed one by characters in the scene and movie audiences.

Jordan Peele has proven he does not mind injecting race and intellect into his films. His screenplays star Black actors as the leads. Peele has done this with success and he has done this with a brilliant sense of professionalism that scores with multiracial audiences. With that, he also does not dumb down his movies. He realizes not all moviegoers absorb information and visuals the same.

The first movie as Emerald mentions in “Nope” is “The Horse in Motion” (June 1878). It is chronophotography, a series of cabinet cards by Eadweard Muybridge. That is debatable whether it is the first film. The “Passage of Venus” (Dec. 9, 1974) directed by P.J.C. Janssen, from pictures purportedly taken in Japan by the French astronomer Jules Janssen and Brazilian engineer Francisco Antônio de Almeida, debuted first.

However, “The Horse in Motion” makes for a better story. Peele uses that short film to indicate an African-American man was the first movie performer. That is noteworthy considering, the Haywoods insist that man was one of the great-grandfathers and cameras are what the main characters need to verify what is happening in their quaint community.

Peele uses numerous scenes and a pivotal sub-story involving “Walking Dead’s” Steven Yeun as Ricky “Jupe” Park, a carnival operator to create foreshadowing. Peele’s attention to detail is nifty. His foreshadowing is comparable to esoteric knowledge. Characters’ actions and words as well as several items in his movie have some significance, even if only detectable for a few seconds. The jumble appears overly complicated at moments but Peele manages to maintain control for entertaining moviemaking.

“Nope” borders on science fiction as it does mystery and horror genres. Peele creates engaging visuals that yield a 1980s sense of awe with a script reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s television show era. He also adds mystery to his movies similar to M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” 1999).

Peele’s screenplays are packed with enough information that they could fill one season of episodes for a television series. Even with a busy script, Peele creates movies one cannot avoid observing and “Nope” is another entry for his already impressive resume.

Grade: B (Nope, you cannot avoid this movie.)

Playing at Valdosta Cinema Stadiums.

Adann-Kennn Alexxandar has reviewed movies for more than 20 years for The Valdosta Daily Times.

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