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Keke Palmer Steals Jordan Peele’s Sci-Fi/Horror Mashup – Deadline

Keke Palmer Steals Jordan Peele’s Sci-Fi/Horror Mashup – Deadline

After winning an Oscar for his first feature from 2017 Get out, and follows it up with the huge box office success of 2019 Us you’d naturally think that Jordan Peele would serve up another piece of socially relevant horror with his third, and you’d be partially right, but this time he’s trying to bite off a bigger slice of the genre pie. He throws in a heavy dose of sci-fi alien drama in a film, however uneven, that still delivers on the promise of Peele’s first two efforts.

This time, the writer/director wanted to make a typical summer movie, one focused on almost Spielbergian elements of flying saucers and the unknown inhabitants invading Earth. He mixes it up with some horror tropes, but they probably won’t make you jump out of your seat, at least not in any way you might expect.

In many ways, this film is actually closer to Mel Gibson’s Sign than Peele’s stated inspiration: Steven Spielberg, Close encounters of the third type. Spielberg’s film clearly had an impact on Peele, but the difference here is that he doesn’t exactly see the goodness in these extraterrestrial visitors. Although this film has more of a kinship to M. Night Shyamalan, I’m happy to say that it’s more reminiscent of the spotty filmmaker’s best work than his worst.

Jordan Peele’s “Nope” hopes to top $50 million at the weekend box office

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Peele has also joined his Get out star Daniel Kaluuya, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for that film, and who definitely plays a lower-key role here. Kaluuya’s character is OJ Haywood, who inherits his legendary father’s horse farm in a remote area of ​​the Santa Clarita Valley in Southern California. At the ranch, he is reunited with his sister, a feisty actress, hopeful and energetic young woman named Emerald, played at the party by an absolutely dazzling Keke Palmer. They haven’t been close, but now she’s back in his life at the ranch where they manage horses that appear in movies.

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It’s not long before OJ and his siblings begin to witness strange and creepy things happening in the area, unexplained sightings they believe may actually be UFOs, especially when a large flying saucer appears to be partially revealed hiding behind a floating cloud. They enlist iconic and now-retired cinematographer Antlers Holst (a strangely fascinating Michael Wincott) to capture the mystery on film, a discovery that could yield some serious cash and fame if exploited for all it’s worth.

In line with this, they visit their local Fry’s Electronics store, ironically a killer value for a chain that has gone out of business since Peele wrote them into his script. There they meet Angel Torres (a very funny Brandon Perea) who is a confident office worker who believes he is superior when it comes to savvy technical skills. He volunteers to help them set up their surveillance camera system at the ranch as part of their effort to catch aliens in the act, so to speak.

In another part of the story, we meet Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun), a washed-up child star who had a big hit with a thing called Kid sheriff and now in his old age he’s capitalizing on his long-ago success with a family theme park that basically whitewashes California Gold Rush history, but Ricky does it with evangelical zeal as he anchors daily shows for the crowds that make their way to this corner of the valley. There they find a classic western remake called Jupiter’s Claim, owned and operated by Ricky, who also suffers from a dark memory from his childhood that revolves around a later 90s sitcom in which he starred, one that we find out in a real harrowing scene became tabloid. fodder when the show was struck by an unspeakable tragedy, ending Ricky’s television career. However, when he hooks up with OJ and Emerald, he sees a true business opportunity to incorporate the alien angle into his act. You can perhaps imagine complications on every level as Peele takes this far-reaching story and tries to weave it into a coherent whole, not always successfully, but still thoroughly engrossing even if the tone sometimes drifts out of focus.

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Jordan Peele Teases Next Project At ‘Nope’ Premiere: “A Little Bit Of Horror, A Little Bit Of Comedy”

Peele is helped enormously in bringing this strangely compelling story to life by his skilled cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, production designer Ruth De Jong, and a very fine and atmospheric score by his Get out composer Michael Abels.

As in his other films, Peele has a lot to say about who we are, and here he takes on the human reaction to the “spectacles” around us. He also shines a light on Hollywood itself by focusing on the artisans who work behind the scenes, such as animal wranglers, cinematographers and even actors. Is it all as effective as Get out? No, but it’s never boring and Peele keeps us engaged and just wondering where the hell it’s all going.

Kaluuya says a lot in silence, using only simple expressions for this quiet guy, but it’s Palmer who steals every scene she’s in and brings this movie to life in countless ways. She is sensational. Yeun also has a much livelier role than usual and makes the most of it, as do Perea and Wincott among the supporting cast.

Kudos to Peele for not relying on sequels, but for delivering original ideas and making one film which may not be perfect, but one that still matters. Check out my video review with scenes from the film at the link above.

The producers are Peele and Ian Cooper. Universal is releasing the film exclusively in theaters, where it should make a killer start on Friday.

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