Weekend film reviews: ‘Scream VI,’ ‘Fugue,’ ‘Champions,’ more

Written by Amy Ta and Danielle Chiriguayo, produced by Sarah Sweeney

In the sixth installment of the “Scream” franchise, Ghostface survivors leave Woodsboro and head to New York, where they’re once again hunted. Credit: YouTube

This week’s film releases include “Scream VI,” “Fugue,” “Champions,” and “Pacifiction.” KCRW gets reviews from Alonso Duralde and Dave White, film critics for The Wrap and co-hosts of the movie podcast Linoleum Knife.com.

“Scream VI”

In the sixth installment of the “Scream” franchise, Ghostface survivors leave Woodsboro and head to New York, where they’re once again hunted.

Duralde: “No one is out to reinvent the wheel at this point. … Are there some really entertaining gruesome kills? Yes. Is there a lot of fun humor for people who are interested in these characters and like movies that comment upon themselves? Yes. I had a good time. It is not radically different from anything I've seen in the previous five movies, but I enjoyed myself.”

White: “After the first ‘Scream’ film of the 90s, which I found quite frightening, none of the others have made me afraid. The template … became familiar. And for my tastes, horror is about surprise and the unknown. … The ‘Scream’ films, I'd say though, are consistently entertaining. They are whodunits that work to confound your expectations. So they might not be frightening. But they keep you on your toes, and they don't skimp on one of the main reasons that you are there to watch it — to see people be stabbed to death in creative ways.”


This polish film was the official selection for the 2018 Cannes International Critics’ Week. It follows a young woman with memory loss who returns to her former family years later.

Duralde: “ I don't know why it took five years for this movie to get here. … Better late than never because it's pretty great. … It really is very much centered on [Gabriela] Muskala’s performance, which is riveting because she is playing this woman who is brimming over with hostility and thrown into this very safe domesticity that she seems to, at first, bristle at and later perhaps be more open to. But there's always that question of what happened and why did we wind up here?”

White: “I really think this is a great movie. It is a mystery … that is eventually mostly solved, at least narratively. But what remains is a sense of what is unknowable inside a person. Atmospherically it's a very chilly, somber film. And that's appropriate because the theme here is discontent and refusal, and we come to understand why over the course of the film. Something has happened to this woman and metaphorically speaking, it's the story of enforced domestic roles and what makes people accept or reject them.”


In this comedy, Woody Harrelson portrays a former minor league basketball player who is court-ordered to coach a team of players with cognitive and developmental disabilities. 

White: “This is a very warm-hearted, methodically even quite slowly-paced film. It adheres very strictly to the sports movie formula. It's sporadically funny. … There's a young woman in the film named Madison Tevlin, who is playing a member of the team, and she dominates her scenes, particularly with Woody Harrelson. So she's a person to watch — an actor with Down Syndrome. And so I'd be interested to see more from her. She's got really good comic timing.”

Duralde: “It is very charming. And there's something so unbreakable about the sports movie formula when it comes down to the big game, and the moment where the person who's been doing the wrong thing the whole movie — magically does the right thing. You would have to have a heart of stone not to fall for that. It does take a while to get going. Harrelson’s character is underwritten. Kaitlin Olson is definitely the MVP here. And yeah, this is a review-proof film. You either know you want to see it, or you know that you do not.”


This French political thriller is set in Tahiti, and is written, directed, and produced by Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra. It premiered at Cannes last year.

White: “There's very little dialogue here. You see more than you are told Serra’s camera is often fixed on the beauty of the location. And the tone of the film makes for a very rueful contrast with this sustained mood of dread. There's an air of mystery that surrounds all of it. You begin to absorb this film's take on post-colonial malaise. It's stunning. 

Serra’s films always throw you into the deep end and kind of leave you there. This one has a never-ending sense of something bad that is just about to happen. And it's one you have to roll with. It intentionally puts you in a viewing trance. It is not a didactic message film. But it leaves you with an impression of a paradise location that has been hollowed out by people whose agendas are not one with the population.”

Duralde: “The thing about Serra is he has a distinct formal approach that is not for all tastes and sometimes not even mine. What could be mysterious or abstract — sometimes I think come off as maybe a little more shapeless or very intentionally opaque. And Serra is making the most out of shooting this film in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth. And so it's not necessarily a film that I'm always in love with, but I absolutely respect what the director is going for, and what he's trying to convey about colonialism about exploitation.”