Weekend film reviews: ‘Meg 2,’ ‘The Beasts,’ ‘Kokomo City’

Written by Amy Ta, produced by Sarah Sweeney

In this sequel, Jason Statham once again faces off against a giant prehistoric shark. Credit: YouTube.

The latest film releases include “Meg 2: The Trench,” “Passages,” “The Beasts,” and “Kokomo City.” Hear reviews from Alonso Duralde and Dave White, co-hosts of the movie podcast LinoleumKnife.com. 

“Meg 2: The Trench”

In this sequel, Jason Statham once again faces off against a giant prehistoric shark. 

Duralde: “By the time we get to the shark eating, sure, it's fun, but we've waited so long to get there — the movie has lost all of its momentum. 

White: “It's a movie that defies the film critics’ gaze because it just doesn't care what you or anyone thinks about it. It is here to be stupid and make a pile of money in a variety of international markets. … Its stupidity is thorough and rigorous and ultimately, for me at least, agreeable. So see ‘Meg 2,’ who cares, nothing matters.”


This French romance drama follows a narcissistic filmmaker and his passive husband, as one of them begins an affair. Director Ira Sachs is known for dissecting long-term relationships. 

White: “Ira Sachs has always been one to move into pricklier territory with his queer characters. … Here, he's moved even more deeply into scenarios that seem unresolvable. … It's a … story of a man who becomes involved with not only his own husband, but also a woman. … The main character … cannot see the world past his own immediate needs and desires. … He's a man who routinely ruins whatever he touches, and he thinks he's the good guy every step along the way. I won't spoil it by letting you know what he learns about himself — it's not exactly what you're hoping for. This is a very tight, astringent film with very little extraneous detail.” 

Duralde: “This is the kind of movie that makes you regret that somebody already took the title ‘The Worst Person in the World’ because wow, this guy is just such a maul of sociopathic narcissism. But like Godzilla laying waste to Tokyo, you want to watch him in action and see the fact that the people around him fall under his spell, resist his spell. Will he learn anything from the experience? I don't know. But you definitely want to see all of this unfold, and the three central performances are extraordinary.

…[Ira Sachs] really wants to give you complicated characters who mean well or don't mean well, and their queerness is not in any way a signpost as to their moral compass.”

“The Beasts”

In this thriller, a French couple operates an organic farm in a Galician village where they clash with the locals. 

Duralde: “You have a man who buys land in an agricultural area, wants to tackle farming in a way that seems progressive and using new techniques, and … raises the ire of his neighbors who have been there their entire lives and don't appreciate this dilettante coming in with his new ways. … Add to that the xenophobic tension.

… Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen gives us this mood of dread and impending disaster pretty much from the very first scene, and then it builds to a point in which something terrible does happen. And yet that sense of dread never dissipates because there's still further terrible things that could happen. And it's a really tense watch, but one that is riveting. I was captivated by it while I was also squirming.”

White: “It's a smart, powerful, very immediate, gut-kick of a movie. … It's about malevolence and resentment, and how patient sometimes you have to be when you want a little justice. It's very cool. We like it a lot.”

“Kokomo City”

This documentary, shot in high-contrast black and white, focuses on the lives of four Black transgender sex workers. It’s directed by D. Smith, a Grammy-nominated music producer and trans woman who says she was shunned by the industry after transitioning. 

White: “This film encompasses every facet of the women's daily experiences: money, survival, family rejection, the threat of violence. But also, and I think [it] very wisely shows a deep understanding of joy and tenderness and humor in the women's lives, as well as some very specifically Black cultural perceptions of what constitutes acceptable modes of femininity and masculinity. This is a very precisely observed piece of real queer life. ... It's very much worth seeing.”

Duralde: “It's fascinating from start to finish. These are women who in their job have to deal with straight men a lot. … There are some monologues here I would put next to America Ferrera’s in the ‘Barbie’ movie in terms of … statements of purpose and about what women have to endure, what Black women have to endure, what Black women in the sex industry have to endure, what trans women have to endure — but always in a way that is very empowering and that is very forthright. I could have listened to these women talk for hours.”