• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

MAXXXINE – One of the Unexpected Cinematic Surprises of 2024!

ByTaylor T Carlson

Jul 5, 2024
MAXXXINE is directed by Ti West, and is the third film in his “X” series. The film stars Mia Goth, Elizabeth Debicki, Moses Sumney, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Halsey, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, and Kevin Bacon.

Maxine Minx was once a young girl whose preacher father encouraged her to pursue a life in service to the lord, but she ended up becoming a porn star. Wanting to break into mainstream cinema, she heads to Hollywood. Upon getting a role in a horror film, she discovers that Hollywood is being shaken by mysterious killings and disappearances, with many of Maxine’s associates ending up dead. Who is this mysterious killer, and will Maxine be the next target?

A24 has a knack for putting out truly unique films that are among the best out there today; if there’s ever a screening for something coming out from this company, this critic will be all over it, whether it’s a quirky comedy, a gory horror film, or something in between. MAXXXINE is the latest release from A24, which is apparently part of a trilogy that I had no idea existed (the other installments in it weren’t screened for critics here in Vegas). But I’m pleased to say that no knowledge of the other films is required; MAXXXINE is largely a standalone work despite being part of a larger cinematic universe. With its period detail, atmosphere, and soundtrack, plus great casting and a gripping plot that doesn’t shy away from darker elements, it’s truly one of the biggest and best surprises of 2024 in cinema so far.

I love period pieces, and MAXXXINE’s 1985 Sunset Strip setting definitely puts it a cut above the rest. The sleaze of the setting, from porn stars and strippers to a great 80s soundtrack including cuts from groups like Ratt, totally seals the deal. Even the opening montage is a great flashback to this era, including elements like Dee Snider tearing the PMRC a new one. Many of the best films out there are the ones set in the Hollywood of the past, and MAXXINE reeks of style in its production in every single scene. The fact that it doesn’t sacrifice style for substance is an even greater plus.

The casting is just as good. Mia Goth portrays the title character, and despite her line of work, the film never depicts her as one-dimensional or helpless; watching her put the hurt on a would-be predator in a Charlie Chaplin costume got plenty of loud and enthusiastic reacts from the audience I saw the film with. Michelle Monaghan and Bobby Cannavale steal the show as two bickering detectives with great chemistry (seriously, these characters deserve their own movie), Giancarlo Esposito as Maxine’s agent who’ll go to great lengths to protect her client, and a sleazy private eye played by a barely recognizable Kevin Bacon. Everyone’s performances are perfect here.

While I will admit that the pacing does falter in a few places (it’s maybe about 10 minutes too long) and there’s a few more characters than this story needed, MAXXXINE is brilliant storytelling with great performances, and when the revelations come at the end, they don’t feel forced or contrived. This movie came out of nowhere with its electrifying soundtracks, period detail, and cast to pleasantly surprise me and stand as one of the best films of 2024 so far. Highly recommended!

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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