Nope

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

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Ever read “The Book of the Damned” by Charles Fort? First published in 1919, it details paranormal phenomena, in particular objects – fish, frogs, rocks – falling from the sky.

The book also includes a long section on UFO sightings (the book was written long before Kenneth Arnold’s 1947 sighting that set off the modern flying saucer phenomenon).

I suspect filmmaker Jordan Peele has that book on his shelf.

You remember Peele. His Monkeypaw Productions gave us those great horror classics – “Get Out” and “Us.”

Now he does it again with “NOPE.”

The eerie happenings in this new film take place “in a lonely gulch in inland California” where residents witness “an uncanny and chilly discovery.”

Random objects start falling from the sky, the impact resulting in the death of a rancher. His two children try to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object. They are assisted by a techie salesperson and a documentary filmmaker.

Peele regular Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) returns as OJ Haywood, one of the rancher’s astounded offspring. Keke Palmer (“Hustlers”) takes on the role of his sister. Michael Wincott (“Along Came a Spider”) joins them as documentarian Antlers Holst. Brandon Perea (TV’s “The OA”) is cast as techie Angel Torres. Keith David (“The Thing,” “They Live”) does a cameo as the father, Otis Haywood Sr.

Kaluuya, you may recall, won an Oscar for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” You’ve also seen him in “Black Panther” and “Widows.” And he was nominated as Best Actor for his appearance in Peele’s “Get Out.”

Similar to when “Us” was first announced, the plot of “NOPE” has been largely kept under wraps. Despite that secrecy, fans theorize the film’s title is an acronym for “Not Of Planet Earth.”

Some insiders point out that the four lights seen in the movie’s trailer call to mind a phenomenon observed at the Skinwalker Ranch.

For those of you not up on strange paranormal activity, the Sherman “Skinwalker” ranch is a 512-acre plot in Utah that is said to be a site of UFO-related activities. The name comes from the Navajo legend of vengeful shamans.

The trailer for “Nope” offers a glimpse of alien plush dolls.

The trailer also shows a young boy being blown into the sky.

The film’s poster shows a floating horse.

We’re told that the Haywoods are Hollywood’s only black horse trainers. Their ranch seems to be the epicenter of these strange goings-on.

But exactly what?

Nope, we haven’t screened Peele’s new film yet. As The Verge puts it, this is “one of the rare modern movies with this much hype around it to make it this close to its release date without the public knowing anything about it.”

Jordan Peele serves as writer, producer and director on “NOPE.”

“What’s a bad miracle? We got a word for that?” Kaluuya’s character asks in the trailer.

We suspect “NOPE” may be a cinematic miracle, but not a bad one.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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