Julia Ducournau directs a disturbingly delicious feminist cannibal indie film
Barfing, fainting and disgusting are probably the words that people used to describe Raw when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Although some might say it is, for the most parts, it’s not the disgusting gore fest you might have heard of. Not to say that it isn’t all those things but this French horror film works on a much deeper level. Raw challenges society’s views of female sexuality and fills its story with rich symbolism all while eating raw flesh.
The canine-loving Boogeyman is back, and it has never looked this good
The first John Wick impressively took a rather far-fetched plot and made it work. Never in a million years would I have thought that a guy who goes on a murderous rampage because his dog got kill would make such a compelling and beautiful movie. John Wick: Chapter 2 takes a far-fetched plot and builds a far-fetched world where everyone kills everyone and surprisingly, it still works. All of it still works perfectly.
Don’t think it, don’t say it and most importantly, don’t see it
Look, does anyone think that The Bye Bye Man was actually going to be good? We’re in January and this month has never been kind to horror movies in the past. Looking back at last year, we got The Forest, and in other years we got Texas Chainsaw 3D and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, in which each one was terrible. The Bye Bye Man is no different and fits right in with those January horror movies.
Amy Adams is spectacular in this high-class dramatic thriller
Rich people can be obnoxious. This is just but one of Tom Ford’s commentary on high-class living. His argument seems pretty relevant as he has seen these behaviors first class working in the fashion world. A lot of pretty faces and luxurious settings bombard Nocturnal Animals and yet Ford meticulously shows the sadness and superficiality, something rich people try to hide.
A sad Susan (Amy Adams) is seen unimpressed by the art surrounding her, standing alone with dead obese women shown on platforms. This is just one of Susan’s art exhibits. But why is she so sad? Her husband (Armie Hammer) didn’t come to her art show. Wanting to confront him at home, something catches her mind as she comes home – a package is waiting for her. This mysterious package is revealed to be a draft of her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The draft of a novel dedicated to her.
The novel’s story is of dark, sad and violent nature, not the content one would want to be associated with. Though, the story reveals something closer to home, Susan’s relationship with Edward. As she reads through the pages, Susan can only think about her memories with Edward and how it eventually went all wrong.
On the surface, it seems like a boring story, but it’s elevated with a great script. Going back from a novel to reality is in fact, Nocturnal Animals‘ greatest strength. Not one story is superior to the other. Instead, both stories offer a fascinating look into each character without being overly intolerable. The novel story helps the audience get an interesting look into Jake Gyllenhaal’s character which is only seen in a couple real life shots. A bold choice that is rewarded more than once.
Tom Ford plays each right cards, and the biggest most audacious card is played at the very end where he leaves it to the audience to decide just how much both stories mirror themselves. On the one hand, Ford shows an incredibly violent and gritty Texas story perfectly contrasting the wealthy and fancy lifestyle Susan inhabits. Proving that this isn’t just another “sad rich people” story. Her life, filled with beautiful dresses and decadent parties, paints a portrait of why her character seems so sad. But in the end, it’s the actions and the depth of the relationship that pulls the story to its own.
Playing with similar themes to the ones in The Neon Demon, an apparent similarity between both Nicolas Winding Refn and Tom Ford emerges. Not only is Karl Glusman and Jena Melone in both film but the aesthetic of Nocturnal Animals fair strikingly similar to Refn’s. Although, enough effort is made to differentiate both films, this is sure to come up in the minds of people who have seen both films.
Helping out with the movie’s excellent story are the incredible performances across the board. Adams’s sad eyes leave just enough room to see her broken soul. Same goes to Gyllenhaal as he shines as a sensitive author. However, easily the favourite is Michael Shannon’s depiction of a Texas sheriff.
Proving once again that his eye for fashion translates well to film, Ford’s scrupulous nature and vibrant visuals take centerpiece. Made with high precision and attention to detail, Nocturnal Animals is the biggest gamble of the year. In a movie where nothing should cinematically work, almost everything does.
Tate Taylor tries so hard to be the next Gone Girl that he forgets to direct a compelling mystery
Paula Hawkins must be tired of the Gone Girl comparison by now, but Tate Taylor doesn’t do her any justice with the big screen adaptation. The comparisons are there; however, there are differences between both books. Hawkins wrote three central female characters trying to get their life back on track, and while there are some elements in this wearisome thriller, there’s just not enough.
At first, we meet Rachel (Emily Blunt) who is a sad individual spending her time making up stories about the people whom she passes every day by train. She sees Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), her ex-husband’s new wife and Meghan (Haley Bennett), their nanny. Apart from Blunt, the biggest problem of Train is that none of the characters on screen are worth rooting for. They all fall into stereotypes such as the “whore,” the housewife and the abusive husband. Even Blunt is sometimes defined by her drinking problem alone which dilutes her character.
When Meghan finally goes missing, the lives of the three women are about to change. Except that the film keeps adding scenes that should be pivotal to the movie but aren’t. All they do is further the movie from its central storyline. Taylor fails to build up certain key elements and in results leaves certain plot points feeling unnecessary. Scenes that should have a greater impact are given the short end of the stick. It shows Taylor’s inability to judge what should be in the movie and what shouldn’t be in it, leaving the audience a bit confused.
Certainly, Blunt is the best part of this train wreck. She gives a compelling performance as the girl who’s life is a mess. Every time the movie strips away from Blunt, The Girl On The Train becomes that less interesting. The other women could’ve been compelling as well, but Taylor never gives them anything other than their defining trait to work with. At least, Blunt is given something more than her drunk facade. This way, the audience is capable of sympathizing with her in a way that doesn’t feel forced.
Nevertheless, even that becomes stripped away eventually as the movie keeps going. Melodramatic elements become more apparent and result in less dramatic scenes. By the end, the movie turns into a mystery that would be better suited on Lifetime or the Women’s Channel, which is a shame. When Taylor finally reveals his true intentions, The Girl On The Train‘s mystery is completely gone, feeling forced and out place. The reveal isn’t so much of a “wow factor” than it is an “okay factor.”
Tate Taylor’s poor direction is mostly to blame here. The movie relies too heavily on the performances of its characters and to give the film credit, they do a good job. However, it’s the movie around them that fails to rise to their level. If you’re looking for a fun mystery, try Hawkins’ novel or Fincher’s Gone Girl, because The Girl On The Train certainly won’t be your train ticket.
Mark Wahlberg stars in the movie adaption of the real life Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened on April 20th, 2010
Peter Berg is a very hit or miss director. Sometimes giving us gold like Lone Survivor, and other times missing the boat completely like Battleship. When Berg gives effort, his movies are quite powerful, but then he can turn a switch and deliver us movies that are entirely unwatchable. Luckily, Deepwater Horizon falls into his latter category because it’s a fun action-thriller with a focus on its characters and their lives prior to the event.
We get to see Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) home with his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter. A lot of it is set-up and foreshadowing for the big explosions that the audience know are coming. This makes it feels like the movie didn’t prepare for its setup. It’s like Berg had no idea what to do with the start of the film. Even when Mike goes to the Deepwater Horizon, it still is a big exposition for what’s to come. The characters explain one by one how this pipe works and how this machinery works and it fails to make any of it compelling or interesting. It gets frustrating because the movie teases way too much of things to come that it forgets to make it’s current exposition any fun.
What works right from the start are the small character moments. The moment with a character’s car and the time spent with Mike’s daughter makes for some emotional moments later on. They keep bringing it up when a character gives up or loses hope, and this brings the movie to a whole new level when the disaster does strike. Out of all its cast members, Mark Wahlberg gives the best performance and possibly the best of his career. He plays someone who is very relatable and delivers at the most emotional parts of the movie. All way through, he gives a convincing performance, and the audience knows from the get-go that this isn’t the Transformers: Age of Extinction Mark Wahlberg.
The movie is at it’s best when the disaster strikes. Apart from some geographical problems, the film divides its explosions to add suspense. The mere fact that Wahlberg’s character is on Skype with his wife when this happens adds to the emotional component, while still maintaining a sense of fear. This is well balanced throughout the movie. Visually, the movie does a great job eliciting fear and a sense of grandeur. When the camera does zoom out, and you see the fiery pit in the middle of the Golf of Mexico, you can only imagine the fear and stress these characters are going through. To think this happened in real life and everyone survived, is incredible, and Berg perfectly captures this.
There’s no doubt that Berg showed up and delivered for this movie. He takes a weak start and turns it into something incredible by the end. Still, Deepwater Horizon is at its most comfortable when disaster strikes. But when it does hit, the movie’s level goes up, and the characters help lead you pass the film’s faults.
Paul Feig’s new female power remake of Ghostbusters lacks a good villain and some much needed jokes
Ghostbusters follows ghostbusters, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wig), as they try to save New York city from evil ghosts. This film is a remake of the 1984 Ghostbusters and is Paul Feig’s predecessor to Spy also starring Melissa McCarthy.
The movie sold this Ghostbusters remake as a feminist movie. This was partly true as the strength of this movie comes from the incredible performances by Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones with the latter being the better. They’re funny, likeable female leads. The audience truly cares about them and are curious to know more about them. They work well as “ghostbusters” and show that women can also be ghostbusters.
However, the leads are let down by some hit and miss writing and seemingly always McCarthy getting the short end of the stick. She had by far the most horrible jokes only being beaten by Chris Hemsworth who has greatly miss-casted here. McCarthy never gets to shine because her writing is continuously terrible. The other actresses do get some misses but they don’t get them as often as McCarthy.
To comment on women’s painful reality on the internet was genius. Not only was it a response to being the most disliked movie trailer on Youtube, but it was a smart inclusion to an all-female cast. The movie shows the internet as a tool to try and stop the all-female ghostbusters. This added feature was smart and perfectly captured.
The relationship between McCarthy and Wig, while being a great idea, never seemed fully executed. Throughout the movie, they try to throw an added back story that just seems forced. From there on, the movie just takes it as it is only to come back to it at the very end without any emotional baggage. It feels forced and pushed down our throats.
Ghostbusters’ main villain was easily forgettable. The movie failed to make its villain relevant and it just felt like he was placed there. He was the cliché villain that wants to destroy the world without any real motive behind his actions. It was just a sloppy way of throwing a villain in a movie that really didn’t need one. This was an excuse to copy the first one giving the original had a good and relevant bad guy.
Even with a very talented cast, Ghostbusters can’t spit out enough laughs to acknowledge its existence. The writing is where the movie falls and unfortunetly it never picks itself up. Though, McKinnon and Jones do find a way to lighten the remake up with some great joke delivery. All in all though, the Ghostbuster is yet another pointless remake.
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