In this edition of my recurring movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at one of the start of the year’s best shows, and I also give you my thoughts on a (currently) Oscar-nominated film. So, get comfortable, and get ready to read my thoughts on things like Apple TV+’s latest gem and the film that very well could earn Jessica Chastain her first Academy Award tonight.Continue reading “Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Early 2022: ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye,’ ‘The Afterparty,’ and More”
The following is a review of IT: Chapter Two — Directed by Andy Muschietti.
It would be an understatement to say that Andy Muschietti’s IT (2017) was a great success. Successfully building on audiences’ relationship with the 1990s mini-series, novel, or creature design, IT went on to become the highest-grossing Stephen King adaptation and the highest-grossing horror film in North American box office history (not adjusted for inflation). Therefore, naturally, expectations for the adaptation of the second ‘half’ of the 1000-page long clown-focused King novel were through the roof. Ultimately, although I don’t think the second chapter lives entirely up to the frightening but charming first film, IT: Chapter Two finds much more success in depicting the grown-up half of the novel than the mini-series did, and, even though I have notable problems with the film, I’m mostly satisfied with how this oversized crowdpleaser wrapped up the story. Continue reading “REVIEW: IT – Chapter Two (2019)”
The following is a review of X-Men: Dark Phoenix — Directed by Simon Kinberg.
“You’re always sorry, Charles, and there’s always a speech. But nobody cares anymore,” is the line that is going to be cited to oblivion in reviews of the final Fox-controlled X-Men film, Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix. It is a line uttered by Fassbender’s Magneto-character, and, even though it certainly is in-character, it almost feels like unintentional self-directed criticism on the part of the writer-director. Or, perhaps, one might suggest it speaks to our collective disinterest in these films after Days of Future Past and Logan successfully bid farewell to that era of superhero filmmaking.
As is made painfully clear, one of the actors doesn’t even care anymore, so why should audiences? It hasn’t helped that X-Men: Apocalypse left a sour taste in people’s mouths. And the fact that Disney can now shoehorn the X-Men into their wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe whenever they see fit surely hasn’t helped in bringing new audiences to the long-running X-Men film series. Fox’s X-Men is a tired film franchise and that quote perfectly encapsulates the way many feel about these films. Continue reading “REVIEW: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)”
The following is a review of ‘Crimson Peak’, a Guillermo Del Toro film.
Guillermo Del Toro is a fastidious filmmaker, and has been known to master the horrific and the gothic in both his writing and directing. Del Toro is also a visually focused director, and Del Toro is at his best when he is able to build his storytelling on the strength of a beautiful set. Why am I telling you this? Because it pleases me to say that Del Toro is back. Having now seen Crimson Peak, it pleases me to state that Guillermo Del Toro has not crafted a more beautiful world since his 2006 fantasy masterpiece, Pan’s Labyrinth. Continue reading “REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)”
The following is a review of The Martian, a Ridley Scott film.
In 2011, Andy Weir self-published his first ever novel, The Martian. The Martian was envisioned as a very realistic science fiction novel, and it eventually became quite a hit. Then, in 2013, 20th Century Fox optioned the film rights, with Drew Goddard announced as the scriptwriter, and, later, Ridley Scott was announced as the director. One now hoped that Goddard’s talent and Scott’s experience could make The Martian a solid film. Thankfully, it is much more than that – The Martian is one of the best films of 2015. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Martian (2015)”
Warning, expect some spoilers from the film following the premise description – however, for the good of the film I’ll do my best to refrain myself from discussing important scenes in-depth. The film follows Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, a father of two, as he attempts to secure a future for his children, who are living where no person should. Earth is falling apart, and the future of humanity is in question. When Cooper’s daughter discovers something odd, a journey begins, as Cooper is thrown into something much bigger than him and his family – interstellar travel to save humanity. But Cooper’s daughter, Murphy, doesn’t agree with his decision to partake in the journey – and then the story truly begins.
This could sound like Michael Bay’s Armageddon, but thankfully this film is much more than that. Don’t get me wrong, the aforementioned film can be enjoyable – but the small plot points of films like Armageddon are processed much better here in Interstellar by the Nolans. The themes in this film revolve around family, and also the point in which you break away from that – and partake in your destiny. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway – and they’re all great in this film. So is Nolan. Nolan is a great director, and I really do love his films.
There are a lot of memorable scenes in this film, and for me – one of the most memorable scenes revolve around a message-in-a-bottle communication system. McConaughey is great in the scenes wherein he receives video from Earth. I love those scenes, but they are also very emotional – and this film really is, to be honest. This film, at its core, is about a simple man trying to save his children from doom – his mission is very personal, very much unlike the rest of his crewmembers, though.
The viewers should know what they’re getting into when watching this film though. I found that there were people expecting horror sci-fi going in; people expecting a lot of action – perhaps even aliens. Don’t. This is classic science fiction, heavy on science – theoritical to be precise. This is also, though, a space opera – and though it does a great job in building a relationship between a father and a daughter, I found that some relationships were not as strong as I’d like. Cooper’s son isn’t as developed as you’d hope, and I wasn’t happy with the introduction of Professor Brand.
I loved the story though, but if one is unable to properly relax in the film – through suspension of disbelief – then I expect a less than stellar experience. It is of paramount importance that you watch this film in a movie theatre – I cannot stress this enough. Nolan’s films are beautiful, and this is not an exception – perhaps this is actually the prettiest of all his films. As a side-note, I might add that there is an interesting surprise actor in the film – don’t look at the credited cast on IMDb – I repeat, don’t look at the credited cast!
I question whether this film would be better received if Gravity didn’t come out last year – for some scenes aren’t as fantastical to me, as they were in the aforementioned 2013 film. Finally, I’d like to mention the final act – which is imperfect. The story becomes too clunky in the final act, and though I actually like a lot of the final act, I was told by other theatre attendees that they found it confusing. The biggest problem I have with this film – which is bound to be unfairly overanalyzed, seeing as it is created by Christopher Nolan – is the ending. I would’ve liked for this film to end 3, or perhaps even 10, minutes earlier – as the ending became too Hollywood for my liking.
Ending on a high-note, I’d like to add that the scenes involving Michael Caine have a lot of weight to them – and there’s an overall message in those scenes (retrod in the scenes involving the special surprise actor). A message created by poet Dylan Thomas – and it is absolutely breathtaking, and at times emotional. Perfect use of a perfect poem.
Overall Score: 8.8 out of 10. Though the film has a clunky final act, with too much Hollywood-sweetness added to it, this is a great example of a proper space opera, and it goes where few great theoretical-science fiction-films have gone before. Teaching us to not go gentle into that good night.