Another week, another round-up of movie reviews (PS, if you’d like to follow me on Letterboxd, you can do so here).
DAY 244 – THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (2008)
A glossy, sanitized recounting of the history between the Boleyn sisters and King Henry Tudor VIII. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson are fantastic as Anne and Mary Boleyn, respectively, but Eric Bana lacks menace as King Henry. The visuals are gorgeous, and the sets are beautiful, but the film lacks sustenance. An enjoyable, if a little too squeaky-clean, historical biopic.
DAY 245 – CURVE (2015)
An enjoyable, if cliche, thriller. Julianne Hough stars as Mallory, a woman who picks up a hitchhiker (Teddy Sears), who causes her to wreck her car after he turns out to be *SHOCKER* a total nutjob. She must then try to survive while being both trapped in her car and tormented by Creepy McCreeperson. Hough actually delivers a solid performance, and the cinematography is claustrophobic and effective. Sears, on the other hand, falls flat as the villain (which is a shame, since he showcased his potential on The Flash). This movie isn’t anything extraordinary, but it’s a fun watch.
DAY 246 – FREE FIRE (2017)
I was really hyped to watch this, and I wasn’t let down. The latest film from director Ben Wheatley, Free Fire takes place in the ’70’s and is centered on a gun deal that goes south. This is a deliciously fun movie that is peppered with as many “fucks” as it is bullets. The cast (including Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, and Sharlto Copley) are a delight, and I loved how the story unfolded. The soundtrack is on point (try getting “Annie’s Song” out of your head after the credits roll), and the aesthetic is groovy. The only complaint I have is that the story is relatively threadbare. Other than that, this is a fucking blast of pure adrenaline.
DAY 247 – MANHATTAN (1979)
Another masterpiece from Woody Allen, this film finds forty-two year old Isaac (Allen) trying to navigate his chaotic life. He’s quit his job as a scriptwriter to write a novel, he’s dating seventeen year old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), and his best friend is having an affair with an alluring woman named Mary (Diane Keaton). Isaac has to decide whether to follow his heart or his mind, and has some growing up to do in the process.
I will admit the romance between Isaac and Tracy is icky, especially considering there is a sexual aspect to it. But to only focus on that would be doing this film a disservice. The acting is spot-on, the black and white aesthetic is striking in its simplicity, and the story is captivating. A must watch if you’re interested in delving into Allen’s filmography.
DAY 248 – KRISTY (2015)
Another terrible horror movie. Kristy follows Justine (Haley Bennett), as she stays at school over Thanksgiving instead of going home. What she doesn’t realize is, is that she’s being hunted by a group of people who are intent on murdering her because they believe she is named Kristy. This is just a mess of a movie. The story is dull, which is a shame, because the under-utilized concept of the Dark Web could have made this a sharp and engaging horror film. Plus, the killers wear FUCKING ALUMINUM FOIL as masks. SERIOUSLY?! The acting is decent at best (with the exception of Bennett, who gave the role her all), and the dialogue is laughably terrible. Skip this.
DAY 249 – VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017)
Check out my review of Valerian for my full thoughts!
DAY 250 – WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)
A decent horror film, We Are Still Here sees a couple (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) moving to a new home after the death of their son. When Anne (Crampton) starts noticing paranormal activity around the house, she’s convinced it’s the spirit of her son. What she doesn’t know is that the house has a terrible history…
The visual effects are decent, and there are a few effective scares. The story falls short, though, and some plot threads don’t feel fully developed. A fun film to watch on a rainy afternoon, but nothing too spooky or incredible.
DAY 251 – DUNKIRK (2017)
Dunkirk is a cinematic marvel. Christopher Nolan’s epic film about the Battle of Dunkirk and the evacuation of 400,000 soldiers is a work of art. The sound design is superb, with every gunshot sounding like it’s whizzing by your ears, and every explosion rumbled. The acting by the supremely talented cast (Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Fionn Whitehead, and Harry Styles) lends gravity to the film, and the amazing cinematography makes it feel like you’re there with the soldiers on the ships and in the airplanes. The only gripe I had with this film was the fact that I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters. A must-see in theaters.
DAY 252 – THE MAN FROM NOWHERE (2010)
An incredibly bad-ass film, The Man from Nowhere charts the relationship between the owner of a pawnshop (Bin Won) and a young girl named So-mi (Sae-ron Kim) and the ensuing quest to save her after she and her mother are kidnapped by a truly despicable gang. Dark themes are explored in this film, which may be too intense for some viewers, but I felt like these topics were excellent catalysts for the main character Cha Tae-sik to try to save the life of this innocent child, no matter the cost. The combat is visceral and bloody, and the film moves at a fast clip.
One little gripe I have is with the atrocious subtitles. They’re not synced perfectly with the dialogue, and some only blink on the screen, not even allowing you to read what was spoken. Other than that, this is a sublime action-thriller.
DAY 253 – KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017)
An awesome, spectacular take on King Kong. Starring a brilliant cast (including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, and a surprisingly good John C. Reilly) and drenched in beautiful, vibrant colors, Kong: Skull Island is supremely fun. The effects are outstanding, and I adored this version of Kong. I found the story to be intriguing, and can’t wait to see how Kong will fare in future films.
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