Archives for posts with tag: film review

Liz: 5 out of 5 stars

Oh hello!  It’s been awhile hasn’t it?!  I will admit I’ve gotten quite lazy with writing reviews, but with the Golden Globes coming tomorrow, it was time that I churned one out.  Omar and I saw The Revenant (2015) yesterday, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardyas well as Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, and Forrest Goodluck.

Movie trailers tend to always attach quotes such as “masterpiece,” “the most amazing movie in the whole wide world,” “the best ever,” etc etc you get the point.  I was excited to see this movie as soon as Omar first shared the trailer with me some time ago.  It looked beautiful and interesting from what I saw and I was ready to see Leo on screen again.  I don’t tend to believe what the quotes attached to trailers say about a movie, but after seeing The Revenant, WOOO I BELIEVE IT!  I loved loved loved this movie.  I can honestly say that it was definitely in the Top 10 Most Visually Beautiful movies I’ve EVER seen and though it didn’t have the most amazing story or anything, this movie will always be in my favorites of all the time.

Quick summary before I get going: The Revenant tells the story of a terribly injured (like really terribly) frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who is left for dead in the cold cold wilderness by the group of fur traders he was leading.

So why the perfect 5 out of 5? Let’s begin.

First, like I already said, DAMN this movie was MAJESTIC AND MESMERIZING.  Just about every single minute of this movie was visually breathtaking.  Whatever I write here will not do it justice, you really have to see it yourself to understand what I’m talking about.  Let’s look at some pictures though to give you a taste:

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So much nature!  So much snow! So much forest!  I mean if this movie doesn’t win all the awards for Best Cinematography, I’ll be shocked.  (Note: I am horrendously behind on watching all the movies being nominated for all the awards and such so I shouldn’t really be saying anything, but let my above statement be a testament to how impressive this movie was).

Second: the cast.  Before I go into my love rant about Leonardo DiCaprio, let me just say that I give all the applause to this entire cast (AND CREW!) because filming this movie must have been absolutely brutal.  Just watching the movie made me feel cold and so actually being in that environment and then filming a movie on top of it is quite a feat.

The acting was superb.  I’ll start with Forrest Goodluck, who plays the son of Leonardo DiCaprio.  Yaaaas, Native American actors on screen!  Forrest Goodluck is only 17 years old but from reading about him online, the kid has already done so many amazing things director-wise, which is crazy! Read about him!  This is his first breakout role as an actor, and I hope he continues to get roles in the future because he was great.

I was also excited to see Will Poulter in this movie.  He’s starting to turn up in a lot of movies and it’s so cool to remember him in School of Comedy in the UK and now he’s in these super-huge epic movies.  Also shoutout to Domhnall Gleeson who is also showing up more and more.  The dude was in this movie AND Star Wars VII.

Now to Tom Hardy and of course, my sweet sweet Leo.  First of all, I need to acknowledge that this is their second time on screen together (the first being Inception).  There’s really no point to acknowledging that other than the fact that I love when actors appear in different movies together.  Tom Hardy is a talented talented man.  I love him and his acting ability really impressed me in this movie.  He was a terrible character but he played it so well.  I’ve seen him fit into a number of different roles now and I’m happy that he can move from romcom to action movie to gritty British crime thriller to biographical etc etc easily.

Ok, let me the millionth person for the millionth time say JUST GIVE LEO THE DAMN OSCAR ALREADY. Haha, I know that the Oscars and other such awards aren’t an indication of the true talent that an actor has, but I really feel like he deserves all the awards for this role.  From reading about how he was close to hypothermia often (I guess most of the actors were but moving on..) to sleeping in animal carcasses… to how he spent most the movie grunting and crawling and screaming in pain… I just think he gave up his mind body and soul to this role.  He didn’t speak much in this movie at all, but that doesn’t matter at all.  I love Leo in just about every movie I’ve seen him in, so I might be biased, but he really put it all into The Revenant and I hope he is recognized for that.

Third: the screenplay / (lack of?) script.  There wasn’t much talking in this movie.  There was a lot of grunting and silence.  Yet I was enthralled and hooked in the entire time.  I don’t have much else to say about that, but it’s always impressive to me when I’m captivated by a movie so intensely that I don’t really notice that the movie as a whole was relatively quiet.

Fourth: Alejandro Iñárritu is slowly becoming one of my favorite directors. I haven’t yet seen Babel, but I’ve seen the rest of his feature films, and though it is a short list, all of them have been extremely strong and impressive movies.  Furthermore, this movie must have been extremely frustrating and difficult to take on, especially after two directors had already left the project.  Also yaaaas Mexican representation!

Nitpicky things: I guess the story wasn’t that incredible looking back.  I don’t want to sell it short, but the movie was essentially a revenge story with other factors mixed in.  But I don’t care about that at all.  I enjoyed the story and I think that a complicated one might have ruined it.

Penultimately: I’m glad that this movie cast Native actors for the Native roles.  I’m also glad that it touched on the destruction that white people brought to their land and people.  I appreciate that the movie didn’t romanticize the white frontiersman nor did it trap the Native actors into horrendous stereotypes.

Lastly: THAT MUSIC THO. Absolutely beautiful score and it paired so well with the cinematography and the action happening in the movie.

I thought that this movie was simply incredible.  I enjoyed it from start to finish.  Go see it.  I will be intently watching the Golden Globes tomorrow and I will cry for Leo out of pride, no matter what happens.

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Liz: 3.3 out of 5 stars

I’M ALIIIIIIIIIIIIVE! Wow. It’s been about two months since the last time I wrote a review, and I’m really ashamed.  Totally believed that I could keep up with reviewing regularly along with law school but life caught up real bad and after reading all my cases for the day, I just had no energy to crank out a blog post.  I haven’t been watching as many movies as I did over the summer but luckily, school hasn’t taken up all my life and I still get my movie time.  Since the last time I wrote, I’ve seen a lot of Gene Kelly x Frank Sinatra movies and a bunch of Halloween-y films (finally got around to Scream, Scream 2, and The Thing!!)

Last weekend, Omar came home from school and we watched Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Crimson Peak. The former was hilarious, but surprisingly fine for like the 5th movie in this series. Creepy little children are very creepy.  But this review is about Guillermo Del Toro’s newest film, the gothic romance Crimson Peak, starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver (yay Supernatural hiiiiiii Bobby!).

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Quick Liz summary: The daughter (Wasikowska) of a rich American industrialist (Beaver) falls very quickly in love with a visiting British baronet (Hiddleston) who is seeking investors in his new mining invention.  Father is not pleased and unearths some mysterious bad information about the baronet and bribes him and his sister (Chastain) to leave and never come back. However, he “accidentally” dies and since his daughter has no one left (her mother died too), she marries the baronet and moves to England with him and his sister.  She begins transferring her money to her husband but she (as well as her friend back home played by Hunnam) gradually begins unveiling some really creepy shit in the very eery mansion she lives in.

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I’ll start with everything that was just so right about this movie. The atmosphere, THE AMBIANCE!!!! Everything from the costumes, to the creepy and barren English landscape, to the disintegrating yet incredible Allerdale Hall, oozed gothic romance.  It was an aesthetically beautiful movie and it was all essential to creating that uncomfortable vibe that something wrong was happening inside the mansion.  The movie’s trailer made the movie seem like it was a pure horror movie, but that’s not what the actual film was.  Like the beginning says, “it’s a story with ghosts.” Crimson Peak was really creepy and there were definitely some huge jump scares.  The ghosts were extremely horrific -looking- the dripping blood and skeletons were awesome; I haven’t quite seen anything like it.  However, I wouldn’t say that this movie is one that will give you those kinds of horror thrills. It felt more like a gothic murder mystery, which I loved. The vibe of the movie reminded me of what Sucker Punch looked like (even though I haven’t even watched all of that movie).

Anyway, this movie definitely deserves some recognition for the amazing set and costumes.

Spoiler alert: there’s a sex scene with the baronet and his wife, and YOU SEE HIDDLESTON’S BUTT. ok that’s all.

Also: shoutout Jessica Chastain… that acting. wowza.

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There was really only one negative about the movie. It had a mediocre story. The beginning to climax of the movie had this really great build-up. It seemed like something reaaaally dark and twisted was happening and it was going to be a hugeeee surprise.  However, I kind of figured out what was happening and when everything was revealed, it was a little disappointing. I won’t say anything further.

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Overall, Crimson Peak was a really fun movie, especially with Halloween coming up in a couple days. I loved it simply because the ghosts and creepiness and gothic theme are all things I love.  However, it pales in comparison to Pan’s Labryinth. I recommend seeing this movie if you’re into all the things I’ve mentioned above but it’s definitely not a 5 out of 5 for me.

Liz: 3.9 (maybe 4 if I’m being nice) out of 5 stars

Now for a review of a movie that I had been reluctant about watching. Inglorious Basterds (2009) is  directed by Quentin Tarantino and stars a number of people including the incredible Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt (always good), Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, and more. I had tried watching this movie when it first came out but I couldn’t quite get into it and gave up very early in. Since then, I’ve heard people say that they absolutely loved this movie, etc etc so of course I was curious to try it again. I finally got around to that a couple days ago! Though I had some issues with it, I liked it so much better than the first time and enjoyed it overall.

Quick summary: Inglorious Basterds is an alternate war history film that is about two separate assassination plots on Hitler and his top men- one by Shosanna (Laurent), a French Jewish woman whose family was murdered years before by SS Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), and the other by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt) and his all Jewish-American soldiers. On to the review!

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ooooo That’s a bingo!

Undoubtedly, my favorite part of this movie was of course the performance of Christoph Waltz, which earned him his first Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor), amongst many other accolades. In my opinion, he definitely deserved it. It is clear that SS Colonel Hans Landa is an evil evil man. But what makes his character even more unnerving is his giggling, smile, and odd pleasantry. It was really fascinating how Waltz was able to convey both sides at the same time. He made it all look effortless and natural as well. At first, the sillier side to Waltz’s character didn’t convince me — he’s an evil Nazi and this more pleasant side to him is just unnecessary. But after thinking about it, I appreciate it more just because what the heck, this movie is an alternate history portrayal so whatever. Love you Christoph Waltz– definitely a memorable experience.

Next, this movie was simply gorgeous! There are so many examples of this, but the two particular scenes that I won’t ever forget are: when Shosanna is standing in the window of the theater at the end and also when Shosanna’s face is on the screen in flames:

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inglourious-basterds-movie-screenshots29The stills don’t do the scenes very much justice but I’ll explain a little further. The first image is pretty straightforward for me– it just looked so cool. The second image — Shosanna just looked awesome– the vividness of the red of her dress, her silence, etc etc — it just looked incredible on screen. I loved it! The accompanying music was also just so great (I love the music in Tarantino’s films).

The whole alternate history aspect of this movie is another favorite just because how cool would it have been if history was actually like that? The two assassination plots, but especially Shosanna’s, were so perfect and ridiculous and I enjoyed watching the two play out.

Now to the parts I didn’t like. Scenes were so drawn out at times, in particular the bar scene with Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender, and co. and also the ending. It’s not that I thought they were bad scenes, they were just way too long for my taste and could have been cut down sooooo much, if there juts wasn’t so much TALKING. That’s the other thing I really didn’t like. The dialogue was waaaaay too much for me. I appreciate the witty banter that is so characteristic of Tarantino, but here, it was overwhelming and got boring after awhile.

Overall though, I don’t even know why I didn’t enjoy this movie when I first tried to watch it. Maybe I was just too young and distracted by something else. It was a fun film, definitely not a favorite Tarantino film for me but I liked it.

Upcoming review from me: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. 

Liz: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Watchmen (2009), directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, etc. was the first movie we watched in August! Omar’s seen this movie before and loved it. I’ve heard of it and had seen snippets of it on TV, but never saw the whole thing, so I was really excited to finally watch it. Overall, I loved everything about it!

Quick Summary: The film adaptation of the very famous DC Comics series of the same name, a group of retired American superheroes investigate a possible murder conspiracy against them.

I’ll being with the only reason why I didn’t give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. IT WAS TOO DAMN LONG. Granted, we did watch the extended cut version, but still the regular version is about 3 hours. I tend to get super antsy if I’ve been sitting for too long and I had to take a couple breaks throughout my viewing of it. Other than that, I’m a huge fan of this movie.

I haven’t actually seen any other Zack Snyder films to completion, but I have seen clips/ snippets of 300, Sin City, and Sucker Punch, and I’ve gotten a pretty good feel of what his filming style/ cinematography choices, etc are like. And I love it! I’m not very good at describing things so bear with, but I’m a huge fan of that kind of dark, dramatic and gritty atmosphere that translates perfectly into what is shown on screen. I also particularly enjoyed the opening credits that laid out the back story/ history of the Watchmen and how that was filmed.watchmen34

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Another thing that I really liked about this movie was that it didn’t really seem like a superhero movie (though I love those, don’t get my wrong), but more like a detective/mystery movie. It was clear that the main characters were all superheroes, but there was obviously something more important to deal with — investigating the conspiracy against their group. The end scene where the mystery was solved, is so reminiscent of a mystery TV show where the detective rounds everyone up at the end and unveils who the bad guy was and why he/she did it. Also, though these folks were all in costume (or shining bright blue and butt naked), it wasn’t cheesy or weird at all.

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s/o to Archie, I want one for myself

Finally, the soundtrack was fantastic. Aside from just fitting the particular scene, the music also fit the time period very well. It was the perfect supplement to whatever drama, action, or romance scene that was going on.

I haven’t read the comic series but I definitely want to. I’ve heard people say that it’s a great adaptation, but others say it couldn’t do it justice, so I’ll just have to decide for myself!

Upcoming reviews: Inglorious Basterds and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. 

Liz: 4 out of 5 stars

Before I get started on this review, let me just wish my lovely movie-buff boyfriend Omar who turns 22 today! Love you!

Omar and I finally got around to a real movie theater (a rare treat for us!! we really need to go more often again) to watch our last film of July 2015 — Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, directed by Christopher McQuarrie (most notable works to me: wrote the screenplay for the fantastic The Usual Suspects and co-wrote another Tom Cruise fave Edge of Tomorrow or Live. Die. Repeat., amongst others). The movie stars Tom Cruise (back as Ethan Hunt), Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin. Big cast, much excitement!

downloadQuick Summary: Impossible Missions Force (IMF) is disbanded and becomes a part of the CIA and Agent Ethan Hunt is cut off and on the run. Meanwhile, he is determined to prove the existence of the Syndicate by pursuing his only tangible lead — a mysterious blonde and turtleneck-wearing fellow in glasses (Sean Harris). Deception, car chases, guns a-blazing, fancy computer hacking, crazy physical stunts and more, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is another fun, action-packed addition to this franchise.

I’m gonna begin by acknowledging that I was in love with just about every outfit that Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) was wearing. SHOES SHOES SHOES were everything and I appreciated that she took them off while running on rooftops, etc because honestly how can you run in heels (cough I’m looking at you Jurassic World). Also noteworthy: the dress that Ilsa wore at the Vienna Opera like daaaaaaaaaaamn, I wish I could wear that.

Second – I’m a fan of cool car/motorcycle chases and this movie was definitely full of them. Favorite scenes: 1) When Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) finally track down Ethan Hunt and Benji (Simon Pegg) in Morocco by literally running into them as they were in pursuit of Ilsa. That was just hilarious to me, well done; 2) Hunt pursuing Ilsa through the mountains, both on motorcycle– very cool.

The stunts/heavy action sequences were also impressive in this movie. Some were just ridiculous — Hunt escaping from the Syndicate at the beginning of the film by literally hoisting his chained self up a really tall pole (who has the core strength for that I want to know). Others were really great to me. For example, the scene where Hunt is in the huge underwater computer server. Don’t want to ruin much there but I loved it. Ilsa was also really badass – man, they really liked giving her the chance to get up on the shoulders of bad guys and crush them. It was cool.

The movie was also visually beautiful, particularly the Vienna Opera scene and the car chases in Morocco. The lighting, music, and tension in the Vienna Opera scene were all so perfect for me. This scene and others, however, bring up an issue I had with the movie, in that there are OBVIOUS ways that Ilsa is portrayed, positioned, dressed for the sake of the male gaze, exhibit A below ( but that dress though omg).

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Other issues: I didn’t like how the movie ended in that the way that the villain (Sean Harris) was caught was a bit mediocre for me. I shan’t spoil how but I feel like it could have been done in a more dramatic way? Second, I kind of wanted more from Ilsa’s character. I can’t really say what it is exactly — I mean she was obviously badass and all. Maybe I just wasn’t totally convinced by Ferguson’s acting, but I felt as if there could have been more there. I am glad that there wasn’t any romance cooked up between her and Ethan though, yay! For what this movie is, a fun action spy movie, I really really enjoyed it and if there is another Mission Impossible movie, I’ll definitely be watching it.

Final Note: I love the Mission Impossible theme song.

Upcoming reviews: Watchmen, Inglorious Basterds, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

Liz: 5 out of 5 stars

Written and directed by Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential (1997) is a neo-noir mystery film based on the book of the same name by James Ellroy (1990). The movie boasts a great cast including Kevin Spacey, my two Australian faves Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce (who were both apparently not well-known at the time, how weird), Kim Basinger (who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this role), James Cromwell and Danny DeVito. After finally watching movie, I give it 5 out of 5 stars — absolutely loved it from start to finish!

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Quick summary: There are a lot of moving parts to this film so forgive me if I don’t do a good job of this (thank you Wikipedia for some wording help). This movie tells the story of several L.A.P.D. detectives in the 1950s and intersects the investigation of different crimes, mainly a shootout at a diner, police corruption, and the glitz and glam of that Old Hollywood life.

There wasn’t anything that I did not enjoy about this movie. First of all, I just kind of naturally gravitate towards wanting to watch mystery movies, especially those of the noir persuasion. Already hooked. I’m also currently reading the comic series The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker, which this movie heavily reminds me of, GO READ IT!

Second of all, fantastic acting from everyone involved. I have always really liked Guy Pearce since the moment I saw him as the evil dude in The Count of Monte Cristo, and of course as the main character in Memento. His character was also endearing in a way, in that he was the one striving to bring about justice in a LEGAL PROPER manner, despite being surrounded by corrupt officers. I appreciated the contrast between him and the rest of his colleagues. And FOR THE RECORD, if you’ve seen this film you’ll know what I’m referring to — he should keep the glasses, they’re awesome. Russell Crowe also gave a great performance as the violent, much more physical detective who would do anything to get the bad guys. His character is strongly against those who abuse women, and this passion gets almost disturbing for me at times. Last note: While I thought that Kim Basinger’s performance was good as well, I wasn’t quite sure what earned her the Academy Award for Supporting Actress. She didn’t do anything remarkable or impressive for me, and her character almost seemed minor. Oh well.

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Music and story/plot are probably the two most important factors to me in any film, and L.A. Confidential nailed both. Without giving away too much, the mystery that unfolds throughout the film seems complicated and confusing at first, but once everything is figured out, it’s pretty impressive. I particularly love the scene when Russell Crowe comes after Guy Pearce at the police department, ready to tear him apart (lesson: do not sleep with other people’s girls lololol), but they call a truce in order to pursue true justice against the villain. Sound effects were just very appropriate and great supplements to the over-all feel of the movie.

Best of all, the final showdown at the end is possibly one of the best shoot-outs I’ve ever seen. I don’t have very much else to say about that but goodness, it was great.

I just want to note down that I read that this movie was in competition against the mother of all great movies Titanic (lol I know some may disagree BUT WHATEVER) during that year’s movie awards season, so this poor movie didn’t really have much of a chance did it? Shame, I think it did deserve more awards, but what can ya do.

Look out for my upcoming reviews of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Watchmen.

Liz: 3.9 out of 5 stars

A lovely Christmas season family-friendly film. JUST KIDDING, IT’S NOT AT ALL. Goodness, Filth, directed by Jon S. Baird, and starring James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, and many others, is one of those movies that changed my mind completely by the end of it. I started watching and was pretty sure that I did not like it very much at all. However, it took a giant turn in an unexpected way and I loved it.

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Quick summary: Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is a really awful person whose main goal, amongst other schemes and pranks, is to win the promotion to Detective Inspector in his precinct by heading the investigation of the murder of a Japanese boy.

filth_2690571kLet’s begin with why I did not like this film to begin with. The characters were just awful!!!!!! It’s not that they were poorly written or boring (quite the opposite actually); they were just really crude, terrible, cruel people (especially Robertson). The excessive misogyny, homophobia, etc that were displayed by Bruce was almost too much to bear for my perhaps too-sensitive personality. I understand that it was part of the character, but it was too much to handle. Bruce was exaggerated obviously, but it was crude and I guess I’m not used to so much of it at every single scene and I felt that it almost wasn’t tasteful at times. The title of the movie is quite accurate for all the stuff that Bruce does. After finally finishing the movie though, it seems like that wasn’t such a big deal.

James McAvoy’s acting was GREAT. I was very impressed with his performance of a clearly unstable (trying not to give too much away), corrupt, manipulative man. His character was detestable and I hated him but by the climax of the film, I saw that Bruce had way more layers to him than I previously thought. There’s a great scene between him and Imogen Poots when he becomes extremely vulnerable and open for the quickest of moments.  McAvoy portrayed despicable, manic, scary all at the same time and by the end of the movie, I surprisingly felt really bad for him. I knew I always loved McAvoy since the first time I saw him as Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

Also shoutout to Jamie Bell. He wasn’t really that important in the movie, but I love him so there you go.

To go on, Filth seemed like a not-too-serious film when it started. I thought it was more of a comedy, as I didn’t know too much about it when I started it. However, I was impressed by the huge turn it took towards the end. There were flashes of something strange or secret about Bruce, but I didn’t know what. When I finally figured out what was going on, I really appreciated the story and what it was trying to accomplish/show.

Finally, I really enjoyed the super fast-paced style of the movie — the conversations, events, etc.– that reminded me a whole lot of Snatch. Also, there were really bizarre scenes, primarily with Jim Broadbent, that were kind of scary but I appreciated how it lent that uncomfortable/unstable feel of the film. Lastly, I just really like the music, particularly when Bruce and Clifford Blades (Eddie Marsan) are in Germany and 99 Red Balloons is playing. It was hilarious and I also very much enjoyed when Bruce drugged Blades (awful!) and he was dancing with the lights around his shoulders in the bar.

So, ultimately, I rate this movie higher than I thought I would have when I had only seen half of the film. The movie was clever, funny, crude, really inappropriate, and surprising. I originally didn’t plan on finishing the film, but I’m really glad that I gave it a chance in the end.

Liz: ?????? out of 5 stars

This movie was quite an experience for me. It was my first surreal movie, and I’m really not quite sure that I understood it or enjoyed it? It definitely intrigued me though and I stayed to watch the whole thing.

Quick summary: Eraserhead, directed by David Lynch and starring Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Jeanne Bates, Judith Anna Roberts, Laurel Near, and Jack Fisk is a film about a man who is left to take care of a deformed baby that came of a sexual encounter with his girlfriend. He experiences really strange and grotesque hallucinations/ dreams throughout the film. That’s the best I can do folks.

The thing I liked best about this movie was the “soundtrack.” The sound effects or sometimes lack of, contributed greatly to that sense of true discomfort and horror that characterizes this movie for me, from start to finish. Silence or that low-level background noise was super eery for me, as well as the sudden spurts of loud noise or music.

I also liked Jack Nance’s performance as Henry. First of all, he kind of walked like how I think silent movie actors appeared — really fidgety. (this is more of just a random thought that I wanted to put out there). Also, he barely talked ever in the movie, but his facial expressions and movements were really good to me and I was very thrown off by how he seemed to remain oblivious or unphased by all these terrible odd things happening around him.

I’m certainly at a loss for how I really feel about this movie. I could say that I hated it because it made me uncomfortable and there was an overabundance of creepy to disgusting things on display. I could say that I LOVED it because it’s something that I’ve never ever seen so much of before in a movie and that maybe I was picking up on some true human fears that were just horrifically exaggerated. I could say that I was 50/50 because it was strange and bizarre enough to keep me watching, yet I couldn’t quite place what it was exactly about. I kept scribbling down things that I saw in the movie that could possibly mean something bigger, but I could just be dead wrong about them. In the end, I just decided to go with the experience and not worry about finding hidden meanings.

Eraserhead was super weird for me, but I’m glad I watched it. I will say though that because this movie was FULL of disturbing things, I was almost bored at the end because I came to expect that everything I would see would be more of the same thing. I don’t know, maybe I need to read some deep analysis of this somewhere and rewatch it. I just wanted to get out my thoughts about this, so I apologize if this didn’t really seem like too much of a review.

Final thought: His deformed baby looks like E.T.’s older brother or something. It freaked me out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my review of Filth.

Liz: 3.3 out of 5 stars

It was Omar’s turn to pick a movie and he decided on The Guest (on US Netflix), directed by Adam Wingard and starring Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame, my heart still hurts for you), Maika Monroe (from It Follows!!), Brendan Meyer and Lance Reddick.

theguestQuick Liz summary: A mysterious, overly polite man named David Collins (Stevens) shows up on the doorstep of the Peterson family, claiming that he had served in the Army alongside their recently deceased son Caleb. The family invites him in and has him stay with them for awhile (sketch already) and as the movie progresses, the family begins to realize that there is more to him (intentionally vague) than meets the eye.

Let me just start off by saying that I would have given this movie 5 out of 5 stars if the only thing that mattered to me was the atmosphere and ambiance (to quote Marshawn Lynch). The colors of the movie alone were great and the music/soundtrack was incredible. First, the movie starts off with “THE GUEST” written out huge in blue across the screen, and its presentation (thanks to the accompanying music) made me think instantly of how Insidious starts off. This movie reminded me so much of Drive (one of those movies that Omar really fanboys about), Only God Forgives, and John Wick. There were many scenes that showcased this beautifully, but especially the final big showdown scene in the Halloween maze,which was soooo similar to the shootout scene in the club in John Wick.  Another good scene was the Halloween party at Kristen’s house. Thinking about this scene, however, brings up a problem I had with the movie.

The “coolness” or mysterious part of David Collins was a bit over-the-top for me. At the Halloween party, there are two parts (him carrying two kegs without breaking a sweat and then when he smokes), amongst others, that SLAYED ME. It was way too much for my heart and I could not stop laughing at how his coolness was almost too cheesy. Sidenote: I also have a huge crush on Dan Stevens, so maybe I wasn’t capable of handling his character in this movie. But I stand by my opinion, his character became a little bit too much for me at times.

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GOOD LORD MATTHEW CRAWLEY CONTAIN YOURSELF

Another issue I had with the movie was that the story was flawed for me. First of all, why was he taken into the Peterson family’s home so willingly? He became like the replacement son in a matter of days — picking up the younger son from school, having constant drinks with the dad, etc etc. Furthermore, David’s whole reason for being in there with them in the first place didn’t make sense to me at the end of the movie, after the audience figures out who he is. I will give credit where credit is due though and say that the movie did a great job of working up the suspense/ mystery. The whole first half of the movie, I knew something was off but I couldn’t quite place it and then the second half really picked up nicely.

Overall, I think the movie could have been better. The story didn’t quite add up for me in the end and the characters were a bit ridiculous. Maika Monroe’s character’s last line in the movie perfectly sums up how I felt about David Collins and the movie’s story in general: “What the fuck?”

Upcoming: I give my take on Eraserhead directed by David Lynch.

Liz: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me just start off by getting this off my chest. I really do not like Nic Cage. Growing up I just always knew that my mom didn’t like him very much as an actor and I guess I took that on and it grew into a pure hatred (perhaps a bit too strong, I’m sure he’s a good person maybe) of the actor. I’ve really only seen three of his movies in their entirety (National Treasure, National Treasure 2, and The Sorceror’s Apprentice) because I can’t stand seeing him on screen. I know this all sounds very dramatic but I have always avoided him as much as possible. Omar has been very aware of this for years and has respected it, but I’ve heard him say many times that the movie Adaptation is pretty great, and I should give it a chance. You can see how much I love and trust Omar if I watch a Nic Cage movie for him.

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I still don’t like you Nic Cage.

Now that that’s all taken care of, onto the review! I absolutely loved this film, which was directed by Spike Jonze and stars Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper. It was incredibly ambitious, well-executed, smart, funny, on and on. I expected it to be great as it was written by Charlie Kaufman of Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York fame.

Quick basic Liz summary: Coming off of writing a very successful screenplay (Being John Malkovich), Charlie Kaufman struggles to write the screenplay for the book The Orchid Thief, which he desperately wants to remain loyal to. There’s a number of other elements in the movie, but I’ll keep the summary at that.

After my initial complaints about Cage, I focused in on what was happening and was very impressed. It seems ambitious to write yourself into a film (along with a fictional twin brother, also played by Cage) and then write the film into the film. I hope you know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen it before. If not, you need to go watch! It took me a hot second to start figuring out what was going on, but once I did I was hooked. Along with a really cool, clever story, the characters were great. Though the character Charlie was a bit pathetic in my eyes, he was also relatable in a way. I can only imagine the pressure of making another successful screenplay and experiencing horrible writer’s block in the process, along with having to deal with a twin brother who is trying to do the same thing. I haven’t read into the real Charlie Kaufman, so I’m wondering if he was making this all up or if there were some elements of his real life in this. His fictional twin brother, Donald Kaufman was hilarious and such the opposite of Charlie. This movie is the first time that I’ll admit that Nicolas Cage has ~some~ acting ability, as I was impressed with how he was able to play two extremely different characters. He actually made me laugh (*shudder*) several times. The characters and storyline for Susan Orlean (Streep) and John Laroche (Cooper) were interesting as well, if a bit ridiculous. I enjoyed it though and provided a good conclusion for Kaufman’s screenplay.

I learned something from this movie….. that one can actually enjoy a Nicolas Cage performance. Lol ok seriously, this movie was incredible to me. How Charlie Kaufman (the real one) is able to give the world such creative and smart stories is very impressive. I think I still personally liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind more. Watching this also makes me want to rewatch Synecdoche, New York, as even though I’ve seen it, I don’t really think I grasped it all.