Review: It Comes at Night (2017)

13

“You can’t trust anyone but family.”
– Paul

SYNOPSIS: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge. – via IMDB

I have been looking forward to this one for a while based on the trailers and the posters and, of course, Joel Edgerton. I had high hopes or it, it looked super creepy, and I definitely liked it quite a bit, though there were issues. My husband was livid about having wasted time watching this, and was major peeved about many aspects of it, which I will get into.

Joel Edgerton was well worth a watch here again, as always, though there was a particular scene (out in the woods) that was just jarring and didn’t really flow so well and felt awkward, which is unfortunate, and is the only time you wonder what the hell that was all about. I enjoyed the fact that there were so few characters to deal with in this movie, it made it feel so very claustrophobic and scary. It was almost suffocating, and the way that it was shot, tight and dark, with the soft, complementary score over it made it even more so.

The plot is simple and never really gets too into what happened, why everything is the way it is, exactly what everyone is afraid of (aside from it being a sickness) and how the illness affects people. Now, I didn’t mind this so much, the ambiguity lets the imagination run rampant, and the atmosphere of the movie is so tense as is that you can just go crazy thinking about the possibilities, and how something like this could plausibly happen. It Comes at Night focuses more on the people and their fear and isolation as opposed to the how and why, and while I was okay with it (though it was frustrating at time – we are so used to be given everything on a spoon), my husband was pissed. He was waiting for the what comes at night, and got no answers, just more questions.

So while the ambiguity is refreshing, it is also frustrating. The movie is put together extremely well, and looks and sounds excellent. The execution of this is really good, but I think that this is going to divide audiences. You cannot deny that the movie is well crafted and does keep you hooked, but it is also unsatisfying in the sense that nothing is resolved. It felt like something was missing. The movie gives you a section, a slice of time to look at, to chew on, but that is all you get. So I suppose it will depend on how you feel about that.

It Comes at Night may be flawed with some issues and lack of actual story aside from this one section of time it is focusing on, but it is atmospheric as hell and the score truly runs this point home. The actors are all pretty good, and the movie looks and sounds suitably creepy, and the ambiguity works both for and against this movie, so it really depends on your mood when going to watch it, that’s for sure. That being said, I quite enjoyed it, but it was lacking something.

Rapid Review: Midnight Special (2016)

14

midnight-special-poster

“Sometimes we are asked to do things that are beyond us.”
– Doak

SYNOPSIS: A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special powers. – via IMDB

midnight-special

GRADE 6.5Alright, so obviously this movie got a lot of hype. I have seen both other hyped films of Nichols (Take Shelter and Mud) and I was rather underwhelmed by both. Not because they are bad, but because they weren’t as good (for me) as they were for others. I didn’t think I was going to love this movie, and thought I would feel pretty similar to his others. I was right. It was okay, but totally overhyped. I liked the way they looked at a cult (not as in depth as I would have hoped, but I always find it fascinating). I thought that the reveals and the explanations were very slow, if ever they did make an appearance, which was rather annoying. Not because I need to be spoon fed a movie, but this was just a mess and all over the show. I also have major complaints about how dark the movie was at times. And no, I don’t mean content, I really mean the lighting. I hate not being able to see chunks of a film because of that. I thought that Joel Edgerton and Michael Shannon were, as to be expected, extremely good and the movie is well worth the watch for them alone. They really carried the whole film for me. I feel that the characters were flat and there was no character development in the movie, which did frustrate me quite a bit, too. It felt a bit hollow. The movie did look really good though, I have to say. Every time I hear about this movie, I think about the Creedence Clearwater Revival song. So does my husband, so I am not alone. Midnight Special is not a bad movie, and I know a hell of a lot of people that enjoyed it immensely, but I was not one of them. I thought it was alright, but not something I will be rewatching anytime soon.

Rapid Review: Black Mass (2015)

22

black-mass-poster

“It’s not what you do, it’s when and where you do it, and who you do it to or with. If nobody sees it, it didn’t happen.”
– Whitey Bulger

SYNOPSIS: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. – via IMDB

black mass

GRADE 7I watched this recently as it came back with some great reviews. Now, while I liked it, I didn’t love it (I feel there are infinitely better gangster movies out there). That being said, this is, without a doubt, the finest Johnny Depp has been in years. I was so stoked to see a movie where he was actually doing something again, wasn’t the same cut and dry quirky character we have seen him embody recently. I liked that, and was reminded why Johnny Depp was so insanely loved at a stage. He was a crazy Bulger, and those contacts he wore really freaked me out (they really looked unnatural). Edgerton was also, as is to be expected, a solid pick for John Connolly, and did a great job with his character. I have to say, the movie played it way too safe. It was formulaic, albeit carried by really good performances. At the end of the day, it used a tried and tested formula, and didn’t even try to push the boundaries, which is a pity considering the cast the film touts. So much more could have come from this. It stays within the bounds of “safe”, but never breaks through to “great”. The pacing is fine, not rushed, not too slow, but at times I wished more focus had been given to certain things and less to others. The characters were not as developed as they could be, and for a true story, I definitely think that more could have been done. Black Mass is certainly not a bad watch, and is absolutely, one hundred percent worth it if you want to see if Depp still has the goods (which he does, here, anyway), because the performances are definitely the highlight of this film.

Rapid Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

30

GREAT GATSBY 2013 MOVIE POSTER

“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can.”
– Jay Gatsby

SYNOPSIS: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. – via IMDB

This is an old review that I have updated since watching the movie again.

the great gatsby jay and daisy

GRADE 7.5I know that a lot of people had a lot of different things to say about this film, but I must say that it exceeded my expectations. I went in there not expecting anything, but with tons of hope. The dialogue was pretty much taken out of the book just like that, and Tobey Maguire truly impressed me as Nick Carraway and the narrator. I am not a big Tobey Maguire fan (yep, let me just come right out and put it on the table), but this was the first time that I was actually really impressed with what he did. He brought that naivete to the screen so well. Joel Edgerton was spot on for Tom. There were a few things that were changed toward the end, but that do not detract from the story overall. I loved how the adaptation stayed very true to the book, and I was very pleased to have read it beforehand. I must say it makes the world of difference. Now to address the style that everyone has either been raving about or knocking, let me say this: it truly (in my opinion) captured the essence of the parties, the abundance and the decadence, as well as the total emptiness of it all. It was so beautiful to watch! Leonardo DiCaprio was perfectly cast as Jay Gatsby, and was again just spectacular to watch. I liked him and Daisy together, the way it was captured on film was beautiful, though I do wish that Mulligan had been used a bit more. The Great Gatsby is a tale of hope and betrayal, and watching Jay build up his hopes about Daisy was crushing, especially knowing how the whole thing was going to turn out. Gatsby was a character I both admired and pitied – he worked his way up from nothing, had a certain naivete about him, and yet knew nothing of people just doing nice things for him, favours that did not have to be paid for in turn. There was also enough humour in it, but not enough to overshadow the actual story that was being told. The shirt scene was absolutely wonderfully done, that is just one scene I would like to highlight. The soundtrack threw me when I heard it start up, it really just did not strike me as correct for the film. That is probably my biggest criticism – I really hated it. Immensely. The outfits and costumes were just stunning, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in 3D, and again now on Blu-Ray (I am totally moving up in the world). Baz Luhrmann really did a good job, I enjoyed the movie, I am a fan. As I said, there were things that changed a bit from the book to screen, but not enough to derail the entire production. I would recommend this movie, really, despite what all the reviews say – both positive and negative. This is the type of film you need to see for yourself, something that people will either love or hate, but I suggest going in there and deciding for yourself!

Rapid Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

22

exodus poster

“Remember this. I am prepared to fight. For eternity.”
– Moses

SYNOPSIS: The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. – via IMDB

exodus charge

GRADE 3So you know, when the trailers came last year I thought this looked alright, like it had potential. There were some big names attached to it and all that, I was under the impression Ridley Scott could do something with it. However, when I popped it in and saw the running time, I was a little sceptical. You have to be bloody brilliant to keep me entertained with a story for that long, but you know what? This is a movie based on the book of Exodus. Shit went crazy there, so I was sure that this would be alright. Oh my gosh, was I ever mistaken! For one, I have absolutely no idea what Bible Scott read. No jokes, seriously. I mean, it must be some special secret edition or something. That movie was not very loyal, at all (last I checked, one of Moses’s big selling points was that he could move water, not wade through it). It was long, oh so very long. It felt like it was never going to end, and it wasn’t getting to the point, either, which was even worse. Let’s pretend, for instance, that this was not some biblical epic, but just some film. Crazy concept, a war between brothers, help from a higher power, some extreme violence… well, the costumes looked like crap, the film was shot badly, everyone had a grating accent, there was no character development (and yes, I said that), what the fuck was Jesse doing out in the middle of the desert again, and why did everything look cheap and icky? Not only that, the hardcore plagues we came to see? Hustled through in about fifteen minutes. The battles from the trailer? Please, they were all there, nothing new in the film really. The logic was also incredibly flawed (all those Hebrew slaves magically outfitted with horses and the ability to waltz off and train and do their thing whenever they wanted, just for starters, as well as being crushed by an ocean. It means you’re dead, especially when you are in the middle of it). Also, there was nothing particularly emotional to identify with or any reason you would root for anyone. I know, I know, it looks like I am being harsh. Honestly, I read a lot of bad reviews on this, but I was still willing to give it a chance, I really was. Sitting down and watching it was just a really painful experience, though, and I really would not recommend it to anyone. Even when trying to look at this as a story that is not from the Bible, it really just falls flat, and there were crazy deviations from the book of Exodus throughout… no. I didn’t like this, I really didn’t. Plus there were some sketchy effects. Overall, pretty sucky, Bale and all!