Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mother! Review

Mother 2017 Poster
Darren Arnofsky once again pushes the limits of film making and has divided audiences. Even in my own house, things are divided when it comes to this movie. There is no “one” consensus that I’ve seen online from reviewers, and fans alike. Everyone has an opinion, and you can take this movie in two very different directions. It is a scary film in one way, but it is not a horror movie in the traditional sense. It’s a claustrophobic, pretentious art film with some incredible acting, and some very unique elements that keep you on your feet, even if it does drag a little through the middle of the movie.

The premise is simple enough, but the details are where things get really murky. The story follows a writer who is struggling to come up with his next hit book, and is having a hard time. He is living in the middle of nowhere, the woods, with his wife, and they are living a quaint lifestyle. But then a stranger shows up and throws a wrench into their world, only to have his wife come in and step all over their life, and ruin a set piece that is the life blood of the story. Things continually get out of hand, as the story unfolds and you find out that people are starting to discover that the famed artist and writer lives there, which then prompts chaos as the movie goes on. But if that’s not enough, the main characters go through a pregnancy, and delivery of a baby, only to have it worshiped by the followers of the poet, and beyond. But that’s only glossing over the surface, because this movie throws you into a centrifugal forced loop before dropping you off in another dimension, as only Arnofsky can do.

Javier Bardem was in this movie where he played a man dying of cancer in “Biutiful”. I loved that movie, and this felt a lot like that performance. He was brooding, emotional, and it seemed like he was dying again. Jennifer Lawrence was squarely in this movie, as the camera had her reactions, face, and much more for a lot of it. Even sequences that were meant to be blistering, and shocking, showcased her face and the transitional elements of computer graphics, alongside her face and aging process rather than stepping back. One reviewer said this was claustrophobic, and I tend to agree.

There’s no music. That threw me off. There’s a lot of Foley work, and a lot of scary moments with blood, cursing, and nightmarish situations that all pose to be alliteration to many tales of religious ceremony. I can count all of them, but you only get them if you are religious or are a scholar of any sort of divinity. If you’re not, then you’re going to think this movie is about the creative process, or about marriage, or about mother Earth. There’s so many symbolic elements, and yet nothing really prepares you for what seems like a lazy bit of writing at the end.

Like my review of “Time Crimes”, I think this is a good movie as a stand alone tale. However, it falters in that it is very pretentious, on the edge of preaching to the audience, while inserting so much symbolism that it loses connection with the audience many times. It’s a long movie to watch, and one that will grab your attention, but it is not horror, it’s not really scary, and you really have to be an intellectual to grab all of the things that Arnofsky is throwing you at you.

Mother! Will either bore you, or make you think long after it’s over. For me, it made me bored, then made me think, before I gave up on it again. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just not horror, and to me, felt a lot like an Italian Art House picture instead of a major film from the states. It’s not bad, it’s just not as good as some people think.

Friday, September 8, 2017

It (2017) Review

It Poster (2017) 
“It” by Stephen King is a 1200 page behemoth of a book. I couldn’t finish it within 21 days. I borrowed it from the library, and couldn’t finish it fast enough, and I’m now on a waiting list to get it again. In the mean-time, I was able to see the new movie that is based on the film. The movie of course is a remake of the mini-series, and is now split into two movies, one focusing on the youth of the characters and one that focuses on the adults. So here we are in 1989, and we are introduced to the main characters, and follow through fast pop culture references, and horror infused elements starting with Pennywise showing up and showing his true colors.

The visual design of this movie is great. Don’t get me wrong. There are some great elements of modern computer graphics throughout. There’s a lot of elements that just bring the nightmare to reality, and Pennywise this time around is far more devious than anything you’ve seen on the screen. However, it’s in that piece that you start to feel left out by the book’s creative alluring clown, and start to just get a creepy vibe that was fueled within “American Horror Story”.

Throughout the movie I kept thinking that this was just “Stand By Me 2”, because it felt that way a lot of the times. Furthermore, it felt like watching Stephen King’s version of the “Goonies” which is what The Los Angeles Times agreed with in their review. The complexity of these characters that were found in the book is gone, and you don’t really care about them. I cared the most about Bev, but that’s because her reality was far worse than the clown’s sinister behavior.

This movie felt a lot like “Monster House” mixed with “Stand By Me”, and that’s not a good thing. While I found myself lost at times in the nostalgia, I couldn’t shake the fact that there was a lot missing from the book’s central themes, and truly horrific scarring as children, that turned into adults. These kids don’t seem that scarred, and it makes me think that their future is just fine, because they honestly overcome Pennywise like a boogeyman, which he’s not supposed to be.

Omissions aside, this movie isn’t what you think. It’s a slick, Pg-13 level movie, with a rating of “R”. I don’t know why it’s rated “R”, it doesn’t showcase a lot of elements that the movie “Drag Me To Hell” didn’t show, and I hated that movie. “IT” is not a great movie, it’s lackluster at best, if you read the book. If you didn’t read the book, if you didn’t see the miniseries, than it suffices with a lot of jump scares and random moments that seem horrific, but I found myself laughing more often than not. This is not a scare fest, it’s actually long and boring at times. Oh, and it’s only the first part of 2 movies.

This is not something I’ll revisit. It’s just not that good. I’m not being contrarian, I am just being honest.

You can buy “IT” by Stephen King by clicking here.

You can buy “It” the Mini-series Blu Ray by clicking here.

Did you see “It”? Drop me a comment below.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Alien: Covenant Review

Alien Covenant Movie Poster 
I finally sat down to watch the latest movie in the “Alien” series. “Alien: Covenant” is supposed to be a sequel to the science fiction film from 2012 “Prometheus”. If you saw that one, then you already know how this is going to turn out. Ridley Scott helms the director’s seat for this one, and while I was excited to see it at first glance, it turned out to be a little different than I wanted. In fact, this was not that grand, and unfortunately, the more I think about the movie, the less I like it compared to a lot of the other movies from the past.

“Alien: Covenant” is a movie about a ship that gets stuck on a rescue mission. As they are trying to rescue a ship, they go down to a planet and investigate, only to find out that there’s something disturbing on board, aliens! That’s where the problems begin for me. There are several elements of the movie that make no sense, including the death of someone’s wife, that doesn’t lead to an ultimate revenge. If you recall “Skull Island”, a character loses his platoon, and he vows super revenge, and it goes through the movie, motivating the character. This time around, someone loses their wife, and you just get some odd facial expressions, and that’s about it. That’s not all, the aliens themselves are CG and it looks terrible compared to the people in the movie. I saw this on Blu Ray and it particularly looked bad.

The movie was slow. So slow that I wanted to give up on it. It had several layers, and a nod to Mary Shelley at one point, but it was so tedious that I was bored to death by the time things started to go off the rails. This is a movie that requires your attention, and you have to forgive it for a lot of the plot holes and lackluster writing. However, as far as atmosphere, Scott does a good job of creating a good overall movie that fits within the series. “Alien: Covenant” is not my favorite, it lacks a lot of elements, and it is paced so slow.

This is not a great movie. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s definitely not what you’re going to expect if you’re a fan of the original. I think it’s worth checking out, but as far as the bigger picture is concerned, I’m not a fan of this movie. “Alien: Covenant” is just a slow moving science fiction film, which is not memorable at all. Maybe there’s a silver lining upon further viewings, but honestly, I don’t really want to dig through this movie again, it kind of bored me. It has some good visuals, good gore, interesting plot points and setup, but the follow through and ending just isn’t the same as the original or even as good as “Prometheus” if I’m being really honest.

You can purchase “Alien: Covenant” on Blu Ray by clicking here.

Did you see “Alien: Covenant”? What did you think? Drop me a line.

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