BROOKLYN (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to see this movie. Aside from the fact that it was being labeled as one of the best movies of the year, I’m also a relative fan of Saoirse Ronan. I also have to be honest, that was as far as my enthusiasm went. I guess I’m just a sucker for what people tell me. Someone tell me I’m a gopher, I’ll probably believe you. In any case, FINALLY made time to see this movie.

Starring: Saoirse Ronan (LOVING VINCENT [2017], HANNA [2011], ATONEMENT [2007], and upcoming films LADY BIRD [2017] and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS [2018]) and Emory Cohen (WAR MACHINE [2017], THE GAMBLER [2014], and THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES [2012])

Support: Domhnall Gleeson (GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN [2017], THE REVENANT [2015], ANNA KARENINA [2012], and upcoming films STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI [2017] and PETER RABBIT [2018]), Jim Broadbent (THE SENSE OF AN ENDING [2017], HOT FUZZ [2007], THE BORROWERS [1997], and the upcoming PADDINGTON 2 [2018]), Fiona Glascott (THE DEAL [2008], RESIDENT EVIL [2002], and the upcoming FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM 2 [2018]), and Emily Bett Rickards (FLICKA: COUNTRY PRIDE [2012], and TV shows ARROW [2012 – ongoing] and THE FLASH [2014 – ongoing])

Director: John Crowley (CLOSED CIRCUIT [2013], BOY A [2007], and INTERMISSION [2003]). Writer: Nick Hornby (WILD [2014] and FEVER PITCH [1997]). Composer: Michael Brook (STRONGER [2017], TALLULAH [2016], and THE FIGHTER [2010]). Cinematographer: Yves Bélanger (SHUT IN [2016], DEMOLITION [2016], and DALLAS BUYERS CLUB [2013])

(SUMMARY)

Set in the 1950’s. The story follows a young Irish woman named Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who has been set up with a new life in America, Brooklyn to be exact. She has a difficult time adjusting at first, what with being homesick and all, but all of that changes when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian romantic who quickly falls for the Irish girl, whom eventually falls for him too. Life gets much easier… until Eilis gets word of tragic news that must bring her home.

(REVIEW)

Great. A nearly flawless movie and thoroughly heartfelt.

Ronan delivers probably her career best. That’s possibly not saying much considering how little she’s done, but there’s no denial that she plays her role as Eilis so straight and convincingly. Every step she takes throughout the film is completely felt. When she gets seasick on a ghetto-looking boat, you feel her agony as she tries to simply find a place to vomit, the heartache when she’s homesick, the happiness when she’s with Tony, Ronan is every bit engaging from the beginning to the end. If she were nominated for best actress at the Oscars, I wouldn’t be surprised (nor would I be surprised if she didn’t win, what with the way that shit’s ran).

The supporting cast isn’t lacking in enjoyment either. Eilis’ romantic-interest, Tony, is indeed a very likable character. He’s a gentleman, and maintains his down-to-earth demeanor and treatment of Eilis. Although I do have to ask why he has a stereotypical Italian accent when none of his family has one. Same mannerisms, maybe, but not the same accent. That was weird. Or maybe their accents were too subtle by comparison to Tony’s over-the-top accent. Who knows?

And, this took me by complete surprise in the most wonderful of ways, Emily Bett freakin’ Rickards of TV show ARROW (Felicity Smoak) popularity was in this movie. She, as well as the other girls in the boarding house, were absolutely charming. Bitchy, but in that hilarious kind of way. I wish I could more about her in this movie, as I do love her acting in ARROW, but her role is so minor here that I wish I could just dock points for that alone: not enough of her.

***SPOILERS***

 

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***

If there was a complaint I had about this movie, it’s a minor one, which is weird because I just praise him, Tony. He was almost perfectly written, up until Eilis finds out Rose (Fiona Glascott) dies and she must go home. Tony, while comforting and supportive of her decision to return home to say goodbye, he has this scene where he admits to her that he’s scared of losing her: in that if she goes home, she won’t come back. That kind of got an eye-twitch out of me because, if it were me writing the character, he would instead just full-on support her going home and try to figure out how to get her there faster. He could still be scared of all of that, but subtlety would have been preferred in this regard. Focus on the eyes, hold a shot on a remorseful face, admit it to someone else later on, but never let her see that regret. And even if Eilis does stay there, it’s for the best. That’s her home, that’s where her family is, that’s where her life was, and many opportunities will eventually open up for her. What kind of boyfriend wouldn’t be supportive of her decision to stay. Obviously, it would end in heartbreak, which is obviously not where the story ended up, but that’s the tweak I would have made. The rest of the story is fine.

***

 

***

 

***END SPOILERS***

This is definitely one of the better films to hit the cinemas this year. Might not be my favorite, but it’s certainly a wonderful romance tale with some powerful acting by Ronan, a great and funny supporting cast to keep the movie entertaining, it’s an emotional powerhouse that’s well worth the admission and highly recommended.

My honest rating for BROOKLYN: a strong 4/5

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CAROL (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. What a powerhouse team up. Both women are fantastic actresses and their names alone would be enough to get me into the theater as well as the incessant declaration that this movie was in the running for being the best movie of the year helped a little. Of course, I’m going to take a minute to let my primordial-man to come out, so picture me with a club over my shoulder, dragging my knuckles on the ground, and building a fire in a cave: “pretty naked ladies kissing makes Daniel happy inside.” And that’s it. No more. Back to being a strong-willed human. So, is the movie as fantastic as everyone’s been saying?

Starring: Cate Blanchett (SONG TO SONG [2017], ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE [2007], ELIZABETH [1998], and upcoming films THOR: RAGNAROK [2017] and OCEAN’S EIGHT [2018]) and Rooney Mara (A GHOST STORY [2017], HER [2013], YOUTH IN REVOLT [2009], and the upcoming MARY MAGDALENE [2018])

Support: Kyle Chandler (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA [2016], THE KINGDOM [2007], KING KONG [2005], and upcoming films FIRST MAN [2018] and GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS [2019]) and Sarah Paulson (REBEL IN THE RYE [2017], THE SPIRIT [2008], WHAT WOMEN WANT [2000], and upcoming films THE POST [2018] and OCEAN’S EIGHT)

Director: Todd Haynes (I’M NOT THERE. [2007] and the upcoming WONDERSTRUCK [2017]). Writer: Phyllis Nagy (theatrical film debut; congrats, miss). Composer: Carter Burwell (GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN [2017], NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN [2007], FARGO [1996], and upcoming films WONDERSTRUCK and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI [2017]). Cinematographer: Edward Lachman (WIENER-DOG [2016], I’M NOT THERE., SELENA [1997], and the upcoming WONDERSTRUCK)

(SUMMARY)

It’s the 1950s, and the story follows a young woman named Therese (Rooney Mara) who almost instantly falls for an older woman named Carol (Cate Blanchett), who is in the middle of divorcing her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler), whom she has fallen out of love with despite his fighting for his marriage. Carol is, however, incredibly loving to her daughter Rindy (twins: Sadie and Kk Heim). As their relationship blossoms, and Therese’s own unhappy heterosexual relationship begins to crumble, Carol and Therese leave town together and begin a passionate affair. But as Harge’s desperation grows, he goes to extreme measures to keep his family together at any cost.

(REVIEW)

Thank fucking God, I’ve been going absolutely insane with the Netflix movie’s I’ve been watching lately, I NEEDED this movie. While I might not agree that this is the BEST picture of the year, it does certainly have a lot going for it. Admittedly, my main problems with the film are purely nitpicks.

You know what, let’s get those out of the way before going into what’s great.

The beginning just really felt really pretentious. Therese works in a… high end toy store I guess and is constantly surrounded by dolls and toy sets, even lingering on a shot of her with a toy set. I can only assume that this was done as additional character contrast between her and Carol… which is pretty unnecessary, the age difference and style of clothing summed it up enough. No need to hammer it more into our minds.

Now, before I get into the next plot-point that I wanted to address, I want to make something clear to everyone. I will not be pointing this out because of some segregation toward the homosexual community. I think it’s about time that America evolved a bit with legalizing gay marriage. I do not care if you are gay. I care about whether or not you are a good person who tries to do right, and is respectful toward me and others. In turn, I will be a good and respectful person toward, and do right by, you. I have always and forever will treat everybody equally.

So, on to my biggest problem with the film, and this is even commented on in the movie, “You barely know her!” Yeah… that’s a good point. This was basically the “love at first sight” cliché. Literally, Carol walks into the store and Therese is just FIXATED on her. How long have you been out in the real world, woman? What, have NO other attractive women passed by in the store. Somehow Carol is the hot woman to end all hot women? She’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with her eventual feelings, but it’s the kickstart that I take issue with. I think it’s nice of Therese to mail Carol’s gloves back to her, but she literally just asked her out to dinner with very minimal interaction when the two first met. She’s still a stranger and she barely put up resistance to saying yes to having dinner with her. Remember when I said “equal treatment?” Well, how would it look if Therese was being asked out by a guy? In real life, a woman could easily feel uncomfortable and VERY easily make a declaration of the guy being a stalker or creepy. Why does Carol get a pass for being a lesbian? I disagree with this cliché no matter who the characters are.

But I’ve ranted about these nitpicks long enough. Time to rave about what’s good.

Blanchett is PHENOMENAL. She delivers a performance that is beautifully nuanced and powerful. Carol is a wonderfully confident character and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but not unaware of the idea that certain things shouldn’t be said. She’s careful, but not paranoid. She knows what she wants, but also isn’t unaware of her limited influence, especially compared to her bully of a husband, Harge. This might be my favorite performance by Blanchett, which is saying something because the nerd inside me LOVES her as Galadriel from the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Mara’s no different. I have to express my absolute delight that PAN (2015) didn’t make a dent in her career. I guess being in a Fincher film will do that to a person’s career, and it’s not like anyone really saw PAN to begin with (myself excluded, I know, shut up). In any case, I’m ecstatic to see her in a role that showcases her acting at its finest. Therese is so wide-eyed and innocent, but she’s no push-over either. She’s uncertain of her sexuality, but knows she doesn’t live in a society that can accept who she is, or is even certain if she herself accepts who she is. But there’s genuine empathy when you see Therese interact with Carol and how free and happy she really is with her.

Of course, when reality sets in and circumstances tear them apart, you feel their anguish, making it truly awful to see the two of them unhappy. What an accomplishment to be this consistently moving to yank at every emotional string I have.

I want to say that I can overlook the logic of the film, as I do believe it could have been easily remedied with at least five minutes to illustrate a passage of time so a glorified road-trip could be more plausible. But the presence of such a cliché prevents it from being truly great. Having said that, the performances themselves and just how visceral the movie is prevents it from being more than just “good.” I may not agree that it’s the best movie of the year, but I do say it’s one of the best.

My honest rating for CAROL: a strong 4/5

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THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US quick review

Should Kate Winslet just stop traveling in the company of men? She always finds herself royally screwed in some way. Luxury cruise ships, airplanes… or maybe… she’s the problem? *pondering* Maybe men should stop traveling with her… hmm…

Boy howdy have I been seeing this trailer and a certain level of anticipation always bites at me when I see it. I love Winslet and I… well, I never watched any of Idris Elba’s most celebrated TV shows (IE: LUTHER [2010 – 2018]), but I have seen the Thor movies and I rather enjoy him in those, so I’m down to see these two work off of each other.

Here’s the cast. As previously mentioned, starring, we have Kate Winslet (COLLATERAL BEAUTY [2016], REVOLUTIONARY ROAD [2008], TITANIC [1997], and the upcoming AVATAR 2 [2020]) and Idris Elba (THE DARK TOWER [2017], PROMETHEUS [2012], 28 WEEKS LATER [2007], and upcoming films MOLLY’S GAME [2017] and THOR: RAGNAROK [2017]). In support, we have Beau Bridges (THE DESCENDANTS [2011], MAX PAYNE [2008], and TV show BLOODLINE [2015 – 2017]) and Dermot Mulroney (SLEEPLESS [2017], GEORGIA RULE [2007], and MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING [1997]).

Now for the crew. Directing is Hany Abu-Assad, known for foreign projects that I’ve never seen or heard of. Co-writing the screenplay are J. Mills Goodloe (EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING [2017], THE AGE OF ADALINE [2015], and THE BEST OF ME [2014]) and Chris Weitz (STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE [2016], THE GOLDEN COMPASS [2007], and ANTZ [1998]). Composing the score is Ramin Djawadi, known for THE GREAT WALL (2017), CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010), and BLADE: TRINITY (2004). Finally, the cinematographer is Mandy Walker, known for HIDDEN FIGURES (2016), RED RIDING HOOD (2011), AUSTRALIA (2008), and the upcoming MULAN (2019).

Overall, I know early ratings aren’t being too kind to this film, but… I can’t help it, I like the core stars, it looks like it’s got some chilling moments, and I ain’t just talking about that snow, I don’t know, I think I might like it.

This is my honest opinion of: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

(SUMMARY)

Alex (Kate Winslet) and Ben (Idris Elba) are two strangers who meet at an airport. A storm is approaching and their respective flight was cancelled. Alex knows how to get in touch with a pilot, Walter (Beau Bridges), who is willing to fly her to her destination and upon overhearing that they have the same destination, she offers him a ride. However, en route, Walter suffers a stroke and their plane crashes. Stranded with limited food and supplies, they venture out into vast, punishingly cold and unforgiving wilderness to find help and their way back home.

(QUICK REVIEW)

Mmph… while I won’t necessarily argue the negative reviews, I don’t think I agree.

Let’s tackle the problems first. For one thing, the set-up is pretty forced. Basically, what you saw in the trailer, two strangers meeting and she offers to help him along since they share a common destination, that moment in the trailer isn’t any different than in the movie. Look, even the best of samaritans have a knack for walking past people with problems, even if they have problems that they could technically help with. But things like hitching a ride with you on an airplane, that’s pretty out there. There’s no real reason for them to meet like they do. It’s just… he’s on the phone, she overhears, she offers that ride, and he accepts. Cue the plot. That simple.

I also knew the problem would be the romance in the film, and it gets pretty painful, especially in the last fifteen minutes. For one thing, I’m not sure how realistic I would find it. Alex is married, to a wonderful man according to her later in the film, and just because Ben, who is beyond emotionally unavailable, is a fellow survivor of a plane crash, they have a romantic connection? Especially with Alex. She’s got all this optimism about making it off the mountain alive, so why would she even have urges like that? Ben, I could understand, possibly, but not Alex. The romance is pretty forced.

***SPOILERS***

 

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***

In retrospect, a forced romance can still be good if the chemistry is enough to hold the relationship together. However, nothing excuses the completely different movie that takes over. Now we have this horrible melodrama involving the two characters now separated into their respective lives, but can’t stop thinking about each other. He’s been a dick and not calling her back because he thinks she’s a married woman. She doesn’t get married to Mark (Dermot Mulroney), visits Ben in London, and after a heart-to-heart in a restaurant, they decide to part ways. But in about the cheesiest crap that this movie could have possibly inserted, as the characters walk away, they start crying, and then AT THE SAME TIME, turn back around and run toward each other and leap into their arms. Oh… my god, I think movies from the 1950’s would have called this moment trite!

***

 

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***END SPOILERS***

But it’s not all bad.

Elba and Winslet are both pretty solid. When their scenes require them to be at odds with each other, you feel that tension. When he gets upset with her decisions, you believe he’s an asshole. And when she believes that she’s not dying on this mountain, you legitimately want her to get out of this alive. So while their romantic chemistry isn’t believable, their chemistry as a pair of survivors is solid. The cinematography is gorgeous to look at, the death-defying scenes are tense, and certain resolutions by the end feel natural enough.

What would I have changed? Well, I would probably have Alex and Ben have some sort of chemistry before she offers that plane ride with her. Like, they both stood in line at the airport front desk, or at the bar and had a basic, nothing conversation. Just something to establish some kind of relationship, weak as it ultimately is anyway. Get rid of the obvious romance and make it a little bit more subtle, more like a “will they or won’t they” scenario and leave the emotions ambiguous to interpretation. Oh, and get rid of that last ten fifteen minutes when they’re at home, or make it incredibly brief.

Overall, the movie’s okay, leaning more toward the bad side. It’s not devoid of good things in it, but it’s not enough to elevate it very high. It’s not a good movie. I may not agree with current ratings, scores, and reviews that trash it, but I don’t plan on defending the film either. The set-up is contrived, the ending is a mountain of cheese, and the romance in the middle isn’t compelling. But the acting is good, the scenery is gorgeous, and it’s got its visceral moments. It could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better. Not the worst watch, but I’m not recommending it. At best, a rental.

My honest rating for THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US: a weak 3/5

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AMERICAN ASSASSIN review

It’s so nice to hear that Dylan O’Brien is well enough now to be up and working. Better yet, he’s not put off from doing action movies, which is what put him in the hospital in the first place. A true inspiration, if you ask me.

The story looks like it’s about a young man who goes on a revenge rampage after his girlfriend is murdered in a terrorist attack. Picking up the ability to essentially kick ass, he locates and kills these bastards until he’s caught by a secret government agency that’s been following his exploits and wants to hire him for his skills. Then his instructor gets a shot of reality when a former student of his turns up as a terrorist himself and the instructor, our protagonist hero, and their team are sent in to stop him. Looks pretty standard as an action movie is concerned, but both O’Brien and Michael Keaton are great actors, so it might be worth it just for them.

Speaking of which, here’s the cast. Starring, we have Dylan O’Brien (DEEPWATER HORIZON [2016], THE MAZE RUNNER [2014], TV show TEEN WOLF [2011 – ongoing], and the upcoming MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE [2018]), Michael Keaton (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING [2017], FIRST DAUGHTER [2004], MULTIPLICITY [1996], and the upcoming DUMBO [2019]), and Taylor Kitsch (LONE SURVIVOR [2013], X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE [2009], and JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE [2006]). In support, we have Sanaa Lathan (NOW YOU SEE ME 2 [2016], AVP: ALIEN VS. PREDATOR [2004], and BLADE [1998]) and Scott Adkins (DOCTOR STRANGE [2017], THE EXPENDABLES 2 [2012], and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM [2007]).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Michael Cuesta, known for KILL THE MESSENGER (2014) and 8 episodes of TV show HOMELAND (2011 – ongoing). RED FLAG!!! A grand total of four writers: Stephen Schiff (WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS [2010], TRUE CRIME [1999], and 8 episodes of TV show THE AMERICANS [2013 – ongoing]), Michael Finch (HITMAN: AGENT 47 [2015], THE NOVEMBER MAN [2014], PREDATORS [2010], and the upcoming HANSEL & GRETEL: THE WITCH HUNTERS 2, no release date announced), and duo Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, both known for JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (2016), LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (2010), and THE LAST SAMURAI (2003). Composing the score is Steven Price, known for BABY DRIVER (2017), GRAVITY (2013), and ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011). Finally, the cinematographer is Enrique Chediak, known for DEEPWATER HORIZON, 28 WEEKS LATER (2007), and THE FACULTY (1998).

Overall, I’m looking forward to this. I may not enjoy this movie having so many writers attached, but I guess we’ll see what happens.

This is my honest opinion of: AMERICAN ASSASSIN

(SUMMARY)

Eighteen months ago, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) was on vacation with his girlfriend Katrina (Charlotte Vega). He proposed to her and she said yes. But almost immediately after that happy moment, a group of terrorists open fire on the innocents. Katrina is murdered and Mitch is left for dead. Today, Mitch has been training his mind and body in hunting down those responsible, which catches the eye of the CIA. They bring him in for his raw and impressive skills and sent him to Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), the trainer of a secret special ops unit called Orion, who need his skills to hunt down a former student of Stan’s: Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who is planning to build a nuclear bomb.

(REVIEW)

Aww yeah, son! Welcome back, O’Brien! This movie was bad-ass!

Let’s get the negatives out of the way. The story is pretty basic. All two of them. You read that right, there’s almost two stories here that don’t seem to connect very well. Mitch starts the story off looking for the terrorist group that’s responsible for his girlfriend’s death, then that story is pushed to the wayside so Mitch can help Stan take down whoever keeps stealing nuke pieces. Mitch’s backstory feels like it’s an excuse for the true plot to take place and I feel like there was a more sensible way to go about this. Since this movie is already sequel-baiting by the end credits, it would have been a better idea to keep his reasons for being a vigilante terrorist killer for the sequel instead of revealing that now. I only say this because I don’t know how the filmmakers could build on what’s already been established. By keeping his motivations a secret, you give an air of mystery about the protagonist, and in the sequel, when they’re ready to bring his story full circle, you reveal his motivations, and then his story carries weight. But what happens when you blow that load too early is you make Mitch look distracted and if there’s anything that Mitch’s character doesn’t seem like, it’s a dude who doesn’t get distracted.

Also, I really disagreed with how the villain was written. On the one hand, Ghost is an intimidating dude who is up close and personal with his kills, and he’s just as scary in a fight like Mitch, but I don’t think his motivations for going rogue are really that interesting. He was trained under Stan and the two apparently had a father-son relationship type thing. You know, the whole, “You trained me! You were like my father! And you left me out there to die!” thing. It’s like that. Here’s the problem. Even when the two are face-to-face with each other, you never get that impression from either actor, and I’m not ready to blame the acting. It was a writing issue, I think. They just seemed like two people with opposing opinions, not a father and son working out their problems or facing them. Ghost was a grown-ass man when he was in the Navy, and I can’t imagine that the two worked with each other for more than a few years. It would take much longer than that to develop a father-son relationship. And even if that were the case, Ghost knew what being in Orion was all about. Make a mistake, you don’t exist. You have your orders to follow and he didn’t follow them. He screwed up, so now he blames Stan for his own shortcomings. Having this father-son relationship actually strips away any bad-assery that the character was supposed to have, whittling him down to a crybaby bitch. So it’s kind of weird for that to be inserted in there and doesn’t really add any layers to either character, especially Ghost.

But enough with the bashing! Time to gush!

The action is really good here. It’s high energy, fast paced, looks brutal, there’s a lot of focus on MMA fight styles here. Take downs, leg grabs and the like. While the hand-to-hand fighting isn’t wasted, the gunplay is pretty awesome too. Lots of juicy violence. Every bullet that goes through somebody feels so impactful that you can almost feel the bullets going through your body too. That’s a hard feat to accomplish, so well done to this movie. The fight scenes involving blades of glass, virtual reality simulations that shock you if you hurt a civilian, a fight scene on a boat that hits every wave, it’s all really awesome.

But if the action movie’s action is up to snuff, then is that worth all the praise? Nah, bro, that’s just an action movie doing its job. It’s the characters that make the action memorable and this movie doesn’t disappoint in that. First up, I’m nominating O’Brien to play the role of Kyle Reese in James Cameron’s upcoming reboot of his Terminator franchise. He’s got the kick-ass soldier thing down to a tee and has a death stare that would make a grown man piss himself. Mitch is intimidating as fuck. A crack shot with a firearm, knife throwing, all virtually self-taught. While the character is always in some danger, no duh, you’re never truly worried about him because he’s too “off the charts” to be killed off by patsies and O’Brien’s intensity sells everything, from the loud action, to the quieter drama of a man pushing himself to seek revenge against those who deserve to die.

The rest of the supporting cast does well enough. Lathan has an amusing scene here and there, but if there’s anyone that steals the show, it’s Keaton. Holy shit, this might be one of his scariest performances ever, and that’s saying something considering he’s been Beetlejuice, Batman, and Spider-Man villain the Vulture in his career. When he flips a dude on his back and instructs how properly slice a throat, you get this sharp, icy chill surging through your spine at just how deadpan he delivers his lines. I felt myself sinking myself into my seat in hopes that extra inch would keep me safe from Keaton’s wrath. But more than that, and I’ll just end it with this… he bites a piece of a dude’s ear off… then proceeds to chew it in front of him, eyes widened like a horror movie cannibal! Need I say more?!

Not gonna lie, I wanna see this again. It was too fucking awesome for me to only see once. Yeah, the villain’s lame and the story sets itself up to be one thing then completely drops it for another, but the action is awesome, and the characters are pretty solid, especially Keaton, who is worth the price of admission alone, but arguably most importantly, it’s great to see O’Brien up and about again, kicking even more ass than before. I highly recommend this flick in theaters if you’re an action junkie.

My honest rating for AMERICAN ASSASSIN: 4/5

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IT (2017) review

Oh wow, two Stephen King stories in the span of a month. When you’ve got popular work, you’ve got popular work.

Outside of Youtube’s Nostalgia Critic and his review of IT (1990), I’ve actually never seen the original. Is there any point in mentioning that I never read the book? I do know that the original movie is considered pretty scary according to many. But from what I saw of Nostalgia Critic’s review, the movie looks incredibly silly and very much not scary. What, a clown with sharp teeth and that immediately equals scary? I don’t think that’s how it works. But fine, I haven’t seen it, what do I know?

The movie looks like it’s about the group of kids who live in a town where there’s been some mysterious deaths of some local kids. One of them was the younger brother of one of the kids. Now, this monster clown that is responsible for those deaths, and now is after these kids who are getting closer to the truth. A while ago, I forget which movie it was playing in front of, but I saw a five minute scene of the movie where Georgie meets Pennywise. I couldn’t take what I was watching seriously. It looked funny and probably not intentionally. At the very least, I wasn’t scared by what I was watching. So, no, I think this movie is going to be loaded with jump scares, but nothing actually scary.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Bill Skarsgård (ATOMIC BLONDE [2017], ALLEGIANT [2016], ANNA KARENINA [2012], and the upcoming ASCENDANT, no release date announced), Jaeden Lieberher (THE BOOK OF HENRY [2017], MIDNIGHT SPECIAL [2016], and ST. VINCENT [2014]), Jeremy Ray Taylor (upcoming film GEOSTORM [2017]), Sophia Lillis (unknown projects), and Finn Wolfhard (TV show STRANGER THINGS [2016 – ongoing] and the upcoming TV show CARMEN SANDIEGO [2019]).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Andy Muschietti, known for MAMA (2013) and the upcoming SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS, no release date announced. Red flag! Three credited writers: Chase Palmer (a couple of short films), Cary Fukunaga (BEASTS OF NO NATION [2015]), and Gary Dauberman (ANNABELLE: CREATION [2017], WOLVES AT THE DOOR [2016], ANNABELLE [2014], and the upcoming THE NUN [2018]). Composing the score is Benjamin Wallfisch, known for ANNABELLE: CREATION, HIDDEN FIGURES (2016), LIGHTS OUT (2016), and the upcoming BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017). Finally, the cinematographer is Chung-hoon Chung, known for THE HANDMAIDEN (2016), ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL (2015), and OLDBOY (2003).

Overall, I can’t claim to be excited for this, but early ratings seem to be praising it, so it must be doing something right.

This is my honest opinion of: IT (2017)

(SUMMARY)

Set in Derry, Maine, circa 1989, where the disappearance of kids is becoming normal. The story follows a group of young kids who call themselves “The Losers Club.” Their unofficial leader, the stuttering Bill (Jaeden Leiberher), sent out his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) with a paper boat. Unfortunately, it was too fast and fell down a drain, where Georgie was met with an evil looking clown named Pennywise (Bill Scarsgård), who drags him away. Months go by and though still officially considered missing, Bill’s family thinks him dead. But more disappearances occur and the Losers begin to investigate the supernatural as well as facing their personal fears.

(REVIEW)

I’m not sure if I agree with all the critical praise, but this is one of the better horror films that I’ve seen this year.

Let’s start with the creature IT…self, Pennywise. See what I did there? Laugh, damn it! Unlike one of my friends that I saw this with, I thought this Pennywise was a little more threatening than the Curry version. Don’t get me wrong, Curry is an amazing actor and his turn as Pennywise is no exception. But other than his performance being campy, I appreciated the interpretation here more. In terms of the original, Pennywise seemed like he was an actual guy who turned into a creature. He spoke and acted like a creepy child stalker, which I’m sure was the point. But here, the way he talks, his physicality, the way he looks at things, he seems much more like a creature trying to be a person. Here’s what I mean. When Pennywise first meets Georgie, it almost looks like he’s coming up with his name right there and then. His dialog goes something like, “Who am I? Well I’m… Pennywise. The dancing clown. That’s it.” Imitating the sound of popcorn, you clearly get the sense that he’s not human. With Curry, you know he’s not human, but his initial appearance is very human-like. Maybe this is a ploy to make him more deceiving, so I can understand if the original interpretation is preferable, but I enjoyed the idea that the monster doesn’t know how to be human, it just acts like it does.

But is Pennywise actually scary? Eh, probably not. I think true horror is always going to be psychological, never through jump scares. And while there are plenty of jump scares, Pennywise himself isn’t always scary. Sure, the notion that he can get to them wherever they are in whatever form can be pretty unsettling, but overall, not all that scary. Having said that, there is one form that Pennywise makes that kept from sleeping soundly that night: the distorted woman painting. Anything involving abnormally shaped people will do that to me. Let’s see how long it haunts me. Actually, there’s even a scene where I kind of find Pennywise cool. You’ve likely seen the trailer with the projector projecting images by itself, eventually showing Pennywise, but this scene has him popping out of the screen in a giant form, monstrously trying to attack the kids. I was less intimidated and more thinking to myself where the Power Rangers were.

How about the kids? Well, there’s a few too many to go through, so I’ll just mention a few standouts. Leiberher as Bill is definitely one of my favorites. He has so much more emotion to work with. Wrestling with guilt over not wanting to spend time with his little brother, who ultimately gets killed and could have possibly prevented it. Desperately searching for any sign of his survival, trying to keep the Losers together, his budding feelings for Beverly, I just think the kid runs a serious gauntlet of emotions that ultimately make him the best character and Leiberher does a fantastic job. But if there’s anyone that gave him a run for his money, it was Lillis. Playing a fairly traumatized young girl who has been sexually assaulted by her own father, Lillis is hauntingly amazing as any time she’s around her dad, she is paralyzed with fear. Eyes widened, hell, it barely looks like she’s breathing. So it’s no wonder that she’s taken up smoking and doesn’t argue her slut-shaming reputation at school. She’s also the first to head into danger and the first to lend a helping hand. By all accounts, she might be the best character in the movie. Wolfhard as Richie was also pretty entertaining as the trashtalker. While I do think there’s times where he should have been punched in the face just so the movie would be a little more quiet, he’s still a ray of entertainment. Also, fitting that he’s jump from a Stephen King inspire TV show to a full on Stephen King film. Give the kid some props, he knows how to make an interesting résumé. Everyone else does great too, but it’s a little too much writing for me and I’ve already got a lot to cover.

The best thing that this movie offers, which makes it a good film, is these characters. They’re the heart and soul of the film, which far too many horror flicks forget to include. You care about them and feel for them, their struggles with dealing with Pennywise and effect he has when he comes between them. The best part is, there’s no bad guy in their group. They’re kids. One has a strong sense of right and wrong and wants to help in any way that he can, whereas another will completely refuse to help the missing kids because it’s dangerous and they’re just kids and they want to live. You understand each side, and understand the division in opinion. But no one’s unlikable and when one of their own is in trouble, they will band together to save that person.

It kind of sounds like I have nothing but high praise too, doesn’t it? For the most part, yes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my issues.

Specifically, the movie is sadly kind of laughable in some of its horror. There’s a moment where we see Pennywise shape-shifting, but it’s done in such a way that I didn’t find it disturbing, or scary because he’s gyrating on the ground like a kid pretending to comically dying. But worse, for a movie getting such critical acclaim, I’m going to guess I won’t be reading or watching many reviews of this that will talk about the worst clichés this movie offers: stupid characters. It’s the “Alien effect”: something opens by itself, and the character’s first instinct is to put his face in it. Seriously, what were they expecting to see? Is anyone surprised by the jump scares in this movie?

But all in all, this was very well executed. There’s some creepy imagery, but more importantly, the characters are all likable and you feel for them and their problems. So if you’re a horror fan or not, I do recommend this.

My honest rating for IT (2017): a strong 4/5

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THE DARK TOWER review

Stephen King certainly is a hit or miss for a lot of people, isn’t he? At least, as far as his film adaptations are concerned. It seems like his most celebrated films are his non-horror films, like THE GREEN MILE (1999), STAND BY ME (1986), and my personal favorite film of all time, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994). That’s not to say there aren’t some standout horror films that are considered great, like THE SHINING (1980), CARRIE (1976), and MISERY (1990). Personally, I love THE MIST (2007), but most everything else is either ridiculed, or entertainingly bad, like CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984), MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986), and DREAMCATCHER (2003), to name a few.

Of course, I’ve never read any of his books. Not much of a reader. But that’s not to say that anything with King’s name on it isn’t going to pique my interest. It’s so fascinating to see his on-screen adaptations be so diverse in quality. To my understanding, his novel series, The Dark Tower, is what he himself considers to be his magnum opus. A series that links many of his past novels together into a multiverse type deal. I admit, that’s pretty interesting, and I’m curious to see just how much of that will be translated to the film.

So how do I feel about this movie? It looks… basic. Don’t hang me! But it kind of does. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of a darker, more serious version of LAST ACTION HERO (1993), a campy classic of the 90’s if you ask me. I can’t claim for certainty if the Schwarzenegger action romp is technically inspired by the novel series, but the similarities are there. A kid is an adventurer of sorts, one is an action movie junkie (ACTION HERO), the other is described as an adventure seeker (TOWER), and both get whisked away into a world not like his own, and meets up with a bad-ass mutha who’s at war with an asshole, and their conflict eventually carries them back to the real world of the kid, who probably gets himself into trouble more times than he really should. Hello!?I’m sure this movie is wildly different, but it might be a little too easy to make comparisons.

Well, here’s the on-screen talent. Starring, we have young Tom Taylor (known for TV shows I’ve never heard of), Idris Elba (THE JUNGLE BOOK [2016], PACIFIC RIM [2014], THOR [2011], and upcoming films THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US [2017] and Marvel’s THOR: RAGNAROK [2017]), and Matthew McConaughey (GOLD [2017], KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS [2016], and REIGN OF FIRE [2002]). In support, we have Jackie Earle Haley (THE BIRTH OF A NATION [2016], SHUTTER ISLAND [2010], WATCHMEN [2009], and the upcoming Robert Rodriguez film ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL [2018]), Abbey Lee (THE NEON DEMON [2016], GODS OF EGYPT [2016], and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD [2015]), and Katheryn Winnick (KILLERS [2010], and TV shows VIKINGS and BONES).

Now for the talent behind the scenes. Directing and co-writing is Nikolaj Arcel, known for A ROYAL AFFAIR (2012). Co-writing the script, making for a red flag total of four writers, we have Akiva Goldsman (RINGS [2017], THE 5TH WAVE [2016], I AM LEGEND [2007], and the upcoming DC film TITANS [2018]), Jeff Pinkner (THE 5TH WAVE, TV shows ZOO and FRINGE, and upcoming films JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE [2017] and Sony’s Marvel Spider-Man spin-off VENOM [2018]), and Anders Thomas Jensen (BROTHERS [2009]). Composing the score is Junkie XL, known for BATMAN V SUPERMAN (2016), DEADPOOL (2016), DIVERGENT (2014), and upcoming video game adaptations SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2018) and TOMB RAIDER (2018). Finally, the cinematographer is Rasmus Videbæk, known for THE ROYAL AFFAIR.

Overall, I can’t say I’m super stoked, but I’m curious enough to want to see it.

This is my honest opinion of: THE DARK TOWER

(SUMMARY)

Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a young boy who experiences visions of a man in black (Matthew McConaughey) who is trying to bring down a dark tower and destroy the world. Thing is, no one believes him and has been seeing therapists. But after his mother Laurie (Katheryn Winnick) feels that she has exhausted all of her options, she contacts a pair of people that will take him somewhere to get better. Believing these people, who bare striking similarities to those he’s seen in his visions, runs away to seek answers. He eventually comes to a house with a mysterious key code, punches in a set of numbers he’s been seeing and finds himself teleported to a world known as Mid-World, the world where the Dark Tower resides and has been terrorized by the man in black. His only protection: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who is the only one that Jake believes that can stop the man in black from destroying the tower.

(REVIEW)

For such hype, this movie is a letdown, but I’m not entirely sure if I was expecting anything amazing to begin with.

The setup is already confusing on its own. A series of opening text states that the Dark Tower is so powerful that it protects all the dimensions from the forces of darkness, but there’s a… what I can only assume to be a prophecy that states that there’s one child who’s mind can destroy it. That seems like a lame weakness, if you ask me. I mean, why? First off, why aren’t we done with this cliché of “chosen ones?” If a movie can start off drawing comparisons to STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), then it’s not a great start to a film. This is only the first thirty seconds of the movie, mind you.

Then we jump to our Earth, Keystone Earth, as the film likes to call it for some reason, and we see that Jake has been drawing these visions that he’s been having for quite possibly quite some time because he has a therapist and his older brother is commenting that the therapy isn’t helping. And this is another big problem I have with movies like this: the victim of visions that goes around telling people the crazy things that he sees and expects them to believe him. This is such a tired trope too because no story that has ever existed with characters like this has ever had anyone believe them. Why would they? This is reality. We chock these things up to chemical imbalance for adults and bad dreams for kids. If Jake was in his single digit years, I might be more lenient toward his lack of common sense and understanding of human nature, but Jake is probably closer to being a teenager than a child. He’s gotta be able to distinguish what an adult would believe and not believe by now, and visions of a “man in black” and “people with fake skin,” that’s a hard pass on reality. Even the kids from the TV show STRANGER THINGS (2016 – ongoing) knew what to keep to themselves and they were definitely younger than Jake.

Even once things start coming to a head and the people with the fake skin enter his world and hunt him down at his home, he’s outrunning a grown-ass adult. A grown-ass adult that’s not even human and the punishment for failing the Man in Black is quite possibly death, so they’ve got all the motivation in the world to keep chasing him. But they don’t. He gets away. And to make matters even more outlandish, he manages to travel an unknown distance to a house that serves as a portal to Mid-World and this entire time, I’m wondering where the hell the police are. Surely the mother would have called the cops and there’d be an army of cops pulling over public transport after public transport looking for the squirt. He’s not a ninja. This shouldn’t have taken so long.

That’s probably the most obvious problem with the movie. It’s horribly written and we’re expected to suspend too much disbelief. But see, if this was taking place in the fictional fantasy world, this could make all the kind of sense it wants. But Keystone Earth is supposed to be our Earth. Physics, plausibility, you can’t chuck that into the wood-chipper with a cackling evil laugh. You have to ground these aspects in reality. Also, the villain. While I’ll go into the

But fine, you could argue this is nitpicking. Does the rest of the film hold up when Jake gets to Mid-World?

Nope! It does not! First of all, those people with the fake skin, they wear that shit even in Mid-World. Um… why? It makes sense in Keystone, obviously, but… why in Mid-World? Are these beings so ugly that even in a world where ugly is the norm they have to cover up? Seemed kinda silly to me. There’s also a scene, a little after Jake’s met Roland for the first time, and in their traveling, Jake references the Man in Black, to which Roland immediately grabs Jake by his shirt and threatens to drop him off a cliff if he’s a spy for him. Note, it’s literally just the name that sets him off. Not a prolonged conversation about him and Jake says something stupid and Roland takes it the wrong way, no, the mere mention of the name “man in black” throws him through the ringer. There’s even some weird shots too. Like, this movie was desperate to show that it’s connected to all of Stephen King’s stories. For example, Jake stumbles upon a ruin of some kind and he’s standing on a submerged-in-the-ground statue of a hand holding up balloons and a sign reading “Pennywise” from his story “It.” It’s like the cameraman and the editor knew that the sign was hard to read in pitch black lighting, so they held on to the shot for dear life. There’s even a demon that makes it’s way to our heroes and it really reminded me of that alien from STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002) that slashed Padmé’s back in the Geonosian arena scene.

And really? Walter? “The Man in Black” … the name that strikes fear into the hearts of all in the known realms… the man who killed all but one Gunslinger, a legendary order of warriors that numbered in the legions, and literally has the power to command people to die and they fall down dead… his real name… is Walter?

Walter.

SO SCARY!!!

Honestly, the rest of the film is uninteresting and almost boring because Mid-Guard doesn’t look all that spectacular. I’m sure the idea is to make it look like an apocalyptic wasteland, but it’s way too visually boring. The forest scene is about the closest we get, but everything else makes you wonder how this takes place in a fantasy land instead of Earth.

***SPOILERS***

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And even when it gets to Earth, almost nothing stands out either. In fact, I’m having a hard time recollecting what even happened. I know Jake finds out that his mom dies and he is eventually kidnapped by… Walter… which leads to a shootout to save Jake’s life.

Which now brings me to my final complaint. Why does Walter want to destroy the realms? Okay, some people are psychotic and seriously should have had a loving mommy to hold them, I get that. But if I understand the movie correctly, the forces of darkness sound like demons that aren’t even of the realms of the established universes. These forces are outside of what’s known. Is Walter one of these forces? Does he somehow think he can control these forces, or think he can survive their coming destruction? For that matter, who ever created this Dark Tower, what was it’s intention? It’s primary function is to protect the realms from each other and from these forces of darkness. So why have a weakness built into it that could destroy the thing completely?

So many questions, so little care.

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***END SPOILERS***

Is there anything redeemable about the movie?

Not… especially. Some of the action is ridiculous that it got a chuckle out of me, but I have no idea if I was giggling because of how stupid it was or… nah, it was pretty stupid. I suppose the actors aren’t all that bad all things considered and I do think Taylor was serviceable enough. He sure wouldn’t have been able to carry the film without Elba around, but he wasn’t bad. And up until learning that the Man in Black’s name was Walter, I thought McConaughey was decent. He had an intimidation about him that I enjoyed watching.

Overall, though, I think this movie is a dud. By no means the worst I’ve ever seen, but for a movie with such a background, a story that intersects all of King’s stories in some fashion and it doesn’t culminate into anything of any real substance. It’s like a perfectly crafted bullet trying to be shoved into a toy shotgun; it just doesn’t work on so many levels. The actors are trying and I hope this doesn’t ruin anyone’s careers, especially the younger actors, but if this was supposed to be a introduction to this universe, the access isn’t very universal. Hell, I’d be shocked if fans of the novels would get anything out of it. I don’t recommend this in theaters and I don’t really recommend it as a rental. It’s not overly long, not even two hours, but it might feel longer for some audiences.

My honest rating for THE DARK TOWER: a weak 3/5

 

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LADY MACBETH review

So I’ve been seeing this trailer pop up every so often, and it’s really pushing how the audience should be paying attention to its lead actress. Can’t speak for her myself, but the movie does, admittedly, look pretty intense for a period drama. From what I can gather, it’s about this housewife, married to a wealthy man she doesn’t love, and is constantly mistreated by the men surrounding her. She winds up falling for a stable-boy and their affair becomes the subject of a lot suspicion that ultimately leads to a dramatic confrontation. Hmm… now that I’ve written that out, it sounds pretty cliché and the one trailer probably gave away way too much. Here’s to hoping that the details are what will make the movie good.

Well, here’s the cast. Starring, we have the “star in-the-making” herself, Florence Pugh, a fresh-faced English actress known for roles that I’ve never heard of, making this her big break. Congrats, miss. We also have Cosmo Jarvis and Paul Hilton, both known for unknown roles, Naomi Ackie was in an episode of TV show DOCTOR WHO, and frequent video game voice actor Christopher Fairbank, known for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014), ALIEN 3 (1992), and Tim Burton’s BATMAN (1989).

Now for the crew. Directing is William Oldroyd, known for unknown projects. Penning the screenplay is Alice Birch, making her writing feature debut. Congrats, miss. Composing the score is Dan Jones, known for SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (2000). Finally, the cinematographer is Ari Wegner, known for short films and documentaries.

By the way… is this movie based on a novel? Hmm. Overall, this might be alright. Probably won’t be up my alley, being an English period film, but I’m always down for a good story to make up for uninteresting subject matter.

This is my honest opinion of: LADY MACBETH

(SUMMARY)

Set in England, circa 1865. Katherine (Florence Pugh) is bought into a loveless marriage to a wealthy family, her older husband Alexander (Paul Hilton) and his equally unbearable father, Boris (Christopher Fairbank). She is to maintain certain unreasonable duties as a wife, which makes her feel trapped and repressed, and the constant verbal and emotional abuse doesn’t help. Thankfully, both Alexander and Boris leave the estate for business reasons, leaving Katherine to her own devices. She eventually strikes up a sexual relationship with one of the workers on the land, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis). Soon begins a complex romance to maintain their relationship while dealing with the men who are above her.

(REVIEW)

Oh my god! Yes! Yes, a thousand kinds of yes! Don’t let those trailers fool you. This is a delightfully twisted little movie.

Before I get into the review itself, it might be a good point to mention that this movie has nothing to do with William Shakespeare. It’s based on a Russian novel called Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Lenskov in 1865. It’s not even some kind of origin story or anything. As I’ve not actually read the book, I can’t comment on the… comment that I’m about to make, nor am I overly familiar with Macbeth as a story, but if I were to guess, it incorporates themes from the character in the play and makes it his own character. Or maybe that’s not it at all and I have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s probably that.

This might end up being a fairly short review as there isn’t that much to say about it. But what there is to say, anyone can rave and rave. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do! This movie is basically about this woman who is in a loveless marriage, becomes sexually repressed, and starts fucking one dude relentlessly and spends the rest of the movie manipulating and killing people so she can keep fucking her boy toy. From the opening scene, you wouldn’t guess the movie would be that awesome. In fact, it kind of starts off… maybe “boring” isn’t the right word, but the tone definitely takes a shift at some point in the story.

It starts off about how you’d expect this movie to start off. She’s in her loveless marriage, forced to strip so her disinterested older husband can literally just jerk off to her while she’s facing the wall and told to act in a certain way by her father-in-law, who is equally disinterested in her. So then they both leave on business and Katherine finds her Alexander’s employees suspending Anna (Naomi Ackie), her closest housemaid, in an outhouse, getting… I’m not entirely sure… sexually assaulted? She’s naked and all, but no one’s raping her. They’re just… treating her like an animal. She demands Anna be let down but… for some reason finds the leader of this barbaric group attractive, even when he’s incredibly shameless toward her about it and she’s supposed to be treated as their master. Then, get this, later that night, he practically stalks her outside of her bedroom and forces his way into her room, despite resistance. You can probably guess what happens next. She totally goes for it and they have sex.

“Wait, what?” You may ask. This guy makes an obvious attempt to rape her… but it’s not a rape scene. She just accepts the situation and the two have consensual sex. Yeah, it’s that kind of movie. Totally bonkers.

Oh my god, it gets even worse. So Alexander suddenly comes home, hides Sebastian in her closet, and Alexander suspects that Katherine has been cheating on him, calling her names and all that abusive jazz. Finally at her breaking point of the belittlement, she nonchalantly and quietly walks toward that closet, pulls out Sebastian, throws him onto the bed, mounts him, and starts riding him right in front of Alexander without saying a word.

***SPOILERS***

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After Alexander watches this insanity unfold in front of him, this naturally results in a fist fight between him and Sebastian… resulting in Katherine knocking Alexander to the ground and beating the shit out of his head with a statue. Obviously, this kills him. By this point, Katherine’s also murdered her father-in-law via poison, which traumatized poor Anna into becoming a mute, and Katherine uses that to her advantage to have her affair with Sebastian in front of her and she won’t say a single thing about it.

And it doesn’t stop. In a blatantly obvious ploy to hurl an extra forty minutes into the movie, we learn that Alexander had an affair and conceived a child with her, and then comes under Katherine’s care. At first, you think, “Aww, she’s bonding with him.” But then, not only do we learn that Katherine is preggers with Sebastian’s baby, but… details barely important, she realizes that in order for their affair to continue, they need to get rid of the boy, Teddy (Anton Palmer), and his grandmother. Yes, in order for Katherine to get porked by her man, she needs to kill a five year old kid. Which she does.

But wait! The depravity doesn’t end there! Sebastian hides in the nearby woods to wait for Katherine to spin a story. However, the doctor who checks up on Teddy doesn’t believe her cover story. As if on cue, Sebastian comes in racked with guilt and confesses everything to everyone in the room. But then… it happens. Katherine turns his truth against him and claims that all the deaths were Sebastian’s fault and he had help from Anna, who is still mute from trauma. But because Anna can’t speak up, and Katherine is the official “lady of the house” and therefore has status above her victims, her word is taken over his, and both Sebastian and Anna get hauled away, presumably to get executed for their “crimes.” The final shot is just a close-up of Katherine, alone in her house… with her unborn baby.

Fuck, that’s going to be a messed up kid.

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***END SPOILERS***

Okay, so it wasn’t that short a review.

Lesson for the day kiddies, do not underestimate the power of lady-boners! The high praise for this flick is warranted, but I do recommend going in with a certain mindset. If you go into this with the expectation of watching some sort of high-society story full of hoity toity sophisticated storytelling, ehhh dial it down a few notches. This is a trashy flick, but it’s such delightful trash. Is all the hype for miss Pugh warranted? Oh, shit yeah. Usually, I get annoyed with roles like this: debuts featuring gratuitous nudity and sex to show how brave and edgy the actress can be. Having said that, this was a fun role that had a lot of sick bad-assery thrown in. She’s great and I look forward to seeing her in more pictures in the future. I do recommend this movie purely for the “what the fuck” factor. If that sounds like your thing, you’ll have a blast watching this.

My honest rating for LADY MACBETH: 5/5

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