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There are a lot of great things to be said about The Florida Project. You have some idea of what it will be about going into it, but the most admirable thing about it is its willingness to explore live through the yes of children in a very episodic manner. Some thins happen that stand out to the children that aren't followed through with, and although it can be a bit jarring at first, it is completely true to the same timeline and process through which real-life events happen. There are a few flaws of the film (and I wish some of the editing would let the breathe film a bit more at times), but overall this is a fantastic film, full of genuine heart and a unique ability to transport you to a very common, very realistic world where you understand everything that it's about instantly.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't know what to expect out of Blade Runner 2049. I'm a big fan of
the original but to create a sequel that would be faithful to the world
created in that film as well as add something new and crucial is a
difficult feat for anyone. Luckily, I think this is easily one of the
best big-budget genre thriller films this decade. It's rare for me to
watch a mainstream film like this and not have so many criticisms as
it's playing. I think the film is very well paced, amazingly shot, very
well written, and brilliantly directed. It maintains the same
atmosphere that the original did while delivering big set pieces. At
its core it remains a mystery and it's all the better for it. I think
the most impressive thing about it was its commitment to building on
the mythology set forth by the original. It managed to expand on the
original and give us answers to what happened to characters after it in
ways that felt clever, fresh, and still faithful to it. It manages to
be about the continuation of certain events in the first film while
creating a new fascinating character at its core and manages to tell
the new character's arc brilliantly. To reiterate, it's very well
written, managing to avoid the clichés that usually transpire in films
like this. Villeneuve has quickly become one of the best filmmakers
currently working and this is only another example of his talent.
In terms of acting, Gosling does wonders with the role. He doesn't do anything we haven't seen him do before, but he's great at what he does and he nails it here. In terms of MVP, it's Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks who stand out the most from the supporting cast, especially the latter. She's icy and delicious in her role.
Quite a lot has been said about Mother!, but what's most clear after seeing the film is that it knows exactly the type of film it is and what it's trying to say. People can say they're confused but dig a little deeper and the answer is there. So the question shouldn't be whether the film has specific themes in mind. It does, no doubt. The question should instead be whether the execution of those themes was successful. In my opinion, it is. Do I think it was a flawless film? I mean, obviously not. But at the same time I struggle to think of anything it did significantly wrong. The progression of slower- paced atmospheric thriller to full-blown horror insanity is very well done. The camera-work in the way its captures the singular perspective of the lead character is incredibly impressive, and the film continues to build its mystery throughout. It can get a bit repetitive, and I do think it could have been trimmed by about 15 minutes, but the film works spectacularly as a guessing game and then, once you've guessed it, works even better on a thematic and metaphorical level. The performances are splendid and fearless, with Lawrence showing all of us again why she became such a star in the first place, and the directing powerful. The screenplay very much works on a surface level, even if it isn't anything that is incredible, because everything it's representing is supposed to be under the surface (well, up until it's very much in your face about it). If there's one glaring flaw it is that the film's final minutes make everything incredibly clear and hammer the point home, but perhaps that's best for certain audiences. Overall, destined to be one of the most memorable films of the year and certainly another great horror film in a year already filled with them.
I definitely think there's something charming about this film that will make audiences like it. I think the cast are all aces and inject so much charisma and depth to their characters, and the comedy is low key and pretty funny. It's a very relatable film. Do I personally think it's as amazing as the reviews have pointed out? Not particularly, but it's still the type of film you want more audiences to experience because it has many important themes that need to be discussed, particularly its family dynamics. Overall a good watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
These thoughts are coming from someone who has never read or seen the
original TV miniseries- I liked it a lot. The fact that it manages to
work is quite impressive. It has the usual mainstream Hollywood jump
scares, the usual set up and structure, and it's in your face. Yet it
manages to work for many reasons. One reason is that the horror set
pieces, despite being kind of obvious, are incredibly fun. The film has
the benefit of having a villain that can manifest in different ways and
the film definitely takes that opportunity to run away with really
throwing horror scenes out there like not many recent horror films
have. Its biggest strength is in its characters though. The character
work isn't flawless, but the cast delivers and you grow to really care
for them. Even if the horror failed, the characters might have been
enough, and the humor they bring is infectious. Great horror + great
characters = A definite success. However, it's not without its share of
I mentioned that the horror in the film works. It does, but I'm also not quite sure why. Like I said, it has the usual jump scares along with loud, over-the-top music that, while startling when the scenes happen, don't build enough atmosphere. The insanity of the horror seems to work, despite the horror being exactly what people criticize when they think of mainstream horror films and their lack of nuance. Horror scenes are fun when they're happening, but they don't really have any lasting impact after they end. It's a type of horror that very much works in the moment, and while scenes work in startling you, it's not exactly scary. The film is also sometimes awkward and rushed. It takes some time for it to start flowing smoothly, as in the first thirty minutes it feels like it's showing a bunch of random scenes with characters we don't know very much. I'm sure all of that worked better in the book, but the film definitely feels like an adaptation that needs to hurry up and get where it needs to be. The pacing isn't terrible, but it definitely feels rushed in moments (some more than others) and all of that contributes to what I said about there being a lack of atmosphere. The pacing and first act could have needed some polishing to feel crisper and cleaner. Still, those problems weren't significant enough to damage the film too much or to take away from the enjoyment.
As someone who has never read or seen the source material. I did walk away with quite a few questions. I don't require all films to explain the events that transpire. I mean, I finished Twin Peaks: The Return just a few days ago and I don't feel like the series owes me any answers. However, once you open the door midway, you need to reveal everything inside it. I feel like the film gave promise of explanation and there was none, and I walked away with a few questions that I am really interested in seeing explain and that I have included below (I have probably already gone online to get them, but I'm still mentioning this here). The following contains spoilers
What exactly was It? Who was Pennywise? I had a theory throughout that perhaps it was an innocent man of some sort who was killed in some accident. I also strongly believed that the townspeople were in on it. The way all of them acted was so bizarre, but this was never touched on. It just seemed like the film opened up the possibility of explanation (outside of the 27-year recurrence) but nothing. I was also annoyed that of course the girl ends up with the male lead of the film, despite the film trying to give Ben moments. What was all of that for? It would have been amazing had Ben and Bev ended up together. I also expected the film to jump forward in time to 27 years later, but I guess the "Chapter One" thing revealed why they didn't show that just yet.
I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. A solid film indeed, but it's not as well written as Sicario or Hell or High Water. It does show Taylor Sheridan to have some genuine talent and skill as a director, however, which is great. But it's surprising that this is his screenplay when he's proved himself to be such a crisp, natural writer. The overall plot and narrative is fine, but some of the dialogue comes across as a bit clunky and awkward, and there seem to be more than a few crime procedural clichés used. Still, it's an enjoyable film with some strong work from Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, even if the latter seems to get the short end of the stick. I feel like the film could have taken the opportunity to not be exactly what you expect when you hear a man and woman are going to team up, but sadly it stays on the wrong side of the line when it comes to giving the female character some truly juicy development.
Good Time was everything I wanted it to be and more. I found it to be incredibly intense and gripping while also being extremely overwhelming, as it was intended and as it should be. It reminded me a lot of Requiem for a Dream in its insistence to not let the viewer take a moment to breathe or gather their thoughts. On a superficial level it works because it's filled with adrenaline that not many films carry and that allows it to be thrilling and entertaining. More importantly, however, it succeeds on a deeper level by showing the way a person can incite an endless cycle of depravity and corruption that manages to affect the lives of so many other people. Beyond the initial thrills and the aesthetically-pleasing elements (like its score, which is so effectively used to create the environment that the characters live in), the film manages to write its characters with incredible care and surprising nuance. It's one of the best recent examples of the crime film that I've seen, one that is completely unafraid of showing you the ugliness of it all. And did I mention that Robert Pattinson is amazing in this? He's shown himself to be quite talented, most notably in The Rover with Guy Pearce. He's worthy of a lead role like this and he's flawless, his final scene being the perfect demonstration of his abilities.
This isn't a perfect film by any stretch. It seems to stall quite a bit in its middle act, sometimes feeling like all it's doing is biding time until the third act. Still, the wonderful performances at the core keep it interesting. Rooney Mara is fascinating at internal characters like this and it's no wonder that she is perfection here. We get to feel the longing, pain, and echo of her memories in her glances throughout the film. It's a performance that relies on someone who is naturally gifted in conveying emotions under the surface and Mara is up to the task. This is definitely a film that is to be recommended.
Thoughts on Two Lovers? I've got to say, I was a bit disappointed. It's pretty good and there's nothing actually bad about it, but it's all a little too safe and it's all a little too predictable. At no point are any of the turns in the story surprising. On one hand the characters and dramatic moments do ring true (even the ending, which may not be what we want because it's pretty depressing in its implications but rings true to the lead character), but it just lacks a certain bite that a film like this needed to have. However, it's still an interesting film and Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow are very good with the material they are given, particularly the former.
I've always had problems with Nolan. He uses too much exposition, it feels like he makes things overly complicated for pretense, and he just seems to overstuff his films with more and more (the last film that didn't suffer from this was Memento). Here, he finally makes a film that seems to go out of its way to not touch on any of those things. The premise is simple and we are out in the middle of various characters at wartime. Many scenes go on without dialogue. Further, this is one of his shortest films, definitely in quite a long time. I don't think it's a perfect film (sometimes the mostly effective score seems a bit much and at times the film would benefit from not jumping back and forth between story lines). However, the more simple approach taken here actually elevates his characters to become actual human beings rather than thematic symbols, which is also something that he has suffered from in the past. It's not an overly emotional film at all, but I found myself more emotionally invested in these characters than I have in previous films. The ending montage seems like it was a bit overdirected, but other than that I left the theater feeling quite satisfied. only time will tell how my feelings change (and with Nolan films, many times they do).
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