Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocDirector: Tom Ford

Writer: Tom Ford (Screenplay) Austin Wright (Novel)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney

Plot: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Wow

Story: Nocturnal Animals starts by following art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Adams) who has it all with her new husband Hutton (Hammer) but she isn’t enjoying the job the way she once did. Susan receives a copy of her ex-husbands novel.

We enter the novel following the Hastings family Tony (Gyllenhaal), Laura (Fisher) and India (Bamber) as they are travelling cross country clashing with Ray Marcus (Taylor-Johnson) and his crew of joyriders in the middle of the night.

With his family kidnapped and his car found abandoned Tony must work with Bobby Andes (Shannon) to find his family all while Susan is struggling with the intensity of the novel. When the story hits hard personally for Susan, she starts to see this as a message being sent by her first husband Ed Sheffield (Gyllenhaal). We are left to witnesses just how the book ends and how it could be reflected into Susan’s life.

Thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

StoryThe story is balancing three stories, the first is Susan reading the book and looking back at her relationship with Ed. The second is looking at how the relationship between Susan and Ed started and fell apart. The third is the following of the novel which is a very intense story. I think all three are balanced perfectly to show the paranoia coming Susan, the love story beginning middle and end of the early relationship. The highlight of the stories really is looking into the novel because this story while intense wouldn’t work as a solo film without seeing and feeling the reaction of Susan reading into so deeply. The stories also don’t get themselves confused which could easily happen in this story.

Drama/ThrillerThis is a thriller that will keep you on edge from start to finish when it comes to the novel being told the drama mostly comes from the outskirts following Susan’s story of wondering what the book is meant to stand for.

Characters/PerformanceLooking into the characters we have a very interesting mix, Susan is never saw what to want from her life making the mistakes which will make over people like her, I do think the stand out characters are from novel with Tony character being filled with emptiness after what happens to his family, Andes being a strong cop figure willing to go the extra mile for justice and the crazy criminal Ray Marcus that goes all out to get what he wants and gets away with anything. When we look at the performances Adams, Gyllenhaal and Shannon all give the great performances you know and expect from them, it is Aaron Taylor Johnson that makes you step back and go wow because this performance not many people could have seen coming from him.

SettingsEach setting fits the story it is being used to tell, be it the high society setting of the art gallery owner, the rough desert location for the novel and New York for the early stages of love.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most intense films of the year that will be hard for certain film fans to enjoy because of how dark it is but in the end, you will be left shocked with where this one goes.

Overall: Shockingly intense story telling going on from start to finish.

Ratingcard

Opinion Battles Round 5 Favourite Video Game Adaptation

Opinion Battles Round 5new-logo

Favourite Video Game Adaptation

Over the past 25 odd years videos games have become a new stream of entertainment, so naturally Hollywood has decided to jump on the bandwagon and turn these lengthy stories into one of films, a lot get highly criticised but for the fans of film that never played the games we get certain stories that work on film. With the final chapter of the Resident Evil franchise coming to the cinema it is now time for us to pick our favourite video game adaptations.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we will be picking our Favourite Film from 1987, email your choices to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk by 19h March 2017.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Silent Hillsilent

When Silent Hill first hit the cinema I want to see the film, I never played the game as I never cared for horror survival video games so I knew I wouldn’t be comparing this to any previous material. We have a simple enough story that makes horror work as we have a concerned mother looking for her adopted daughter that has been having nightmares about a place called Silent Hill. While in Silent Hill we get great horror moments with terrifying Pyramid Head and the nurses who only react to sound being ready to kill anyone who gets near them. We also get a well-rounded story that is open to a sequel which we do get but never really fits the same way this one does.

 

Kim – Tranquil Dreams

Resident Evilres

Resident Evil is my guilty pleasure and in all its wooden dialogue and morphed creatures, the first one which is probably the most in line with the huge video game franchise its built is the most like a survival horror. It actually sticks to its horror roots a little and has some nice characters to remember. It’s a ton of fun to watch, lots of action going on and even in all its crappy dialogue, it might make some cringe but it makes me laugh at the “so bad its awesome” factor. Video game adaptations are frequently not done right but at least this one has a lot of guilty pleasure points for it

Cinema Parrot Disco

Warcraft

warcraft 

I did a list recently of my top ten video game movies and, when making the list, realized I couldn’t do a list of actual video game adaptations because a) I haven’t seen that many and b) they’re all dreadful! So I did a list of movies with plots concerning video games in some way. And there are lots of good ones! WarGames, TRON, Wreck-It Ralph, etc etc. But I’m assuming that’s not what Darren wants (correct??). So, if it HAS to be a movie strictly adapted from an actual video game, my answer is Warcraft. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t awful. In fact, I thought it was kind of fun. It was certainly better than things like Alone In The Dark! Yep. Warcraft is my answer. But if people are gonna bend the rules on this one, my answer is WarGames… 😉 

 

Rob – Movie Rob

Tomb Raider

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Seems to be quite true to the video game, but it comes off as a lesser version of an Indiana Jones story.  Jolie is good as the title character and knows how to handle an action movie by herself.  Nice to see a pre-Bond Craig here in a role so very different from the spy we all know and love.

 

Rachel – 54 Disney Reviews

Ratchet and Clank

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Every once in a while there is a movie I like that gets trashed by the critics. So was the case with last year’s Ratchet and Clank. While certainly not a masterpiece, I thought it was a fun space adventure for kids. It reminded me of the type of shows I used to watch on Saturday morning cartoons. It had some self-aware humor and decent animation. It’s particularly impressive on a $20 million budget which is very small for an animated film. The voice talent is decent with Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson and the voice actors from the game James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye. I liked the friendship between Ratchet and Clank and thought it was sweetly handled. 

The villain is pretty lame and the story is very generic but at 94 minutes I didn’t mind that. I have never played the game but was honestly surprised when people were as harsh as they were on Ratchet and Clank. Video game movies are awful that I have seen but this one I thought was passable entertainment.

 

Carl Wonders – Listening to Film

Resident Evil

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Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of cinema greatness to be chosen from in this category, and no one is going to mistake the Resident Evil series of films for anything masterful. However, what they are are entertaining popcorn flicks that, if you turn your brain off, can be rather entertaining. In addition, the series was doing zombies before they had become flavor of the month. With this series, director/creative force Paul W.S. Anderson (who probably directed the majority of films on this list) has created something that has continued to entertain fans even now. Anderson freely admits that he is purely interested in creating films that audiences enjoy without concern for critical reviews. It’s safe to say that, with Resident Evil, he has succeeded in that.

 

Kira – Film and Tv 101

Tomb Raider

 tomn

How can you not love Tomb Raider? It is without a doubt my all-time favourite video game based film. Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft was my IDOL when I was little. I was fanatical about the games and both movies, although I do prefer the first in the franchise. There is so much terrific action and a brilliant female action hero. I think I’ve just persuaded myself to watch it again very soon.

 

S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Withinfinal

Video game adaptations typically hold to a low bar in film quality, so while we wait for that genuinely good adaptation of Portal or Overwatch that may never come, I at least picked one that I found interesting. I know literally nothing of the Final Fantasy games, but the franchise’s first feature film adaptation certainly had lofty ambitions behind it, holding the distinctions of being the first cinematic attempt at photorealistic CGI animation and the most expensive video game adaptation to date. I won’t lie; it has massive faults, from a poorly explained save-the-world plot to annoying pseudo-scientific paganism promoting the New Age Gaia hypothesis. Yet, as muddled and clichéd as it is, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a visual marvel at times and actually quite thrilling when it focuses on Aliens-style shoot-em-up sci-fi. The CGI human characters lie squarely in the uncanny valley, but, considering it came out in 2001, the animation of this video-game-based story is still pretty impressive.

Emma – Emma Explains It All

Resident Evilres

When I reminded myself of this fortnight’s Opinion Battle, my instinct straight away went to this film. And after I’d done the obligatory Wiki check of every other video-game-to-movie adaptation, I knew this was the right choice. Well it was either this or Silent Hill and let’s face it, Silent Hill is a great idea but still a bit shit. 


I must admit I’ve not watched the entire franchise of Resident Evil films but by all accounts they’re fairly popular and still being released now. I’ve watched this one, the original, quite a few times and always think it’s a pleasant, entertaining film – not a lot more and nothing less. The CGI can be a little silly in places but it’s still tense and mildly frightening at times. The action scenes are fun and nods to the game are well written in. Certainly the video game movie I’ve watched the most and would want to watch again in the future.