Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating

 

 

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Disobedience (2017)

Director: Sebastian Lelio

Writer: Sebastian Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Screenplay) Naomi Alderman (Novel)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Bernice Stegers

 

Plot: A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.


Tagline – Love is an act of defiance

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long and Dull

 

Story: Disobedience starts when photographer Ronit Krushka (Weisz) returns to her Orthodox Jewish community after her father’s death, she isn’t remembered by the community after her past, she stays with Dovid Kuperman (Nivola) and his wife Esti (McAdams) as they experience the grieving process together.

Once back together Ronit and Esti’s love is reignited their position in the community as Esti is now in respected member of the community, teaching the next generation, following the rules of the faith, can they be together or not.

 

Thoughts on Disobedience

 

Characters – Ronit is a photographer that was shunned by her religion because of her attraction to a woman, she returns after her father dies and sparks between her and Esti start again, she hasn’t followed the traditions like Esti and doesn’t mind being out of place with the rest. Esti settled down and started following the rules of the faith, the return of Ronit lets her experience a love she hasn’t dealt with in years. Dovid is the husband of Esti, one of the most respected of all of the community, he is strictly following all the rules of the faith.

PerformancesWhile he performances are good for the most part with Weisz and McAdams being the true stars, even if they don’t make us become fully engaged with their characters.

StoryThe story here follows two women who are in love, one has been banished from the community, while the other put her love aside to follow the traditional faith of everything. we follow how they get a second chance and how the lives will be thrown upside down for going against their religion. Sure this is a solid enough story about going against the normal, but the pacing is so slow and not much truly goes one through the film

RomanceThe romance of this film shows us just how difficult falling in love can be, if it is against the faith others will judge you, this is important to see how it is dealt with but not the most interesting when it comes to actual romance.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings that the community would be in and how together the people would be in everyday life.


Scene of the Movie –
Nearly getting caught.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films which I feel with split the audience down the middle, some people will say it is important others will say it is boring, like myself.

 

Overall: Too long and not interesting enough.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise Month – Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)

Director: Mick Garris

Writer: Joseph Stefano (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Henry Thomas, Olivia Hussey, CCH Pounder, Warren Frost, Donna Mitchell

 

Plot: Norman Bates recalls his childhood with his abusive mother while fearing his unborn child will inherit his split personality disorder.


Tagline – You’ve met Norman… now meet mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: When Sequels Are Bad, Go Prequel

 

Story: Psycho IV: The Beginning starts as Norman Bates (Perkins) listening to a local radio station which is having the discussion about children killing their mother’s. Norman gives us a backstory to his relationship with his mother Norma (Hussey) as teenager Norman (Thomas) commits his first murder.

As he reveals his story the shows rating increase, but when he says he is ready to kill again, it becomes clearly that Norman has been pushed over the edge once again.

 

Thoughts on Psycho IV: The Beginning

 

Characters – In the characters we have two different versions of Norman, the older one who has committed the crimes in the past and now telling his story after moving on with his life and the teenage one that is getting abused by his mother as he first starts out his killing spree, this one is more interesting to watch as seeing him on the edge makes it easier to understand his motivation for his actions. Norma Bates is Norman’s mother, in this film she is very much alive and we see just how she treated Norman when she wasn’t happy with the way his life was going, trying to force him into being a girl.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins mostly gives us the commentary of his characters past, he is a good story teller which is what he must do. Henry Thomas does work as a younger Norman which is good he handles the creepy side of the character well. Olivia Hussey makes for a great Norma Bates, she looks seductive and easily hits the strict level needed.

StoryThe story here takes us to the origin of what drove Norman to become the killer, we get these through a radio show where he tells the story and see the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother. This works because the sequel line was getting boring after a while, showing us that we needed to go to the prequel line to learn more of the motivation. This however does cause problems for the most part because we jump all over the place in the timeline of creating him, while in the modern time Norman must face his own battle with his mind while telling the story again.

Horror/MysteryThe horror elements do seem to have come out of the film now, we do get the murders, but they never feel scary, the mystery of doing this as a prequel doesn’t help because we know where the film will end up going.

SettingsThe film gives us less time at the Bates Motel, making the scenes there being the highlights of the film, but away from it we lose that IT factor about the Norman character.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie have improved, when it comes to the murders and the different styles Norman use we feel like they are real this time.


Scene of the Movie –
Young Norman doing the deed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The confusion timeline in the flashback scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the Psycho franchise, you could skip over three and still end up in a good position with everything and how this film directs the story.

 

Overall: Nice addition.

Rating