Writer: Susanna Nicchiarelli (Screenplay)
Starring: Trine Dyrholm, John Gordon Sinclair, Anamaria Marinca, Sandor Funtek, Thomas Trabacchi, Karina Ferandez
Plot: The last year of singer Nico’s life, as she tours and grapples with addiction and personal demons.
Tagline – The last year’s of an inspiration of punk.
Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: The Problem with Biopics
Story: Nico, 1988 starts as we see how Christa Paffgen a.k.a Nico (Dyrholm) starts a tour to bring her punk around Europe, starting in Manchester, she is joined by Richard (Sinclair) who is arranging the tour, as she opens up about her life with addiction and personal problems, giving up her son early on.
As Nico’s tour continues, she learns that not everybody remembers her own music, rather than just focusing on the stuff that made her famous, she also wants to get her son back, which isn’t going to be easy because he is suffering the same demons she is.
Thoughts on Nico, 1988
Characters – Christa Paffgen was known as Nico in the music world, she was a German punk star that did create her own sound, which made her standout, she was willing to take chances with her musical decisions. Like most people in music during the 80s Nico did end up getting herself hooked on drugs which sees her relying on them too much, costing her, her son and most of her friends. Richard is a lawyer leading the tour that Nico is on, he does his best to become friends with her and guide her when needed. Ari is the estranged son that has followed in her footsteps with his own drug problems though he is looking for help with them.
Performances – Trine Dyrholm is fantastic in her role in the film, she does make us understand the mindset of Christa, along with the troubles she has faced in life. Outside of Trine’s performance everybody else is solid enough without doing that much with what they have to do.
Story – The story here follows the final year of punk ‘icon’ Christa Paffgen or Nico, as she tries to tour for her fans, no matter how much trouble it might cause the countries around Europe and how she must try to face her own demons. One of the bigger problems with the story here, come from the fact I have never heard of this person, I don’t know her music and by the end of this story, you will feel like you have seen the basic story of every single music biopic, there doesn’t seem to be very much if anything to make Nico standout from any other musician that faced the same problems. Having it set out the final tour is a strong point though, because it shows us just how difficult it can be for a musician to entertain their fans, while not having everything they want in their own lives. Elsewhere this just doesn’t seem to connect in the way other biopic stories have in the past.
Biopic – The biopic side of the films show us just where the final tour would be where the star of the music Nico is struggling to get through with her own problems.
Settings – The film does create the 1980s settings with each country does work for the film, with certain camera shots even adding to the environment.
Scene of the Movie – The camerawork gives the film an 80s style.
Final Thoughts – This is a biopic that doesn’t do anything wrong, but it sums up just how difficult it can be to make one, if the person isn’t famous enough.
Overall: Simple Biopic.
Writer: Max Eggers, Robert Eggers (Screenplay)
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
Plot: Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Tagline – There is enchantment in the light.
Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Lighthouse starts as the two lighthouse keepers Thomas Wake (Dafoe) and rookie Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) arrive at their remote lighthouse, Thomas wants to work with the light, while making Ephraim do the housework and maintenance work.
The two men have no previous connection, which sees Ephraim wanting to play by the rulebook, while Thomas is will to let his experience guide the time together, seeing the two clash, as superstitions start to take control of what Ephraim is allowed to do. Add in the mystery of a creature Ephraim keeps seeing, he is trying to unlock the mystery of the island, one he believes Thomas isn’t letting him know about.
Thoughts on The Lighthouse
Characters – Thomas Wake is the experienced lighthouse keeper, he has been doing this for decades, sacrificed family to do so. He is strict, wanting to only deal with the light responsibilities taking advantage of his rookie partner, he doesn’t show him any respect unless he is drunk, while keeping a mystery about the island to himself. Ephraim Winslow is the rookie lighthouse keeper on his very first job, he has learnt the rulebook wanting to play along with it to make sure the job is done well, he finds himself becoming the housekeeper doing the chores around the island, keeping everything operating smoothly. He starts to question what is happening on the island, having visions of a mysterious creature, all while trying to prove himself to Thomas.
Performances – Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are both truly outstanding in this film, in the last couple of years we have seen plenty of lighthouse based films, with these two giving the best performances in any of them by a long way.
Story – The story here follows two men with different levels of experience working on an island lighthouse, where they soon start to see the strange event happening, leaving themselves to question their sanity. This is a story that does keep you wondering just what is going to happen next, while we can start in the non-horror side of the story, we see how the two must put up with each other, finding the only joint idea being, having too many drinks, the respect does start to grow. When we look at the horror side of the story we are left scratching our heads, trying to unlock the truth, where everything is more about the sanity of the human mind over anything else, showing just how mentally challenging the roles of lighthouse keepers really were.
Horror – The horror comes from seeing just how the human mind could start to unfold, we might have a few creature related scares, but the human mind slowly going into insanity is where the real horrors lay.
Settings – The film is set on the single remote island, with the lighthouse being the only building, it reflects the complete isolation the two characters are living through.
Special Effects – When it comes to the effects, we do have strong ones when we need them, we don’t turn to a constant onslaught of needing them, but when an injury or unusual situation happens the characters react like anybody would.
Scene of the Movie – Drinking and dancing.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most surreal horrors of the year, it will offer plenty of questions with performances that are truly outstanding.
Writer: John Patrick Shanley (Screenplay) Piers Paul Read (Book)
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Hamilton, Bruce Ramsay, John Newton, David Kriegel, Kevin Breznahan
Plot: A Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the snow swept Andes are forced to use desperate measures to survive after a plane crash.
Tagline – They survived the impossible…by doing the unthinkable.
Runtime: 2 Hours
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Brilliant Survival Story
Story: Alive starts when the plane crashes in the Andes, the surviving passengers, including Nando Parrado (Hawke), Antonio Balbi (Spano), Robert Canessa (Hamilton) and Carlitos Paez (Ramsay) look to help keep people calm and deal with injuries as they look to plan for rescue.
Antonio does take control of trying to keep the survivors alive, which includes making sure the food and drink lasts until rescue and people could survive the freezing nights, at this time, 26 people made it through the first night. As the time starts passing by, the realization that they are not being looked for sets in, which sees them having to make a drastic decision in their attempts to survive.
Thoughts on Alive
Characters – Nando is one of the few survivors that wasn’t awake after the crash, once awake, he starts to help with the survival attempts and is one of the few that pushes through the idea of needing to eat the dead to survive. Antonio is the captain of the rugby team and takes the leadership position, trying to keep everyone calm and alive for as long as possible, planning on making sure the food supply and other essentials is being supplied for the survivors. Roberto and Carlitos help with the medical problems after the crash, proving to understand how to survive the injuries they have received. These men and women are based on the real survivors of the accident, not everyone made it out alive and going into character details, might seem unfair to the people.
Performances – Ethan Hawke and Vincent Spano are both excellent in their roles in the film, they do show both sides of survivors as well as understanding how important they both are meant to be. The whole cast is great, showing how difficult it was to survive and instead of just turning to the accents, they keep it looking like an American version of the film, with the Uruguayan names
Story – The story here follows the true story of the survival of members of the Uruguayan rugby team and other passengers of a plane crash in the Anders mountain range, which sees how they must survive over a 2-month period, while they are waiting for rescue. This is a truly amazing story of survival, it showed us just how difficult each day would be for the survivors and shows us how they faced a horrible decision, but one that saved their lives. It is one that does rely on how people did do anything to survive and how we wouldn’t be telling this story if some of the people hadn’t survived.
Adventure/Biopic – The adventure side of this story follows the survivors as they plan on surviving until rescue, which does play into the biopic side of the story, because this event did change the lives of the survivors.
Settings – The film is set in the Andes mountain range, it shows the cold conditions, the fact they can’t just walk away from this location along with the brutal plane crash to start the events off.
Final Thoughts – This is an amazing story of survival, one that couldn’t even be written by a writer, it shows the impossible and has wonderful performance from the whole cast.
Overall: Must watch survival story.