Atonement (2007)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) Ian McEwan (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.


Tagline – Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Atonement starts when young Briony Tallis (Ronan) keeps seeing events between her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and her lover Robbie Turner (McAvoy) from an angle she couldn’t understand believing he is hurting her. Keeping this secret until her cousin Lola (Temple) is raped in the middle of the night, she believes it was Robbie who committed the crime.

4 years later the lives of these people have changed, Robbie is now in the army World War II. Cecilia is still waiting for Robbie, though the effects of that night 4 years ago will never be forgotten between the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Atonement

 

Characters – Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the Tallis family, he was given an education while starting a romance with eldest daughter Cecilia. When things start getting steamy a misunderstanding derail he life, leaving him going to war and forever wondering what really could have been. Cecilia is the eldest daughter of the family she is involved in a romance with Robbie which is what she has been waiting for, for years, she doesn’t believe the stories against him either. Briony is the younger daughter that misread the situations she sees her sister in, she is the one that uses her creative mind to make stories, one of which would tear the lives apart, she will now spend the time making up for her mistake.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are never going to be in doubt, because we have top class actors. McAvoy shines as the shunned man forced into war, Knightley as the woman who loses her true love to a mistake and young Saoirse Ronan showing us just how talented she was going to become.

StoryThe story here follows one moment in a group of people’s lives which gets misread and tears them apart forever, one tries to rebuild the bridges broken though the damage is done. We do follow three lives that have been changed which seems like it is meant to be important though by then you are just not looking to care about what happened because we didn’t get enough time focusing on the aftermath of the incident.

Mystery/RomanceThere is a mystery, which focuses on who was really the person to be raping Lola, though we don’t investigate this, the romance shows us the damaging effects of a false accusation on two people who are meant to be together.

SettingsThe film is set in England, the first part is just rich country home, when we hit the war side of the film things get more difficult because we see the struggles of war.


Scene of the Movie –
Dunkirk beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Isn’t the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the duller period pieces that shows us just how many lives can be affected by a false accusation, we have great performances, though they don’t seem to have much to do.

 

Overall: Not a fan of this one.

Rating

 

 

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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Caliee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth

 

Plot: Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.


Tagline – All Roads Lead Here

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Stylish Movie

 

Story: Bad Times at the El Royale starts as a priest Daniel Flynn (Bridges), a singer Darlene Sweet (Erivo), a vacuum salesman Laramie (Hamm) and a woman on the run Emily (Johnson) all arrive at the El Royale, a hotel that sits on the state lines of California and Nevada, the manager Miles Miller (Pullman) does every job at the hotel and not everything is as it seems.

As the night unfolds the guest turn out to have their own secrets with on bringing along the psychopathic cult leader Billy Lee (Hemsworth) who only makes this worse for the guests at the El Royale.

 

Thoughts on Bad Times as the El Royale

 

Characters – Father Daniel Flynn is an ageing man whose memory just isn’t what is once was, he has selected the El Royale for his own reasons, which will become clear, he comes off like the calm presence you would imagine any priest, with a dark past. Darlene is a singer that is dreaming of her own big break, she uses the hotel as her halfway point in her latest gig, she is easily the most innocent resident at the hotel this night. Emily comes speeding into the hotel, on the run from someone, she is trying to help somebody and will do everything in her power to save them. Laramie is a vacuum salesman that has a secret, one we learn early on, he ends up being the catalyst for everything that happens at the hotel. Billy Lee joins the hotel late, he is the psychopathic leader of a cult that enjoys to torture and put people through games for his own pleasure. Rose is Emily’s sister who has been sucked into the cult, she will following Billy to the ends of the Earth for her devotion to him. Miles Miller is the hotel manager, well the only member of staff here, he has the secrets which will only make his come off shady, though he past will be the thing that sets him free.

PerformancesWe have a wonderful cast here with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm giving us the performance we know from them, Chris Hemsworth continues to prove himself in a different genre once again. Newcomers Lewis Pullman, Cailee Spaeny and especially Cynthia Erivo who easily steals the scenes.

StoryThe story follows the group of strangers that end up at the El Royale hotel for one night, when the secrets of the characters comes out as the night unfolds which only gets placed in the middle of the battle with a cult leader who wants his members back. This story does keep you guessing and uses the different perspective of different scenes only adds to the story. We don’t seem to have a wasted moment here either which is important because the clues will be there ready for the completion of the film.

Mystery The mystery in this comes from learn each character’s motives for being in the hotel, we learn from each new revelation that, they have a different reason that will make them stronger and be able to twist what we first thought of the character’s actions.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in and around the hotel, the only time we leave is when we look at flashbacks to where the characters have come from. The hotel does have a stylish look which adds to the creepy nature of events within the hotel.


Scene of the Movie –
The roulette gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Could I find one? no.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful stylistic movie that has wonderful performances throughout, a story that keeps you guessing and even feels unique for a cinematic experience this year.

 

Overall: Must watch mystery thriller.

Rating

 

 

Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Director: Christopher Landon

Writer: Christopher Landon (Screenplay) Scott Lobdell (Characters)

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Steve Zissis

 

Plot: Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.


Tagline – Death makes a killer comeback.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smartly Written

 

Story: Happy Death Day 2U starts when Ryan (Vu) starts going through the same experience that Tree (Rothe) did one year ago, Tree knows how to break the cycle which only brings us to his lab work, which brings us a couple of new characters in Samar (Sharma) and Andrea (Yarkin) that help solve the case only for the outcome to take Tree right back to September 18th waking up in the dorm room of Carter (Broussard).

Tree sets out to end the cycle quickly only to learn she is in a very different version and she must figure out who the killer is all over again, while helping Ryan figure out how to put time back together again.

 

Thoughts on Happy Death Day 2U

 

Characters – Tree is back first off helping Ryan handle the repeat day, before being forced back through the day she got stuck in, this time not everything is as it seems and she is faced if difficult decisions ones, people might never get to decide over. Carter is Tree’s boyfriend and the student’s room she keeps waking up in, he has a different life this time around though. Ryan is the slacker roommate of Carter’s who has been working on an experiment which has put him into the loop, he seems to have two sides, one is the stoner slacker roommate, the other is a genius scientific mind, it is hard to believe the two are the same. Lori returns to, as we learn how different the realities have become. We do have all the characters returning here which does give them a different spin and a different suspect list.

PerformancesJessica Rothe steals the show once again with her performance, with her character going through different emotional decisions than the first film which saw her go from bitchy to understanding, this time she has harder decisions to make. When we get into the supporting cast, sadly, nobody gets as much time as they should do, Phi Vu seems like he is going to get a lot of time from the opening sequence, only to spend most of the film at a computer screen.

StoryThe story here is one that does feel like one of the most interest written ones I have seen in a long time, first we know how the first film unfolded, so, how do we handle a sequel? We change the genre, that is what we did, because the first film used more fantasy elements to create the loop only for this one to put us into a sci-fi factor. Now, this story does focus a lot more on choices, most importantly ones that Tree can make, with a brand-new look at life and chances she didn’t know she could have being bought back for her, this is the highlight of everything we see. The weakness of this comes from the fact we do have a new killer and we don’t really spend anytime figuring out who they are. The best way to describe this would be imagine Sidney could relive the events of Scream and the killers were different and her life changed from the one she was living, only she knew about it. This sounds complicated though, it doesn’t feel like that.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror and mystery factors do take a backburner this time, we do have a killer, we don’t seem to truly investigate this enough for the film to get the time to shine.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the university, we return to certain locations, but strangely this doesn’t offer anything new to the genre.


Scene of the Movie –
The blind student.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The overuse of suicide in a comic way.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that does continue to build on the original, it will give you laughs, but will take the mystery away from everything, Jessica Rothe does steal the show again.

 

Overall: Fun, improved sequel.

Rating

 

 

Suspiria (2018)

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writer: David Kajganich (Screenplay) Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi (Characters)

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Sylvie Testud, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lutz Ebersdorf

 

Plot: A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.


Tagline – Pain cleanses all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing & Chilling

 

Story: Suspiria starts with Patricia (Moretz) going into hiding from her dancing company, turning to Dr Josef Klemperer (Swinton), this leaves a space in the program which American Susie Bannion (Johnson) gets given the chance to take in Berlin. Susie impresses the artistic director Madame Blanc (Swinton) and it isn’t long before she gets to learn about the most popular dance.

Susie soon gets given the lead in the dance, the one Madame Blanc has spent years perfecting, only she gets to see the darker side of the company which has the ability to consumer the dancers.

 

Thoughts on Suspiria

 

Characters – Susie is the American given the chance to perform in the biggest dance company in Berlin, one with a huge reputation for being one of the best and strongest in the business, it doesn’t take her long to impress as she becomes the lead in the performance, she is left to wonder at what cost though. Madame Blanc is the director of the show, she knows talent and knows how to get the bet out of the talent, while disposing of the unwanted talent. She is a strict perfectionist, that will get the moment she needs for the show. Sara is the member of the dance academy that is friends with the one that vanishes, while being the friend that guides Susie through the welcoming, she learns more about the truth behind the plans. Dr Josef Klemperer is one Patricia turns to for help, he stats to learn more about the dance company while dealing with her own loss from the world. Patricia is the one that goes missing and opens up the space for Susie to take, she has become paranoid about what is going on, which will force Sara into investigating in more detail.

PerformancesDakota Johnson steps away from the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise with ease here, bringing new life to her career, which is much needed, she shows us here that she is going to be one of the top stars for years to come. Mia Goth continues to show us why she is picked for the roles that never seem normal, while Chloe Grace Moretz steps away from her younger roles with a much more mature role. It is Tilda Swinton that shows her true talent with her roles in the film, the dance director is an easy one for her, while the male doctor shows us just how talented she truly is.

StoryThe story follows a young American that joins a famous dance company only for the company to have a much darker side which the dancers are becoming consumed by. This is a remake and as I have never seen the original, I don’t know how similar the story is, which is fine, because it may have a couple of nods to the original and casting choice including original cast members, the story focuses on just what could be going on within the dance company and how it operates. We learn early on what they are up to and just how shocking it is and for the most part we are left wondering just what is going on with the main performer.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film goes hand in hand with the horror of just what is going on, it is a very dark world and the mystery of just how we get there is what will drive the audience to enjoy.

SettingsThe film is set in Berlin, this shows us that the world is still affecting the people around the city and how strong this dance company had become.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are shocking in their realism which will disturb and shock through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like a long film for no reason.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the craziest horror films from a year which was filled with the horrors that fit that quota. It does feel very long which will turn away audiences, but the committed horrors fans will enjoy what they see.

 

Overall: Crazy, disturbing and one you won’t forget.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – First Reformed (2018)

Director: Paul Schrader

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston

 

Plot: A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hawke’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: First Reformed starts as we meet minster Toller (Hawke) who has a small congregation in the Fist Reformed church one with a big history about the celebrate an anniversary. One of the community Mary (Seyfried) is worried about her husband Michael (Ettinger) who has become worried about the future for their unborn child.

After the death of Michael, Toller starts looking into the climate change problems, believing he is getting ill, only to learn the truth about the local supply which has a connection must close to home.

 

Thoughts on First Reformed

 

Characters – Toller is a minster with a tragic past, he lost a son in war which saw his marriage end and his own problems coming to light. He turned to the bible which seems him getting a chance to help people who need it, he soon learns that his own health is getting worse and the problems in the world are starting to get to him. Mary is a pregnant woman who believes there is something wrong with her husband, she turns to Toller for help an he does all he can to help him through his problems, while she deals with life about to bring a child into the world. Jeffers runs the church in the area, he gave Toller the job and is always planning for investments to the church. Esther is the ex-wife who still works for the church, they do still support each other even if they have been through the problems of losing a child.

PerformancesEthan Hawke gives a career best performance here, he shines on so many levels, he will leave you feeling disturbed by what is going on, while also feel sympathetic to his situation. Amanda Seyfried, Ceric the Entertainer and Victoria Hill complete supporting cast and are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a minster who starts to question his faith and mortality when he learns who is behind the funding for his church, leading him to want to make a rash decision. If we are going to be honest about this story, we must admit that it will split the audience mostly because of how it ends, it won’t keep everyone going home saying wow, it will leave people going what happened, which is always going to put the audience off, sure we don’t always want to get spoon fed answers though. This does have plenty to focus on and does offer a big question about the future of mankind, what people will do to save it no matter what they do for a living.

MysteryThe mystery involved in the film comes from Toller learning the truth about what is going on and just what he will do about it.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town in New York, it shows how businesses will operate around it and how the community will come together through the difficult times.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing the world in a breath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end could be more conclusive.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting movie that has a brilliant performance from Hawke, it brings forward big questions while most of the film is interesting it could have a better conclusion.

 

Overall: Carried by the performance of Hawke.

Rating