The Neon Demon (2016)

neonDirector: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Poly Stenham (Screenplay)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

 

Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: UMMMMM ZZZZZZ I Think

 

Story: The Neon Demon starts young naïve model Jesse (Fanning) who at the tender age of 16 moved the LA to make a name for herself, striking up a friendship with make-up artist Ruby (Malone) she finds her way to model agent Roberta Hoffman (Hendricks) who starts her on her trail to stardom.

As Jesse stars to rise up the ranks in the modelling world she meets all the other models that have all gone to their own lengths to get into the world, but will she let this new world consume her.

The Neon Demon is a film I can honestly say I really just didn’t understand or of the bits I did understand I feel it comes off like a poor version of Starry Eyes. The film is full blown artsy with lots of long shots of pretty much nothing happening other than music. In the end I found myself wanting this to be a lot shorter and have a more rounded story.

 

Overall: Artsy messy film really

Rating20

 

 

North by Northwest (1959)

northDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Ernest Lehman (Screenplay)

Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G Carroll, Josephine Hutchinson, Philip Ober

 

Plot: A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: North by Northwest starts as New York advertising executive Roger O Thornhill (Grant) is taken my Phillip Vandamm (Mason) and his man believing he is George Kaplan a spy. Setting up to kill Roger he is filled with booze but escapes by finding himself arrested.

Roger teams up with his mother Clara (Landis) to figure out who this Mr Kaplan with the people in the hotel believing him to be and no one believing the story of his events, searching for the truth takes him right across the country where he meets the beautiful Eve Kendall (Saint) who aids in his escape but not everything is what it seems for Roger.

 

Thoughts on North by Northwest

 

StoryThis is the classic Hitchcock thriller that tells us the simple story of being miss-identified by all the wrong people with nowhere to turn to. This is a thriller that shows us that the idea that could easily be what inspired many a movie in modern times. The story had plenty of twists and turns along the way which at the time would have kept you guessing what will happen next at the time.

Action/Mystery/ThrillerThis has action when the chase scenes with the mystery of what is going on happening very early on with the thrilling side of the story keeping you guessing from the start to the finish. All the genres mix together to give us one of the most ground breaking thrillers of all time.

Characters/PerformanceRobert is a great everyday man who ends up in the middle of the bigger conspiracy going on with each of the people he meets either offering something new or a threat for his life. Cary Grant is brilliant in this role showing he was the star of the era with the rest of the cast all shining close to his level throughout.

SettingsEach setting is used to show how Robert is looking to escape or answers to what is going on. We have the iconic scenes in the crop field, Mount Rushmore and the opening shot overlooking New York.

Final ThoughtsThis will always be looked at as one of the best thrillers of all time that did truly inspire so many of the films we get in modern cinema.

 

Overall: An absolutely classic that could never be beaten.

Ratingcard

 

 

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.

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Now You See Me 2 (2016)

 now

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ed Solomon (Screenplay) Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt (Characters)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

 

Plot: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sequel

 

Story: Now You See Me 2 starts by going all Ocean’s Twelve on us by having Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman) wanting revenge on the Four Horsemen Daniel (Eisenberg), Merritt (Harrelson), Jack (Franco) and Lula (Caplan). Dylan (Ruffalo) brings the Horsemen back for their next job as they look to expose a new technology that will be stealing information.

With the Horseman being played and exposed they find themselves being handled by the puppet master Walter Mabry (Radcliffe) who wants the Horseman to steal a technology he helped create to make up for the money he had stolen by the Horseman a year before.

Now You See Me 2 gives us the sequel that plays out very much like Ocean’s Twelve where the robbed characters want revenge on the people that took their money. This plays out like something that has lost the elements of surprise which the first film had because the twist in the first film defines how clever the concept was but this time we lack that side of everything. This is easy to watch but in the end just doesn’t reach the full potential required in the film.

 

Overall: This is an unnecessary sequel to a fun film

Rating51

 

 

The Nice Guys (2016)

niceDirector: Shane Black

Writer: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Beau Knapp

 

Plot: A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: The Nice Guys starts as we meet Jackson Healy (Crowe) who does the dirty jobs for people, we also meet PI Holland March (Gosling) who is a single father to Holly (Rice). The two end up crossing paths when Holland’s latest case sets him in search Amelia Kuttner (Qualley) who has a connection with pornstar Misty Mountains (Telio) who has famously died.

The unlikely duo must use both their skills to find Amelia as they learn of a bigger case going on as they find themselves being hunted down by John Boy (Bomer).

The Nice Guys is an action comedy crime mystery that we get an odd couple having to work together to solve the case. We get great moments between the Jackson and Holland as they both approach solving the crimes. The story is one you will have scene before with the conspiracy style without being something overly original but it does help make the characters feel like they fit into the world created. The story balances the comedy and action well without going too heavy on either and none of the jokes are forced.

 

Actor Review

 

Russell Crowe: Jackson gets hired to beat people up, he doesn’t ask questions he just does the job and gets paid. When his latest job finds him having to send a warning to Holland only to find himself getting stuck in the middle of the case and having to work with Holland. Russell nails the comedy perfectly while going against certain character traits people see in Russell.

Ryan Gosling: Holland is a PI and single father who has been searching for Amelia, he has his own problems with alcohol and has to work with Jackson to solve this latest case. Ryan shows another side to his skills in this role where he shines.

Angourie Rice: Holly is the teenage daughter of Holland’s who joins the odd couple on their adventure to solve the crime. She is wise beyond her years becoming key to the outcome of the story. Angourie stands toe to toe with the big names in this movie.

Matt Bomer: John Boy is called for to deal with the problem of Amelia, he is a deadly hit man that has to come to finish off the job. Matt is good in this supporting role as we don’t see him until late into the movie.

Support Cast: The Nice Guys has a supporting cast that all come into the story working very well with the main story.

Director Review: Shane BlackShane does give us one of the smash comedies of the year that will be making many people’s favourite for the year.

 

Action: The Nice Guys has good action moments with the over the top style the film gives us.

Comedy: The Nice Guys has great moments of comedy without trying to be laugh a minute.

Crime: The Nice Guys puts us into the crime story where we join the odd couple solving the crime.

Mystery: The Nice Guys puts us into the mystery of why Amelia is being hunted down by everyone.

Settings: The Nice Guys is set in the 70s where we follow the story and everything work very well.

Suggestion: The Nice Guys is one of the films I do think everyone should be watching. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Chemistry between Gosling and Crowe.

Worst Part: Couldn’t see one.

Funniest Scene: Party scene.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could easily have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Unlikely but could easily be an outside shot for screenplay.

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

Tagline: They’re not that nice 

 

Overall: One of the most enjoyable comedies of the year.

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