Love & Mercy (2014)

Director: Bill Pohlad

Writer: Oren Moverman, Michael A Lerner (Screenplay) Brian Wilson (Based on the life of)

Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald, Brett Davern

 

Plot: In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.


Tagline – The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at a Great Musician

 

Story: Love & Mercy starts by taking us to two different stages of Brian Wilson’s life, first the 60’s (played by Dano) as he starts to isolate himself from the band as he works on the latest album for the band, one that gives them a different sound to what the Beach Boys were known for.

The second time is in the 80s where Brian has been struggling with his own health issues dealing with his psychosis, which makes him socially awkward at times, trying to start dating car saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Banks) with the watchful eye from therapist Dr Eugene Landy (Giamatti). We follow both the struggling times Brian goes through and how he deals with them.

 

Thoughts on Love & Mercy

 

Characters – Brian Wilson was one of the greatest musical minds of all time, following two different stages of his life in this film. The 60s version of Brian shows how the success has been making the band one of the biggest in the world, how he wanted to stop touring to work on the next album with a different tone to the music. In this time, we see how the drugs start to take over his life and his obsession with trying to find a new sound risks the success of the band and we see the early moments of his psychosis coming through. In the 80s version we meet a broken man, one that has been through the worst part of his life, but needing guidance and medication to get through the day. He is trying to have a relationship with his disease controlling what he goes through, we see the darkness take over at times. Melinda is a car saleswoman that meets the older Brian and the two strike it off as we see how she tries to get involved in the relationship while dealing with the Eugene figure. Dr Eugene Landy is controlling Brian’s life in the 80s, he has helped him turn his life around after the problems he faced in the 70s, his methods seem extreme and what he puts Brian through are exposed by the end of the film.

PerformancesThe performances here are brilliant throughout, Paul Dano as the younger Brian shows just how wonderful a performer he is, by using certain scenes for his singing skills. John Cusack is great in the older version of Brian showing us that given the right material he can shine. Elizabeth Banks is great in the supporting role looking just as confused and concerned to everything going on in Brian’s life. Paul Giamatti is great too and we know he can always hit the marks in this type of role.

StoryThe story here follows two moments of Brian Wilson’s life, the first is the one where he is trying to change the music and starts to get the first signs on his psychosis, the other is how easily he could become exploited by having someone try and control his life. The first part is a story we could believe happening to a wonderful musician, the second is a story that is hard to believe that someone would do that to someone. This story is set so the stories run side by side showing us how he can be fully functional at times, but how he can become distant and isolated at others. I know this is more about the personal battle Brian goes through, but I would have liked a little bit more on the history of the musical side of his career.

Biopic/MusicThe two moments, well years that we follow in Brian’s life include the 60s and 80s, they are part of the most interesting as it shows the biggest change Brian goes through and the biggest battle he must come up against. We do have moments of the singing, if you don’t know the Beach Boys songs you might struggle to understand what the biggest songs are.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just which era we are going through, they show the lifestyles the characters would be going through without needing to throw in any main stream events.


Scene of the Movie –
Creating God Only Knows.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked to see how Brian ended up under the care of Eugene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at the musician Brian Wilson, follow two parts works too, instead of the full life moments. If you like the Beach Boys this is a must watch.

 

Overall: Beach Boys fans watch.

Rating

 

 

The Culling (2015)

logoDirector: Rustam Branaman

Writer: Rustam Branaman (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy Sumpter, Elizabeth Di Prinzio, Brett Davern, Chris Coy, Linsey Godfrey, Virginia Williams, Johnathon Schaech, Harley Graham

 

Plot: A terrifying supernatural thriller in which a group of college friends on a road trip find themselves fighting off dark forces at a remote farmhouse after a chance encounter with a strange little girl.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Budget Horror

Story: The Culling starts with a girl running from something in the dark, I feel a cliché comment coming here. Next we meet Emily (Di Prinzio) who is chatting to Sean (Davern) on an internet with them both exchanging ghost capturing images, trying to out scare each other. Emily joins her friends Amanda (Godfrey), Hank (Coy) Tyler (Sumpter) and Sean for a fun filled weekend like most college students. The five friends find a little girl crying just searching for her chance to go home and decide to help her by taking her home.

Emily takes the little girl Lucy into the house but there is no one there, the friends hang around until the parents return home and find a place to stay for the night. When Lucy’s mother has an accident the five friends get stuck at the house looking after Lucy when we clearly have been hearing noises coming from the house and surroundings. As the night continues the five friends find out they are not alone and when Lucy and Amanda go missing the four remaining friends have to figure out what is going on while being haunted by a spirit creature.

The Culling manages to look like it could have been a lot better but let’s look out how things played out. We do follow the clichés there is no question about that and we do get the characters making stupid horror movie mistakes, separating and not listening to instruction. The issue I had was that the film doesn’t seem to want to identify the force until it is too late which takes away the reason why the characters are running around aimlessly at times. When we do finally get the reveal it does again come off clichéd but works for what this horror is trying to achieve. You can see the low budget used on this film which doesn’t help because the acting takes away from certain moments that are highlights. I think this had a lot of potential but just went in the wrong directions. (4/10)

 

Actor Review

Jeremy Sumpter: Tyler the ex-boyfriend of Emily but still friends with everyone, he goes on the trip hoping to win Emily back but really comes off as a big softy. Jeremy manages to make us get annoyed with his character as he clearly looks out of place in this role. (2/10)

 

Elizabeth Di Prinzio: Emily the head strong trainee nurse who really takes charge of the situation, she manages to stay calm while the rest overreact and tries to understand the situation. Elizabeth tires to be a good lead and shows all the character needed but really isn’t strong enough for the role. (4/10)

Brett Davern: Sean the trademark asshole of the group who only ever thinks about himself, you will grow to hate this character quickly. Brett does a good job making you really hate this character. (6/10)

 

Chris Coy: Hank the fifth wheel of the group who panics way too much making all the wrong decisions. Chris really looks like this was mailed in. (2/10)

 

Linsey Godfrey: Amanda fresh out of rehab but hasn’t learnt her lessons because she still wants to take drugs, she becomes an easy victim for the spirit because of her weaknesses. Linsey doesn’t do anything of any quality in the role. (2/10)

Support Cast: The Culling has a supporting cast of the children and the family but never really uses them to the best of the abilities.

Director Review: Rustam Branaman – Rustam manages to take every possible cliché and turn it into a film that really isn’t very character driven but does have one very good horror moment. (4/10)

 

Thriller: The Culling you don’t seem to want to care about the characters as they just make the silly mistakes over and over again. (2/10)

Settings: The Culling does create the isolation factor needed nicely. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Culling has a mix of good and bad effects, but I will say it is due to low budget. (5/10)

Suggestion: The Culling is one that you could watch on late night TV only I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it and I wouldn’t suggest anyone else too. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: When Amanda looks in the closest, good jump scare.

Worst Part: Not following instructions.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It is left open for one, but I doubt it.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

Tagline: When the devil breeds…a new evil is born.

 

Overall: The Culling is a very clichéd horror thriller that doesn’t come off as well as it could, but it really did have potential.

Rating 30