Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen (Screenplay)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson, Alison Folland

 

Plot: Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.


Tagline – A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shockingly Powerful Drama

 

Story: Boys Don’t Cry starts with Teena (Swank) a young woman that wants to become a man, she uses the name Brandon to go around small American towns looking to pick up women, which has got her in trouble in the past.

On his latest trip she finds a new group of people, with Lana (Sevigny) taking her eye, with her friends and family including John (Sarsgaard), Tom (Sexton III), Candace (Goranson) all welcoming her into the group as Brandon, when her true identity is revealed there will be shocking consequence.

 

Thoughts on Boys Don’t Cry

 

Characters – Teena is a young woman that is preparing for her sex change, before that she is going around as a young man Brandon, trying to meet women. She meets a young lady in Lana, makes new friends, but she is on the run which will soon catch up with her. This is a based on a real person that is going through the difficult process of wanting to have a sex change. Lana is the young lady that Brandon takes a shine to, she lives the dead end life that she isn’t enjoying and Brandon brings a new feeling about it, though she is left in a difficult position when the truth comes out. John and Tom are two of the group of friends that happily welcome Brandon into their group, when they learn the truth, they will go to extreme measures to get revenge.

PerformancesHilary Swank went on to win an Oscar for her role in the film, you can see why because she is fantastic in the difficult role. Chloe Sevigny shows us jus how her supporting role she can make a huge impact in the film. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendon Sexton III both are disturbing in their roles in the film which shows just how they could make to truly disgusting human beings come to life.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady preparing for a sex change, that would go around looking for women, only for her secret to come back when the prejudice locals can’t deal with people somebody they can’t explain in their lives. This is a film way before it own time, even though it is only 20 years old, it is based on the real crime which would easily have been given a bigger spotlight in todays world. we do step into the world of transgenders, which is always difficult to word correctly because it is a sensitive subject. What occurs in the film is surprising and shocking that you couldn’t see happening.

Biopic/Crime/RomanceThe film uses the biopic side of the film to show the romance and crime against Brandon Teena a young transgender that is still wanting to figure out how to get through the sex change.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the locations which shows how the smaller towns can operate and have mindsets that don’t accept people that are different.


Scene of the Movie –
The first night together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The actions of the men.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most difficult movies you will see, it has a sensitive subject on the table which will show the way people can act towards people.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating

 

 

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Lean on Pete (2018)

Director: Andrew Haigh

Writer: Andrew Haigh (Screenplay) Willy Vlautin (Novel)

Starring: Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, Travis Fimmel, Amy Seimetz, Steve Zahn

 

Plot: A teenager gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.


Tagline – You Can’t Get Anywhere On Your Own

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Coming of Age Film

 

Story: Lean on Pete starts when teenager Charley (Plummer) fascinated by horses gets offered a job by horse trainer Del (Buscemi) he jumps at the opportunity, it does mean he leaves his father Ray (Fimmel) from day to day. The horse they are training is named ‘Lean on Pete’ he isn’t the fastest and is being over worked.

When Charley suffers his own personal loss, he sees that Pete is going to be sold and decides to take him, going on the run with the race horse in search of the only family he knows he has.

 

Thoughts on Lean on Pete

 

Characters – Charley is a 15-year-old, who lives with his father as they struggle to make ends meet, he is fascinated by horses and wants to work with them which sees him running past the track on a daily basis. Offered a job he looks to learn the ropes becoming attached to race horse Lean on Pete. With his father injured, he sees his only friend in Pete and when the trainer wants to sell him, Charley goes on the run, giving him an adventure he could never have imagined. Del is the horse trainer, he has been doing it for years now and is getting tired of the process, he will sell any race horse that doesn’t make him money and does offer Charley the chance to work for him. Bonnie is a jockey that has worked with Del in the past, she tries to teach Charley not to become attached to Pete, only to need to focus on her own future. Ray is Charley’s father that works a basic job just to put food on the table, he gets himself in trouble which leads to him get seriously hurt, forcing Charley into working more.

PerformancesCharlie Plummer in the leading role is fantastic, the story focuses on his story, his problems and Charlie makes us feel each emotion that he goes through. Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny and Travis Fimmel are all wonderful in the supporting roles with each letting Charlie take the spotlight he needs to have.

StoryThe story follows Charley, a teenager who comes from a broken home, doesn’t have much of a future and just wants to work with horses, he gets the chance only to make a big decision to steal an aging race horse as he goes in search for his family on the other side of the country. He must learn to grow up fast and that connections are not as long lasting as they should be. For a story about the troubles a teenager must face, this is one of the best, because it shows just how far one will go in search for family after losing everything. we see the bond between man and horse and just how difficult the moment you will face when you need to be alone in the world. the journey across country is good but if you don’t know the size of America you still struggle to understand just how far the journey is.

AdventureThe adventure shows just how far Charley must travel with a horse in search of family, this is a cross-country journey for Charley in hope of finding someone that might not be there.

SettingsThe settings show us the openness that America can hold because of the journey that Charley goes on, the harsh reality of the open road.


Scene of the Movie –
Stealing Pete.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of urgency any of the authorities treat Charley’s situation, making it easy to run.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful coming of age adventure film, it shows one teenager who has lost everything going in search for anybody that could be part of his life with a horse along for the ride. It will tug on the heartstring and you will feel for Charley every step of the way.

 

Overall: Heartfelt and powerful coming of age movie.

Rating

 

 

The Snowman (2017)

Director: Tomas Afredson

Writer: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Jo Nesbo (Novel)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, J.K Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jamie Clayton, Toby Jones

 

Plot: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.


Tagline – Soon the first snow will come, and then he will kill again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Twisty Mystery Thriller

 

Story: The Snowman starts as we meet alcoholic detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) a once great detective that is lacking the motivation because of the lack of murders and his break up with his long-term girlfriend Rakel (Gainsbourg). He gets a new member of his team Katrine (Ferguson) who has embraced the latest technology in police work and the two start an investigation into a missing woman.

The two have very different backgrounds and the story does jump back to a previous serious of crimes that were being investigated in a different part of Norway, but as the women continue to go missing we are thrown a list of different suspects and mixing this with the personal backgrounds of the two characters we wait to see who the killer is.

 

Thoughts on The Snowman

 

Characters – Harry Hole was once one of the best detectives in Oslo, his cases have been studied be the candidates in the academy, but he has fallen on bad times with a drinking problem and a relationship ending. When the case does come up he is still the first man selected to lead the investigation, this is where we get to see his true skills. Katrine is a rookie that transferred to the department, she uses the technology to make the work easier but slowly we learn about her past and her reasons for being transferred to this department. Rakel is the ex-girlfriend of Harry who they still remain close due to Harry building a relationship with her son. Arve Stop is a political figure running the campaign to get Oslo the Winter World Cup, he does become one of the many suspects. We do meet at least a total of 6 potential suspects which could all have motive for the crime which is nice, but this also means we don’t focus enough on the mind games between the killer and Hole.

PerformancesFassbender is great in the leading role, giving us what we would expect from him without reaching his best of the best level of ability. Rebecca Ferguson is good too, she doesn’t steal the spotlight like she did in Rogue Nation but shows she does have more to her in ability wise. The rest of the cast do well with what they have to work with, even if they don’t get enough screen time to make the impact they could.

StoryThe trailers made this out to be a true mind games based serial killer versus cop movie, this is in fact a lie, we have the slow processes of trying to solve who could be behind this with plenty of suspects along the way. The tease with the note does feel confusing though because it sets up the mind games but doesn’t seem to follow through on them. We do have a lot of side stories going on including Harry’s relationship with Rakel and her son, Katrine’s past and just who is Arve Stop, which doesn’t help us focus on what should be the biggest factor the killer.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crimes do look horrific when we see the full effects of what the killer is doing and his weapon of choice is fresh and terrifying at that. The mystery does keep us guessing through the film but the lack of final punch takes away the horror for me.

SettingsThe settings make this film look beautiful, we have stunning shots of the Norwegian snow cover countryside but once we are in the big cities it all looks the same.


Scene of the Movie –
First learning of the killer weapon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was confusing to figure out if the characters were Norwegian or what.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller, it does keep us guessing but it does get confusing trying to balance too many side stories, unlike Wind River which deals with the problems head on.

 

Overall: Good but not great snow flake.

Rating

 

 

Antibirth (2016)

antibirthDirector: Danny Perez

Writer: Danny Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Mark Webber, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Emmanuel Kabongo, Neville Edwards, Morgan Bedard, Corey Pascall

 

Plot: In a desolate community full of drug-addled Marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a wild night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and recurring visions as she struggles to get a grip on reality while stories of conspiracy spread.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Body Horror With Characters We Don’t Care About

 

Story: Antibirth starts as we meet Lou (Lyonne) a wild party animal stoner who awakes with pregnancy symptoms that she doesn’t remember having the sex to become pregnant. Lou along with her best friend Sadie (Sevigny) look to understand what could have happened that night in question.

It isn’t long before Lou starts suffering strange symptoms that leave her wondering is it a side effect from the drugs or real and we are left to see just how far the body horror can go.

Antibirth comes off like a body horror that we follow a string of truly unlikeable characters. This doesn’t help us at all because we just don’t care about Lou and what she is going through as she never feels like a victim. The final act of this film does go into direction that never fully gets hinted and it does work for a saving part of this film. Most of the build up to the final act comes off feeling very flat because we just have Lou taking drugs on repeat.

 

Overall: Body horror with an interesting twist.

Rating51