Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating

 

 

American Animals (2018)

Director: Bart Layton

Writer: Bart Layton (Screenplay)

Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier

 

Plot: Four young men mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history.


Tagline – Nobody wants to be ordinary

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Way Too Slow

 

Story: American Animals starts as we see the heist about to take place, rewinding us 18 months where we meet Spencer Reinhardt (Keoghan) an art student in Transylvania University, struggling with his identity, turning to his streetwise friend Warren Lipka (Peters) the two discuss the potential of stealing rare expensive books from the library.

As the idea turns into a plan they bring in Chas Allen (Jenner) and Eric Borsuk (Abrahamson), can they make this plan come off, well the answer is no because as we see the planning we meet the real thieves now in their 30s discussing what they remember about the idea.

 

Thoughts on American Animals

 

Characters – Warren is the streetwise student on a scholarship, not living up to his potential, he will always get things down however illegal they might be. He is the one that brings the team together to make this happen even if he is also the one that gets them in the most problems. Spencer is the art student that comes up with the idea because he is sick of not standing out in the art world, looking for the pain be believes artist require. He is all in with the planning but when it comes to following through he thinks they will need to go too far. Chas is the getaway driver, he has the most money which helps with the planning of the heist. Eric becomes the brains learning where things could and would go wrong if they do it in certain directions. We do also meet the adult versions of these characters in the real version that are looking back on the crime they committed.

PerformancesEvan Peters is the clear highlight in this film, he always comes off unpredictable which seeing the older versions of the characters you completely understand too. Barry Keoghan does play the stranger member of the crew well, he is the one that is happy to plan not commit a crime, he needs to be straighter faced than Peters character. When it comes to the rest of the cast they are fine without needing to do that much.

StoryThe story here is based on the real story of four university students that robbed the rare book collection in the library of their university. The way the story is told is interesting because it does both help and hinder the film, having a mix of the actors playing the younger versions and the real men talking about the events does give the story a documentary feel. Where this does hinder the story is by telling us that they failed early on and are now just remembering what happen which takes away any excitement or edge of your set moments towards anything going on. There are moments in the story which are good to watch, for example the scene where they are watching heist movies to learn how to pull it off and seeing the pitch perfect plan in Warren’s head. If we are being honest, the story is about 20 minutes too long because the opening hour just drags you along, once the heist gets underway things get more exciting but by then you might see the audience lose interest.

CrimeThe crime follows a real heist that happened at the same university, we get to see how it was planned, how things went down and seeing the consequences the boys felt.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the university, this helps for any heist film, we do get moments where we step away, but that is for the plan which does work when you see how the boys are out of their depth at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Selecting the names.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The first hour.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long heist movie that drags along at a horribly slow pace, once things kick off we do get some interest, but the fact we have the real criminals involved in telling the story we know the outcome.

 

Overall: Just watch for Evan Peters being slightly crazy.

Rating

 

 

Be Afraid (2017)

Director: Drew Gabreski

Writer: Gerald Nott (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Krause, Jaimi Paige, Louis Herthum, Jared Abrahamson, Michelle Hurd, Michael Leone, Noell Coet

 

Plot: Not long after John Chambers and his family arrive at their new home in a small country town of Pennsylvania, John begins to experience sleep paralysis. Lying there paralyzed, trapped within his own nightmare, other-worldly beings visit John. They are entities which exist in the darkest shadows of the night and can only be seen out of the corner of one’s eye. These encounters begin to haunt John, transforming to complete terror as he discovers the entities’ sole purpose… the abduction of his seven year old son.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Not Scary Horror Film

 

Story: Be Afraid starts as the Chambers family moves into the small town, Dr John (Krause), Heather (Paige), and Nathan (Leone) who get joined by elder son returning home Ben (Abrahamson) where the family is looking to start a new life as the town’s doctor.

When the family gets visited by locals who all suffered their own losses which leads to Nathan the youngest family member believing he is being visited by a man at night as John starts suffering sleep paralysis.

 

Thoughts on Be Afraid

 

Characters – Dr John Chambers moves his family to the town and fills the investigating side of the story searching for the answer to what might be happening in the town. Heather is the wife John and mother of Nathan that spends most of the film telling John what to do, nothing much else. Chief Collins has been dealing with the previous missing child and with this latest case must help the doctor with the danger he might be facing. We also have the kid who getting the visions and the elder son needing to prove himself to his father. To be honest we do end up meeting too many characters in this film as each gets time but that takes away from the characters that need time.

PerformancesReturning to the biggest problems being the number of characters, this shows in the performances because we just don’t get enough time for the performers to give us the best performance to their abilities.

StoryThe story follow the traditional check marks for a horror, the family move to new town, strange things have happen in the past, true this works but the problem comes with too many characters to introduce into the story leaving us trying to keep up with all the characters through story unfolding, we also don’t get any proper answers to just what the creatures are that are doing in the haunting.

HorrorThe horror doesn’t start till later in the film, we do get a couple of good scenes which do increase the horror level but not understand the point of these moments doesn’t help.

SettingsThe small town setting gives us an idea that everyone knows what is going on in the town between the characters and our new family is like us entering the town with the mystery as to what is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are interesting because the creatures look full practical which makes us respect the idea of a real monster over a CGI one.


Scene of the Movie –
Bath time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters to follow.

Chances of Sequel: It could have one but I hope it doesn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that could have worked but having too many characters doesn’t help us support the family that are experiencing the horror, the creatures are good but are also left unanswered to their motives.

 

Overall: This is a weaker horror because it finds itself bogged down with too much going on.

Rating