Review : Beasts of No Nation

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“A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.”

Netflix comes out of the gates swinging, with it’s first feature film, in Beasts of No Nation. The film is helmed by Cary Fukunaga of True Detective fame, and he really brings a distinct look and feel this movie. He is a believer in very deliberate film making, and the use of long slow pans, tilts and zoom, that force you to stay longer on something that you maybe don’t want to have to. Idris Elba plays a charismatic and brutal leader, and he plays the role perfectly. It’s nice in this movie, that we really get a sense for how and why child soldiers can be created, and not simply have that reasoning swept under the carpet. To be honest this movie is very brutal. It is brutal in tone, language, violence, and a few other things, but i think to have shied away from it would have been a mistake. Fukunaga also adds a great deal to that brutality, with the beauty and elegance of his cinematography, creating almost a juxtaposition of ideals on screen. Special mention also has to be made of Abraham Attah, who plays the main character of Agu in the movie. He was simply stunning, and deserves all the nominations in the world for this performance. The movie does have it slower periods, where it can get a bit bogged down, but otherwise the pacing is slow but very deliberate. All in all, Beasts of No Nation is a great start for Netflix and a great movie overall. Careful consideration however should be made by those who can’t handle this kind of material.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

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Review : Crimson Peak

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“In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds – and remembers.”

To be honest, Crimson Peak is like a love letter to the gothic horror genre, but one written by a smitten stalker. There is a plot in here, but just like the imaginary letter i eluded to before, it rambles about all over the place about how beautiful everything is and looks, and doesn’t really get to know the thing in which it describes. That does lead into the best part of this movie, which is the aesthetic that it does very well to bring and breathe to life, however there isn’t much else good here. The plot is heavy and terribly slow, and this movie feels like it’s an hour too long, but still somehow is short on character development. I also have NO idea why this movie is rated R, i feel pretty strongly that i have seen more sex and violence in PG-13 rated movies. All that R rating does here is limit the possible audience for this movie. The acting here overall is good, but the pick of the litter would really have to be Jessica Chastain. I’m not 100% sure if i would call this movie a horror either. It got me to feel much more creeped out than scared, so i guess gothic thriller might be a better tittle. All in all, Crimson Peak is a good idea that was left un-wacthed and un-superised, and became a shadow of the movie we hoped it would become.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

Review : Pan

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“12-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and danger, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.”

Pan is a bit of a reimagined re-telling of the classic Peter Pan story, with some new twists and updates. First, the good things. The production design of this movie, is simply stunning. The entire look and feel of all the worlds we see, and the actual costuming set design, is really, really well done. The score is also accompanies the movie very well when it needs to. The tone of movie, very much shifts and changes over the movie, which can be a bit of a bother. Also Hugh Jackmans’ Black beard was also very well done for the most part, but the character was made to have some questionable choices. Levi Miller also does a great Peter Pan, and it was nice to see him bring that character to life. This movie on a whole however, does really work as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good bits and pieces, even the 3D here is pretty good (it actually made me jump a few times), but when you for no reason, have an entire group of people singing Smells like teen spirit, you start to lose me. The newer version of his origin also seemed to be kind of far fetched and unnecessary. The Pan and Hook story line seems forced, Tiger lilly really doesn’t have that much to do, as well as a lot of other things that just seem to be in this movie for no reason. All in all Pan is a disappointing start to the live action fairy tales not made by disney, and this won’t be a good thing for the up coming Tarzan live action.

Review Score : 4.5 out of 10

Don’t Miss It!

Macbeth :

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Depending on where you went to school, most of us are familiar with one of the most famous of the Shakespeare plays, in Macbeth. There have also been numerous film and television adaptations of the source material over the last years. This Macbeth however, is a bit different. Staring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard ( who plan to re-team for Assassin’s Creed next year), and is directed by Justin Kurzel. You may not be familiar with that name, but if things go to plan you will as he is also meant to helm the same Assassin’s Creed project that hopes to bring back some respect to video game movies.

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We all know the story of Macbeth, so i won’t waste any time going over it again. The things that really sets this movie apart, are the cast, and the style in which the movie is being done. Never has Macbeth seen an acting cast, up to the same quality AND star power of this up-coming one. Fassbender is now a house hold name for his blockbuster work, but also takes the time to do some more real deep acting projects like Slow West, 12 Years a Slave and even Shame. Cotillard is an academy darling, who has done everything form win Oscars, to acting in mega franchises like the C. Nolan BatMan trilogy.

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This is also set to be one of most stylized Macbeth movies ever, from a visual aspect. The project features a lot of production values, in filming on location in England and Scotland. The film itself has a very gritty and dark over all theme and a real feeling of death and danger, presented in a package both stunning to look at, and also something that ads to the over storytelling here.

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So what do you think? Is this new Macbeth too much for you? Or are you on board and agree that this one is one to NOT miss.

Review : Knock Knock

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“When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse.”

Right off the bat, this movie has one of the best rants you will ever see in your life. This movie also has one of worst scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. And that is really the best way to sum this movie up. It kind of has that perfect blend of, is this so bad it’s good? Or even some, is this actually a really high brow movie in a reallllllly small brow package? When it all boils down, this movie is really a possibly great idea, with a good execution, but it severely lacks in consequence and doesn’t deliver on all it tries to promise. It’s hard to say if i really recommend this or not. On one hand, there is a lot of the good kind of cheesiness and campy-ness of bad but fun movies, but it also has some moments where you wonder to yourself why you are watching this movie. There are some boobs too, and that might be enough for some people (and yes Ana de Armas is really a very gorgeous girl), but for most, this movie is going to fall on def ears.

Review Score : 4 out of 10

Review : The Martian

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“During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.”

I love Ridley Scott, and no matter what you think about some of his most recent films, he is undeniably an amazing director. However, you don’t ever think of his movies as being “feel good” ones. The Martian really is however, a genuine feel good movie. It has a star studded cast to boot, and beautiful if some what understated directing. This movie is really less Castaway in space, and more a cross of that and a movie so uplighting i can’t currently think of one. This movie at its core is really about the human spirit and the will to survive. It also really promotes the idea that tragedy can and does truly bring people together. It really is such a nice change of pace, from the recent trend of films, even the very good ones. Really and truly The Martian is just one of those movies that should be seen, and will have you leaving the cinema with a big smile on your face and contentment in the entertainment of what you just saw.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Review : Sicario

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“An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.”

Scar’s biggest asset, is that it dripssssssss with tension. Tension that builds and builds and pays off every time. It’s biggest problem however, is actually in one of its main characters, in Emily Blunt. As it said before her character is an “idealistic” agent, but this is one of those times where a character sticking to its character traits might actually be a hindrance. For one i feel like women will have a problem with this character, as it doesn’t necessarily portray women in a bad light, but it does portray a character that comes off as very unlikable, in a way that ads to the usual stereotypes of female characters. On one hand, you have to give her, her due for really sticking to her guns, but it also seems like such a wrong idealism in the context of the movie, that it does turn you off of her character at points. Benicio Del Toro however, is a force of nature in this movie. And i understand that he had the better character from a writing point of view, but boy does he do it justice. The rest of the cast here is also very solid, as is the directing and especially the score that is really used to help with the tension building. From start to end Sicario is a real tense, disturbing, hard hitting film that makes no excuses or apologies, and is definitely worth seeing.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10