Review : A Quiet Place

“A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.”

A Quiet Place not only stars John Krasinki, but is directed by him also as he acts alongside Emily Blunt, and the very talented Regan and Marcus Abbott. It’s seems almost ironic that there is so much to say about a film that has hardly any spoken lines but if any movie right now deserves to be talked about, it’s this one. This movie does so many things right, and honestly, it doesn’t really do anything wrong. When I was in school, I was once given a project to make a short film, that was silent, no sound at all. It’s one of those things designed to teach you about visual storytelling, the main principle of which is, don’t say, show. Taking a concept like that, and ramping it up to the max, A Quiet Place, places most of its storytelling, character development, and emotional evolution in the hands of visual storytelling. It’s uses ambient sound to a masterful degree, while always keeping its eye on colour, framing, and pacing. This movie is a brisk 90 minutes, and that’s because there is not a drop on fat on it, allowing it to not waste a single frame or moment. When you add in the handicap of not having any real verbal or audible exposition, this movie is forced almost to use every inch of screen, to further that story. The cast here is small, really just 4 people, but they are all fantastic, and they are able to deliver a real emotional heft, without nearly a word being uttered. The movie also uses sound and the lack there of when necessary, to keep a level of tension, that is so high strung, for most of this movie you will be unable to look away for fear of missing something. Ever so often, there is s movie like A Quiet Place. Made for only 17 million, already more than clearing its profit targets, while also genuinely delivering a real go to the cinema worthwhile experience. This is a small movie in its scale, but it’s massive in its ambition, and it easily checks every box of film making. All in all, A Quiet Place is a fantastic sci-fi, horror, thriller, amazing ride that hooks you from the first frame, to the last. Movies like this are what people go to the cinema for, and I hope it makes all the money in the world.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Advertisements

Review : The Shape of Water

MV5BNGNiNWQ5M2MtNGI0OC00MDA2LWI5NzEtMmZiYjVjMDEyOWYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjM4NTM5NDY@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_

“At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.”

Guillermo del Toro as a film maker, has a very specific and unique way of seeing things, and its evident in the way he portrays things. He must see so many stories and fairytales in the world around him, because he always has this sense of child like wonder in the movies he makes, and The Shape of Water is no different. This movie really is above all other things, a fairytale. Everything from the art direction, the colour palette, the score, the set design, all of it brings this story to life, and no detail is left untouched. Detail is a great way to describe this film also. You can tell that it must have been a real meticulous task to design and create all of these sets and wardrobes, and yet once you’re in there, they just fade away into this fantastic world. Every Guillermo movie isn’t a winner though, and thats because there are other factors to making a great movie, and even with the constant that is his style, the acting, the story, they need to all come together as one cohesive unit, and this movie has all those things. Sally Hawkins has to play a mute person, and she still really brings it, bringing so much emotion and depth without saying a word. Surround that with a cast that are generally much more subtle, then matched in opposition by the every great Michael Shannon, and you get a perfect balance of acting talent, and balance in performances. I think when Guillermo makes certain movies, his goal is to make a pastiche or a love letter to a particular genre or type of movie, and this movie has all the makings of that type of movie. All in all, The Shape of Water is a love story and a fairytale (for adults) that shows thats theres so much more to being human and to living and loving than we might think.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Review : Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Sam_Three_Billboards.jpg

“A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.”

In a world that can make people hard, sometimes the only thing to do is become harder, to become stronger, and in that way I think this isn’t just an amazing movie, but an important one. A few reviews ago, I wrote that sometimes a movie can have no errors, no flaws, but not be a 10/10, and then there are movies like this, that do have flaws, but are still worthy of a flawless scoring. First of all, the screenplay, this screenplay, is incredible, like wow. Not to be outdone though, this movie is absolutely filled with nothing less than amazing acting performances all around. Frances McDormand, outstanding, Woody Harrelson, stupendous, Sam Rockwell, sublime, I mean even the much more minor roles here are just played and acted to an absolute T. Each character has their own motivations and quirks and ways in which they are tied to the narrative here, but no one ever feels out of place or shoe horned in, they all just work as this living, breathing, fascinating collection of characters. Each of their roles builds, and adds, and informs each other characters’ in a way that is so succinct and tight, that you can see how each of these characters is needed, in the way they are needed, to make this all work the way it does. These are the kinds of movies that the world needs. I know I said it isn’t perfect, and I mean it isn’t, Frances McDormand’s character has no real character arch. The role given to her son is solid but it isn’t always used to its full potential, and there’s a really and I mean super weird looking CGI deer smack in the middle of all of this, but honestly, fuck it. I gladly gloss over all of those things because this movie is simply that good, that powerful, and that necessary, that it deserves nothing less than my highest honour.

Review Score : 10 out of 10

Review : The Post

post-poster-main-xl

“A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.”

The first thought I had at the end of this movie, was that it won’t inspire anyone, but this is the kind of movie you get when all parties involved are true professionals of the highest caliber. The Post is the perfect example, of a movie that has excellence in all the check mark areas of film making, it has great directing, great acting, great sound, great everything….the only issue, it doesn’t have a soul. Don’t get me wrong, from all sides, this is a movie thats as solid in its construction as a movie can be really, what else would we expect from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, but when I say this movie doesn’t have a soul, what I mean is that its all business, its all professional, but there isn’t anything BOLD here. There is no need for any bold or different directing, no one scene that required a true stand out acting performance (at least nothing we’ve never seen from these acting heavy weights), and the story itself is a great one, but their still isn’t any truly stand out factor, as this story is so many years old. I know it may seem like a harsh criticism, but when a film like this exist, one that is so tightly and deftly made, no individual thing stands out, and you need stand out factors to truly elevate a movie like this into a higher category. The Post in reality, is one of the best made movies you will see likely for a while to come, but it doesn’t have that soul to make it a real stand out movie, and stand out moments that you won’t forget.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

Review : Lady Bird

17AFS_Film_Poster_LadyBird

“In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.”

Lady Bird is one of those few movies, where after watching it, I need to sit and think about it for a bit, and thats because there is genuinely nothing wrong with this movie, as in, it doesn’t make any mistakes, which is a strange thing. I bring that up because its always a really different kind of review when you don’t have something to point at and say ah yes they lost a point there. Its almost like this movie is in a boxing match and we’re using a 10 point must system. No problems isn’t the stand out this movie though, the stand out is the acting. The only way to accurately describe it is real or honest. Everyone in this movie feels so real and genuine, its like you’re really just seeing the life of this girl go by over time. The movie is even directed like that. It constantly starts and ends scenes in the middle of whatever it wants to show you, and it truly brings you in and makes you feel like you’ve just walked into the room while something was going on. The writing here is also totally spot on. No one ever feels like they were delivering some line they had to, it all comes across as genuinely, intimate interactions, and that takes great writing, directing and acting. So if they are all these things to praise, and like I said, no mistakes or errors to reprimand, this should be a guaranteed 10 out of 10, and yet it isn’t. I hope I can articulate this well enough, but there isn’t anything wrong with Lady Bird, but I do feel like there is something missing. I also don’t know what that is, but I do know that there is something this movie needed, to really make it unforgettable to me, and while the quality of and with which this movie is made is unforgettable, there is still some intangible missing for me. There are movies in the past that I’ve given max scores too, that definitely have things wrong with them, but I think maybe those movies have a certain kind of boldness either in their execution, or in the very story they are telling that make them feel transcendent to me, that make me feel like they will ad something to the history of cinema, and this movie for me is just missing that little it factor to joining those kinds of movies. That being said, this movie still has some of the best acting, writing and directing of the year, and even if there are movies I could like more, there will be few deserving of more plaudits, so I hope that those responsible for the quality on display here get their rewards. All in all, Lady Bird is real honest and unique kind of coming of age story. Its not your typical girl meets boy and so on kind of coming of age movie, its for those of us who want something a little more real, a little more honest, and I’m nothing if not impressed more and more with Saoirse Ronan every time I see her on screen now. You get that Oscar baby girl!

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Review : Call Me by Your Name

call-me-by-your-name-poster.jpg

“In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.”

I think maybe, the best way I can describe this movie, is thats it like a really fancy or expensive perfume. At first, you’re not even sure you’ve smelled anything, but slowly as it lingers around you its get to a point where you only realise how much you were smiling and enjoying it, when it moves away, and thats what Call Me by Your Name. This movie though, is a really different kind of movie. Its not structured like your typical film, its supremely slow paced (like frustratingly slow at some times), the cinematography and sound design is supremely “low rent” in appearance, but clearly done so to give it a really “real” feel. This film is also both really subtle, and yet really graphic. It portrays romance, in anyway, as the true combination of long periods of gentle warmth, wrapped around a burning fire. There are so many moments, where you really feel the gut wrench of some of the more emotional scenes, and while the directing is supremely deft in its handling of these moments, I feel like there can’t be enough credit given to the acting here. The acting here is truly phenomenal. They get to such a level of rawness and vulnerability, that I would love to have known how these characters were able to get to these places and bring such raw emotion to their characters. To be honest, there’s literally only one thing about this movie that I can consider a flaw, but I don’t even know if to call it a flaw, or simply a decision that didn’t sit well with me, and thats there are some times (not many at all) when I found the movie got to a level of being some what pretentious, and like I said that could really just be an issue I have with those moments, but its the only thing that I can really say I wish was done differently. Call Me by Your Name is one of those movies where it felt like the level of craftsmanships here is just on another level, and I feel like this movie is going to get a tonne of award nominations, and will probably later in time be one of those movies that are discussed and dissected in film making classes.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Top 10 Movies of 2017 (Wide Release)

As always, the end of one year, means the start of another, means another top ten list. My list, like every year, is based only on the wide released movies of 2017, so you may see some movies in here that came out in 2016, but were only released widely in 2017 (some later than others based on where I live). There will be another list for person movie awards that may include some more of those Oscar baity type movies, but for now, here are the top 10 of 2017…in my opinion.

WAIT, actually first I want to give a special mention and shout out, to a movie that had its more or less wide release in 2017, but didn’t actually open where I live. I saw it none the less, and it should be on a list like this:

still_01

Your Name (Kimi no na wa.)

This movie, I mean, WOW. I’m not gonna say much about it here other than please watch it if you can, its honestly just a great movie, animated or otherwise.

10.

Wonder-Woman-movie-poster-courage-theme

Wonder Woman

So this shouldn’t come as any surprise I don’t think. Wonder Woman to many people is the best of the DC movies already, and it deserves all the praise it gets. Wonder Woman takes the great character that we first get a glimpse of in BvS, and fully fleshes her out in her first solo movie, filled with great action, great acting, and some kick ass music.

9.

thumbnail_25242

Spider Man Homecoming

Wall crawling his way to the number 9 spot, is Spidey himself, in his triumphant return both to Marvel, and to the big screen with Spider Man Homecoming. The latest reboot of the franchise sees Tom Holland take over the reigns of Peter Parker, and give us genuinely the best interpretation of the teenage hero we’ve ever had on screen, and maybe the second best Spider Man movie we’ve ever gotten also.

8.

hacksaw-ridge-mel-gibson

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge, is one of those movies that is undeniable in its quality, and would have been on last years list if it made it out wide in time, but alas here it is. Telling the true story of the one of bravest men to set foot in a war zone, but in a way few have done, and even less have had movies made about. A harrowing tale of what courage can look like, and that every man can make a difference.

7.

img_0052

It

I spend a lot of time actively avoiding horror movies. There are sometimes however, some movies that are just too big and too hyped to not review, and It was one of those movies…and I’m really glad i saw it. It goes beyond just being a horror, or just trying to scare you. It comes with a compelling story, greeting acting by its young cast, and some really nice directing that really makes you feel like you’re there on the ground with the kids throughout the entire ordeal. And its also really scary, so I guess its a win win.

6.

split-james-mcavoy-1

Split

Sometimes new directors can make really big splashes with their debuts or their early projects. That success however, can come at a cost, and not many have paid that cost as highly as the twist king himself,  M. Night Shyamalan. After some real, real lows in his career, the restrictions of a production company like Blumhouse have forces him to return to what his movies great in the first place, and thats story telling. Split bring us the long awaited sequel to the movie Unbreakable, and takes us on a deep and winding journey behind a great performance by James McAvoy, and was a shining return from a director once called the “Next Spielberg”.

5.

logan-hugh-jackman-700x300

Logan

Its not very often that you can call a movie like Logan all the great things you can, and also still call it a comic book movie, but thats exactly what this movie is. Its every bit the comic book movie you’d imagine a movie about wolverine to be, but then it becomes so much more. Telling a dark a gritty tale, where we find many of the characters we know and love in a not so distant but not so great future, Logan shows us what it is to age, and the responsibilities that heroes never leave behind, and never out grow. Marrying great performances all around, with some truly special, special effects, and a gripping narrative, Logan is wonderfully deep and dark movie just with some people we know and have grown to love over the last 17 years.

4.

baby-driver-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000

Baby Driver

Few directors have as identifiable a style as Edgar Wright, and when he is allowed to marry that style to a story that fits it, the results are always first class. Baby Driver is a great example of that. It follows the main character of Baby, who has a very particular set of skills, that allow him to be really good at what he does. Combine that with a great cast, and really great and inventive score + soundtrack, and you have all everything you need for one fo those most fun, entertaining and all just all around quality times in the cinema in a long time.

3.

img_0075

Blade Runner 2049

For a long time I had this movie bouncing around between the number 2 and 3 spots. In the end I think only the uniqueness of the number 2 movie really put it ahead of this, but make no mistake, Blade Runner 2049 is an amazing film. Another long awaited sequel, this time directed by the visionary Denis Villeneuve, who manages to take the concepts and feelings from the first movie, bring them forward, and even add some new layers on top of what was there before, to give us a movie that is just as visionary and ground breaking as the original was so many years ago. Filled with enough of the old movie, and adding the right amount of newness, this movie takes us on a truly visually astounding ride, that matched by the score, acting, directing and everything else really. It might go down as one of the last great big “art films”, but if you’re going down, might as well be on the titanic.

2.

la-et-hc-get-out-horror-peele-20161004-snap

Get out

As I mentioned before, sometimes directors can really knock it out of the park on their first at bat, and one of the biggest hits I’ve seen in that regard is Get Out. A truly twisted and ingenious movie, that takes us down so many twists and turns, that only on repeat viewings can we see all the clues we were ignorant off the first time around. This is one of the few films you see a year, that basically requires you to look at it multiple times, and each time you can have a different experience. Filled with so many great moments of terror, comedy, and psychological intrigue, Get Out is one of the best examples of why original ideas are so prizes in the film world, as they have the rare ability to truly surprise us, and this movie was one of the best surprises of the year.

1.

lalaland-finalposter-cropped

La La Land

Honestly, I don’t care you don’t like musicals, this movie is amazing, and borderline perfect in my eyes. Its not often that a movie can so thoroughly affect not just how you feel watching the movie, but how you feel about movies in general. La La Land is a bright light in a world where we associate quality and master class film making with dark depressing stories, usually of human sacrifice and suffering. Thats not to say this movies doesn’t have it share of those themes, it just wraps it in a package thats so engaging and likeable, that you can’t help but find yourself whistling City of Stars after you’ve watched it. Add to that two of the best performances from the lead pair of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land is a truly once is while kind of great movie, that everyone should stop and appreciate.

Well there it is, I know some of these movies for some of you were end of 2016 movies, but they hit the big screen in 2017 for me, and thems the rules, I don’t make them ( I mean I do but you know what I mean), I just follow them. So what do you think of the list? Anything you saw this last year you thinks deserves to be on here (wide release keep in mind)? Comment and let me know, and look out for the up coming IMB awards later this month.

Cheers.