Tag: Domhnall Gleeson

mother!

What a month for horror. And to think it is September, not October.

It came out a two weekends ago and is smashing September box office records, which just means that people love being scared by clowns or feel nostalgia from the previous TV adaption.

But then we get mother! just a week later. Which advertising for has been all over the place. One thing for certain, we know it is a Darren Aronofsky film, so we can expecting something fucked up and hard to explain.

Or not?! mother! is getting a wide release and has a huge star attached, maybe this will just be a run of the film horror movie. Schyeah, and maybe David Lynch will make a straightforward film as well.

Wall
And maybe this wall is just a wall and not a metaphor about bees or some shit?

This film is about a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and a man (Javier Bardem), living in a house in a field on their own. She is slowly rebuilding it after a fire some time in the past, and he is a poet who hasn’t written in awhile. They are both always working and their love is straining, but they are alone and they are alive.

And then a man (Ed Harris) appears at their door. He is old, sickly, and he thought their house was a bed and breakfast. The poet is a generous person and lets him spend the night, despite being a stranger. And the man is sickly and coughs throughout the night, but in the morning he is fine. And also in the morning, his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up at the door. Huh, he didn’t mention anything like that, and now there is two of them. The poet is still generous, and fuck it, who cares what his wife thinks? They can stay too, because they like his work and he likes their approval. But house guests who make themselves at home can be quite annoying.

Especially when their sons (Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson) come over as well, arguing about estate and will disputes, and one son kills the other in their house. Holy shit, these are terrible guests.

Things get worse from there as more and more strangers enter their home, making our “mother” feel more distant from her husband, but that is all just the vaguest details I could get out about this film. Because in reality, it is a lot stranger, darker, and twisted than anyone should expect.

Oh, and of course, Kristen Wiig. Can’t forget about her.

Mob
“And no one is fucking using coasters!”

I wish I could have just sat in the theater after mother! and just reflected on the experience that unfolded in front of my eyes. But it was late and I had to rush home to pass out, needing sleep before work.

Days later when finally writing this review, it is still fresh on my mind. Partially because of the graphic nature and story in a story that it told. And partially because I knew that this film would have a hell of a shit storm from the regular movie going community. This is not the sort of film that should have gotten a wide release and marketed as some sort of home invasion horror. It is an art house film and it is being exposed to people who are going to expect something completely different and be upset about being bamboozled.

Like it or hate it, those are the only two options people will have from this movie. Anyone who said they thought it was okay is probably just lying. Despite its polarizing attributes (Which again, are going to amplify to the negative), people WILL be talking about it and remember it for a long time. That is not always a good thing, because being infamous for being really bad or gross doesn’t make a great film.

But in all honesty, this is a pretty great film. It did incredible things inside of a one location suit. It should make the viewer feel claustrophobic and a whole lot of other emotions. It should leave the viewer thinking and change their perspective on a few things. Or it will just be considered some strange torture snuff shit and have people walk out of it, especially when it ramps up even further near the end.

Good on Jennifer Lawrence for doing a project like this. She breathed hard and panted her face off in this film to make us uncomfortable, and it really worked.

3 out of 4.

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t have an Oscar. Everyone knows that. The internet won’t let you or anyone forget. He tried so hard with The Wolf of Wall Street. There was the incredibly long and well acted scene where he was on Ludes that was hysterical and just so damn good that it elevated his chances to win.

But he didn’t, and rightfully so. Chiwetel was the bomb. So what does a Leo have to do? Well, he found out that people love really physical performances. Just ask Eddie Redmayne, who won last year. So he will go and give a really physical performance. Easy, no problem, he is a professional actor, he can pretend to do anything. However, he needs help.

So he turns to the man with a plan, Alejandro González Iñárritu. He is fresh off his own Best Picture win with Birdman, and he wants to repeat. So two powerhouses coming together. What could go horribly amazing? Hopefully everything.

Face
Acting.

Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a real person! In the early 1800s, he was a fur trapper and explorer. Here is his wiki. This movie is based on a very important part of his life. It is also super very different, because in movies, we need cool shit to happen.

Either way, he is the lead scout for a group who are about to head back home after a long few months. And of course they get attacked by some local Native Americans. Who knows the reason? Could be because they are hunting on the land, could be because they desecrated something, could be out of boredom. But there are more of them with really well aimed arrows, so a handful of them are able to escape by boat down the river. They saved some of the furs, but not all of them, meaning they won’t get paid as well as they thought when they return home. Worse news is that according to Glass, that same tribe owns the river, so they will probably lay an ambush for them soon. They have to get off the boat down river, hide the furs, and hike back to civilization on foot. Maybe with a large army they can return and hopefully get the fur back.

The captain, Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) agrees with the plan, but it angers a few of the crew, namely John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) who wants to get paid for all his hard work.

Fast forward a bit, and holy shit, Glass gets fucked up by a Mama Bear (Editor’s Note: He doesn’t get fucked though. Just fucked up) and has injuries all over. The crew would carry him back, but they are on mountains and it just can’t be done when they are on the run. So a few men volunteer to stay back until he either dies or gets better. Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), his son, Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), a young dumb trapper, and of course, Fitzgerald. He did it for the bonus money.

But when Glass is eventually left for dead anyways, he is encouraged to get over his almost carcass of a body. He is determined to ignore the biting cold and hunger. He needs to travel on his own a really long ass way, surviving the weather, river, animals and people trying to kill him along the way. Just so he can get revenge. Just so he can get closure.

Also starring Melaw Nakehk’o and another guy, who isn’t on IMDB, but totally important as he is the leader of the Native American tribe.

Hardy
You can’t tell by this picture, but you will also see lush bears and hear even lusher accents.

This film is so beautiful. In every single way. Words can’t describe it well. Ohhh nooo. But I will still try today.

In case you are curious, no The Revenant is not one long continuous shot. Are you kidding me, it is 2.5 hours. This isn’t Victoria. However there are quite a lot of longer scenes in this film, definitely longer than normal. It works wonderful, especially during the skirmishes, which allow us to see all aspects happening as they occur, while also gracing us with the beautiful scenery that makes up this winter mountain side. Did I mention beautiful? I think I did.

Now onto the acting. HOLY SHIT LEO. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. He gave it all, more than his 100%. At least 105%, which is technically impossible. Impossible is probably what he thought his chances are at winning an Oscar, which is why he put so much dang effort into it. This thing was relentless. The bear attack was a CGI bear, but she was amazing and it didn’t look fake at all. The bear should get nominated for Best Supporting Actress (it is a weak year). Back to Leo, his groans and moans and crawling were everything I could hope for and more.

Technically he didn’t have many words to say. He was often alone, or just physically couldn’t due to injuries. Half of the speech he did have were in a native language. I kind of hope he doesn’t win Best Actor, not because I think someone has acted better (at least, not in films I have seen), but I want to see him top this. If he doesn’t win from this, he will have to try harder right? What kind of future movies could we have where DiCaprio constantly elevates his game, always looking for that highest honor?

No, that sounds mean.

Beard
I like to imagine this as all one glorious beard.

Speaking of Acting, Tom Hardy has had a fantastic year. He was great in Mad Max: Fury Road and the only good part(s) of Legend, and here again he is amazing. None of his roles were similar, they all had different voices and mannerisms. His bumpkin drawl was captivating, despite a bit of a struggle just to understand what he was saying sometimes. This is another role I expect to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but I still think Benicio Del Toro gets it for Sicario.

Either way, if you don’t see The Revenant on the big screen, you are missing out. It needs to be big to appreciate it that much more. Doesn’t mean I won’t buy it, but fuck, it’s so pretty. Maybe my film of the year.

4 out of 4.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Here is what I can tell you:

This review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be super unbiased. Why? Because I am not a hardcore fan boy of the series like most critics I know. I didn’t watch the original trilogy over and over as a kid, and didn’t even see them as an adult. Each film of the original trilogy I have only seen once, and honestly, I get why they were popular then, but think most of it is just nostalgia a la Tron love. Tron is technically terrible, it just did something no other film did before it, so it was a big deal and loved for that reason. If I saw Star Wars as a kid, I might be hooked as well.

I am not saying I hate Star Wars, as that would still be biased. I am just very neutral and ambivalent towards it. I liked KOTOR as a game, so that is one thing I enjoyed. And yes, Episode III might be my favorite Star Wars film, solely for the ending magma battle and shouting.

Here is one more thing I can tell you:

No, I don’t think this review will have a ton of spoilers. I didn’t watch any trailers myself to keep it completely fresh in my mind. I waited days after its released and walked through the internet like a minefield to keep my take on it fresh, despite the news stories of its success. I wanted to wait, so I could watch it in an enjoyable way with a small crowd to not sway my opinion one way or another. Will I reveal basic plot points? Of course, but if that is a spoiler, then fuck me, everything is a spoiler.

Run
This is how I be dodging spoilers on the internet.

Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, shit has once again hit the fan. Remember Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)? Yeah, he was a big deal. He has been missing for a long time now though and might just be the last Jedi. Turns out there are still bad people. They aren’t the Empire anymore, they are the First Order. And they are looking for him.

So are the Resistance, which is of course led by Leia (Carrie Fisher), a General now. You can’t really call yourself a Princess anymore when your only claim to royalty blew up in the first half of A New Hope.

Either way, she sends her best pilot down to Jakku on hearing that there is a clue to his whereabouts. You’re thinking Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbaccca (Peter Mayhew)? Hell no! We’re talkin’ Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)! He is like the new Han Solo, I guess.

And that is the plot outline basically given to us by the rolling credits to start the film. Since I don’t want to freak anyone out. First Order bad. Luke is gone. And more question marks.

But there are still new characters! Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the new Luke and Finn (John Boyega) was a storm trooper, and also New Luke. I guess. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is new Darth Vader and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is new Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.

Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) is new Yoda, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is new Palpatine, and Anthony Daniels is still C3P0. Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) is a silver storm trooper commander, and I guess she is just a new thing completely. But she has almost no real reason to be in this film, to be honest.

Old
Princess Leia really let it all go for this film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an entertaining film. It has likable characters. The new people seem to mostly be the focus, determined to tell their own story, and not let a bunch of old people steal their spotlight. What I might have loved the most was that it felt a lot more “realer” than the prequels. It didn’t feel like a giant CGI fest. It involved actors really running through sand. Real sand!

And sure, I liked Rey. This series will catapult Ridley into super stardom, I can feel it. I liked the Poe and Finn bromance. I really liked Poe. I liked Poe a lot more than I would imagine for someone who is just a pilot. Damn you irresistible Oscar Isaac. Even the new R2D2 was cool.

I didn’t like Kylo Ren when he took off the mask though. No offense to Adam Driver, who I tend to enjoy in his other films, but the look he had with the long hair made him just feel so un-intimidating. His characteristics, technically realistic, but not currently as BAMF as I had hoped. The storm troopers themselves were better. They had personalities, they could hit targets, they had various weapons, and obviously, one of them gained a conscious.

Bad guy
He does have the most sensical lightsaber at least.

But then. Then there are other things. Things not as good as those first things.

Of course a common complaint is this whole thing just feels like a rehash of events from the original trilogy. Some people would argue they are just a homage or mirror of events. Others will just call it lazy fan service / heavy winking. I am on the latter. This didn’t feel like a completely new movie. I mean, fuck, they already did two Death Stars. This time we have a really really really big Death Star, with similar dumb weak points with even more who gives a shitness.

Not everything is well acted. Some scenes are cringey, some seem forced. The worst scene for me to watch was unfortunately a scene between Fischer and Ford, talking about their old love. Neither seemed to be really into it at that moment (Fisher was unfortunately aloof for every one of her scenes), and it didn’t provide the power that it was striving for.

I think what I hated even more about this film is that it didn’t feel like a complete story. Yes, it is part of a trilogy. Yes, trilogies should have an over arcing plot and goal that is being worked towards. But each film in a trilogy needs to have its own beginning, middle, and end, and not leave us with almost literal cliffhangers. The ending to TFA reminded me of the ending of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which pissed me off so much I still haven’t seen At World’s End. Will I see Episode VIII? I have to, it is my job, but I will go in on a slightly sour note.

In case I wasn’t clear, this film felt like it wanted to set up the trilogy and only hint at what is to come, instead of letting that come naturally through its own story.

TFA is an entertaining movie and one people can enjoy again and again, but it is not movie of the year material when it comes down to all of the bigger elements. I have hope for the future films.

As a side note, I enjoyed a few other things. Like Fisher’s daughter having a small role, and you may recognize her from Scream Queens. It is hilarious that Isaac and Driver are both in this film, when they were last together they sung with Justin Timberlake about not wanting to go to Outer Space. I hope JT is given future consideration for a small role.

And finally, there was a mother fucking reference to Clerks. Clerks, which made many references to Star Wars. Randall was wrong. He said that the average storm trooper does not know how to install a toilet, and that they’d have to hire independent contractors to make the Death Star. But damn it. Those storm troopers do have jobs. (Spoiler)? Finn worked in fucking sanitation!

3 out of 4.

Brooklyn

For Brooklyn, I was able to go into it not knowing a thing about the plot. All I knew were the main actors involved, and that’s it. Brooklyn could have been the place or the main characters name.

It is wonderful.

Of course, now you should read this review and have that feeling taken away from you. Or stop now, see my star rating, and watch it on your own in the future. It is up to you, reader. You are the one who has all the power!

Dance
That face you make when you just get propositioned with dick pics.

Our stars name is not Brooklyn, but it is Eilis (Saoirse Ronan). It is 1951, and she is living in small town Ireland. Yes, that means you will be hearing a lot of sexy accents in this one. Times are tough in Ireland, but when are they not? She lives with her older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) and her Mami (Jane Brennan). Rose has a nice life as a bookkeeper for a local company, but Eilis cannot find work. She works at a small convenience store only on Sundays with mean old Miss Kelly (Brid Brennan).

But things are about to change. Thanks to Rose for help, she reached out to a Catholic priest from their area, Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), who lives in NYC. He has agreed to pay for Eilis to come to the city, with a job lined up for her and a place to stay. That way she can make money and make a living of her self. I won’t tell you where specifically in NYC she will work and live, but I bet you can figure it out. Eilis just has to leave everything she has ever known behind, including her BFF Nancy (Eileen O’Higgins).

Unfortunately, life is hard for Eilis. She is not fun and outgoing and always reserved. She is homesick. She is sad. But all that changes when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian boy. He teaches her a lot of things, giving her confidence in herself and makes life wonderful. But when circumstances have her return to Ireland for a time, she finds things quite different. Suddenly, a job is available to her, she has things she can do, and there is an available boy, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson), right now in her home town that is perfect for her. She has to decide if she should go back to her first love in NYC, a city she has made her own, but at the cost of again, her family and friends back across the pond.

Also featuring a handful of other women. Jessica Paré plays her boss, Julie Walters her housekeeper, and the other boarders are played by Emily Bett Rickards, Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone, and Jenn Murray.

Love
The true love test is to try and make a heart between your bodies.

Brooklyn doesn’t have fancy things. It has a simple plot, and it is all focused on a young girl trying to make her own decisions and not let the world make them for her. The description of the film isn’t sexy in any way. A simple plot means a simple story. But in this case, this simple story is one that was actually worth being told.

Now I will admit, yes, it did turn into a “which guy (/lifestyle) should I choose” film, so some may find it too romance heavy. And I admit, that if she made the choice I didn’t like, I would have been angry and you would have been seeing a much different review.

Ronan is utterly fantastic in this movie. I am a bit mad that it took this long into the year for me to see a movie where I can see someone who definitely will be nominated for Best Actress. And no, I haven’t seen Room yet. Best Actress is always my weakest category when it comes to seeing this ahead of time, so I am glad I have something at this point. Did I mention Ronan was also great? Her accent, her mannerisms, everything about her was wonderful.

Brooklyn also had the unique characteristic that it felt much longer, in a good way. When she finally got back to Ireland, I assume it only had about five minutes left, but again, I was surprised.

Brooklyn is a simple tale, but a good story, and some great acting. Accents are the cherry on top.

3 out of 4.

Ex Machina

There is no Deus here, no, we just got the Ex Machina.

In case you didn’t know, Deus Ex Machina (god from the machine) is a plot device where some outside force just kind of appears, fixes the issue, and leaves. It is usually a badly written plot device, Greece/Roman plays are full of these types of things where literally the gods came down and did some stuff.

And just to reiterate, this movie is the phrase without the god part. So just “From the Machine”. A movie about robots.

Maybe even robots kind of just appearing, fixing the issue, and leaving. That’d be swell.

I don’t think I can bore up this intro anymore so I should just get right to it!

Robot
Put on your thinking face and get to movie watching.

To err is human. To compute is robot.

Humans and robots don’t really interact nowadays on any level that isn’t a slave/owner relationship. Right now, robots have it rough.

Related, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) totally just won a prize. He is a coder for Bluebook, the Google of this movie, and he has won a week to spend with their reclusive CEO on his giant resort island thing. Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the CEO, has turned his home into a secret underground facility, to test out new technologies and prepare for the next big technical revolution and he is very secretive.

Nathan wants Caleb to perform the Turing test on something he is working on. In the test, a human asks a robot questions, without knowing whether they are talking to a human or a robot. And if the human cannot determine what it is, the robot/AI passes the test! But err, knowing you are doing that kind of ruins the point you would think. Hell, being introduce to Ava (Alicia Vikander), and seeing her in a robot body also probably puts a hamper on the basics for the test.

Maybe. JUST MAYBE. There is more going on in this facility that Nathan isn’t telling Caleb. Maybe things are more than just the Turing test. Maybe! Who knows? That Asian maid, Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) who doesn’t know English and is the only other person in the whole facility? Yeah, probably. Bet she has seen some shit.

Elevator
If you thought the elevator scene from Captain America was bad ass, wait til you see this action fest!

I think Ex Machina is the type of movie you just want to watch with someone else. There are a lot of themes present, and since I watch the majority of my movies alone, the only people I can talk about those themes with are you guys.

But then I’d be a silly spoil sport.

Instead, let me instead make sure you realize this is a sci-fi drama. That means we are going to have a lot of talking and not a lot of action, and I wouldn’t want you to go into this thinking otherwise (like a dumb ass).

The discussions and the twists that went into the film were pretty enjoyable. I went in assuming I would be able to see everything coming a mile away and I think that most of my predictions did not end up coming true. So it is great to see it not go down the obvious path.

The three main actors involved all did an excellent job. It is now expected of Isaac to provide quality, but Gleeson is still not super tested and Vikander of course is out of nowhere (in comparison). The story the film tells can be interpreted in several different ways, depending on who is watching the film, which will provide excellent discussions.

At the end, I felt as though it was still a bit too slow and not as grandiose as I had expected. That is of course my fault, not the films. Ex Machina is a wonderful addition to the Sci-Fi genre and one loves of that and drama should definitely seek out.

3 out of 4.

Unbroken

What is this Unbroken thing? It isn’t Unbreakable or Unstoppable or Unthinkable. It is Unbroken? What does that even mean? I didn’t even know there was a word to describe something as not-broken. I just assumed it was the general state unless otherwise noted as broken.

English is weird.

My first thought seeing the trailer was Oscar Bait. My second thought was, wait, haven’t I already seen this movie? It was also based on a true story, during WW2, prisoner of war who got abused by a Japanese man but never gave up and overcame great struggle? Yeah. That was The Railway Man. This is just the same movie but a bigger budget and more CGI right?

Oh. That one was British and this is American. That’s the difference.

Railraod
Yep, just replace him with a lad instead of a boy and it’s the same scenes.

Unbroken is the “true story” of Louie Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an Italian-American hero or something like that. As a kid he got picked on for his nationality, so he had to run away a lot. Well, he got fast at running, noticed by his better brother Pete (Alex Russell). Next thing you know, he is on the track team, breaking records, and hey, even going to run for the Olympics.

Then boom, World War II. Next thing you know, Olympics are canceled, and Louie now a good boy wants to join the war effort. He gets to fly in planes, and protect us from Japan!

Then his plane gets shot down and they crash land in the Pacific. Fuck. A couple dudes, some sharks, no food, and nothing that can save them. Just like the Life of Pi, basically. And of course, as the trailers tell you, they eventually get found after a long ass time. Just by Japanese soldiers. So it is off to prisoner work camps for them, far from home, to be abused and treated like animals!

Boo animals!

Also featuring Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney, Finn Wittrock and of course Takamasa Ishihara!

Watching
Run like no one is watching.

Look, I know Angelina Jolie directed it. And I know parts of it were written by the Coen brothers. But man, there was some questionable choices throughout this film for me.

First of all, the what felt like terrible CGI when they had the plane scenes bugged me. The film had some overall filter on it that got on my nerves. Was a subtle annoyance.

But also it had a lot of good things. Jack O’Connell was pretty good, although his accent could have used work. I enjoyed the scene where everyone beat the crap out of him. The backstory pre-war was entertaining for me. Some emotional stuff in the middle.

However, I think overall I liked The Railway Man more, because that confrontation between the the prisoner and his torturer were intense and a great build up. It was a bit more boring, technically, but it felt a bit more real and a lot less cheesy. This one didn’t have a great build up, but instead just your typical worse and worse until they are in a terrible camp, not just a bad camp.

In particular, near the end when main character finds extra strength despite being a beaten prisoner so that he can lift up wood high? That might as well have had cheese falling out of everyone’s ears. It made me cringe and think it was some ridiculous American power fantasy. I didn’t find it inspirational, I found it laugh able. Because up to that point too, the movie felt enjoyable enough for a 3 maybe. Even with all that time spent on the boat.

But then they went full Oscar bait or something. And I just had to shake my head.

2 out of 4.

Frank

When I first saw the pictures from the film Frank, it seemed eerily familiar and I didn’t know why. Most notably, in a fast moment in the film Filth, the main character was watching television and a scene showed a man wearing the iconic head. It freaked me out. Were the two films cross promoting? Was Frank a bigger movie than I could have ever known?

Well, no. Apparently Frank, although fictionalized in this movie, is based on a real person.

Frank Sidebottom was his name, and Chris Sievey was the man behind the mask. He was in some bands in Britain for a long time and Frank Sidebottom was his “Comic persona” and recognizable around the world. Which is probably why it looked familar. I didn’t know that I knew that it was a real thing. I must had just seen a person in the mask before, maybe haunting me in my youth. Who is to say.

It is inspired by several musicians, including Chris, but none of this on its own is a bio of these gentle rockers. No. This is its own entity.

Geetar
And lo, his name is Frank.

Jon Burroughs (Domhnall Gleeson) would consider himself to be a sensitive man. He lives alone, works a job, has a twitter, and in general would consider himself a decent person. He tries to write music, can play guitar and keyboard, but it is all pretty shitty.

As luck would have it, he happens to be walking down the road when a naked man runs into the ocean trying to end himself. He is a keyboardist for a band. Their “manager” Don (Scoot McNairy) asks if he can play the keyboard, and since he can, he is totally in the band, The Soronprfbs, no practice needed.

He does okay on stage, but he is flabbergasted to find that their lead singer, Frank (Michael Fassbender) is wearing a giant head mask. What. Frank never takes it off. People don’t talk about it too. They just go with it.

Next thing Jon knows, he is in the band and they are on a retreat to a cabin to work on their next album and they won’t be leaving there until that thing is polished and done. He now has to live with the other band members (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Francois Civil, Carla Azar) and they are as eccentric as Frank, in different ways.

And you know. Frank has a fucking giant head on his head. That is important.

Band
But then again, that bitch is wearing a cape.

At times, Frank was very realistic and charming. The cast seemed to have great chemistry with each other and everyone felt relatively unique. I laughed a few times and found parts very amusing.

But at the same time, I didn’t feel like I got enough out of it. The final third of the film felt very different from the first two thirds. That is because change starts to occur, but I just couldn’t get into it as much.

I will say I hated the music, but I think I was supposed too. (I have now used but 3 times in the last 4 sentences. Well, now 4 of the last 5) It was very experimental/indie/weird. Not pleasant sounds, but sounds nonetheless.

I think I just expected a lot more given someone like Fassbenders involvement. I wanted them to go harder on the psychological aspect of it all and hated when they ended up doing with the Jon character. However, I do like the head mask. I kind of want to have one. Is it too late to be Frank Sidebottom for Halloween?

2 out of 4.

Calvary

Brendan Gleeson is one of those actors who took a really long time to get noticed. He had nice dramatic roles and a sweet Irish accent, but lets face it. His looks probably held him back. But now that he has a distinguished old guy look, his talents are more noticed and he is getting leading roles.

A few years ago, he got The Guard, and now he gets the movie Calvary. Both black comedies / dramas in a way too. I guess it is okay to have a genre niche.

Butcher
I am surprised the “Movies With Scenes In A Meat Locker” genre hasn’t taken off more fully, either.

Let’s pretend you are Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson). You are an old man, running a small Irish Catholic church in a tiny community. There are only a few other priests in the area, like Father Leary (David Wilmot). That means a lot of soul saving falls on one man.

During mass on a Sunday, in confessional time, a person says that they were abused by a Catholic priest when they were younger and goes into great detail. The priest has since died, but the man is still angry. He wants to get back at the Catholic Church, and to do that, he wants to kill a good priest to send a strong message. He wants to kill Father James Lavelle. In exactly one week he will come back to kill him, in order to get his affairs in order. Then he leaves.

Huh. That is terrifying. There are only a few people in the area, so it can only be a few people. But who?

Here is a vague list of actor names of characters, instead of talking about all of them individually. I even threw in a woman, too. (Chris O’ Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankole, M. Emmet Walsh, Domhnall Gleeson, Marie-Josee Croze).

Oh yeah. Let’s not forget that he also has a daughter, Fiona Lavelle (Kelly Reilly), as part of his marriage before he became a priest.

As the story gets closer and closer to Sunday, more and more sinful activities seem to take place in his town, as if the whole world is going to Hell, and there is nothing the Father can do about it.

Family
In true Irish fashion, his daughter of course is a ginger.

Despite the similar genres, The Guard and Calvary aren’t very similar. This film is much heavier on the drama and symbolism, while The Guard has more comedy, lewd behavior, and shooting of guns.

Gleeson puts on a heck of a show though, and even though I recognize his face in plenty of sinful characters from the past, I feel like it fits the best in a Catholic suit garb. Whatever those robes are called. He fit the character really well, including the few times in the movie where he broke down and did non Priesty things.

The supporting cast was especially up there for me, especially Dowd and Moran. Moran in general was just impressive with his character, and Dowd was impressive being in a more dramatic role which is rare for him. I have only seen Gillen in Game of Thrones, but his character is also pretty great. It is also nice to see Reilly in a controversial role after her last terrible role in Heaven Is For Real.

Overall, this is a really great and powerful movie. It might be pretty easy to get lost in some of the symbolism, or really figuring out where it is all going. I know I didn’t understand the whole thing without some additional research (and some of that research feels bullshit). Definitely a movie you might have to watch more than once to get the full impact of it.

3 out of 4.

About Time

I am afraid I am going to turn into a total fanboy of Richard Curtis. He is the director of About Time, but before that he also directed Pirate Radio and Love Actually. Two movies that I could watch again and again and gave high marks to. Let’s just say I went into About Time with a bit of a bias.

Love
A bit of a bias, and a bit of a romance-boner. Mmmm, love.

Time travel in movies can be a hard topic to get right. There are many ways they can set up the time travel concept, but the hard part comes in being consistent and still following the rules they set up logically. Plenty of bad films fail at this, About Time keeps it consistent and follows its rules throughout.

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) was living a loveless and sad life until he learned a family secret. Before then, he always felt like he was missing something. That is when his dad (Bill Nighy) informed him that the men in his family can travel through time once they hit 21. A genetic condition or something.

They can’t go to the future and they can’t travel anywhere in time, but they can revisit moments in their own life, as long as they can remember that moment. They can relive them just for the experience, or they can change their actions, if they dare. Pretty awesome, but also very dangerous. They have to worry about the Butterfly Effect, so the changes can’t be too drastic. Once Tim makes his first trip, he knows exactly how he will use his new power. For love.

He quickly learns that using time travel to make someone love you doesn’t really work. No, he still has to find someone who finds him generally interesting, like the American Mary (Rachel McAdams). For whatever reason, she thinks he is charming, he just uses the time travel to fix his awkwardness. After all, practice makes perfect.

The good news is that this movie deals with more than just romance. Traveling through time gives an individual a lot of power, the power to affect the lives of those around you in meaningful ways. But could you morally handle the pressure of interfering with your friend’s life, instead of letting them choose their own destiny? Can you cope with the death of a loved one, if you know you have the ability to just visit them again in the past over and over again?

Celebrations
On the other hand, if you had some really sweet cake, you could always go back to that too.

By the end of the movie, I found myself crying as it attempted to tackle these hard subjects. About Time doesn’t fall into the same cliches that other films of the genre get caught up with. A lot of comparisons are being made between this movie and The Time Traveler’s Wife, and not just because Rachel McAdams is the the main love interest in both. They deal with love and time travel, but in completely different ways. The Time Traveler’s Wife was sad, but purely a drama/romance. About Time has equal parts drama and comedy, while dealing with more than just love, but life in general.

Gleeson hasn’t been in a lot of movies, and he currently is known for playing Bill Weasley in the later Harry Potter films, but he was a great choice as the lead role. He had a lot of help of course, with Nighy, a staple in Richard Curtis movies playing his father, his guide to the world of time travel, and the main source of drama in the final act. McAdams is really sweet in this film, and plays a character quite different than any of her previous roles. I also enjoyed the mother (Lindsay Duncan) and the sister (Lydia Wilson).

Overall, I think About Time will turn out to be one of those films that I can watch again and again, possibly getting something new out of it after every viewing. My opinions on it will also probably change as I get older, and experience events that the movie touches upon. It is a charming movie in every way. Thank you Richard Curtis, consider me a total fanboy now.

4 out of 4.

Anna Karenina

If you have never heard of Anna Karenina, then you might have your finger far from the pulse of the Russian Literature community. So you might be like me.

“But this is Tolstoy!” all two of you yell in anguish. Yeah, well, he is dead now, so how great can he have been?

This is not the first time a movie has been made from the book, no, it is the thirteenth time. Of the previous 12, I of course have seen zero of them, so this Joe Wright adaption shall be my first.

Taken abak
I think this is a literal example of a crowd being taken aback by something amazing.

There is a lot of plot going on in Anna Karenina. Maybe even too much. I am even surprise they can fit so much story in these movies. I have the basic gist of the story, but I cannot fill in a lot of the details on my own.

Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is a Russian aristocrat and in the spot light, married to Karenin (Jude Law). It is an okay life, she is rich and all, the sister of an eccentric Prince Stiva (Matthew Macfadyen) who is married to princess Dolly (Kelly Macdonald).

But something is missing. Passion is missing.

Passion is what she feels when she meets the Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson), and then embarks on an affair, that will lead to divorce, hearsay, gossip, sexytimes, and a life filled with love. But with love, comes great sorrow.

Many other characters and players in this, but going over all their plots would literally kill me. But hey, Domhnall Gleeson is in this movie, so is Olivia Williams.

SHunn
That woman in the top right is shunning SO HARD right now.

Here is a fact that I realized watching this movie, that is both unfortunate and wonderful. I don’t think someone watching this would consider it a straight adaption of the story and novel. Sure the setting is there, the character and plots are the same, but there is more than that going on in the movie from the visuals. It is not that I began to question if scenes were actually happening, but just they way they were presented were strange. Almost a giant metaphor, I think that they were trying to say that when you are an aristocrat, you must always put on a performance/show or else you might lose your prestige.

Alright, did that paragraph confuse you? I am sorry. It is just hard to describe.

But I think a problem with this movie is that I didn’t know the story or its many sub plotlines, and I quickly got lost in the flashy colors and grand scenes. I am not sure of half the things that happened, because the filmmakers probably assumed I knew about it. After all, wickedly famous novel, many movie adaptations? Well I am sorry, but I couldn’t get it to work.

The acting however was very well done, and I would say I loved the costumes and cinematography. The final message sucks and reminds me a bit of Gone With The Wind but I guess that is life. I just wish it was a bit easier to follow.

2 out of 4.