Gemini

Gemini is a movie I actually knew about before watching! I swear! I heard of this one!

I saw the trailer, once, and it had an electro-noir feel. That will either make a lot of sense, or it won’t. And that is okay, because genres can get real weird. I just learned about post-postmodernism and hysterical realism! Not what they mean, just that they are genres that more than one book or art work fit.

Gemini is definitely a much lower budget, indie movie with one or two recognizable stars in it. It is the type of film that has to rely on a good story to actually get people to watch it, and not warm celebrity smiles.

Love
See? No smiles. Just blue tones and glares.

Jill LeBeau (Lola Kirke) is the agent, PR firm, best friend, and potential lover of big Hollywood actress star, Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz). Heather is a big star. Everyone wants her. The paparazzi. The fans. The studios, the writers. All of them can’t get enough of that Heather. And they have to get through Jill to get to her.

In these trying times, Heather is going through a lot, including a break up through her celebrity boyfriend. People really just want to find out why and get in her business, putting her in a more reclusive mood. Jill cannot protect her either, but she can just try to make her feel comfortable.

After a night of drunken shenanigans and loneliness, Jill gets to her bosses house the next day and finds her lying dead on the ground on her own home. And all of the evidence points to Jill. But Jill couldn’t kill her boss, her best friend, her maybe lover, could she? No! There were people who might have done it. Angry writers, obsessed fans, down on their luck paparazzi, all of that.

No, Jill isn’t going to go on some pseudo investigative hunt to find the real murderer. But she is going to ask questions and try to clear her name while wallowing in self pity.

Also starring John Cho, James Ransone, Greta Lee, Michelle Forbes, Nelson Franklin, Reeve Carney, and Ricki Lake.

Ghost
“No, her future ghost is the murderer!”

For the most part, while watching Gemini I just thought it was an average story pseudo-thriller. The soundtrack resonated throughout it, a sort of techno pulse that was going and going. It reminded me of Good Time, but that is a movie about a guy on the run and it sort of earned that score. This one was way less hectic and just seemed off to me.

Don’t go into Gemini thinking it will be a classic whodunit film where the viewer can follow the clues and pick out the murderer along with our “Detective.” No, it is not one you’d be able to pick up from clues, because there aren’t really any clues, just assumptions and you have to sit and wait for the ride to end before it is fully revealed.

And unfortunately when I was almost done off the ride, the cart went off the rails and left me in the gutter. This is a long metaphor to describe the film, and I don’t apologize for that. The ending is downright terrible. I feel so disappointed in following the story of this film. It was never great or above average even. Just okay. But the ending cost it points and put it clearly as a film I don’t need to see again, nor would I recommend.

1 out of 4.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I am frequently reminded that I should be watching more of Yorgos Lanthimos‘s movies. And not just because he is a guy who keeps bringing some out.

My first experience with his film was The Lobster a year ago and it definitely was an experience. I hadn’t seen any of his previous work, but The Lobster was so far out there that I knew this was a director who wanted to do his own thing and not give a shit about what people thought about it. This is the same thought that Terrence Malick must have, but I don’t like his work.

And now he has The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which is wonderful on its own thanks to the trailers. They told me nothing about the movie, but it was visually sexy and clearly different from The Lobster at the same time.

I really should get around to watching Dogtooth, but he has another movie coming out next year, so we will see if it ever happens.

Spaghetti
Damn right you eat that spaghetti now. Don’t want it falling out of your pockets later.

Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a really good surgeon. Well, most surgeons are good. I only assume he is good because he is rich, and surgeons are generally rich after they pay off those loans. He has a wife (Nicole Kidman) and two kids (Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic), the typical American household and life. Everything is going so swell.

Steven is also friends with some boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan), who is older than his kids. Martin is a bit slower developmentally, but he lives with his mom only. He had a dad, but the dad died several years ago in a car crash, and Steven has been sort of a mentor to Martin ever since.

But Steven starts to act a bit stranger than normal, and he has already been a strange kid. After introducing Steven to his family, strange events start to occur to his family. A paralyzation affects his son so that he cannot walk and all of the big fancy doctor tests cannot tell them why. That is only the beginning of the problems that affect their family and it seems to have to do with Martin. But why? Why is the big question.

Also starring Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp.

Think
This might be right after his heart was with a text message.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a quiet film with an unsettling plot behind it, that I chose to not fully reveal. Given the choice our main character ends up making it is something ripe for sadness and anger by many viewers. Good, good, let the emotion flow out of us.

I honestly had no idea where the movie was going on, and once the plot gets fully revealed (which is does VERY quickly and seemingly out of nowhere), every moment gets a little bit scarier. Keoghan has one of the more punchable faces I have ever seen in film, true here and in Dunkirk, but it really works with the character they created. He is unnerving, but not in a cartoon villain sort of way. I will say the film didn’t really do enough to explain his actions or his own mental capacity, so it should definitely be dinged for these reasons.

But let’s just say, some shit is up, it affects this family quite unfairly, and we have to watch most of a film as they deal with shit that continually escalates until a final decision is finally reached. After all the build up, the ending itself was pretty shocking when it came to the hows, the whys, and the whos, but it also makes sense in an eerie way. After all, it is an eerie movie about some people with some strange feelings about reality, so it is also fitting.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a creepy film with some horrifying moments, but one that could have been better with a lot more backstory and explanation when it comes to a few characters. Less can be more, but I think this film had too much less.

3 out of 4.

Thelma

When you hear the name Thelma, you really only think of one thing. Well, technically two things. You think of Thelma, and you think of Louise. You don’t even need to have seen the movie to have understood the reference. If you didn’t, then well, you suck at pop culture.

When looking up Thelma pictures, I was flooded with a lot from the 1991 film, despite putting a year in the google search as well.

But there was ANOTHER girl in these images as well. Because it turns out we had a Thelma movie in 2011, from the Philippines, about a girl with powers.

Huh, this is a Norwegian movie about a girl with powers. Today you just learned that Thelma is the most powerful female name around the world.

Brain
Blows your mind a bit, doesn’t it?

In Oslo, Thelma (Eili Harboe) is finally going to university, so she can learn at an accelerated pace and discover new things about the world. You see, she grew up in a smaller area. Her family didn’t have direct neighbors, but land around a lake, which is a real sweet spot for fishing, or skating, depending on the time of the year. Her father (Henrik Rafaelsen) is a huge Christian man, and her mother (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) also that, is in a wheel chair.

But yeah! College! Time to study all the time! And apparently, have seizures. In the middle of a study hall, in front of future friends, pissing her pants. The doctor finds it strange, as she apparently has no history of seizures. She just wants this thing to be kept secret from her parents. Thankfully she is an adult now, and doctor to doctor conversations will not trickle to her parents officially, even if her dad is also a doctor.

The seizure did do something good though. It helped Thelma meet Anja (Kaya Wilkins), who just seems like the most special girl she knows. She definitely likes Anja, AS A FRIEND OF COURSE. There is no way that Thelma, good Christian girl, would ever be tempted into something sinful like being a lesbian. Yet still, she has a way about her, and Thelma cannot but feel something unique there. However, whenever her mind gets a hold of situation, she gets into that shaky, seizure-y territory again. And when she gets there, some bad things have happened. Unexplainable things. Dangerous things.

Also starring a lot of Norwegian people. If there are any Swedish or Finnish people, I wouldn’t have noticed!

Love
I just see all Scandinavians as the same, to be honest.*

Thelma was a wonderful movie. It was a slow and careful. It moved at a speed that almost made me hate it, as I just wanted answers faster. I had to be patient and let the movie unravel. But even the very first scene, a flashback (can a flashback be the first scene, technically?), of our main character and father was haunting. It took a long time for that one to be answered, it certainly didn’t go the way I expected.

Thelma is a strange coming of age story. It starts with our protagonist already “of age” but just slightly underdeveloped mentally due to a closed upbringing. It has her alone for most of the film when it comes to her emotions and problems, because of fear of her parents, fear of regression, and fear of change. And it has some magic stuff too.

The magic isn’t some wonderful power of invisibility, or flight. It is a lot more accidentally sinister, in account of it being a repressed power that she really doesn’t have a lot of control over. You know, like Frozen. But in this version of Frozen, the parents don’t die and the power gets actively oppressed by others, not just the main character.

I was scared, I cried, and I loved Thelma. Good job Norway. This is officially their selection to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Picture. At this point, I hope it gets nominated.

The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

Train
I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

Balcony
The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.

The Snowman

Without a doubt, snowmen have always been scary. We had that Jack Frost horror movie, and that other Jack Frost horror movie, all about snowmen!

My first real interactions with snowmen and music however, have also been terrifying. After all, in Cannibal! The Musical we were given the hellish tune of Let’s Build a Snowman, multiple decades before Frozen came onto the scene with their snowman song.

Apparently this one was based on a book, but I am sure The Snowman was supposed to be scary as well.

Alien
Is this an alien snowman? Is this movie actually supernatural?

Norway. Winter. It’s cold everywhere, it snows all the time. Basically, everyone is a snowman if you think about it.

And Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is a detective for the main Norway police people, and yes, that is his name. He is good at his job, but he also is a bit of a drunk and going through a life slump. A new recruit to their agency is Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), who has a lot of spunk and drive. She thinks a series of disapperances are similar to a few done years ago in a different Norway town, so she is ready to investigate!

Aw, so young and naive. And maybe oh so right.

A few murders, a few snowmen based deaths, and sure yeah, I am sure someone is behind it and just fucking with them all. And to think it is happening as they are trying to finish a bid for some non Olympic winter games event too.

Also starring Michael Yates, Ronan Vibert, Chloe Sevigny, Charlotte Gainsbourg, David Dencik, Jonas Karlsson, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, and J.K. Simmons.

SIdewaysface
I think this is the first time I have ever seen the :/ used in any real context.

In The Snowman, there is a good mystery plot in there, somewhere. A lot of it may have been on the cutting room floor, or it may have never gotten shot. According to the director, he talked about why the movie was terrible, before it was even released in America. It was released a week early in Europe and met with so many bad reviews he just had to admit the whole thing I guess.

It quickly went from a “I can’t wait to see this film!” moment to “Oh man, how much of a train wreck will this be? Can’t wait!” feeling. And trainwreck it was.

Which is a shame, because Fassbender isn’t acting bad in the film or anything, it is just the plot is so shitty. There are motivations behind the characters, but the herring is so red it should almost be a scarlet herring. Or bloody herring. So much side plot is technically relevant, but so badly explained it just feels slightly shoe horned. And when we get our big dramatic reveal (which isn’t too hard to guess), it is explained so poorly it just feels. Well, badly written.

Which is a shame, because the novel by Jo Nesbø I am sure is really swell. He has written a lot of books, so he must have some talent. But now my introduction to his work just smells of…wait. Herring. Yeah, it smells like old yucky herring.

The Snowman is poorly put together work of film, despite some cool elements. Probably just avoid this one forever and read the book instead.

1 out of 4.

Suburbicon

Hooray the Coen brothers! Their last picture was Hail, Cesar! Which I have a 4 out of 4 to, but in retrospect it was a weak 4. It was just so bizarre and atypical for films that I couldn’t hate it.

So I had pretty high hopes with Suburbicon. It is set in the past, it has quirky characters and a murder plot so fowl. It is probably going to be similar to Fargo just with worse accents.

I really wanted to see it but I was surprised at the lack of, well, anything about the movie. Advertising was basically nonexistent for this film, like it was meant to be buried before it even premiered. And damn it, George Clooney is the director, his name used to mean something.

Falling Down
Maybe some elements will also bring us back to Falling Down.

Welcome to Suburbicon! A community set in the 1960’s or early 70’s. Life is perfect here. There are jobs, there are families with husbands and wives, there are kids who play baseball in the lots. There are no big fences between their houses, there is no crime, and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

And then a new family moves in, the Mayers (Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa). They are black. This sort of thing really shakes up their community, as apparently most of the families left their homes to move here just because of how white it is. They think this family will ruin their community and will go out of there way to make their stay miserable until they decide to leave.

But that is only one small part of the movie. The other part deals with the Lodge family. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is running his own business, living with his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), who is in a wheelchair, and son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Sometimes her twin, Margaret (Moore), also stays with them. After Nicky ends up playing baseball with the new neighbor’s son, the Lodge family are woken up by two goons (Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell) who are threatening and mean.

This leads to a death in the family, which is only the first of a series of weird things to occur after their new neighbors arrive. It turns out that this area might not have been as happy as everyone had imagined.

Also featuring Oscar Isaac as an insurance man.

Oscar
I’d let him give me an insurance adjustment anytime.

There is something odd about Suburbicon, in its core, that makes it really hard to get into for a really long time. With wonderful dark comedy writers at the helm, you would think it would be a surefire hit, or at lease a cult classic. But this will not be either of these things and it will be promptly forgotten in the annals of cinema.

Is it like Fargo? Yeah, a bit, but Fargo had charming characters that you could invest in on both sides. This movie basically has a little kid and a neighbor family that is a distracting subplot.

And maybe that is a bigger problem with the film. As the intro goes, it is clear that the ideal utopia place to live is super white. It is clear that there will probably be a black family to move into the neighborhood and force some issues. And these things do happen, but only to provide a rather large and awkward distraction of the main plot.

I’m an America as racially divided and tense as it is right now, how could they decide to treat a real issue facing people now as some sort of fluff piece? It shows real anger and scary situations, but every time it heads back to the main family with their insane plot it reminds the viewer that “no, they are not important. This white family is really the important one.”

The reason for all the chaos makes sense. By having it in the background, we are able to give a reason why all of the film’s plot can take place without too much notice. But even if it makes sense, it is still an incredibly insensitive and poor choice for the creators to make.

The acting is fine. Some of the twists are fine. Oscar Isaac was great in his two scenes. Top notch. It slightly saved it from a 0.

1 out of 4.

Atomic Blonde

Atomic! Blonde! Atomic Blonde! Two words that are powerful, in very different ways, and together make something…about the sum of their parts.

It is a new action mostly film, with promises of sleek designs and fights, with a banging sound and wall to wall fun. It is also being noted as female John Wick, or something like that.

I figured Atomic Blonde would be some cool agent nick name, but it isn’t mentioned at all in the film, so really the title is just…mostly random. Strange, but it wouldn’t be the first time it is done. Sort of a call back to 80’s action films in that regard.

Wall
What a big goddamn symbol of separation. And a wall, there is a wall also in this shot.

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall was a literal and figurative collapse of the separation between East and West Germany, reuniting the country for the first time in decades. But in this world, it almost never happened.

An MI-6 British operative gained access to a file in a watch that had information on every hidden operative on both sides of the Cold War. It would be devastating for anyone to get their hands on it, as they would gain a big advantage over the others. It getting out might also prolong the Cold War, when it is so close to finishing for once.

And then that operative was killed before he could bring it home, putting it in the hands of a Soviet soldier, who didn’t run back to his country, but is trying to get paid the big bucks for the information. So the UK sends in a new agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), to find the file before it gets in the wrong hands. They also want her to find information on a double agent, who is secretly leaking information to the Soviets. And all of this quickly, before the Cold War heats up.

She is sent with information to trust no one, not even their pseudo informant, David Percival (James McAvoy), a man who has been working both sides of the wall to gain intel to gain power and prestige. But he is also her only hope to really starting to crack the case. They also need to find Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), a code name for an East German intelligence officer who helped make the list and is the only one really with that information.

The majority of the story is told after the events, with Lorraine retelling it back at headquarters, to a head British dude (Toby Jones) and a member of the CIA (John Goodman).

Other bodies in this film include James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson.

Cover
Man, having a big head of hair and covering your face really helps input a stunt double.

Coming from a person who didn’t find John Wick or its sequel to be perfect films (although wonderful cinematography, and wonderful action), this did not feel up to the same quality that John Wick gave us. But I am not going to compare it to John Wick, that wouldn’t be fair.

Theron was fine as our lead. A very distant protagonist, she had a lot of secrets in her head, and they showed her definitely to be a bad ass. There was an incredible scene that maybe went on 10 minutes as a long take with several fights and sequences that just felt like it would never end. It was wonderful.

But it lacked a whole lot more in the story department. It should have tried a simpler plot, instead this movie gets tangled up in its own threads, and doesn’t give a completely sensible final product. Twists and turns are one thing, but if they end up at the finale and feel forced and a bit of a let down, then the movie just ends with a pitter.

The average review isn’t just for the ending, but mostly for how the story just failed to get me involved in anyway. There were secrets, but ones I rarely cared about. I didn’t try to look for hints, because I knew they would be mostly red herrings.

But the soundtrack was definitely banging. And again, some of the fight scenes were just extremely well choreographed, so if that is all you care about, you will have a good time. I just think who cares? Big deal, I want more.

2 out of 4.

Wind River

For awhile, I was up in Northern Minnesota. This is real life, true story. How north, you ask? Well, apparently a 45 minute drive would have taken me to Canada.

I bring this up for two reasons: One, it made me miss quite a few screenings, because they show movies up there months after everyone else saw them, certainly not before. And two, the movie Wind River is set in the wilderness.

Not almost Canada, but cold enough in the months of “barely Spring” Wyoming, in the mountains.

So basically, I am this story. If you squint really really hard.

Hunt
Oh hey. Avengers. I see you upgraded weapons.

Set in the titular Wind River, Wyoming, this takes us to a big reservation city where people want to just be left alone, raise their families, and not be fucked over by the white man. Basically like a lot of people in the world.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a cool white guy though, as you can tell with his white name. He is okay, because he works to help the area. He lives alone and is a hunter, and he works for the government sort of, taking out wolves or lions or whatever that are messing with people’s farms. He has an ex wife (Julia Jones) and a son (Teo Briones) that he has visitation for sometimes. Definitely some backstory there. Would be awesome if a new character was brought in so that it could be addressed at some point.

But before that, DEATH. Because while out looking for a momma lion and her cubs, he stumbles upon a dead body. A girl, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) that he knows, barefoot, and miles away from any house. His plans have changed, and now they have to wait for an FBI agent to get there to investigate the possible murder. Which is where we meet Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), girl totally not used to the cold, here to check things out. Despite bad things that have clearly happened to the girl, specifically physical stuff, the death cannot be ruled a murder but natural causes. Weather is a goddamn bitch.

Banner doesn’t have a lot of time to investigate this before she will be called back to a new job, so she enlists Lambert’s help in order to get someone who knows the area and land to maybe make some leads quickly before she has to run off again. Can they figure out the mystery behind her death?

Featuring the awesome Graham Greene as the local cop, and Gil Birmingham as Natalie’s dad. Also all of these people: Apesanahkwat, Eric Lange, Tantoo Cardinal, Althea Sam, Tyler Laracca, Martin Sensmeier, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal, James Jordan, Austin R. Grant, Blake Robbins, Hugh Dillon, Ian Bohen, and Matthew Del Negro.

Grief
And Birmingham’s face was played by William Wallace.

After watching, Wind River seems like one of those movies that I really love for basically every aspect, that other movie watchers will find to be boring or dumb. I hate it when that happens. I want those people to open their minds and realize they just witnessed something epic, so I write about it (while begrudgingly say that yeah, everyone can have an opinion), and make sure people get out there.

But honestly I can’t see that happening. I can’t imagine people going to watch this and not being impressed with it. It is just so damn good. There is no way this can have a disconnect between critic and the average movie goer. Anyone should be able to go in, see how much Renner, Olsen and Greene brought it the entire time they weer on the screen. They should be able to see how much Birmingham did with a lot less screen time. They should be appreciative of the cast that was very racially sensitive to the area.

And they should be able to see how well the plot unfolded. When the movie decided to reveal the secrets, they should feel how their stomach turned and their anger increased. The emotions would be on a ride if someone just let them.

Sure, Wind River started off a little bit slow, but once we get dead body, it should captivate the viewer, and you will see definitely one of the best films of 2017.

4 out of 4.

Havenhurst

Havenhurst came about on my radar because, like at least 50 reviews on this website, my flashdrive was left at home and I needed something.

But I will admit I liked the name. It could technically be considered a calming or warm sounding place, but at the same time, the opposite of all that. It brings up the idea of a haunted house, thanks to those double H’s. It could really draw up some fears of isolation or claustrophobia.

Then again, the main draws for me for this film were the short run time and the fact that I recognized a lead. I am but a simple sheep, at the end of the day.

Coppers
Havenhurst harks homeless hotties and heinous harbingers of hazard. .

Jackie (Julie Benz) loooooves her alcohol. In fact, she is an alcoholic. But she is trying to get beyond that, going to those meetings and getting her life back on her feet. Thankfully, there are many opportunities for her.

One of them is Havenhurst, a hotel/apartment esque building that offers homes and rooms for those working on recovery. They can stay there as long as they need, unless they return to their vice, whatever it is. Then old Eleanor (Fionnula Flanagan) will evict them, no questions asked, and they are on their own to make mistakes, never again to return.

Well, Jackie had a friend there, Danielle (Danielle Harris), but she went missing. She might have been evicted and gone somewhere else, but she hasn’t seen her in so long she suspects maybe some foul play.

The hotel seems to change over time, some of its hallways, and she hears screams occasionally. Thankfully she has a foster kid sidekick (Belle Shouse) and a cop friend (Josh Stamberg) to occasionally have them listen to her theories.

Also featuring Toby Huss, Douglas Tait, Dendrie Taylor, and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn.

Girl
“Oh no a bad guy, get him little girl!”

Havenhurst opens with a death of a character. Sometimes horror films take awhile to get scary, Havenhurst said no, death first, then plot, then more death. The death just felt silly though, without context, putting me in a mood ripe for making fun of the film. It doesn’t help that this film attempts to maintain some levels of mystery so that the viewer can sort of play along with our hero, except that right away we know that yeah, there is some murders afoot, so she isn’t crazy.

And a film has an uphill battle if it wants to maintain some suspense while also basically letting the viewer know a whole lot more than the characters. Usually mysteries are from the point of view of the protagonist with a few teasing moments.

I am annoyed at how un-seriously I took this film. Because when it revealed a bit more information (in a pretty silly way), I loved the idea they presented. Again, it was presented in a bad way, in more ways than one, but the connection to American lore was top notch.

Havenhurst has below average plot, acting, thrills, and more. Thankfully it is short and we can all move on from this film.

1 out of 4.

Shimmer Lake

Studies have shown that reviews that feature “Lake” in the title end up being better than expected when writing said review.

Of course, my only review before this was the movie Flakes, which was, I admit, better than I imagined it would be. It was quirky, off beat.

Shimmer Lake, it has plenty of quirky actors in it, but I am not sure how off beat it will end up being. I did go in with low expectations, despite the Lake theory, and as you can see, hey, it was better than I imagined.

Interviews
There was less sexual tension in this movie than I imagined as well. Look at that gap between police officers!

Shimmer Lake is also a story told in reverse. Similar to Memento, sure, but it is on a day by day basis. We start our story on Friday, and we see how the entirety of Friday plays out, then we see Thursday, all the way to Tuesday.

Because you see, on Tuesday, there was a bank robbery. And this is a small town, Shimmer Lake, so everybody knows everybody, and heck, a lot of them are related. Like or Sheriff Zeke (Benjamin Walker), whose brother, Andy (Rainn Wilson), a lawyer, just helped rob a bank on Tuesday. Andy worked with two other locals (Wyatt Russell, Mark Rendall) robbed a bank when it had a well known surplus, and Zeke was shot in the theft.

And now they are still about the town, Zeke is sure of it.

We just have to figure out how all the players are involved, which of course is revealed slowly while telling us backwards. We also have a judge (John Michael Higgins), a couple of FBI helpers (Rob Corddry, Ron Livingston), the deputy (Adam Pally), and the wife of a robber (Stephanie Sigman), and somehow one or more of them are involved.

And don’t worry, the lake is not the answer to the mystery.

Table
Blueprints and alcohol are the best items to help with a bank robbery.

About three fourths of the way into this movie, I wondered why it was being told in reverse. It didn’t seem to be adding really anything extra to the story. It seemed to be Memento-ing because people liked Memento.

But of course by the end it all became a bit more clear. And yes, Shimmer Lake is a film that will be better the second go around. I don’t know if I will ever really watch it a second time, but I would like to see what clues give it all away and make this story tick.

It was a bit hard to label this movie, because there are a lot of actors who are mostly in comedy films filling out the roster, and I think that adds a strange aesthetic to the whole film. I am calling it a Dark Comedy in that regard, because it is normally comic actors acting serious, in events that are larger than life.

Shimmer Lake isn’t a film that is reinventing the wheel or adding something entirely new to the industry. But it does try to stand out and, as I implied earlier, ends up being a better ride than expected.

3 out of 4.

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