Synopsis: While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photographer, Clare, meets Andi, a charismatic local man and there is an instant attraction between them. A night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance, takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again. Ever.
I was always taught to be careful when traveling alone whether you're going to a new country or simply a new city. Clare is a tourist who obviously didn't get that memo. She's a photographer wanting to take photos of architecture. She travels to Berlin from Australia and quickly lets it be known to a stranger that she is exactly that...alone. This probably isn't the best way to go about things even though he is someone she finds attractive.
Andi is an English teacher who seems to live a normal life. He works, visits his father and takes Clare out. Soon, it's time for Clare to leave and head to the next stop on her trip. Andi doesn't seem very happy with this. Luckily for him, she changes her mind and goes to find him. This leads to a night of passion. The next morning, she finds herself locked in his apartment with no way out. The movie starts to pick up here. Why has he kept her locked in? Is she the first woman he's kidnapped?
The screenwriter chooses not to flesh out either character too much. We know vague things about each person's past. Clare's mother is awaiting back in Australia. Andi's mother abandoned him when he was young. As time passes, Andi treats keeping Clare kidnapped as if nothing is wrong. He brings her flowers even when she tries to escape. He likes to tie her down and take strange Polaroids of her. How long can he keep her hidden? Her mother hasn't had any contact with her aside from the texts he sends with her stolen sim card.
It's certainly a situation where she is ultimately powerless. Eventually, stockholm syndrome begins to kick in. She starts cooking and cleaning for him as well as having sex with him willingly. There were plenty of questions for me that slowly got answered. How were there no neighbors? This is explained by the fact that Andi is renovating the building that he lives in. Why does no one go looking for Clare? A missing tourist probably doesn't matter in the long run.
In the end, it's the psychological damage done to Clare that makes this movie work. Teresa Palmer plays the wide-eyed victim quite well. It's possibly her best role to date. There were a few times when I wanted to shake her and scream at her to fight harder. The ending was definitely the most frustrating. I wanted some concrete evidence that she would be safe. What happened to her after the climax? We're meant to imagine it instead.
Synopsis: Gerald Burlingame and his wife Jessie attempt to rekindle the flames of their marriage with a retreat to their remote lake house. But when a dangerous sex game accidentally kills Gerald and leaves Jessie handcuffed to the bed, the latter is forced to overcome panic and hallucinations if she wants to escape.
Adaptations of Stephen King novels have been hit or miss. There have been at least 58 of them with more in the works like the sequel to the latest IT movie, plus Hulu's Castle Rock series. For every good one, there are at least a dozen that are barely watchable. There's little wonder in whether it's the source material being hard to adapt or merely someone unable to bring the master of horror's vision to life. There are many reasons why these adaptations can go so wrong, but we won't get into those here.
Gerald's Game begins with Gerald and Jessie trying to rekindle the passion in their marriage. The attraction between them has faded. Gerald decides to handcuff Jessie to the bed and play out a rape fantasy. This goes bad very quickly with Gerald dying of a heart attack. Jessie is left trapped and trying to find a way to escape with little success. There are more horrors than just being trapped such as a stray dog searching for food, traumas from her past and a nightmarish man hiding in the shadows.
Jessie's ordeal is harrowing to watch. Will she manage to escape? She begins to hallucinate and relive pieces of her past that she'd tried to forget. Did her past put her on the path to her current situation? These are questions that do get answered in my opinion by the end of the film. There is a scene that will be talked about for quite awhile after this movie ends. It is gruesome to watch but well worth it.
There could have been many ways this could have fallen flat. Mike Flanagan has previously proven that he can craft horror in ways that others haven't. Oculus and Hush were both successful. He does very well with the material. However, it's Carla Gugino's performance that elevates the adaptation. She's fantastic as both the panic-stricken wife and the empowered survivor.
People might complain about the last ten minutes since so many were polarized by the end of the novel. I believe that the final scenes are what really tie together Jessie's journey and her road to the future. The real horrors come from the people she has encountered and the trauma she endured. There is no supernatural element here. For me, that's what makes it truly unsettling.
Ophelia has already done a quick little review of this movie, so I figured I'd throw in a short opinion of it as well. Originally, I was going to watch this low grade horror on Netflix, but I ended up catching it on TV and finding a little bit of humor out of it. Granted the humor was not intentional, I'm sure. The premise had some potential to be entertaining, but a lot of the time I was nervous that something risque might pop up and a parental figure would appear with all of Nurse Abby's breathy delivery and occasional lack of clothing in the kitchen...a couple times at least. As a villain I couldn't take her seriously as a threat, because of her acting. Everything that happened just seemed to conveniently work in her favor and the story just seemed silly overall.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016, UK) | Rating: 4/5
Remember me mentioning that I've been watching bad horror movies on purpose for some amusement this year? Yeah, I'm still doing that and I'll probably keep mentioning it in future reviews. So, this was one that I felt might be one of the bad ones, but surprisingly was very good. This is the best result I can get from things that look questionable or not of good quality. While I admit this movie isn't perfect with its storytelling, it does enough to get its point across and be perfectly suspenseful. The movie didn't rely on jump scares too much and mainly focused on atmosphere and the unknown. You know, when you know something's out there or behind the door and you can only hear it. That can be scary. Watching these two characters dissect our Jane Doe felt immersive like I was in the same room as them, which makes for an effective horror movie.
XX (2017, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
Similar to ABCs of Death, this movie is a compilation of four female directors creating some horror themed shorts that star female characters. Hearing this concept made me excited to check out more lady horror directors, especially after seeing the Soska Sisters' American Mary and their survival horror game show, Hellevator. I first about it from Nightmare Maven and immediately stopped it when potential spoilers were going to be included in her review. After I watched it, I returned to her review for her thoughts and there was something I didn't realize that she pointed out, which was that most of the stories revolve around mother figures. I wasn't too bothered by it, but I do agree that there should've been more variety of character choices for our actresses. I don't want to give anything away, since each selection is fairly short and easy to spoil, so I'll be vague with my opinions. Similar to ABCs of Death, there were one or two that I wish had a full movie as the story was very interesting. "The Box" and "The Birthday Party" were my favorites. I loved the weirdness "The Box" gave me and it kept me thinking of what could've affected this family the way it did. Pretty much, it left me wanting more. "The Birthday Party" was darkly humorous to me and it mostly felt complete, but I wouldn't mind seeing a little more. "Don't Fall" was probably my least favorite as I thought it was a little confusing with its mythology, execution, and rules. It wasn't terrible, but the characters didn't interest me as much as "The Box" and "The Birthday Party". "Her Only Living Son" fell in the middle. It was interesting, but most of the time I was kinda confused what was going on or why what was happening was happening. Overall, I did enjoy the whole anthology and hope they put together another one.
The Entity (2015, Peru) | Rating: 3.5/5
Another one of those movies that looked bad, but ended up being...alright, actually. The thing that surprised me about this movie was that it was found footage, which is usually a turn off. I just haven't had the best of luck with the genre, but this one ended up being fairly entertaining. It does have its silly moments and times where it doesn't seem believable that any of the characters filmed parts, but for the most part I enjoyed following this little demonic investigation and watching them connect the pieces. There a couple somewhat creepy moments, but a lot of it is by the books for possession and found footage movies. Nonetheless, I wasn't bored and the characters were interesting enough to care about. Their dynamics really worked for me and kept me hooked into the movie.
3 Beauties (2014, Venezuela) | Rating: 3/5
More Spanish representation in this post! From my understanding from reading the back of the box was that this wouldn't have a "horror" element to it, but lots of drama. While I wouldn't completely put this in the horror genre, it definitely does slowly take a turn in a way of thriller aspects, I suppose. I'm not completely sure how to word it. I guess I can say that this movie takes sibling rivalry to a somewhat different level. The feud between sisters for their mother's affection (or really attention) is a slowing burning rage that eventually goes over the top. It's kinda unexpected...at least, I wasn't expecting it to turn out the way it did. In some ways, their rivalry can be quite amusing until that jealousy boils over. Not sure if I was supposed to find humor in some of their actions or not, but then again, I kinda have a dark sense of humor sometimes.
Well, another October has come and I'm still trying to challenge myself with reviews. I know I failed last year to meet my quota, but I have a bit of a head start this year. I'm trying my best to be a little more consistent here, especially with some big upcoming plans looming in the horizon. Anyway, the challenge is the same as last year's: review 31 horror related items (movies, manga, anime, tv shows, etc.). I'm feeling very optimistic about this and maybe I'll do some streaming on Rabbit with you guys as well. Let's give it a go!
Based on the play of the same name, I heard a lot praise from the Academy and it seemed like an interesting movie. I love Viola Davis...and Denzel Washiongton too. Pretty much, I was happy that more African American stories were nominated last year and I would try my best to check most of them out that interested me. I feel like this movie isn't for everyone. It's definitely one of those "Oscar bait" movies in a way as the format feels like a play. In other words, it is very dialogue heavy and the story doesn't really change locations either. The movie is primarily at a house and moves from room to room or outside, much like a play, which is different. The handful of movies I've seen based on plays usually try to expand their location options, but this one doesn't and...I kinda think that's for the best. This is very much a character piece and the focus should be on the characters and how they interact with each other and grow. There are some great performances here and when you pay attention, you'll feel just as emotional attached as the characters do.
Passengers (2016, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5
I wasn't super interested in this movie as it seemed kinda generic in ways, but I did plan on seeing it at some point. I like Chris Pratt and I like Jennifer Lawrence and these past couple years or so they have been quite the hype in Hollywood. Seeing them together in a romantic setting is kinda odd. You know that typical Hollywood age gap controversy and all, but yeah... Anyway, the movie. At the beginning, I realized that what I thought would happen from the preview did not happen and we were in for a somewhat different kind of ride. The movie is through Pratt's eyes and we pretty much follow his journey on this ship. At first, he's the only one roaming around and taking advantage of all the awesome technology, then he gets lonely and sees a pretty girl. Enter Lawrence's character. They fortunately get along and form a relationship, some misunderstanding thing happens, and eventually all human life is in their hands. Yeah, lots of generic elements from the romance and sci-fi genres put together. For the most part, I did enjoy it, but it's a movie I probably wouldn't immediately watch again and sing high praises for. It connects all the dots and the pay off is kinda bland and predictable, but the film isn't terrible, just nothing remarkable.
The Edge of Seventeen (2016, USA) | Rating: 4/5
I think it's been some time since there was a good teen/high school movie. I haven't really heard much about it, but the little I did hear from my subscribed reviewers were quite positive. So, I decided to check it out and see if it lived up to the high praise it received. In short, it did. I really enjoyed this realistic, almost cynical teen girl. I kinda can relate to her attitude at my current age. heh It's just really refreshing to see teens act like teens and not little adults. The take on the story is simply refreshing as we follow Nadine dealing with "big" problems in her life and just trying to adjust to almost strained and new relationships. I really liked watching Nadine and Mr. Bruner interact with each other on a somewhat more personal relationship with each other. Kind of like the father she never had type of figure. There's a lot of interesting dimensions involving their relationship, which adds to some great character development. Also, I have to applaud having an Asian love interest of sorts. Although, it isn't blatantly labeled that way; it does naturally become something that's realistic and admirable. Honestly, I think this movie is such a sleeper hit, because it really is quite good movie and a step up from The Duff.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016, USA) | Rating: 4/5
This documentary of sorts kinda flew under my radar, until it hit DVD for pre-order at my job. I read the synopsis and it actually sounded quite interesting. Plus, I've been checking out more movies and documentaries of recent black history exploits. This one is based on the famous writer James Baldwin's unfinished novel, Remember This House and is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. The documentary tells of his relationships with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, along with his childhood and comparison to current racial disputes to the past. Since race and discrimination has been a hot button topic for last few years or so, this movie gives you good comprehension on the struggle back then to now. It doesn't beat you over the head with a specific message, but lets you contemplate on the topic and make connections with the past and present...and perhaps the future of race relations. Definitely give this documentary a watch, especially if you want a different take on black history.
Sing (2016, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
I know I made a few jokes about this movie in the After Theater Review of "Don't Breathe", but I heard a few good things about it. In the end, I did end up watching it...obviously. I was mostly skeptical going into this movie, but it defied my expectations. I imagined a typical music based movie where we follow one character in their journey to stardom. They become super famous, but ruin their relationship with their family or friend(s) with their ego and soon learn a lesson in keeping their ego in check and simply showing passion and not greed through music. While elements of this do appear, this doesn't really follow that guideline...thank God. It's also not a poor man's Zootopia either. Instead we follow a group of characters trying to win a singing competition and working through their personal struggles...while we also still have that corrupt character that loses sight of his original purpose in music. The story does a good job balancing out all these different stories and wrapping them up an entertaining package. It also tries to avoid as many cliches as possible, so it was nice to not have my predictions come true for once.
Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman Directed by: Bryan Bertino Rating: R Run time: 86 minutes Synopsis: A young couple are terrorized by three unknown assailants while staying in an isolated vacation home.
This was certainly a film that left me creeped out. A couple have just returned from a wedding where their relationship hit an uncertain patch. As they get settle in for an uncomfortable night, a strange woman knocks on their door. It's the choice to answer that begins a game of cat and mouse with the couple as unwitting participants.
There's something to be said about watching Liv Tyler be stalked by a sadistic group of killers. She's sweet, innocent and charming; the ultimate pretty girl next door. Scott Speedman does well as her boyfriend, convincing in the anguish that he feels over the events of earlier in the night. The couple is mostly unaware of what's happening, but as the viewer we see these people stalking them.
For me, the most unsettling part was the watching and waiting. I wanted to scream at them to run and hide. Being attacked in my own home is something that I've always worried about. I double lock my doors. A knock in the middle of the night makes me jump. It could be a group of killers like these...looking for their next victims.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey Directed by: James DeMonaco Rating: R Run time: 85 minutes Synopsis: In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.
I saw this film after a recommendation from a good friend. The plot seemed very interesting for a thriller. What would happen if all crime was legalized for 12 hours a year? It’s certainly thought provoking. Would you lock your family away? Would you get out your aggression on the people who’ve slighted you? Those questions were foremost in my mind as I started watching.
During this 12 hour period, all emergency services are suspended. James Sandin has locked down his family with a security system that he invented. He hopes that this will protect his family from the people participating in the purge. Sadly, that doesn’t go as he planned. His son, Charlie, disarms the system to allow a man into the house to protect him from the masked people chasing him. The Sadlins are given a choice to hand him over or be murdered along with him. It’s rather suspenseful as the characters try to hide and protect themselves.
There have been other movies that have amped up that suspenseful feel with similar themes of home invasion. The strength of this film lies in the performances. Ethan Hawke does a standup job as the concerned, protective father. Lena Headey is as always quite the force of nature to watch. She does quite well in the role of the strong, determined mother. Rhyes Wakefield was quite creepy as the leader of the masked group.
The film does have its flaws and issues. There aren’t many films that are without them. There were some unintentionally amusing things (like the son’s charred baby spy tank). Those things don’t really take away from the overall enjoyment of the movie. I thought it was well done for what it was. Go into it with your popcorn and enjoy.
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris, Kennedi Clements Directed by: Gil Kenan Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 93 minutes Synopsis: A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.
For the record, I hate clowns. Why did I see the Poltergeist remake then? I suppose it was a nostalgic moment. The original movie scared me as a kid with the creepy child actor, clown and the medium lady. Thankfully, the remake doesn't attempt to recreate the original exactly. The names, location and time period have all been updated.
I was unsettled by the multiple clowns in this. I also enjoyed the actors better than the original. Sam Rockwell is probably better known as Zaphod Beeblebrox from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He plays the down on his luck, frightened father quite believably. Jared Harris plays in yet another horror film as Carrigan Burke, the psychic medium brought in to find the missing daughter. He's a welcomed addition in exchange for the creepy lady from the original.
Of course, no remake will ever top a successful original. Many have stated that Poltergeist didn't need a remake at all. While I can agree, I do believe that this movie will be successful with the younger generation. What we found scary back then isn't what today's horror fans find frightening. This is the era of jump scares and found footage. Overall, I would suggest not comparing this to 1982's Poltergeist. Think of it as its own entry into the horror genre.
Starring: Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Judd Nelson Directed by: Douglas Aarniokoski Rating: R Run time: 84 minutes Synopsis: By day, Abby Russell is a dedicated nurse, but by night, she lures cheating men to their brutal deaths and exposes them for who they really are.
Don't go into this one hoping for a deep, insightful plot. You won't find one. Paz de la Huerta stars as Abby Russell, a nurse who moonlights as a femme fatale. Her choice of victim are the men who cheat on their wives and partners. Abby takes great joy in ending the lives of these men by luring them in with her sexuality. All of this information is made clear in the voiceover narration.
In her day job, she has been mentoring a new nurse named Danni. It's quickly obvious that she's very attracted to the young nurse as more than a friend. However, things are complicated by Danni's boyfriend. This attraction turns into obsession in record time with Abby doing whatever it takes to get Danni...or get revenge for being rejected.
My biggest problems with this movie aside from the watery plot is that Abby is so transparent. She's played very bewilderingly over the top. It's pretty hard to believe that none of the other characters ever figured out that something wasn't right with her. Hell, someone should have at least noticed how odd her speech patterns were.
Aside from character issues, most of the movie's budget was spent on bad CGI and 3D effects. Perhaps, if more time and effort had been spent on practical effects, character development and plot thickening, it would have been a better movie overall. Watch this one if you have a love of bad B movies or wish to hear Paz mumble through her lines while nude from the waist down.
Starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura Rating: R Run time: 86 minutes Synopsis: A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnaps a wealthy couple traveling cross country only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem.
I wavered on how to rate this one. Ryuhei Kitamura was a director I admired around the time of Versus. The film has an actor that I like. Luke Evans has potential in a lot of ways. He did well as the villain in the latest Fast and Furious installment. He's great as Bard the Bowman in the Hobbit trilogy. So...you're probably wondering what happened here. The long and short of it was that the plot and cast were wasted. I'm not entirely sure whose fault it was. It was very predictable in a lot of ways, then there were no real answers to a big question that was raised. Who is this person? Why are they doing what they're doing? That tends to be the biggest downfall for the film. However, I'll give it an extra half a point simply for Luke Evan's bare ass.
Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund
Directed by: Brad Anderson
Run time: 94 minutes
Synopsis: When a veteran 911 operator takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl's life.
The first half of the film was decent at building suspense. Halle Berry handled being a 911 operator dealing with difficult calls day to day believably in the beginning. It was easy to be empathic with her character and the people she was dealing with calls from. Once she gets the call from the abducted girl, things continue on a course that seems like it will lead to a typical ‘cops get the bad guy’ resolution. However, the deviation from that potential ending is where the film begins to falter. I simply couldn’t fathom the 911 operator making the choices that she did. Regardless of my feelings on that choice, I do believe that both Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin did well in their roles with the script they were given.
Starring: Van Hansis, Thorsten Kaye
Directed by: Henry Miller
Running Time: 85 minutes
Synopsis: 25-year-old Danny Hill's grandmother just died giving Danny the chance to move into her enormous rent controlled apartment in Manhattan. Danny must lock himself in for twelve days before he can take over the lease. There's just one problem -- he may not be the only occupant.
To put it simply, don't waste your time on this one. It was 80 minutes too long. The premise was simple. A guy has to stay in his dead grandmother's apartment for twelve days in order to take over her lease. It sounds like the setup to a little ghost story. Instead, it devolves into a weird, half fulfilled psychosis story. While that could have been interesting, you're left wondering how a seemingly healthy man could end up in the position he was in after twelve days.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Starring: Amber Heard Michael Welch, Anson Mount, Whitney Able
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Run time: 90 minutes
Synopsis: A group of high-schoolers invites Mandy Lane, "a good girl" who becomes the object of everyone's affection after returning from summer break, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revelers begins to mysteriously drop one at a time.
Originally slated for a 2006 release, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane did rounds at film festivals before finding a distribution source. It wasn’t long after that the distribution firm went under leaving the film shelved for seven years. If it had gotten its original intended release, this might have been a huge hit in 2006. We’ve come a long way since then. Mandy Lane is a formerly unpopular girl who got ‘hot’ before junior year. She’s reserved and sheltered by her family. All the boys want her and the girls seem a bit interested too whether it’s simply for friendship or budding rivalry. The movie is set up like a typical teen horror. They all go away for a drunken, sex-filled weekend only to have terrible things happen. The difference in this film is the cinematography and direction. It’s easily reminiscent of Tobe Hooper’s style and films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). I did guess the twist ending, but it was still well done enough that I wasn’t disappointed when it came.
Deliver Us From Evil (2014)
Starring: Eric Bana. Olivia Munn, Edgar Ramirez
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Run time: 118 minutes
Synopsis: New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.
Aside from an attractive cast, Deliver Us From Evil has little going for it. It lacks as a crime thriller with little emphasis placed on the everyday gruesome things Sarchie would have encountered as a detective. These are conveniently used as a plot device to explain why he yells at his wife and snaps at his daughter. The religious horrors are lacking as well. There's a haze cast over what might have made for an entertaining view. Exploring more about the priest and the things that led him to investigate the paranormal could have helped. As it stands, Deliver Us From Evil has about the same amount of demonic presence as your favorite reality haunting show. Things go bump in the night, but you're never fully unsettled. Chalk this one up as a bad re-enactment with a poor script. Don't believe the tagline. Inspired by actual accounts means they took the name of the cop, Ralph Sarchie, but none of the cases from his book, Beware the Night and crafted their own original story.
Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway Directed by: Leigh Janiak Rating: R Run time: 87 minutes
Synopsis: A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of their first night.
What happens when you hire actors from two popular fantasy series and toss them into a remote setting? Ideally, magic. Rose Leslie is a talented young actress, best known for her role as Ygritte in HBO's Game of Thrones. Harry Treadaway plays the role of Victor Frankenstein in Showtime's Penny Dreadful. In reality, Honeymoon is a bit too unsure of what it wants to be to effectively produce the appropriate response from its audience. Psychological thriller would have worked far better than the route that the writer/director took. Let's break it down a bit without giving away anything not shown in the trailers.
Paul and Bea have just gotten married. They're very sweet together, recounting details of their courtship for their wedding video. Paul got sick on their first date. They were supposed to go camping, but she got sick. Sickness seems to play a part in their relationship quite a bit. This resulted in him building a tent out of their blankets over their bed and proposing beneath it. Rather than wedding cake, they chose cinnamon buns. Quirky and cute, these two seem destined for white picket fences and happily ever after.
Bea has chosen to leave the city for their honeymoon to have alone time in her family's cabin. It's rustic, surrounded by woods and an expansive lake. Paul seems overwhelmed by this. How much did he know about his new wife? She can hunt, fish and did 12 years of girl scouts. Things take a turn for the strange when they meet a childhood friend of hers.
Paul responds to this new arrival with jealousy. It's not surprising with how horny he'd been. Is there a darker side to him than Bea realized? Paul made an earlier comment about her womb that lead to an awkward moment where they discuss whether he wants a baby. Later, he finds Bea naked and alone in the woods. Something is now different about her. Or is he the one who has changed?
A better script would have explored their relationship's decline better. What happened to Bea in the woods? Was she attacked by a stranger? Was it her childhood friend? Did her husband rape her? Is Paul losing his mind and unable to cope with his wife's trauma? These questions would have made the film far more rounded and fulfilling. Instead, we're saddled with a weak final half that resorts to body horror to get its point across. There's one major sequence that left me feeling very uneasy. Sadly, even that has been done before...and much better.
Originally, I was supposed to see this movie with Buonaventura who actually read the book, but our schedules didn't work out for us to do it and the movie left the theater. I know the book was highly praised by the masses and people claimed that this would be the next Gone Girl, which is one reason I wanted to watch it. The preview seemed like a predictable suspense mystery sort of thing, but according to Buonaventura, it was not...at least in the book. I don't know how the book compares to the movie and most likely I will never find out for myself like I did with Gone Girl. I feel like this movie could have been better, but the story just drags and drags and the characters simply aren't that interesting. I almost wonder if the book is the same way. Even though I thought the story was boring, I was still curious who committed the crime in the end.
The Beauty Inside (2015, South Korea) | Rating: 4/5
Lately, I've been absolutely terrible about watching Asian movies from my job as well as dramas, if you haven't noticed, which is quite a shame. There was one day I managed to get through three Asian titles in one day and all three have surprised me with its content. Normally love stories can be very generic and formulaic no matter the country (at least when it comes to American and Asian films), but this love story had a twist to it. The story follows Woo-jin who has a special condition. Everyday he wakes up in a different body varying from age, race, gender, and everything in between. This becomes a problem for him when he falls in love with a furniture dealer. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the romantic genre unless it has some sort of tragedy, horror, or gender defying take on it. I guess you can say that the whole story revolves around love transcending age, race, and gender, which is quite beautiful and perhaps difficult. I loved watching Woo-jin and Hong Yi-soo trying to connect from beginning to end in their own ways. It's very entertaining and sometimes heartbreaking.
The Great Hypnotist (2014, China) | Rating: 3.5/5
This is one of the other subtitled/Asian movies that I watched along with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?. The cover was rather mesmerizing, the story sounded interesting, and I hadn't seen a Chinese movie in quite some time. When the story began, I didn't know what to think. We're introduced to a hypnotherapist and a woman dealing with some inner turmoil. There's a lot of conversation that goes on between them and I couldn't quite hook myself into the story. In other words, the story starts off really slow and it depends on dialogue. I don't have a problem with slow developing stories, but it has to feel like there's progress. Fortunately, something did click with me and the movie and my attention was hooked to what's going in the patients head. There's a few twists and turns that occur that really made the movie worthwhile, despite my attention going in and out throughout this movie. I think things could've been done a little better, but I really love the dynamics between the characters, the visuals, especially during the hypnosis moments, are beautiful, and it has some cool moments that reminded me of Inception, which is a good thing.
Queen of Katwe (2016, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
I don't think I heard too much about this movie, despite it starring the fabulous Lupita Nyong'o and talented David Oyelowo. The little praise I did hear and the cast made me interested in checking out this movie. Plus, I like chess and I try to watch these black centric movies. The movie is quite lengthy, but it is a biopic of an Ugandan female chess player and her personal journey and struggles. I enjoyed watching her relationship with Oyelowo's character, Robert Katende, as she learns the game of chess and beating out all the boys in this elaborate mind game. There's a lot of ups and downs that occur, but overall it gives an encouraging, heartwarming feeling in the end, especially when you watch the actors interact with their real life counterparts in the credits.
Loving (2016, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to commercials and a little bit of the Academy Awards, this movie slowly appeared on my radar, especially seeing/hearing that my favorite badass lady from Preacher was starring in this historical movie. The movie is about the real life Loving couple. That's their actual last name, which I think is pretty cool and appropriate. Anyway, the story is about Mildred and Richard Loving and their fight for legal interracial marriage in their state. The format of this movie is kinda different than most biographies I've seen. There's no backstory on how they met or chronicling their relationship to the point of marriage. No, this movie jumps right into the meat and potatoes of the problem with them getting married and the police persecuting them for their union. It was eye opening to see this couple struggle to hide their relationship, raise a family while being separated, and just exist in this harsh world with such a dumb law. Although it took some adjusting, I appreciated the change in format for this biography. It was definitely different, even though I kinda would've liked to know a little backstory on our couple, but it was nice that they focused on the law instead of their love, which was obvious and apparent throughout their struggle.