‘The Dark Tower’ Review

Stephen King’s epic series of novels has finally come to the big screen after a long period of stop and go. Idris Elba stars as Roland Deschain aka The Gunslinger, the last in a line of “knights” from Midworld. Matthew McConaughey is his main antagonist: The Man in Black aka Walter Padick, a sorcerer who wishes to destroy The Dark Tower to seemingly unleash Hell upon the universe. The two have been going at one another for years but are finally brought together again by an 11 year old boy, Jake Chambers, whose ability to “shine” is crucial to The Man in Black’s plan.

I’ve only read about three and a half of the books that consist of the eight Dark Tower books. I’m also aware that almost all of Stephen King’s stories (books, novellas, short stories) are all linked and through The Dark Tower itself. I did not expect this movie to go into any of that due to licensing issues. But what did I get? Well it was not bad but it really wasn’t good either. The best way to describe the movie was thin. At a little over 90 minutes, the movie felt like it should have been at least 15 minutes longer.

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First and foremost, the performances are good. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are top notch actors and do the best with what they were given. The only problem is that their characters are two dimensional with hints at something more. Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers is a little hard to gauge but that is always kind of the problem with child actors. He certainly did not give a bad performance and he was never annoying but it always felt like something was off. The rest of the supporting cast with Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Haysbert and others are fine but they are given even less depth than the main characters.

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The biggest problem with the movie seems to be editing. You can tell that the movie has been cut in many different ways. Sometimes characters finish conversations that never even started on screen. The editing is also off when characters just seemingly show up at places with no set up. Even with the editing issues, the movie is not the mess that you might expect when you hear someone say that. It is a fairly linear story that moves at a good pace but as stated previously there should have been more to the movie.

The thinness of the movie hinders it in as much as we do really know who the characters are, why they are doing what they are doing, how they are able to do what they do and so on and so on. There are many opportunities for character developing moments and they probably were there but the film simply breezes over them. I was never expecting this movie to get as lofty and trippy as the source materials do. But I did want something more to get a sense of how this universe or multiverse works.

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Nikolaj Arcel is the director and this is is his big budget film. The film actually has a modest budget for the type of film that it is. But as per usual when these types of movies, you get the sense that either the director did not get a real good grasp or the studio might have interfered. Honestly, I think it was a perfect storm of events. There have been talks about making the series a television series and this movie kind of proves that to be true. It seems really big and unwieldy for a feature film or even a series of feature films.

Ultimately it seems that the film struggled to find its own identity. On one hand, it had to please hardcore fans and before obvious reshoots, it was supposed to be a sequel of sorts to the books. On the other hand, it is supposed to introduce a new audience to the rich mythology. It ultimately succeeds in doing none of those things. But it is not a failure of a movie. Just a mess of one.

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SCORE: 6.5/10

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Logan Review

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So here we are. The final (for the time being) performances of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart as James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine and Professor Charles Xavier, respectively. Logan sees the two characters in the not so distant future where mutants are an endangered species. Logan’s age has finally caught up with him as his super healing has diminished and so he is not only suffering from old age but also poisoning from his adamantium skeleton. Xavier is also suffering from Alzheimer’s and epilepsy and when you’re the world’s strongest telepath, this is not a good thing. So the two are living near the border of Mexico along with mutant tracker Caliban as Logan works as a chauffeur to scrounge up enough money to sail off on a boat and die in peace. But that all changes when a woman shows up with a young girl and tasks Logan with taking her to a so called Eden to avoid some nefarious forces.

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Much has been said about the R rating and this movie definitely embraces that rating. We have seen Logan stab and maim people throughout the movies but there have always been tricks to not appear as brutal as it should be. Not so here, as from the opening scene we see what type of movie this is going to be. But while the excess of violence make seem gratuitous but it does serve a purpose. Logan is at the end of his rope. He is really not trying to be a killer anymore but forces keep drawing that side out of him. But on his last legs can he once again channel that rage and violence into something positive?

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Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as the pseudo immortal warrior. We see Logan completelt broken and a shell of his former self. Suffering from poisoning, old age, covered in scars and wounds and drowning himself in alcohol. This is the lowest we’ve seen Logan since the start of the X-Men films in 2000. So when Logan is tasked with taking charge of Laura aka X23 who is his clone/daughter, we see another side of Logan. Someone who reluctantly takes charge of getting her to safety while also struggling with the fact that he has a daughter. A child that he clearly did not want for various reasons. Jackman plays the complicated Logan to perfection here as we see him at his most compassionate, violent and asshole. If this truly is Jackman’s last performance as the character than he has gone out on a high note.

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Patrick Stewart also does an excellent job and probably his best performance as Xavier. Xavier is also a shell of his former self. Suffering from various mental ailments, Xavier is able to cut loose more. He is downright cruel in certain scenes. It is probably one of the most heartbreaking performances. Seeing a loved one go through similar effects brought pack some memories that are hard not to make you get emotional. Dafne Keen as Laura is a standout and with little to actually do. For most of the movie she is silent but she is able to sell looks that convey her emotions and what she is going through. Since she is a clone of Logan, there are strong similarities between them.

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There are only two quibbles that I have with the movie. The beginning of the movie seems to embrace its R rating a little too much when it comes to language. It just seems like kids when their parents aren’t around and they are able to swear. Also the villains leave a little bit to be desired. Boyd Holdbrook as Donald Pierce is good with what he’s given but they really didn’t do much with the character. Just why exactly was he and the rest of the Reavers, cyborgs? Nothing was really done with that aspect. Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zandar Rice is hardly in the movie and just as forgettable.

This is arguably a movie that the superhero genre needed at the moment. It shows that with the glut of superhero movies being released, there is no need for all of them to deal with world ending catastrophic events. That it is okay to reign everything in and tell more intimate stories and delve more into the characters. Deadpool also did the same thing similar last year. If this is the niche that the X-Men movie universe is falling into, then it is a fine one to help create its own mark. As Logan goes, it is a fitting farewell from Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and director/writer James Mangold. A triumph of a film.

Score: 9/10

Doctor Strange Review

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Doctor Strange is the 14th movie from Marvel Studios. As with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, Doctor Strange is another movie that is “off brand” more or less. It’s not too different from what you would expect from other Marvel Studios films. But it does have its own unique tone and atmosphere that helps separate from the other Marvel Studios film this year, Captain America: Civil War. So how is the film overall?

Doctor Stephen Strange is an arrogant surgeon. A total master in his field of work. After an accident that cost him the use of his hands, Strange is a broken man. Finding solace in the East and learning  new purpose in life. If this sounds like the plot of the first Iron Man, you’re not too far off. Both Tony Stark and Stephen Strange are arrogant and rude to others but there is a distinct difference. You see from the very beginning that Strange while egotistical does want to help people.

During his training of the mystic arts, Strange befriends and learns from The Ancient One, Wong and Mordo. Each one strict and no time for Strange’s attitude yet at the same time believing in him to do better as Strange shows a unique aptitude. This is all paralleled by Kaecilius, the main villain of the film. Doctor Strange is a unique entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It opens up a new avenue to explore in this universe and has also introduced a unique hero. It will be interesting to see how he and Tony Stark interact as you can see the similarities but also where they diverge.

Benedict Cumberbatch is great a Stephen Strange. It’s not too unfamiliar territory here as he plays the similar Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series. But Strange is a bit more snarky and open to others. The movie probably would not have worked if the main actor did not work. Cumberbatch fits the role to a T. His American accent is a bit disconcerting but it still works. The actor sells the role and it will be good to see his continuing adventures in the MCU.

The supporting characters are also great. Controversy aside, Tilda Swinton sells her role as The Ancient One. A unique master of the mystic arts that is harsh yet sweet. Swinton can sell subtle looks. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo is a unique presence. Those familiar with his comics counterpart know what he becomes but the film does not go that route with the character…in this movie. It will be curious to see where his character goes from here but it goes without saying there will be conflict between he and Strange. Benedict Wong as Wong is also a unique change. Wong is no longer the man servant but a guardian of the library who is not as stoic as he likes to come off. These three really help flesh out the world. Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, the former lover of Strange does not have a major role in the movie. But does serve a purpose and she does not get to play the damsel in distress. There feels like there was more with the character that was cut but she does the best with what she’s given.

Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius does not fall completely in the line of terrible MCU villains. But he does not get a lot to do either. He does get one scene that helps sell his character and it does help. But once again it felts like there could have been more done with the character. Time is my biggest issue with the film. It’s only an hour and fifty five minutes. It goes by at a good breeze but it does feel like character development got cut out and to the detriment. We don’t spend much time with Strange as the arrogant doctor. We also don’t get to know certain characters as much as I would like either. That is arguably my only quibble with the film.

Special mention also has to go to the special effects. Big budget movies with great special effects is common nowadays. But this film goes the extra mile to be “trippy” to use a buzz word. That is what it is. Psychedelic colors and imagery is apparent from the very beginning. If this film does not win the Oscar for special effects, I will be surprised. The fight scenes where buildings are turning in on themselves and mirror imagery helps set it apart from other action scenes in big budget movies.

Doctor Strange is one of my favorite movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We have been introduced to a great character and new aspect in the universe. This film was a delight from beginning to end. I do plan on watching it again. Though I’m getting tired of the stingers in a Marvel film, there are two in these and both are important. One for the greater MCU universe and in particular one film coming out around this time next year and another more linked to Doctor Strange.

SCORE: 9/10

‘The Nice Guys’ Review

Unfortunately I did not see The Nice Guys in theaters. It came out during a crowded summer and for such a smaller film, it really worked against it. Now that the movie has been released on home video, I am saddened that I missed it while it was in theaters. In a summer full of disappointments, this movie certainly would have shined. Not to say that it was a perfect film because it isn’t. But it’s probably my favorite Shane Black directed film.
Set in 1977 Los Angeles, down on his luck private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) team up to find out about missing girl, Amelia Kutner. Holland is a widower and alcoholic raising his one teenage daughter, Holly. Jackson is more of a schlub than anything else. They only encounter one another because Amelia is a person of interest to a case Holland is working and Amelia hires Jackson to intimidate Holland. Needless to say, the two do not start off on the best foot. But after Amelia goes missing and Jackson himself is threatened by hired thugs, he knows he needs Holland’s help.

The movie would not work without the chemistry between the two leads. Russell Crowe is one of the best working actors today and he is mainly known for his tough guy roles. Here he still gets to play the tough guy but one with more flaws than anything. Healy is overweight and living above a comedy club with only his fish as companions. When Holly offers to pay Healy to beat up her girl friend, Healy entertains the idea. It certainly is played for laughs but one gets the feeling that he would do it, if payed the right amount. Gosling plays more the comedic element to Crowe’s straight man. March is constantly drunk throughout the film. It would be hard to sympathize with him considering he has his 13 year old daughter drive him around because he’s too drunk to drive. But we learn more about March as the film goes on and needless to say he has had a rough few years. It helps that while he may be a drunk, he never neglects or abuses his daughter. Gosling has always been an actor who dabbles in both comedic and dramatic but here he is more comedic than ever. The chemistry between the two is great.
The plot is typical noir. There is a missing woman and the protagonists have to investigate the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles to find her. Since then is a Shane Black film, there is a much more zany element to the film noir. Almost all of the characters have a goofy charm to them and even in more serious elements, the comedy never lets up. But it never gets too comedic where you lose track of the stakes as there is murder left and right. There is a particular moment where a dead body is found where you get a grasp of how serious things are but it is still hilarious especially Russell Crowe’s more subdued reaction to the situation at hand.

The supporting cast helps flesh out the world. Kim Bassinger has an extended cameo as the mother of Amelia. She plays the role of the grieving mother well. Keith David and Beau Knapp as two recurring thugs make the most of their limited screen time. Matt Bomer appears as an assassin only known as “John Boy” due to his resemblance to the character from The Waltons. Bomer shows up pretty late in the film but does make an impression as the somewhat charming but nonetheless efficient killer. The real standout is Angourie Rice as Holland March’s daughter, Holly March. It is obvious that she has had to grow up faster than expected with her mother dying and her father becoming a drunk. She knows that her father is a good man but has some issues and is not afraid to cut him down when he needs to be. This eventually extends to Healy who becomes something of a cool uncle to the young girl.

I am not the biggest fan of Shane Black films. I guess I should clarify that I mean his films that he has written and directed. I think Iron Man 3 is an okay movie. One that quickly undercuts what it set up in the beginning. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which is considered the comeback of Robert Downey Jr. is a really good movie but one that I did not connect to like everyone else. This film was something I could get on board with more. It might have something to do with the leads who I was already a big fan of before this movie. But I found myself enjoying the movie from beginning to end. It is well crafted and tight from beginning to end. I could not see any leaps in logic that usually accompany a mystery. If you have not seen this film, it is now available on most platforms to rent or buy.

SCORE: 9.5/10

‘Suicide Squad’ Review

“Is the Suicide Squad right for this mission? Not really”

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Suicide Squad is the third entry in the DC Extended Universe. This film is unique as not only because it is the third film in a growing franchise but also the first superhero film to star the super villains. Task Force X aka the Suicide Squad is a unique unit made up of villains that populate the DC Universe. The team is composed of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Diablo, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang and Slipknot as the criminals. Then there is Katana who is there on her voilition and the unit is led by Col. Rick Flagg. The entire operation is being headed by the shady Amanda Waller. Together they have to stop a new threat while also contending with the x-factor that is The Joker.

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At least that’s what you think is the plot going into the movie. The Joker is basically a nonentity in this movie. If you removed him from the movie, there would be little to no changes to the actual plot. The plot is arguably the weakest part of the movie. The villain of the piece is the definition of generic. There is no connection to their plight and the villain army is bland and not memorable. The latter half of the third act has its moment but it does turn into a CGI mess. The entire premise of why Task Force X exists is compelling itself but the mission they are on does not really necessitate them being there. This is backed up by the fact that they are constantly surrounded by Special Ops soldiers who are doing the exact same thing they are doing. Since this is a big budget movie, it seemed like the writers were forced to have a bigger mission when it seems like the mission should have been smaller.

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The Squad themselves help the movie not fall into bad territory. The three primary focuses are on Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Rick Flagg. The others are there and serve their more supporting roles. Diablo is one that stands out the most as he is the one who is most hesitant to be a villain. Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang both get their moments. The only one who seems short shifted was Katana. Since this was a large ensemble cast, it was expected that not everyone would get their time to shine.

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Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is probably the true standout. The government official who creates Task Force X all in the name of the “greater good”. Though one does not doubt her statements on how she wants to do good, she is no angel. One could argue that she is probably the true villain of the movie. Waller is cold and calculating and despite being confronted by crocodile men and killer clowns, she never flinches. If anyone has the biggest potential in the DC Extended Universe, it is her and a certain post credits scene confirms this.

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You may have noticed that Jared Leto as The Joker has hardly come up. That is because The Joker is hardly in the movie. So if you’re going into the movie expecting to see Jared Leto, you should not. His scenes are sparse and spread throughout. There were even times that I forgot that he was an entity within the movie. It’s hard to gauge his performance. Leto is charismatic as a more mob boss type of Joker but there is not much to chew It certainly was not boring but it feels like his role should have been only relegated to flashbacks. But since this is The Joker and played by an Academy Award winning actor, he will no doubt appear more in future movies.

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There is a controversy surrounding the movie about how much studio interference is present. It is easy to see that there was something off about the film. There were certain editing choices that completely threw me off. Certain characters can be in one setting in one scene and then in a completely different one in the next scene. No way of knowing as to how they got there. There are scenes like that throughout the movie to the movie’s detriment. The soundtrack is a whole other issue. Popular songs play throughout and while some work, others do not. If there are validations to those rumors, these are the elements that people can point to.

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Suicide Squad is a flawed film. There is no way of getting around that at all. Did I leave disappointed? Yes. Did I still enjoy the film? Also yes. The cast of the Suicide Squad itself kept the movie entertaining. If there are more films, it would be refreshing to see the core cast of the team return. They definitely bring their own uniqueness to it and help save the film. If you are interested in seeing where the DC Extended Universe is going, it’s worth checking out. If you’re not, I can’t see why you would be interested in this movie.

SCORE: 6.5/10

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Batman v. Superman Review

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After about two and a half years since the release of “Man of Steel” and the announcement of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, the second movie in the DC Extended Universe has been released. Was it worth the wait? Could the movie ultimately live up to all the hype? Is the DC Extended Universe ultimately doomed to fail before it even really starts? The answer to all of those questions is no.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a flawed film. There is no getting around that fact. Would I say that it is a bad film? I wouldn’t say that either. What is presented on screen is a film that has a lot going on but at the same time, there is still much to be explained. When watching the film, one can tell that there is a sense of things being cut to make the film a good 2 hours and 31 minutes. Many were wondering why the studio was hyping the uncut version before the film was even released and after watching the film, it’s obvious why.

Now onto the film itself, the movie starts with another retelling of the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. It is handled very quickly and over the opening credits and quickly moves onto the last act of “Man of Steel”where Superman and the military battle General Zod and his forces, but this time it’s told from Bruce Wayne. This is interesting as he never actually sees Superman except for a glimpse but he hears his punches which are like thunder and witnesses the destruction that he was inadvertently apart of and thus sees the people suffer because of his action. The end of the scene quickly  establishes the grudge that Bruce Wayne has for Superman

The film shifts to a year and a half later where Batman is on something of a reign of terror with the criminal underworld and Superman is on a path of redemption as he is doing his best to remain a beacon of hope even while the public is ultimately divided on him. There is an incident in Africa which once again draws criticism for Superman and the public is once again divided on him. The growing distrust of Superman is all by the machinations of one, Lex Luthor, who has an issue with Superman and wants to set Batman and Superman against one another.

Ben Affleck is great as Bruce Wayne/Batman. His version of The Dark Knight has been fighting crime for over 20 years so he’s played differently from previous live action iterations. His version is not afraid to have one night stands and drink and seems to be more actively involved as Bruce Wayne than someone who just uses his company as a piggy bank to fight crime. His history as Batman is only slightly touched upon and only through visual cues so we the audience don’t get too bogged down. The main thrust of this Batman is simple: take out Superman.

Henry Cavill returns once again as Clark Kent/Superman. Unfortunately he isn’t given as much strong material to work with compared to Ben Affleck. He is given more scenes as Clark Kent the boyfriend and reporter which help to humanize the character. He is in a loving relationship with Lois Lane and there are hints that we wants to be more like her in his professional career compared to what he is given. His best scenes are the ones where he interacts with the most important people in his life: Lois and Martha Kent. Superman in this movie is conflicted as the events of Man of Steel are for the most part, largely past him, Luthor’s machinations are once again bringing his self doubt and making him wonder if he is a beacon for destruction. One gets the sense that the character could have flourished more if he had one more solo movie before being thrust into this movie but there is going to be much more to explore with the character in the future.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor is arguably the most decisive character in the film. His version of Lex Luthor is manic. If one is going into the film expecting the cool and calm version that has been present in the character since after Crisis on Infinite Earths, they will be disappointed. There is some hints of the old mad scientist version mixed with Mark Zuckerberg, who Eisenberg played, also mixed with a character that is very tic-y. There is no denying he is the villain of the piece and what is driving the somewhat convoluted plot forward. I did not mind this version of Lex Luthor. I see what the film was going for and for the most part it works. It only really got over the top for me during the character’s final scene but there are hints that there may be more at play that is affecting the character.

The supporting cast is also top notch. Many characters such as Lois Lane, Perry White, General Swanwick and Martha Kent return from Man of Steel. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White gets more to do this movie than before and certainly classes up the scenes that he is in. Diane Lane as Martha Kent does seem a bit underutilized as Martha Kent but she does play a bigger role towards the end of the movie. Amy Adams is probably my favorite live action version of Lois Lane. She once again shows that she is someone not afraid to get in the middle of the danger if it means being a good investigative reporter. Her relationship with Clark is explored more and she is the key human element in the film when up against, an alien, a vigilante and a megalomaniac. There is also Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth. This Alfred is very different from previous iterations, it’s not even clear if he’s a butler. However, he has been with Bruce since Bruce was a child and actively helps him in his vigilante work while still true to form Alfred, tries to steer the man into leading something of a normal life.

Now onto Wonder Woman. The Amazonian Princess is a minor character within the film. She pops in and out of the film and has very few lines. However, she does make an impression. There are hints towards her solo movie that is coming out next year but it is never overboard. That cannot be said about the other members of the future Justice League. They are cameos but other than one, they feel a bit extraneous and out of place. This works in detriment of the film as the movie takes a pause to set up these other characters.

The two major problems with the film are the script and editing. The director Zack Snyder admitted that the whole concept of the movie shifted from a proper Man of Steel sequel to this only a few days before the movie was even announced in 2013. So the movie was at first written by David Goyer who wrote Man of Steel but then when Ben Affleck was brought on, he brought his writer Chris Terrio to help write the script. The movie was only shooting a few months after that. So one gets the feeling that helps explain the plot hole and overall tone of the movie. This reminds me of “Iron Man 2” which was another rushed movie that had to set up too many things that worked in detriment to the movie itself.

A few weeks before the film was released, it was announced that there would be an uncut version of the movie on the home video market. Many were curious as to why it was announced so early but after seeing the movie, it became clear why. Much has been cut to make the two and a half hour running time. Scenes just jump around and there is a sense that there are scenes missing that would make more sense of what is being portrayed on the screen.

“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a flawed movie. There is no getting around that. Unfortunately Warner Bros. was trying to play catch up in established a cinematic universe for their superheroes. When they tried to hop along, they ended up tripping. However, just because one trips doesn’t mean they can’t pick themselves back up. The film is something of a mess but it still enjoyable. I never once wanted to look at my watch to see how much longer there was to go. I am still excited for DC Extended Universe and the future films to come out.

 

The Gift Review

“The Gift” is a 2015 thriller from first time director Joel Edgerton. The movie stars Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Edgerton himself. The plot deals with a married couple, Simon and Robyn, who encounter an old high school acquaintance of Simon’s, Gordon also known as Gordo. Soon after meeting him, the couple start receiving gifts from the man and he starts showing up the house unannounced.

First and foremost, the previews for the movie are all misleading. They would make the movie seem like something of a horror movie but it is something totally different from that. It is instead a methodical movie where not everything is totally laid out for you and forces the audience to pay attention. There are a few jump scares within which work to great effect as they are not expected.

There is a relatively small cast within the film. It mainly focuses on Bateman, Hall and Edgerton and the three carry the movie. Edgerton is playing against type here as someone who has played a lot of bad guys is playing something of a human manifestation of an abused puppy as he is always fidgety and awkward in situations. Hall, at first seems like she is going to play the typical housewife, but as the movie unfolds we learn much more about her character and all of the depths that goes within. Bateman is the true standout as he is certainly playing against type. With a few exceptions, he has been playing something of the dogged nice guy but here he is the total opposite. Without giving away too much, many will describe his character as a “jerk” and that’s putting it nicely.

Edgerton really impresses with his directorial debut here. It is a small budgeted film so there is nothing too fancy going on in this film. However, Edgerton manages to do the most with what he has and that is create an effective film. He plays with mood and atmosphere and keeps the audience intrigued through the entire ordeal. This is an impressive film and is also highly recommended as well.

Score: 8.5/10

Terminator: Genisys Review

“Terminator: Genisys” is the latest entry in the Terminator franchise. It also marks the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role that made him a household name and gave him his signature catchphrase. However, this latest entry is simultaneously an ode to the past while approaching a scorch the Earth and start anew.

There are no reference to the events of either Terminator 3 or Terminator Salvation. Instead there are only references to the first two movies in the franchise. The time travel elements while always a critical yet minor part of the previous movies instead is a main focus in here. There is much discussion of alternate timelines and how time is fluid.

The three main human characters of the franchise; adult John Connor, Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese are now played by Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney. Jason Clarke probably gets the best material out of the three as John Connor is vastly different from how we’ve seen him portrayed before. Emilia Clarke does an adequate job as Sarah Connor. She is not quite the tough as nails but broken version played by Linda Hamilton but instead comes off as a character somewhere in the middle of how she was in the first Terminator and Terminator 2. Jai Courtney, however, leaves much to be desired as Kyle Reese. He is not bad but does not bring much to the table.

This is however the Arnold Schwarzenegger show. He plays an  aged Terminator and it shows that he is not afraid to make fun of his age but also show that he still has it. For a supposedly unemotional machine, he manages to get the most out of his role and brings much levity to the film. If he were not in it, the film would certainly suffer for it.

The plot of the film follows the very first Terminator up to the point where Kyle Reese is sent back in time. Then it becomes a mish mash of the first two films and then about halfway through, it adds in elements of Terminator 3 as well. As with most time travel plots, it can get a bit jumbled and hard to follow. It’s saving grace is that it doesn’t get too bogged down by it. However there are many questions left to be answered in obvious sequel hooks. This does hurt the film as it doesn’t feel like it’s complete by the end of it.

With a middling plot and acting that leaves much to be desired but a fun tone, it is the best film since the second film. Overall it is an enjoyable yet heavily flawed film.