Before I get into the film that I chose for this week’s Movie Of The Week, I do want to remind people that just because it says movie of the week does not mean that I loved the film. I like to think that I am an amateur film critic who is going to be critical of films that I do watch. With that being said, it’s now time to get down to business because this week was an interesting week in the theaters after last week’s record breaking numbers for IT. This week we are checking out a film from award winning director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) called Mother!. After his house burns down, Him (Javier Bardem) is looking to rebuild his life with his new wife Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) and he is trying to write a new book, but the inspiration is just not there until a couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris) come by and stir things up which provide him with the all the inspiration that he needs. The only problem is how is Mother going to handle all this chaos that has now come into her life? The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson (The Revenant) as Oldest son, Brian Gleeson (Snow White and The Huntsman) as youngest son, and Stephen McHattie (Watchmen) as Zealot.
If you do not know anything about the film other than what you see in the trailer then you are in for a night of confusion because I went in thinking that this was going to be a Rosemary’s Baby kind of film and boy was I wrong. I left the theater so confused because I did not know at the time what I had just viewed. The whole time I was trying to figure out where the horror was and what in the hell was the point of all these people continuously showing up. The more people showed up, the more chaos that ensued in the film. Now there are two ways that you can look at this film and I chose one of them because it made more sense to me. So, I am going to give you the spoiler alert warning so turn around and leave if you do not want to know anymore. Javier Bardem is an author or poet so he is known as the creator and his home represents the garden of Eden. He hasn’t been able to write a book in a while so the first one is known as the old testament and this new one that he has unleashed on to the world is the new testament. I believe Jennifer Lawrence plays Mary where she is very fragile, virtuous while Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris play Adam & Eve and the Gleesons play Kane & Able. You see the Zealot who plays mankind that in Aronofsky’s opinion has taken the word of Him and has spun it to his control over the people. The baby that the couple have represents Jesus who Him gives away to the people only to have them kill his only son.
Does this all sound a little familiar to you now? Well after hearing this, I finally understood what the film represented and you have to love the directors use of semiotics. This film was the perfect example of that, but shame on me for not realizing this in the theaters. As I said above, I was expecting Rosemary’s Baby, but instead I got a study in anti-religious semantics. That was definitely not what I was looking for in the film. One of my biggest complaints of the film was the camera work only because it bothered the hell out of me when it followed and copied her every movement as the camera shook up and down as she walked. I loved the look of the film because it had that earthy, grainy kind of look to it especially with the colors and the tones (reminded me of The Witch). Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer were absolutely awesome in the film as well as Bardem and Lawrence, but they were the highlight because as soon as they showed up that is when all chaos ensues. As far as my overall opinion of the film goes, I am not a huge fan of the agendas of directors so I feel as though that I was mislead by the trailer, but I have to give him credit for stumping me. Besides the camera work, the film was done very well and his use of semantics was on point in this film. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
This week’s choice for a film was kind of an obvious one considering that if you didn’t notice during the challenge that I am a huge horror fan. So, when I first heard that a remake of Stephen King’s It was going to be made, I just couldn’t wait for the next edition of Eddie’s 31 Days Of Halloween to see it. So I chose to watch the film It for this week’s Movie Of The Week which means we are all traveling back to the town of Derry, Maine for another horrifying experience. It’s the late 80’s and something weird is happening in the town of Derry as kids are disappearing, but that’s nothing new for this old town. Unfortunately for Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), the loss of his brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) has left him wanting answers. Bill soon finds out that his new band of buddies dubbed The Losers Club have also noticed some strange things going on like the appearance of a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). So, they band together to battle this evil clown before he claims anymore victims. The film also stars Sophia Lillis (37) as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as Ritchie Tozier, Chosen Jacobs (Hawaii Five-O) as Mike Hanlon, Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales Of Halloween) as Eddie, Wyatt Oleff (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Stanley, Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ant-Man) as Ben Hanscom, Nicholas Hamilton (The Dark Tower) as Harry Bower, and the film was directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama).
Spoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this article that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. I am going to have to go back and rewatch the original film just to compare it, but what I remember from it was that it was very choppy because it was a made for TV thing when It came out. This one is not choppy at all and they go above and beyond just to try and scare the living crap out of you. I think another element that you can capitalize on is the fact that technology is a lot better today then it was then and it’s a Rated R film which means you can do more. I have to be honest in saying that while Tim Curry played an excellent Pennywise, they turned it up a notch in my opinion with this one. He was super creepy and some of the scenes were pretty intense from the basement scene with Georgie to the scene where the photos keep changing. They pretty much gave the actor a full license to just be super creepy and I loved it. All of the kids did an amazing job in the film at being who their characters are and even the kid who played Henry Bower was intense. He was so sadistic and insane that he made the original 1990’s Henry Bower (played by Jarred Blancard) look like a complete wimp.
There is one big but in there and that is because there are some things that might tick you off. So, I am going to give you a few examples to better explain what I mean. Number one and most important is that the film takes place in the 1980’s and not the late 1950’s. That is your reason for number two which is that Ritchie’s character is not as charming verbally as the original Seth Green (even he was a little too much at times). The film is long at 150 minutes, but it honestly did not feel like that to me when I was watching it. This may end up being one of the best horror films of the year as long as you can get over the fact that they changed some dialogue to update it to the 1980’s. They also have admitted to not using every detail that the 1000 plus page book has given us because some are just not OK to show on the silver screen. They did stay true however with certain symbols that you should look out for in the film like a turtle because they are symbolic of what’s to come in part 2. Now we just have to wait for the next film to finish the story, but I definitely think that this is one that you shouldn’t ignore. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
We are closely approaching a major decision here that I will be sure to make sure that all of you know when it becomes official. For now, we are continuing right along with our next movie of the week and this week’s is one that I have been dying to see for a little while now. There are two things that you can count on from me and that is one I am a huge fan of films that are based on true stories and the second is that I am a huge fan of the sport of boxing. When you combine those two things then I have to watch which is the case with this week’s film Hands Of Stone. The film follows the journey of not just legendary lightweight boxer Roberto Durán (played by Edgar Ramírez) and his rise from poverty in Panama to world champion, but it also follows that of his legendary trainer Ray Arcel (played by Robert De Niro) and his return to the sport he loved and had to let go of for a while. Watch as their journey for respect goes through it’s trials and tribulations. The film also stars Usher Raymond (The Faculty) as Sugar Ray Leonard, Ana de Armas (War Dogs) as Felicidad Iglesias, Pedro Perez as Plomo, Rubén Blades (Predator 2) as Carlos Eleta, Óscar Jaenada (The Shallows) as Chaflan, and the film was directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz.
One of my favorite things about the film was definitely the acting from De Niro, Ramírez, and even Usher Raymond. They did an amazing job of painting who Sugar Ray Leonard was back in the day and they fear they had of his boxing style which by the way is not a fear of whether he’ll hurt you or not. However they do portray Roberto as this immature punk kid who has never been disciplined in his life because of how amazing of a boxer he was. They portray him at times to be the uneducated idiot with gloves who couldn’t see the bigger picture. What they do eventually show is his maturity and accent into manhood later in the film. They do a pretty good job with the fight choreography which you have to give kudos to as they try to cut an hour fight into mere minutes and that is difficult because you have to choose the best moments. One of the other things about the film that I loved was the beautiful Ana de Armas who plays Roberto’s wife the film because she was not only great, but she had some amazing scenes in the film (see pic below). Other than that, it was a pretty decent film and it had some amazing cinematography to boot especially the scenes in Panama. The film does at times show how easy it is for a child to grow to hate America just on what he went through and saw in his life. You’ll understand what I am talking about throughout the film. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
The challenge may be long gone and in the rear view mirror, but that doesn’t mean that us cinema fanatics cannot enjoy some movies in the meantime. While we debate doing a second challenge, I decided to do the Movie Of The Week where we view a new film and for this week we have chosen The Lost City Of Z. I have always been a fan of films that are based off of true stories and this one definitely peaked my interest, but it didn’t last very long in my local theater. The film follows a British soldier by the name of Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) who is fighting every day to restore the family name that was put in limbo by his father. While on a mapping expedition in the Amazon, Percy makes a huge discovery that there may have been a civilization in the Amazon that predates everyone. The only problem is that the journey is not an easy one and he faces many obstacles on his journey to try and discover the lost city he calls Z. The film also stars Sienna Miller (Factory Girl) as Nina Fawcett, Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Jack Fawcett, Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) as Henry Costin, Edward Ashley (In The Heart Of The Sea) as Arthur Manley, Angus Macfadyen (We Bought A Zoo) as James Murray, Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars: Episode VI-Return Of The Jedi) as Sir George Goldie, and the film was directed by James Gray (We Own The Night).
What was surprising about the film wasn’t necessarily the story itself or the way the presented it, but the acting in my opinion is the highlight. Robert Pattinson in particular was a highlight for me as the mysterious, drunk, but loyal Mr. Costin who had accompanied Fawcett on some of the journeys. The actors did such an amazing job of conveying the torture they had been going through on the journey with the sicknesses and the lack of provisions. They did an amazing job as portraying how difficult the Amazon itself was and how things were drastically different there then where they had been. The movie isn’t perfect in any way shape or form, but it’s kind of a cool adventure to be on for the two plus hours that you’re watching. I liked Charlie Hunnam’s performance, but I think too many people stole the show on him on too many occasions. Whether it be Pattinson or Angus Macfayden who plays someone who is not what they are expected to be. I thought the sets and costumes were amazing as it felt like you were really there in the Amazon in 1912 or so. The ending of the film definitely tries it’s best to not speculate on what exactly happened to Fawcett and his son despite all the different theories that there are out there. It’s sad to read online that his other son was never interested in the truth, but rather the revenue over the speculation of his death. Check out the film for yourself, I am going to give it an B+ for a final grade.
I am going to give you the spoiler alert warning right from the beginning because the film I about to review is too amazing that I may spill some details. Spoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this article that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. From the minute that it was announced that Hugh Jackman (X-Men) was going to star in his very last X-Men/Wolverine related film ever I had to see it for myself. Jackman stars in Logan, a film that looks at a much older Wolverine than we are used to in a very different world. There are hardly any mutants left on Earth after many of them were killed. Logan goes by a different name to disguise himself amongst the non mutants of society. All of that is put to risk when a young girl who is believed to be a new mutant shows up at his compound on the border of Mexico. Now Wolverine has to gather up Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and the little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) before the dark forces catch up to her. The film also stars Boyd Holbrook (Milk) as Pierce, Stephen Merchant (Tooth Fairy) as Caliban, Richard E. Grant (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) as Dr. Rice, Eriq La Salle (Coming To America) as Will Munson, and the film was directed by James Mangold (Walk The Line).
There is so much to praise about this film that I do not know where to start. The story is absolutely captivating as we are introduced to Weapon X-23 (Laura) who is basically Logan’s daughter because of how she was made. We see this guy who has never known how to love because of the fact that he feels that everything he loves dies. Then the girl comes along and she challenges all of that throughout the whole film. He also has to deal with a very sick Charles Xavier who by the way is a weapon of mass destruction because of what his mind can do and I love how they explored that angle in this film. The film has the feel of an X-Men movie without the 100% look of one and that is what I loved about the film. It is stylistically like a Johnny Cash song, it feels very melancholic in tone almost like you know the end is near and you’re on this last ride. The acting was absolutely amazing from everyone and the back and forth dialogue between Stewart and Jackman is absolute gold. You almost feel like they are father and son the way they banter at each other in the film. This may just be the best X-Men movie or Wolverine movie ever made and I know that it’s a bold statement to make, but after watching this it’s true. The script was amazing, the acting was amazing, the cinematography was amazing, the soundtrack to the film was amazing, so what more could you possibly want from the film? If you do not go out and see this then you don’t know what you are missing. Make sure you get to the theater on time because there is something special from someone in the beginning that is hilarious. I am giving the film an A+ for a final grade.