Tag Archives: Bojana Novakovic

Devil (2010) Review

Time: 80 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Chris Messina as Detective Bowden
Logan Marshall-Green as Mechanic (Anthony “Tony” Janekowski)
Jenny O’Hara as Old Woman
Bojana Novakovic as Young Woman (Sarah Caraway)
Bokeem Woodbine as Guard (Ben Larson)
Geoffrey Arend as Salesman (Vince McCormick)
Jacob Vargas as Ramirez
Director: John Erick Dowdle

Five strangers’ day begins with an elevator ride in a Philadelphia office tower. But, what happens next is anything but ordinary. The elevator gets stuck, and the trapped passengers, who expected to be together just a few minutes, now face the revelation of their secrets and transgressions. Frightening events turn annoyance into terror, as they begin to realize that one of their number is Lucifer himself.

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Devil actually has a pretty decent concept: a bunch of people stuck in the elevator and they are being killed off one by one by a mysterious killer. One thing however that might’ve turned off people from this movie is the fact that M. Night Shyamalan wrote it. Shyamalan might’ve made a comeback recently but in 2010 he was rather hit or miss, especially The Last Airbender. Although he didn’t direct this movie, he still wrote it, and having seeing it, I have to say that he might as well have directed it. I wasn’t expecting much out of it as I heard it wasn’t that good but it was actually okay. It’s not really that good but it does have some bright spots amongst all the wasted potential and absolutely ridiculousness.

The script by M. Night Shyamalan is a mixed bag. I’ll hold off on talking about the main problem with this movie for a bit and except talk about all the other problems first. There’s only really a couple of characters you really learn about, so you’re not particularly invested in them aside from these particular characters. This means that you don’t really care about what’s going on with them and so the tension doesn’t work that well. We are stuck with mostly 5 characters stuck with each other and most of them we don’t get to know that much about. The dialogue at times can be absolutely terrible, most of the dialogue is things that no normal human being would say. Any of the awkward dialogue that some Shyamalan movies can have is here, and that also goes for some of the weird ideas. The moment when a security guy puts jam on a toast, flips it, and says that when a toast lands jelly side down it means that the devil is near is when you begin to notice that something is really wrong. This movie is really short at an hour and 20 minutes long. It doesn’t overstay its welcome but nonetheless feels very short and unsatisfying. The film tries to build a mystery about what the killer is but it doesn’t help that the film is literally called devil. In fact, this whole supernatural aspect really brings down this movie and was the biggest problem of the movie. When you really think about the plausibility of the devil doing this, it just reveals more holes in the movie. The devil takes so long to get rid of these people, and all in an elevator with only 5 people, if the devil wanted to kill some people, surely it could’ve found a much more efficient way that wouldn’t require him killing them all over 1 hour in a room that has cameras. By the way, the twist of the identity of the devil ultimately doesn’t pay off in the end, you probably won’t be able to predict who it is but there’s nothing to indicate that this person is the devil. Just because you can’t predict a twist doesn’t make it good. Honestly don’t even bother predicting who it is because you won’t guess it, even if you do it’s not very satisfying. Had this been a thriller about a killer in an elevator without them being the devil, it might’ve actually worked. If you add a supernatural element into an otherwise plausible human story, you’ll have to account for all the plot holes that comes with it. Maybe if they at least established the devil as not being particularly good at his job, maybe Shyamalan could’ve gotten away with it. Otherwise, imagining the devil himself doing this is actually kinda hilarious and is quite possible the least effective devil on screen to date.

I don’t know most of the actors involved but from watching Devil, I get the impression that most of then are good and but are ultimately held back from giving much better performances because of the script and characters. The highlights included Logan Marshall-Green and Chris Messina, those two get the most characterisation and depth to them compared to the other characters. There are a couple of actors which really don’t work at all, one of them is Geoffrey Arend as a salesman, who was one of the people stuck in the elevator, he just comes across as being really awkward and annoying. The second is Jacob Vargas as a security guard who is superstitious and was also the guy who said that toasts landing jelly side down means that the devil is nearby. Not that their performances are necessarily their fault, very few actors could deliver a somewhat okay performance with their characters and dialogue.

The direction by John Erik Dowdle is fine enough, nothing special but nothing that bad either. The movie never really delivers on any of the horror aspects well, it’s predictable. For a movie about the devil killing people, its very tame, with the PG-13/M rating. When the scares are there, they’re just typical jumpscares and aren’t effective in the slightest. It doesn’t even deliver on particularly good tension, though as I mentioned previously, that’s mostly due to the underdeveloped characters and story not being particularly interesting.

Devil isn’t really that bad of a movie and was better than I thought it would be. However it really is wasted potential and the end result really isn’t anything. Even without the underdeveloped characters, awkward dialogue and crazy ideas, the inherent devil/supernatural element is the main thing holding this movie back from being somewhat good. It’s not a complete waste of time if you choose to watch it, it’s only an hour and 20 minutes after all. However I would like to see this movie without the supernatural/devil aspect, as I can see some potential with that.

I, Tonya (2017) Review

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Domestic violence, sexual violence, sex scenes & offensive language
Cast
Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding
Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly
Allison Janney as LaVona Fay Golden
Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson
Caitlin Carver as Nancy Kerrigan
Bojana Novakovic as Dody Teachman
Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckhardt
Bobby Cannavale as Martin Maddox
Dan Triandiflou as Bob Rawlinson
Director: Craig Gillespie

Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) rises through the ranks of competitive figure skating only to find disgrace when her husband (Sebastian Stan) tries to eliminate her rival.

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I, Tonya had my interest because of the cast (with Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan), premise and the trailers. I wasn’t very familiar about Tonya Harding and going into it had a very vague knowledge about the incident with her and Nancy Kerrigan. I was expecting from I, Tonya great performances and I definitely got that. But I didn’t expect this to be one of my favourite films of the year. The style, the story, everything somehow worked together to make a great biopic that surprised me on many levels.

I, Tonya covers more than just the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident, it also covers Tonya’s life in chronological order, so we actually get to know her before “the incident” occurs. From start to finish it cuts to many of the characters/people in interview tapes who tell their side of the story, sometimes there are conflicting stories, especially between Tonya and her ex husband Jeff. One of the best strengths that the film has is that it is a dark comedy, it makes the film a lot more entertaining than if it just showed the events play out. The comedy somehow works and works seamlessly, it doesn’t feel forced at all. Some of the comedy comes from just how ridiculous some events were and how stupid many of the people were (particularly Tonya’s bodyguard played by Paul Walter Hauser). However, despite the comedy and entertaining style, it doesn’t hold back on a lot of the darker things that happened. A lot of it is quite hard to watch with Tonya having to deal with things such as abuse from both her mother and her husband, and of course the end of Tonya’s career because of the incident with Nancy Kerrigan. As someone who didn’t know a lot about Tonya Harding, let’s just say that events played out like how I didn’t think they would, so I was invested from start to finish, and barely anything took me out of the movie.

Margot Robbie has already proved herself to be a great actress in the past 5 years but with I, Tonya she has delivered her best work yet, she was absolutely phenomenal as Tonya Harding. Margot really transformed into Tonya and brought her to the big screen, a lot of the time you will probably forget that it’s Margot who’s playing her. While we don’t always agree with what Tonya does, we can understand why she does the things she does. There are particularly some scenes that Margot has in the last act which are some of the best pieces of acting that she’s ever done, particularly two certain moments. This is one of the best performances of the year for sure. Sebastian Stan really surprised me as Tonya’s ex husband Jeff Gillooly. Throughout the majority of the film I actually forgot that it was Sebastian Stan who was playing him. His performance shouldn’t be overlooked. Allison Janney is also incredible as Tonya’s abusive mother, she is a force to be reckoned with and steals every scene that she’s in. Although she has some moments which are funny, on the whole she is at times frightening in the way she acts towards Tonya, she really leaves a strong impact. Other actors like Julianne Nicholson and Paul Walter Hauser were also great and played their part well.

The direction by Craig Gillespie was solid, very stylistic. Some people have accused the film of stealing the style from Martin Scorsese’s many crime movies, often calling it Goodfellas on ice and I can see a lot of similarities and why they would say that. It breaks the fourth wall multiple times, many of the characters at times talk to the camera (especially when it cuts to present day in the interview room scenes) and there is a lot of narration. However, something about it just worked here that I didn’t mind that it was essentially trying to imitate a Scorsese style. The one aspect that didn’t work so well however was the use of music, at times the song choices felt a little on the nose and convenient and it was distracting occasionally. The ice skating scenes themselves were great, some of the ice skating was probably not done by Margot but at least for me, I thought they did a good job hiding that.

I, Tonya manages to bring to the big screen not only the story behind Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan incident, but also Tonya’s life story and it was done so well, better than I thought it would be. The way it was directed and portrayed was great and the performances from everyone, especially from Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney were outstanding and some of the best of the year. One of the biggest things I can say about it is that I’m also pretty sure that Gillespie and the cast and crew have redefined who Tonya Harding is, she is no longer known as just the infamous ice-skater who “supposedly” had another skater’s knee bashed in. I, Tonya is one of the best films of the year and shouldn’t be missed.