Tag Archives: Chris O’Dowd

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Review

Time: 102 Minutes
Cast:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton
David Oyelowo as Kiel
Daniel Brühl as Schmidt
John Ortiz as Monk Acosta
Chris O’Dowd as Mundy
Aksel Hennie as Volkov
Zhang Ziyi as Tam
Elizabeth Debicki as Mina Jensen
Roger Davies as Michael Hamilton
Director: Julius Onah

The story, set in the near future, centers on a team of astronauts on a space station making a terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality, as they desperately fight for their survival.

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God Particle was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017 and 2018. It was the talented cast, premise and the fact that it tied to the Cloverfield universe that had me interested. I admit I was a little worried since the movie was pushed back a couple times but I was still interested in it. A little while ago, the film was released on Netflix hours after the first trailer and retitled to The Cloverfield Paradox. Initially it seemed to be genius marketing for the film as the Cloverfield series had been known for its secret marketing. However after seeing it, it seems now that other reasons may have played a part in its sudden release. While I did like it, The Cloverfield Paradox didn’t quite live up to all the hype to say the least. There is some good to it though with the actors and some aspects of the story. Overall it just feels rather okay and not too much more than that.

I’ll first of all talk about this movie itself without all the ties to the Cloverfield universe. On the whole it feels like a passable normal sci fi horror movie, so pretty much like 2017’s Life, only not as good. The mystery wasn’t as interesting as it could’ve been, there are aspects of it that were intriguing but it really doesn’t do anything special with them. There were also some really out of place scenes that take place on Earth, which were apparently reshoots added because of test audiences’ reactions (more on reshoots later). The Cloverfield Paradox doesn’t particularly deliver on the horror either, it doesn’t help with the tone of some scenes, including a gag involving an arm. Speaking of the arm scene, there’s also some parts about the film that don’t really make sense. While I understand the Cloverfield aspects not being explained, most of the film’s plot should’ve been explainable, some things just happen with no logical explanation whatsoever. It’s just rather confusing looking back at what happened. Now onto the part about the connections to the other Cloverfield movies. The connections do feel a little forced, they weren’t as seamless as the connections in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Not only that, without spoiling anything, the connections it does have opens the Cloverfield universe up to so many possibilities that I’m not sure it was the right decision, future films will decide that. It seems that there was a reason why the connections feel forced. God Particle when it was written was originally not supposed to be a Cloverfield film. 10 Cloverfield Lane’s script was a spec script that was reworked into having connections but prior to filming (and when it was written) God Particle didn’t have any Cloverfield connections. Because of this, reshoots eventually were needed later on so that it would be a Cloverfield movie. Finding out all of this really explained a lot. I can’t tell how the movie would’ve been just as a non Cloverfield movie but I have a feeling it would’ve been better, without all the reshoots. The best part of the film was actually the ending, it may raise questions for some but it was the most effective scare in the whole film.

The characters weren’t all that interesting or great but the actors did a pretty good job with the material that they have. You have a really talented cast with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, David Oyelowo and more. They all do a good job with what they have, no one here is phoning it in. If there’s a main character its Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character, who’s the most developed of all the characters, so its no surprise that she’s the stand out performance out of all of them.

The direction generally was good, it is a good looking movie. As previously mentioned, this movie wasn’t very tense, and the scenes that were meant to be tense really weren’t that effective at being tense. On the whole though, my main criticisms didn’t have to do with the direction as much as it was the writing (and as I said earlier the changes to the movie).

The Cloverfield Paradox unfortunately didn’t live up to the hype. I can’t tell what caused all the problems, whether it was all the reshoots and sudden changes or if the film wasn’t going to end up being that good anyway. I’m not even sure if you’ll enjoy it if you’re a Cloverfield fan, it might just make things more confusing and frustrating. I did find some good parts to the movie, including the cast and some of the ideas but it doesn’t come close to 10 Cloverfield Lane or even the original Cloverfield. Apparently a Cloverfield 4 is set for release in 2018 called Overlord (which will no doubt will be retitled to Cloverlord by the time it’s about to release). Hopefully this will tie into the universe better without feeling forced and is a better movie overall.

Molly’s Game (2017) Review

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Contains violence, drug use & offensive language
Cast
Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom
Idris Elba as Charlie Jaffey
Kevin Costner as Larry Bloom
Michael Cera as Player X
Brian d’Arcy James as Brad
Chris O’Dowd as Douglas Downey
J. C. MacKenzie as Harrison Wellstone
Bill Camp as Harlan Eustice
Graham Greene as Judge Foxman
Jeremy Strong as Dean Keith
Director: Aaron Sorkin

The true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknown to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who learned there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led people to believe.

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I was pretty interested in Molly’s Game. Not only does it have a cast with Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Michael Cera and Kevin Costner and based on a true story, but also Aaron Sorkin along with writing the script would be making his directional debut with this film. Aaron Sorkin has written The Social Network, Steve Jobs, A Few Good Men, Moneyball and much more, so naturally I was excited to see how he would do. For a directional debut, Aaron Sorkin did a pretty great job. Molly’s Game is a very good movie with the script and the performances being the highlights.

Aaron Sorkin is a fantastic writer, so the fact that Molly’s Game is very well written shouldn’t come as such a big surprise. The dialogue is fantastic as to be expected. This really is a movie that requires you to fully focus on it because of how much information is shown, mostly through narration. There are some bits where it can be a bit complicated and I wasn’t fully grasping absolutely everything. However, even if you get lost at points, you can usually have a general understanding of what’s going on because the movie does pretty well at explaining most things. I was interested and riveted in this story from start to finish. In terms of flaws, the movie jumps between different time periods and while you can tell within the first 10 seconds which time period it is, it nonetheless feels very jarring when it does change. Also tis movie is long, its 2 hours and 20 minutes long and you can really feel the length. It doesn’t necessarily drag but you really do feel its length. With that said, off the top of my head I can’t think of any particular scene that I would remove but there would probably be some scenes that aren’t as relevant or important as others.

Jessica Chastain is typically great, she’s one of the best actresses working today and always brings her A game to ever movie she’s in. She’s playing a real life person who you are really rooting for. Very interesting character (real life person), which is compliment by an excellent performance by Chastain. Idris Elba is also really good as Molly’s lawyer. There are especially a couple scenes in the third act where he really gets to shine. Michael Cera is surprisingly really good, playing the character of Player X, who may or may not be based on Tobey Maguire (it definitely is). It’s a small role and he’s not in the movie too much but Cera does well to make an impression. On another note, when you are watching Molly’s Game, just picture Tobey Maguire in Michael Cera’s role, it makes things a lot more interesting and revealing. Kevin Costner also is good as Molly’s father, the two have a difficult and complicated relationship and Costner did very well in his role.

Aaron Sorkin did very well at directing Molly’s Game for a directional debut. The movie stylised and fast paced at times and it all fitted well together. There is a lot of narration, which often can feel like an easy way of dumping exposition but on top of the writing being excellent, Sorkin integrated it into the film very well. You can kind of tell that Sorkin’s writing in Molly’s Game is better than his direction, but that’s to be expected given that this is the first movie that he directed. Besides, for a first movie he did very well.

Molly’s Game is a really good movie, quite interesting and entertaining for the majority of the runtime. The performances were great (with Chastain, Elba and Cera being the highlights) and Aaron Sorkin was fantastic at both writing and directing here. I’m looking forward to seeing Aaron Sorkin direct more films because he showed that he can direct a solid movie, and I can only see him getting better and better at directing the more movies he makes.