Tag Archives: Jason Clarke

The Devil All the Time (2020) Review

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The Devil All the Time

Time: 138 Minutes
Cast:
Tom Holland as Arvin Eugene Russell
Bill Skarsgård as Willard Russell
Robert Pattinson as Reverend Preston Teagardin
Riley Keough as Sandy Henderson
Jason Clarke as Carl Henderson
Sebastian Stan as Sheriff Lee Bodecker
Eliza Scanlen as Lenora Laferty
Haley Bennett as Charlotte Russell
Mia Wasikowska as Helen Hatton Laferty
Harry Melling as Roy Laferty
Director: Antonio Campos

A young man (Tom Holland) is devoted to protecting his loved ones in a town full of corruption and sinister characters.

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The Devil All the Time was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020. First of all it has one of the biggest casts of the year, with it including Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Robert Pattinson, Jason Clarke, and Riley Keough, so naturally that had my curiosity. On top of that though, the prospect of a psychological thriller with a large group of characters sounded quite appealing and very much my kind of film. Having seen it, I can see why some people are mixed on it, it’s not for everyone, but I’m glad to say that I really liked the movie and it really worked for me.

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You could describe The Devil All the Time as like The Place Beyond the Pines as written by Cormac McCarthy or The Coen Brothers. It spans a number of decades and generations, and features a large number of characters with intertwining storylines. It can feel like it’s not driving towards something for most of the movie, it’s very much a character driven story. For me though it works, I found the story and characters compelling, and I was invested with what was happening. As mentioned earlier it is not for everyone. It is a very grim and bleak movie, a lot of graphic, violent and gruesome acts happen, there are some pretty dark themes and subject matter touched on throughout, and almost all of the main characters are pretty far from what you’d call ‘a good person’ to say the least. So it’s likely to turn a lot of people off. The movie is also just under 2 hours and 20 minutes long, it does feel quite long and it is slowly paced for sure. You could make the argument that some parts could’ve been trimmed. At the same time there are some plotlines that could’ve done with some fleshing out, particularly those of Jason Clarke, Riley Keough and Sebastian Stan. Maybe a mini series might’ve been able to flesh out all the aspects of the story while not feeling too drawn out, but I’m fine with how it is as a movie. One point of contention will be with the narration by Donald Ray Pollock, the author of the book the movie was based on. It will work for some, and others will hate it, I have very mixed feelings on it. It really did add something to the tone of the movie, making it feel like a gothic folk tale, and it also added some context to the characters and the story that it sometimes needed. So I wouldn’t say that it should’ve been completely removed or anything. However, it really needed to be cut back a ton. There’s many moments that would’ve been more effective if they didn’t have narration, it just explains way too much, including what some characters are doing and why they are doing it, and it just takes me out of the movie. This may be a nitpick but there are a few characters who are around from the 40s through to the 60s, and don’t look like they aged a day, and it can be a bit distracting.

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The cast are of course the standouts from the movie, and everyone is great on their part. Riley Keough and Jason Clarke play a serial killer couple, Sebastian Stan plays a corrupt sheriff, and Harry Melling plays a fanatical preacher, the later of whom was one of the biggest surprises of the movie, delivering a truly memorable performance. Although their characters aren’t given much to do, Eliza Scanlen, Haley Bennett, Mia Wasikowska do well on their parts, and Scanlen particularly gave an effective performance. Even amongst an ensemble of great performances, there were three actors that stood out. First of all is Tom Holland, as the main character of the story (despite appearing for the first time like 40 minutes into the movie) Arvin Russell. This was quite a different role for him, a much darker and emotional role for him, and he was actually great on his part. While I like him in the movies I’ve seen of his, I’d say that this is so far the best performance of his career thus far. I hope Holland branches out to more indie movies like this, because he’s definitely got a lot of range. Bill Skarsgard is also great as Arvin’s father, he really leaves a strong impression despite being in the movie for only like 30 minutes. He gives an intense and emotional performance, and possibly the best work I’ve seen from him thus far. Robert Pattinson is also a scene stealer as a sleezy, deranged and sinister reverend. He’s not even in the movie a ton but he makes the most of his screentime. His performance could’ve so easily failed, it is definitely over the top. However it actually really works, and he really did well at portraying the most hateable character in the film, and considering the lineup of characters in this story that is saying a lot. A particular scene between him and Holland is one of the best scenes of the year.

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This is the first movie I watched from Antonio Campos, and from this I can tell that he’s a great director, and I do want to watch his other movies. It’s very well put together. The cinematography is great and really sells the environment and time period effectively. The 35mm and the grain really also really fit the movie and tone. You really get the gothic rural feeling throughout. The use of music was pretty great, both the song choices and the score, and really worked particularly well in some certain scenes. The violence and brutality is really effective and impactful, it feels very realistic, and there are some moments and particularly some imagery that really stick with you.

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The Devil All the Time has some issues with some of the executions of its ideas and with its writing, but on the whole I think it’s great. I was invested throughout, it’s very well directed, and it features some fantastic acting, particularly from Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard and Robert Pattinson. It’s not for everyone, the aimless story might drag for some, and the grim tone might turn some people off. With that said I think that it might be worth watching for the ensemble of great performances alone.

Lawless (2012) Review

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Lawless

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] contains violence
Cast:
Shia LaBeouf as Jack Bondurant
Tom Hardy as Forrest Bondurant
Jessica Chastain as Maggie Beauford
Gary Oldman as Floyd Banner
Jason Clarke as Howard Bondurant
Guy Pearce as Special Deputy Charley Rakes
Mia Wasikowska as Bertha Minnix
Dane DeHaan as Cricket Pate
Director: John Hillcoat

In 1931, the Bondurant brothers of Franklin County, Va., run a multipurpose backwoods establishment that hides their true business, bootlegging. Middle brother Forrest (Tom Hardy) is the brain of the operation; older Howard (Jason Clarke) is the brawn, and younger Jack (Shia LaBeouf), the lookout. Though the local police have taken bribes and left the brothers alone, a violent war erupts when a sadistic lawman (Guy Pearce) from Chicago arrives and tries to shut down the Bondurants’ operation.

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I remember watching Lawless a long time ago, and although I didn’t remember it being particularly great, I remember thinking it was at least pretty good. Since I was watching/re-watching other Tom Hardy movies, I thought I’d give this one another go, and my opinion of it is around the same. There’s not much that’s particularly wrong with the movie, in fact there’s a lot of good things about it, from the direction to the cast. I’m just not quite sure that I can call it great, but I still think that it is pretty good.

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Lawless isn’t a fast paced thriller by any means, it’s a slow burn gritty drama, and I personally liked it for that. There are certainly signs of greatness, it’s just that there’s just something missing from it. The story is actually rather straightforward and wasn’t anything special for a crime drama. I think it felt just a little too conventional, accessible and neatly packaged. They could’ve done a little more with the story and gone too some more interesting places, Lawless doesn’t really do anything that we haven’t seen done many times before and done better. With that being said, for what it was I was quite entertained for its 2 hour runtime, but it could’ve been a little better.

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The cast all around great and are among the best parts of Lawless, although some of the characters could’ve used some more development. This is mainly Shia LaBeouf’s movie, and he’s quite good in his role as the younger brother who isn’t quite as experienced as his older brothers. Tom Hardy is great in everything he’s in, and his performance in Lawless as the leader of the Bondurant brothers is no exception. He doesn’t say a lot (you just hear him grunting most of the time), but he has a lot of screen presence nonetheless, and was effective whenever he’s on screen. This is also probably one of the best performances I’ve seen from Jason Clarke as the oldest of the brothers. Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska provide some good performances, elevating their rather underdeveloped and uninteresting roles with their acting. Gary Oldman is indeed in this movie as a notable gangster, but really they could’ve gotten any actor in the role, he’s only in a few scenes. Don’t get me wrong, Oldman owns every scene he has in the movie, but he takes up such a small portion of the film and wasn’t that central to the plot that it kind of felt like overkill having an actor of his calibre for the role. One of the performances that stood out the most from this movie was that of Guy Pearce as the villain of the film. He’s effectively creepy, slimy and unnerving in this role as a Special Deputy Marshall brought in to go after bootleggers, and especially the main characters of the story. There’s not a whole lot to the character, but Pearce from his appearance to his performance makes Charley Rakes an easy character to hate. It’s quite an over the top and almost cartoonish character and performance but it kind of works for this movie.

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Lawless was really well directed by John Hillcoat. It’s a great looking movie, and Hillcoat certainly got the period setting right at least on a technical level, with the locations, the costumes and production design. Also, when it comes to the violence (even though there isn’t a massive amount of it), it’s brutal and hard hitting.

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Lawless unfortunately doesn’t quite reach the levels of greatness that it’s clearly aspiring to reach, but it’s a solid movie nonetheless. It was directed exceptionally well, and has a relatively decent story that at least kept me entertained for the runtime. Top that off with a great cast, and Lawless is a movie that’s worth a watch if you like those actors or even just decent crime dramas.

Pet Sematary (2019) Review

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror, graphic violence & offensive language
Cast:
Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed
Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed
John Lithgow as Jud Crandall
Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed
Hugo and Lucas Lavoie as Gage Creed
Director: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his neighbour Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences.

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Pet Sematary was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. It was an adaptation of a famous Stephen King book, I liked the actors involved that I recognised, and the trailers actually made this look pretty good and effectively creepy. Prior to watching this, I had started reading the book (and finished it later on after watching the movie), and I haven’t seen the previous adaptation from the 90s. Sadly I heard that the 2019 movie wasn’t so great, and aside from The Dark Tower was among the only recent Stephen King adaptations that wasn’t generally positively received. Still, I wanted to see it for myself. While I’m not sure that I’d say that it’s terrible, it’s certainly uninspired and underwhelming.

The story for the movie was a very mixed bag. Having read the book in its entirety, I can confirm that there are a number of changes to the story, even if the essence of the story is the same. However even early on, there was some odd changes. While it definitely doesn’t need to follow the story beat by beat, it almost feels a little rushed, for example with the way they introduce the Pet Sematary into the plot. A lot of the changes seemed to have been made to make it the most simplistic version of the story possible. There are also changes later in the story as well which are vastly different from both the book and the 1989 movie. In fact while there are some similarities, the third act is mostly different from the book. Now as for the third act changes, I guess they were fine and I didn’t have too much of a problem with them. However at the same time they really served no purpose outside of just being different from the book, or potentially making it easier to put in a conventional horror movie. I mentioned earlier about how it seemed like the movie was trying to rush through the plot. At the same time, the pacing can be really slow, even with a runtime of an hour and 40 minutes. It picks up in the second half in the story and pacing however. I liked the dark tone and a lot of the ideas, but the ideas are straight from the book, which did them a lot better. It feels so by the numbers and generic here. Much of the harshest of the events happens right at the end of the story, but in the second half there is a real sense of dread. In the movie however, you don’t feel anything like that. You feel empty, and unfortunately it’s not the good, unsettling and most of all intentional feeling of emptiness.

The cast do fine enough with Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and others as the family, and they definitely try their hardest with what they have, but these characters are just not given enough things to do. They are barely characterised, and you just don’t care about them at all beyond the fact that they are our main characters. The standout of the whole movie was John Lithgow, who was great as Jud Crandall, an older man who knows a lot about the Pet Sematary. It was perfect casting, and he plays the role very well.

The direction is a bit of a mixed bag. On a technical level it’s fine, but they weren’t exactly utilised the best. The scares didn’t work at all and didn’t produce a reaction anywhere close to genuine terror. Weirdest of all, there were some fake truck jumpscares that would randomly happen, and although I know why they were in there, it just made it harder to take the movie seriously. Think of all the bad clichés that most average to bad modern horror movies have, Pet Sematary 2019 does many of those things. From the building tension music that eventually stops and then a scare happens, or when a character looks around, concluding that everything is safe, before turning around and something scary is right in their face. There are some technical parts that work alright. Church the cat was handled well, from cat actors, to the makeup used on them, basically what you’d imagine him being based off the book. Without spoiling anything, the whole thing involving the character of Zelda was effectively creepy.

There was a lot of potential with Pet Sematary, and the source material seemed like there’d be a lot to use (especially with the recent solid Stephen King movies with the likes of It, Doctor Sleep and others getting some good adaptations). But it’s just so generically done. Not to mention it’s ironically devoid of life. There are some aspects of the direction that are decent, I like some of the acting, and some ideas from the book which still work. However it’s not enough to save this movie from just being average. If you really want to watch it and you’ve got 100 minutes to kill, then maybe check it out for yourself.

Serenity (2019) Review

Time: 106 Minutes
Cast:
Matthew McConaughey as Baker Dill
Anne Hathaway as Karen Zariakas
Diane Lane as Constance
Jason Clarke as Frank Zariakas
Djimon Hounsou as Duke
Jeremy Strong as Reid Miller
Director: Steven Knight

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain who leads tours off of the tranquil enclave of Plymouth Island. His peaceful life is soon shattered when his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) tracks him down. Desperate for help, Karen begs Baker to save her — and their young son — from her abusive husband (Jason Clarke). She wants him to take the brute out for a fishing excursion — then throw him overboard to the sharks. Thrust back into a life that he wanted to forget, Baker now finds himself struggling to choose between right and wrong.

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I think I might’ve heard about Serenity a little while ago. The cast consists of Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway but also this would be writer/director Steven Knight’s second film, after his debut with Locke. However, what got me really noticing the movie was the response to it, it wasn’t just badly received, it was labelled a hilarious disaster. Eventually I caved in and decided to watch it, it really wasn’t a good movie but it was fascinatingly bad at points, which at least gave it some entertainment value.

Steven Knight has written a lot with the likes of Eastern Promises and of course his directorial debut Locke, so it’s clear that he has quite a bit of talent at writing. While I hadn’t watched all of his written movies, I thought that The Girl in the Spider’s Web would be his worst work, Serenity proved me wrong however. Much of the movie moves really slow and is about catching fish, so even though the main plot is about Anne Hathaway getting Matthew McConaughey to kill her husband, it’s stretched over a long period of time, and mostly just being him trying to catch a particular fish. There are so many absurd things done over the course of the movie and it just end up being hilarious. Matthew McConaughey is constantly after a fish named Justice, there’s a character who literally refers to himself as “The Rules”, and some things that are meant to be taken seriously are just done in such a silly way (there are even more examples but border into spoiler territory, so I won’t go into depth with those). Some of the dialogue is quite weird and unnatural, “I’m a hooker with no hooks” and “We haven’t caught jack since your wife died” are among some of the odd lines of dialogue that we are blessed with. You’d think that this is at the very least a partial comedy given all the genres it tries to be but it actually plays the whole story very seriously. Being written averagely is one thing. However in terms of movie breaking issues, there’s a big chunk of the movie I can’t talk about because of spoilers, and that’s the twists and the direction of the story. You get hints of the main twist in the first 30 minutes and you can figure it out pretty quickly. Then at the hour mark it just reveals everything to the audience, it’s worse than that, they spell it out for the audience. The concept of the twist isn’t bad itself but it needed to be handled much better than how it was, because the end result was honestly pretty ridiculous and doesn’t work at all. It goes in such a far off direction from what you’re expecting going in, it’s really bonkers. When you look back on many of the events knowing the twist, there are a lot of things that don’t add up and it just makes the movie even more silly. With that twist, it’s like Serenity is trying to have 5 genres all in one movie, and none of them go together at all.

This movie has quite the talented cast, unfortunately the film really didn’t utilise them that well, even if they try their best. Matthew McConaughey’s performance isn’t bad, he puts everything that he could into this movie. Yes, his performance can be pretty over the top at times, and him getting ‘dramatic’ and randomly yelling at some points, you can’t help but find him to be hilarious, honestly though I can’t blame him too much, at least he tried. Anne Hathaway also tries her best in her role, but she too is held back by the writing. Despite working together on Interstellar, you wouldn’t know that McConaughey and Hathaway had even seen each other before filming, and keep in mind that the two characters are like ex-spouses. The chemistry between them is non existent. The rest of the cast don’t really get anything to work with. Jason Clarke plays Hathway’s abusive husband (given no subtlety or humanity whatsoever and is basically a cartoon throughout much of the movie), Diane Lane’s only purpose in the film is to have sex with McConaughey and Djimon Hounsou is just sort of in there in the movie and isn’t that significant in the plot.

Steven Knight’s direction of Locke was simple but effective, even though it largely just took place inside a car in one night. Here he works on a much larger scale, and while his work here isn’t disastrous, it’s got a lot of problems. To be fair to Serenity, it can look really good at some points. However, some of the decisions like the zoom ins and fast paced moments, as well as the occasionally jarring editing really take you out of the whole experience. Even the music was pretty generic and didn’t fit with the movie at all.

Serenity was a really weird misfire of a movie. It really all comes back to the writing, with its weird dialogue, a plot with many ideas that don’t come together, and add upon those ludicrous twists that don’t work at all, it’s a fascinating movie to watch. I can see why it was pushed a couple of times from last year to January of this year. In terms of positives, Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway do their best with the material that they have, and the cinematography can be alright at points, but they can’t save this movie from being a mess. While I wouldn’t put it under the so-bad-it’s-good category like so many people have, I’d say that it is strange and unintentionally funny enough that it might be worth a watch.

First Man (2018) Review

Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong
Claire Foy as Janet Shearon
Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin
Pablo Schreiber as Jim Lovell
Jason Clarke as Ed White
Kyle Chandler as Deke Slayton
Christopher Abbott as David Scott
Patrick Fugit as Elliot See
Director: Damien Chazelle

A Biopic on the life of the legendary American Astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon. Exploring the sacrifices and costs on the Nation and Neil himself, during one of the most dangerous missions in the history of space travel.

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First Man was one of my most anticipated films of 2018. Not only is it about Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and starring such actors as Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler and Corey Stoll, but it also is directed by Damien Chazelle. I’ve loved Chazelle’s last two films (Whiplash and La La Land), and he really showed a lot of talent with them. So naturally I was excited for First Man. While it wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, First Man was really great and one of my favourite films of the year.

There’s something that people need to know going in, this is about the titular first man, but it’s not all about Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, that aspect happens much later in the movie. For the most part, this movie is more about Armstrong than it is about the whole final moon landing. A lot of the movie is focussing on him testing and training to be on the moon. It also features his family life with his wife and children, and how what he does affects them as well. The reason why I mention all of this is because I think a lot of people might be going into First Man with a certain expectation (and it’s not unreasonable, the first thing you think about a Neil Armstrong is about him landing on the moon), and that could take away from their enjoyment or disappoint them a bit. I didn’t have a problem with the fact that this is what the movie is about. The movie can feel stretched out at times, and it wasn’t me being impatient waiting for the final moon landing part, it does legitimately feel long (and this is me when I’m already having an idea of what kind of movie this is) and the issue isn’t so much the length. The pacing can be a little uneven, sometimes perfectly paced in some parts, other times being a tad too slow. It’s not annoyingly slow at any point, but it does take away from the experience. The last act with the actual moon bit however, I’m pretty sure everyone will like regardless of what they think of the rest of the movie. First Man is 2 hours and 20 minutes long and you can really feel its length at times, however as I said the length wasn’t so much the problem, it was more the pacing that was the problem.

Ryan Gosling gives one of his best performances as Neil Armstrong. He does do his very familiar silent acting that movies like Drive and Blade Runner 2049 have made him known for, yet it really works for him in the role of Armstrong. He also has some notable emotional scenes that Gosling does great, and even when in some scenes where he appears stoic, you can tell at times that there are more emotions there under the surface. He’s not the only performance that really shines in this movie, Claire Foy is also a standout, playing Janet, Armstrong’s wife. She has quite a number of great scenes and was all around fantastic. Both of them really were at the top of their game. The rest of the supporting cast is also great. Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll and a bunch of others all serve their roles well and added to the movie.

It’s no surprise that Damien Chazelle’s direction is fantastic, but it is especially great when you consider how different First Man is to his previous movies, he’s really shown himself to be a talented and capable director in any genre. Some of the highlight scenes of the movie are the space/cockpits/testing scenes, all immersive and absolutely captivating and thrilling . I think First Man has some of the best scenes set in space. When it comes to these scenes, you really feel like you’re right there with the characters. The camera movements, the sounds, everything just works incredibly well. And yes, the segment where they are actually on the moon are worth the price of admission with the largest screen available alone. Also making it even better is the score by Justin Hurwitz. It goes from having moments of wonder to absolute thrilling and tense and then to some truly emotional stuff. Really I’d strongly recommend seeing First Man on the biggest screen you can find, it’ll increase your overall experience with the movie.

First Man isn’t Damien Chazelle’s best film (I still rate both Whiplash and La La Land higher) but it’s still a great movie on its own. The excellent direction mixed with the great performances results in a really good movie that although slow, is well worth seeing as soon as possible (and on the biggest screen available). With Whiplash, La La Land and now First Man, Chazelle has proven himself to have a long and exciting career ahead of him.

Knight of Cups (2015) Review

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Sex scenes, offensive language & nudity.
Cast:
Christian Bale as Rick
Cate Blanchett as Nancy
Natalie Portman as Elizabeth
Brian Dennehy as Joseph
Antonio Banderas as Tonio
Wes Bentley as Barry
Isabel Lucas as Isabel
Teresa Palmer as Karen
Imogen Poots as Della
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Fr. Zeitlinger
Freida Pinto as Helen
Cherry Jones as Ruth
Nick Offerman as Scott
Dane DeHaan as Paul
Thomas Lennon as Tom
Joel Kinnaman as Errol
Jason Clarke as Johnny
Katia Winter as Katia
Nicky Whelan as Nicky
Shea Whigham as Jim
Ryan O’Neal as Ryan
Joe Manganiello as Joe
Michael Wincott as Herb
Kevin Corrigan as Gus
Director: Terrence Malick

A writer (Christian Bale) indulging in all that Los Angeles and Las Vegas has to offer undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.

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I remember waiting for this movie for a long time. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it as Terrence Malick is a very polarising filmmaker but after watching and liking Tree of Life (which was quite unconventional as a film), I thought that I had a good chance of enjoying it. I recently watched Knight of Cups and… I really don’t know what to think of it. It is beautiful looking and it has a lot of great actors in it but otherwise it really didn’t do anything for me.

Describing the movie is hard. The basic structure of Knight of Cups is split into segments where Bale interacts with particular people. I’ve only seen 3 of Malick’s movies, Tree of Life, Badlands and now Knight of Cups and I liked the last 2. Even Tree of Life, for how unconventional it was I liked it but most of all, I could actually somewhat understand parts of it. I’m not even sure what Knight of Cups is supposed to be about, I couldn’t connect to it. So with that connection to whatever Malick is going for being gone, it takes away so much from the movie. When I’m just watching all these talented actors just internally monologing some deep poetic speech while the camera just follows them and I don’t understand what its supposed to mean, you can see how I would find it frustrating and pretentious. Don’t get me wrong, Terrence Malick no doubt had some idea of what he was filming, he wasn’t just filming nice looking stuff and calling it art. But whatever he was going for, I didn’t get it at all. The film drags consistently and constantly, at times its borderline a parody of a Terrence Malick movie with how self indulgent it is. I find it very difficult to recommend Knight of Cups to anyone, unless you are a die hard Terrence Malick fan.

There’s not really much to say in terms of acting, whereas most of the characters in a film like Tree of Life had some sort of character, from what I can tell all the characters in Knight of Cups represent ideas or something. Christian Bale here is pretty much like Sean Penn in Tree of Life, except he’s the main ‘character’ and appears from start to finish. He doesn’t really at any point become a character and just feels flat, Bale barely gets to do anything to leave an impression. Supporting actors include Cate Blanchett, Wes Bentley, Antonio Banderas, Natalie Portman and Imogen Poots and while they are good in their ‘roles’, they don’t leave too much of an impression either. Some actors involved were straight up cameos with Jason Clarke and Joe Manganiello, and supposedly Dane DeHaan and Joel Kinnamon was in it as well (I have no idea where they were though). The only performance that really stood out to a degree was Cate Blanchett but even then she’s not in the movie that long.

This movie is shot beautifully like all of Terrence Malick’s films. The locations, lighting, colouring, all of that was great and was probably one of the only things I liked in the whole film. That’s honestly is the only thing that I can guarantee you’ll think with Knight of Cups, that it looks great. The film also seemed to have a dream-like feeling to it, and the score by Hanan Townshend also played a part in that.

Having finally seen it, I can see why Knight of Cups was so divisive. I’m not entirely sure I actually like it myself. And it’s not that I don’t like Terrance Malick as a director, I liked Badlands and Tree of Life, and the latter was very unconventional. I guess I just connected a lot more with Tree of Life than Knight of Cups, which is why with KOC, it really didn’t work for me. I guess the movie is beautiful looking and that’s somewhat enough for me to call it somewhat above average but only just. If you flat out don’t like Terrance Malick’s other films, you’d probably hate Knight of Cups. I’m going to try watching Song to Song sometime soon, and I’m just hoping that Knight of Cups was the most Malick film he ever made.

Terminator Genisys (2015) Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator in TERMINATOR GENISYS from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

Terminator Genisys
Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Guardian/Terminator
Jason Clarke as John Connor
Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor
Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese
J.K. Simmons Detective O’Brien
Dayo Okeniyi as Danny Dyson
Matt Smith as Alex
Courtney B. Vance as Miles Dyson
Lee Byung-hun as T-1000
Director: Alan Taylor

When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future.

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I love the first two Terminator films, they are classics in their own right and have made a big impact on cinema, so naturally I was hyped for the fifth instalment to the franchise. I was initially worried when I heard that a lot of people really didn’t like this film, it currently holds a 27% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the hate, I still decided to watch it and I surprisingly enjoyed it. It’s not without its faults (mostly with the plot) but I still managed to enjoy it nonetheless. It’s nowhere near the level of the first two terminators but it’s still better than 3 and 4.

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Before I talk about the film, I should mention first not to watch the trailers. The trailers show way too much and might actually affect your viewing. I will say though that the plot twist in the trailer I actually liked, even though there are some things that didn’t really make sense. The fault in the film is mostly due to its story and script. The problem with time travel movies is that it can get very convoluted and confusing. Genysis is trying to do an X-Men Days of Future Past but here there are some things that don’t get addressed. The film does have some continuity issues and plot holes, for example the T-1000 from Terminator 2 isn’t addressed. I didn’t notice a lot of problems on my viewing but I know that there’s a lot there that I haven’t noticed yet.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger slips effortlessly back into the role of the Terminator after many years, he was for me the best part of the movie. He wasn’t acting as just Schwarzenegger in another action film, he was the Terminator. Most people really didn’t like the rest of the cast but I found most of them to be fine. I bought Emilia Clarke as a younger Sarah Connor and the connection between her and the Terminator I thought really worked. I also thought that Jason Clarke was decent as John Connor. One casting however that I didn’t really like was Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese. He really didn’t seem like Michael Biehn in the original Terminator and didn’t honestly convey enough emotions. I think Jai Courtney is good in certain roles but Kyle Reese wasn’t the best choice for him. I really liked Matt Smith’s role but I would’ve liked it if the film had more of him in it.

Emilia Clarke plays Sarah Connor in TERMINATOR GENISYS from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

The action were pretty good though not as memorable as the scenes in the first two films. The CGI for the most part was pretty good but like Jurassic World, it hasn’t gotten that much better than the original. Occasionally there was an explosion or two which really did look CGI and a little fake. The soundtrack I thought was also decent and did add more to the action scenes.

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Terminator Genisys is at times a little messy with its plot but I still managed to be entertained by what I saw. I can’t say that you will definitely enjoy this film but I think it’s a good idea to check it out and see for yourself. James Cameron gets the rights for the franchise back in 3 years and even though I liked this film, I do think that he should direct another Terminator film in between his many planned Avatar sequels.