Tag Archives: Juliette Binoche

Godzilla (2014) Review

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody
Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishirō Serizawa
Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody
Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody
Juliette Binoche as Sandra Brody
Sally Hawkins as Dr. Vivienne Graham
David Strathairn as Admiral William Stenz
Director: Gareth Edwards

When mankind found an ancient spore, they began to preserved until nearly 15 years, it hatches. Now with malevolent terrestrial organisms threatening the existence of man kind, an ancient creature from the depts of the ocean, will rise again to fulfill natures order to restore its balance, while also making sure mankind never makes the same mistakes again.

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I remember watching Godzilla back in 2014 and really liking it, it was the first Godzilla movie I watched (and to this date is currently the only one I’ve seen). With the sequel, King of the Monsters coming very soon, I just knew that I had to go back and give it another look, and I’m glad to say that it still works really well.

One of the main criticisms was that for a movie named Godzilla, he doesn’t appear a huge amount. I don’t personally have that problem, I feel like some parts of the human aspect could’ve been a little stronger, but you don’t exactly want to be all out with Godzilla very early on, especially considering how he plays such a large part in the climax. They take time building up to him, teasing you with brief shots of him. Maybe they are a little forceful with how much they hid him, just as he appears they cut away and then there are news people talking about it or you suddenly see the aftermath, so I can’t entirely blame people for feeling slightly cheated in how they handle some of his early scenes. On the whole though, the slow build up to Godzilla never really bothered me. The human side of the movie wasn’t bad and was fine, however it felt like it could’ve been stronger. You don’t really have an emotional connection to what’s going on or the characters (except for Bryan Cranston, and even then it’s because he played the role so well). The movie is 2 hours long and that was a fitting length for it, every scene feels necessary and furthers the plot and the pacing is pretty hood. Even some of the more familiar scenes such as the exposition scenes (mainly explaining Godzilla) and military people talking about important things are handled in such a way and given such weight that you don’t really mind it, they actually legitimately work. And it all culminates in a big monster showdown of a climax and is just glorious to watch.

The human characters aren’t that good but the cast play them as good as they can. The actor who steals the show is Bryan Cranston, he adds so much to this movie. He puts so much into his performance and elevates things (including the whole movie) to a whole new level. Unfortunately, he’s not on screen as much as you think he would, despite the trailers featuring him heavily. I don’t like to be all “the movie would’ve been better if…” but honestly the movie would’ve been stronger if Cranston was at least one of the leads throughout the movie. In the end the human lead character is really Aaron Taylor Johnson, who’s unfortunately not that good here. He’s not a bad actor, he can actually be great (as evidence by his performances in films like Nocturnal Animals and Outlaw King) but for whatever reason, he’s not strong as a lead here and largely falls flat, even though he wasn’t necessarily terrible. The rest of the cast consisting of the likes of Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Elizabeth Olsen and Juliette Binoche were pretty good and played their roles as best as they possible could.

The direction by Gareth Edwards was great and was a large part of why this movie works as well as it does. Something that he proved with this and Rogue One is that he’s great at making things feel on such a large scale. The monsters were really good and were designed really well, they really felt like large titans with great power. And of course there’s Godzilla, it takes a while before you get to see him in his full glory, but it’s well worth the wait. The visual effects were also really great, same with the action, the destruction is among the best when it comes to recent blockbusters. There are some moments that are just stunning. One of the standouts was a HALO jump scene and it is great, the music, the look of everything, the POV shots, it just looked like a real jump into hell, and is by far one of the highlight moments of the film. The final action set piece is reason enough to see this movie, with Godzilla and the rest of the monsters going at it. The score by Alexandre Desplat was also quite good and really added a lot to the movie.

Godzilla 2014 doesn’t quite get the love that it deserves, it’s got some minor problems but it’s not enough to take away from how strong this movie is on the whole. Gareth Edwards has really made Godzilla into a large scale and entertaining blockbuster, and was just really handled well overall. I’m definitely on board for whatever the sequel is bringing us.


High Life (2019) Review

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Robert Pattinson as Monte
Juliette Binoche as Dibs
André Benjamin as Tcherny
Mia Goth as Boyse
Director: Claire Denis

Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. They must now rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole.

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High Life was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. I’m not familiar with writer/director Claire Denis but with the cast involving the likes of Robert Pattinson and Mia Goth, as well as the trailers and very polarised reactions, it was something I was excited for. I really didn’t know what to expect, as it was a bit of an artsy movie and of course the reactions to it were a little confused and mixed. High Life is an effective and haunting sci-fi movie that’ll no doubt remain one of the most memorable movies of 2019 by the end of the year.

High Life is a movie that’s definitely best experienced not knowing too much about outside of the general plot summary, so I’ll try my best not to reveal too much as I didn’t know too much about it going into it. High Life certainly is a weird sci-fi movie, you might hear about the movie involving a bunch of people go into space to a black hole, however this isn’t like Interstellar by any means. I mean this is the movie that has the ship is equipped with “The Box” (also known as “The Fuck Box”), which the crew can use to masturbate, so at that point you can kind of figure out what kind of movie you are in for (or at least not in for). Also, the levels and places that the movie goes to might just be too much for people. Personally, I was on board and intrigued with everything that was going on. It does feel quite long, even at an hour and 50 minutes long and it’s because it’s a very a slow moving movie. I still like the movie quite a bit, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel the very slow pacing. It requires a lot of patience, and I had enough of it to sit through the whole thing, and I’m glad I did. If it seems like I’m being vague about the movie, it’s because I’m doing it deliberately.

Robert Pattinson continues to show how talented he is, giving one of his best performances here. Outside of his character and maybe a couple others, you don’t really root for many of the characters. So as incredible as the rest of the movie still would’ve been without it, much of it is riding on Pattinson to deliver a performance with a large amount of humanity, and a role that the audience can latch on to, which he does incredibly well. Juliette Binoche is also good as a scientist who’s conducting sexual experiments on the crew whilst taking on this suicide mission. Mia Goth always manages to take what she’s given, big or small, and with that makes herself one of the most memorable parts of each of the movies she’s in and High Life is no exception. The rest of the cast consisting of the likes of Andre Benjamin also play their parts very well but aren’t really the focus of the movie.

This is the first film from Claire Denis I’ve seen and I really want to watch the rest of her movies now because her work here is amazing, she’s definitely an expert behind the camera. This is an absolutely stunning looking movie, whether it be showing what’s inside the ship or outside it, and of course, the space sequences are breathtaking. I can imagine that it would be best experienced in the cinema. Apparently, a real life physicist and black hole expert was involved with the movie, and it certainly feels like it, making the movie feel somewhat plausible and even more authentic overall. Even the production design and costumes look authentic, it really feels like they made the movie as practical as possible and only resorted to visual effects when they needed to. We don’t see black holes a lot in this movie but there’s a very strong ominous feeling and sense of dread whenever they are on screen. Black holes are always kind of scary and you never want to go near them, but High Life particularly makes them unsettling. The score by Stuart A. Staples was also good, really giving the movie even more of that eerie vibe.

High Life is definitely not going to work for everyone. It may be too weird, disturbing or slow for some, and so I don’t blame you if it doesn’t quite work for you. However I personally really liked it. The cast all do good work (especially Pattinson, Binoche and Goth) and Claire Denis directed it immaculately. There’s no denying that it is an incredibly memorable movie. It might be a movie I need to revisit later on, as I feel like it will benefit from repeat viewings. All I can say for those who haven’t seen it yet is to go into it with an open mind.

Ghost in the Shell (2017) Review

Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Science fiction themes, violence & content that may disturb.
Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian
“Beat” Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki
Michael Carmen Pitt as Kuze
Pilou Asbæk as Batou
Chin Han as Togusa
Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet
Peter Ferdinando as Cutter
Director: Rupert Sanders

In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that her life was stolen instead of saved. Now, she will stop at nothing to recover her past while punishing those who did this to her.

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Ghost in the Shell was a movie I was interested in. Although I haven’t seen the original anime, I like Scarlett Johansson, I like Michael Pitt, and the movie had a lot of potential with its concept and the source material. The trailer also promised a visually stunning movie. With that said I didn’t know what to expect going in, especially with the very mixed response to the movie. Having finally seen Ghost in the Shell, I can say that I was actually surprised, this movie was better than I thought it would be. The performances, the fantastic direction and the story all worked well to result in a solid sci fi movie.

As I previously mentioned, I have not seen the original anime so I can’t comment on how accurate this adaptation is. This movie is fairly conventional but it does have some neat surprises. I have heard that this adaptation has dumbed down a lot of the elements from the anime, this movie was fairly straightforward, so I have a feeling that’s the case. As someone who haven’t seen the anime, I did enjoy the story quite a bit. It wasn’t spectacular or groundbreaking to me but I had a lot of fun with it, I was never bored and it kept me interested throughout.

Scarlett Johansson is quite good in her role, she really sells her character not being completely human, her character also struggles with her identity, and Johansson portrayed that aspect well. She also was great in her action sequences. Pilou Asbaek is really enjoyable and likable in his role and a stand out performance is Michael Pitt, who plays a bit of a unique character, definitely one of the highlights of the movie (I just wished we got more of him). Other supporting actors such as Takeshi Kitano and Juliette Binoche do quite well in their roles. The weakest link is Peter Ferdinando in his role, I can’t tell whether it was his performance or the character, but whatever case, he felt rather weak and cliché as a character.

One of the best parts of Ghost in the Shell is its direction by Rupert Sanders, it is visually beautiful and stunning to watch. I loved the look that the world of Ghost in the Shell takes place in, with all the neon and vibrant visuals. The cinematography is immaculate and done so well. The action scenes were also quite entertaining to watch, the slow mo is implemented quite well. Cliff Martinez’s score as usual is also excellent and really does add to the movie a lot. The direction overall is really great, and one of the highlights of the film.

I wouldn’t say that Ghost in the Shell is a great movie, but it is good, much better than I was expecting. The performances were pretty good, the story held my interest and the direction was great. I can’t comment on how different this adaptation is to the anime, but for those who haven’t, I recommend at least giving this movie a shot. The visuals and the overall direction are at the very least good enough reason to give it a chance.