Tag Archives: Juno Temple

Unsane (2018) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Claire Foy as Sawyer Valentini
Joshua Leonard as David Strine
Jay Pharoah as Nate Hoffman
Juno Temple as Violet
Aimee Mullins as Ashley Brighterhouse
Amy Irving as Angela Valentini
Director: Steven Soderbergh

Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) relocates from Boston to Pennsylvania to escape from the man who’s been stalking her for the last two years. While consulting with a therapist, Valentini unwittingly signs in for a voluntary 24-hour commitment to the Highland Creek Behavioral Center. Her stay at the facility soon gets extended when doctors and nurses begin to question her sanity. Sawyer now believes that one of the staffers is her stalker — and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay alive and fight her way out.

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I had been hearing some praise for Unsane for a while. Steven Soderbergh is a great director and with Unsane, in secret he created a thriller entirely filmed with an iPhone. Also, Claire Foy, who has proven herself to be a great actress in The Crown, was cast in the lead role. So naturally I was quite interested in the movie. Unsane is a great thriller, with solid direction from Soderbergh, a simple and contained plot that works and an excellent lead performance from Claire Foy.

Unsane is about an hour and 30 minutes long and that was a good length overall for the movie. It is a simple movie with a straightforward plot but yet it’s quite effective with what its doing. The movie keeps you glued from start to finish. For me at least the movie doesn’t really do anything new plot wise, and it didn’t particularly surprise me immensely, but that’s not necessarily a criticism of the film, as the execution of this plot is more its strong point. From the point that Claire Foy is stuck inside the behavioural centre, most of the film is set just on that location so it feels very contained. For the most part, this movie feels very grounded and set in reality. The only out of place moment was in the third act when the stalker character does something very surprising and implausible and there’s not real logical explanation for how he can do it, except that he’s supernatural or something. Outside of that I don’t really have a real problem about the rest of the plot. The only other out of place moment was a minute long Matt Damon cameo but that was more distracting than anything else.

Claire Foy is the main star of the show and she absolutely kills it here. She displays a lot of range and goes all in when portraying her character. You really feel how she’s feeling as the film progresses as she constantly comes across many issues. We also get to see her character’s issues and her past which show why she acts and reacts the way she does. With this performance and The Crown, Claire Foy has proven herself to be once again a great actress. Foy’s stalker was also played very well by Joshua Leonard, managing to give a constant uncomfortable feeling throughout when he’s on screen. Leonard was in The Blair Witch Project but outside of that has just been in smaller movies, so it’s nice to see him get to show off here. The rest of the cast also do well in their roles but it’s mostly Claire Foy and Joshua Leonard who stand out, particularly Foy.

Of course one of the things about this movie that is most known is that it was shot entirely with an iPhone. The movie feels really self contained, with most of it taking place inside one building, and what happens and what we see feels all the more real. So in a sense, the use of filming with an iPhone does add to the movie. With that said… Unsane didn’t necessarily need to be filmed on an iPhone. It seems like an experiment to see whether it would work. Sure it does add in some ways with a lot of the scenes feeling a little more real but aside from that there wasn’t really much point in doing that for this movie. Also you can still tell that’s it’s filmed on an iPhone, you don’t really forget about it, it’s just that it didn’t matter and wasn’t as distracting (even if it is noticeable at times).

Unsane is a pretty great an effective thriller, and Claire Foy with her performance here looks at being one of the best actresses working today. It’s very simple and straightforward thriller, and isn’t going to rank among the best thrillers of all times, but it’s probably one of Steven Soderbergh’s best films (at least of all the movies I’ve seen from him), and for it’s simple concept, the execution is quite effective. Unsane is definitely worth checking out when you can.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) Review

Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence & sex scenes.
Cast
Mickey Rourke as Marv
Jessica Alba as Nancy Callahan
Josh Brolin as Dwight McCarthy
Eva Green as Ava Lord
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny
Rosario Dawson as Gail
Bruce Willis as John Hartigan
Powers Boothe as Senator Roark
Dennis Haysbert as Manute
Ray Liotta as Joey
Stacy Keach as Alarich Wallenquist
Jaime King as Goldie and Wendy
Christopher Lloyd as Kroenig
Jamie Chung as Miho
Jeremy Piven as Bob
Christopher Meloni as Mort
Juno Temple as Sally
Director: Robert Rodriguez

The damaged denizens of Sin City return for another round of stories from the mind of Frank Miller. In “Just Another Saturday Night,” Marv (Mickey Rourke) struggles to recall a nasty run-in with some frat boys. In “A Dame to Kill For,” Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) forsakes his battle with his inner demons to help Ava Lord (Eva Green), the woman of his dreams and nightmares. In “Nancy’s Last Dance,” Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba), mad with grief and rage over Hartigan’s death, vows revenge.

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I am a big fan of the original Sin City, with its comic booky style and direction. For a while there was talks of a Sin City sequel and it was a little worrying as it took 9 years for it to actually get made, which didn’t look good at all. A Dame to Kill For finally dropped in 2014, to some mixed reception, seemingly disappointing even some of the fans of the original. Despite the mixed reception surrounding the sequel I really liked it. A lot of what made the original to be great is here, from its direction, talented actors and more. It’s not as great as the original, most of it being due to the stories not being quite as great or interesting, but it is still a very solid movie overall.

Like in the first Sin City, the sequel has multiple stories and also like with the original, the stories aren’t necessarily presented in chronological order, if you’ve watched the original Sin City you will be used to it. The stories follow Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Dwight (Josh Brolin) and Nancy (Jessica Chastain), along with a brief storyline for Marv (Mickey Rourke). I overall liked all of the stories but they aren’t as interesting as the original. Out of all the main stories, only Dwight’s story is from a prewritten novel (that being A Dame to Kill For). The Nancy storyline is a continuation from her story from the original, the Johnny storyline is completely new and Marv is here because he’s a fan favourite (although he does make enjoyable appearances in the other stories as well). It’s unfortunate that the weakest storyline is the titular Dame to Kill For storyline, which does receive the most attention. It has its moments and is good enough but I’m not quite sure if I’d call it great enough. Overall though, this movie is quite similar to the original, and I had a great time with it.

Many of the original cast returns, with Mickey Rourke as Marv, Jessica Alba as Nancy, Rosario Dawson as Gail and others. They are all great, with Mickey Rourke’s Marv effortlessly being a standout. A surprising part of the movie is Jessica Alba, she was fine in the first movie as Nancy but here she actually is really good here, as Nancy since the first film has been going through a lot, and it was great seeing the change that she goes through. Powers Boothe was also a stand out here, he was in the original film for like one scene, but here he is a lot more prominent and has such a villous screen presence. Along with returning actors, there are also some talented new actors who are involved. Clive Owen was Dwight in the first Sin City but in this movie Josh Brolin is in his role and he does a very great job. Joseph Gordon Levvitt plays a brand new character named Johnny and he definitely owned his role, perfect casting. Eva Green plays Ava, the ‘Dame to Kill For’. Eva really was the perfect actress for the role. There’s not much complexity in terms of the actual character and is pretty much just a Femme Fatale, but then again the character in the original graphic novel is like that, so I can’t really blame her. All the actors do a good job, even the one scene actors like Ray Liotta and Christopher Lloyd make a solid impression.

A Dame to Kill For, like for the first Sin City has a unique style and it returns here, Robert Rodriguez directs this film well. The action is beautiful, violent, brutal and entertaining. The colour pallet is similar to the first movie’s, mostly black and white with some objects coloured (like red blood and a blue dress). As I said in my review of the first movie, it is the most accurate adaptation of a graphic novel, it’s whether you’re a fan of that style or not. And yes, like the first film it is gratuitously violent, and the action overall is just as entertaining. I will say that there is occasionally some really fake looking CGI (which didn’t really happen much in the original) but that doesn’t happen too often and doesn’t distract too much from the overall movie.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a solid follow up to the original Sin City, if not being quite on the same level. It’s pretty much what you would expect from a Sin City movie with its characters, style and structure. Aside from it feeling maybe a little too much like the original and a couple technical aspects, the main thing holding it back from being as good as the original is that the stories aren’t as strong. If you liked the first Sin City I recommend at least giving the sequel a go. If you didn’t like the first Sin City don’t even bother, nothing here is going to change your mind.