Tag Archives: Kristen Stewart

Crimes of the Future (2022) Review

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Crimes of the Future (2022)

Time: 107 Minutes
Cast:
Viggo Mortensen as Saul Tenser
Léa Seydoux as Caprice
Kristen Stewart as Timlin
Director: David Cronenberg

As the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. Accompanied by his partner, celebrity performance artist Saul Tenser showcases the metamorphosis of his organs. Meanwhile, a mysterious group tries to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.

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I was interested in Crimes of the Future. It looked quite intriguing, had a good cast which included Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, but most of all, it would be David Cronenberg’s first movie in many years. Not only that but it would be a body horror movie, and the last one he made was in the late 90s. I’m glad to say that I quite liked this movie.

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Something worth noting is that David Cronenberg had previously made a movie called Crimes of the Future back in the 70s, although it seems that this new film has nothing to do with that. This newer film tells an intriguing and bizarre story that I was pulled into. It is certainly a weird movie with a strange potential future. Viggo Mortensen is essentially a man who can generate new internal organs and collaborates with Lea Seydoux as performance artists, with Seydoux removing said regenerated organs in front of live audiences. In Crimes of the Future, humans have adapted to live in a synthetic environment, with their bodies undergoing numerous transformations and mutations; most humans don’t even feel pain anymore. In this futuristic society, surgery has become performance art (which Mortensen and Seydoux takes part in). Cronenberg does some great worldbuilding, and it is an interesting setting to watch. It was a very unique vision of the future of human evolution, and I was interested in learning about this new world. Admittedly it can be full on, in the first hour alone it thrusts you into this world with so much jargon, and requiring you to keep up with the information provided so you can grasp what is happening.

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One of the most advertised aspects of Crimes of the Future was the body horror, not unexpected of course (especially with Cronenberg returning to this subgenre). So the trailers and images focussing on the gore and grotesque (including to by not limited to a man with ears all on his body) is somewhat understandable. That being said, its not quite the disturbing and graphic body horror that it was advertised as. It felt more like a dystopian sci-fi futuristic thriller with some body horror aspects and a good amount of neo-noir mystery elements. As for the body horror itself, it works to serve its concept and story and never feels like its there to provoke a reaction in the audience. That being said, if you don’t like body horror at all or can’t deal with gore, then you still won’t be on board with this movie. As you can expect, there is a lot happening thematically. There’s a clear fascination with the human body and how it evolves over time, and poses interesting and thought provoking questions. There are even little moments of humour throughout which accompany the bizarre nature of the movie wonderfully. The pacing is definitely slow, but I thought it worked; I wouldn’t want it to be rushed at all. Crimes of the Future was an hour and 50 minutes long, and honestly I wished that it was a little longer. It felt a little abrupt, to a degree I was hoping for more. I liked the note it ended on, but the story did feel incomplete. It left me wanting a sequel to see what would happen next, and I can’t tell whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.

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There is a good cast involved. Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux are great as the lead characters, while Kristen Stewart is a scene stealer in a very meek yet creepy and twitchy performance as a voyeuristic bureaucrat. She left an impression, but I just wish she was in the movie more. Other actors like Scott Speedman also play their parts wonderfully too.

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David Cronenberg’s direction is on point as ever. The cinematography is outstanding and beautiful. That and the production design helped to convey the vision of the future excellently, and it feels very lived in. The practical effects, especially those involving the body, are fantastic. There are definitely moments of gore, but they are used sparingly and when appropriate. If you’ve seen some of Cronenberg’s other movies, Crimes of the Future doesn’t push boundaries on that front, in fact it feels comparatively tame. Howard Shore composes the score and its one of my favourites of this year as well as one of his best yet, and that’s saying a lot.

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Crimes of the Future is a welcome return to form for David Cronenberg. It’s a bizarre, fascinating, intriguing and thought provoking film, which is directed excellently and has some great performances from the cast. There are parts where I wanted more and it was a little incomplete, but I liked what we got. If you really don’t like body horror, then this won’t be one for you. With that said, don’t go in expecting a gore fest, it’s a lot more than just that. So far, Crimes of the Future is one of my favourite movies of 2022.

Spencer (2021) Review

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Spencer (2021)

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language & self harm references
Cast:
Kristen Stewart as Diana
Timothy Spall as Alistair Gregory
Jack Farthing as Charles
Sean Harris as Darren McGrady
Sally Hawkins as Maggie
Director: Pablo Larraín

The marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the queen’s estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year, things will be profoundly different.

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Spencer was a movie I had been anticipating for a little while. It’s a movie about Princess Diana, starring Kristen Stewart in the lead role, and most of all it has the director of Jackie. So I was intrigued to see how it would turn out, especially with all the acclaim it has been receiving leading up to its release. It didn’t disappoint, I really liked Spencer and think it’s one of the best of the year.

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Much like Jackie, Spencer is not a conventional biopic by any means, and I’m so glad that this is the case. It doesn’t feel tired or cliched like a lot of other biopics, and I was captivated throughout. The movie is set over the Christmas period in 1991, taking place over a few days. As a result, it feels like it wasn’t progressing anywhere necessarily, but I was nonetheless invested in it. I won’t talk about the accuracy to real life because I’m not an expert on Diana, but I can say that it is definitely more a character study than biopic. It does a great job at diving into the personal life of Princess Diana and makes us see her life from her eyes. This character piece focuses on Diana’s sadness, anxiety and struggles as she has to change to fit in with the royals while haunted by her past and future. Much of the movie feels like a horror movie sometimes, and it is effectively unsettling. Spencer does a great job at making the audience just as uneasy as her, especially with the tense and uneasy atmosphere. It definitely leans into being more psychological compared to Jackie, there are even hallucinatory elements, from a direct metaphor between Diana and Anne Boleyn which has the former imagine seeing the latter, to Diana literally imagining herself eating her pearl necklace. It thought it worked for the type of movie that it was going for.

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Whether or not her character in the film is accurate to the real person, Kristen Stewart disappears into the role of Princess Diana and delivers a powerhouse performance. She does incredibly well at portraying a princess forced to live in a family that doesn’t want her and really conveys her pain and anxiety. Stewart definitely places emphasis on the subtlety and leans into the overall feel of Diana rather than pure impersonation, which is definitely for the best (especially when looking at performances of other widely known real people). Nonetheless, she nails the voice, mannerisms and expressions, and gives an eloquent performance. It’s the best acting work I’ve seen from her so far. There are some other really good supporting performances from Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall and Sean Harris, however it’s a film very much focused on Stewart as Diana.

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Pablo Larrain directs Spencer incredibly well, which was to be expected after watching Jackie. There is a lot of incredibly visual storytelling on display in this film. Claire Mathon’s cinematography is gloomy and hazy, and helps convey a feeling of claustrophobia, creating a layers of anxiety, ambiguity and paranoia. It all works to make us feel the pressures of the lead character. The production and costume design are also on point and are perfect for the period. Another thing constantly present throughout the film is Jonny Greenwood’s jazzy and intense score, which perfectly captures the tone of the film.

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Despite being a Princess Diana biopic, Spencer is definitely not for everyone. On top of definitely being a character piece over a conventional straightforward biopic, it is slow moving and definitely not what some might expect going into it. However I loved it, incredibly well crafted, its directed well, and Kristen Stewart gives one of the best performances from the past year. It’s one of the best movies from 2021.

Underwater (2020) Review

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Underwater

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror scenes & offensive language
Cast:
Kristen Stewart as Norah Price
Vincent Cassel as W. Lucien
Mamoudou Athie as Rodrigo Nagenda
T.J. Miller as Paul Abel
John Gallagher Jr. as Liam Smith
Jessica Henwick as Emily Haversham
Director: William Eubank

Disaster strikes more than six miles below the ocean surface when water crashes through the walls of a drilling station. Led by their captain, the survivors realize that their only hope is to walk across the sea floor to reach the main part of the facility. But they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when they come under attack from mysterious and deadly creatures that no one has ever seen.

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I knew about Underwater for some time, it was a horror sci-fi thriller taking place in the ocean and starred Kristen Stewart in the lead role. I didn’t expect much from it really, especially for a January released thriller, but I had a feeling it would be entertaining at least. Thankfully it was quite a fun movie and I liked it for what it was, even with its faults.

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Right after an establishing shot inside and outside the station, and after the first scene of Kristen Stewart establishing her as the protagonist, the crash that sets the plot into motion happens. I do like how quickly it gets into the action, as well as the straightforwardness of the plot. The plot itself is rather predictable and doesn’t really do anything new, with plenty of tropes from other horror movies. In fact much of the story and setting for sure takes cues from Alien, just taking place underwater instead of outer space; Underwater is basically Alien in the ocean. With that said, I didn’t expect it to be something unique or subversive, so it wasn’t that huge of a negative for me. There are some parts of the plot I’m uncertain about, but I just went along with it. It is quite fast paced, and for the most part I think they fitted the movie well. There are brief attempts at humour especially with the dialogue, and I found that those moments only felt out of place and didn’t help to do anything but distract from the rest of the movie. Something I really didn’t like was all the exposition through voice over from Kristen Stewart in the first and last scenes of the movie, it just feels very unnecessary and lazy. It’s a minor issue since it’s only present in those scenes, but they stick out as being very unwelcome.

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The cast do a good job in their parts. Kristen Stewart is really good in the lead role, her performance actually does carry the movie well. The rest of the cast including Vincent Cassel and Jessica Henwick play their parts well. The characters are likable enough, if rather underdeveloped despite the attempts at development. Out of them, T.J. Miller feels the most out of place, he does have some dramatic parts, but out of the cast he delivers the most comedy, and as previously said the comedy doesn’t work.

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Underwater is directed pretty well by William Eubank. Again, you can clearly tell that the movie is inspired by Alien with regards to the direction, but its nonetheless good. I really like the look of the movie. It is well shot, the interiors look great, especially with the colour and lighting. Additionally, the setting at the facility was quite effective for this type of movie and its plot. The horror and scares were also handled quite well, with a tense atmosphere throughout, and it did a good job at making you really feeling confined. The quick cut editing sometimes worked well, at other times it made things a bit hard to follow. It does feel creepy throughout, especially the underwater scenes. I really liked how they portrayed the underwater from the visuals to the sounds. It’s a little while before we get to see the Lovecraftian-like creatures, but they are creepy and effective as horror monsters. As for issues with the direction, the outside CGI heavy shots really look fake and rough to say the least. A nit-pick but nonetheless something that stood out was the unnecessary text that appears on screen to show the location names.

Kristen Stewart stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Underwater”.

Underwater was quite good and entertaining for what it was, with some solid direction, and a good cast that performs well, especially a solid Kristen Stewart. The script has some faults for sure and it’s nothing special, but I reckon that if you like the look of the movie, it’s worth a watch for sure. It’s a fun 90 minute long horror thriller flick.

Panic Room (2002) Review

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Panic Room

Time: 112 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Jodie Foster as Meg Altman
Kristen Stewart as Sarah Altman
Forest Whitaker as Burnham
Dwight Yoakam as Raoul
Jared Leto as Junior
Patrick Bauchau as Stephen Altman
Director: David Fincher

Trapped in their New York brownstone’s panic room, a hidden chamber built as a sanctuary in the event of break-ins, newly divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her young daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with three intruders – Burnham (Forest Whitaker), Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) and Junior (Jared Leto) – during a brutal home invasion. But the room itself is the focal point because what the intruders really want is inside it.

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Panic Room is generally regarded as one of David Fincher’s weakest movies, but that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded entirely. A tense and well made thriller, it’s likely his most accessible movie, and it’s well worth the watch for sure.

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Panic Room as its core is a pretty standard home invasion thriller, with the usual tropes and clichés that you’d expect from it. There’s not much to the story beyond the premise, there’s not really any depth to the characters or plot, and I wouldn’t exactly say its unpredictable or does anything special. Also, some of the characters also make some dumb decisions, although at times they do address some of this, and are a little ahead of the audience when it comes to that. What makes the movie work is that the material is elevated by the acting and the directing. With that said, despite the familiarity and the clichés, the written material with the script from David Koepp is surprisingly stronger than expected. Once the robbers get into the house, it’s tense and has you engaged all the way through to the end. I do have a bit of a complaint with the ending, as in the last scene. I generally liked where the story went, but the final moments of Panic Room feel tact on and don’t really work with the rest of the movie, the probably should’ve cut that last scene or replaced it or something else.

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The talented cast involved are pretty great in their roles. Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart do a great job at playing the mother and daughter duo, they are definitely vulnerable yet smart at the same time, and find ways to stay alive through the whole movie. The three thieves played by Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam and Jared Leto all work really well, with each character being quite different from each other. They do fit some familiar villain archetypes that we’ve seen before, but their performances manage to overcome that, making them quite effective antagonists. Whitaker particularly is great, giving this collection of thieves a little more depth.

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David Fincher’s direction is great as usual, and it was perfect for this thriller, it really encloses you in this house that the movie primarily takes place in for the whole movie. The cinematography is great, typically Fincher-esque, with the dark shadows and the like, all of it worked for this movie. One of the highlight moments of the movie is when it pans around the whole house in seemingly one shot. However it’s not just restricted to that one scenes, there are a number of the camera pans and transitions that really showcase the house and rooms effectively that work seamlessly. Additionally, the score by Howard Shore is quite fitting and raises the tension and keeps it going when it needs to.

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Panic Room is one of David Fincher’s weakest movies, but it is still quite good for what it is. While it’s pretty familiar, the script (despite some faults) is reasonably strong and entertaining throughout, if simple. Additionally, it is elevated by the acting from the great cast, and especially by David Fincher’s fantastic direction, making this an effectively tense thriller. Definitely worth seeing.

Personal Shopper (2017) Review

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence, offensive language and content that may disturb
Cast
Kristen Stewart as Maureen Cartwright
Lars Eidinger as Ingo
Nora von Waldstätten as Kyra
Anders Danielsen Lie as Erwin
Sigrid Bouaziz as Lara
Ty Olwin as Gary
Audrey Bonnet as Cassandre
Pascal Rambert as Jerome
Director: Olivier Assayas

A young American (Kristen Stewart) in Paris works as a personal shopper for a celebrity. She seems to have the ability to communicate with spirits, like her recently deceased twin brother. Soon, she starts to receive ambiguous messages from an unknown source.

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Personal Shopper was a film that I have been hearing things about for a while, most notably that this really divided audiences and that Kristen Stewart gave a fantastic performance. Aside from that, I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew of the general plot but I didn’t watch any of the trailers. Having seen finally it, I can say that Personal Shopper is a very unique story but its overall a solid movie with an intriguing story and a fantastic lead performance by Kristen Stewart stealing the show.

Personal Shopper is the type of movie that you sort of need to make sure you don’t have any false expectations going in. Despite it involving a ghost, it’s not just a ghost movie (it’s not a horror movie at all), and also despite the title “Personal Shopper”, it’s not just all about Stewart’s job. This movie is very unconventional in its story and the way it tells its story. It is full of different plotlines, one is Kristen’s job as a personal shopper, another is the ghost story and another involving Kristen receiving text messages by some mysterious source. Not all the aspects of the plot gel that well together, and the personal shopper plotline wasn’t always interesting. With that said, I was invested in the story, it is quite different from anything I’ve seen to be honest. It did take me a while to understand the end of the movie, but when I finally did it made my opinion on the overall movie much more positive. I won’t say too much about the plot, it’s really something that you need to experience for yourself without knowing too much. This film moves at quite a slow and steady pace, most of it works but at times it’s a little too slow, even for its 1 hour and 45 minute runtime. Honestly, I don’t know if you’ll like the movie, you just sort of need to try for yourself and see if you enjoy it.

The best part of the whole film is Kristen Stewart, she is absolutely fantastic, in fact this is the best performance I’ve seen from her yet. Her character has to go through a lot in this movie and its very easy to buy her in her role. Personal Shopper is a character driven drama and everything is riding on her performance. Fortunately, Stewart is amazing, she definitely deserves a lot of praise for this. Everyone else is pretty good in their roles but Stewart is really the highlight of the cast and the movie.

The overall direction by Olivier Assayas was pretty good and worked for the movie. In the suspension scenes (even though there aren’t many), they were surprisingly effective, they were quite tense. Personal Shopper also does incredibly well at giving off an uneasy creeping feeling, you can tell that something is wrong, and this feeling is constant throughout the entire film. The direction was solid overall.

Personal Shopper is definitely a unique and different movie that not everyone is going to like. It is a bit unconventional with its story and the storytelling methods but it personally really worked for me, and I was mostly invested in the film from start to finish. I’m not sure if I’d call it a great movie but I do think that at the very least, it’s worth watching for Kristen Stewart’s fantastic performance, truly one of the best performances of the year.

American Ultra (2015) Review

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American Ultra

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language & drug use.
Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg as Mike Howell
Kristen Stewart as Phoebe Larson
Topher Grace as Adrian Yates
Connie Britton as Victoria Lasseter
Walton Goggins as Laugher
John Leguizamo as Rose
Bill Pullman as Raymond Krueger
Tony Hale as Peter “Petey” Douglas
Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Small-town stoner Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) spends most of his time getting high and writing a graphic novel. What Mike doesn’t know is that he was trained by the CIA to be a lethal killing machine. When the agency targets him for termination, his former handler activates his latent skills, turning the mild-mannered slacker into a deadly weapon. Now, the utterly surprised Mike must use his newfound abilities to save himself and his girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) from getting smoked.

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American Ultra was a movie I was interested in ever since checking out the trailer, and I thought it would be interesting to see Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in this sort of action movie. After seeing it I can say that this movie was a lot of fun and I think it should’ve gotten more love and attention than it received. The actors was great, the writing was good, the action is fast paced and it was quite a fun and entertaining movie. It’s not anything special but it’s worth checking out if you find it interesting.

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Just a heads up, even though this movie is marketed as a stoner comedy action movie, American Ultra really isn’t that. The two main characters are stoners and that’s about it, so don’t expect Pineapple Express. The writing for this movie by Max Landis is what really makes this movie great. Even though the movie is silly and has some over the top moments, it’s serious and takes its characters seriously enough and gave them enough development that it makes us care about what is going on and the characters, it’s not a complete cartoon. But at the same time the movie is fun and its enjoyable seeing Eisenberg and Stewart in all of these situations. This movie isn’t one of the best action movies ever made but this movie knows what it is, and for what American Ultra was going for, it achieved it.

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Jesse Eisenberg was really good in this movie, I know that a lot of people have pointed out that usually he acts the same in every movie he’s in but his acting surprisingly really worked for this film and his character. Kristen Stewart was also great, and proved with this film as well as Still Alice that she actually is a good actress. I think she’s repairing her career and starting to get good roles in movies after Twilight really damaged her career. Both of them had great chemistry with each other and also are believable in the action scenes. I felt that Topher Grace did his part as the villain but I felt that he was a little over the top, probably a little miscast. Other supporting actors like John Leguizamo and Walton Goggins also did well in their roles.

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I really liked how the action scenes were filmed and choreographed. They were fast, thrilling, bloody and all around entertaining. Of course they are all over the top and very silly at times, but it still doesn’t go full Shoot Em’ Up or Commando levels of ridiculousness and as I said earlier, American Ultra doesn’t go so left field that it becomes a cartoon and you do actually care about what is going on.

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American Ultra isn’t a film that’s essential to see, it can be very over the top and silly but if you are into action films and are looking for a fun time, it’s a pretty entertaining watch. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart were really good and worked well with each other, the writing was good, the action was fun and the movie is all around really entertaining. It’s not a great movie and it won’t go down as one of the best action movies of all time but it’s a fun movie, and I do think it’s worth a watch.