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The Truman Show (1998) Review

Truman-Show

The Truman Show

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Low level offensive language
Cast:
Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank
Laura Linney as Hannah Gill
Ed Harris as Christof
Natascha McElhone as Sylvia
Holland Taylor as Alanis Montclair
Director: Peter Weir

An insurance salesman (Jim Carrey) is oblivious of the fact that his entire life is a TV show and his family members are mere actors. As he starts noticing things and uncovers the truth, he decides to escape.

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The Truman Show is known as a classic and for very good reason. I remembered watching it a while ago just hearing about its concept and knowing that Jim Carrey was in the lead role, and I liked it. More recently on a rewatch though, I loved it even more. It’s a smart, funny and entertaining satire, and strong on the writing, directing and acting fronts.

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The Truman Show already has a great concept of a man who doesn’t know that his entire life is actually a TV show and everyone in his life are actors. The idea is executed brilliantly too, managing to be both entertaining and deep, with a perfect blend and balance of both comedy and drama. It is paces itself excellently over its hour and 40 minute runtime, and unravels and de-constructs Truman’s world in a meticulous and gradual way, even though you know pretty early on what’s really happening. The screenplay is original, enjoyable and is surprisingly thought provoking, offering some clever insights on the human experience and raising questions. It’s a deep and thought provoking film that is still light hearted at times. It’s a perfect mix of so many themes, obviously the likes of reality television, media and the public’s obsession with celebrities are here, but even topics including meaning of life, the reality of choice and existentialism can be seen here. In many ways, The Truman Show was ahead of its time, the topics it touches upon still resonate strongly in today’s society and it seems more relevant than ever. As someone who had a second viewing on this movie, I can confirm that it is even better on repeat viewings as I got more from the deeper meanings and themes beyond its plot.

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The acting from everyone is great but the highlights are really two performances. Jim Carrey plays lead character Truman, and this movie cements how good of an actor he is. Stepping aside from his typecast roles, Carrey surprises with a dense, dramatic and well-balanced performance that is truly heartwarming, he’s quirky and optimistic but still very much human, especially with his reactions to certain revelations in the movie. Ed Harris plays Christof, the show’s creator, and he does well in a nuanced performance. Christof cares about Truman in a way, but at the same time wants to keep the show going, and Harris is great at portraying both sides of him.

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Peter Weir directs this movie, and overall he does a great job with it. The production design is nothing short of amazing as the entire city in Truman’s world gives off a feeling of being artificial like a television set, while still having a certain realism to it. It’s also well shot, with the cinematography also makes great use of camera angles by capturing the events from different point of views. The editing keeps the drama flowing smoothly, and music also makes its presence felt from time to time.

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Whether you place it in the category of comedy, sci-fi, drama or all of them at once, The Truman Show is a great film. It’s an entertaining and funny, yet heartfelt take on the absurdity of reality television and human nature, and is equally effective as a meditation on the various themes it deals with. If you haven’t already, definitely check out The Truman Show as soon as you can, it’s definitely worth it.

Sully (2016) Review

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sully

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language.
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger
Aaron Eckhart as Jeffrey “Jeff” Skiles
Laura Linney as Lorraine Sullenberger
Anna Gunn as Dr. Elizabeth Davis
Director: Clint Eastwood

On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.

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Clint Eastwood can be hit or miss with his films. Sometimes he can create some truly excellent movies (Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby), other times he makes movies which can be a little underwhelming (J. Edgar). However, I can say this time with Sully, Eastwood really does deliver a hit. The acting from the cast (especially from Tom Hanks) was truly great, the overall direction of the film was solid and I was interested in seeing how this movie would conclude. It’s a pretty good movie overall, and definitely worth checking out sometime.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Tom Hanks in a scene from "Sully." (Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

This movie was quite effective in the way it decides to present events. It doesn’t just show the events in chronological order, we see bits of the event of the plane throughout the film as the story in present day progresses, which really helped as we don’t know the full picture of what happened at the beginning of the film. There’s a question as to whether Sully could’ve found an alternative way of landing the plane safely, and that answer isn’t revealed until the end of the film. One thing I’ve noticed a lot of people complain about is that the film is slow. I will say that it definitely has a slow pace, and you have to know that going in. I definitely knew that and I had a good time with this movie. Thankfully this movie is short at around 90 minutes, and it’s the perfect length for the film. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

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Tom Hanks is great in this movie, which really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, he’s Tom Hanks. He’s very likable and believable in his role as this pilot who after saving hundreds of lives, is suddenly put under investigation. He’s very subtle in his role, it’s not the type of performance where he says “look at me, I’m a great actor”, he’s very subdued and was on point. Aaron Eckhart was also great in a supporting role; he was believable as Sully’s co-pilot. Eckhart really needs to be in more movies. There are other supporting actors in the movie who are also good as well but this really is Tom Hanks’s film.

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Most of the film doesn’t have a lot of ‘action’. The scenes where it presents the plane crash in the film are done very well and effectively, it really puts you in the middle of the situation and it feels very real and tense. The rest of the scenes are shot fine, no real complaint in the overall direction of the film, there’s just not a lot to talk about in terms of the direction. The film’s highlight is mostly the story.

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Personally, I think Sully is worth a watch. The pacing of the film was steady but just right, the acting is great (particularly from Tom Hanks), the writing really was effective on taking you on a journey with Sully and it had a unique way of telling it’s story. It’s not one of Clint Eastwood’s all-time greatest films (it’s not in the calibre of Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby) and it’s not a film that you absolutely must see immediately, but it is a really good movie, and I do think that it’s definitely worth checking out at some point.

Nocturnal Animals (2016) Review

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nocturnal-animals

Time: 116 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, sexual violence, offensive language & nudity
Cast:
Amy Adams as Susan Morrow
Jake Gyllenhaal as Edward Sheffield/Tony Hastings
Michael Shannon as Detective Bobby Andes
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ray Marcus
Isla Fisher as Laura Hastings
Armie Hammer as Hutton Morrow
Laura Linney as Anne Sutton
Andrea Riseborough as Alessia Holt
Michael Sheen as Carlos Holt
Director: Tom Ford

The life of a successful Los Angeles art-gallery owner’s idyllic, named Susan (Amy Adams), is marred by the constant traveling of her handsome second husband (Armie Hammer). While he is away, she is shaken by the arrival of a manuscript written by her first husband (Jake Gyllenhaal), who she has not seen in years. The manuscript tells the story of a teacher who finds a trip with his family turning into a nightmare. As Susan reads the book, it forces her to examine her past and confront some dark truths.

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Nocturnal Animals was a movie that I was curious about, mostly because of its great cast. I didn’t know a lot about the movie aside from that, but the cast and the premise was enough to intrigue me. I have to say, Nocturnal Animals is not only a great movie, it’s also one of the best movies of the year. The acting, the direction and the story was done excellently. Even if you don’t like the movie, there’s no denying how unique Nocturnal Animals is.

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This movie has a very unique structure. This movie cuts between storylines, with the present day storyline, the novel storyline and the flashbacks with Amy Adams’s character. It seems like it had the potential to become a mess but not once do any of the scenes feel out of place. There is something intriguing about this movie that had me invested from start to finish, it’s been many days since I’ve watched this movie, I’m still processing what I watched. I will say, without spoiling anything, the ending is one that might annoy some people, I myself was confused when I saw it. It is one of those endings that you need to think about for a while to understand the intent of it. I honestly want to watch this movie again, it’s one of those movies that gets better and better the more you watch it.

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The acting by everyone is absolutely superb. Amy Adams gives such a great performance, both this and Arrival shows that she really is an excellent actress. I’ll just say that her performance here is truly one of her best, and that’s saying a lot. Jake Gyllenhaal unsurprisingly is excellent, showing that he is one of the best actors working today. There are two showstealing supporting performances in thismovie. One of them is from Michael Shannon, who not only has an entertaining character to work with, but also gives one of his best performances in a while. He was so enjoyable to watch but at the same time was very compelling. The other showstealing supporting performance is surprisingly from Aaron Taylor Johnson is also great as one of the villainous characters in the novel. Aaron Taylor Johnson is for me a decent actor, but this is hands down his best performance yet, Taylor-Johnson fully embodies the character. The cast all do a fantastic job, and all deserve high praise for their work here.

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The style and overall direction by director Tom Ford is done excellently. This film is shot absolutely beautifully, it’s one of the best shot films of the year. Every scene was directed perfectly. A great example was the first scene in the novel storyline, without spoiling anything, I’ll say that it was truly unsettling and intense, and Ford’s direction executed this scene excellently. If I had to mention one problem I had with the film, it’s with the opening credit sequence, which I’ll just say, was really out of place. If you watch the movie, don’t be deterred by this though, the rest of the movie is great. The soundtrack by Abel Korzeniowski was also truly great, and added a lot to the movie.

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Nocturnal Animals surprised me, I was expecting great acting at the very least (which I did get) I didn’t expect this movie to be this investing and to be directed so greatly. While I do think you need to know what sort of film you’re getting into before watching it, I do recommend going into this movie without knowing a whole lot about it. That’s how I watched it and I really got a lot out of it, and the surprises were more impactful. I personally loved Nocturnal Animals, it is a very ambitious film that manages to succeed on mostly every angle. It’s one of the best of the year.