Tag Archives: Leila George

The Kid (2019) Review

Time: 100 Minutes
Cast:
Ethan Hawke as Pat Garrett
Dane DeHaan as Billy the Kid
Jake Schur as Rio Cutler
Leila George as Sara Cutler
Chris Pratt as Grant Cutler
Adam Baldwin as Bob Olinger
Vincent D’Onofrio as Sheriff Romero
Director: Vincent D’Onofrio

In 1879 Rio (Jake Schur) and his teenage sister (Leila George) go on the run across the American Southwest to escape from their violent uncle. Along the way, Rio encounters the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan) and the legendary lawman Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke). He soon finds himself caught in the crossfire as Billy and Garrett square off in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

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I heard about The Kid for a little while, it was an upcoming western directed by Vincent D’Onofrio and stars Dane DeHaan, Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt. It looked alright but I didn’t have a great desire to see it as soon as possible, I didn’t know when I’d actually see it. Then I found it on a plane so that’s how I watched it. The Kid isn’t great and it’s not nearly as exciting as the trailers made it look, but it’s directed pretty well and most of the performances are solid, bringing the movie up to a level just above average.

I heard that much of the movie is inaccurate to real life, but I’m not familiar with the real life Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, so I’m just going to disregard all real life events for the time being and treat the movie as a fictional story. I should mention that what is shown in the trailer isn’t necessarily what the movie is focussing on (for example, Chris Pratt’s character isn’t a huge part of the movie), so it’s probably best not to watch it if you haven’t already. It’s a slow burn of a movie, which isn’t necessarily bad but it can feel like a drag at points, with some occasionally some bursts of reasonably entertaining moments. At a point I just stopped caring about the story and just watched it play out. As far as Westerns go it’s fine, but it doesn’t do enough to really separate itself from similar movies. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long but it feels like at least 2 hours long.

This is probably Dane DeHaan’s best performance in a little while, here he plays Billy the Kid and it was great casting. Ethan Hawke is great as usual, here playing real life lawman Pat Garrett. If there’s a reason to see the movie, it’s for both of these actors giving solid performances. Chris Pratt this time plays a villain as the main characters’ uncle, he’s actually really convincing and I’d like to see him in more of these kind of darker roles. However he probably has less than 10 minutes of screentime, so don’t expect much of him. Jake Schur and Leila George are some characters who get caught between Billy the Kid and Ethan Hawke. I think it’s worth pointing out that Jake’s father Jordan is a producer on the movie, which is probably the only reason he was cast in this role. Jake’s character is really the protagonist of the movie, even when DeHaan and Hawke get the spotlight, Schur is in almost every scene, and unfortunately him and his story just wasn’t really interesting to me. On paper I saw what they were going for, but it was just difficult to care about that story. Actingwise, Schur has some okay moments but on the whole just didn’t quite work, especially when placed alongside Hawke and DeHaan. George fares a little better but you see less of her halfway through the movie.

The Kid is the first film I’ve seen from Vincent D’Onofrio, and he clearly knows his way behind a camera. Locations and production designs are appropriate for a western, and the violence and action scenes, while not very present, were handled well. Occasionally there are some parts of the directing that weren’t so great, the thing that stood out to me most is that Chris Pratt has an incredibly fake looking beard even though it is minor, just very distracting.

The Kid is a relatively okay Western but it’s by no means a must see. It moves at a snail’s pace, fails to keep your attention, and occasionally becomes dull. What makes it work is D’Onofrio’s direction of the whole thing, as well as the solid performances from DeHaan, Hawke and Pratt. If you were hyped from the trailer, you might be underwhelmed by the end result of the movie itself, but you still might be able to get something out of it.

Mortal Engines (2018) Review

Time: 128 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Science fiction themes & violence
Cast:
Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw
Robert Sheehan as Tom Natsworthy
Hugo Weaving as Thaddeus Valentine
Jihae as Anna Fang
Leila George as Katherine Valentine
Ronan Raftery as Bevis Pod
Patrick Malahide as Magnus Crome
Stephen Lang as Shrike
Director: Christian Rivers

Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), emerges as the only one who can stop London — now a giant, predator city on wheels — from devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.

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Mortal Engines was a movie I was hearing about for a little while. I knew that it was based on books, had Hugo Weaving as part of the cast and Peter Jackson would be producing it. I was somewhat interested in the movie but outside of the visuals, didn’t know what to expect from the movie. Overall I had a good time with Mortal Engines, despite a script that could’ve been better, there are aspects that are quite solid and the visuals more than make up for its faults.

Mortal Engines is based off the first of the book series of the same name, I don’t know yet whether they’ll adapt the rest of the books. The script is a bit of a mixed bag, it’s generally okay but it’s got some problems. I didn’t have a problem with the worldbuilding necessarily, even when there are some bits that I didn’t quite get, I went along with it. I was generally on board with the world of the movie. With that said, there is a bunch of exposition dump, particularly in the first act, whether that be what happened, or the backstories of the characters. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the story but I was invested enough to pay attention to the whole story, despite my problems with the script I never was bored with what was going on. One unfortunate thing about the movie is that it doesn’t really have much personality to it, it feels somewhat on autopilot and you can mostly see where the plot is going. The ‘unpredictable’ parts to the story don’t really surprise that much because you’re not that invested with the characters. It makes attempts at having emotion and making you care about what is going on, but almost all of the attempts fall flat, whether that be tragic backstories revealed or characters being killed off, I just wasn’t feeling anything. There was literally only one character that came closest and he’s a supporting character.

One of the more disappointing parts to the movie is that the characters just are rather weak. Unfortunately it’s the main two leads that are the weakest. The actors who plays the main characters of Hester Shaw and Tom Natsworthy (Hera Hilmar and Robert Sheehan) aren’t bad at acting and aren’t necessarily badly cast, it’s more the writing of the characters that’s the problem. In the first act, they are a little annoying how simple and flatly written they are, Hester is just broody and Tom is fast talking and rather annoying. When it cuts to them my interest just wavered because I really wasn’t interested in it and watching them interact really didn’t do much for me. After the first act they do lose their blatant traits, become rather generic protagonists and actually became much more watchable. Throughout though I just didn’t care about these characters. It’s like they were given a few broad characteristics and some history and literally nothing else. Despite Hester’s big thing being about avenging her mother by going after Hugo Weaving’s character, you don’t really care about it that much, most of all there’s really nothing to her character outside of that. Also the supposed romance in the film between the two characters, I really didn’t buy it at all. They are like polar opposites to each other and conflict with each other, then one of them gives their backstory, then other does the same, and then they get to like each other over time because… reasons. I haven’t read the book but I assume that they were done much better in the books. I wouldn’t normally make a big deal out of this but it really does hurt the movie when it’s the lead characters that fail. The supporting characters actually do fare better, most of them aren’t great but some of them are pretty good, such as those played by Jihae, Leila George and others. Hugo Weaving plays the villain and the character isn’t really anything that special, but Weaving does add quite a lot and at the very least ham up the role so that he’s at least entertaining. The standout of the movie however is Stephen Lang as a motion captured character named Shrike, who is basically a terminator-like robot who is hunting Hester. He’s menacing and imposing and ironically, he’s the closest thing to an emotional investment that I had to any of the characters in this movie. He actually adds quite a bit of humanity to the movie that none of the characters were able to do.

The film is directed by Christian Rivers, who worked with Peter Jackson on a lot of his movies and as you can probably tell the visuals are really great, and basically the reason to see the movie. There are times where you can clearly tell that some effects were green screen but it’s not too distracting and didn’t happen too much. The designs for everything, the sets, the characters and costumes were also really great. Everything is on such a large scale and you really feel it. The machines are so unique looking, and rough looking and designed well and great to watch. It doesn’t really slip into something that The Hobbit movies occasionally did (especially The Battle of the Five Armies) where so much of what was going on looked fake. The effects on Shrike were particularly impressive, they made him look like he was actually there, almost like they actually created a robot. The action is also mostly well filmed and rather entertaining, whether that be fight scenes or machine battles.

Mortal Engines was pretty much what I was guessing the movie was going to end up being, visually stunning and with an okay but flawed and generic script. With all that being said, it is worth seeing in the cinemas for the visuals at least. If they end up adapting the next Mortal Engines books, I hope the script and characters are done better.