Tag Archives: Luca Guadagnino

Bones and All (2022) Review

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Bones and All

Time: 131 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Bloody violence & content that may disturb
Cast:
Taylor Russell as Maren Yearly
Timothée Chalamet as Lee
Michael Stuhlbarg as Jake
André Holland as Frank Yearly
Chloë Sevigny as Janelle Kerns
David Gordon Green as Brad
Jessica Harper as Barbara Kerns
Jake Horowitz as Lance
Mark Rylance as Sully
Director: Luca Guadagnino

Love blossoms between a young woman on the margins of society and a disenfranchised drifter as they embark on a 3,000-mile odyssey through the backroads of America. However, despite their best efforts, all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts and a final stand that will determine whether their love can survive their differences.

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I’ve seen a few of Luca Guadagnino’s movies and I generally like them, mainly Suspiria and A Bigger Splash. I heard that his next movie would be a cannibal love story and star Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, and Mark Rylance. I had a good feeling going in, skipping the trailers and just hearing vague things about it. Having seen it, I think Bones and All is one of my favourite movies of 2022.

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Bones and All is a multigenre movie; it’s a romance, horror, roadtrip and coming of age story. At its core though, it is a love story, a unique one at that. There is a balance between all the elements, it’s deranged and disturbing as you’d expect with the film being about cannibals, yet its sincere and genuine. There is so much beauty in the movie considering its topic, and it manages to be tender and affecting. You get emotionally invested in these troubled characters (really the lead characters). I like the atmosphere and tone and very relaxed approach to the story. It is aimless, but that comes with it being a road trip movie. It is paced well over its 2 hours and 10 minutes runtime, and I never felt bored. If anything, there were characters and elements I wished we got to spend more time with.

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The performances are really great. Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet are outstanding in the lead roles. Russell is the standout, she’s in almost every scene and the film is really her story as she is learning about herself. The two share such believable chemistry and deliver an endearing portrayal of young people in love (who happen to be cannibals). They convey their feelings about their lives, and they complement each other wonderfully. The relationship is complex and sweet, it really is the heart and soul of the movie. Mark Rylance is a scene stealer as a cannibal who has limited screentime, but has a notable role and is a memorable presence. He’s eerie yet fascinating to watch. In some ways I wish he was in the movie more but maybe he wouldn’t have been as effective. Still, I wished that he was a constant looming presence throughout. There’s a pretty gap between the first and second times that we see him. There are other actors like David Gordon Green, Michael Stuhlbarg and Chloe Sevigny who play their parts well and leave an impression despite their brief appearances.

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The direction from Luca Guadagnino as expected is amazing. He really does well at capturing the 1980s Middle America time period and setting. The cinematography is gorgeous and makes great use of the different locations, especially with the landscapes. The editing is top notch, and the sound design is perfect. There isn’t a massive amount of gore and violence, but when it is there, it is well done. There is probably less of it than you’re expecting given the premise and is somewhat restrained, but it is nonetheless tense and uncomfortable when its present. Finally, the chilling and somber score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is outstanding and added so much.

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Bones and All is a fantastic, riveting, brutal, unique, and beautifully made romantic horror film, with amazing performances, especially from Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet. Obviously if you’re not into horror at all and feel squeamish about watching a movie focussing on cannibals, it won’t be for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend it, it is one of my favourite movies of 2022.

Suspiria (2018) Review

Time: 152 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, horror & nudity
Cast:
Dakota Johnson as Susie Bannion
Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc/Mother Helena Markos/Dr. Josef Klemperer
Mia Goth as Sara Simms
Angela Winkler as Miss Tanner
Ingrid Caven as Miss Vendegast
Elena Fokina as Olga Ivanova
Sylvie Testud as Miss Griffith
Renée Soutendijk as Miss Huller
Christine LeBoutte as Miss Balfour
Fabrizia Sacchi as Pavla
Małgosia Bela as Mrs. Bannion/Death
Jessica Harper as Anke Meier
Chloë Grace Moretz as Patricia Hingle
Director: Luca Guadagnino

Young American dancer Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces (Chloe Grace-Mortez) breaks down and accuses the company’s female directors of witchcraft. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist (Lutz Ebersdorf) and a member of the troupe (Mia Goth) uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio’s hidden underground chambers.

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I was not really sure what to feel about the remake of Suspiria in the lead up to its release. I liked the cast involved and while I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Call Me By Your Name (I liked it though), the direction by Luca Guadagnino was fantastic and he would no doubt bring something great to this movie. However I just wasn’t especially looking forward to it. I watched the original (and reviewed it) and I liked it, a classic horror flick with stunning visuals, still I wasn’t really hyped for the remake. It was only when I was hearing the polarising reactions that got me excited for it, and from then on until I saw it at an early screening on Halloween my hype for it had been building and building. I had a great feeling about the latest Suspiria, and somehow the movie surpassed my expectations completely. Suspiria goes far beyond being a remake of the original, a beautiful and horrific nightmare of a movie that’s in a league of its own.

I think I should address some of the differences from the original movie, just briefly. As a remake, the only thing that’s similar to the original movie is the characters names, the setting and the initial setup. There may be similar plot points but overall it goes in a completely different direction from the original. The original film is a straightforward horror slasher/mystery movie, with strange things happening around a dance academy and the protagonist tries to figure out what’s going on. In the new movie, you learn pretty early on the main thing about what is going on behind the scenes and it’s not much like a familiar horror movie (though definitely has a lot of horror elements). Another interesting aspect is that it really goes out of its way to reference the time and location, with radio reports in the background about a hostage situation, little things like are interesting to see introduced here. 2018’s Suspiria is really all about something different to the original, so you don’t necessarily have to watch the 70s movie to get the full experience, but for those who have, its interesting seeing to see how differently it does things. Overall though, it’s more of a reinvention than just a remake.

Suspiria is broken up into 6 acts (I know this because title cards literally announce it for the audience) and it is about 2 hours and 30 minutes long, and the length and pacing will turn a lot of people off. It’s not quite like a normal horror movie, there aren’t many scares, and it takes it’s time. So it’s more than just a really disturbing horror movie. Personally I liked the pacing but I will say the early part of the movie does move at a slower pace, a little too slow for my liking but that didn’t bother me too much. You really need to give the movie your complete focus and attention, otherwise you could miss some details that could make following certain plotlines very difficult. There are multiple story plots going on and you have to really keep up with everything, it’s really a movie that requires more than one viewing because there is so much to process. Also I feel like a big part of whether you’re going to love this movie is whether you are completely invested in it. As I said the movie was slower to begin with but by the time it got to a certain painful dance scene, I was completely drawn into the movie’s world and atmosphere. From then on as the mystery continued and we get to see and learn more about what is happening, all the way to the 6th act which goes absolutely nuts. By the end I just felt exhausted and overwhelmed, it’s a lot to take in but I think it was all around a really rewardable experience. I tried my best to keep the plot details vague, it’s best going in not knowing too much about where this movie is going, I know this from personal experience.

The cast in here is all fantastic. Dakota Johnson as the lead character Susie is good but isn’t immediately impressive, it’s not like you instantly find her great or find her standing out from the rest. However, over time as the movie progresses you really get why Dakota Johnson is cast (just wait to see for yourself) and overall she was great. I feel like her performance will actually be better upon rewatches. Susie in the original movie (played by Jessica Harper) was much more of an innocent newcomer to the dance school sort of noticing weird and dangerous things and sort of investigating it. Dakota Johnson’s version is… different. Tilda Swinton is always fantastic in the movies that she’s in and her performance(s) here are no exception. Since it’s pretty known already now I won’t refrain from mentioning it (don’t worry it’s not a spoiler and doesn’t tie into the plot at all), she does play 3 roles, not just the role of Madame Blanc as advertised. She’s great as Blanc, the academy director. Her other role is as a psychotherapist named Josef Klemperer (Tilda originally playing the role under the name of Lutz Ebersdorf), a character not in the original movie and she’s very convincing. This character notices things aren’t quite right at the academy and a plotline is focussed on him looking into what’s happening. She also plays a third role that is probably best seeing for yourself. Also great is Mia Goth, I liked her in A Cure for Wellness and I loved her here as well. Here she’s one of the dancers and outside of Josef is really the one investigating what’s happening in the dance academy. She also gives the most human performance of all of the cast, I can’t wait to see more of her work. Chloe Grace Moretz is also good, although isn’t in the movie a ton. The rest of the cast are also really good.

From watching Call Me By Your Name, I knew that Luca Guadagnino would craft this movie well (even though they are completely different movies) and he absolutely did. One of the biggest changes from the original movie (and that’s saying a lot) is that the striking technicolour lighting and bright colour pallet is gone. Once again, Guadagnino goes for his own kind of movie, it is less colourful, less fantasy like and really giving off a feeling that’s much more cold and dark, and that was perfect for the film that Luca is going for (besides, no one could recreate the original’s visual style). The cinematography is really fantastic, the movements and everything were done so incredibly well, especially during the dance sequences. Despite it being set at a dance school, the original movie didn’t place too much emphasis on the dancing aspect but it does play a big part in the newer movie. So much of the dancing is animalistic and nightmarish, and were among some of the highlights of the movie. No, the movie wasn’t very scary, but I don’t think it was trying to be, not in a conventional horror sense at least. It is however very quite disturbing, if you are easily squeamish, this won’t do it for you. There are some very grotesque and gory sequences throughout the movie and particulary at the end. There’s particularly an infamous and much talked about scene in the 2nd or 3rd act (you know the one), by that point if you can’t handle that scene, the rest of the movie isn’t going to do it for you. I will admit that I don’t get uncomfortable in movies a lot, but here they really do make it hard to watch, really uncomfortable and chilling, so credit to Guadagnino for making them effectively horrifying.

Most of the visual effects are also pretty great, bar one that was used many times and it just looked out of place and goofy, like it should’ve been in the 1977 original instead of the 2018 version (you’ll know it when you see it). The editing is so effective, it makes the tense moments even more suspenseful and the hard to watch scenes much more biting and impactful. Sometimes there are some random shots spliced together in a nightmarish sort of way that gives a really unnerving feeling. The music by Thom Yorke is very unsettling and haunting, perfect for the movie. On another note, try to watch this in a cinema, I was very lucky to catch this in an early screening and I can’t imagine watching this on a smaller screen, it just wouldn’t have the same impact.

Suspiria was a completely overwhelming experience that blew me away on all fronts. The direction by Luca Guadagnino was fantastic, the cast were great and it still has stuck with me every since I saw it. It’s also not for everyone, even if you know what kind of movie you’re getting into beforehand there’s no guarantee that you’ll love or even like this movie. If you are able to stomach some brutal scenes and have patience for a slow moving 150 minute long movie, then at least give it a try, and try to watch it in the cinema. For me, this is one of the best horror films in recent years, one of the best films of the year, and currently (I know I’ve been saying this a lot recently) my personal favourite of 2018.

Call Me by Your Name (2017) Review

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Sex scenes
Cast
Timothée Chalamet as Elio Perlman
Armie Hammer as Oliver
Michael Stuhlbarg as Mr. Perlman
Amira Casar as Annella Perlman
Esther Garrel as Marzia
Victoire Du Bois as Chiara
Director: Luca Guadagnino

It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

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I heard a lot of excellent things about Call Me by Your Name, it is one of the big awards movies of 2017. So, I had high hopes while keeping my expectations in check before going into it. Before I continue I will confess that I don’t exactly love this movie. Not that there’s anything majorly wrong with Call Me by Your Name, I just really wasn’t invested in much of the movie as I should’ve been. However, I still do think that this is still a good movie, with some solid performances, and excellent direction.

Call Me by Your Name is based off a book, I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on how they compare. Honestly there’s not much that I can say about this movie. If I was to pinpoint the main reason I didn’t love this movie was that I didn’t have any sort of connection with the romance, story or the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I can like romance movies, the Before Trilogy, Carol, La La Land, I really love them. However, there’s something missing here and it’s the emotional connection. The romance here is more subtle but there are films who have more subtle romances but you really feel an emotional connection (Carol being a strong example). Here I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the romance at all, while the characters aren’t unlikable, I didn’t care about them and how things would end. It seems didn’t quite have the emotional impact on me that it did on others, I was just watching events and the romance progress and I hate to say is but I was very indifferent to the whole thing. This movie is a little long at 2 hours and 10 minutes but I don’t think the problem is the length, it was more so the fact that I just wasn’t invested in this story. My general feeling of this movie is that its just fine. Thankfully the rest of the movie has much stronger elements.

The acting is all pretty good. Timothée Chalamet is great as the lead character, who is going through his coming of age story and discovering his sexuality. Armie Hammer also does a good job and both Chalamet and Hammer have good chemistry. Despite Chalamet and Hammer being pretty good, to me the stand out performance to me was from Michael Stahlburg as Chalamet’s father. There is a particular scene in the third act with him that people are raving over and it is well deserved because he was fantastic.

Even though I don’t love Call Me by Your Name, I have to strongly praise the excellent direction by Luca Guadagnino. The cinematography by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom is absolutely beautiful, they really makes use of its location in Italy. The music is also great, especially the score by Sufjan Stevens. Directionwise I have no issues.

Despite everything that I said, I do think that Call Me by Your Name is a solid movie. The performances are good (especially from Stahlburg) and the direction was absolutely beautiful. It’s just that although some aspects about the romance worked (including and especially the leads’ chemistry), I felt emotionally disconnected and I really didn’t care too much about what was going on. And the romance is such an integral part of the movie so that really brought it down for me. I’m probably part of a small minority when it comes to this movie however, most people love it and I think that it is worth watching for yourself.