Tag Archives: Max Irons

The Wife (2018) Review

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language & sexual references
Cast:
Glenn Close as Joan Castleman
Annie Starke as young Joan Castleman
Jonathan Pryce as Professor Joseph Castleman
Harry Lloyd as young Joseph Castleman
Christian Slater as Nathaniel Bone
Max Irons as David Castleman
Elizabeth McGovern as Elaine Mozell
Director: Björn Runge

Joan (Glenn Close) and Joe (Jonathan Pryce) remain complements after nearly 40 years of marriage. Where Joe is casual, Joan is elegant. Where Joe is vain, Joan is self-effacing. And where Joe enjoys his very public role as the great American novelist, Joan pours her considerable intellect, grace, charm and diplomacy into the private role of a great man’s wife. As Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and prolific body of work, Joan starts to think about the shared compromises, secrets and betrayals.

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I hadn’t been looking forward to watching The Wife. It seemed like yet another one of those bland awards movies that only get attention because of one performance and the plot didn’t seem interesting in the slightest. Even the title was uninteresting. The only reason I watched The Wife honestly was because of the awards attention towards Glenn Close’s performance, and it was pretty much what I thought it would be. Not bad but nothing much more than above average, with the acting being really the only good part of the whole movie.

The Wife as a story just really wasn’t all that impressive. When I say that the trailer pretty much covers the extent of where the plot goes, I really mean it. I don’t mean it in as the trailer showed too much, it gives the basic idea of the movie (as it should) but the plot doesn’t really become much more than that. There are plenty of movies about a husband taking credit for the wife’s work (see Colette and Big Eyes) but The Wife seems to just be about that basic idea and nothing more. It has nothing else to offer, there is nothing different about this story from others to make it interesting. The third act is when it is when it picks up, because that’s when Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce directly address the issue and get into conflicts about it and we really get to see their dynamic and then it becomes interesting. While the idea is teased earlier on, the only time that the two characters deal with it head on is near the end of the movie. If it even started halfway through it would’ve kept my attention longer. Instead we have to wait for like 80 minutes of them beating around the bush. Even just the writing itself wasn’t all that great. The dialogue can be pretty on the nose and cliched, and some of the things that happen can be contrived and coincidental at times, an example involving a flight attendant on a plane earlier in the movie. On top of that, the story just wasn’t all that interesting and was rather dull. Again, picks up in the third act but throughout the rest of the movie I was completely uninvested. The script wasn’t terrible but was generally lacklustre until the third act.

The one thing that makes the movie better than average is the performances but I feel like even they feel somewhat held back by both the writing and direction. Their best acting moments mostly consist of them having ‘big acting moments’ (you know what I’m meaning), not that the acting is bad, it’s just that at times it feels like there are moments allocated for each actor to go really big with their acting. I’m not even sure if I’ve seen a movie with Glenn Close in it before (aside from Guardians of the Galaxy) but she was really good here. I don’t think she’s as spectacular as some people have been making her out to be and I have seen better lead actress performances last year, but she was still quite good. To be fair to her, she also does have some subtle acting moments as it builds up to the third act, and that third act is where she goes full force with her performance and just unleashes everything she has. Jonathan Pryce was also surprisingly great as the husband, given that when it came to this movie the only positive thing I heard about was relating to Glenn Close. Pryce also deserves some praise as well for his performance. Max Irons is decent enough as their son and Christian Slater is good as a biographer/journalist who is prying into the lives of the lead characters. Annie Starke (the daughter of Glenn Close by the way) and Harry Lloyd were also good as the younger versions of the lead characters.

Usually I don’t have much to say about the direction when it comes to these types of Oscar movies, usually it was competent enough and there’s not much to say about it. This time it’s different, not because it’s spectacular, quite the opposite really. Apparently Björn Runge has directed some things before, I’ve not seen his other work but his direction of The Wife is quite average really. Even with a script which isn’t great, it still could’ve been spiced things up to make it a little more interesting. There is no style whatsoever when it comes to the direction, it’s very blandly directed and all in all is rather subpar. The only thing I could say that was done well with regards to the technical elements was that the locations were pretty good.

The Wife doesn’t have much to offer outside of the performances. The direction is really bland and the writing doesn’t offer much of interest until the third act. It’s just the acting elevating things slightly, with Glenn Close of course having the spotlight. If you want to see what all the fuss about Glenn Close’s performance for awards season, then I guess you could watch The Wife. It’s not bad or anything, just not really that good either.

Terminal (2018) Review

Time: 90 Minutes
Cast:
Margot Robbie as Annie/Bonnie
Simon Pegg as Bill
Dexter Fletcher as Vince
Mike Myers as Clinton/Mr. Franklyn
Max Irons as Alfred
Director: Vaughn Stein

In the dark heart of a sprawling and anonymous city, two assassins carry out a sinister mission, a teacher battles a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress lead a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind who is hell-bent on revenge.

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Terminal looked like it could be something good, with people like Margot Robbie and Simon Pegg involved, and from the trailer it looked like it was interesting with a very stylish look. However, from what I heard from many people, the movie really doesn’t live up to any of its potential and was just plain bad. Nonetheless I was curious about it and still wanted to check it out, and having seeing it now, I can confirm that it doesn’t live up to the hype. It feels like the filmmakers tried to utilize a combinations of directors/writers to create a stylish thriller with twists and turns just for the sake of twists and turns. However, none of it comes together to work at all. Not all of it is bad, some of the actors are good, and is has a nice aesthetic and cinematography but unfortunately it’s not enough to save this movie.

As I said earlier, you can really see this movie trying to imitate so many other filmmakers’ styles’ but it doesn’t work. I’m not quite sure how this script got greenlit, it feels unfinished and even experimental, like the writer was trying out some ideas in a script and this was the first draft. First of all, this movie is needlessly convoluted. This movie is supposed to be very mysterious and have twists and turns with a noire feel to it but it doesn’t execute it correctly. It jumps between so many places and locations. It’s like they are trying to pull off a Pulp Fiction/Tarantino-esque script, without it being particularly smart and not jarring. Very early on it’s extremely confusing what’s going on and at a point you just stop caring about what’s going on and just accept that you’re not going to understand a lot of what’s going on. Granted once you see all the twists happen and the payoff, it makes the movie slightly better but at that point you’ve stopped caring about what was happening. None of the twists are satisfying outside of the fact that you can finally know what is going on. Not even the end is satisfying, you just want the movie to feel over because you feel underwhelmed by it all. Second of all, this movie tries so hard to be witty and smart with the dialogue and comedy and like 90% of it doesn’t work. It’s like they are trying to do a Guy Ritchie script but without it being good (which unfortunately happens way too often with some movies than it should). You can see this particularly with two assassins played by Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons with so much forced banter between them and it just becomes annoying. The movie however seems to think that its funny and entertaining because they just won’t stop with it. However the dialogue has more issues than just that, there is so much exposition dumps in most of the dialogue scenes, it’s really quite astounding, to the point where you just get bored. Also, some of the dialogue is really quite bad.

Third of all, the characters aren’t likable or interesting at all, so there’s no reason to really care about what happens to any of them. They are also very one note and don’t display a range of personalities. I’m fine with movies having just reprehensible characters but they need to have something to them that’s interesting, likeable or entertaining, otherwise the audience won’t be willing to care about what happens to them. Last of all, it’s just not interesting. With characters that are 2 dimensional at best, dialogue that’s exposition heavy and fails at its heavy handed attempts to be witty and a story that is just jarring and partially incomprehensible for no reason, it’s hard to get into. Most of all though, it doesn’t feel like they are trying to tell a story, it feels like they’re just having twists for the sake of twists. It doesn’t help that the plot meanders a whole lot and doesn’t seem to be leading to anything (with the exception of one twist). This movie is 90 minutes long and honestly, I’m glad that it’s that length. Because I can’t imagine having to watch any more of Terminal than the average movie runtime, even with that short runtime it felt pretty long.

One thing that the trailer did get right was Margot Robbie would be one of the best parts of the movie, and that’s definitely apparent here. In Terminal she uses a lot of her Harley Quinn craziness and charm here to great effect, the movie gives her lots of opportunities to chew the scenery. With that said, it’s not like one of her best performances, but she is having fun in the role and is giving it her all. Simon Pegg was also pretty good in his role here, he and Robbie have the closest thing to an interesting dynamic pairing of characters when it came to dialogue heavy moments (much more than the previously mentioned assassins played by Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons anyway). The rest of the cast don’t fare as well. I’m not exactly sure why Mike Myers is in this movie but for most of the movie he felt quite out of place, and really doesn’t get to show off or do much until like the last moments of the film. All the actors here are trying but only some of them come out giving okay performances. However like I said, none of the characters are particularly interesting and are very one note, so there’s only so much that these actors can do in their roles.

Terminal is absolutely stunning looking, with the colours, the lighting, use of neon, production design, it is a beautiful movie to look at. With that said, I can’t really say that the direction overall is great. The movie is incredibly stylish but at times the movie is trying way too hard to be stylish, especially with the scene transitions, that by the hour mark you just feel completely over it. It’s like its trying to be a Nicolas Winding Refn but only with the stunning cinematography. Some of the editing also is quite jarring and is made all the more worse by the constant time and location jumps in the story itself.

Aside from Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and some nice cinematography, Terminal was a very underwhelming movie, with a messy and unfocussed script that feels like a lot of ideas and “cool things” thrown together. It’s not interesting, the characters are one note and you don’t care about them, the story is obnoxiously overconvoluted and throughout the whole thing, you really get the feeling that Terminal thinks it’s way better, smarter and funnier than it really is. The neon aesthetic and style is not enough to carry the movie, nor is the dozen twists and dialogue heavy and exposition dump scenes. I don’t think it’s terrible, I have seen way worse but this still isn’t a good movie at all. It is only 90 minutes long, so I guess you aren’t wasting too much time if you choose to check Terminal out, but I don’t think it’s really worth it.