Tag Archives: Nicole Kidman

Stoker (2013) Review

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Stoker

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence & sex scenes
Cast:
Mia Wasikowska as India Stoker
Matthew Goode as Charlie Stoker
Nicole Kidman as Evelyn Stoker
Dermot Mulroney as Richard Stoker
Jacki Weaver as Aunt Gwendolyn “Gin” Stoker
Director: Park Chan-wook

After the untimely death of her father, India (Mia Wasikowska) and her mother (Nicole Kidman) are left alone in their estate. Soon, the arrival of her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed, is followed by unexpected developments.

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I know of Stoker as Park Chan-wook film starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman, and happened to be his English-language debut. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into it outside of the people involved. Having seen it, I wouldn’t say that this is one of his best movies, but almost all of Park’s movies I’ve seen are great, and this is too.

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As it turns out, the screenplay was written by Wentworth Miller, and overall, I thought it was good. It is a very atmospheric, unsettling and mysterious movie, having elements of classic thrillers. The eerie atmosphere is helped by the mystical and mysterious characters in the forefront. It is essentially a gothic mystery drama which dabbles in multiple elements including coming of age, mystery, thriller and unconventional family drama to create a generally compelling story. The story is definitely dark in tone but tame as far as violence is concerned, at least compared to Park Chan-wook’s other movies like his Vengeance trilogy. Instead of relying on overt graphic scenes, it is the suggestion that works for the disturbing elements. The movie does take its time but initially gives you just enough information to have you intrigued. The plot is familiar, and the story can be a little thin and implausible at points. It does require patience as it takes a while to reveal its secrets but I was intrigued throughout. It is also a cold movie with its characters rather distant, but I think that works for the movie’s favour. The movie is 98 minutes long but with the slower pacing it feels closer to like 2 hours, but that’s not necessarily a criticism.

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The performances are great and really make the story even more involving. Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman shine in the lead roles of their strange characters. Wasikowska’s performance in the lead role of India is nuanced and quiet with a lot of hidden emotion that creeps in over time. She’s very mysterious and keeps you guessing what role she plays in the whole story. She was a perfect fit for the role and so far this is the best performance I’ve seen from her. This is also probably the best performance I’ve seen from Matthew Goode as the mysterious uncle of Wasikowska’s character, effectively giving a creepy vibe and a feeling that something is off about him. Nicole Kidman works really well in the movie despite not having a huge amount of screentime, and effectively playing an archetype that has been seen many times before.

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GThe direction from Park Chan-wook is stunning as always, and much of the style is the substance of the whole movie. The movie looks visually beautiful and perfectly shot. With the stylish sets and costumes, it made it difficult to place the film in a context, place or time, making it effectively timeless. The editing is tight and really well done, an example that stands out is one where it transitions from Nicole Kidman’s hair to grass. The transitions particularly stood out. One of the key technical elements is that of the sound editing and mixing, almost like the movie is constructed around them. Much of the movie focuses on the noise of specific objects, and these plays a big part in ramping up tension, in a horror movie like way. The score from Clint Mansell is also solid and works for the movie.

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Stoker again isn’t one of Park Chan-wook’s best movies but it is nonetheless a solid gothic thriller, with an interesting enough story and definitely helped by the strong performances from Wasikowska, Kidman and Goode, and Park’s stylish direction. If you like slow-burn gothic thrillers with a dark and creepy atmosphere I think it’s worth checking out.

The Undoing (2020) TV Review

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The Undoing

Time:
336 Minutes
Cast:
Nicole Kidman as Grace Fraser
Hugh Grant as Jonathan Fraser
Édgar Ramírez as Detective Joe Mendoza
Noah Jupe as Henry Fraser
Lily Rabe as Sylvia Steinetz
Matilda De Angelis as Elena Alves
Ismael Cruz Córdova as Fernando Alves
Edan Alexander as Miguel Alves
Michael Devine as Detective Paul O’Rourke
Donald Sutherland as Franklin Reinhardt
Noma Dumezweni as Haley Fitzgerald
Director: Susanne Bier

A therapist’s (Nicole Kidman) life unravels after she learns that her husband (Hugh Grant) might be responsible for a widespread disaster.

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I heard about The Undoing for some time, that it’s an HBO mini-series in the murder mystery thriller genre that starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in the lead roles. I didn’t think much of it or have a particularly strong interest in it when it was released, but after it received some TV award show nominations, I thought I might as well check it out. Having watched all the episodes, I’d say overall that it’s decent, but not nearly as good as it could’ve been.

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David E. Kelley, who previously created and wrote Big Little Lies, is the writer and creator of The Undoing and you can definitely feel it. However, it’s not nearly as strong as that other show. The faults mostly lay in the writing, which is the weakest part of the show, though I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It’s decent enough and was enough for me to pay attention to what was happening. Some episodes played out on the slow side, particularly the first two, but I was never bored. This series doesn’t add anything new to the whodunit genre, nor does it do anything better, but it is alright for what it is. As to be expected in this kind of show, there are twists and turns, however I found most of them to be rather lacking in impact. There were maybe 2 twists that I didn’t expect, the rest didn’t really surprise me that much. The ending really sticks out at being very out of place. The last 10-15 minutes were tonally different and felt like they belonged in a completely different movie or show. Much of the story was already a bit far fetched, but it somehow manages to top that. It’s almost like they didn’t know how to really end the show, so they just threw in some random contrived and overblown climax which does nothing but leave the story on a very confused note.

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The Undoing is 6 episodes long and on one hand that sounds alright as that’s not too long (certainly made the idea of watching the show more appealing). At the same time, given how little ground they cover with the story and characters, it does feel like it could’ve just been one feature length film. With it being a 6 hour long mini series, I just expected more from it. The characters aren’t the most interesting or have the most depth, they felt rather thinly written. Another thing to note is what the mystery is building towards, mainly what happened with the murder at the centre of the show, as well as who the killer is. While I won’t spoil anything, the reveal was rather underwhelming. There were plenty of other more unexpected directions that they could’ve taken instead. With that said, even if they were to stick with the direction that they chose (possibly to be faithful to the book), they really could’ve added stuff to that to make it more interesting than it turned out to be. That also applies to the approach to the story, as a whodunnit it’s entertaining but not really surprising or unpredictable despite how hard they try. It’s a show build on red herrings, which isn’t necessarily bad, but the show doesn’t develop those well enough to have them leave an impact or keep you guessing. Potentially it could’ve had a more of a psychological approach, in fact the show is sometimes regarded as a psychological thriller. Although it starts off seemingly like a psychological thriller, by the time it reaches the halfway point that’s not what the show is. Alternatively, it could’ve leaned more into the campiness, as at times it felt like a pulpy thriller (though it unfortunately mostly seemed to be unintentional). That would’ve at least been more entertaining. Either of those approaches could’ve made the series more interesting or more entertaining, as a whodunit though, it’s just fine.

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Essentially, it’s the performances from the cast that carry this show. Nicole Kidman is in the lead role and she is really good. I do think that there are some problems with her character, it feels like there should be more to her character considering that the story is mostly told from her perspective. With that said, Nicole Kidman conveys the emotions necessary, and is quite good here. Hugh Grant is great as Kidman’s husband and a suspect in the murder at the centre of the story. Grant was his usual charming self at times, but also was a darker and more unlikable character compared to most of the role he’s known for playing. It’s the best performance I’ve seen from him, and he displays his immense range in this. Donald Sutherland is also great as Nicole Kidman’s father, he gets some moments to really shine. Noah Jupe also deserves some praise as the son of Kidman and Grant, really getting plenty of chances to stand out among the cast. Another performance worth praising is that of Noma Dumezweni as the defence lawyer for Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, she was a standout in every single scene she was in.

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All 6 episodes are directed by Susanne Bier, and overall she did a good job with them. It’s good on a technical level, it is well shot and are mostly edited well. There are sometimes flashbacks from when characters imagine what happened, and I think the use of them were a little inconsistent and confusing, especially when it’s meant to be characters’ thinking about events which they haven’t seen themselves.

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The Undoing does enough to entertain for 6 episodes even if it’s not anything special in the genre. However, by the end it’s pretty evident it could be much better, mainly with the writing, and it’s a little underwhelming and disappointing in parts. With that said, it interests and entertains enough, it’s well made, and the performances are great and keep you on board. If you generally like these kinds of plots, then you’ll probably at least enjoy watching it.

Bombshell (2019) Review

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Bombshell

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language & sexual references
Cast:
Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly
Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson
Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil
John Lithgow as Roger Ailes
Connie Britton as Beth Ailes
Rob Delaney as Gil Norman
Mark Duplass as Douglas Brunt
Liv Hewson as Lily Balin
Allison Janney as Susan Estrich
Director: Jay Roach

When Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) slaps Fox News founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) with a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, not a soul could predict what would happen next. Her decision leads to Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) coming forward with her own story, as well as multiple other women, inciting a movement that reverberates around the world.

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I remember hearing about Bombshell for a while, it was about the sexual harassment in Fox News (specifically about Roger Ailes) and starred Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie in the lead roles. As trailers started being released however, I was starting to be a little concerned about it, especially how the movie looked like a comedy (the use of Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ certainly didn’t give off the right vibe. Now a movie about this subject could work, taking on sexual harassment in a work environment such as Fox News. It’s hard to pull off, but if executed well, could result in a truly great and insightful movie. Bombshell is not that movie.

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One of my worries was that Bombshell was going to be a comedy on the whole. Now there wasn’t as much comedy as I thought there would be, but I do wonder if that’s because what they intended as comedy didn’t exactly produce much laughs and I just didn’t pick up that they were jokes in the first place. The thing that immediately comes to mind to this movie is the fact that this is Fox News, and of course people aren’t so into the idea of a movie following people who work at Fox, which is understandable. The movie isn’t necessarily pro Fox News, but it doesn’t full on take on them either. All the shots that they take at Fox are used in jokes, so they felt rather toothless and weak. There’s plenty of deserved criticisms about some of the prominent people at the centre of this story, but they were still victims, and their story still needed to be told. When it comes to the sexual harassment scenes, it’s fittingly uncomfortable, but that’s not exactly an achievement considering that it should feel uncomfortable. To address the elephant in the room, Bombshell is written by the writer of The Big Short (Charles Randolph), and you really feel that. Now I liked The Big Short, but with this movie it really does feel like someone did a half baked attempt at that form of storytelling. There is a lot of explaining to the audience, and that didn’t turn out so well for this movie. This style could potentially work for a movie taking on Fox News on the whole, however for one with sexual harassment as the focus, it doesn’t fit at all. People have talked about how this movie should’ve been written and directed by a woman, given the results here, women behind both roles definitely would’ve resulted in a much better movie. On the whole, Bombshell a real drag to watch, and unfortunately it’s not just because of the difficult subject matter. Lack of entertainment aside, it moves a such a slow pace and not a lot happens in the movie, with the movie not even grabbing your attention all that much. After thinking about Bombshell for a while, I just came to a realisation. This movie is just a whole lot of talking about what happened, sprinkled occasionally with deliberate shocking and disturbing moments about sexual harassment. Most annoying of all, there’s no deeper dive or complexity to it all (not with the people or at Fox), it’s all very surface level and basically a recap of what we mostly already knew happened. Even as someone who didn’t a ton about the story, I didn’t come out of Bombshell knowing much more than before I watched it.

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If there’s one reason to watch this movie, it is the performances. Charlize Theron is great here, managing to embody Megyn Kelly so believably, really great performance. A lot of the other acting is overplayed to some degree, but Theron feels grounded throughout. Nicole Kidman is not getting the awards attention that her co-leads are receiving, but she was quite good as Gretchen Carlson, who made the lawsuit on Roger Ailes. It actually made me wonder why Carlson wasn’t the lead character of the movie instead of Kelly. Margot Robbie plays a composite character, and I didn’t know what to think of that. Part of me got the impression that Robbie’s character might’ve been created because they wanted to have a main character who they could show directly harassed in a scene by Roger Ailes, but maybe I’m just reading too deep into it. Robbie generally acts well in her role, and she gets a couple great moments in the last act or so. John Lithgow plays Roger Ailes, and he played him uncomfortably well, really unpleasant and unsettling to watch when he’s on screen. At the same time, he scarily enough seems like a real human being, Lithgow did a great job on his part. There’s not much to say about the rest of the cast, they can be quite over the top and deliberately performed like a parody at times, but they’re fine enough.

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I’m not too familiar with Jay Roach, I know he made the Austin Powers movies and I’ve seen his last movie Trumbo. Many people have been saying that Bombshell has been heavily inspired by the directing of Adam McKay’s movies, and I can sadly confirm this. From voiceovers, breaking the fourth wall, cameos of people you may know of, you get the drill. Bombshell solidified that no one should be making Adam McKay-like movies other than Adam McKay himself. Now I personally liked The Big Short and Vice quite a bit, if you didn’t like them though, I think that you’d really dislike Bombshell. The camerawork was also documentary-like, and with the office taking up most of the prominent locations in the movie, it made you feel like you’re in an episode of The Office. It really didn’t serve to make the movie better, it just made it distracting and obnoxious to watch. Every time it zoomed in on someone, it gets just a little more annoying, and there are a lot of zoom ins. The visual style is so bland and uninteresting, and the movie relies so much on its visual style, unfortunately there’s not many appealing aspects here. What’s worse is that the style is not even that consistent, for example you only get the fourth wall breaks a few times, making you wonder why they did it at all. With so much of the directing and storytelling choices, it makes you wonder why they didn’t just make a documentary. The only aspect on a technical level that I can really give praise to is the great makeup, from making Theron look like Megyn Kelly and Lithgow like Ailes.

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Bombshell is a very mixed bag to say that least, and it’s a very hard movie to recommend. This topic is not pleasant to sit through (and it shouldn’t be), but it’s also more of a drag, and on top of that you don’t really learn that much from the movie (unless you’ve never heard of the story before) and doesn’t go deeper as it could’ve, also with some questionable writing and direction choices throughout. At the same time, the performances from Theron, Kidman, Robbie, and Lithgow are great, so maybe watch the movie if you really want to see their work here.

 

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018) Review

Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Elle Fanning as Zan
Alex Sharp as Enn
Nicole Kidman as Queen Boadicea
Ruth Wilson as PT Stella
Matt Lucas as PT Wain
Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Worlds collide when Enn (Alex Sharp), a shy teenager in 1970s London, meets the beautiful and rebellious Zan (Elle Fanning) at a party. They set in motion the ultimate showdown between their rivaling worlds and test the limits of how far they will go for true love.

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I heard about How to Talk to Girls at Parties for a while, I knew that Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman are in it and I watched the trailer, and I could tell that it was a sci-fi romantic comedy of sorts. Outside of that I wasn’t really that sure what to expect. I finally got around to it and it was a bit of an odd movie. Not a great movie and I’m not even sure I can call it a good movie, however I guess I was entertained enough while watching it.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is based off a science-fiction short story of the same name by Neil Gaiman. I haven’t read said short story so I can’t comment on the movie as an adaptation. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long and I wasn’t really bored throughout, but it was mostly because this movie is so odd and weird that I was paying attention to which direction it would take next. There were so much insane sequences and things that happened that it kept me entertained. With that said I wasn’t really that invested in the actual story, I guess I was on board with the main characters and what they are trying to do, but not hugely, I didn’t care that much about the characters. There were some things that were going on that I didn’t really understand with regards to the aliens, I just sort of went along with the insane things that were going on. There is quite a bit of a comedy as well, some of the comedy can be a little too on the nose, especially with the whole typical ‘alien is discovering and exploring Earth and misunderstandings happen’ comedy, but it was okay enough. I don’t remember much from the movie despite having a reasonably decent time with it.

We really don’t get a sense of any of the characters, but the cast are decent enough in their roles. Alex Sharp is pretty good as the lead human character. Elle Fanning is one of the standouts as the lead alien character, as said previously her character does fall into many of the familiar clichés that alien characters who are learning about the world do, but Fanning plays the role well. We don’t really get invested in Fanning and Sharp’s relationship, but they have decent chemistry. Nicole Kidman is in a supporting role as a punk rocker and she’s also a standout whenever she’s on screen. Ruth Wilson and Matt Lucas are also pretty good as aliens.

The direction by John Cameron Mitchell was interesting, it could be very rough at times but it did add a little something to the movie and just added to the weirdness. Some moments visually were also really trippy. There are also some other pretty weird things that happen in the movie, especially with regard to the aliens. I’ll just say if that was their intention to just be weird, they definitely achieved that.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties was… a weird movie, definitely the weirdest movie I’ve seen released in 2018. It’s not going to work for a ton of people and it’s perfectly understandable why. The performances are good and the strangeness of the movie was enough for me to be entertained, however I don’t think on the whole that it was a good movie. I guess if you’re okay with potentially wasting 100 minutes of your time and you’re the least bit curious about it, then check it out. Otherwise you’re not really missing much.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) Review

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains offensive language and sexual references
Cast:
Nicole Kidman as Satine
Ewan McGregor as Christian
Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler
Richard Roxburgh as The Duke of Monroth
John Leguizamo as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Director: Baz Luhrmann

A celebration of love and creative inspiration takes place in the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub, at the cusp of the 20th century. A young poet (Ewan McGregor), who is plunged into the heady world of Moulin Rouge, begins a passionate affair with the club’s most notorious and beautiful star (Nicole Kidman).

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I was very sceptical about Moulin Rouge before watching it, although I liked Baz Lurhman’s The Great Gatsby, I really didn’t like his Romeo and Juliet. It didn’t help that Moulin Rouge seemed to have a lot of elements that I hated in 90’s Romeo and Juliet. Nonetheless I finally watch Moulin Rouge (I didn’t want to judge it without actually watching it) … and it took me a few viewings attempts to do finish watching it. While there are some good things in Moulin Rouge, for the most part it just really annoyed me and I personally don’t understand all the acclaim.

I didn’t care for any of the characters or the story. The movie is surrounding love, however in this movie, everything about love just feels really shallow and doesn’t really have much depth. It just pretty much boils down to “love is good because it’s good and people who don’t like love are bad because they are bad”. I wish I was exaggerating. I can’t say which act is best because it all goes in and out of quality, one moment it’s obnoxious, then there’s something that has potential or is even legitimately good, then it goes back to being annoying again. The movie tries to be funny and quirky at a lot of points and it’s irritating when they do this, it took me 5-10 minutes for me to regret trying to watch Moulin Rouge. A lot of the characters are annoying as well, on top of them being over the top and cartoonish, there really isn’t much to them. They also have a tendency to make stupid decisions for no reason at all, particularly Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman’s characters. I wasn’t heavily interested in the story throughout, there were times where I was partially entertained by some sequences but I didn’t really care what happened. So when you’re supposed to feel something at certain points, I really felt nothing at all. Of course I know that there are lots of people who had completely different experiences to me, a lot of people love Moulin Rouge, this is just I felt when I was watching it.

I’m very mixed on the acting. Ewan McGregor at times is good, the problem is that I found his character annoying, and at other times I found him unlikable. McGregor to his credit, does manage to elevate his role slightly and he does have some legitimately good moments. Nicole Kidman isn’t so lucky, not only is the character annoying, she has to act completely ridiculous and it’s just embarrassing to watch. There’s particularly a scene with her, McGregor and Richard Roxburgh, it’s their first scene together and it’s just the most embarrassing thing ever. Though really she’s ridiculous throughout. Kidman does try her best. I don’t put this against her acting ability, she’s definitely a very talented actress, it’s really the character, the direction and all the material that she was given that was the problem. In terms of acting, the best was Jim Broadbent, he was legitimately entertaining and I liked it when he was on screen. The villain is played Richard Roxburgh and he is incredibly over the top, and unfortunately not in a good way. The big problem is that we are supposed to take him somewhat seriously at the same time and I couldn’t take him seriously at all.

Baz Lurhmann’s direction is also a very mixed bag for me. There are some good parts to it, for example the sets are great and all well put together, the problem is that the editing a lot of the time doesn’t allow us to appreciate these sets. There is so much cutting during some sequences that is incredibly jarring and obnoxious. There are also some sequences which are legitimately good, even great, one in particular being El Tango De Roxanne. But there are still some parts to most of the direction that really frustrated me. The style and over the top nature was really irritating to me and was for me the most frustrating part of the movie. At the same time I am fully aware that people actually like this style and that’s part of the reason they love it so much, but for me, the erratic cutting, editing and camera movements were obnoxious and only made the whole experience worse. As for the songs, none of them are original, some of the songs are fine, others are not so much. It didn’t blow me away, save for maybe one or two songs.

Moulin Rouge definitely has some praiseworthy elements but it is overshadowed by the more flawed elements that distract from the better elements. It’s really the style, direction and story that brings this movie down, which on top of leaving no positive impact on me, also just ended up being straight up irritating at times. Despite my dislike of the film, I do recommend that people go out and see Moulin Rouge for themselves, I can’t tell who is going to love or hate it. I have noticed that some people who hate musicals really liked it. As someone who despite not being a massive fan of musicals but enjoys a lot of them, I really didn’t like Moulin Rouge, and I really wished I could see what everyone else sees in it.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty & sex scenes
Cast
Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy
Nicole Kidman as Anna Murphy
Barry Keoghan as Martin
Raffey Cassidy as Kim Murphy
Sunny Suljic as Bob Murphy
Alicia Silverstone as Martin’s mother
Bill Camp as Matthew
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon who presides over a spotless household with his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic). Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen who insinuates himself into the doctor’s life in gradually unsettling ways. Soon, the full scope of Martin’s intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter his domestic bliss forever.

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I didn’t know what to expect from The Killing of a Sacred Deer. I saw director Yorgos Lanthimos’s previous film The Lobster, which I thought was pretty good. I also could tell based on the trailer and reactions knew that it was going to be odd and I heard that it was a pretty bizarre and disturbing film which has divided some audience. I have to say that I personally really liked it, it’s such an original and bizarre movie with excellent direction and great performances, though I can see why it has divided people.

I didn’t know too much about Killing of a Sacred Deer aside from the brief premise and the trailer before watching it. Having finally seen the movie, I’m glad I didn’t know anything more about it, I recommend not knowing too much about this movie before watching it. Because of this, I don’t want to go into too much depth regarding the plot. The dialogue is off from what normal people say but something about it just works. It does have a slow pace but it had my attention and interested. By the time it reached the halfway point, after a lot of bizarre things have happened, I was completely riveted. The film is not extremely bloody but it gets under your skin. Personally I wasn’t uncomfortable for a large portion of the movie, I’m not easily disturbed. However I felt really unnerved throughout most of the film, there were some moments that really surprised me and had me on edge. There is particularly a couple of scenes which were shocking to say the least. I have a feeling I will need to rewatch this movie to fully get everything because its very metaphorical (if you don’t understand a lot of the metaphors you might be a little lost when watching this). However I will say that on my first viewing I got a lot out of it, and understood most of it. So I was satisfied with the story overall.

The acting is all around great. An interesting thing should be noted about the acting, Colin Farrell has said that Lanthimos doesn’t give his actors any direction and just allows them to act and play it how they want, so it’s a real credit to the cast for pulling off great performances with little to no direction. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman play husband and wife and they were great. Everyone in the movie does act and speaks a little unnaturally (that’s the directional style I suppose) but they get their chances to shine. Barry Keoghan is the highlight here though, as a teenager who has an interesting relationship with Colin Farrell (which I won’t reveal of course). Without going into too much depth, I will say that Keoghan is a real screen presence, being absolutely unnerving and magnetic when he’s on screen. I can tell that he has a long career ahead of him. The children of Farrell and Kidman played by Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic were really good as well, as was Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp in other supporting roles.

The direction by Yorgos Lanthimos was fantastic. It really felt creepy and unnerving throughout the whole movie. What particularly really stood out to me was the cinematography and production design, everything was well shot and really felt uneasy. There is a real emptiness that can be seen, it feels like something is off. There were even times where it felt Stanley Kubrick-esque. The music was also used incredibly well, really amping up the intensity. The loud pianos keys and the screeching violins makes everything all the more uncomfortable.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is definitely not for everyone, it can be very unnerving, disturbing and a little drawn out, also it might require deeper thought in order to understand. I also feel like this will be a movie that will require multiple viewings to fully interpret. However if this is something you might want to watch, give it a go with an open mind and try not to know too much about it beforehand. If you like Yorgos Lanthimos’s other films like The Lobster, you will probably like this. I personally had a great time with it and my experience will only improve with future viewings. However all in all I can’t say for certain whether you’ll like this movie or not.

Lion (2016) Review

 

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Adult themes
Cast:
Sunny Pawar as younger Saroo Brierley
Dev Patel as older Saroo Brierley
Rooney Mara as Lucy
Nicole Kidman as Sue Brierley
David Wenham as John Brierley
Director: Garth Davis

Five year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, Saroo (Dev Patel) sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

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Lion was a film that I was curious about. I actually saw the 60 minutes article about the real life story this movie was based on and I just knew it would be turned into a movie. Surely enough, that happened with Lion and I knew I had to check it out as soon as possible. And it did not disappoint. Lion is a good movie, the acting was great by everyone, the direction was also good but most of all the story is compelling, Lion is definitely worth checking out.

This movie’s first half is of Young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) in India and the second half is of Adult Saroo (Dev Patel) in Australia. While most movies would cut between the past and the present, it decides to tell it’s story chronologically, while the second half has some additional flashbacks. This makes it easier to get a better idea of what Saroo’s feeling in the second half when he’s trying to find his family. It’s very easy to get caught up in the story, I never felt bored watching this movie. The first half of the movie was great. It heavily relies on actor Sunny Pawar and while I’ll get into more detail about him later, I’ll just say that he’s the reason that the first half works so well. It does feel a little jarring when the story witches to the second half. The tone, pace and feel did seem to noticeably change. The second half is still good, it just didn’t feel quite as strong as the first half, though honestly I’m not quite sure what it is. With that said, and the ending is really satisfying, and paid off well.

Newcomer actor Sunny Pawar did amazing work as Young Saroo. This is a kid actor, and Lion is also the first movie he’s been involved in. And we all know that kid actors nowadays are hit or miss. Very impressive performance, he was the stand out in the movie. He’s basically the main star, as the entire first half focusses on him. Most of the time he’s not saying anything, so his reactions and the way he acts has to carry the movie. Dev Patel was also great as adult Saroo. It was a little jarring with the shift to Dev after the first half, but nonetheless he did a good job and it was very easy to buy him in this role. Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman also did great work in supporting roles, they definitely added a lot to this movie as well.

Lion was overall a well directed movie by director Garth Davis. This is the first film I’ve seen from him and I can tell from Lion that he’s a solid director. The cinematography is beautiful and the locations also showcased well, whether that be in India or Australia. The music by Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka was also good. Generally though, Lion’s highlight wasn’t it’s direction, it’s the story that’s really the highlight.

Lion lived up to expectations with its great acting, solid direction and also a compelling and powerful story. While the switch between the first two halves is a bit of a jarring and the second half of the story isn’t quite as strong as the first half, I still really liked this movie. Lion was a great movie and it’s really worth checking out when you can.

Batman Forever (1995) Review

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Batman Forever

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face
Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler
Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Pat Hingle as James Gordon
Director Joel Schumacher

Batman (Val Kilmer) is back. This time he faces several challenges. Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) who had acid thrown on his face, Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) who has invented a device that manipulates human brainwaves and transfers them into his own head, Dr. Chase Maridian (Nicole Kidman), who has a major crush on him and Dick Grayson (Chris O’Dowd), who lost his family at the hands of Two-Face and is taken in by Wayne. Batman now must train Dick Grayson and confront both Two-Face and The Riddler to save Gotham City.

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Batman Returns wasn’t loved by everyone, mostly due to its even darker tone, as a result, Warner Bros decided to replace Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher in order to have a lighter tone, and they certainly got what they wanted. Batman Forever however isn’t a good film, it’s not without its entertaining moments but it’s not a good movie overall and its style just doesn’t fit Batman.

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As I said previously, the tone in this movie is much more light-hearted than Burton’s films. First of all there are some pretty cheesy lines in this movie (“Chicks dig the car”). I’ll admit that some of them are enjoyable in a guilty pleasure sort of way but a lot of the time it can get ridiculous. There are also some over the top stuff, for example in order to stop Batman and Robin from coming to their hideout, Two Face and The Riddler play a game of Battleship. I didn’t really buy Edward Nygma’s transformation into The Riddler, as he seems to become The Riddler in his first scene, which doesn’t lead to him being developed at all. I will say that the film surprisingly handled Robin’s story okay, it wasn’t great but it worked for the movie. Overall if you are planning to watch this movie, don’t go in for the story, it’s not a very good one and you can have more fun with how stupid it is.

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Val Kilmer makes for a decent Bruce Wayne, I could buy him as this character but he was a pretty forgettable but okay Batman. Chris O’Donnell was okay, as Robin but he wasn’t very memorable. I really don’t understand why Nicole Kidman was in this movie and something about her performance actually annoyed me a little. Maybe it’s because the ‘romance’ between her and Batman is not plausible in the slightest. The villains are very over the top that’s the problem with Schumacher’s Batman villains. They are all crazy and nothing else. Jim Carrey is playing Jim Carrey in this movie but I can at least give him credit that The Riddler is meant to be kind of nuts, even if this isn’t a good portrayal. The same can’t be said for Tommy Lee Jones, who is so incredibly over the top as Two Face, I’m convinced that he thinks he’s playing the Joker with half his face burnt.

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As the tone changed with Schumacher’s direction, so did the style, you can see if everywhere from the countless neon lights in this movie to the annoying amounts of Dutch angle shots. The costumes are pretty bad too, and I’m not just talking about the Batman nipples, for example The Riddler looks like he’s wearing Riddler pyjamas, something that a Riddler fan would wear, not the Riddler himself. I guess the only suit that looks okay is the Robin suit, probably because they actually made it look not laughable. The soundtrack is nice but it’s not really the most suitable soundtrack for Batman.

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Batman Forever isn’t the worst batman movie but it’s not a good one either. The villain performances were over the top and the style wasn’t really the best for Batman. But still there are some enjoyable scenes, and a lot of the movie can be considered guilty pleasure material. It is by no means however a good movie, it was still better than Batman and Robin though.