Tag Archives: Ron Livingston

The Conjuring (2013) Review

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The Conjuring

Time: 102 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror & content that may disturb
Cast:
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron
Ron Livingston as Roger Perron
Director: James Wan

The Perron family moves into a farmhouse where they experience paranormal phenomena. They consult demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), to help them get rid of the evil entity haunting them.

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The creation of The Conjuring universe was unexpected, with three movies from the main Conjuring series, and three spin offs and one of those spinoffs (Annabelle) getting a prequel and sequel of its own. Looking back on the first movie released in 2013 however, it is still a really good horror movie that works really well. It doesn’t revolutionise the genre or anything, but it succeeds effectively at what it seeks out to do.

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The Conjuring is a traditional haunted house horror movie, and a well-crafted one at that. One of the reasons it works so well is that it invests quite a lot of time into the characters, both the main family and the Warrens. It does take the story and characters seriously and doesn’t treat them as throwaway typical horror movie characters. I will say I wasn’t as invested in the actual story as much I would’ve liked to have been and the movie isn’t exactly unpredictable, but I was still interested to see how it would play out. Additionally, the story has a tense buildup, and its pacing is measured and deliberate, instead of just rushing into the horror and the scares. This helps to build a strong atmosphere, which is at its peak in the final act. The film being set in the 70s gives it sort of a unique feeling that would’ve been missing had it just been set in modern day. There’s also the aspect that this movie is supposedly based on true events, whether or not you believe it to be true it does give it a unique feel to the story.

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The acting is all great from everyone. The leads are Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the Warrens and they do very well on their parts. They were very believable and sold their performances. The family at the centre of it all played their parts too, especially the mother played by Lily Taylor. Even the child actors do very well as their respective characters.

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James Wan has already established himself as a great director of horror, with Saw and the first two Insidious movies, and The Conjuring and its sequel are no exception. The camerawork is greatly carried out and played a key role in creating the haunted and unsettling feeling throughout the movie. As previously mentioned, the movie also benefited quite a lot from being set in the 70s, the production design really does well at portraying this time period, especially in this particular haunted house. While there are some jumpscares (as to be expected from this movie), it’s not the main source of scares in the movie. Also whenever the jumpscares do happen, they actually feel earned and not cheap, and it helps that the movie had been building up a lot of tension beforehand. Additionally, the movie actually lacks any gore or digital effects, which was refreshing to see from a horror movie, its just all scares. The use of sound also played a part in the scares working as well as they did, and the score from Joseph Bishara also worked to its favour.

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The Conjuring is a well made horror movie that works on pretty much all fronts. The characters are well written and portrayed by the actors greatly, the story is genuinely suspenseful, and James Wan directs it very well. If you like horror and you haven’t watched it yet, it’s definitely a movie to check out.

Tully (2018) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Mature themes, coarse language and sex
Cast:
Charlize Theron as Marlo Moreau
Mackenzie Davis as Tully
Mark Duplass as Craig
Ron Livingston as Drew Moreau
Director: Jason Reitman

Marlo (Charlize Theron) is a New York suburbanite who’s about to give birth to her third child. Her husband, Ron (Ron Livingston), is loving and works hard, but remains clueless about the demands that motherhood puts on his wife. When the baby is born, Marlo’s wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) hires a nighttime nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) to help his sister handle the workload. Hesitant at first, Marlo soon learns to appreciate all that Tully does — forming a special bond with her new, lifesaving friend.

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I had been hearing about Tully for a little while. All I knew really going in was that it has Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis and involved parenting. Otherwise I went in blind, and I think that overall improved my viewing experience. Tully is a pleasant surprise, with some great performances and was a real and honest portrayal on parenting.

I’ll try not to say too much about this movie, as I do think that it is better watching it not knowing too much about it going in. Just know that it’s about parenting and has Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis and that’s all you need to know. At around an hour and 30 minutes long, Tully is really good and I was entertained and invested all the way through to the end. Now I’m not familiar with parenting but Tully really seemed to capture the feeling of it at the very least. There’s something about the portrayal of that and life that just feels so genuine and real. You get that feeling immediately in the film’s opening scenes (by that I mean that it’s incredibly stressful). It’s also genuinely entertaining, funny and even heartwarming at points, so it’s not just ‘raising kids is absolute hell’ for the entire runtime. It’s rather a fresh look at parenting overall. There is a reveal towards the end, and while I suspected it as the film was progressing, it worked well for the movie. However there are aspects about how said reveal was handled (especially by other characters) which seemed a little far fetched and unrealistic, it didn’t bother me too much though. In terms of flaws I guess that there were brief moments where my interest dropped a little but they didn’t last for very long.

Charlize Theron as usual is fantastic, giving her best performance since Mad Max Fury Road. You really feel what she’s feeling as this mother having to deal with so many things at once and seeming overwhelmed. Mackenzie Davis plays the titular character of Tully the night time nanny and she’s great, truly a delight whenever she’s on screen. The dynamic between both Theron and Davis is really good and entertaining to watch. The supporting cast was good as well, whether that be Ron Livingston as Theron’s husband or Mark Duplass as Theron’s brother one who hires Tully in the first place for Theron.

Director Jason Reitman has made a number of movies but the only one I’ve seen is Juno, which is probably his most well known film to date. His work on Tully is really good as well. Probably some of the stand out directing parts that stood out was some of the brief things he decides to show on screen. There might be like a 5 second shot of something happening that doesn’t necessarily tie into the plot, it’s quite simple and subtle but they really added a lot to the movie.

Tully is one of the most overlooked movies of 2018 and it’s a shame because it’s really good. The performances especially from Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis were great and it just a really genuine movie all round. Definitely worth a watch, preferably not knowing too much beforehand.

The 5th Wave (2016) Review

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Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie Sullivan
Nick Robinson as Ben Parish/ “Zombie”
Ron Livingston as Oliver Sullivan
Maggie Siff as Lisa Sullivan
Alex Roe as Evan Walker
Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik
Maika Monroe as Ringer
Zackary Arthur as Sam Sullivan
Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch
Director: J. Blakeson

The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.

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The 5th Wave is yet another Young Adult novel adaptation and as I predicted, it wasn’t really good. It definitely had potential with some of the cast and the premise but all of that is wasted. The film is full of generic characters, a boring story, weak plot points, and plenty of dated YA clichés. Which is unfortunate, because this film could’ve actually been good.

Chloë Grace Moretz and Alex Roe star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

This film has an interesting premise. However most of the potential is wasted. The start of the movie wasn’t great but it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. There was too much narration and exposition, but it above what I expected it to be. And then at a point, over time the movie just got worse and worse. This movie is a typical generic YA Adaptation, with things like love triangles thrown in for some reason. This movie is also kind of boring, there’s not much to get invested in, the characters are bland and 2 dimensional, the story is not investing, it’s hard to care about what’s going on. Many elements of the film are also underdeveloped, like the aliens, their motivation for attacking Earth isn’t that touched upon. Also, the way the film ended was rather underwhelming. I guess they are trying to set up sequels (hopefully they won’t actually happen).

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Chloe Grace Moretz in the past has shown that she is very talented. Here though she really doesn’t have much to work with. Her character, like everyone else, doesn’t have much characterisation and feel very basic and simple. And yes, there is a romance, this being between her and Alex Roe’s character. I’ll just say that out of all the YA novel adaptations that exist, this has got to be up there with one of the worst romances. There’s also sort of a love triangle that is set up with them and Nick Robinson’s character, which would probably continue into the next films (if they actually happen). The thing is that the characters are so poorly written that really no one in this movie looks good. Not even Liev Schreiber gets a chance to be good, he ended up being this generic army guy, saying and doing very clichés things.

Nick Robinson and Liev Schrieber in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave," starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

As for the direction, it’s nothing special. The special effects aren’t really anything unique, it’s fine, really nothing great, nothing bad but also not very memorable. The way the third act ended was underwhelming and a part of that is the action sequences, they weren’t anything all that spectacular. They weren’t horrendous but you don’t really end up feeling that tense (though its probably because the writing doesn’t give you much to care about).

Ron Livingston, center left, and Chloë Grace Moretz, center right, and Zackary Arthur, below center, star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

I have no idea how accurate the movie is to the books but on it’s own, The 5th Wave is yet another failed YA Adaptation which wastes its potential, talent and premise. This movie tries to set up sequels and but I’m not sure if that will actually happen, given that most people really didn’t like this movie. It might be entertaining for some of the action scenes and just how clichéd and crazy some of the decisions were, but aside from that, this movie is not worth watching really.