Category Archives: Opinion

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


wwposter5The road for DC has been nothing but a bumpy start to their cinematic universe. With both ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ and ‘Suicide Squad‘ getting mixed to negative reviews things have been looking grim for Warner Bros. The tide may be turning however as Gal Gadot takes on the amazon warrior’s mantle in ‘Wonder Woman‘. In what is considered a must win situation for not only the studio but especially weary fans of the DC universe the trick may be the film’s new director in Patty Jenkins.

A strong and determined warrior in Diana Prince, Princess of Themyscira, befriends a German spy in Steve Trevor. After a confrontation that leaves her home in fear of the outside world, Diana flees with Steve to end the Great War in Germany. It is through belief that Diana fights side by side with the human race in believing there is more good then there is evil.

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Getting this out of the way, Warner Bros. has created a winner with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. What’s filled with action and adventure we get a good look at the character that has been the idol of many women around the world through decades past. The negative reaction first hand when Gadot was cast as the Amazon warrior was later silenced in her cameo appearance in ‘Batman v. Superman‘ alongside Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. It continues in this film that not only does she prove the naysayers wrong but doing so with heart and determination.

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One of the things that stood out to me was how great of a job they were able to flesh out her character. Giving us a glimpse into not only her family heritage but also struggling to make understanding of the outside world with her relationship with Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine. While we’re mentioning Chris Pine, it’s safe to say he has great chemistry with Gal Gadot and it was without a doubt a plus for the film. It’s unfortunate of the circumstances towards the end of the movie but with that said Pine was a great choice to play alongside Gadot as they fought Ludendorff to the nail.

If we had to make a comparison I would say the writers did a better job in fleshing out Diana Prince as compared to how the writers for ‘Man of Steel‘ did with Clark Kent. With only being one of highlights it demonstrates a much improved script and in how to tell a cohesive narrative. There were even times where I made a comparison to Marvel’s ‘Captain America: The First Avenger‘ as in how they used a World War setting for their respective properties. Just imagine if we were to get a crossover of both characters and how amazing that could be.

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A well put together effort by Director Patty Jenkins puts this DC movie as one of the best films in the cinematic universe. And it also manages to balance tone and action without falling victim to being dreary and dire as in past attempts. It’s almost night and day from where we were last Summer as many were wondering if DC was in turbulent times. Could this mean we can look forward to a much brighter future for the upcoming DC properties and the eventual ‘Justice League‘ film? Let’s not jump the gun just yet but definitely ‘Wonder Woman‘ is a gigantic step in the right direction.

Rating: 7.8/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘Wonder Woman‘? Comment below and share your thoughts about the movie.

The lingering issues in ‘Alien: Covenant’ (Spoiler Warning)

Published by: Anthony Wallace


xEMPIRE_AC_PAGE_70_CROP.jpg.pagespeed.ic.ssHt4qHtROHaving given my thoughts on ‘Alien: Covenant‘ in my review (click here) there was plenty to think about as credits rolled. I spoke fairly positive about the film as far as the acting by Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, and even Danny McBride. We also got to see amazing cinematography and production design with space and the eventual arrival on paradise (a.k.a. the Engineer’s home world). And lastly, the suspense and terror were coupled by a talented sound artist in Jed Kurtzel. Where the film struggles however is in its identity and where  Ridley Scott and the studio want to take the series next.

To begin the search we examine the moment when the Covenant ship arrives on the Engineer’s home planet. It’s here that we find a beautiful landscape that hides a dark and dangerous agenda by David. Once David makes his presence felt he then leads the surviving colonists to a safe haven where we they discover the terrible truths. The problem though is that the Engineers are hardly mentioned and the citadel where they live is barely searched. This was an opportunity to learn who, what, and why the Engineers decided to create humans as we learned in ‘Prometheus‘. By the end of the film it’s learned that the Engineers were to go back to earth and destroy their creation.

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It’s almost a tease to the fanbase who loved ‘Prometheus‘ that the Engineers would not play a bigger role in ‘Alien: Covenant‘ and were consequently non-essential. The second half of the film we are reintroduced to David who reveals his desire to create life and how humanity’s actions have led him to believe that the human race does not deserve a second chance. Thus he’s been experimenting with the ampules and the black goo we saw in Prometheus. It leads us to David needing living hosts to breed a pathogen that to him is considered the perfect organism. All is well when it comes to Michael Fassbender and his character’s intrigue and horrifying viewpoints of how he perceives his creators and his creations. My issue comes to how and why the Engineers were eradicated without even a mention of what he learned from them as he and Elizabeth Shaw journeyed to their home world.

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The next issue is in the discovery of where the Aliens originated. It becomes clear that David engineered the embryos and would then spawn blood-thirsty monsters. But the discovery is all too obvious and is almost eluded to in ‘Prometheus‘ because of David’s curiosity and a desire to become a god himself. In point, everything happens so fast and the revelation to the origins of the Alien are non-suspenseful. Had we seen some of the experimentations or the progression of his final product it would have been more fulfilling. But a quick explanation to Oram (Billy Crudup) devoids the mystery we’ve come to enjoy and almost feels like a cheap way of furthering the mythology in the Alien franchise.

It feels like much more can be developed when it comes to the Engineers and I certainly hope we’ll see more of them in the next installment. There are many elements to this film that are enjoyable but I would have preferred a more fleshed out script that didn’t feel like rushing through its big ideas and thus leaving behind what could have been. ‘Alien: Covenant‘ is enjoyable and is one of the more solidly made entries in the series.

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This leads me to my last point and that is the studio should not always react to the fanbase. After ‘Prometheus‘ left so many critics and audience goers divided than ever before the studio’s hand changed the direction in which Ridley Scott was going with the story. After watching ‘Alien: Covenant‘ it’s evident that the movie feels half of a ‘Prometheus‘ and ‘Alien‘ sequel. Because of that we get a movie that doesn’t know its true identity. In the end, it cheats itself from being a great ‘Alien‘ movie and thus resulting as an apology to the fanbase.

Alien: Covenant (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


IMG_20170323_0950491It was 38 years ago that movie watchers were introduced to ‘Alien‘ back in 1979. Director Ridley Scott would go on to terrify audiences with a gut wrenching, hair raising cat and mouse game when space truckers encounter a deadly beast in deep space. A first of its kind that would spawn rip-offs that pales in comparison to a horror masterpiece. Then 33 years later, Scott would return to the universe that solidified his career with 2012’s ‘Prometheus‘. His return was met with praise and frustration as the movie had high production value but lacked in answering it’s big questions.

This now leads us to the follow-up in ‘Alien: Covenant‘ where Ridley Scott promises to bring back the Xenomorphs and the carnage fans came to love. And he also provides answers to the many lingering pains that were left unanswered in ‘Prometheus‘. After months and months of anticipation the time has finally arrived where fans look forward to a much needed Alien sequel. What one has to wonder is if fans will be satisfied for what has been a tumultuous journey up to this point.

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As a colony ship, the Covenant, advances towards its destination of a new home they are hit by a neutrino burst. The crew awakens from cryo-sleep to then intercept a signal from a nearby planet that closely resembles earth. While investigating this new world they discover what turns out to be a deadly game of survival when death and chaos awaits their arrival. The film stars Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride.

I was in the minority of those who enjoyed ‘Prometheus‘ and praised the direction and production that was put into the project. The idea of the Engineers was clever as it brought about the idea of creators of mankind who then turn on their creation. Michael Fassbender’s David makes a strong presence as the newly created android by the Weyland Corporation as his ability to be curious takes on a life of its own. Going into ‘Alien: Covenant‘ I was looking forward to another strong performance by Michael Fassbender as this time around he plays not only David but the Covenant’s new android Walter.v1.bjsxNTM1OTU4O2o7MTczNDI7MTIwMDs0NjYyOzMxMzk

The way to describe ‘Alien: Covenant‘ is a little frustrating because as much as it tries to be an Alien movie it also tries being a sequel to ‘Prometheus‘. And a lot of it has to do with Ridley Scott trying to appease the fan bases in both camps. Starting with the positives the movie is beautiful to look at. If there’s one thing everyone can agree on is that Ridley Scott knows how to produce and direct. From the external shots of the Covenant ship to the landscapes of the Engineer’s home world they are breathtaking to watch. Even the cast do a decent job while falling one by one to deadly pathogens.

Lead actress Katherine Waterston plays the distressed co-captain alongside Billy Crudup’s Oram. The director’s belief in casting strong females for the role has proven to be true as was the case of Sigourney Weaver. Except she isn’t meant to surpass Weaver’s performance in the franchise rather to demonstrate the tenacity as she fights for her life. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the runtime is dedicated to Michael Fassbender’s David/Walter as he continues to explore the idea of creation. But that’s what saves the film from floundering into familiar gasps and terror. David takes things to the next level and that’s when he truly becomes a terrifying menace.

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Now we come to the difficult part because as much as we’re entertained by Michael Fassbender and the visual prowess of Ridley Scott, the film struggles to balance in tone. When we explore the terrain of an uncharted paradise it’s hard not to forget ‘Prometheus‘ and the scientific expedition that took place as they journey to find humanity’s origins. Then there comes a point when the monsters arrive, a.k.a the back-burster, and the many other creatures that show up in the film. The creatures almost seemed to take the backseat or were merely around to make an appearance. A good chunk of the film glides around the questions of the Engineers and how David survives a hostile environment. There never were smooth transitions between the terror and the grand ideas set by the script. It’s unfortunate because the lack of substance behind the Engineers is something I was hoping to see more of.

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There’s going to be disappointment and that’s because the script tries to please everyone but not in a satisfying way that we’d hope. Great performances by the cast; more specifically Michael Fassbender and even the one and only Danny McBride. There are terrifying moments in the movie and I wouldn’t even say its the aliens themselves. If you were put off by the religious and scientific garble in ‘Prometheus‘ then don’t expect it to go away. In fact, it may be more blatant as the movie does explore the ideas of heaven and hell. If you’re a fan of the aliens then you will also be disappointed because their mysterious beginnings may spoil the lore that fans have enjoyed for many years.

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It may take subsequent viewings to change my perspective on ‘Alien: Covenant‘ as time goes on. But in the way I was thoroughly in awe of ‘Prometheus‘ on its first viewing it may be a tough mountain to climb. This is not an easy review because although I tried not to go in with expectations I still ended up feeling somewhat let down. The last thing I will mention is the sound score by Jed Kurzel. He did a great job by mixing in the sound of Jerry Goldsmith’sAlien‘ with this movie. There was a great use of buildup when things started going awry. It made me feel like we returned to Ridley Scott’s world and bringing back memories of how great the original ‘Alien‘ was. Though the latest entry in the franchise isn’t a deal breaker it certainly reminds us how special a filmmaker is able to explore the unknowns while terrifying its audience in the process.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Alien: Covenant‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? How would you rank the films in the franchise? And would you rather have gotten a Prometheus sequel or an Alien sequel? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Power Rangers (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Power_Rangers_(2017_Official_Theatrical_Poster)The fate of planet earth is at stake when the evil Rita Repulsa is resurrected from the ocean depths. When five teenagers of attitude are chosen to save earth, they form to become the power rangers. With superhuman strength and a leader behind Zordon the rangers set to face Rita and battle her closest ally in Goldar. Can the rangers save their city of Angel Grove before its too late? Stay tuned to found out.

A sensation of the 90’s swept the globe as Saban’s Power Rangers took kids and future generations by storm. It was a time like nothing else and would live on with countless variations of the hit series. But nothing could compare to the original power rangers and the influence it had on television. Come 1995 we’d see ‘Power Rangers: The Movie‘ come to life with great success. Twenty-two years have passed and now Saban, with the help of Lionsgate, return to deliver a new and revamped property with a more modern take.

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Gone are the cheesy action and dialog that has not aged well over time. Even in the earliest stages of the 90’s with the mixture of martial arts and cut-in scenes of the original Japanese series plagued creative for some time. It wasn’t until Rita was recast and new footage was filmed that helped take the series to a whole new level. In the coming seasons we’d get a taste of the powerful mastermind Lord Zedd or King Mondo of the Machine Empire. Thereafter would become history with action figures, VHS tapes, cereals, video games, and even a gateway to Saban spin-offs that weren’t as successful but will always be remembered.

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This time around we get a more dark and serious toned movie that takes what made the original series so great with charismatic actors and incorporating an origins story with it. How I’d describe this movie is that it’s more of a redo of the first episode ‘A Day in the Dumpster‘ with different circumstances and origins tale for both Zordon and Rita. And the main villain being Goldar who’s one of her main henchman’s. There’s even a reference to the Zeo crystals that in some cases looks to bring the reboot a culmination of major events from the early years.

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From a technical and production standpoint I thoroughly enjoyed the costume designs of the new rangers and even the location of the Command Center. There was early criticism of the Alpha robot but to me it wasn’t a problem as his personality matched well with his design, even if it’s far different from the original incarnation. There had to be more of an alien feel and look to the suits, Zordon, and Alpha to match the origins of where the rangers came from. Looking back at the series there was a big displacement between the enemies attacking earth and what the suits and everything else seeming more earth like.

If we’re looking at a rebooted franchise with sequels in the works I’d say they’re headed in the right direction. I like the fact that the movie took chances and incorporated current trends and cultural relevancies that brings a breathe of fresh air. RJ Cyler, who plays the blue ranger, breaks from what the original series had with Walter Jones playing the black ranger. A lot of attention was put on it at the time when it was then revealed that it was just a coincidence. But nonetheless RJ Cyler brings a combination of the blue and black ranger from years past and does it phenomenally and was a standout.

There’s even a reveal by the yellow ranger, Trini, played by Becky G., being part of the LBGT community. Some may say Hollywood is going overboard by including more and more LBGT characters into their films to aide a cause but to me it represents a cultural shift, and that is a good thing. The scene in which the reveal occurs is quick, effective and welcoming. Without causing a stir, I say all this because it reflects diversity and a step forward for future generations.

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Some of the disappointments I have with ‘Power Rangers‘ has to do with the handling of Rita (Elizabeth Banks) and the poor effects that were done for Goldar. Starting with Rita, I thought she started strong but then was handled in a clunky manner towards the end. There’s one scene, that for anyone who’s watched the film will agree, that had me scratching my head. And for Goldar they could’ve done a better job in the special effects department. One may argue the original costume looks better in comparison for what we got. For a second I thought they used stock footage from ‘Gods of Egypt‘ and how awful the effects were for that. One last thing to mention, there’s a moment when the iconic power rangers music comes on and feels displaced compared to the tone of the film; seeming to appease the diehard fans. Personally, they didn’t need to do that.

Believe it or not I’m curious to see where Saban and Lionsgate take this property next as they’ve put their best foot forward. It’ll be interesting to see which villains are thrown in next and seeing as how the studio may be taking a different approach from the television series. Could we be seeing Lord Zedd in the sequel? Time will tell and fans young and old should enjoy ‘Power Rangers‘ for its vision and charismatic actors. It’s morphin time!!

Rating: 6.8/10

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What do you guys think? Are you a fan of the ‘Power Rangers‘? Which era are you a fan of and do you look forward to the reboot? Comment below and share your thoughts?

Life (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMzAwMmQxNTctYjVmYi00MDdlLWEzMWUtOTE5NTRiNDhhNjI2L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When an international space station intercepts a failed satellite, they discover a single cell membrane that may lead to Earth’s first contact with alien life. As the life form retaliates it looks to attack the astronauts onboard. To the astronauts the only thing that matters is that it doesn’t get back to earth; even if it means taking their own lives. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson.

First thing that comes to mind when I first saw a preview for ‘Life‘ was how familiar it was. And it’s coincidental that this movie comes out two month before one of the most eagerly hyped films of the year in ‘Alien: Covenant‘. If you thought going into the movie you were going to see something fresh and unused compared to years past then you are terribly mistaken. But what the movie does have going for it are the involvement of its stars. And believe it or not the acting isn’t all that bad. As a matter of fact, the movie is competent for most of its duration. Yet in the end the movie is just there.

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Getting this out of the way, the movie does give call-backs to Alien and many other franchises; almost to the extent of embarrassment. One of which is shown in the trailer where Ariyon Bakare’s character is seen having hand difficulty when the organism grabs hold. It immediately brought me back to Ridley Scott’sPrometheus‘ (2012) when a biologist gets his arm snapped by an alien worm. And once the organism grows to a certain point it resembles something we’d see in ‘The Faculty‘ where high schoolers fend off against parasites taking hold of there teachers.

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Looking back I regret even seeing the trailer because beat by beat you see major spoilers that lessens the events that transpire. And upsettingly the conclusion is spoiled with a lackluster twist. What I hoped to get from the movie was some form of character development to where we can care about the people we watch. To a point they succeed with one of the astronauts who’s welcoming a baby girl. And another who’s length of time in space is taking a physical toll on his body but emotionally he is not too ready to return to earth because of space’s tranquility. Yet as a whole the script doesn’t succeed in making us care for them when turmoil ensues.

Though the movie started with promise and exposition as to what life-form they’re dealing with, I was hoping they’d go into more detail. The movie just rushes to move ahead rather then venture into what the organism is capable of or what its endgame would be. It’s obvious that it can’t get to earth because doing so would put the fate of mankind at risk. So where’s the suspense? There really isn’t any. From Gyllenhaal to Reynolds to Ferguson, they all were fine with some gripes to be made on some of their decision making. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s not a game-changer. ‘Life‘ is sadly just there.

Rating: 6.5/10

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How do you feel about ‘Life‘? Are you planning on watching it? How does it compare to other sci-fi movies in years past? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Logan (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


mv5bmji1mjkzmjczmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwndk4njyymti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_It may be the curtain call for Hugh Jackman as he steps into the shoes of Wolverine but he leaves a lasting impression. What is probably the most character driven installment in Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men series, Director James Mangold puts heart and soul into what has to be considered every fan’s dream. As Logan’s health deteriorates he discovers that he has a daughter, Laura, who is fleeing from danger and discovers a safe haven that is located in North Dakota. Their journey is met with obstacles and may push Wolverine to the brink. The film also sees Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, and Stephen Merchant.

The anticipation for an R-rated Wolverine movie has been brewing for years amongst the fan base. And that’s exactly what the studio delivers in what may very well be the last time we see Hugh Jackman don the claws. Being someone who doesn’t follow the series, it not only satisfied me as a comic book movie but it stood tall as a proper send off to an iconic Marvel character. It could even be said that ‘Logan‘ was the least comic-book to film adaptation because of its themes and tone. As exciting as it was to watch Wolverine splice and dice his victims we get a better insight into the emotional strings that have made him so bitter for so long. And the reveal of his daughter Laura helped to bring that compassionate side of him out; though it took a pretty good while before Logan to come around. logan-2017-trailer-sees-hugh-jack-playing-the-most-emotional-wolverine-he-has-ever-been-in-any-x-men-movie-youtube-movieclips-trailers_931699

We get good performances all around as we start off by mentioning Hugh Jackman. He will always be Wolverine to the eyes of the fans and nobody, as far as the eye can see, can replace him. Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Professor X (aka Charles Xavier) as we see him falling to the bits. In many ways we can see both characters reaching their end to a degree. There were many heartfelt moments between them as their relationship had really built over time. Then we see Dafne Keen who is the daughter of Logan. Their relationship took a while to develop but when the time came it would hit home. The chemistry between Jackman and Keen managed to work out and had plenty of surprises to go with it.

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Obviously the action was what everyone wanted to see and a more brutal and bloody one at that. From the opening action sequence to the very end, let’s just say that heads were rolling. And a mentioning has to go out to Dafne Keen who surpassed my expectations and then some because of how easy she made it look. And that’s what elevated the fun element and depending on where Twentieth Century Fox decides to go hopefully we’ll get to see her again. There were twists and turns along the way that caught me by surprise and that I didn’t see coming. In many ways the film centered around closing story arcs and is the overall interpretation that’s given for some of the characters.

Where Fox decides to take the X-Men series next with or without Hugh Jackman as Wolverine remains to be seen. It’s going to be an adjustment for not only the studio but especially the fans. There are seeds of development that could spill into the next movie but to avoid spoilers they will not be mentioned. A lot of attention and effort was put into ‘Logan‘ and everyone should leave satisfied as probably the best performance by Hugh Jackman in the series. If it truly is the end for Wolverine as we know him in this incarnation then kudos to an amazing journey.

Rating: 7.8/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘Logan‘? And is this really the last performance by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Get Out (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


get-out-2017-2In an age of reciprocal storytelling and an audience that clamors for something new there sometimes comes a breakthrough. The writer and directorial debut of Jordan Peele presents a fresh concept with a thrilling take on social commentary. Not only is ‘Get Out‘ a thriller but it also has a mix of comedy and a great ensemble cast. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and LilRel Howery. As the story goes, Chris is about to meet the parents of his new girlfriend, Rose. What starts as a warm welcome then turns to bizarre events as Chris realizes he may be caught in a sinister plot.

We’ve been fortunate to have seen some great work from new and upcoming directors from these last couple of years. And this is no different as Jordan Peele takes risk in using social commentary of interracial relationships and injecting a bit of horror. After watching ‘Get Out‘ the one thing I appreciated most was how simple the concept was and didn’t overcomplicate itself. Many times movies can bombard itself with plot twists and then lose focus as to what made the movie effective in the first place. Credit also has to be given to the cast because they didn’t over do themselves nor did they fall victim as movies tend to do.

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I’m not going to go into detail as to what happens in the movie because everyone should go in with a fresh set of eyes. All I will say is that there was a great use of suspense that managed to carry all the way through the film. Not once are you looking at your watch and asking yourself if the movie is over. And again, the movie runs with great pace that allows the audience to stay on their toes. Daniel Kaluuya, who plays Chris, on many occasions was paranoid considering he was black and if you put yourself in his shoes you would be just as freaked out. That’s what made the movie unique and many people from all walks of life could connect with his character.

This was a great film and one that took me by surprise. Jordan Peele is on the right track and has a bright future in his film career. Could we see another project down the line that mirrors a similar plot? It’s too early to tell but I hope we get more of these because original features seems too much to ask now-a-days.

Rating: 8/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Get Out‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.