Tag Archives: drama

A Quiet Place (2018) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


a-quiet-place-movie-posterA family taking refuge in the outskirts of town are surrounded by creatures that hunt by sound. Their new way of life becomes challenged as obstacles begin to mount with survival on the line. The film is directed by actor John Krasinski and stars himself with fellow actress Emily Blunt.

There has been an uptick in actors turned director in the last few years; a good example, Joel Edgerton who made his directorial debut with ‘The Gift‘ in 2015. The film was met with praise by critics and was favored by audiences. A promising start that would make way for other actors to get their fair chance. With ‘A Quiet Place‘, actor John Krasinski takes a rather simple idea and turns into a suspenseful and smart piece of work.

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From a cinematic perspective the film was gorgeous to look at with amazing cinematography. The attention to detail also made the movie that more rewarding as you truly felt what was at stake given the circumstances the characters had to live through. For a good majority of the movie there was little to no use of background music thus replaced by natural sounds. Doing so allows the viewer to stay in suspense while hammering in the idea of what can be taken for granted in the everyday life of humanity. As creatures seem to be taking over the world they are attracted to sound. By committing noise it gets their attention and thus leads to an attack. To live in a new age of silence will challenge everything you once lived and the new reality that comes with it.

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The acting is top notch with both Emily Blunt and John Krasinski as their chemistry makes the viewer believe everything that is happening throughout. Never was there a moment when you questioned their motives because of how careful they were to prepare for if or when a threat was imminent. The children in the film, played by Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, were great as each of them had their own personal struggles; especially during the opening sequence as a loved one suffers an early demise. From that event it carries on throughout the movie and eventually brings closure by the film’s end.

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Some of the best moments came from when the wife, Evelyn Abbott, had to bare a child while chaos ensued. The suspense kept building and building and wouldn’t let go. More importantly however never did the film feel like it had to go out of its way in exposing what or where the creatures came from. A typical cliche that many movies fall victim to and thus destroys the mystery behind their existence. No exposition or voice-over from any of the characters at any point during the film. It was just a matter of living in that moment of time and experiencing the disruption of life that befall the family. The ending also brought a little bit of laughs with much satisfaction as credits began to roll.

From an actor turned director, John Krasinski is well on his way to becoming a much appreciated asset. ‘A Quiet Place‘ is an example of cinema done right and that continues to prove that less is more.

Rating: 8/10

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Are you planning on watching ‘A Quiet Place‘ in theaters? If having seen the movie, what did you think of it? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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Goat (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


v1-btsxmja5mzq5mjtqoze3mta0ozeymda7njuwozk2mwInspired by true events, ‘Goat‘ tells the story about a college student named Brad, who after experiencing a brutal assault, decides to enter a fraternity with his brother Brett. What starts as fun with beer, girls, sex, and endless parties is when the initiation begins. That’s when accusations of hazing turns deadly as the cost of entering the fraternity walks that fine line. Based on the short memoir by Brad Land and his experiences of hazing in fraternities, Director Andrew Neel explores the world of fraternities and hazings and how the media has begun to draw attention to such extremes and the dangers they pose. The film stars Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and a short cameo appearance by James Franco.

After months of anticipation and an effective trailer that was disturbingly eye catching, we get to see Andrew Neel’s ‘Goat‘. The film as described by the synopsis starts with an intense assault on Ben Schnetzer’s character as Brad who then enters a fraternity to try and work through the trauma that was brought upon him. Whether or not it was effective is left to the interpretations of the audience as the movie is centered around Kappa Sigma and Hell week as it’s implied. Hazings has been brought to the attention of college campuses around the country as they’re becoming aware of the dangers these fraternities bring upon to those who wish to join. Brad was introduced to the frat by his brother Brett, played by Nick Jonas, as Brett is already a member of Kappa Sigma.

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The movie is intense and there were times when you began to wonder when the line is crossed as you watch Brad go through Hell week along with other individuals. And there was a natural feel to these characters coming from all the actors which made the movie that much more disturbing because it didn’t feel like your typical Hollywood production. Andrew Neel did a great job as he gave you a true sense of what a fraternity is like, plus or minus the hazings as not all fraternities should be portrayed as going to these extremes. We also get a psychological perspective from Brad as he’s inflicting a lot of the brutality. Having already been assaulted you sort of watch him revisit that torment and makes you wonder how it becomes therapeutic from not taking crap from anyone.

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In a short appearance we also get to see James Franco who’s role is basically that he was once a part of Kappa Sigma and has then went on and started a family. However, he makes a short visit with his brothers and relives the memories of the frat and why they’d have Brad’s back. On the one hand it was effective as Brad would no longer need to fear fighting alone but on the other hand he starts seeing the dangers as well. It was nice to see Franco in the movie but I’d only wished we got to see more of him. Then again as the movie is based on a memoir there may or may not have been an involvement anymore then that.

Some of the issues that come up are mainly based on how the movie jumps between Brad as he copes with the assault and him joining the fraternity. Because as the movie starts we don’t really get introduced to the fraternity until at least a half hour and in those thirty minutes its based around the assault. Then as he he partakes in the initiation we watch him go through psychological torture which is when we then see him revisit the assault at various moments that kind of makes it feel like we’re watching two different movies. Where on the one hand there is the assault and then on the other is the hazings in the fraternity. But at the same time there’s a psychological connection between the two events which makes it work from that perspective.

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Not having read the memoir from Brad Lane, it’s hard to make comparisons between the two and whether or not the movie explored all the events as told. But from what I watched Andrew Neel did an amazing job telling the story of what possibly is concerning for college organizations across the country as it comes to hazings. Nick Jonas was surprisingly utilized effectively and really lived up to the role as a college frat as his youth may have played a part in it. Same can be said with Ben Schnetzer who had a daunting task of taking the abuse and mentally putting himself in uncomfortable situations. In the end though his performance paid off. This may or may not be easy for some viewers to watch but ultimately it does the job and the performances are the big reason why.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Goat‘? Are you or someone you know involved in a fraternity that has experienced such events? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Triple 9 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


UnknownA group of crooked cops are under pressure by a Russian Mob to pull of a heist. But not everyone is in on the job as Chris Allen is partners with Michael Atwood who has relations with the boss’s family. When the IA gets closer to the bandits and the walls begin to close in, everyone is on their own and trust soon turns to betrayal. The movie is directed by John Hillcoat with stars Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Woody Harrelson.

From the same person who brought us ‘Lawless‘ and ‘The Road‘, John Hillcoat delivers an action packed drama that wasn’t promoted or advertised. Not having seen the trailer I went into ‘Triple 9‘ with low expectations because of the lack of exposure in theaters and on television. So how did the movie fair? Although it kept my attention with the story and action sequences the film is far from perfect but it managed to stand on its own two legs for most of the runtime.

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What this movie reminded me a lot of was Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed‘ and Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Training Day‘. In this film we find Michael Atwood lead a group of men in a series of heists while working for a Russian Mob. Along the way he struggles to please his bosses while trying to see his son whenever possible. It gets to a point where Michael has to make drastic decisions in order to stay alive. At the same time we follow Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) as he is partnered with Michael unknowing of his involvement with the mob. This leads to a heist that is near close to impossible where the only solution is to call a triple 9 and lure police away from the police station in order to steal from The Department of Homeland Security.

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The movie keeps the viewers attention with the drama and crime scenes that are genuine to what we see with cartels and inner-city violence. There’s one scene that got a reaction from the audience that hits close to home that involves a car and head trophies sitting on the hood of the trunk. And the performances by Affleck and Ejiofor were what stood out from everyone else. Everyone contributed in their own way including Woody Harrelson who played the IA detective and father of Chris. One of the disappointing things that took me by surprise was the sudden death of one of the characters. Without spoiling it all I’ll say is that I really thought this character would have had a leading part in the movie.

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There wasn’t necessarily a bad performance throughout the movie; however, what did hurt the film was the pacing. After starting strong with a bank heist we then get introduced to the mob. It’s soon after that we learn of the heist that’s to take place in the near future. But until then the movie takes its time leading up to the heist that a good twenty minutes could have been removed to quicken the pace without hurting the story. And where the movie also suffers is in the quick and sudden resolution between Michael and the Russian mob. The movie could have better intertwined the crooked cop narrative along with the mob’s narrative. It felt at times the two were separate from each other yet people were referenced by each side. Aside from these issues, your entertained till the end with decent performances from everyone involved.

Although the narrative could’ve been a little tighter with less of a runtime, ‘Triple 9‘ is good enough to leave audience members satisfied. It may not have that effort as compared to ‘Training Day‘ or ‘The Departed‘ but it follows the same twists and turns each were able to offer. Casey Affleck and Chiwetel Ejiofor are the leads who did a great job along with Woody Harrelson. Having not been advertised enough it’s disappointing this movie won’t do as good financially had it been the other way around.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think? Have you heard of ‘Triple 9‘ and are planning to watch it? Comment below and click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.

Gods of Egypt (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


godsofegypt0001When Horus is about to be crowned King of Egypt, his uncle Set turns on his fellow brother to take over and rule the land. As the Gods are hunted down one by one until Set is the only King, a mere mortal in Bek sets out to help Horus and return Egypt to greatness. The film is directed by Alex Proyas and stars Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaites, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Going into ‘Gods of Egypt‘, Alex Proyas is known for having success with ‘I, Robot‘, ‘Dark City‘, and even ‘The Crow‘. Those films had visual appeal that going into this movie I was looking forward to another showcase. If one were to find out this movie had a production of $140 million* you would be in disbelief. How or where the money went to produce a poorly edited, poor effects, and a lackluster script made ‘Gods of Egypt’ a big budget mess.

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The opening of the movie was eye catching as the narrator introduces us to the groundwork. It’s here we find Gerard Butler as Set confront Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) after the death of Horus’s father. With exposition in place we are led on a long and treacherous journey where the movie ultimately fails. With actors like Butler and Thwaites we’d expect a decent experience where entertainment would be a given. So much effort was put on the special effects that there was barely a script to follow. The dialogue from some of the actors must have been hard to muster because it didn’t make any sense nor was it funny when it wanted to be.

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With performances aside the money grabber is on the effects. Yet with so much invested the outcome is horrendous. Where things went wrong is something Director Alex Proyas would have to explain because there wasn’t a justified effect that stood out. The only effect that would have worked had it been done right was how the Gods were depicted when they transformed from human form to shielded giants. If the special effects were spot on the action scenes would have been amazing; especially the fighting sequences between Set and Horus.

Along with a bad script and poor effects, we also get a 127 minute runtime that isn’t justified. The movie could have easily been cut down to 90 minutes as there were countless scenes of dialogue or action sequences that were put in the script for the sake of keeping audience’s attention. It’s to no surprise an embargo was put in place with no early screenings for critics that ‘Gods of Egypt‘ was doomed upon release. This is a huge let down from Summit Entertainment that sees Alex Proyas with a less than stellar entry to his portfolio.

Rating: 4/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘Gods of Egypt‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. And click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.

*Source: Box Office Mojo

Eddie The Eagle (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


eddie-one-sheetBased on an inspiring true story, Eddie Edwards is determined to make it to the olympics all his life while growing up. After everyone’s touting him that he wouldn’t make it, he finds a friend in Bronson Peary who coaches him by his side. Together they prove to everyone that getting into the olympics is not all about the successes but the struggles getting there. The movie is directed by Dexter Fletcher and stars Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton.

I was very much looking forward to ‘Eddie The Eagle‘ due to the fact that Taron Egerton is an up and coming actor who’s previous involvement in ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service‘ was ¬†awesome. This time we find Egerton playing the role of a rookie ski jumper who’s able to get into the 1988 Winter Olympics with Hugh Jackman in a supporting role. This movie was really good and the direction by Dexter Fletcher added to it with the production as it took place in the 1980s. From the background music to old footage of the Olympics in 1988 you truly felt you were in that time period. And the performance by Egerton was great as he not only played Eddie Edwards figuratively but mentally as well.

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There were some great moments in the movie with one of them being when Eddie decides to try the 40 meter jump for the first time. He was successful with the 15 meter jump that he thought nothing would be different this time around. And of course when he attempts the jump it doesn’t turn out so well. It was the over-confidence of Eddie that made him crazy and inspiring to watch all at the same time. Some of the camera shots were from such great heights that as a viewer you get butterflies as he makes his descent. To imagine doing a jump from 40 meters is nothing in comparison to a 70 or 90 meter jump as we’ll see later on. It’s a dangerous sport that even the greatest ski jumpers have been known to take hard falls.

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As good of a performance we get from Taron Egerton we also get from Hugh Jackman. His portrayal as a former ski jumper who struggles with alcohol abuse was so good that he was able to balance the two very well. Both Egerton and Jackman had good chemistry together that towards the end of the film their characters found a mutual respect for each other. Nothing can be said about the acting as both of them did a really great job telling a story that found respect in the portrayal of Eddie Edwards in real life. There were some minor issues with the film as one of them being a scene where Eddie walks into a sauna where Slovakian ski jumpers stood bare naked. The scene was meant to be funny which it was when Eddie first walked in. However, as the scene went on there almost was a homosexual vibe where it almost became awkward. At the end of it your still not sure if it was implied that they were gay or if was the direction of the scene that gave it that effect.

With great direction and production by Dexter Fletcher, ‘Eddie The Eagle‘ is inspiring to the story of a rookie who’s dream of getting into the Olympics came true while proving everyone wrong. It was great seeing Taron Egerton paring with Hugh Jackman as we got to see two action stars come together and giving it their best. And before I forget, the movie does such a good job flowing with ease that the hour and 47 minute run-time went by like nothing. Had the movie been longer you wouldn’t have noticed because the pacing was superb. This is definitely a feel good movie anyone could enjoy as I highly recommend giving this a watch.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Race (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


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It’s the dream of Jesse Owens to be the best runner in the world. As the 1936 Olympics is set to take place in Germany, Owens faces adversity when discrimination at home and politics overseas begins to build. With the help of Ohio Coach Larry Snyder, Owens proves to himself and his family that nothing will stand in his way from pivoting to greatness. The film is directed by Stephen Hopkins and stars Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, and Jeremy Irons.

One of the great things we see in ‘Race‘ is the dual narratives about the discrimination at home between whites and blacks; while overseas it’s the Hitler regime readying to host the Olympics. The director, Stephen Hopkins, did an amazing job telling a story about the politics of race. Actor Stephan James who plays Jesse Owens was likable and you could sense the weight of politics on his shoulders when he is forced to make a decision to take part in the Olympics. Not taking its time to recognize how good of an athlete Owens is, much of the movie is centered on the Hitler Regime. You sense the animosity building as Germany prepares to host the games while holding hostility towards Jews and those of color participating in the event.

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Another good performance we get is from Jason Sudeikis as we get a sincere coach who believes deeply in Jesse Owens. Even when it looked like Coach Snyder couldn’t coach Owens in Germany, he did everything in his power to encourage Jesse in pursuing greatness. What I would’ve liked to have seen more of is Jesse having more of a challenge as he practiced under Coach Snyder. Right off the bat we are introduced to a talented athlete who had little to improve on. It’s great to see Jesse succeed but I’m sure in his life there were moments that tested him. However, on the flip side we see Jesse face the celebrity pressure when he puts his marriage at risk while on the road. But isn’t that we always see in these types of movies? No surprise there.

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Looking at how the movie was made, Hopkins did an amazing job with the editing and flow of the story. The attention to detail of what it was like for the U.S. Olympic Committee to vote to participate in Germany with contingencies in place. This is where Jeremy Irons comes in as Avery Brundage who’s behind the scenes as he butts heads with the Fuhrer’s hired gun. And this is where race comes into play with the politics of discrimination. There were moments when the weight of judgment were on the shoulders of Jesse that he almost fell under the pressure. Ultimately, Jesse would win four gold medals in the Olympics before returning home. A telling moment came when it turns out that the U.S. government didn’t recognize Jesse Owens for his successes until 1960; 25 years of unrecognized notoriety that is now being told.

A good story with some much valued history to appreciate, ‘Race‘ will win audiences with a compelling story. The movie may be overlooked due to its competitors; however, those who do catch the film will be impressed by Stephen Hopkins’ efforts and the performances by Jason Sudeikis and Stephan James.

Rating: 7/10

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Risen (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Risen_2016_posterWhen the Messiah is put on the cross and left to die, Clavius is ordered to put the body in hiding. After three days the body of Jesus is said to have disappeared thus leaving Clavius to search the truth. In a story about resurrection it’s the telling of a non-believer who searches deep within to question his loyalty and faith. The movie is directed by Kevin Reynolds and stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, and Peter Firth.

Another telling of the bible as LD Entertainment delivers a faith-based story as we slowly approach the Spring season. This time Joseph Fiennes plays the lead role of Clavius who is ordered to go throughout Jerusalem and bring forth the thieves in the night. His performance here is one of the bright spots because although the movie centers around him the movie could have easily failed had it not been for his contribution. Majority of the film is about Clavius searching for the prophets body. When Jerusalem is raided and Mary Magdalene (Maria Botto) is found by Clavius it leads to a pivotal moment where belief comes into question.

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The narrative for ‘Risen‘ doesn’t lead up to anything but rather explores the key events that leads to the rise of Christianity and the disciples who are sent out to spread the word of god. Some may find the film questionable while others may gloss over the facts, either way the target audience for ‘Risen‘ will find something to like. One of the things that took me by surprise was the amount of parents who brought their kids to the theater to watch the movie. There is a good amount of violence that at least in the theater I went to no one was complaining or had to take their kids out. One scene in particular was intense as we see one of Clavius’ guards piercing a rod through one of the three men on the cross. To hold a PG-13 rating the movie surely was riding that line where at moments you thought it should’ve received the R.

In the end you will go into ‘Risen‘ being educated about the resurrection of Jesus while also being entertained by very few action sequences. Although the movie isn’t memorable as there are more superior iterations such as Mel Gibson’sThe Passion of the Christ‘, audiences can take something away in some way or form. It’s a slight recommend with the performance of Joseph Fiennes that saves ‘Risen‘ from falling from grace.

Rating: 6/10

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