Cayle’s Movie Review: “mother!”

The movie mother! follows a poet by the name of “Him” (Javier Bardem) and his wife “mother” (Jennifer Lawrence) as they remodel their house. A mysterious man (Ed Harris) shows up and asks for a place to stay. The next day, the man’s wife (Michelle Pfeffer) shows up the next day. This soon creates a domino effect of unwanted guests.

Mother!, which was directed by Darren Aronofsky, is a film that divided both audiences and critics alike. Some people think it is a masterpiece while others say it’s an exercise in self-indulgence. The main question of this review is, what do I think about it?

To start things off, mother! Has a solid cast. Jennifer Lawrence is spectacular as “mother”, the scorned wife of a poet with writer’s block. In my opinion, Lawrence gives one of the best performances of her career. Javier Bardem is also great as “Him”. It is refreshing to see him play a complex character such as “Him”. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeffer are also great as the shady houseguests of the main couple. They both manage to give off an aura of menace throughout the duration of their screen presence.

The best thing about this film is its visual direction. Aronofsky has a knack for innovative film techniques, including his extensive usage of Steadicam. Thanks to these techniques, mother! has a very chaotic style that sets itself apart from other studio projects. The film’s third act is where the film takes its visuals up to eleven. I am still surprised that this film was released by a major studio.

The most notable aspect about this film is its use of allegory. There are many debates online about what the story stands for including religion, the environment, humanity and the consequences of fame amongst others. I cannot go any further into these details without spoiling the film.

Personally, I thought the use of allegory and metaphor in this film was handled very well. I thought the writing in this film was very subtle despite its chaotic imagery. However, the film’s main problem is its pacing. The film starts off as a slow burn before going into overdrive in the third act. Despite its wonky pace, Mother! is a film that is worth seeing at least once.

I have mentioned before that this film is very divisive amongst critics and audiences alike. I would highly recommend this film for the more adventurous film-goer. This film is not for casual film-goers and the faint of heart alike. No matter what the marketing says, this is a film that defies genre.

SCORE: 9/10

Advertisements

Cayle’s Movie Review: “It”

It, which was based on the 1986 Stephen King novel of the same name, follows a group of misfits known as the “Loser’s Club” as they battle a demonic clown entity known as “Pennywise”.

Stephen King’s It was previously adapted as a two-part miniseries back in 1990. It was so successful that it still resonates with viewers almost three decades later. As a person who saw the It miniseries much later than everyone else, I thought the first half was solid while the second half fell off the rails. How does this movie compare to the original?

2017’s It is one of the few times that the remake is better than the original. While Tim Curry was more iconic in his portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Bill Skarsgård might be the scariest portrayal. He manages to give off a frightening presence whenever he appears on screen. Although I am not a fan of child actors in general, I felt the main characters of the Losers Club were the best thing about this movie. Their dialogue felt both witty and natural. You get to see those characters bond together as the film progresses.

The one thing that is keeping this movie from being great is its over-reliance on jump scares. It already has a creepy atmosphere, why ruin it with cheap jump scares? Is the director afraid that his film won’t sell if his movie doesn’t have jump scares? This is a trend that needs to go away.

In conclusion, It is a well-made movie that falls short of being of the best Stephen King adaptations.

SCORE: 8/10

Chris’ Movie Review: Mother!

Chris’ Movie Review

Mother!

Rating: 8/10 (Good)

Recommendation: Pay The 8 (With Caution)

Wow! Don’t believe that ads. This is not a horror film. Even though the previews sort of gives that feeling that it is, it’s not. So stay away if that’s what you’re looking for.

Mother stars Jennifer Lawrence (Mother), Javier Bardem (Him), Ed Harris (Him), and Michelle Pfeiffer (Woman).

Plot Summary

Jennifer Lawrence is living in a house with Javier Bardem. The two are married and seem well off. One day, a person shows up and Javier let’s him stay. Jennifer is reluctant but goes along with it. Eventually the man who is staying with has his wife stop by and things seem to get crazier from there.

Review

Mother! is a movie that needs to be seen at least a second time to fully understand it’s meaning. There is so much going on here that I doubt I’ll be able to do this film justice with this review but I’ll try.

For starters, Jennifer and Javier are amazing…as usual. The two really hit it off and have good chemistry with each other. Jennifer is the lead character and she really takes ahold of this movie. She’s a tremedous actor. Maybe she’s not your favorite or you think she puts to much emotion into scenes from time to time but she’s really great in my opinion. And Javier plays off of her so well. He takes command when needed and really brings a whole different perspective throughout that totally contrasts Jennifer in an unique way.

The pacing of the film can be a bit slow at times. The plot meanders around from time to time and the movie does become a bit stale but the reason it’s so slow is so you can really get a feel for what Jennifer is going through. You get a chance to look at everything and examine it. You get a breather when it’s really needed…. Except for the very end.

The camera work is interesting in this film. On one hand, there are a lot of close ups to the actor’s faces. This provides a “Horror” like element to movie, even though it’s not a part of that genre in anyway. But it also gives us, the audience the same sense of confusion that Jennifer is going through. She doesn’t know what’s really going on and neither do we. And the camera angles really provide that “Lost feeling” as we’re witnessing what’s going on screen. But now, the tough stuff to go over.

This film is a metaphor for a bunch of things. Each character represents something and I couldn’t even begin to tell you what. There are images that will strike intrigue with you and then there are images that will haunt you. As one reviewer puts it “This movie has a lot of biblical interpretation to it.” And I can definitley see that. I noticed aspects but I wasn’t able to put it altogether this time through.

Now, I think this film is going to turn a lot of people away. At first, I was even like “What’s going on?” I kept sticking with it because I wanted to know more. I wanted a conclusion but from what I could tell with the people I was with, they seemed more displeased/baffled than interested. And this brings up a debate. Should you see it or not?

I’m torn with this question because on one hand, there’s so much interesting stuff going on that it should be seen at least once. But on the other, this film might be a turn off for the general public. It’s ultimatley up to you but I challenge you to try this movie out. Just be ready for conversations with yourself and others when you’re done.

Overall

Mother! is movie that sparks a conversation. Whether it’s a good one or bad one, the film demands respect from it’s viewers to at least talk about it. It will bring up a ton debate and controversy but it’s all worth it in the end.

The movie can be slow from time to time. The close ups can be a tad annoying. And the ending is sort of rushed. But the acting is superb. The images are very fascinating. And the debate that comes from this film alone is worth trying once.

This film may not actually be “Good” but it’s going to take at least a second viewing from me to determine that. In the meantime, take a risk, you might surprise yourself with this one.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: American Assassin

Chris’ Movie Review
(For more, head over to our Facebook page Brotherhood Of Okay Reviews and hit that “Like” button)

American Assassin

Rating: 5/10 (Average)

Recommendation: Skip It

Second movie of the day and talk about a film that was everything I expected it to be. What’s that specifically? I’ll tell you down below.

American Assassin stars Dylan O’Brien (Mitch), Micheal Keaton (Stan), Sanaa Lathan (Irene), and Taylor Kitsch (Ghost).

Plot Summary

While on a trip, Mitch and his girlfriend are swimming in the ocean having a good time. Mitch decides to propose to his girlfriend and she says “Yes.” As he’s grabbing drinks to celebrate, terrorists come to shore and start shooting everyone down. Mitch loses the love of his life and sets out for revenge.

18 months later, Mitch meets up with Stan, and together, they go out and punch terrorists right in the face…. At least, that’s what it should’ve been.

Review

American Assassin is a movie that has action, action, action, and some kind of bullshit plot to try and keep you semi invested in between scenes where nothing is going on. It’s a “Popcorn flick” but with semi better characters than you’d normally expect.

For starters, the flim has good looking action scenes. If there’s one thing I didn’t really expect was well shot fighting scenes. The camera does get a little close up from time to time but the action is actually well defined. You can see the punches actually hit someone. That’s a major accomplishment within itself. They could’ve went cheap and blurred the scenes together but hey, if Michael Keaton is in your movie, you better actually try. Speaking of which….

Micheal Keaton is decently fun in this film. Sure, he’s not really trying but the plot isn’t either. He gives a half hearted performance and seems to really have fun with it. Dylan also has some fun with his role but he’s either trying to hard or  barely giving a shit. At times, Dylan feels like he just wants to film a scene and go back to his trailer. And in others, he seems to be enjoying himself. So it’s really half and half acting that you’re getting from these two.

Now the plot is just boring and super confusing. Other than the actual important stuff, Dylan’s girlfriend dying, they try throwing in this nuclear bomb stuff mixed with terrorists and a guy that Keaton trained a long time ago and so on. The story is kind of hard to follow because it focuses on trying to trick you rather than tell an actual cohesive story. Along with that, you just don’t care. You are there for some shooty stuff and punches to the face. The rest is irrelevant.

Another hit is the villain. Sure, he tortures Keaton but his back story is vague at best. You tend to even forget who the main two are after because he’s so forgettable. Is he the worst? No. But he’s just another character that could fill in as a Marvel villain and you wouldn’t even notice.

Overall

American Assassin is just another movie that will be forgotten within a week’s time. The plot really holds this film back from just being a fun, dumb action flick. And that’s the reason most of us showed up in the first place.

The story is boring. The villain is weak. And the plot is straight up confusing. But the action scenes are good. Keaton is fun. And the boat scene is the most memorable part of the whole shin dig.

If you take out the plot and just insert “Two guys need to stop a nuke with guns and fists.” It would’ve been so much better.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: It

Chris’ Movie Review
(For more reviews, head on over to our Facebook page Brotherhood Of Okay Reviews)

It

Rating: 5/10 (Average)

Recommendation: Redbox It

It’s been a long time but I’m back! Finally, I had the chance to walk down to the theater and catch some movies. So be on the lookout for a few reviews between today and tomorrow. Now, let’s get onto It.

It stars Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise), Jaeden Lieberher (Bill), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben), Sophia Lillis (Beverly), Finn Wolfhard (Richie).

Plot Summary

In a small town, Deery, Maine lives a group of kids who are “Losers.” They get bullied by the older kids and mocked by others. These kids are just trying to survive school and the summer until they come across a killer clown.

Now these kids must fight off a killer clown with no help from any adults what so ever.

Review

It, from the early 90’s, is a movie that is memorable because the red balloon and clown. Now we have a reboot, because of course we do, and we’re trying to bring back fear with clowns and balloons…. Balloons…. God. Who wrote this?

For starters, the kids are great. I don’t know why there are so many good child actors but there are. These kids are able to portray emotion, friendship, and physical pain really. And on top of that, these kids have a great chemistry with one another. It almost feels like they’ve known each other for years. Even though I’m guessing they haven’t. And honestly, that is the best part of the film.

So the clown isn’t scary. It’s just sad. Look, clowns can be terrifying without trying and in this film, the clown is trying but failing miserably. The setups are okay but the clown comes in and ruins everything with a pointless jump scare. Half of his dialogue is just meh. And hell, I laughed at one point because of how silly It was. There is nothing scary about him what so ever.

Now, I don’t know if the clown is supposed to be cheesy or not. I never read the book. But if I met this clown, I don’t think I’d be terrified. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to kill it easily and then that would get to me but his antics are just silly and they don’t add up. His plans just don’t make sense in the least.

On top of everything, the previews actually helped ruined this film. They show most of the big scares and give you an idea of what will happen in each shot. This ruins a lot of the setup of each scare and intrigue throughout the movie. There is nothing that’s hidden and what is, is ruined by the clown doing a generic scare. It’s just so disappointing.

I could go on about how the movie isn’t terrifying. I could state over and over how the setup shots are so so and how the clown ruins each attempt to get you to jump out of your seat, but I won’t. I’m honestly disappointed with how this film turned out. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece but I was expecting something good. A lot of critics were jumping all over this movie and liking it. So, I thought I might like it as well and I just couldn’t see what the hype was all about in the end.

If you want to say that my expectations were too high, you can. That may have had a slight influence but normally, I don’t let ratings affect me. If you like this movie, more power to you but as my first review in 3 weeks, I just wanted to get everything out on the table about this film. There. I’m good now.

Overall

It is a movie that didn’t get me to cover my eyes once. (If you follow me regularly, you know that’s not a good thing). There was so much potential lying around the set but none of it was used properly.

The scares are disappointing. The clown isn’t scary. And I didn’t cover my eyes. But the kids are great. The background stories are interesting. And the setting isn’t awful.

This film gets the Redbox It recommendation because there are a lot of people who will want to see it, which is fine, but it’s best to watch it home. Maybe open a few drinks and get ready to laugh along with the plot and clown. Just leave the kids out of it. They were really good.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Review: Annabelle: Creation

The Conjuring was a great throwback to old-school horror films such as The Exorcist. While its sequel isn’t as fresh as its predecessor, it was still a solid film. Its spin-off, Annabelle, was a movie that nobody asked for. However, Creation manages to be better than its predecessor.

The best thing about Annabelle: Creation is its direction. I must admit that I haven’t watched David F. Sandberg’s previous film Lights Out. However, Sandberg managed to create an unnerving atmosphere throughout the duration of the movie. Thanks to this movie, Sandberg has the potential to be a great horror director. In addition to the visual direction of this movie, Creation has a solid cast that includes the likes of Ouija: Origin of Evil’s Lulu Wilson.

While the film does have a creepy atmosphere, some of the scenes are ruined by jump scares. I don’t know if was Sandberg’s choice or this was due to the interference from the studio. Whatever it is, it managed to downgrade the movie. My other problem with Creation is its idiot plot. Some of the characters in this movie appear to exist solely to push the plot along. They might as well paint a target onto themselves.

While Creation is an improvement over its predecessor, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Conjuring movies. It is an entertaining movie that had the potential to be a much better movie if it weren’t for the plot conveniences.

SCORE:6/10

Cayle’s Movie Review: Detroit

The film follows the events surrounding the infamous Algiers Motel incident that occurred during the 1967 Detroit Riots.  Detroit might be Kathryn Bigelow’s best film as a director to date. She manages to capture the intensity of the Algiers Motel incident. Throughout the duration of the movie, the audience doesn’t know if the main characters would survive the night. Stylistically, I would compare this movie to last year’s Don’t Breathe (a film that, coincidentally, also takes place in inner-city Detroit). I will explain more of this later in my review.

Another great aspect about this movie is its cast. Aside from John Boyega and Anthony Mackie, the cast consists of actors who aren’t big name celebrities. This manages to work in the movie’s favor as it focuses on the characters and not on the actors. Will Poulter is the standout performance of this movie. It must have been difficult to play a person who abuses his authority.

My main criticism of the movie is its focus. I felt that the film’s epilogue was too long. The film’s third act dragged on for quite a bit and could have been trimmed by at least ten minutes. I may be nitpicking here, but I felt that the movie should have been called Algiers instead of Detroit. Yes, the real-life Algiers Motel incident took place within the Detroit riots of 1967, but this movie focused mainly on the incident itself.

I don’t know if the following opinion is considered “controversial” or not, but here it goes: Detroit might be the best horror movie of the year. Instead of some masked serial killer or some demonic entity being the focus of the film, the film deals with a real-life horror story. When Oscar season comes around, however, this movie would most likely garner nominations thanks to the involvement of Kathryn Bigelow. As mentioned by James Rolfe in his Monster Madness review of Exorcist II: The Heretic: “With horror movies, [Oscar nominations] doesn’t happen often. Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker. Put some zombies or vampires in those movies and see how many awards they get.”

Overall, this is an intense movie about a real-life incident that went down during the 1967 Detroit riots. While the movie has its flaws, it manages to capture the life-and-death situation of the Algiers Motel incident. It is a film that will cause a dialogue with its audience.

SCORE: 9/10