Category Archives: Romance

The Discovery (2017) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Rooney Mara as Isla
Jason Segel as Will Harbor
Jesse Plemons as Toby Harbor
Riley Keough as Lacey
Robert Redford as Thomas Harbor
Director: Charlie McDowell

In the near future, due to a breakthrough scientific discovery by Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford), there is now definitive proof of an afterlife. While countless people have chosen suicide to reset their existence, others try to decide what it all means. Among them is Dr. Harbor’s son Will (Jason Segal), who has arrived at his father’s isolated compound with a mysterious young woman named Isla (Rooney Mara). There, they discover the strange acolytes who help Dr. Harbor with his experiments.

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The Discovery was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. With its talented cast, its very intriguing premise and trailer, it looked like an interesting and unique movie at the very least. After finally watched this movie, I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. The acting, direction and most of the story was great. There were a couple of aspects which didn’t work well but it’s not enough to affect the overall viewing experience in a major way.

The premise about the aftermath after the discovery of the afterlife is very interesting, and I was invested throughout the entire running time. I never felt bored or confused in the movie (I was however confused at the end but I’ll get to that later). Each twist and turn only increased my curiosity in what direction the film was going in next. For the most part this movie works very well. That’s not to say that everything was as good as it could’ve been. The film does rely on a lot of exposition and while I liked it, I felt like there was too much of it. And then there is the ending… I’m still not sure what I think about it. The ending does add yet another twist to the numerous other twists in the movie. It is such a big twist; however the film doesn’t really allow much time for this twist to play out before the movie ends. The twist itself is one that I’m a little confused about, and I wasn’t sure about what the ending meant. Overall, I guess I sort of liked the ending but I do think it should’ve been handled better.

The acting in this movie is great overall but Rooney Mara delivered the most stand out performance out of everyone. Rooney played her role incredibly well, she also had a lot of humorous moments and lines. Her character was the one I was most interested in throughout. She and Jason Segal played off each other and had great chemistry. Segal was pretty good, however he did feel like a weak link, I’m not sure why it feels that way. Possibly slightly miscast, but he wasn’t bad. Robert Redford is always great, and does have quite a presence here. Other actors like Jason Plemons and Riley Keough were good but they were underused.

The direction and cinematography were great, this film is visually beautiful, both in regard to the way that the film was shot as well as the locations chosen. This film also has this almost eerie feel to it, which is helped by it’s score. I don’t know why but this really made me even more invested and interested in the movie.

The Discovery is very intriguing and interesting throughout. The acting was great (especially from Rooney Mara), the direction by Charlie McDowell is really good, and the story was really riveting. There are some problems I have with the movie, especially with the way they handled the ending but what it gets right, it gets right so well. I definitely recommend giving it a view, it’s now on Netflix. Not everyone loves this movie, but it might just surprise you.

The Loft (2015) Review

The Loft

The Loft

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Sexual Violence, Drug Use, Offensive Language and Sex Scenes
Cast:
Karl Urban as Vincent Stevens
James Marsden as Chris Vanowen
Wentworth Miller as Luke Seacord
Eric Stonestreet as Marty Landry
Matthias Schoenaerts as Philip Williams
Rhona Mitra as Allison Vanowen
Rachael Taylor as Ann Morris
Isabel Lucas as Sarah Deakins
Director: Erik Van Looy

For five men (Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts), the opportunity to share a penthouse in the city — in which to carry on extramarital affairs — is a dream come true, until the dead body of an unknown woman turns up. Realizing that her killer must be one of their group, the men are gripped by paranoia as each one suspects another. Friendships are tested, loyalties are questioned, and marriages crumble while fear and suspicion run rampant.

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The Loft had a good Hitchcockian premise and great cast with actors like Karl Urban and James Marsden being a part of the movie. The cast couldn’t however rise above the terrible material that they had to work with. The plot holes, the uninteresting story and just the overall script let every aspect of the film down. There are glimpses of a potentially good film at times but for the most part this movie fails on every level. The Loft isn’t one of the worst films I’ve ever seen but it is definitely a bad movie.

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Hands down the worst thing about this movie is the script. First of all: the characters, not only is there a lack of likable characters, the main characters are so despicable, and to make it worse, we’re supposed to care about what’s happening to them and it’s so hard to when we not only don’t care about them, we want bad things to happen to them. They aren’t even written that interestingly. Another problem is the pacing, it was so slow in many scenes of the movie. This film has a non-linear way of telling its story, flashing back to relevant parts that happened in the past, however these flashbacks are so long and the relevant information takes up only small parts of those flashbacks, so it just gets boring in these scenes. Also the film shoves so many plot twists, to the point where the film becomes so convoluted and doesn’t make sense. It’s one of those mystery stories that after watching it, you begin to notice plenty of plot holes and inconsistencies.

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This movie had a great cast with Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller and many others. I can tell that they are trying to give good performances and they have moments where they could show off their talent but they have horrible characterisation, dialogue and are playing completely unlikable characters, so they aren’t given much to work with. The blame shouldn’t really fall upon them.

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The direction is fine for the most part but there are times when the director makes it overly stylistic. Sometimes out of nowhere he uses awkward close ups, tilted camera angles and pans, for no reason at all. It felt really awkward and distracting but this only happened a few times and for the most part this film looked fine.

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The Loft had so much potential to be a great film with its premise and its talented cast but for whatever reason, that didn’t come across on screen. The script had so many plot holes, the pacing was off, just everything was let down by the script. The funny thing is that this movie is a remake of a Belgian film called Loft (2008) which was apparently great. Guess what both films had? The same director, Erik Van Looy. He did an American remake of his own film. It’s strange that A. he would remake his own movie, and B. he didn’t get it right. The Loft wasn’t an unbearable movie but I don’t think it’s worth watching.

The Danish Girl (2015) Review

Eddie Redmayne stars as Lili Elbe, in Tom Hooper’s THE DANISH GIRL, released by Focus Features. Credit: Focus Features

The Danish Girl

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Nudity and Sex Scenes
Cast:
Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe/Einar Wegener
Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener
Matthias Schoenaerts as Hans Axgil
Ben Whishaw as Henrik
Amber Heard as Ulla
Sebastian Koch as Dr. Warnekros
Director: Tom Hooper

After standing in as a female model for a painting by his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), Danish artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) becomes enamored with his feminine identity and begins living as a woman named Lili Elbe. Although their marriage becomes strained, Gerda stands by Lili as she explores her true self and eventually undergoes one of the world’s first gender-reassignment surgeries in the 1930s.

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Ever since the first image of Eddie Redmayne in this movie came out, I was intrigued. This sounded like an interesting movie, as well with Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander’s and Tom Hooper’s involvement. While it’s not great, I do think that The Danish Girl is worth seeing for its performances from its lead actors. The production design and direction of the scenes are still pretty good as well and the overall direction of the scenes from Hooper was decent. However its writing didn’t quite hold up, and unfortunately does bring down the movie a little bit from what it could’ve been.

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As I just mentioned, I felt that the writing was the weakest aspect of the movie. I don’t think it’s bad by any means and it gets the job done in moving the plot and characters along. I did hear that it was inaccurate from the original story but I don’t know of the original story. I will say that I thought that Redmayne’s change and how that affected his and Vikander’s relationship was handled well. But the writing did fall short of what it could’ve been. The movie despite being 2 hours long did feel like 2 hours and a half, I think it was stretched out a little too much. I also thought that the film really didn’t explore who these two characters actually were. After the seeing the movie I realised that apart from their place in the plot, I didn’t really know much of who they are. There was some emotional component that was missing from this movie, I can’t exactly determine what it is.

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Eddie Redmayne is again incredible and made up for his disastrous performance in Jupiter Ascending. I thought his transition and discovery was very believable, he manages to portray both Einar and ‘Lili’, and seemed totally different from one another, this must’ve been a very difficult role to pull off. The fact that when Eddie Redmayne is dressed up as a woman, actually looked like a woman helped, in fact he looked more out of place when he wasn’t dressed up as a woman, both physically and emotionally. Alicia Vikander is also great, she gets a lot to do in this movie as a wife seeing her husband slowly disappearing and coming to terms with his transformation. Although I felt that the characters didn’t have that much depth in terms of the writing, both Redmayne and Vikander made them seem like real people and elevated themselves above the material given.

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The production designs and value was great and I thought that it reflected the 1920s time period quite well. The soundtrack by Johann Johansson was also great. The scenes and the overall film were directed well by Tom Hooper, my problem is really not with his visual direction, it was the script that had the most problems.

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The Danish Girl isn’t that great of a movie and doesn’t hold up as well on its own. The writing could’ve been better, the pacing could’ve been handled better and the characters weren’t as well written as they should’ve. But it’s the performances from Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander that make the film worth watching. Sure the movie on the whole could’ve been better, especially with the writing, but the performances are good enough for me to recommend this movie.

Carol (2015) Review

ROONEY MARA and CATE BLANCHETT star in CAROL

Carol

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Sex Scenes, Offensive Language and Nudity
Cast:
Cate Blanchett as Carol Aird
Rooney Mara as Therese Belivet
Sarah Paulson as Abby Gerhard
Kyle Chandler as Harge Aird
Jake Lacy as Richard Semco
Director: Todd Haynes

Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots the beautiful, elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store. The two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love with complicated consequences.

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Carol already had my attention when I heard that my two favourite actresses, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, were both going to be in the same movie. It had a lot of hype, despite it not winning many of the awards that it was nominated for. After finally seeing Carol I have to say that it is truly one of the best movies of 2015. Todd Haynes’s excellent direction and attention to detail mixed with the great performances from Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett makes this an incredible movie.

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One thing I heard about this movie before going into it is that the romance is much more subtle than in other movies. That’s definitely the case and I thought it was extremely well done, however it wasn’t just the romance that was subtle. The acting and direction allows you to clearly see how the characters are feeling, without too much dialogue needed to get their emotions across. Also you might initially think from the plot summary that a big part of the movie is focussed on how gay people weren’t exactly able to see each other in the 1950s but it smartly focussed more on the actual romance between Carol and Therese, which helped us get pulled even more into the story, if that aspect was included it could’ve taken away the immersement of the love story. This is the first film I’ve seen from Todd Haynes, and after seeing Carol, I really want to see his other movies.

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The acting is excellent from everyone. Cate Blanchett is as usual excellent in one of her best performances yet, and that’s saying a lot considering her performances like in Elizabeth and Blue Jasmine. Another great performance which is often overlooked in this movie is by Rooney Mara. Despite Mara being placed often in Best Supporting Actress in many award ceremonies, the movie is really Therese’s story. She arguably has the hardest job of any of the actors in this movie, a lot of her emotions you get from her eyes, which really is the sign of a great actor. Both of them share great chemistry, there was no moment where I doubted the love between Carol and Therese. The supporting actors also added quite a bit with actors like Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler but its Mara and Blanchett’s film.

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Usually with period piece movies, there’s some aspect that doesn’t feel natural with the time period and kind of takes me out of the movie. In the case of Carol however, it puts you right into the 50s with the excellent production design and costumes, which are both things that I don’t usually notice in most films. Todd Haynes’s attention to detail is great and can be clearly seen here. The soundtrack from Carter Burwell was great as well, and helps fit in with the tone that they were going for. By that I noticed that this film almost had some sort of hypnotising effect, and it helped as this movie really felt like a journey with these characters.

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Carol is one of the best movies of 2015, it’s such a shame that it didn’t get as much recognition as it should have. Its excellent performances, the great love story and the production value makes this an amazing movie. I’m not sure if it’s my number 1 favourite movie of the year but I’ll just say that the other movies I gave a 10/10 this year at least had some sort of flaw. With Carol though, I can’t find anything wrong with this movie, everything felt complete and I loved it. Check this movie out as soon as possible.

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Review

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Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Sex Scenes and Offensive Language
Cast:
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia “Ana” Steele
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Eloise Mumford as Katherine “Kate” Kavanagh
Jennifer Ehle as Carla Wilks
Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Trevelyan Grey
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

When college senior Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) steps in for her sick roommate to interview prominent businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for their campus paper, little does she realize the path her life will take. Christian, as enigmatic as he is rich and powerful, finds himself strangely drawn to Ana, and she to him. Though sexually inexperienced, Ana plunges headlong into an affair — and learns that Christian’s true sexual proclivities push the boundaries of pain and pleasure.

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I want to make it clear that the only reason I watched this movie is because I wanted to catch on the best and (in the case of this movie) worst of 2015. I knew that this movie was going to be terrible and of course I knew the book was based on Twilight fanfiction. However even with that, after watching this movie, I can say that this is one of the only movies that I’ve regretted seeing for a review, even Bloodrayne 2 didn’t get to that level. This ‘movie’ was boring and frustrating with a bad ‘story’, bad ‘romance’, everything pretty much failed in this movie.

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In the first act of the movie, I actually found the film kind of entertaining in how terrible it was. The dialogue is horrendous and the sudden interest between these two characters was unbelievable. At the halfway point though, I started to over time hate this movie. The problem is not that this film is basically a 2 hour porno, the problem is that the whole movie is basically about these two ‘characters’ and whether they would end up together (even though they shouldn’t as they aren’t compatible in the slightest), and that is literally the only thing going on. While bad movie romances have happened in the past, there’s bigger picture stuff happening in the stories, even Twilight did that. And because of that, this movie is tremendously boring, and many scenes felt like alternate versions of the previous scenes on repeat. Ana wants to have a relationship with Christian, he says he doesn’t do love, they have sex, rinse and repeat.

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I can tell that Dakota Johnson is a good actress and can be good if she is actually given good stuff to work with. However her character is one of the weakest characters I’ve ever seen in a movie, and that is saying a lot. These main leads have no chemistry at all, they have worse chemistry than Bella and Edward from Twilight. And there was nothing else going on as I said before, so imagine 2 hours of Twilight minus the plotlines, with the exception of the love story. That’s this movie.

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One of the only good things about this movie is that it looks nice, however lots of horrible movies are well shot; it doesn’t count for much. As I said earlier this movie is a soft core porno, and the sex scenes are there (and vaguely BDSM I should mention) but it’s hard to get into because you can tell that these two characters are completely incompatible with each other, and they are so boring and lifeless so we don’t care about what’s going on. If the filmmakers really wanted us to get into the sex scenes, they would either make the characters likable or interesting, or they would just have the film with sex scenes with no attempt to have developed characters, as that was pretty much the entire book to begin with.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX (4106372a) Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Film - 2014

In the previous bad movies of 2015 that I’ve watched, I haven’t really hated them to this level, not even Taken 3. This movie however made me question watching and reviewing bad movies. The only reason to watch this movie is if you want to see a lot of sex scenes, but even then it’s hard to get into them and it’s somehow boring. Unfortunately this movie did well enough and will probably end up with two more sequels (or maybe even three, since splitting the last book in 2 parts is becoming a thing). Fifty Shades of Grey is truly an atrocious ‘movie’ and I can’t think a single reason to watch it.