God’s Country mainly works due to Thandiwe Newton’s performance that is very raw and really keeps the interest of the viewer, the photography of the setting is truly beautiful especially when combined with the atmosphere. Speaking of which the film absolutely nails the atmosphere on so many levels, the film does take it’s time to get going but once it does it actually explores a few themes such as racism. Which the film does a pretty solid job in despite feeling a bit unexplored at times, which the movie makes up for with very engaging writing that really builds the characters with a lot of personal moments between one another. There’s a lot here that is very striking and really adds to the film’s overall atmosphere that eventually leads to a very strong third act. Once again Newton is truly what makes the film shine, just watching her character interact with everyone else is really investing and gives the film it’s personality that is very memorable after watching.
Luckiest Girl Alive has the right material to be a really interesting movie on some very heavy subjects but the way the movie is crafted leaves it very disjointed. Mila Kunis does a really great job it’s definitely one of her best performances in awhile, the movie taking on subjects such as rape and school shootings comes as a surprise from this movie. On the surface it seems like it’s going to be another Netflix mystery movie that falls in line with what they usually release. But when these subjects do come up and are shown it comes as a shock, when the film does tackle these subjects it does a pretty good job of nailing down the point. However mixing these important subjects with a very subpar story is when the movie starts to fall apart, the cutting from the past and present is very messy plus it does not give the viewer nearly enough time to fully digest what exactly happened despite being almost two hours long. Lastly the movie juggles way too many ideas at once, between trauma, the mystery element, school shooting and rape it does well with certain ideas but leaves a lot more to be desired about others. Luckiest Girl Alive isn’t a bad movie it’s just a disappointing one that could have really been a home run.
Edgar Allan Poe horror movies aren’t a new concept, they have been around forever but often times it feels like the filmmakers want to do way too much with the subject rather than tell a simple story that scares the viewer or make a eerie atmosphere. Raven’s Hollow tries to do way too much, while there are some strong folklore horror elements as well as the setting becoming a bit haunting due to the atmosphere. The characters are very one dimensional and have very little to no character development, the creature itself is pretty neat and there’s some surprisingly gruesome deaths. But there really isn’t anything of substance to the movie, the movie actually reminds me of a weaker version of The Cursed a movie that came out earlier this year that I wasn’t a huge fan of. But at least that movie used it’s elements in more creative ways, Raven’s Hollow is just another Edgar Allan Poe movie that does nothing to standout.
The audacity to make The Harbinger nearly 2 hours long is through the roof, there’s absolutely nothing to this movie that is even remotely interesting. There’s tons of dull dialogue that doesn’t move the story forward at all, which leads to a huge amount of pointless scenes. It also attempts to try this over the top comedic horror effect which falls completely flat on it’s face mainly due to the horror elements being very limited and are restricted to a couple of jumpscares. I really have no idea what on earth they were trying to go for here but whatever it was they completely missed.
The Harbinger is available on all VOD platforms.
Tiny Cinema is another very uneven horror anthology that really misses it’s mark, I was hoping that this could provide some entertainment since it’s directed by Tyler Cornack who previously directed Butt-Boy. But a lot of the segments are either forgettable or are just bad, there’s some shots here that aren’t too bad and I guess the acting isn’t the worst. But a lot of it really doesn’t use it’s ideas to their full potential.
The Forgiven has a pretty strong cast that is ultimately the best part about it Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Abbott, Ismael Kanater and Matt Smith are all great and for the script they are given they do a great job. What mainly hurts The Forgiven is that it really doesn’t do anything with it’s topic, being a satire of eating the rich or of the very wealthy is something that could be interesting if done right. But unfortunately The Forgiven doesn’t have the script to back it up, there’s some decent shots here and it’s competently made but script doesn’t offer anything investing and instead is very surface level at best. The basic formula with The Forgiven is the following…present an interesting idea, explore it for about five minutes and then abandon it and finally move on to the next. The Forgiven isn’t a terrible movie as it is well acted and decently made but it’s definitely one that could have been really great.
Where The Crawdads Sing has a lot to like about it, there’s some really strong acting from Daisy Edgar-Jones, Jojo Regina, David Strathairn, Michael Hyatt and Sterling Macer Jr. There’s also the setting combined with the atmosphere that is actually pretty well done here, there’s plenty of thrilling moments that give the setting some sort of beauty to it. The film also does a solid job of building Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) as a character and showing her backstory so the viewer can connect with her, the major problems here are the pacing, the romantic scenes and the running time. For starters the pacing drags quite a bit towards the end, when things seem to be wrapping up it just keeps going and really puts the movie at a halt. The romantic scenes aren’t strong enough mainly due to Taylor John Smith’s and Harrison Dickinson’s performances being really nothing special, there’s definitely a few moments that are emotional and quite beautiful they aren’t enough to outmatch the forgettable ones. Then there’s the running time of 126 minutes that definitely overstays it’s welcome, scenes quickly become repetitive and as I said earlier drag on quite a bit. Despite that Where The Crawdads Sing is still a decent enough murder mystery that has a lot of positives.
Not a whole lot to comment on here, Cryo is a student film and there was clearly a huge amount of effort put into it that’s very commendable. The atmosphere is quite great and I do like the premise of it, even if it’s very much like The Cube, the major problems are the paper thin characters who just don’t have a whole lot going for them. And the running time which is for whatever reason nearly 2 hours long, combine that with some very messy pacing and you get a huge mixed bag of a movie. The acting is at least decent and the writing is actually not that bad, it’s just when it comes to character development is where the movie really lacks.
So I had no idea what to expect from Mid-Century all I knew was that it had a surprising amount of talent in it Stephen Lang, Vanessa Williams and a few others are in it. Unfortunately that’s the only good part about it, this movie pretty much felt like if the LifeTime channel decided one day they wanted to attempt at a thriller/mystery movie. It has the same terrible acting, the same messy writing and a lot of moments that are just absolutely horrendous. The ideas the movie presents are interesting they are just executed in such a lazy and uninspired way where the movie runs out of energy before it can even begin, I really don’t know what else to say. Mid-Century could have been an interesting little movie but completely forgets how to use creative ideas.
I feel like I’m in a time loop, The Contractor starring Chris Pine released last week and was a very nothing special about action thriller, now this week we have All The Old Knives another thriller (minus the action) starring Chris Pine which again is another nothing special about it thriller. To be absolutely fair All The Old Knives is better than The Contractor, mostly due to the first and act of All The Old Knives at least being somewhat interesting. The chemistry between Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton was surprisingly pretty decent both of which give solid performances and Lawrence Fishburne was decent as well. What hurts this movie is the 3rd act with twists that lead to some very ridiculous moments that don’t fit the movie at all, it’s one of those situations where the twists had no reason to be there but the writers put them in there because they wanted to. it’s a prime example of a movie that could have been overall pretty decent hadn’t been for some nonsensical decision making.
All The Old Knives is available on Amazon Prime Video!
It’s been two days since I watched The Cow and some of it I completely forgot about until I started writing this review, so that’s a bad start already. The Cow has an interesting premise that never gets fully realized, Winona Ryder gives a really strong performance and the same can be said for Brianne Tju, the atmosphere is definitely there as well. There’s some genuinely suspenseful moments that really capture a thrilling experience that I wish the rest of the movie had. I’ve noticed with some of SXSW’s films this year there’s a lot of them that have no idea what genre they want to be, so they just throw in random elements from other genres and hope they stick. That’s the case with The Cow, the first act plays out like a drama but then quickly becomes a thriller that gets very ridiculous at the third act. It’s a fine enough setup to a very lousy result that could have honestly been disturbing if the writing and the atmosphere were a lot stronger, what definitely breaks this movie is the dialogue. There’s moments where it’s so bad it takes you out of the movie, when you are trying to build a suspenseful movie that’s the very last thing you want. Overall The Cow is a missed opportunity, there was definitely an attempt to try and make this work but so many flaws are holding this one back unfortunately.