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Average User Score: 4.0May 12, 2018The #MeToo movement is surely proving itself, showing quite the impact it has made and continues to make in Hollywood in 2018 so far. ThanksThe #MeToo movement is surely proving itself, showing quite the impact it has made and continues to make in Hollywood in 2018 so far. Thanks to a much-needed rise of female directors making feature films, as well as female-centric storylines including kick-ass heroines and action stars, Breaking In is contributing to an increasing canon and genre of films where girls can have as much fun as boys beating up the bad guys. Don’t get me wrong, audiences luckily have had some of the best female action heroes thanks to actresses like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, Chloë Grace Moretz in the Kick Ass action film series and of course, Marvel’s own female protagonists with the likes of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, to the upcoming and anticipated Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. With Breaking In, Gabrielle Union joins a long list of strong women who never take no for an answer and fight back, even when the going gets tough. Aside from being added to a list of female action stars, Union joins the prestigious ranks of Taraji P. Henson, Pam Grier and other prolific African-American women who have placed their names in the history books of women who fight back. Yet, with Breaking In, one of the more interesting factors of Union’s hero is the fact that she is also a mother! While the film is programmed specifically for the Mother’s Day weekend in North America, Union’s character Shuan Russell, demands much attention, for the simple fact that, unlike many of the other names mentioned previously, Union’s Shuan is no hit-woman, super hero or spy. Instead, Breaking In is a film that showcases the great lengths a mother will go to protect her family in the face of danger and violence.
What seems as a clichéd take on the home invasion action genre, quickly becomes a very meticulous and thought-out showcase on a very raw concept. Breaking In shows its strengths by being as embedded into reality as possible; an action film that really doesn’t over glamorize the conflict; never exploits the spectacle to Michael Bay heights, instead Breaking In shows the very talented ability to exercise its restraint in being a very realistic actioner.
While Breaking In is not a perfect film by any means, suffering from various guilty continuity errors, as well as not really developing any of the antagonists and their motives and methods as well as criminal backgrounds, it does a very good job of allowing Union’s Russell to use her common skills and knowledge in defeating a very menacing and threatening group of evil men.
Billy Burke, a face many would recognize in the Twilight trilogy as Bella’s loving father, plays the mastermind behind the robbery, Eddie. Elaborate and cunning, Eddie’s plan unfortunately doesn’t go as planned once Shuan and her children decide to spend the weekend at her father’s house after his death. Joining the sinister Eddie are Sam (Levi Meaden), Duncan (Richard Cabral), and Peter (Mark Furze), three criminals who agree to rob the old man’s home in search of a hidden fortune.
While Shuan travels to the home with her two unwitting children Jasmine (Aijona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr), the children quickly get held hostage by Eddie and his gang, forcing Shuan to take desperate measures and actions that push the boundaries of fear to desperation, and challenge Eddie’s very strategic plan.
Breaking In is a popcorn film in its entirety. With a brisk runtime, to very fundamental action set pieces to two-dimensional character development, along with some very surprising twists in the narrative, the film doesn’t offer too much new and fresh material to the genre, yet engages its audience with hurdles of thrills and suspense. Union shows her star-power as a desperate mother who is willing to give up everything and anything to ensure the safety of the people she loves the most.
Breaking In may not be breaking any records or limitations, but does a masterful job of showcasing Union and her very physical action role with poise and elegance, truly allowing the audience to believe that when a mother has her back against the wall when it comes to her children, she is capable of anything; and in 2018, I really don’t think that there is a more relevant message to tell young woman and mothers all over the world right now than that. Breaking In really keeps its promise and pushes the film’s tagline that revenge really is a mother…… Expand
Average User Score: 3.9Apr 19, 2018Imagine if Willem Dafoe and Jack Nicholson’s the Joker had a baby and was captured with that disturbing and oddly sinister SnapChat filterImagine if Willem Dafoe and Jack Nicholson’s the Joker had a baby and was captured with that disturbing and oddly sinister SnapChat filter that embellishes your mouth. Now imagine that offspring haunted and followed you around declaring you choose “Truth or Dare” in a twisted game of survival, untimely death and mutilation. Well, if you’ve pictured that perfectly in your head, then you’ve visualized the type of disturbing and demonic visions torturing a young group of teenagers who have played a deadly game of truth or dare in Mexico. Aside from the film adding to a long list of reasons why young teenage Canadians should NOT visit Mexico during spring/march break, Truth Or Dare is the latest low-budget horror film to come out of the infamous and highly profitable Blumhouse production house, spearheaded by Jason Blum.
Blum, who has gained quite the reputation in Hollywood for profiting big on low-budget horror films for the last decade, on film series like The Purge, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister as well as the extremely well received and Oscar winning film Get Out, seems to still has a soft spot for B-level teenage horror films based on simple premises.
With his latest, Truth or Dare, a film that was pitched just from its title and an opening scene that was thought-up of on the spot between director Jeff Wadlow and Blum in a meeting room, Blum surely doesn’t intend on showing much originality or any intent on following up with his highly praised Get Out, even if Truth or Dare doesn’t even compare to his last film Happy Death Day, a fun film that spins the very familiar Groundhog Day narrative motif on its head, adding the right amount of blood and gore.
“Do the dare, or you die. Tell the truth, or you die” are really all the rules you need to know when it comes to the game, although the game does make its own rules as the film progresses, making it really hard for Olivia (Lucy Hale), Lucas (Tyler Posey), Markie (Violett Beane) and Brad (Hayden Szet0) to come out of the game with their lives.
While many of the truths that are revealed between the young group of friends, there isn’t much revealed that would be worth losing your life over. Sure, there are some confessions of crushes surfacing, as well as sexual preferences being forcefully admitted to and true loves being named, but other than that, the stakes of their virtues and truth really aren’t that menacing. Director Jeff Wadlow, who has had experience in the horror genre with his much better debut feature film Cry Wolf, shows the lack of originality and the dependency of jump scares and cheap thrills that fall flat.
While I have always been terrified of menacing faces, the demon Calax, who is possessing this group of teenagers, shaping their faces to those eerie smiles, is lacklustre at best. Looking more like a cheap SnapChat filter, the frights (like the $3.5 million budget) are low in Truth or Dare. While I dare you to find any real character development in these paper thin teenagers who suffer from what would be the definition of ‘first-world problems’, one cannot help but noticed just how daringly bland Truth or Dare really is. Taking cues from previous horror films whose main demonic entity is completely invisible, like The Final Destination series and dare I say the immaculate It Follows, Truth or Dare seems to emulate too much without offering much else to the genre. Most of all, not that anyone was expecting a film like this to be an Oscar contender in 2019, but these types of films rely heavily on one of its most important qualities, and that is being a fun time at the movies. But like any crappy dare you need to fulfill, watching Truth Or Dare is more of a chore than a pleasure.
Truth Or Dare is teenage horror fare looking to cash in on mediocre first week numbers, and a film that will quickly disappear without ever being remembered. Hypocritical from start to finish, boasting way too much exposition from the opening scenes in Mexico to an ending that was way too sinister for its own good (which also one of the few redeeming factors of the film), Truth Or Dare is a film that we hope doesn’t inspire a horror film franchise series aptly titled “spin the bottle” or “seven seconds in heaven”.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Apr 4, 2018Audiences around the world go to see a Wes Anderson film for many reasons; imagination, creativity, wonder and most of all, amazement. A manAudiences around the world go to see a Wes Anderson film for many reasons; imagination, creativity, wonder and most of all, amazement. A man who has crafted and added to, not only a branch of the film industry within the independent market, but an individual who arguable has his own genre of film, proves with his latest that you are able to make an independent success, commercial darling and fading animation style feature film revolutionary. After eight feature films which enrich the medium as a whole, Wes Anderson delved, for a second time, into the stop-motion foray with his ninth future film, and quite possibly his best yet with Isle of Dogs. You heard the rumours right? About Isle of Dogs? Sure, there are a ton of rumours, controversy and discussions about the auteur director’s latest film, both positive and negative (which we will discuss further into this review) including some fun facts that if you say the film’s title fast, it’s actually the equivalent of saying “I Love Dogs”, as well as arguments about cultural appropriation, hmmm.
The fact of the matter is, first and foremost, Isle of Dogs is a film that pays tribute and homage to so many of the things that Anderson loves and hold very dear to his heart. From his love to canines, to his homages to legendary filmmakers and vanguards Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa, to his love of stop-motion animation; Anderson’s second venture into stop-motion animation is a film anchored by his passions, as well as a TRUE film for dog-lovers everywhere. DISCLAIMER: NO ACTUAL dogs were harmed during the making of this film–fact!
Nevertheless, don’t let the animation fool you, Anderson’s Dogs is as convoluted a story and themed complexly as any other of his films.
A true underdog story, the film follows a young Japanese boy Atari (Koyu Rankin) and his odyssey to save his beloved guard dog Spots (Liev Schreiber), a short-haired Oceanic speckle eared sport hound, who so happened to be the first dog to be sent to Trash Island, a fictional land outside of Japan’s fictional Megasaki City twenty years in the future, although the story seems more relevant now than it may in twenty years [hopefully]. Trash Island was sanctioned by Atari’s mayoral uncle, Mayor Kobayashi voiced by Anderson collaborator, who also served as one of the screenwriters, Kunichi Nomura. Kobayashi, following an age old dynasty that transgresses from his farthest ancestors, with strong pro-feline beliefs, sets course to sanction a law to deport all dogs to Trash Island, blaming “snout-fever” and “dog-flu” as an incurable disease for its people, despite two scientists (Ken Wantanabe and Yoko Ono) on the verge of a medical breakthrough with the cure.
“What ever happened to man’s best friend?” indeed becomes one of the driving forces of the film. While Atari steals one of his uncle’s jets, the mayor himself Kobayashi, who serves as the boy’s ward following his parents tragic death years before, become family members and foes overnight. Questions arise as to why Atari on a quest to save Spots and deliberately chooses to throw his comfortable life away, despite Spots being one-helluva cute dog? It hurriedly becomes apparent that not only was Spots Atari’s loyal companion, but the pup also served as Atari’s loyal and trusted doggie-gaurd, despite Atari’s hesitations at first. Fast forward some time and Atari’s crash landing onto Trash Island, a desolate, ugly, grungy and garbage-filled wasteland inhabited only by dogs, populated with the brittle bones of animal carcasses, leftover waste, as well as spoiled and half-eaten food of Japan’s Megasaki, the journey becomes a young man’s ode to self-discovery and his ultimate moral fibre. Anderson, who so wonderfully, brings to life fantastical worlds in true Wes Anderson-esque fashion, seemingly chooses this story to showcase a very different side of his of his visual, truly allowing garbage, trash and waste to serve as a beautiful and poetic backdrop to his newest canon of films. Adding signatures such as Anderson’s symmetrical filming style, the use of pans and deep zooms, and Trash Island as well as the overly-populated Megasaki City fit right in with the rest of Anderson’s highly staged universe’s. It also becomes quite easy to see that Anderson is also pioneering himself into cinematic prestige; using Isle of Dogs as his Avatar, progressing and improving stop-motion, maturing the visuals of the medium as well as mastering the ways of its presentation, especially comparing it side-by-side to his first venture with the form in The Fantastic Mr.Fox.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Mar 9, 2018When I learned that another neurotic coming-of-age narrative film was actually coming into fruition, written and directed by an actualWhen I learned that another neurotic coming-of-age narrative film was actually coming into fruition, written and directed by an actual post-millennial, starring the late Anton Yelchin in his final role, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Olivia Cooke (Me, Earl and the Dying Girl), I could not contain my excitement. Thoroughbreds seemed like a self-aware, startling look into the world of over-privledged high school girls on the road to vengeance; with hints of Ingrid Goes West meets the precision of a David Fincher film. Yet, Cory Finley's debut feature is a puzzling step into a world of teens who are usually overly medicated, defiant and just plain bored.
Thoroughbreds starts off very promising, borderline extremely interesting narrative teen angst film; showcasing the relationship between two very opposite and quirky teenage girls who have lost touch since going to high school (think quirk, a LOT of quirk). Amanda, played by the wonderful Olivia Cooke, admits early she is void of all feelings; proving her talents by showing Lily how to fake cry, in what she describes as "the technique", as well as how to not care about anything and how to defy everyone in her world. Lily on the other hand, played wonderfully by the porcelain beauty Anya Taylor-Joy, is an emotional high-schooler who lets the little wealthy nuances of her step-father Mark (Paul Sparks) and her inactive choices of her mother really crawl under her skin, pushing her to the point of no return, birthing an idea for a plan on how to kill her step-father.
What began as extra money for Lily to tutor Amanda, quickly becomes a very awkward, strange and one-sided friendship based around the evolution of a plot to killing Lily's uber-rich step-father. Mind you, Lily and Amanda never really think what would actually happen if they did kill a human being, especially when one acknowledges the fact that they spend most of the film drinking his expensive wine; swimming in his luxurious pool and playing with his life-size garden chess pieces in the backyard; but hey, who am I to judge the semantics?
When we first meet Amanda and Lily, Finely does a masterful job of capturing us in their web of natural seduction and arousal. Between the denim short-shorts, the summer dresses and low-hanging tops showcasing the young women's sultry and seductive assets, Amanda and Lily are two very attractive young ladies who are unfortunately plagued with what I like to call, a severe case of "first-world problems". Lily can't stand her step father's rowing machine upstairs, or the way her treats her mother, despite her relishing of the newly purchased tanning machine in the basement, or extravagant chef-inspired dinner dishes in the evening. Luckily for Lily, thanks to her newly rekindled relationship with her elementary school weirdo friend Amanda, who recently butchered her favourite riding horse in the family barn, gives Lily the idea and nerve to hatch a plan to kill Mark.
Finely shows immense potential as a debut filmmaker. His natural use of getting the best out of his actors with his fluid direction and razor-sharp script, allows the talented young actresses hone in on their naturally seductive characters, mannerisms and nuances. Amanda's constantly witty remarks to justify herself to Lily never grow old; Lily's ferocious delivery of her ideas and counter-arguments to Amanda are entertaining as heck, and the two girls constantly keep the audience engaged throughout.
Luckily, aside from Amanda and Lily, the last piece to the puzzle of murder and anarchy is Tim; a sluggish extremist who provides the film with its majority of dark comedy and humour, played mercifully by the late Anton Yelchin. Unfortunately, Yelchin was never able to see the film finished, due to a very tragic and bizarre vehicle freak-accident. Thankfully, Tim is the film's very emotional core; see-sawing between compassionate anti-hero, to logical irrationality, dabbling with hints of disillusionment and false promises. Yelchin has never been better as a battered and bruised stoner, idealist and ultimate dreamer.
While I truly admire the bravado of Thoroughbreds, my final feelings for the films lies heavier towards the spoiled and pretentious spectrum of the scale. As a man who one day hopes to have children, it gives little to no hope for being a parent; giving the assumption that teenagers within the middle-class to upper-class realms of Western society, won't like the choices their parents make for them, and maybe just decide to do away with them, and kill them, or at least, think of killing them. I mean, is going to boarding school really that bad, especially when you can't stand your step-dad but still need to abide and live by the rules of his lavish Connecticut mansion? Even when he is as robotic as RoboCop and seems more mild-mannered and polite as Pee-Wee Herman?… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Dec 18, 2017If I told you about The Shape of Water, what would I tell you? I wonder?
Well, for starters, I don’t think that anyone would have predictedIf I told you about The Shape of Water, what would I tell you? I wonder?
Well, for starters, I don’t think that anyone would have predicted that we would have gotten two adaptations of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” story arc in 2017. While one was a literal Disney re-imagining, following the animated classic almost frame-for-frame, Disney’s March hit Beauty and the Beast was a huge success at the box office and with critics alike. While our second interpretation, The Shape of Water, the film is more of a…lets say, unconventional take on the classic narrative archetype; complete with full frontal nudity, scenes of masterbation, feline decapitation and of course (as with any del Toro film) good ol’ bloody violence, our second interpretation is defiantly a more imaginative and adult directed adaptation.
Yet, the sex, blood, violence, gore and nudity aren’t the things we remember most from The Shape of Water. Instead, we focus on the lucid use of luminous night colours, the amazing characters and all of their flaws, feats and challenges, and most of all, the beauty of such a taboo love story, between two very misunderstood individuals from different worlds.
While del Toro may very well NOT be remembered as a director and writer who flourished making intoxicating love stories, The Shape of Water will surely be a film that challenges that notion greatly.
Set in 1962, del Toro’s newest is an interesting yet ironically reflective film that romanticizes the past with great style. While the past that del Toro is passionate about, his narratives always seem to use the past as a tool that presents an idealized and passionate and very forward way of thinking. In doing so, del Toro uses the past as a reference point of so many of society’s mistakes about women, visible minorities and of course, a repressed society without a voice, hence, why our story centres around a princess without a voice.
Our princess here, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), is an uninteresting mute who, in the first five minutes, establishes her daily routine of her home life, work life and social life in very quick and easy to understand order of routine. Elisa, who works for a highly classified government research facility in Baltimore, has seen many things. Among one of the newest secrets to be housed in the facility, is their most sensitive assets to-date; an aquatic creature that was captured in South America by the highly violent and blue-collard, religious American patriot Strickland (Michael Shannon). Along with her best Zelda (Octavio Spencer), Elisa and Zelda are tasked with cleaning the facility that houses the highly sensitive and elaborate creature from the South American lagoon, with out course keeping in mind that Elisa’s muteness adds to the sense of secrecy. With each passing day and intrigue to blame, Elisa becomes more and more transfixed with the two-legged, finned man-fish who is never given a name but played by the del Toro staple Doug Jones. Clearly, Elisa begins to fall in love with the creature that eats the hard boiled eggs. As each passing night brings the beast and beauty together, Elisa begins smuggling in record players, vinyls and experiences for the creature that begins to humanize him. Sharing her nightly work experiences with her best friend and neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), Elisa finds comfort in the unordinary romance with the “thing” that has captivates her heart, as well as ours.
It would be hard to argue the vision of the passionate and such artful director Guillermo del Toro, especially since his masterwork Pan’s Labyrinth. While Water may not be that films successor, it surely will be remembered along side it for many years to come. A man whose fascination with the gothic and horror elements of storytelling are visibly seen in almost all his works, del Toro has been known for focus on action and the very violent side of story-telling. With The Shape of Water, del Toro places violence and gore aside, alongside with his co-writer Vanessa Taylor, who decide to focus on their shared voice of telling the story, the very contemporary and relevant social commentary, as well as the love story between a woman and a creature who feels and is made to feel, that they do not belong.
The theme of oppression is soaked within each and every frame of The Shape of Water. By choosing on having the main couple in love both mute, the two main voices of the film are Zelda (a black working class woman) and Giles (an artistic, flamboyant artist), two very specific caricatures of people who may have suffered the most amount of oppression and suppression in the United States in the 1960’s. Yet, in a world where Russians and Americans are in a race to superiorly outwit one another, del Toro’s world in the film, doesn’t seem too far from the America we know and despise today.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.4Dec 18, 2017The match is set; a stand-off between a woman and a man; the man, a chauvinist who thinks he is better than any woman in the game of tennis;The match is set; a stand-off between a woman and a man; the man, a chauvinist who thinks he is better than any woman in the game of tennis; the woman, a strong, determined and ruthless competitor. The match already took place, in 1973 no less, yet the issues plaguing the game, the gender issues that were relevant then, are still relevant now, which is a problem. Regardless of who won (if you don’t already know, you are a couple words away from finding out on Goggle), the real issue present is that a battle of sexes in 2017 shouldn’t exist, but it does. So the question remains, who really won in 1973? While anyone born after 1973 don’t really know anything about the infamous match between the macho-showman Bobby Riggs and female rights activist Billie Jean King, the newest film from directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris, the team that brought us Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks does a wonderful job of setting up a very relevant film for young and older people alike. While Battle of The Sexes misses the charm of Little Miss Sunshine and the imagination of Ruby Sparks, the flair that Dayton and Paris bring is a vintage stylistic that helps drive the narrative; even though the film doesn’t really need it. While the film at times, seems to act almost identically to Bobby Riggs, played lively by Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes is hardly a film about tennis, which becomes apparent quite quickly, and more about the build up of two very different individuals, using an infamous match for their own personal gain; one, financially and for monetary gain, the other, for change and action.
Billie Jean King played by the nerdy and bashful Emma Stone, does have her spotlight within Battle of the Sexes. King, who is almost immediately labelled as the protagonist in the film, facing many personal conflicts that preens themselves annoyingly upon the build up of the iconic match. Stone, coming off her Academy Award for playing the tap-dancing, lovably heart-broken Mia in La La Land, brings an authenticity to King, a hard-hitting, truth telling, tough as nails professional tennis player who hardly takes no for an answer. Still alive and paving various paths for woman even in 2017, this vanguard of woman’s rights explores ideas of lesbianism, true love and most of all, the equality of female competitive sports and their valour and level of respect that is already present in male sports entertainment.
While Faris and Dayton do a wonderful job of building up their two main set-pieces, showcasing many of what may have gone right for one, and wrong for the other, the duo never really explore the dynamics of the tennis world and how woman and men were perceived in the seventies and how the sport has gone to change today. This is not to say, that I am a tennis aficionado by any means, but even today, woman and men play in separate leagues in tennis. So what does this say about the film? Does one triumph over the other? What changes did this match make and how did King progress her woman’s liberation movement? Is tennis the one sport that women are paid equally to men?
It is not shocking to see that, even without even doing any research, women’s sports struggle to find an audience. Most of the televised sports are male sports, with the exception of the Olympics, that happen bi-yearly. Upon further research, I was not shocked to see that the top-seeded male tennis player averages a salary more than double the female top-seeded player. So, my one and only question for Battle of the Sexes is, what exactly has changed since 1973? Is this film another attempt to shed light on the very obvious gender defamation of female athletes? Why are women’s sports not televised unless for special events? What are we doing to change this, other than making a very appealing and stylized film with some very attractive stars?
While Battle of the Sexes does have very deep and powerful messages, as well as compelling speeches and monologues by both protagonists, the uber exciting and explorative final epilogue, full of images and captions about the change the match did to present day sports, Battle of the Sexes is a very anti-climatic inspiration sports story, with very little sports and more of a playful attitude towards change that could have been more relevant. The battle the film faces mostly, is the one deciding whether it is just a sports biography, or an agent of real change.
Battle of the Sexes is a Hollywood film through-and-through. With immensely powerful and effective supporting performances from everyone involved, from Elisabeth Shue (a real tennis lover and an actress initially interested in playing King), to Sarah Silverman, who provides the majority of the film’s comedy and humour, from the the women’s side of the film. In addition, Andrea Riseborough does a wonderful job of presenting Stone’s king with a very worthy distraction and is solid throughout the film; a real undervalued actress.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Dec 18, 2017The irony of the Sundance film festival, year after year, is its incredible ability to showcase the struggle and hustle of so many dreams,The irony of the Sundance film festival, year after year, is its incredible ability to showcase the struggle and hustle of so many dreams, being shattered, road-blocked and destroyed by so many memorable protagonists on the silver screen. Yet, when debut feature films and short films of uber-talented directors do make their way to Sundance, more often then not, the stories told are incredibly original and superb narratives of overcoming obstacles and persevering, despite what the stars have written for you; and what cards are dealt to you. Patti Cake$ is no different than many of the original films that come out of Sundance each and every year; films like Precious, Little Miss Sunshine and of course Whiplash showcase these incredible individuals and their inability to ever let up or give up.
Inevitably, Patti Cake$ will surely get direct comparisons to films like 8 Mile, Hustle & Flow and other coming-of-age rap stories manoeuvring the rags-to-riches story-arc, yet, despite each and one of these protagonist’s dabble with the idea of the American Dream, one of the strongest characteristics of Patti Cake$ is its use of modesty and sincerity within each and every frame of Patti Dombrowski’s (Danielle Macdonald) very unfair personal journey.
We get a very small yet appalling taste of the young twenty-three year old’s world, which includes having to care for an ailing grandmother (Cathy Moriarty), having to nurture a drunken, delusional, music seeking, partner desperate mother Barb (Bridget Everett), avoiding creditors, working long and hard hours to pay many of the bills of the household and all the while, still dream and work towards a career in rapping and MC-ing in an impoverish and dilapidated city of New Jersey. Luckily for Patti, despite being called Dumbo since childhood, she has the love and support from her one and only best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay), who believes widely in Patti’s penmanship, rhymes and raps.
As the two navigate the very slim possibility of making it in the music business in a very unwelcoming art-community of the projects of New Jersey, Patti constantly fantasizes about the possibility of being signed and working with her dream rapper and musical idol O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah), a spectacle MC whose most played material has mostly to do with booty-clapping, making money and banging ****
Aside from being overweight and not having the money, means or time to really tend to herself, Patti is constantly pushed by her bestie Jheri, who is always elevating Patti’s confidence by telling her that “her pen game is ridiculous” or that “all we need is a producer with the fire beats” in order for them to make it to the big leagues. Despite Patti’s long hours at a local diner and catering business on the side, and Jheri’s long hours at the local pharmacy, the two never stop writing and aspiring for their dreams, producing notebooks full of songs and rhymes.
Literally pushed and urged by Jheri, Patti, who assumes the pseudo names of Patti Cake$, and her most famous moniker Killa P, Patti is pitted in a rap battle against her high school crush and neighbourhood rap God Danny (McCaul Lombardi), a mean spirited white-boy, who uses his most hurtful material of dissing and rapping to put Patti’s moral down, using hurtful rhymes making fun of her social-economic status and of course, her physical appearance. Patti, who at first, seems worn down and ready to give up, is given a breath of life by Jheri, who gives her the strength to fight Danny back with her dope rhymes and lines, which in turn, gives her the confidence to pursue rapping a little bit longer, and allowing her to meet one of the only musically inclined people in her whole town, Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), a reclusive outsider who wanders from town-to-town via train, despite having the most sophisticated musical equipment Patti and Jheri have ever seen.
Together, along with her dream-pushing nana, the quartet start the band, PBNJ, a name using each one of the four’s initial, and producing a small EP that allows Patti and company to share with other notable musical talent in the city, including a once-famed DJ and now radio host DJ French Tips (MC Lyte).
The funny thing is, while Patti Cake$ could easily be mistaken for being a generic coming of age rap-underdog story, the best talent the city of New Jersey has even seen, faces immeasurable odds and obstacles that constantly reaffirm the fact that, pursuing your dreams within the entertainment industry, is damn hard! No matter how much of a Boss **** Killa P tries to prove to the world that she is, Patti is forever just seen as the leader of a band of misfits who’s most reused line is how cold the real world really is.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Sep 26, 2017Motherf*cker!
If there is one actor who has single-handedly perfected the execution, nuance and delivery of the word motherf*cker, there isMotherf*cker!
If there is one actor who has single-handedly perfected the execution, nuance and delivery of the word motherf*cker, there is only one name people really need to think about, and you can bet your bottom-dollar it is none other than the always entertaining and widely available (I mean the guy is in everything, someone give his agent an Academy Award already) Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson, who has close to two-hundred acting credits to his name, can basically pull off anything; action, adventure, drama, comedy and of course, well…as I mentioned, anything. This time around, Jackson decides to pull of working next to a post-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds, and thankfully, given the absolutely hysterical and effortless chemistry between the two, allows The Hitman’s Bodyguard to be an easy to swallow throwback action comedy duo film.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a very campy yet guilt-ridden entertaining action comedy film that pays homage to so many films and instances of the nineteen-ninteis. Right out of the gates, in the film’s first theatrical trailer, it begins and ends with the extremely famous and recognizable motion picture soundtrack hit “I Will Always Love You”, which belongs to, and still is, one of the most purchased movie soundtracks of all-time. In addition to stealing The Bodygaurd’s music, the first theatrical poster for the film is a very direct spoof to the theatrical poster as well, therefore cementing its nostalgic feel, even before watching it. Playing out action, comedy, romance and [somewhat] drama much like the early Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme actioners that once made these names household names, two of the best one-line giving A-list actors team up to give us the last fun-filled summer movie of 2017, and just in the nick of time, before all of big serious film festivals and Oscar hopeful award films.
While the premise of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is nothing to marvel at, just the idea of Ryan Reynold’s Michael Bryce, a straight-laced, by the numbers and mathematical AAA rated executive protection agent guarding Jackson’s world renown assassin; a foul-mouth and reckless Darius Kincaid, had me hooked immediately. I mean, come on! These are two actors with such expansive filmography’s that, we all know both are at liberty to add so much of their own personal comedy and selves into roles that are, essentially, caricatures of all the great and painfully pleasing characters of our childhoods. Plus, the direct comparison of Reynold’s Bryce to his recent discovery of bad-ass, fourth wall-breaking anti-heroes, is just a fun pace for the actor.
Joining in the fun, is the always transparent Gary Oldman, who can play every bad guy in film, from now until its eventual extinction. Playing a ruthless Eastern European dictator, who must do anything and everything to destroying Kincaid, before he is able to testify him in the court of law, adds to the nineties nostalgia and camp in ways that only Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Sschwarzenegger could understand. Additionally, the film was also able to nab the always cunning Richard E. Grant; the kick-ass young Elodie Yung, and not to mention, the scene-stealing Salma Hayek, who plays the fouled mouth, violent and enraged Sonia Kincaid.
While this is one film in 2017 where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, seemed to have fun making, this is a film that radiates a good-time. Sure, the editing isn’t seemingless, the foreshadowing may be all-too obvious, the action is rushed and jumbled up into very incoherent forays, but The Hitman’s Bodyguard is very aware of the film it is, and what it wants to be and what it wants the audience to get from it; which is, good-ol’ popcorn fun.
One of the strengths of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the time it takes with comedy; incorporating music, song, and somewhat choreographed sing-alongs, including the one-hit wonder “I Saw the Sign” into the film, Bodyguard is able to deviate away from the action timing and saturated placement of explosions, car chases and bar brawls that, at times, feel forced.
While the summer 2017 was anything less than impressive, this film will surely not be the one to injected some much needed life into the box-office. Don’t let this fool you though, the end of August marks the end of the summer movie season, and although everyone knows that the end of August films are more of a dumping ground to recoup budgets and fulfill studio contracts, The Hitman’s Bodyguard doesn’t look to face much competitive until the first week of September, where I am sure will be faced with horrifying results, once Pennywise and the new remake of It is released.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Sep 26, 2017“To the cross, to the prison, to the grave, to the sky”. Something wicked this way comes, yet, for a very large portion of the beginning of“To the cross, to the prison, to the grave, to the sky”. Something wicked this way comes, yet, for a very large portion of the beginning of the film, that wickedness is never really fully defined. As the film opens up in 1865 rural England, we are quickly introduced to a stunning yet bleak beauty Katherine (Florence Pugh). Katherine is on the alter on her wedding day, but don’t get this twisted, this is not your typical Hollywood wedding. Katherine was purchased with the land, a land that is apparently “not fit enough for a cow to graze upon” according to her growly and aggressively harsh, and newly appointed husband Alexander Lester (Paul Hilton). As the events of Katherine’s marriage unfolds (and these events do not take long), we find her in the bedroom of her husband’s home, naked, ashamed and facing the wall, while her husband pleasures himself in the corner of a chair beside a fireplace.
Lady Macbeth is an extremely erotic film with very impotent moments. First time feature director and veteran theatre director William Oldroyd fills each and every one of his scene with numerous cuts and various edits to allow the film to flow; almost as if, unlike theatre, being able to change pace, time, space and movement on screen is something he becomes overly excited with. Yet, with Oldroyd’s excitement with the film medium, he is able to show Katherine’s quick plight with her new husband.
Upon Alexander’s departure from his family home, which is never revealed to Katherine, our protagonist is found bored, dumbfounded and lost in a home where she has barely any authority or purpose. With the exception of her very loyal maid Anna (Naomi Ackie), the land-hands, including one very undisciplined new farmhand Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), Katherine finds little motivation to get up in the mornings.
After an extended period of time away, Katherine dreads the company of her husband’s father, Boris Lester (Christopher Fairbanks). Aggressive like his son, the elder Lester is a constant reminder of Katherine’s misery. Feeling claustrophobic in the home, tired with boredom and restless, without ever being able to leave the property, unless otherwise advised, Katherine must spend her pointless days inside the home, with her prayer book and inner thoughts lingering.
It isn’t until one day, that Katherine, who hears a commotion in the workers lodge, that she finds Anna stripped naked and being taken advantage of by the workers. In a rousing display of power, Katherine orders the workers to stop, and demands Anna get back inside. It is in their quarrel where Katherine first takes notice of Sebastian, and the two share very intense and disarming looks. Days pass, yet Katherine and Sebastian cannot forget their gazes upon each other, a desire that, is more animalistic, and very empty of love. Coincidentally many days later, on a very abrupt stroll in the fresh air away from the property and by herself, Katherine runs into Sebastian in the countryside, where she runs off avoiding and tempting herself. It is not until later that night, in a very swift, almost intrusive and forceful display, Sebastian visits Katherine in her bedroom, and the two young and attractive individuals engage in a very taboo love affair.
While the actions of Katherine and Sebastian lust begins to unfold, an abundance of mostly evil and murderous events unfold along with them. With each new day that passes, the two vow to always be loyal to one another, despite having the world against their every action and notion. Treading the fine line between beautiful, loyal, sickening and morbid, Sebastian and Katherine quickly start unveiling the true motives of each other’s love, allowing the audience to see that passion, physical lust and deep-rooted longing and desire are very well the driving force of a tainted love between two very inexperienced and uneducated people, especially when it comes to the subject of love. There is no point, at any moment in Lady Macbeth where the depictions of Katherine’s and Sebastian’s love affair are beautiful or attractive, actually, the opposite is easily said, where when each of these lovers are together, a truly grotesque display of affection can easily be felt.
While Lady Macbeth is by no means an awful film, events and moments in the film are quite disturbing and awful indeed. The loss of innocence can be seen throughout each frame; the troubling interpretation of a protagonist in the film is quite unsettling and most of all, sometimes, the film seems to drive plot and its narrative, all too conveniently.
While Oldrody’s first feature film will surely be discussed and studied in academic settings for many years to come, the film begs many questions of femininity that, while it may be understood before even watching the film, can be questioned once the film’s credit’s roll.… Expand