Daily Archives: January 20, 2017


Split – Movie Review

“Split”

Directed/Written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and Betty Buckley

Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 1h 57mins

Genre: Horror, Thriller

4 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

I didn’t know what to expect from “Split”.  I was very nervous about it and I’m very pleased to announce it was very good.  I can’t say enough about it, in fact.  More to the point, I can’t say enough about James McAvoy’s performance.  If his talents were ever in doubt, they certainly will not be now.  His work has to have been extremely difficult, yet he made it seem completely effortless.  I’ll explain.  The trailer for this film doesn’t actually show, a nice change might I add, the fact that the main character McAvoy plays someone in such deep mental distress that he has literally shattered.  It reveals a touch of the fact that this person has split personality disorder but doesn’t give away how bad it is and to the extent that the original personality, Kevin, is controlled.  The reason for the the personality splitting is revealed but I don’t want to give away too many details.

In the film, Dennis, who is often “in the light” or the one in charge at the moment, decides to kidnap two girls he had been following.  A third is a victim of circumstance and is grabbed, as well.  She, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), has a past to her that is divulged in flashbacks and when Casey addresses the situation she’s in with shock but not with terror, you understand why.  You wonder what’s inside her as well and Taylor-Joy, with her large eyes that penetrate you through the screen, does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing.

That’s the true premise and brilliance of the film.  This is an excellent vehicle for Shyamalan to prove he’s an actor’s director.  Is it the perfect film?  Not by a long shot but you cannot miss these performances.  If you are into acting or performance art in any fashion, you have to study what Shyamalan has achieved, especially with McAvoy.  They work beautifully together, actor trusting director, and McAvoy gives everything he has to not only be more than one person on screen but twenty-three different personalities.  He shows, continually, that he is a magnificent actor when at one point the camera is on him and he’s one person, then it pans to a mirror and he’s another, it pans back again and he’s another and back again.  It’s fascinating.  Several times he turns these people on and off.  It’s riveting.  He is, frankly, amazing in this juicy role.

  Shyamalan couldn’t have picked better.  And that goes for the rest of the cast as well.  Everyone was quite good… except Shyamalan himself, who always likes to find a part in his movies somewhere where he can tinker with his love of the profession.  However, he makes a bad choice for himself.  He has ten acting credits to his name and has fourteen director credits.  He obviously likes to act.  In the scene he has injected himself into in “Split”, he’s not bad, per se, he’s just not at all necessary.  The scene does nothing for the film and in fact, distracts his audience from what’s exciting them up to this point.

There are a few convenient set-ups but they in no way take away from the film.  Buckley, as the therapist, is sweet and caring and shows intelligence but when she wanders where she shouldn’t have, you wish Shyamalan hadn’t gone there but that’s okay.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat, consumed by what you’re seeing.  And as I already do, you’ll be setting up a time to go and watch this movie again.


Trespass Against Us – Movie Review

“Trespass Against Us”

Directed by: Adam Smith

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Lyndsey Marshal, Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris and Georgie Smith

Rated: R

Run Time: 1h 39mins

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

3 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

Set in the countryside of Britain, we are introduced to the Cutler crime family which is run by Colby played by a coarse Brendan Gleeson; who, interestingly enough just played Fassbender’s son in “Assassin’s Creed.”  Colby’s reputation precedes him for a reason as he’s not a very charming fellow and not many challenge him.  The Cutler’s look like a band of misfits or perhaps something you would have spotted in a scene from the movie “Deliverance.”  Even though they have been somewhat successful criminals up to this point, they live in trailers and practically in poverty which finally hits Colby’s son Chad, (Fassbender).  Not that Colby minds what he does for a living.  He has fun when cops chase him through the streets but he’s starting to realize the impact his actions are having on his children and his wife and is struggling with a decision.  He has to break away.  His son Tyson (Smith) is starting to rebel and verbally spar with his dad, spouting exactly what Chad usually hears coming from his father Colby and this doesn’t sit well with him.  Being uneducated, Chad has allowed his father to lead him through his life.  He has always done as ordered but he sees the writing on the wall and waking up to what his and Colby’s limitations truly are, he decides he doesn’t want that for Tyson.  The police are onto his every move but when he wants to try and leave his father’s shadow, he is, too.

Director Adam Smith, who’s more known for his work on “Doctor Who”, has had mixed reviews on the film festival circuit but having assembled an excellent cast and creating a unique blend of chaos and calm in a crazy world, I think he has a hit on his hands not matter the venue.  There’s something fascinating about Chad and his family that, as the film goes on, you almost catch… like a cold.  At first you’re not sure you have it but when you do, it really ensnares you.  Perhaps it’s the fact that Smith didn’t try to play to the American audience.  It’s authentic in that he doesn’t drop the local, incredibly thick accent, nor does he remove the British jargon that’s in use.  We are in their world.  Luckily for us, we view this world from the extremely gifted lens of Eduard Grau, (“Suffragette”, “The Awakening”, “Buried” and “A Single Man.”  He takes you incredibly deep into the story, bringing you into it by using intimate shots that make you feel like you’re peeking around a corner… hiding where you shouldn’t be; surveying where you have no business.  The scenery is beautiful so there’s no chance you’re looking away.

Shining are the performances.  Lyndsey Marshal is magnificent as Kelly, Chad’s wife, who, through it all, pulls a Tammy Wynette and stands by her man.  Fassbender, though his Chad is raging with testosterone and as tough as nails, is almost sweet at times.  The moments where he’s not fulfilling an illegal act or behaving like a hoodlum, he shows how at peace his character is with the final decision he has made.  A quite difficult one but, as Christ did, he must sacrifice himself for the sake of all of his children.  If you can get through the accents, I’d have to suggest you see this in the theatre if it’s near you but if not it’s a must watch as soon as you can, in whatever form possible.


Paterson – Movie Review

“Paterson”

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani and “Nellie”

Rated: R
Run Time: 1h 58mins

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance

4 ½ out of 5 Frames

By: Shari K. Green

“Paterson” is an absolute pleasure to witness.  One feels honored to be on this… ride.  I say this because it is about a bus driver whose story is delicate, even delectable.  It’s fascinating.  Jim Jarmusch turns a seemingly banal and simple life into a complex, contemplative introspective.  Paterson (Driver) drives a bus for the city of Paterson, N.J. but he’s also a poet.  His hero is William Carlos Williams and deep within he holds a dream to be as good as Williams yet never calls himself a poet, therefore stopping any disappointment that may come from negative criticism.

Paterson sees poetry in all things and one of the factors that has you treasure experiencing this life that Jarmusch has displayed for you is how you absorb Paterson’s poetry.  It’s not only spoken by him, whether in his thoughts as he cruises through traffic, or as he walks his dog Marvin (played charmingly by Nellie), but we also see it scrolling across the screen as he speaks in a composed and knowing tone.  It becomes visually embedded in our minds and we crave more.  His poems are perceptive, analytical at times, logical and illogical.  They’re both abstract and they’re ordinary but they’re sublime.  He writes these poems in a notebook, one he keeps to himself, careful they can never be seen.

We are with Paterson for a week of his life.  He has a girlfriend, has a dog and is methodized, unlike girlfriend Laura (Farahani), who is all over the place.  A painter obsessed with the color black one minute, a baker the next; him a structured poet, her a musician… this week, anyway.  The relationship is sound as they balance each other, or so it would seem… perhaps not?  Do they love each other or are they just putting up with one another for convenience sake?  Upon reflection, you realize there’s much more going on than you first thought.  It can be slow in moments but the movie consumes you, more or less.  It is, simply put, poetic.  Once you’ve seen “Paterson” it will stick with you for quite some time.  The alpha male battle he has with Marvin, also the conflict within himself over what or who he is, is gripping to observe.  Driver does such a remarkable job of bringing levels to this character without nearly uttering a word that he seduces you.  I highly recommend you see this film.  You’ll never see Driver as Kylo Ren again.