thriller


Personal Shopper Movie Review

 

Personal Shopper

 

Directed by: Olivier Assayas

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz and Nora von Waldstätten

 

Rated: R

Run Time: 1h 45min

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

4 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

 

With the roles she’s choosing, Kristen Steward has been redefining herself, and this part was a wise decision made by both she and director Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria.)  Having worked with her in the past he knew that when he needed an actress to pull off the look of someone pained and tormented and to also be engaging that Stewart was the best choice.  She was his supporting character is Clouds but this time she carries the entire film as Maureen.  The film is a bit hard to follow at first but give it time.

You’re in the hands of a filmmaker who doesn’t want to reveal anything too soon.  Pacing and all things becoming revealed in due time are critically important.

At first, it’s hard to distinguish what exactly is going on with Maureen.  She’s dark and distant but at the twenty-eight-minute mark, you learn that her twin brother had died of the heart defect they both have.  Not only is she sad, she’s lonely and fears for her own health.  When this comes to light it explains the very beginning of the film where she quietly walks through a dark house looking to make contact with a spirit.

She’s a young American woman working in Paris as a personal shopper for a celebrity during the day but at night she’s a brooding sister waiting for her brother who, before he passed away, promised he’d make contact with her after his death.  They had a pact that whoever died first, the other would reach out from the other side and give them a sign.  She goes to the house she once shared with her brother and hopes to see a manifestation or feel something encouraging so that maybe she can move on with the rest of her life but it doesn’t happen so fast.

 

The audience is on a psychological journey with someone who may very well be better off in treatment but the way the film is rolled out; you don’t pick up on that too soon.  There’s a certain strain put on you to understand Maureen because she seems so fragile but at the same time you’re getting frustrated at some of the decisions she’s making.  Like when she receives text messages from a stranger and she begins to engage.  What so good about this, outside of the overall tone, is it keeps you wondering, is it her brother or is it no one?  Is this happening or is it in her head?  With precision, Assayas does an incredible job of leading you into the trap you don’t see coming.  He uses sound and music as he takes you on this trip where you’re on the edge of your seat for the entire ride, but he doesn’t really end up showing you much of anything.  It’s a refreshing take on the subject and it’s a beautiful piece of art.

Personal Shopper can be creepy at times and those moments are done with a special technique.  She becomes more upset, desperate and even frantic.  The more she does, the more engaged with her character you become.  Maureen, the personal shopper and the girl looking for a spirit, seem to be in two different movies.  Kristen Stewart is so good that these two different entities become one in the end.  She makes what Personal Shopper is, so special.  She keeps you vested with slight changes to her character and Assayas uses everything in his power to keep from exposing the tortured young soul too soon without losing you in the meantime.  Personal Shopper is gripping and intense and a movie I’d have to recommend you see as soon as you can.


New Alien: Covenant Trailer!!!

20th Century Fox has debuted a NEW trailer for ALIEN: COVENANT! Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created with a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. Watch the new trailer below!

 

ALIEN: COVENANT

Sci Fi-Thriller

Release: May 19, 2017

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby

 

SYNOPSIS

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise.  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.  When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

ALIEN: COVENANT Official Channels

SITE: AlienCovenant.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AlienAnthology/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/AlienAnthology 

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/AlienAnthology/

#AlienCovenant

 


Alien: Covenant – “Prologue: Last Supper” [HD]

The Prologue: Last Supper short introduces the crew of the mission. Set aboard the Covenant, a colonization ship on its way to a remote planet to form a new human settlement, the main crew (all couples) and their android, Walter, enjoy one last meal together before cryosleep.

 

Conceived by Ridley Scott and 3AM, directed by Luke Scott, and produced by RSA Films.

ALIEN: COVENANT

Sci Fi-Thriller

Release: May 19, 2017

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby

 

SYNOPSIS

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise.  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.  When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

ALIEN: COVENANT Official Channels

SITE: AlienCovenant.com 

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AlienAnthology/ 

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/AlienAnthology 

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/AlienAnthology/

 #AlienCovenant


ALIEN: COVENANT – NEW Poster Released! *Coming May 19th!

  ALIEN: COVENANT Sci Fi-Thriller Release: May 19, 2017 Director: Ridley Scott Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby SYNOPSIS Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN […]


The Great Wall – Movie Review

 

Ever wonder why The Great Wall of China was built?  Well, wonder no more!  Matt Damon and director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) present to you the reason.  Well, they offer one of the legends, actually, and I’m pleased to announce, it’s entertaining at the very least.  The Tag Line for the movie is “1700 years to build.  5,500 miles long.  What were they trying to keep out?”  Okay.  I’m fascinated.  What do you have in store for us?

What they have is something that’s a visual sensation.  What they achieve is hard to look away from so make sure you’re not going to have to have a potty break.  There’s a large army, complete with drums, which has protected China from attack for centuries, known as “Nameless Order.”  They’re dressed brightly and vividly which is odd for battle but they’re pretty all the same.  Another ocular wonder is what they’re fighting to save China from; a vicious horde known as the Tao Tei.  They’re huge and have massive limbs and hungry mouths with sharp teeth… the better to eat their multi-hued prey.  The enormous army has used arrows, spears, “black powder” (gunpowder) and acrobatics to defend themselves for ages and then… along comes a couple of European mercenaries to show them how it’s done.  They are William (Damon) and Tovar (Pascal).  Even though helping fight mythical creatures wasn’t exactly what they had in mind, it’s what is now on their plate.  Why they’re there is they heard of this mysterious black powder and figure they can fetch themselves a few bucks if they get their hands on some.  Their plan has just “hit a wall”, so to speak.

When they get to the wall, they’re seen as outsiders, of course, and are jailed immediately.  Then comes the horde that the army wasn’t expecting so soon, and who can shoot better than anyone?!  Guess!  I’ll wait.  You got it!  William.  So, he helps and they’re now trusted to roam free and offer their sage wisdom on how to defeat the terrible brood.  There’s also a woman William notices and she, him.  She’s Commander Lin Mae (Jing) who might not fully trust William but likes what she sees.  This is a good thing because after they show their charges the black powder and its uses, they cannot let their secret escape the barriers.  As a matter of fact, a white man by the name of Ballard (Dafoe) wandered up to find out about the powder and that was twenty-five years ago.  Well, at least he learned a second language and now he has some pals who might help him escape.

The 3D during the battle scenes is spectacular; worth the ticket price if you’re interested in dodging spears being thrown at your face.  However, when there’s downtime, it sort of pulls you out of the story and instead reminds you that you’re watching people on a movie set.  You can visualize the green screen behind them.  For the most part, it was eye-catching and made the film come alive during the epic fight scenes when people were diving off the wall, twirling through the air on bungee cords before bouncing back and when balloons were being used to get to the city to warn them of a probable attack.  What made this work is that outside of a hint of romance, Ballard wanting to escape and a power struggle between Tovar and William, the movie was all action.  It calls itself an action, thriller and it is one.  It’s a little slow to start but once it gets going, you’ll enjoy yourself for its beauty and style.  My guess is if you’re enthusiastic about anime and have a good time holding a controller in front of a screen, you’ll especially relish in the performance of Tian Jing who runs around looking like a character straight out of a Japanese line of games and toys.  If this sounds like you, check it out at a theatre but I’d make it to the matinee.  But be mindful of the fact that The Great Wall isn’t going to be great for all audiences.  It’ll be most admired by the younger generation so, mom and dad, drop off the kids and maybe run into something else… this one just might not be for you.


A Cure For Wellness

Director: Gore Verbinski

Starring:  Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth and Harry Groener

Rated: R

Run Time: 2h 26mins

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

3 1/2 Frames out of 5

By Shari K. Green

This movie is abnormally intriguing.  It has a lot going on, much more than what is playing out visually.  If you put some time into the movie mentally, after the flicker is done dancing on the screen, the examination will be well worth it.  Your first impression will depend on what sort of audience member you are.  If you assess your films by what you immediately see on the surface, you’ll see this cryptic yarn as a promised thriller that doesn’t quite get you where you were hoping it would.  It provides the creepy elements that one would expect to see but doesn’t follow through with its promise to be a good intense, if I may, grabber.

The term psychological thriller does apply, however, and in the style of something you’d see straight from a legendary 70’s film.  A list to compare its vibe to could be Chinatown, The Conversation, Play Misty for Me and Magic; all superbly shot, well thought out and their impact on cinema… ever lasting.

In A Cure for Wellness, Gore Verbinski, who helped write the story with screenwriter Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road, The Clearing) digs deep into the essential nature of a person to live, care, love and to aid.  His protagonist, Lockhart (DeHaan), is sent by the financial institution he works for to bring back the CEO, Pembroke (Groener) who is nestled in the Swiss Alps at a mysterious wellness center.  He goes to retrieve Pembroke, knowing full well that the true desire of the board members is to pin its problems on him and use him as a fall guy.  On his way to the center, which uses hydrotherapy from an aquifer with unique purities, he learns of the center’s history and of the castle its inside.  As he speaks to the chauffeur who is taking him to the castle, they’re in an accident and Lockhart ends up a patient himself, waking three days after a crash that had sent the car tumbling.  Continually being urged to drink the water to better heal his broken leg, he finally grabs some crutches and wanders around the place, not only looking for Pembroke but looking around this odd establishment.  From what he recalls the chauffeur saying, his suddenly odd and dark dreams and the behavior of the people around him he begins to feel more like an inmate in an insane asylum than as a willing patient.

When Lockhart meets someone by the name of Hannah (Goth), a special patient who has been there all her life, the story of the institution unravels more and more and Lockhart’s questions get larger and larger.  Becoming suspicious that all is not well and obsessed with finding out more he suggests it’s bad for business for people to get well.  This does not go well with Volmer (Isaacs) who insists Lockhart needs to be submerged in water and the toxins in his body be removed.  This is a macabre scene as memories of Lockhart’s childhood and eels, yes eels, assault him.

So, my final take is there are a few disturbing scenes that play out and some I may never purge but for crazy good, alluring cinema, see A Cure for Wellness.  It may not be Oscar worthy, but cinematographer Bojan Bazelli (King of New York, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Ring), couldn’t have shot this film more methodically and used his lens more perfectly to concentrate on the beauty of the set and the locations and also to create the feeling of anxiety and stress.  It’s a masterpiece cinematically.  What might have otherwise been seen as a clichéd tale by the end is made infinitely more interesting by camera angles, shots sizes and expressions he creates as well as the overall tone he designs.  Again, by the time you finish watching it, you could be somewhat disappointed but don’t be.  Yes, Verbinski could have decided on an ending before two hours had expired but enjoy the fact that there is a much deeper theme going on than first thought and you’ll get there, too.  You’ll contemplate whether this person is alive, is this a dream, it that person in a coma?  Decide for yourself and let me know what YOU thought!


John Wick: Chapter 2 – Movie Review

Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise

 

John Wick: Chapter 2

Directed by: Chad Stahelski

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan, Franco Nero, with John Leguizamo and Ian McShane

Rated: R

Run Time: 2H 2 mins

Genre:  Action, Crime, Thriller

4 out of 5 Frames

By: Shari K. Green

If you like muscle cars, chase scenes, incredible fight sequences and beautiful sets and locations, this movie is going to sizzle your cerebral cortex.  It has everything I mentioned and has them in spades.  All that you liked about the first film is here so you won’t be disappointed.  As you most assuredly know, John Wick was as high octane as they come… what will be your delight is, Chapter 2 is just as powerful and as potent as the first.  John Wick (Reeves), the ghostly and stealthy killer you met in Chapter 1, is the same bad ass, with the same reputation of reigning terror without breaking a sweat but he wants out!  He wants to retire and live out his life in peace.  Well, he may want out but someone comes knocking to remind him that he’s duty bound to do something first and that is to fulfill a blood marker.  A marker is a blood oath.  Once it’s given to a member of the criminal conclave Wick belongs to, one with strict rules for the professional help and perks they receive, it must be honored.

He’s forced to be true to his pledge which is to assassinate Santino D’Antonio’s (Scamarcio) sister so that he could have her seat at the high table, a highly coveted place within the criminal federation.  Stahelski adds an ingenious scene of Wick shopping for his accessories and it’s priceless.  After he gears up he gets to work.  When he completes his task or she does for him, rather, not only are members of her security team after for him, (especially Cassian, played by Common, whose role adds a special element of regalement to the film), but so is Santino.  He decides to close loose ends.  The choreographed action sequences such as rolling down steps mid fight, running on stage and through a concert’s audience while shooting at one another and all the death and destruction delivered by clever cinematography more than makes up for the few times that Reeves, unfortunately, has speaking lines.  I know that’s hard to swallow but it’s more than accurate.

Centrally, this is an astonishingly action packed film with a good narrative.  It’s the story of a character you can’t help root for, even though he’s a ruthless, emotionless and heartless killer.  You want him to win, despite his willingness to murder because, after all, they’re the bad guys, right?  Again, luckily for us, it’s more action driven with focus on the deadly encounters rather than on his dialogue.  Every performance outside of Reeves was adequate, McShane and Common’s especially, but the only delivery Reeves seems to be capable of giving is dry and detached and that’s a shame.  It’s true acting class isn’t necessary with this sort of role but had he been able to give some passion to the lines that he did have, it would have been that much better.  I have to suggest you go see it if you’re an action fan.  I’ll go on record now and say you’re going to absolutely love it.  It starts with a punch and never stops going; it’s solid all around.  Also, it ends with a clear set up for Chapter 3.  After all hes been through and has done, he decides to break a rule anyway, for which you cannot do as long as you’re in the league.  Now that he has, he is banished and… well, I’ll let you discover that on your own.

 

 

 


LIFE – Trailer

In Theaters March 24. Follow us on Social: www.facebook.com/lifemovieofficial www.twitter.com/lifemovie www.instagram.com/lifemovieofficial Subscribe to Sony Pictures for exclusive video updates: http://bit.ly/SonyPicsSubscribe Synopsis: Life is a terrifying sci-fi thriller about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form […]


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.