Jackie is definitely a movie to be seen more for the performances than a plot you'll desire to watch over and over. Certainly the plot and the depictions of famous scenes in history are incredibly well done, but it's more of the type of movie to be admired than loved and embraced. That said, I much preferred the way this biopic was handled as compared to say The Theory of Everything where they didn't take a clear side of whose story was being told and played it safe. Here we know that everything we're seeing is coming out of Jackie's lens which makes the story far more interesting. and she as a figure much stronger. Jackie might not be one of my favorites to come out this year or a movie I will want to rewatch again and again, but is a must see for the performances that will likely be nominated in a couple months. EMILY RATING: 8/10
First and foremost, the movie looks absolutely gorgeous (and that includes the always stunning Marion Cotillard and dapper looking Pitt,) but unfortunately looks aren't everything! While it's cinematography, costume design, and general production values are top notch, the whole thing somehow just rings a little hollow. Really the best way to describe it is sadly bland and forgettable...which is a shame because the advertising portrayed something a lot more promising. As for Pitt and Cotillard, Marion is as reliable as ever, but Pitt seems to sleepwalk through his role. Perhaps your curiosity lies in seeing with your own eyes the chemistry Cotillard and Pitt have, but honestly, their connection seemed shallow and superficial....I didn't really buy it. That said, the results of the film as a whole are certainly watchable. It's entertaining but you just can't help but think it could have been more. All in all, Allied is a missed opportunity. It plays it too safe to either have fun with it and too shallow to be truly memorable. EMILY RATING: 6/10
I had the opportunity to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them twice this week, but because of my work load I decided to skip the Tuesday screening I had planned and just see it for the first time on Thursday with my friends. Unfortunately now I really wish I had seen it twice so I could feel a little more decided on my opinion before writing this review. As such, you'll be getting my first impressions of a film that was somewhat of a whirlwind to behold.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is all about the adventures of Newt Scamander (yes I wish his last name were Salamander too,) and the book he's writing. He's researching all of the magical creatures in the world which leads him to New York. After an encounter in which a friendly nomag (aka non magical person aka muggle,) who witnesses some creatures escape from his Mary Poppins-esque suitcase, he enlists his help to capture them before other nomags get wise to the fact that there is a wizarding community in New York City. Meanwhile, a darker presence lurks beneath the shadows.
The Edge of Seventeen is an enjoyable film that's made with a lot of care. It would be easy for most people to enjoy it on the most basic level and deceptively see it as simple. But for me, I really connected with this film on a very personal basis. The feelings portrayed in Seventeen are intense and real and took me back to my own sometimes incredibly lonely teenage experience. Though it has its calculated quirks, I just felt very much that this story came from a very real place....a place where I've been before. As a result, I can't help but kind of love this film. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10
It's really hard to get too much further in the details, but all I can say is Arrival is brilliantly done. Everything in this film is perfection from the subtle direction, Amy Adams fantastic performance, the poignant editing and the beautifully crisp cinematography. This if a film that pops on the screen and it is absolutely one of the best of the year. See it. As far as flaws go, it might not be the most accessible film for everyone. Some people might get bored, but to me it was captivating all throughout and an incredibly rewarding film experience. EMILY RATING: 9.5
Hacksaw Ridge follows the story of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), a religious fellow with a marked distaste for guns and the destruction they can cause because of his relationship with his alcoholic father (Hugo Weaving) growing up. Desmond is caught up in the events of World War II, but before he leaves for duty he happens to find two sources of love. The first is that he has a knack for helping out during medical situations. The second is from a lovely nurse he can't help but to cheesily woo (Theresa Palmer). But despite her love, he feels a pull to the war and feels that it's his duty to God to save as many men as he can in the role of a medic. A medic who refuses to touch a gun. However, convincing the army of his intentions is a lot harder than he bargained for.
So sadly, no Miss Peregrine is not a comeback, but rather is just another jumbled mess from Tim Burton. It had potential to be a little more, but falls short in its rambling middle and ridiculous ending. EMILY RATING: 6/10
What a year for the horror genre it has been. The year started off great with the Sundance 2015 selection The Witch finally being released, and only got better when out of nowhere the world learned it was getting a horror-centric Cloverfield sequel. The summer gave us the solid, though inferior sequel to The Conjuring, the ridiculously fun, shark-filled The Shallows and the surprisingly modest hit Lights Out. During my viewing of The Shallows, I caught the trailer for Don't Breathe and was instantly wowed. I'd never heard of this horror flick that reteams the Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez with his star Jane Levy. Like the first Conjuring film, the trailer for Don't Breathe highlighted a specific scene and absolutely terrified me. As soon as I saw that trailer, Don't Breathe instantly jumped to my most anticipated films list. So with all those expectations, did the film disappoint? I'm happy to report that Don't Breathe absolutely did not disappoint. This non-stop horrific ride instantly became one of my favorite movies of the year. It thrilled me and awed me all at the same time.
Don't Breathe is all about three kids who like to commit burglaries in their spare time. The leader is kind of a cookie cutter thug named Money (easily the weakest point of the movie) who has influenced his troubled, wrong side of the tracks girlfriend Rocky (Jane Levy) to take part in stealing from rich people. Rocky steals in hopes that she can somehow obtain a better life for her and her sister. They wouldn't get too far though without her friendzoned buddy, Alex, whose father's job puts them into easy access to spare house keys and remote controls to silence home alarms. As a final heist, they decide to rob an old blind man, who recently won a huge settlement and supposedly keeps all his money in a vault inside his house. If they can just do this job, they'll never have to steal again. As expected in a horror film, things don't go quite as planned and the audience is taken on this ride that does not let up.
For the type of movie it's trying to be, Don't Breathe is almost absolutely perfect. Dare I say the "masterpiece" word?? The only flaws that really stood out were that the characters could have been fleshed out a little more. Usually, that's a bigger gripe for me, but the amount of time that this movie holds your attention non-stop, it's an easy thing to forgive here. Money was awful, as was his dialogue. His lines can be cringeworthy, but you don't really have to deal with too many of them once everything is all said and done. Jane Levy, once again excels in the horror movie "final girl-type" role, though Goosebump's Dylan Minnette certainly tries to steal the title with his performance on more than one occasion. I would have loved a couple more moments between them before all the action started, but once it does it's really hard to complain about anything because everything is so well done. The camera work in discovering this house was so wonderful, I'd always be a second away from commenting on how masterful the film was and then gripping my chair a moment later because something horrible was happening. Honestly, this is the horror genre at its absolute best. The way it should be. EMILY RATING: 9.5
THE BAD: Some of these characters are completely throwaway. I'm looking at you Killer Croc with your horrible one liners. And one liners in general grated on me where you get the sense they were told to try to copy the Marvel formula. No DC! Do your own thing I beg of you!! That style competed with the movie the whole time where you just can sense that a darker movie was hiding under the surface that was probably the filmmakers' true vision. Unfortunately what we got was somewhere in between with emphasis from studio execs to try to be crowd pleasing. One final thing to add to this category would be that I wasn't really into Cara Delevigne's villain and as mentioned before didn't get to see nearly enough of Jared Leto's joker to decide how I felt about him. Obviously, you don't walk out of this movie feeling about him the way you did when you first saw Heath Ledger's take on the character.
FINAL VERDICT: Suicide Squad is flawed, but still enjoyable. My expectations were just a little too high. EMILY RATING: 6/10