maandag 18 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 99: Hidden Figures

Director: Theodore Melfi
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 127 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali

Description: The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

Review: “Hidden Figures” is based on true events. About three African-American women who served a vital role in NASA. This inspiring period in recent American history is combined with the systematic injustice that was going on.
“Hidden Figures” is set in the early sixties, a time that is notable because for America’s optimism. The central characters are Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who each exceed in mathematics and technically do the work that computers do now. But the race difference and the fact that they are also women, constantly put them behind. Even though they excel at what they do.
“Hidden Figures” shows us that it’s not just the so called rednecks that act racist, but also the schooled brainiacs did it, without realizing.
The story is really inspiring and it rubs off because of the fantastic performances by all three ladies. And it’s also great to see Kevin Costner in his role as project manager Al Harrison. He fits the Kennedy era perfectly.
“Hidden Figures” maybe feels a little bit too Hollywood, but it’s a beautiful story that I’m happy to learn about.

Rating: 4/ 5

zondag 17 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 98: Life

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Genre: Horror/ Thriller/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 104 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds

Description: A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars and now threatens all life on Earth.

Review: Trying to bring back dead tissue to life, is probably not a good idea. There are many examples in film history that proof that. In “Life” they find organism on Mars, which they manage to bring to life. And off course, everything goes wrong after that.
“Life” gets exciting and has tension very early in the film. During the openings scene we see how the crew of an international space station try to catch a capsule with a mechanical arm. On board there are samples of the planet Mars, with proof there is life on Mars. The first organism they bring to life they call Calvin.
At first, Calvin is hard to see with the naked eye. It manages to adapt to its environment quickly. It also causes a bizarre accident in the lab and isn’t as friendly as they thought. It starts feeding of off the flesh of the astronauts and gets bigger and stronger by the hour.
It’s clear director Daniel Espinosa was inspired by movies like “Alien” and “Gravity”. He uses the claustrophobic rooms of the space ship to create extra fear and the extra-terrestrial life prefers to enter a human’s body through its mouth. But there are also crucial differences: we get to see the alien a lot more and the characters don’t all have that depth. Although we do see the monster often, it doesn’t always make it less scary. “Life” works perfectly as a popcorn film. The tempo is high and never manages to collapse.
Rebecca Ferguson and especially Jake Gyllenhaal, really steal the show. Their performances are strong. And I rated this movie higher than I expected, because of the ending.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

Movie Trailer Sunday (306)

Here are this week's trailers.

The Disaster artist
Director: James Franco
Description: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau's The Room (2003).
Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Kate Upton, Zoey Deutch, Lizzy Caplan, Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, Bryan Cranston, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson
Trailer: Trailer "The Disaster Artist"
Comment: One of this year's movies I'm most looking forward too.

Director: Alexander Payne
Description: A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.
Starring: Matt Damon, Cristoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Hong Chau
Trailer: Trailer "Downsizing"
Comment: This is such a great concept.

The Man Who Invented Christmas
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Description: The journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and other classic characters from "A Christmas Carol." The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) conjured up a timeless tale.
Starring: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce,
Comment: The story of how "A Christmas Carol" was born.

Director: Dee Rees
Description: Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige
Trailer: Trailer "Mudbound"
Comment: looks intense!

The Current War
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Description: The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world.
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Macfadyen
Trailer: Trailer "The Current War"
Comment: Great cast!

woensdag 13 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 97: It

Director: Andy Muschietti
Genre: Horror/ Thriller
Runtime: 135 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Fin Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff

Description: A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of clown, begins hunting children.

Review: Stephen King’s horror novel “It” was turned into film for the first time in 1990. This made for television film isn’t timeless. It’s a bit outdated and the acting and special effects are a bit cheesy nowadays. It was Tim Curry’s performance that make this film memorable. Because of nostalgia, this film survived for so long. But “It” has been ready for a remake for a while.
Now, 27 years later, it’s finally here. The film focusses on the younger years of the characters, so we don’t see them as adults. In the book we do. And it seems like a very good decision, because there is a lot to be told.
The seven young characters, who call themselves the “Loser Club”, all have to deal with their own problems. Director Andy Muschietti takes time to give each character a solid backstory. That’s difficult with so many characters, and not all of them get that depth. But enough to make you care about them.
After a short introduction, all of them are confronted with their biggest fear. And there is some creepy stuff going on. The film has a good tempo. All seven eventually meet the clown Pennywise, who is the only thing that all the children see. It lives on the fears of kids.
The film is set in the eighties, so it still has that nostalgia. And it also somehow feels like a coming-of-age film. Most important is that the kids try to face their fears and overcome them. And this horror film actually has depth, which is hard to find in many films with that genre.
The young cast is really good, they never overdo it and you van really feel their fear. You take them seriously and the dialogue almost feels adult-like. Bill Skarsgård portrays Pennywise. Completely different from Tim Curry. He isn’t as predictable and he is darker than the previous Pennywise. He portrayed him so he will eventually haunt your dreams.
Did this movie scare me? Yes! I’m not very keen on clowns in the first place, but this film is genuinely scary.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 10 september 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (305)

Here are this week's trailers.

Director: George Clooney
Description: A home invasion rattles a quiet family town.
Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac
Trailer: Trailer "Suburbicon"
Comment: This trailer looks so good, can't wait to see it.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
Director: Paul McGuigan
Description: A romance sparks between a young actor (Jamie Bell) and a Hollywood leading lady (Annette Bening).
Starring: Jamie Bell, Annette Bening, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters, Stephen Graham
Trailer: Trailer "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Comment: This looks so beautiful, honest, Jamie Bell seems perfect.

Director: Scott Cooper
Description: In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.
Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster, Jesse Plemmons, Stephen Lang, Scott Wilson, Rory Cochrane, Bill Camp
Trailer: Trailer "Hostiles"
Comment: It looks like it suits its title. It looks raw.

Lady Bird
Director: Greta Gerwich
Description: The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalfe,
Trailer: Trailer "Lady Bird"
Comment: The kind of film I would love.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Description: In this darkly comic drama, a mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder, when they fail to catch the culprit.
Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage
Trailer: Trailer "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Comment: Not very clear yet, bet it looks realy good.

vrijdag 8 september 2017

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Watched For My Challenge (August 2017)

I watched some pretty good ones this month. Here are my five favorite films that I watched for my challenge, for the month of August.

5. To the Bone
A Netflix movie that got a lot of criticism. I don’t think that critique is right, they found that this movie glamourized eating disorders. It really doesn’t. It’s a heartbreaking story and very well acted by Lily Collins.

4. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
A film that is best when you watch it without any information. Shot in black and white, great music, really stylish.

3. Sausage Party
Silly yet brilliant humor. It’s an animation, but for adults. And adults only, because it’s pretty raunchy.

2. Don’t Breathe
What a surprising and original horror thrill we got here. The film kept me on the edge of my seat at all times, it really is a film that takes your breath away.

1. War for the Planet of the Apes
The third movie in a trilogy is often the worst. In this case, the complete trilogy is solid and I simply can’t pick a favorite. “War for the Planet of the Apes” is a war movie, without all the epic explosions and clichés. And boy did I cry at the end!

They Almost Made the Top 5: -

zaterdag 2 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 96: Don't Breathe

Director: Fede Alvarez
Genre: Thriller/ Crime/ Horror
Runtime: 88 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Jane Levy, Stephen Lang, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Emma Bercovici, Franciska Töröcsik, Christian Zagia, Katia Bokor, Sergej Onopko, Olivia Gillies, Dayna Clark

Description: Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man (Stephen Lang) who isn't as helpless as he seems.

Review: “Don’t Breathe” is director’s Fede Alvarez second movie. The “Evil Dead” remake was his first and he surprised everybody with actually creating a solid horror remake. In “Don’t Breathe” we don’t get a blood bath, chainsaws or possessed teens, but a breaking and entering and lots of suspense.
Teen girl Rocky hates her life with her terrible mother. She kills her days by breaking into houses and steal. Rocky is planning on stealing enough to flee to California with her little sister. Her friends might have that way out. Alex knows his way around alarm systems and the street smart Money know the right addresses. They get a tip for the house of an old blind man, who hides a fortune inside. It sounds like an easy job, but the man isn’t as helpless as the three assume.
The scene of the crime is introduced with one long shot. The camera goes through the dark hallways and rooms. The spaces are used to build up the tension and it works. This looks really impressive. Because the home owner is blind, his hearing is extra sharp. That’s where the true cat and mouse game unfolds. No cheap jump scares, inventive ways of using sound and light effects, a lot of tension.
“Don’t Breathe” doesn’t focus on the line between good and evil, it just touches that theme lightly: Burglars aren’t per definition bad, the home owner is always just the victim. And the film has a very unpleasant twist. “Don’t Breathe” is an excellent film, that kept me on the edge of my seat. It feels fresh and inspiring, it’s a good and solid horror thriller.

Rating: 4/ 5