Tag: jessica chastain

MOVIE REVIEW | ***TOM WEEK*** Crimson Peak (2015)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “While I couldn’t convince myself to give a single shit about the story or the characters, it’s visually amazing, and a really impressive technical achievement.”

Crimson 1.jpg
“A house as old as this one becomes, in time, a living thing. It starts holding onto things… keeping them alive when they shouldn’t be. Some of them are good; some of them bad… Some should never be spoken about again.”

Guillermo Del Toro is one of the most creative and visually impressive directors working in mainstream Hollywood today.  He uses special effects like no one else out there and his original stories are some of the most unique you’ll see on a multiplex screen.  I liked his Hell Boy movies, loved Pans Labyrinth and even liked Pacific Rim a lot more than most people.  But for all that, I couldn’t bring myself to get excited about Crimson Peak.  The lackluster reviews didn’t help, but it was more the subject matter that turned me off.  The idea of a dark, gothic romance, ghost story just wasn’t enough to get me to see it on the big screen.

Then I discovered the amazing Directors Cut podcast from the Director’s Guild of America, where A list directors interview each other about their latest movies.  Catching up on old episodes, I heard Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu interview Del Toro about his dark, gothic romance, ghost story, and his enthusiasm was so contagious, I had to watch Crimson Peak later that same day. (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | The Martian (2015)

Martian 1

“If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab beaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen. I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”

Looking at Ridley Scott’s filmography, he’s made over 20 features films since the late 70s. Of those, I have seen 11. Of those 11, I love Matchstick Men and Black Hawk Down, I kind of like American Gangster and Alien, and I really dislike Blade Runner, The Counselor and Gladiator. The rest are just kind of blurs. Not good enough to remember, not bad enough to hate. All of that is to say, I had zero interest in seeing his latest, The Martian.


Big budget, spectacle movies need a pedigree of actors, writers or director behind them before I get excited. I like Matt Damon, but I already saw him do stranded in space with last year’s Interstellar, so his involvement didn’t really get make jazzed. But, the good reviews for The Martian just on kept coming. And in a year that has so far been pretty thin with really good movies, I was starved enough for good, new release movies, that I took a chance on a director I don’t really like, working in a genre I don’t really like, and I saw The Martian. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Martian (2015)

Martian 1

“If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab beaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen. I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”

Looking at Ridley Scott’s filmography, he’s made over 20 features films since the late 70s. Of those, I have seen 11. Of those 11, I love Matchstick Men and Black Hawk Down, I kind of like American Gangster and Alien, and I really dislike Blade Runner, The Counselor and Gladiator. The rest are just kind of blurs. Not good enough to remember, not bad enough to hate. All of that is to say, I had zero interest in seeing his latest, The Martian.


Big budget, spectacle movies need a pedigree of actors, writers or director behind them before I get excited. I like Matt Damon, but I already saw him do stranded in space with last year’s Interstellar, so his involvement didn’t really get make jazzed. But, the good reviews for The Martian just on kept coming. And in a year that has so far been pretty thin with really good movies, I was starved enough for good, new release movies, that I took a chance on a director I don’t really like, working in a genre I don’t really like, and I saw The Martian. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar

“You don’t believe we went to the Moon?”

I don’t know why, but last year, I couldn’t get excited, or even manage to give the least of shits, about Interstellar. I’m not anti Christopher Nolan, but I do think I was suffering a little from Nolan fatigue. I like The Prestige and I don’t care how many plot and logic holes people find in Inception, I really dig that too. I think it’s the constant browbeating by fans of his Batman series that made me feel like Interstellar was just going to be too much.


Nolan’s Batmans are perfectly good movies, way above average for the super hero genre, but that’s about the extent of it. I also think their perfect examples of his biggest weakness. Nolan makes over the top, spectacle movies, but he obviously thinks he’s doing something more than that, because he has a message, something he thinks is important to say. The only problem is, those messages are always the most obvious, cliched statements about life and the human condition, juts dressed up under layers and layers of bombast to seem profound and new. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year

“When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life, and that I can’t do.”

I saw JC Chandor’s Margin Call a few years ago, and while it didn’t blow me away, it did make high end finance, the Global Financial Crisis and white collar crime pretty compelling. Then I saw JC Chandor’s All is Lost, with it’s maybe dozen words of dialogue and nothing more than Robert Redford battling the elements for a couple of hours. With All is Lost, I was officially blown away and Chandor’s name was on my list of directors to get excited about.


Then last year, his next movie kept popping up on the kinds of blogs and websites a movie nerd like me checks daily. He had the critically adored cast with Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain and Albert Brooks. He had the movie nerd look with its 70s, New York vibe. And he had a gritty storyline that looked like any sort of sentimentality would be impossible. So to say I was really looking forward to A Most Violent Year is a bit of an understatement. (more…)