The Kennedy’s were considered a spectacle the moment they stepped foot into the White House. Every moment of their life was captured by cameras and manipulated by reporters. Every decision they made would make an impact on the Presidential legacy and somehow Larraín placed this immeasurable weight on Jackie’s shoulders from the beginning of this film. Larraín captured the darkness that filled Jackie and the White House effortlessly. He captured Jackie Kennedy in her most natural form. The score complemented the importance of the great demand for Jackie to perform a certain way after her husband’s death. Natalie Portman delivered a poignant performance as the darkness consumed her, it consumed her every thought and was guarded in her eyes. Portman was so in tune with her character that the soul of Jackie Kennedy radiated through her. If I could elaborate on her characterization in a character study I definitely would.
This film presents a side of the Kennedy’s that no one has ever attempted to show. Jackie Kennedy is one of the strongest women that has ever graced The White House and it is truly shown in this film. Larraín captures extremely intimate moments of Jackie that we could only imagine. Portman created many strong layers to Jackie but it was her delivery in the motorcar that truly stunned me. Perhaps it’s because the reenactment of the brutal assassination has never been filmed so clearly before but that moment broke me. That moment at the end of the film put the spectacle that were The Kennedy’s into perspective, that he first and foremost was a man, a father and a husband and that looming darkness that Jackie felt would stay with her forever.
Hidden Figures is a film that needs to be seen. Films with strong female characters at the forefront need to be brought to cinemas worldwide. This adapted screenplay was written beautifully and Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe with Octavia Spencer delivered it to perfection. These women have such powerful energies inside them that it filled the screen in every single scene. I adored this film. From the very first voiceover of a young Katherine to the very end of Katherine handing her coffee and paperwork over to someone else, it was so uplifting and emotional. I appreciated the fact that Melfi did not sugarcoat how wrong segregation was. Melfi also integrated past footage quite nicely with the rest of the film when it was necessary, he didn’t overdo it and it had this seamless flow. The score complimented the film, Pharrell along with Hans Zimmer composed such fresh music that suited the time perfectly.
I am so giddy after watching this. It is such a strong narrative and Melfi did a wonderful job by capturing the smaller battles that these women had to face before conquering their main goals. Janelle, Octavia and Taraji had amazing chemistry but Taraji was electric. Taraji’s characterization of Katherine was on point even down to the idiosyncrasies and she delivered it so well. These women on screen were feisty, knowledgeable and were not afraid to stand together and lift each other up. If one person stands with a minority and helps normalize their human rights it makes an impact.
Martin Scorsese is a master class director who continuously exceeds expectations. Silence is an outstanding addition to his lengthy filmography and it has left me speechless, deeply moved and somewhat enlightened. He is a master, a true visionary and he has created such vivid images in this piece that have made me emotional. There are religious symbols in Christian faith that are held with the utmost love and respect and he used them in such a powerful way. Expertly crafted in every single way, with a powerful screenplay and exemplary performances, specifically Andrew Garfield whose work is remarkable. His passion project is a monumental expedition of spirituality, culture and faith no matter what you believe in. He pulls on emotional strings that you never thought you would be able to express until he takes you on this journey. This film is an experience and will leave you questioning almost everything. Silence is the purest form of honest faith that I have seen in years of religious based cinema.
Scorsese used such beautiful imagery and told this story in a Biblical way. The voiceovers used during scenes to fill the silence were stunning and it felt like a sermon being delivered. Scorsese played upon the silence in every single scene and integrated the voiceovers seamlessly. The score complemented the film so well and it captured Japan quite nicely. I adored the idea of unity that Scorsese enforced in this film. He allowed the Christian faith to be interpreted as any other and that it was being shamed by a higher physical power but the metaphysical beliefs would always be considered that of the highest power. Audiences will watch this and understand that everyone can see the unity of spirituality and cultural identity. That we can live in a world where people are free to have faith in whatever being they want and that we can have solidarity among nations.
Everyone once in awhile there comes a gangster film that surprises audiences because of the content it presents to us. Live By Night is one of those classic gangster films that is able to reflect our society and still pay homage to the noir crime classics of the 30s. Ben Affleck’s directorial vision is beautifully captured in this film and he does a great job pulling tropes and stylistic elements from various films within both genres. What I loved about Live By Night was how he integrated the gangster and crime noir elements to create a fresh neo-noir picture that Warner Brothers could get behind, considering they used to be the main production company from the studio system who would fund these gangster films. It felt like a gangster movie and if it felt like one to me, then it becomes a great one to remember in my books.
The first half was a bit rushed, the pacing was off but he found the pacing near the middle and that’s where it really took off. The historical accuracy and the production design with the help of the very talented Robert Richardson made it feel like an instant classic in my eyes. I feel like people tend to forget that this is also a crime noir as it was adapted quite nicely from the novel of the same title written by Dennis LeHane. It was a slow burn that introduced many different people in the span of two hours. I thought that the cast of characters really worked well together and they all shined in their own way. Chris Messina was an instant standout as Dion and his chemistry with Ben was great. The ladies of Live By Night were also fantastic, Sienna Miller was captivating, Zoe Saldana was regal and Elle Fanning was vivacious.
Ben Affleck did a wonderful job directing I loved the decisions he made and you could tell that he had fun bringing this film to the screen and paying homage to this style of filmmaking while still making it his own. I thought he suited Joe Coughlin as well, he wrote him in a way that gangsters are not usually shown. He was a more reserved gangster in contrast to Dion who would have popped anyone. He was softer around the edges and had a heart, he had a soul and his decisions not only affected those around him but he had to deal with his own struggles of actually living this life.
Fences is adapted from August Wilson’s stage play by Denzel Washington he brings forth variations of issues that families face and the struggle to maintain a relationship. However, Washington’s direction falls flat right from the start. It is very difficult to adapt a play into a film given the fact that the stage directions are there within the notes for any director to utilize in their own adaptation. I felt as if Denzel copied the blocking from the play and that is why it felt so static, it felt as if everything was blocked and rigid instead of having a natural flow from scene to scene or from movement to movement. It was as if I was just watching a two hour play rather than a movie which isn’t what this medium is used for. When taking another piece of art the medium like film should heighten the experience and should incorporate what makes the film medium as wonderful as it is.
This film was hard to watch at times because of how off the pacing was. Each scene dragged on yet there was so much information being shared that it was hard to keep up. I felt like it was rushed and they didn’t play up the subtleties that the film medium can capture so well.
The performances are the only reason this film should be recognized because I was brought to tears by Viola Davis. Viola Davis is the greatest actress of this generation and she was incredible in this film. She exudes this power and she plays it off through her reservation as Denzel’s wife. Denzel Washington is a powerhouse and we have known this for years and having them both together sharing a screen was dynamite. They had excellent chemistry and they fed off of each other so well. Viola Davis was the glue that held this movie together, if it wasn’t for her I don’t know how or where this film would have ended up. I really wanted to like this but it was very long and tedious, I felt like it could have been cut down a bit more but bless Queen Viola and King Denzel for putting on a clinic for everyone to enjoy.
As far as video game adaptations go they have all lacked in a certain area and they haven’t done very well at the box office. Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed isn’t that great but it is probably the most decent and probably the best video game adaptation that I have seen. Assassin’s lacks a seamless flow from past to present and I believe that is what causes a strain between the scenes. I personally felt like they chose to focus on content in Abstergo more than Aguilar because it was an introduction to the world of AC. Most of the scenes in Abstergo were very confusing and dull that I was impatiently waiting for the action scenes to come to life through the Animus.
As someone who has played the game and has become invested in the architecture of the game world, I was truly blown away by the detail Kurzel presented to us during the Spanish Inquisition and Aguilar. His vision for the game space was incredible and so accurate to the video game. Of course, Michael Fassbender did a wonderful job as Cal/Aguilar because he is one of the most talented actors of our generation. The combat choreography was fantastic and really referenced the game content quite well. Every movement and every sound was heightened in the game play and it was really nice to hear the familiarity in the film. The script really needed work, there were many scenes that did not have to even be in there or they just needed to be clearer. I didn’t have high expectations for this, given the record of previous video game adaptations but it still managed to surprise me with Kurzel’s visual architecture of the game.
I really have no idea what to say about Passengers that hasn’t already been said.
This screenplay was atrocious and the fact that this movie was created is a complete joke. It has been on the black list for years and I can see why no one would touch this thing with a ten foot pole. Naturally in order for a script this crappy to even be picked up there has to be A list stars willing to do it just for the money and I’m convinced that is what happened here. It is alarming that a relationship such as Aurora’s and Jim’s was even allowed to be brought to screens because of how toxic it was. I never thought anyone could make any of Pratt’s characters seem creepy and irredeemable but Passengers did that. The fact that he took her life away was appalling to me and a female character should not be treated that way in this day and age. Yes she beat the shit out of him when she found out, yes she stopped talking to him but to have her save him at the end after everything is utter lunacy.
Apart from the controversial storyline, which for once I actually felt bad for a Jennifer Lawrence character it was utterly boring and repetitive. Passengers proves that neither of them are good enough to carry a movie on their own. Morten Tyldum did what he could with a horrible script but it wasn’t enough. The only thing I will give Passengers is that it had pretty visuals and the cinematography was tolerable. The first half of the film is boring and could have honestly been cut down but sure go ahead and show time passing by having Pratt grow a beard.
Another thing that could have saved this movie was the chemistry between Jen and Pratt but there was zero of it. Nothing. It was completely forced because there was the impending notion that he woke her up so anything he did I felt victimized her. It was odd seeing them together, they are such an odd pairing maybe it’s because they look alike and could literally pass as siblings. There was no sexual chemistry which could have made not only the sex scenes but the intimate scenes leading up to it a bit richer.
This film was a dud, a flop and it shouldn’t have been made but sure go make mediocre movies with A listers so you guys can keep up with the rest of them. Great job Sony.