Author Archives: ochippie

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DVD Review – The Breadwinner

Category : DVD Review

Director: Nora Twomey

Starring: Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Noorin Gulamgaus

Year: 2017

Nora Twomey is an Irish artist/director known for three films: The Secret of the Kells, Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner, all of which were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Film in their respective years.  That’s an impressive feat, given that these aren’t Disney, Pixar, or Lego movies, that they’re instead indie films that attempt to present sophisticated story lines to young audiences through hand-drawn animation.  No knock on Disney/Pixar, I love their work as much as the next current parent who grew up in the 80s and 90s, it’s just refreshing to also see a slightly different perspective.  GKIDS, the distribution company that was in charge of Twomey’s pictures, also brought Studio Ghibli to American audiences; that’s all I would have needed to know, that would have made me trust anything they chose to present.  And so it’s no surprise that The Breadwinner is an amazing animated feature, that it’s richness and uniqueness shines through in every cell, that it’s one of the very best of not only its year, but of its decade.

The Movie

Parvana lives in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001, during the control of the Taliban.  These religious zealots hold the countryside under their sway, instituting harsh curfews, gender laws, and intimidating the public into following every command of even their rawest recruit.  Women are not allowed to leave the house without a grown male relative as an escort, female faces and hair must be covered at all times so that they don’t tempt men to stray from the righteous path, girls are not allowed to work or to buy food, and any rule breakers are taken to prison immediately.  Paravana lives with her family as quietly and as carefully as possible, not wanting to draw the attention of the armed soldiers who walk the city streets, not daring to stand up or speak out.

When he angers a young Taliban fighter, Parvana’s father is arrested and her house is raided, destroying the simple life in precarious balance that her family was trying desperately to cling to.  Now, with only women in the household since Parvana’s older brother Sulayman died, there is no one to go to work, no one to buy food, and no way of seeking help, as the mother and the sisters can’t even walk through the door without being beaten and sent straight back.  So Parvana does an extremely brave and incredibly necessary thing; she cuts her hair, puts on her brother’s clothes, and calls herself by a boy’s name, completely changing who she is on the outside in order to keep her family alive.  Out in the city, which has now opened up to her in a way it never would before, she can feed her family and search for her father, even as war comes nearer and the danger of being discovered mounts.

With its animation and its message equally strong, The Breadwinner is a film that you must see, a story that you must hear, and an experience that you must have.  I fully enjoy Disney princess musicals, I love how open Pixar movies are to every member of the family, I crack up watching Lego movies, but there is something about an animation team that is willing to step completely out of the box and risk everything on an unorthodox plot and delivery that really gets me fired up.  Laika, Ghibli, and the people who brought us this fine trio of international, animated instant classics, all aided by the eye of Nora Twomey; if you aren’t expanding your horizons to see movies produced by these companies and these people, you are doing yourself a great disservice.  And you are holding back something special from your kids as well, for while these films take themselves seriously and should perhaps be screened before being shown to some younger, more sensitive audiences, they are among the most powerful animated tales being told today, and they deserve to be allowed to wow you.

As far as the film itself is concerned, its a credit to its genre, another incredible reason to follow/watch/talk about indie animation and to share it with your kids so that they can be educated in film beyond the typical.  It’s a story that resonates, even though it is set 17 years ago.  We’re still talking about women’s rights, we’re still talking about terrorism, we’re still talking about gender roles, and this film touches every base on its way home.  The depth of meaning, the beauty of backdrop, the simplicity if idea, the imagination of presentation; this is all you could ask for.  The music, the color, the secondary tale, the authenticity, the poignancy; I’m having trouble nailing down the exact positive attributes of this feature only because there are so many and they are so broad.  Regardless of my inability, The Breadwinner never stumbles when presenting its point, and it does so with wonderful accuracy and talent, in every single scene.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of this Blu-ray disc is phenomenal, with visuals that will take your breath away.  Not only is the animation flawless in its simplicity, but it’s stunningly realistic as well.  And then there is a tale within a tale that uses a different style of animation, much more 2-D and paper-like, but it adds another dimension that really captures the eye.

Audio – The disc was done in English DTS HD 5.1, with subtitles available in English SDH.  The language is English, this isn’t a naturally subtitled pictured, at least not here in the U.S., if that makes a difference to you.  It’s set in Afghanistan and features native music, so the blend between Afghani and English is a tricky weave, but extremely well done.

Extras – There are many special features on this Blu-ray disc, including Feature Commentary with the Filmmakers.  Also, in The Making of The Breadwinner section: Behind the Scenes with the Cast, Animating the Film, Creating the Music and Sound, and Telling the Story.  Lastly, a Theatrical Trailer and More from GKIDS.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  Last year’s animated class wasn’t extremely strong, but even if it had been one of the best groups of recent memory, The Breadwinner would still have earned its place among the nominees.  It’s a relevant message well told, from every angle you look at it.  We need to hear this story, its importance hasn’t disappeared, and it’s presented so well, with such solid artistry, that is has a real chance to make a big difference, if we would only let it.  The video is awesome, the sound it great, and the extras are plentiful, so the technical aspects support the storytelling quite nicely.  If you missed this movie last year, give it a chance now; it may not be what you’re used to, but it might show you why it should.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Venom #2

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed

Release: October 5th, 2018

I don’t know much about Venom; I thought he was a villain, but apparently he’s an anti-hero?  I’m fine with watching Tom Hardy in a role like that, he’s incredible, I’m just not sure about the value of this film.  It looks pretty cheap and like they aren’t trying very hard to original/edgy/interesting.  I love Riz Ahmed though, I’m glad he’s here, so I’ll watch this just to see him and Hardy in another piece of the Marvel Universe.


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Movie Review – Silverado

Category : Movie Review

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Starring: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner

Year: 1985

Lawrence Kasdan is a much better writer than he is a director; his writing credits so impressive that it borders on mind-blowing.  Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Body Heat, Return of the Jedi, The Big Chill, Silverado, The Bodyguard, Wyatt Earp, The Force Awakens, Solo: A Star Wars Story; who knew he had so much influence in the Star Wars universe.  And who knew he had such a thing for Kevin Costner, a mistake as big as you can make one, from a talent perspective, but I guess he knew which horse to ride, because Costner is a legitimate megastar, despite his inability to act.  Kasdan’s only real directing success was Big Chill; the guy’s true calling is in screenwriting, there’s no doubt about it.  But here is his attempt at writing/directing a Western, and the results are mixed, for while Silverado pays homage to the greats of the past, it also tries to be every single great from the past, a feat it simply couldn’t accomplish.

Our merry band of cowboy heroes come from different backgrounds and with different skeletons in their closets, but their passion for justice outweighs their past mistakes.  Paden used to run with a rough crowd, led by the villain named Cobb, but since being robbed in the desert he sees things differently, and wants to walk down the straight and narrow.  Emmett once killed an important man, and he has been hounded ever since.  His brother Jake just wants to have fun, wants to kiss the girls with no consequences.  And hard-working Mal can’t avoid trouble because of the darkness of his skin, always being asked to move along, not knowing where he’ll settle down.  Together, they will travel to the town of Silverado, where all their demons will converge.

There are basically nine different stories going on simultaneously in this movie, which isn’t a good thing.  It’s nice to see a director love Westerns so much, nod to so many in so little a time frame, bring a ton of classic elements to play all in one picture.  But that’s also a major problem.  Every character had an enemy, a backstory, a side story, a leading lady, a choice to make, a battle to fight, until you never knew where to look for the action next.  I still don’t know exactly what happened with whose daddy and who was killed by what gun 20 years ago; it’s the definition of a messy script.  The saving grace is passion for the genre, but even that can get a little old if the content isn’t any good.  Glover & Costner were surprisingly strong in their roles, but the other leads kinds sucked, and the rest of the cast is just names thrown at a wall; John Cleese, Rosanna Arquette, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum, Linda Hunt, Richard Jenkins.  Impressive, but pointless, which also sums up the film.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – A Serious Man

Category : Movie Review

Director: The Coen Brothers

Starring: Michael Stuhlbarg, Aaron Wolff, Richard Kind

Year: 2009

The Coen Brothers’ films can be broken down into a collection of periods: Early, Peak, Mistake, Adult, Experiment.  Those are in chronological order, and to avoid going in too deep, take a look at their filmography, you’ll see for yourself how their career has ebbed & flowed.  A Serious Man lands in their Adult Period, from 2007 to 2009, when they recovered from their lunacy in the early 2000s and got back to creating real cinema.  It’s not their best work, but neither is it near their worse, sliding nicely into their upper echelon without making too big a splash.  It’s a return to Fargo roots, proving that anything that can go wrong will, but this time the violence is toned down and internal desperation takes the stage, forcing audiences to a dark place that we try not to ever visit.

Larry Gopnik’s life is falling apart.  He is up for tenure at the college, but a bribe from a student and some nasty anonymous letters might derail his chances.  His wife has asked for a ritual divorce so that she might marry Sy Ableman, news that hits Larry completely out of the blue.  His brother, Arthur, is unwell, both physically and mentally, so he’s staying with the family for a while, and hogging the bathroom.  Larry’s son smokes pot all day, his daughter hates being anywhere near the home, Columbia House won’t stop calling to collect a bill, the aerial won’t pick of F Troop; perhaps the rabbis can help, perhaps they can share some sage advice, or perhaps Larry Gopnik is simply cursed, destined to be unhappy every day for the rest of his miserable life.

Sounds depressing, but the Coen Brothers make sure to stagger the absolutely awful with the blisteringly funny, so have no fear.  They are masters in finding the humor in the worst situations, and that talent is definitely on display in A Serious Man.  The story is set in the 60s, it’s centered on Jewish tradition, the family lives in Minnesota; the film represents the period and the faith and the location so well that you’d swear you were transported through time and space while sitting on your couch.  No real surprise there; the Coen Brothers are the best in the business.  And you know who else is incredible; Michael Stuhlbarg.  This was his first big role, and it took some time for his career to get rolling, but once it did he never looked back.  Cut Bank, Pawn Sacrifice, Steve Jobs, Trumbo, Arrival, Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water, The Post; good god.  He’s an immaculate professional, brings something new to the screen every time, and should be on our radar as one of the best actors working.  Stuhlbarg is the perfect Gopnik, the film is hilarious and sad at the same time, it oozes Coen Bros. style, Richard Kind has maybe never been better; if it hadn’t been for a penchant for dream sequences, which I simply can’t stand, I would have rated A Serious Man even higher than I did, and I enjoyed every other piece of it so much that I might just watch it again immediately.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Isle of Dogs

Category : Movie Review

Director: Wes Anderson

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton

Year: 2018

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Wes Anderson is my favorite director.  That’s actually partially a quote from Ferris Bueller, which is one of my favorite films but isn’t directed by Wes Anderson, but whatever.  The point is, my website is called Archer Avenue for a reason and that reason is The Royal Tenenbaums and that movie is an Anderson masterpiece.  Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic, Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, Grand Budapest; his filmography is a thing of pink, over-dramatic, ultra-stylized beauty, though not every single film can be called spectacular.  I like some more than others, but he’s top-level director regardless, a unique mind making original content in a way that deserves our respect.  Isle of Dogs is Anderson’s second attempt at animation, and I’m assuming it won’t be last, but unfortunately it also isn’t his best.

In Japan in the near future, a dog crisis will shake the island nation, causing the country to divide over the love of their faithful pets and the health of their very own families.  Dog Flu, Snout Fever, rampant reproduction; something must be done, and one man has the solution.  Mayor Kobayashi wants to ship every dog to Trash Island, a wasteland where nobody goes and where man’s ex-best friend can live in squalor.  Professor Watanabe is against this idea, knows that he can find a cure, but is buried beneath a wave of public fear and the overwhelming power of the Kobayashi family.  So, every dog is exiled, including the guard/friend of Kobayashi’s own ward/distant nephew, a loving boy named Atari.  He steals a plane, flies to Trash Island, crashes among the heaps, all to find his companion, a dog named Spots who stole he heart and who won’t be left to die alone.

Did I mention that I love Wes Anderson?  His flare for comedy, color, and complete originality knows no equal; the man is a genius.  I know his films aren’t for everyone, and that they can come across as overly artistic, but I dig his style, and he creates movies the way that they were meant to be created; with passion and with singular vision.  He isn’t an expert in animation, but he simply brings his lens to the medium and does things his way, the result being something you’ve never experienced before.  It’s all stop-motion, which is incredibly impressive, how each dog hair can move independently, the time it must have taken to get it all just right.  Anderson breathes wacky life into each character, making them pieces on his very own, nonsensical board game, moving them about as if they were players on a stage until the result matches whatever wild, dream-like image he currently has conjured up.

That’s just Anderson’s vibe, that’s what he does, and he brings is to Isle of Dogs as he would to any other movie.  He also brings his giant cast of impressive actors and actresses, until you wonder; are these people just here to have fun, are they all friends, is this something other than a typical job?  Cranston, Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johannson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Fisher Stevens, Liev Schreiber; wow.  The film has the pizzazz, the actors, the story, the heart; it’s surprisingly accessible to a large audience, given the specific oddity of its creator.  But all the same, I didn’t adore it, and I think I know why.

First, Fantastic Mr. Fox is better, more entertaining, less worked over.  Second, the details of the plot are insane, with flashbacks everywhere, tiny nuggets of info flying at you around every corner, barely enough time available before the credits for you to assimilate everything you’re supposed to know and feel.  And third, the movie simply felt like a showcase of what was possible, what was inside a brilliant man’s head, not necessarily a sharing of something that we needed to see.  I liked Isle of Dogs because I’m always up for kooky and for crafty, but I don’t feel like it was Anderson’s best work; he constantly walks the line between entertainment and self-indulgence, and I think perhaps, this time, a toe came down on the wrong side.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Book Review – The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection

Category : Book Review

Editor: Gardner Dozois

Year: 2017

For my 34th birthday last year, a friend gave me the new Annual Collection book, with stories gathered by Gardner Dozois, which happened to be in its 34th addition, cool coincidence.  Dozois brings together the best short sci-fi of the year into one large volume, this time with thirty-nine different tales.  Dozois is a fine author himself (When the Great Days Come) and knows his sci-fi front & back, even editing the Asimov Science Fiction magazine for twenty years.  I almost wish I had read more of his novellas instead of those he gleaned over the course of the year, because what he selected was rather inconsistent.

Thirty-nine different stories from almost as many authors, with names like Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds leading the group.  The tales range in plot, world, and time, but all come from a love of science fiction and a passion for writing with pure imagination.  The ocean levels have risen, leading to floating cities all over the world.  Humans live on distant planets, homesteading in space like their ancestors did so long ago on Earth.  Sentient squids under miles of ice create their own society, and dream of what the sky might look like.  These and many others will ignite your curiosity and take you far away.

I always enjoy reading sci-fi shorts, it’s a fascinating way to be introduced to an idea or a technology in a small amount of time, to get a taste of what another world might look like, before launching into a new adventure.  Sometimes these stories don’t really have a ton of character and plot behind them, so a small sample is all we need to really be entertained.  The problem is that some of these authors aren’t the best, won’t compare to Asimov or Heinlein or Clarke or Le Guin, and so might put avid sci-fi readers off with their lack of pure talent.  It seemed that every other tale was lackluster, that the entire volume was hit or miss, with no consistency in quality.  But I guess that’s something you sign up for when reading an anthology; not every chapter will be your favorite.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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DVD Review – Sweet Virginia

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jamie M. Dagg

Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Rosemarie DeWitt, Imogen Poots

Year: 2017

Sweet Virginia is a combination of Fargo and Out of the Furnace, a murky mix of morals with violence making up an even darker core.  Its characters are quietly imploding, with bursts of loud rage and action that affect everyone around them, until no one is left untouched.  Not an easy drama to watch or to weave, making the work by its amateur director all the more impressive.  Dagg created a thriller two years ago that when mostly unwatched, this film being his only other attempt at a feature.  But he succeeds where many other inexperienced filmmakers fail; pulling together pieces from other other projects, leaning on concepts we’ve come across before, but somehow still creating something haunting and original, a bloody and daring experience that we won’t soon shake off.

The Movie

In a small, quiet, northern town, a murderer kills three innocent men, and their deaths begin a series of unfortunate encounters that only lead to more violence.  Elwood walks into a bar after hours and proceeds to gun down the trio of friends he finds there, taking the money from the cash register and laying low at a local motel.  It seems, on the surface, to be a simple burglary, but there is more to his motive and a reason he was meant to kill those men.  The real crime has yet to be discovered, but given enough time the true story will emerge, and it will shake this rural community to its core.

At the same motel, ex-rodeo cowboy Sam Rossi works as the manager, attempting to live a quiet life after some personal tragedies, including a lingering health issue.  His connection to the murders is complicated by his relationship with Bernadette, the wife of one of the slain, and his general knowledge of the town dynamics, being somewhat of a small potatoes celebrity and a local business owner.  When Elwood rents one of his rooms, the two connect over a shared birthplace, and perhaps over the shared darkness that hovers like a shadow behind both men.  Their eventual and inevitable standoff will decide the paths of their lives, as well as the fate of their souls.

I’m always on board for an understated, melodramatic, neo-Western, neo-noir, whatever you want to call it, murderous thriller, and Sweet Virginia delivers in more categories than one.  Like an old genre flick, it sets up the villain, the hero, the angst, the town, the ladies, and the climax with a certain style that can’t be denied and which always draws me in.  But at the same time, the director adds in new elements, fresh characters, and unique perspectives, until the film we end up watching is a combination of the classic and the modern, done in such a finely-tuned way that they blend together seamlessly.  The plot arc is a slow burn, but one that happens quickly, with only a few key story-forwarding scenes, but with so many layers in between, with so much to say without making a sound.

Speaking of sound, which of course there was, the intensity of the background music was something to hear.  It created an edge, a fear, a sense of dread that you knew wouldn’t end well.  Perhaps the heavy bass trick has been played before, but that didn’t stop it from working again anyway, as Dagg borrowed elements from other films because he’s an amateur, but didn’t overuse them, because he is also quite talented.  Jon Bernthal also showed off some chops, the 41-year-old actor only catching our attention in the last few year (Fury, Sicario, Wind River, Baby Driver), but perhaps peaking at just the right time.  Abbott was strong, DeWitt has never wowed me, until now, and Poots is always a pro.  From the acting to the mood, the dialogue to the action, hardly anything goes wrong in Sweet Virginia, and the result is a film that flew so far under the radar that it didn’t even seem to be trying, but didn’t need to work hard to impress me.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of the Blu-ray is strong but subtle, not wowing audiences with a brilliant picture but maintaining a strong visual throughout, backed by some crisp clarity.  The film is dark, introspective, based on moments, not flashy, so perhaps the technology used isn’t showcased, but it’s definitely there to lend support whenever the director chooses to capitalize on it.

Audio – The disc was done in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround, with an option of English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.  Subtitles are available in English SDH and in Spanish.  The audio quality of the film is as strong as the video, and as underplayed.  The music doesn’t take a front seat, but it’s always there, a driving force behind the action that helps set the mood and set audiences on the edges of their seats.

Extras – The only special feature on the Blu-ray is a trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  Only a handful of people have heard of, let alone seen, Sweet Virginia, a fact that is so unfortunate it’s almost criminal.  I don’t know the strategy behind publicizing this film, but I can’t believe it was lack of quality that kept the movie from being distributed and/or talked about; I guess some features are destined to be hidden gems.  That term applies here, and if you’re lucky enough to come across this underperforming picture, let it overwhelm you.  The video is good enough to get noticed and the audio is surprisingly impactful; only the lack of bonus features keeps the technical aspects from being top notch.  I missed this movie when it came out; I wish I could go back and drum up some support for it, because this low-budget, high-drama thriller deserves recognition.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 


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Movie Review – Cruel Intentions 3

Category : Movie Review

Director: Scott Ziehl

Starring: Kerr Smith, Kristina Anapau, Nathan Wetherington

Year: 2004

A new director and a four-year sabbatical took the finale of the Cruel Intentions trilogy to unique territory, and resulted in one of the worst movies you will ever see.  The first was quite good, in an off-beat way, the second was much worse, saved only by its references, and the third found a way to make all the positives of the series go away, focusing only on what was god-awful.  It will come as no surprise to anyone that this Silk Stockings-esque, straight-to-video feature is one of the most terrible movies I have ever been unfortunate enough to sit down in front of.  There is almost no way to describe the crime of its existence; I would say you need to see it for yourself, but that would just be mean.

After the events of the original film, the Merteuil family is in a little trouble, cousin Cassy jetting off to sunny California to escape the aftermath of Kathryn’s misdeeds.  At school, she employs her powers of persuasion and seduction to accomplish her goals, whether that be winning bets, bedding studs, or destroying relationships; it all comes pretty easy to the natural devil.  Her friend Jason is up to similar tricks, along with his partner in crime Patrick.  The two boys ruin happy lives after breakfast and sleep with resistant hotties before bedtime; it’s really not even that hard.  But when they go up against Kathryn, heads will roll.

Please don’t watch this movie, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.  It’s nowhere near as good as the first, and the first isn’t even really that good.  I mean, I like it, but only because it’s a guilty pleasure and they didn’t seem afraid to push the envelop, all while capturing 90s teen cinema perfectly.  With the second, any intrigue went out the window, and now with the third, any talent did as well.  This “film” is a ludicrous attempt at making something that resembles a movie; it’s utterly embarrassing that people let themselves be caught on camera for this.  It’s insane, insulting, stupid, petty, gross, unprofessional; we really shouldn’t let anyone involved live this down.  I finished the trilogy, it didn’t kill me, but there’s no way I’d invest any time in the 2016 made-for-TV movie; I’m honestly afraid I might lose the will to live.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Cruel Intentions 2

Category : Movie Review

Director: Roger Kumble

Starring: Robin Dunne, Amy Adams, Sarah Thompson

Year: 2000

Because Cruel Intentions was a shocking (marginal) success, of course they had to make another one as soon as possible to make as much money as they could off of our 90s angst before all the drama faded away.  Phillippe, Geller, Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid; talk about a generation-defining film, or at least an era-capturing one, and the fact that the movie worked so well was perhaps a surprise to everyone, creating a scramble to pop out a sequel ASAP.  Actually, Cruel Intentions 2 is a prequel, the story of how our leading duo came to be so twisted.  It’s as evil, as melodramatic, but not nearly as good, crashing & burning every time it tries to take off and completely failing the mediocre legacy of the original.

Sebastian’s mother is in rehab, his school is ready to kick him out, he’s being sent to live with his father in a new city; things aren’t looking up for Mr. Valmont.  On the bright side, his father and stepmother are ridiculously wealthy, so he’ll be going to the finest private school New York has to offer.  The catch; he has to live with his manipulative stepsister Kathryn, the most popular girl at Manchester and someone who always gets her way.  She works tirelessly to weed out the dorky and different from high society, pulling the strings behind the curtain with wicked flair.  When Sebastian falls for Danielle, the Headmaster’s daughter, he’ll have to balance young love with outwitting his sister, a tightrope act that is guaranteed to result in a major misstep.

There are two positives within Cruel Intentions 2.  One is that there are actual boobs, where the original stays skin-free while maintaining a sexy taboo vibe.  The other is that audiences get to see Amy Adams in a young role, a comically awful one that we can look back on now for a good laugh.  It was among her very first movies, and although her talent isn’t really on display here, directors must have seen some spark because she would go on to get consistent work in TV and in film, before becoming the superstar we know today.  Robin Dunne, not so much, he and everything else about this movie are terrible.  The only redeeming quality is the way the story is set for the first film, how we are introduced to this “special” brother/sister dynamic, and perhaps how the same formula is followed, even with some of the same iconic lines.  If it hadn’t been referencing Cruel Intentions, this second installment would be complete trash, so remember that if you ever feel the urge to watch it.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Hearts Beat Loud

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Brett Haley

Starring: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons

Release: June 8th, 2018

This movie is trying to trick me, and it almost worked.