I wanted to speak with everyone on here who follows me and tell you something. I haven’t been ignoring you for the past few months. I’ve just not had the best time with my mental health. I’m taking steps to feel better and make progress. I feel that I’ve been slacking because of this, both in terms of writing and conversing with you all. For that, I extend my apologies as I’m working on getting back to usual service. It just might take some time. So I hope you all understand and know that I love you all.
An update and reimagining of an old idea , The Invisible Man successfully crafts tension and scares, while lacing the story with topical awareness and psychological chills.
We open with Cecilia Kass( Elisabeth Moss)escaping from her boyfriend Adrian Griffin(Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who she lives with in his high tech house. She is aided in her escape by her sister Emily(Harriet Dyer) and following this she goes to live secretly with childhood friend/ cop James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney( Storm Reid). After this we learn that Adrian had been controlling every aspect of their relationship and would regularly abuse Cecilia to the point that she thought she was losing her mind. Then Cecelia hears that Adrian has supposedly committed suicide. Cecelia is shocked by this because Adrian was so in control of everything, including her and enjoyed the feeling of owning something. But nonetheless with his apparent demise, she attempts to recover from the abuse she suffered and start a new life. Unfortunately, a lingering presence won’t let that happen for Cecelia . What first appears to just be her being paranoid because of strange coincidences soon becomes clear that something is stalking her, though everyone thinks it is just the trauma talking. With events turning dangerous and her friends questioning her sanity, Cecelia starts to feel cut off from everything with no one believing her that Adrian is doing this somehow. Desperate and isolated by this point, Cecelia must muster all her strength in order to avoid going insane and figuring out just how Adrian is still able to torment her despite being apparently dead.
Right from the opening, in which we see Cecelia escape from Adrian’s grasp , Leigh Whannell places us right in the middle of tension and keeps it ticking away like a time bomb. Once Cecelia escapes, the tension and uneasiness is never far away as it bubbles away before steadily ratcheting things up notch by notch. Whannell is a skilled director and writer who truly brings this creepy story to life and knows how to make an impact on the audience by pushing the right buttons and also throwing in some unexpected moments too .The themes of oppression of women and particularly abuse inflicted by toxic masculinity echo the real life events across the entertainment industry the past few years. The Invisible Man understands just how suffocating and damaging dealing with abuse like gaslighting can be and what it can do to your head. For that reason, it really stuck in my mind and I’m sure it will do the same to others who see it. One tiny niggle is that the film loses a bit of steam in the midsection and a little editing could have been a tad more efficient. But this is a minor gripe in one chilling and suspenseful horror thriller. Visually, the cold colours of The Invisible Man are hauntingly rendered and the usage of wide shots to test the audience into noticing whether something has moved is alarmingly effective . I mean the way the camera lingers with tension is so assured that you feel genuinely unnerved by it . And it’s put to amazing use during a particularly brutal sequence that is one continuous moving shot that has to be seen to be appreciated . The low hum of the score further exemplifies an unearthly presence that won’t stop until it is satisfied.
What gives The Invisible Man a lot of its power is the central turn from the always talented and watchable Elisabeth Moss. Exploring the desperation, isolation and eventual strength of her character, Moss doesn’t miss a beat as the abused woman slowly piecing things together. We buy into her anger, sadness and confusion, as well as the burning resilience waiting to burst through. And it’s all down to Elisabeth Moss, who has the ability to make us feel often without speaking a word( her expressive face does that to stunning effect.) For the time he’s on screen, Oliver Jackson-Cohen makes Cecelia’s abusive ex suitably slippery and chilling; you really buy into the fact that he could manipulate you anyway he wanted to. Harriet Dyer convinces as the sarcastic but caring sister , while the supportive and strong duo of Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid adds to moments of levity for Cecilia as she attempts to rebuild her life, little realising the nightmare has only just begun . Michael Dorman excels as Adrian’s mysterious brother who you are on the fence about and can’t help but question which side he is on given his familial ties. Not to take anything away from any of the other cast, but The Invisible Man belongs to Elisabeth Moss
Scary, unnerving and above all well acted(particularly by Moss), The Invisible Man is a horror/thriller that manages to get under your skin from the very beginning. Trust me, you’ll be checking over your shoulder when this movie finishes
A dark action fantasy with imaginative mythology, Underworld certainly looks terrific and has a bit more plot than you’d expect. It’s an imperfect film, but with oodles of style and a kick ass Kate Beckinsale , Underworld holds the interest and has quite a few things to recommend.
A war has been raging for many centuries invisible to human eyes. It has been fought between the vampires and the werewolves, here called Lycans. Selene(Kate Beckinsale) is one such a vampire, referred to as a Death Dealer as she hunts down her enemy. We pick up with her as she hunts Lycans but finds something different this time. The Lycans are hunting a human by the name of Michael Corvin(Scott Speedman) ; which to Selene makes no sense as humans have no part of the conflict between the two clans. While pursuing Lycans, Selene becomes curious about Michael and how he somehow fits into events. The Lycans, headed by the slimy yet wily Lucian(Michael Sheen), have secret plans that involve blood and becoming more powerful . While the Vampires have plans to awaken one of their Elders very soon. Defying orders from the arrogant and scowling second in commands of vampires Kraven(Shane Brolly), the reckless Selene investigates Michael and unexpectedly begins to care for him. It then becomes clear that the conflict between the species isn’t as straightforward as many have been lead to believe. As various treachery is uncovered and her attachment to deepens, Selene begins to question what she’s been lead to believe just as the war hots up again and the dormant Vampire Elder Viktor(Bill Nighy) is awakened.
Len Wiseman is a very stylish director who makes a good go of bringing this story to life. He showers us with lashings of blood soaked violence, barrages of bullets captured in slow motion and leather gear throughout. And it must be said, on the visual scale, Underworld is rather dazzling . With a dark cinematography style bathing events in Gothic grey and moody blues, we are put into this nocturnal world of battles that feels fantastical and darkly intriguing. What’s surprising about Underworld is that it isn’t just a mindless action fantasy, there is some good world building here. Occasionally it gets a bit too much with explaining things and the run time does leave a bit to be desired. I feel the movie flags in the midsection before all matter of violence breaks loose and sucks us back into the spectacle that was so entertaining. As I mentioned previously, it’s not a perfect movie but it’s sure as hell entertaining when it’s in high gear. It’s flawed but definitely got a lot going for it and I for one enjoy the good of what Underworld provides to me. A thumping score that is definitely what I’d call early 2000’s accompanies the film and fits in with the aesthetics quite well.
Underworld is not what you’d call an actors movie per say, though it has a handsome cast. Kate Beckinsale, clad in a figure hugging latex catsuit, has the appropriate sex appeal, icy cool and sullen attitude for her role of Selene. All these attributes work well as well as the physicality and reckless personality Beckinsale imbues into the part. She’s suitably cast and carries the centre of the e film as we watch her emotions become more prominent when Selene has tried to shut them off. In short, Kate Beckinsale is ideally cast and makes for a great kick ass heroine with a heart. Scott Speedman is mainly required to be startled and confused as the human caught in the midst of this war. Thankfully, Speedman does what he can with what he’s given and at least provides the centre of the story as he and Selene grow closer. Questionable morals and arrogant personality are on show from Shane Brolly as the leader of the vampires, who can’t help but feel inadequate when questioned by Selene and others on his judgment . Bill Nighy appears late but makes an impact as the Vampire, who while wise and seemingly respectable enough, may in fact be something more manipulative entirely .
So while it’s imperfect and not everything comes off, Underworld is still a largely engrossing fantasy with great action, nice wold building and good cast headed by the sexy Kate Beckinsale.
It may follow familiar beats and is more than a tad formulaic, but two compelling leads and some crackling suspense raise The Bone Collector to a good level of suspense to watch.
Lincoln Rhyme(Denzel Washington) was once a prominent forensics detective/expert who was highly respected in his field. That is until a tragic accident rendered him mostly paralysed. Only his face, brain and two fingers work and he has all but given up on life. Though he is looked after by live in nurse Thelma(Queen Latifah), Rhyme finds his existence exhausting because he can’t do what he once did .Owing to progressively worse seizures that he believes will render him in a vegetative state, he plans to end thing sin order to avoid that fate. Meanwhile, tough patrol cop Amelia Donaghy(Angelina Jolie) is going to be transferred to a desk job. But on her last day as a cop, she uncovers a mutilated body on the train tracks . Alongside the body is old fashioned items that are most puzzling at first. Thinking fast, stops the evidence being destroyed by halting an oncoming train by stopping it in the nick of time. Rhyme’s detective friend Paulie Sellitto (Ed O’Neill) enlists him on the case in question. Rhyme isn’t keen on taking the case, until he sees the clues and can’t help but get involved. After seeing Amelia’s skill at collecting evidence and seeing, asks for her to assist him in the case . Not wanting to put in jeopardy her soon to be desk job, Amelia is apprehensive of taking on such a case. She reluctantly accepts and though they are not the most obvious partners in solving crime, after initial animosity , the two begin to work on this unusual case. The tough Amelia becomes Lincoln’s eyes and ears on the crime scene to track down the sadistic serial killer before he strikes again. The particularly nasty killer enjoys toying with the detectives with his clues and taunting them if they are too late. Hindering the investigation is the interference of Captain Howard Cheney(Michael Rooker) , who is jealous of Rhyme and wants to laud over everyone that he’s the boss but is pretty inept at what he does. The case intensifies when another person is kidnapped by the taxi cab killer. It’s now up to the mismatched duo to stop the madman before it’s too late.
Phillip Noyce is a very good director who plays the film as a fast moving yet largely engaging thriller with creepy undertones. Though The Bone Collector is not going to go down as a truly masterful and iconic thriller, it does the job of keeping us involved with a level of skill that’s quite good and it’s certainly watchable thanks to a fast moving pace and some real jolts of horror . This film isn’t afraid to be grisly( one victim is brutally scalded to death with steam ), but gladly doesn’t get to a level of truly outrageous gratuitousness . The most common thing that is said about is that it is a poor man’s Seven . While I can understand this point of view as both feature ritualistic ,viciously methodical killers and an urban setting , I think The Bone Collector also has differences. Plus, I don’t think many films in the thriller genre can replicate Seven and it’s spellbinding command over visuals and ambience. Saying that, The Bone Collector does have its share of good visual moments throughout, especially in the zooming aerial shots of New York and the creepy, unnerving darkness of the underground . The Bone Collector can often feel a bit run of the mill and near the end logic begins to strain , but the quick pace and jolts of suspense help raise it higher than what it is. Craig Armstrong contributes a mournful and atmospheric score that raises the hair on the back of your neck when it needs to.
Where The Bone Collector gains a lot of its good points is in the casting. The compelling presence of Denzel Washington is front and centre here. Washington exudes a commanding, intelligent and subtly emotional presence; displaying the frustration of man who has a mind that still works, but a body that doesn’t . All of this conveyed convincingly by the forever gifted Washington through often just body language and facial expression . Which really says a lot considering he is bed ridden for practically the whole film. Aiding him with an equally fine performance is the striking Angelina Jolie. Portraying the outwardly tough and streetwise cop with buried trauma, Jolie is very effective at mingling the two sides of this to make a very watchable character. Jolie projects a haunted yet brave front here which is appealing and solid. The chemistry Jolie shares with Washington is very believable as they go from people who are seemingly opposites who then end up complimenting the other. A no nonsense Queen Latifah is appropriately warm yet steely in her performance as the live in nurse determined to make Rhyme see that life is worth living. Ed O’Neill is on likeable form as a good support to Rhyme and you buy into the fact that they trust each other implicitly. Michael Rooker, of intense stare and eyes, slimes his way across the screen as the police captain with a massive chip on his shoulder with anyone who crosses him . If it werent for the main killer of the film, Rooker and his character could easily be cited as the chief antagonist of the piece. Luis Guzman brings a little bit of humour as a fellow forensic who often lightens the often intense and foreboding mood.
So while it’s not a truly top tier thriller , The Bone Collector is still a creepy movie that takes a standard story and raises it up a few notches to entertaining and fast moving stuff. Plus, when you have stars like Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in the film and doing a commendable job, it’s definitely worth watching in my book
I would like to thank both Gabriela and Gill for inviting me to the Other Than a Bond Girl Blogathon. Both women are amazing writers and I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to take part. I decided to highlight the delightful Carey Lowell, below is my review.
A supernatural horror movie from William Friedkin, The Guardian is a strange movie that is by turns cheesy and then creepy. While it is a definite mixed bag , The Guardian does hold moments of interest.
Phil( Dwier Brown) and Kate (Carey Lowell) Sterling are a young couple who have relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles as Phil has been offered a lucrative advertising job. Kate also works as an interior decorator. Soon they are blessed with a baby boy who they name Jake. To ensure that they can both be around for their son as well as have successful careers, they decide to hire a nanny. The woman in question is the English Camilla Grandier(Jenny Seagrove), who comes with impeccable manners, charm and a great deal of attention to little Jake. Camilla becomes a vital part of the household, though things are really not what they seem. She is in fact a druid, and she plans to sacrifice Jake when the time is ready to a nearby tree that she worships. Phil and Kate don’t realise this at first, but various things begin to make Phil question the woman who he has hired to care for his newborn baby. The seductive and conniving Camilla begins invading his dreams and we see the extent of her power when a friend of Phil and Kate’s stumbles onto her evil secret. For Camilla, it’s all about biding her time until she can snatch Jake and complete her act of horror. The question is will Phil and Kate be able to save their baby son from the diabolical plans of the evil but charming Camilla before it’s too late?
William Friedkin has long been a director who I’ve admired. While his films haven’t always been great, he still has flashes of crazy brilliance in his work. His work here is pretty good in quite a bit of it; it’s just let down by various other areas. The Guardian is a film that’s very much up and down in terms of quality and while it has creepiness, I wouldn’t really classify it as scary in terms of horror. The constant re-writes behind the scenes and troubled production come through because of this in terms of the overall product. It’s as if the film can’t decided what it wants to be(evidenced by the often choppy editing). It can’t fathom whether it should be totally serious in terms of subject or pretty outrageous and decadent . But some moments of brilliance shine through these many flaws , like the creepy effects used on the trees coming to life and some atmospheric dream sequences. Plus, when things do get really crazy, its quite thrilling stuff. Which makes it a shame that the rest of the film couldn’t deliver on this promise and decide what it wanted to be. A good enough score, punctuated by synth and piercing strings is employed to a fairly decent degree, even if it does feel a little sparse.
Jenny Seagrove heads the film with a mysterious and unnerving turn as a charming woman with deception and treachery in her mind. Seagrove, who is a strikingly beautiful presence, uses this to her advantage by showing little by little that Camilla is in no way to be trust because of how dangerously powerful she can be. Dwier Brown , while not being the finest actor in the business, has a few good moments later as the father unearthing his son is in danger. Brown just unfortunately has a habit of overacting, which can be rather grating after a while. And the woman who I’m here to write about is Carey Lowell. Her role isn’t exactly what you’d call the deepest role(new mother realising something is very wrong with the woman she has trusted with her child, Lowell brings out a convincing concern and sense of terror that is very watchable. I would have liked to have seen more of her in the film, but for when she’s on the screen, Carey Lowell gives a pretty fine performance of maternal vulnerability and underlying strength. In essence, it’s the main ladies who dominate this film.
So I must conclude that The Guardian is rather messy as a film with an editing scheme that renders parts as scattershot. But with a competent cast, notably Jenny Seagrove and of course Carey Lowell , plus some good visuals, they provide interest in what is a flawed but watchable film from William Friedkin.
Based on the popular novel , Tuck Everlasting is a magical and at times moving fantasy that ponders deep questions and boasts a wonderful cast. While it might not be to all tastes, Tuck Everlasting may very well surprise you. Especially because it’s not something I imagined would come from Disney but somehow works.
It’s the early 1900’s and rich teenager Winnie Foster( Alexis Bledel) feels constricted by society and how she’s never allowed to have any adventure. She’s largely confined to her house , where her parents smother her with rules and restrictions. Her mother Mrs. Foster( Amy Irving) is prim and proper , while her father Mr. Foster ( Victor Garber) is often busy . Winnie becomes more frustrated with her life when she’s informed that she’ll be going to a boarding school. Angry, she runs off into the woods that she’s been forbidden to enter. Finding herself lost, she meets a handsome young man called Jesse Tuck(Jonathan Jackson) . He’s secretive but before they can connect, Jesse’s brother Miles(Scott Bairstow) takes Winnie with him back to his family. Here Winnie meets the mother and father of the Tuck family, Mae(Sissy Spacek) and Angus(William Hurt). The family live in a wooden house, sheltered on the lake and among beautiful scenery . The family are hesitant over what to do with Winnie as they are clearly hiding from something . After initial uncertainty because of their secretive ways, the family warms to Winnie. As she spends more time with them, Winnie becomes entranced with how they live and finds trusted comfort with them. Jesse eventually reveals the secret of his family; they are immortal having drank water from a spring within the woods. Though they are a close family and live life with some sense of freedom, the Tuck’s have a few feelings of regret and sometimes question what they did. In the meantime, Winnie grows closer to the family. Unfortunately for Winnie and the Tuck’s, especially Jesse, who she has fallen in love with, darkness may be on the horizon. A mysterious Man in a Yellow Suit ( Ben Kingsley) has arrived with an intention on discovering their secret to immortality and wants to exploit it. And it seems he’ll resort to anything to get his wicked hands on it. Winnie’s parents also send out a massive search party to find their runaway daughter. With both of these things hanging over the summer that will change everything, the big question falls to Winnie. Will she drink from the spring to become immortal or decide against it and grow old like everyone else?
Director Jay Russell conjures up a pretty magical movie that takes innocence and the pressures of growing up and infuses them with summer adventure. He’s clearly got great admiration for the source material and doesn’t feel the need to over simplify for children, yet not alienate older viewers either. The visuals are simply gorgeous; long sweeping shots of woodland, dreamy dissolves between scenes and a sense of bittersweet reverie that colours every frame. Even the most cynical of people is likely to be charmed by this warm-hearted yet wistful movie that explores deep issues with heart and a soulfulness. Where other movies fail when trying to straddle both kid friendly content and weighty issues, Tuck shines. While some little moments get a tad saccharine, it steers to the right side of sentiment and heart that is hard to resist or fault. It’s a movie that can be incredibly moving too with the big question of immortality and eternal life at the centre . I mean I think the prospect has been something that has been of interest to people for centuries and is a concept that is most intriguing. An eloquent, wistful and stirring score from William Ross highlights the often bittersweet nature of the film, but also the beauty and mystical energy involved too.
Heading the cast is the young Alexis Bledel , who gives a very fine performance. Bledel embodies the stifled feeling of caught in the need for adventure and wrestling with the prospect of growing up. A lot of the movie rests on her shoulders, but Bledel, with her blue eyes and genuine demeanour ,rises to the challenge of capturing a girl at the point of womanhood with a very difficult dilemma at her door. Plus she has very convincing chemistry with Jonathan Jackson as the main Tuck of the film. The aforementioned Jackson brings an incredibly earnest charm to his part and has enthusiasm to burn. Veteran stars William Hurt and Sissy Spacek bring experience, depth and honesty to their roles. Both Spacek and Hurt convey so much often without words and bring true class and heartfelt emotion to Tuck Everlasting. William Hurt possesses the wisdom of someone who cares deeply for his family, while Sissy Spacek beautifully portrays a genuine maternal warmth as the glue of the family in times of upheaval. Scott Bairstow is mainly left to glower and snarl as the resentful brother, though he does get one pretty emotional scene. On villainous duty and doing it in suitably stylish taste is the ever watchable Ben Kingsley. Complete with something quite unnerving, his skill for flattery and slippery way with words , Kingsley makes the main villain quite creepy and someone you really want to not succeed in his wicked plan. Amy Irving and Victor Garber , though not given the most to do, effectively embody the kind of parenting from a time gone by with strictness and want to please the rigid rules of society.
While Tuck Everlasting may not appeal to certain demographics or audiences( the Disney label might put some off), I’d say they are missing out on a very lovely and wistful story. With a blend of innocence and maturity, Tuck Everlasting is a winning fantasy in my book and one to treasure.
A funny, scintillating and often raunchily sharp madcap crime comedy, Heartbreakers crackles with great, comedic performances and a game cast. While it overstays it’s welcome with the running time , it’s still a good knockabout time with scintillating scenes and many great laughs
Max(Sigourney Weaver) and Page Connors(Jennifer Love Hewitt) are a mother daughter con artist duo who have been largely successful in their schemes. Their main ploy is for Max to charm someone with money into marriage. On the wedding night, she falls asleep thus not consummating the marriage. Shortly after, Page poses as a seductive young girl in order to put the man in a compromising position. Max then discovers this indiscretion and files for divorce, earning plenty of money in the process. They begin the movie by pulling this number on hot shot car salesman Dean( Ray Liotta). But this charmed existence is dealt a blow when the IRS catches up with them and they are forced to pay back their ill-gotten gains. Wanting money once more, Max persuades Page to do one last con with her and they head to Palm Beach. They set their sights on the loathsome tobacco baron William B. Tensy(Gene Hackman), who is never without his product and is prone to hacking fits. Page, although obviously close to her mother, feels a tad resentful that Max is always the one who seems to be the most successful and skilful at the con game. And while obviously talented at the game too, thanks to sassy attitude and plenty of sex appeal, Page wants to prove she can do it alone and be as savvy as her mother . Alongside the big con she and her mother are working on, she decides to do one of her own. She meets the sweet and unsuspecting bar owner Jack(Jason Lee), who has been offered a good amount of money for his establishment. What Page hasn’t counted on is developing deep, romantic feelings for him, which threatens to throw a spanner in the works. Also around to complicate matters is the return of Dean who wants to get even , despite the fact he’s still crazy for Max. Much eventfulness unfurls as the elaborate con takes unexpected turns with an out of his mind Dean joining the fray and unexpected feelings getting in the way of a possibly lucrative operation for the scheming mother/daughter duo.
David Mirkin does a commendable job with Heartbreakers. He obviously is enjoying directing this amusing and at times raunchy crime comedy with amoral characters and a few good curveballs. When it comes to the laughs, Heartbreakers does deliver in large part due to the writing and zany events displayed. We have side splitting moments involving a nude statute , Max’s quick thinking in getting out of a possible jam when impersonating an Eastern European mistress and Page being used as the seductive decoy many a time. And basically anytime that Ray Liotta and Gene Hackman are on screen. The bone of contention within Heartbreakers comes with the running time, which it must be said goes on too long . Plus, there are some parts, mainly in the latter stages, that become overly complicated when they shouldn’t. I mean I’m all for twists and turns when observing a con game, but a few too many takes the cake. Thankfully, the vast majority of Heartbreakers is entertaining enough to compensate for these flaws and make it a fun-filled ride. It’s breezy and tart, with gorgeous locales and naughty antics a plenty. A jaunty and breezy score, peppered with fizzy mischief accentuates the fun time that’s being had by just about everyone involved.
The cast is what really makes Heartbreakers sizzle and have a great sense of humour. Sigourney Weaver, who is an actress I’ve always admired and been impressed with, flexes her comedic chops here with a charismatic turn. Combining a sense of experience in all things devious with moments of genuine heart, Sigourney Weaver is wholly convincing as a worldly con artist who is afraid to lose her daughter. Weaver is on great form as an commanding and slick criminal who had never grown tired of the grifter existence and displays it with appealing confidence and sexy ease. As her sparring partner in crime and daughter , Jennifer Love Hewitt also excels. Balancing cuteness, sex appeal and tough eye rolling sarcasm, she’s a vixen who develops a heart against her better judgment. Although constantly scene in figure hugging clothing that is hard to ignore, Jennifer Love Hewitt isn’t relegated to brainless sexpot here. Rather she knows how to flaunt it with a sense of humour and fun that’s most appealing .Weaver and Hewitt share a great chemistry and are genuinely believable as not your average mother daughter. Watching their back and forth is a delight with bickering and double dealings going hand in hands in a joint venture. Both ladies are wonderful and so very watchable in this crime caper. Another big standout is Ray Liotta, having fun with his often intense and unpredictable persona, is a delight as the out of his mind car dealer caught in the web. Liotta brings new meaning to the word manic with a hilarious performance as a spurned and played man who eventually gets in on the con game action. A scene stealing Gene Hackman is a true hoot as the man targeted by the women for their scheme. Spluttering through endless cigars, wearing heavy make up that makes him look like a reanimated corpse and embodying a sleazy routine as a dirty old man, the ever talented Hackman makes you howl with his comedic antics here. Both and are comedic delights in this movie and the screen lights up with them on it. Jason Lee probably gets the least to do as a potential pawn in the con game and love interest. He’s sweet and sincere, not to mention rather clueless, but he just isn’t as interesting as the other people who occupy the screen. In her last movie appearance before her death, Anne Bancroft has a ball as a shifty lady who you are never sure of. And boy does she have a blast in this supporting role that lets her sign off in style.
So while it does wear out it’s welcome thanks to the running time getting long in the tooth and things stalling in the midsection, Heartbreakers is still a fun romp through the con game. It’s enlivened by an up for anything and delightful cast and some pretty fantastic laugh out loud moments. This review is dedicated to the exceptional Ray Liotta, who recently passed away.
I really can’t believe that my blog has been going for 10 years. I want to thank each and every one of my followers. You’ve been a constant throughout these years. And I’ll take this opportunity to say that I know I haven’t been on as much as I usually am, but I’ve not been in the best frame of mind. Thankfully, I’m feeling back at full strength again and promise to check out all of your work. My apologies if I’ve been absent, I’ve just had a lot to deal with in the case of my anxiety and depression. But I love all of you so much and I promise more content is on the way. You guys have been the driving force behind the success of my blog and I want to extend my love to all of you. I seriously can’t believe it has been ten years for this blog.
Depicting the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus Christ, Mel Gibson’s unrelenting religious drama pulls no punches on the brutality scale. Though that does offer hope, if you can get make your way through the startling brutality depicted. All in all, The Passion of the Christ emerges as a truly powerful and emotion churning film.
We begin in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus(Jim Caviezel) knows he will be betrayed . Judas( Luca Lionello), one of his trusted disciples, betrays Jesus for pieces of silver and leads them to where the master he followed is . Arrested, Jesus is accosted by priests and faces the temptation of Satan. Watching are his disciples, plus his mother Mary(Maia Morgenstern) and Mary Magdalene(Monica Bellucci), who are devastated by the proceedings that follow. As the hours pass by, it’s an emotional rollercoaster for all involved. From being taken to the conflicted governor Pontius Pilate(Hristo Shopov) to his scourging by soldiers, Jesus is put through sickening abuse and soul shaking cruelty. Despite being tortured and mocked, Jesus remains as resolute as he can in his conviction of his purpose to be the saviour of the people. As his torture continues, Jesus eventually carries the cross to his place of death as jeering crowds and devastated followers continue with him. The hope of resurrection comes in a soulful conclusion with the ascension of the Messiah.
Mel Gibson directs with real conviction and pardon the pun, passion. He’s created a film that doesn’t sugarcoat or simplify the last twelves of Jesus Christ’s life . I’ve found that often in religious movies depicting Christ, the brutality and hardship of his last hours is watered down and over rather quickly . And while many of those movies are fantastically made and crafted, The Passion of the Christ is a different movie altogether. Gibson crafts a truly harrowing experience that both rewards and scars. The decision to have the film be in Aramaic, with also bits in Latin and Hebrew, is an interesting one that I think pays off because it makes things feel realistic and immediate. Now I’ve read that there are those who view as anti-Semitic because the main people wanting Jesus put to death are Jewish priests. While I can understand where the accusation is coming from , though I don’t believe that the film itself is anti-semitic . It rather shows how there is sin and darkness on either side of things and how man can often be cruel and shockingly vicious towards others . The scenes of vicious brutality are intercut with flashback from Christ’s past, including the Last Supper and rescuing Mary Magdalene from the street. These scenes are bathed in a beautiful glow which counteracts the almost muted colour palette of the early passages, followed by glaring brightness as the journey towards crucifixion comes into motion. All of this is strikingly shot and realised by the talented cinematography Caleb Deschanel . His work is stark yet strangely beautiful; reminiscent of old fashioned painting and artwork. Among the savagery on show, the cinematography holds moments of soulful grace. The focus on eyes throughout is arresting in a very visual sense and in between the often harrowing images depicted, translates a lot of emotion to the audience. Sound editing makes every moment of brutality stand out, particularly the sound of the whip that cuts in the back of Jesus and into the ears of the audience. A truly haunting score from John Debney heightens all the emotions displayed in a way that is truly hypnotic, dark and yet stirring as it unfolds. For many viewers, the level of brutality, violence and general intensity will prove too much for them. And it is true that The Passion of the Christ is a test of endurance on both the emotions and the stomach. Some parts of it due feel like overkill, like a beating that refuses to end. But I believe that’s the main point of the movie and that by refusing to shy away from the brutality, it is attempting to bring a level of reality to the story which is often eschewed for something nicer.
Jim Caviezel is truly astounding as Jesus Christ in what is obviously an immensely challenging role. Caviezel finds the core of strength that comes through when experiencing startling torture. His soulful expression, underneath viciously inflicted wounds, brings volumes of depth and beatific humanity to Christ. Put through the emotional and physical mill, Caviezel is on hand to deliver a performance that says so much and is filled with deep reverence and dignity throughout. Maia Morgenstern is sublime as Mary, the mother of Christ who is seen throughout the movie enduring every parent’s worst nightmare. What this woman conveys with her eye is simply extraordinary; you feel every emotion goes through her and is expressed on her marvellous and nuanced face. My hats off to the immensely talented and totally believable Maia Morgenstern. The same can be said of Monica Bellucci, who doesn’t have a lot of dialogue but whose face speaks more than reams of dialogue ever could. Both women are truly superb as the important women in the life of Jesus. They both must watch with mournful, expressive eyes, the man they care about go through immense pain in order to save people from their sins. And they truly deliver work that like that of Caviezel, burns itself into the memory for its power. Hristo Shopov, who possesses a palpably haunted and weary aura, plays Pilate as a man who is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t . The burden weighs heavy on him and Shopov plays this convincingly and authenticity .Rosalinda Celentano appears in the brief but important role of Satan. With her piercing visage and unnerving aura, she’s a memorable part of The Passion of the Christ and pretty unforgettable. Luca Lionello appears as the traitorous Judas, who soon feels the immense guilt and feeling of disgust that comes with betraying someone who trusted you. Lionello embodies when he’s on screen this feeling of self-hatred and regret as demons swell around him.
At the end of the day, The Passion of the Christ is both a soul shaking and powerful movie. It’s not for the faint of heart and I wholeheartedly mean that , but if you have the stomach, it’s an unforgettable experience.