'The Shallows' Review
Now - there are many flaws with the film. There are moments that it is all so ludicrous it makes it hard to suspend your disbelief through them, and this is not actually how most sharks are (particularly they wouldn't necessarily be in shallow water - or so I'm told). But overall those moments are few and far between.
Lively really holds her own as the solo star of the film, you can feel her desperation and she truly had me worried for her. I mean, she is a national treasure we can't lose her this young.
Most impressive was the use of music and sound, as well as the cinematography. The sound quieting under the water, paired the overhead and underwater shots all contributed to an overall beautiful movie to watch. And even though there's the threat of dying on a rock or in a shark, it made me want to go there and surf (but with lots of other people).
Truly though, it was a frightening movie. The tension was so great that I was personally hiding my eyes most of the movie, and there were multiple times that most people in the audience jumped and screamed.
If you're looking to be scared, this will definitely do the trick.
'Finding Dory' Review
Our childhood favourite is finally back.
Almost exactly 13 years after the premiere of the iconic Finding Nemo, we've been #blessed with the follow up, Finding Dory.
(Slight spoilers ahead).
In this one, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is on a search for her parents, whom she (thinks) she lost when she was young. Her memories start to come back to her, so she knows she needs to go to a 'fish hospital' to find them. In the process, she gets separated from Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence), who must in turn find her.
What follows is a series of events that introduce us to new, hysterical characters, and teach us new life lessons.
The movie is so sweet and heartfelt, and as with any Pixar movie there was definitely one (or two) times where a tear is shed. The new characters were perfect, and each funny in their own way. Standouts were Hank the octopus (Ed O'Neill) and Destiny the whale (Kaitlin Olson). And of course, Sigourney Weaver.
One of the things these animated movies do best is make the humour accessible to both adults and children, making it the perfect movie to see with your kids (or with your friends who are basically children).
As always, the animation is on another level. One thing I kept hearing people discuss afterwards was how it sometimes seemed as if it was a mix of animation and reality because there is just NO way that they can make animation that real (ps. they can, it's just insane).
My only issue was that by the end it felt a little long and convoluted. While it was all fun to watch, there were a few times near the end where you were checking your watch to see when it would be done.
Other than that, it was a fantastic movie, and one you'd have to have a cold, dead heart to not love at least a little bit.
One of the quirkiest, touching and heartwarming documentaries I've ever had the privilege of watching. I went in knowing very little about the movie, and nothing about Harold and Lillian themselves; I came out wanting to know everything I possibly could.
For those who are like me: Harold Michelson was a renowned story board artist and art director in Hollywood, while his wife, Lillian Michelson, was an established researcher. Together they've helped bring to life some of the most famous movies and iconic scenes of all time.
Not only is this movie about their love story, it is a love story to them, and about Hollywood's love of them. Danny DeVito is the executive producer, and one of many Hollywood legends who gave their time to pay tribute to such an influential couple.
Despite marriages notoriously not lasting in Hollywood, Harold and Lillian kept their marriage going for over 60 years, all while climbing their way up their respective ladders in one of the toughest industries in the world. They loved each other so deeply and were truly best friends.
While both of them were insanely talented and passionate about their jobs (when told she should sell her library, retire and go sit on a beach, Lillian said "why would I do that? I would stay here researching until I died if I could".), Lillian was so much more than that. She was an inspiring feminist figure, who knew that staying at home wasn't the life she wanted to live. And if she made it out to LA to be with Harold and she didn't love it, or him, she'd divorce him. She truly paved her own path and never let a man (or anyone) tell her how to live her life.
They're both witty and funny and smart, and the type of people you could listen to stories from for hours on end.
The film itself kept you entertained and enthralled with these two. They interspersed caricature drawings of Lillian and Harold which was unique and so fun, and helped to fill in the blanks of your imagination with the stories they were telling.
It was also hugely informative about the film industry. I think I'm relatively well informed, but I'm so happy I saw this simply based on how much I learned. Especially of the importance of the story board. Such an under-credited role for the people who can create the scenes we truly remember.
It is a perfect documentary, and I highly recommend anyone who loves Hollywood, movies, or love to check it out.
I saw this movie as part of the Niagara Integrated Film Festival, which is running in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from June 10-19. Find tickets and more information here: https://niagarafilmfest.com/
Back to the movie, it was truly the pinnacle of parody of pop culture for this generation. The main character of Connor 4 Real may be reminiscent of Justin Bieber, put it was clearly highlighting the absurdity of any star of that nature, especially those who made it big young.
The mockumentary style worked so well for the story they were telling, and Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone’s directing made it all come together in a way where you were never bored (and rarely were you not laughing). Paired with Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg’s writing, these three are an unstoppable comedy tour de force together.
What makes a comedy truly great is when there’s equal amount heart involved. The characters were so strong that you felt attached to each of them, and by the end all you really wanted was for them to succeed. It was heartfelt in a way where none of it felt forced.
It was also filled to the brim with just about every celebrity you can imagine. From Ringo Starr to Seal, from Sarah Silverman to Joan Cusack, the boys have clearly made lots of friends over the years and all of them came out to help with the film. Once again though, it all felt natural. The magnitude of these celebrities added to absurdity of the story, while also making sure the audience knew that the very people the movie was poking fun at were in on the joke.
This is the best comedy I’ve seen this year, and I think anybody can enjoy it. I don’t often cry from laughing too hard, but I did twice in those 90 minutes. It truly was a slam dunk film.
'The Lobster' Review
This is one of those movies that will stick with you.
The premise is a fascinating one: in this dystopian future, anyone not coupled off goes to a hotel, where they have a limited number of days to find a partner, if they don’t, they will be transformed into an animal. They also go to the woods to hunt the ‘loners’; those who have escaped this hotel and live off the land by themselves. (For every loner they bring back to the hotel an extra day is added to their stay at the hotel).
This in and of itself is an interesting take on societal standards, where we have these unrealistic ways we’re supposed to live, and the pain we put ourselves through to achieve them. So while this premise may seem absurd, including the animal part, just how absurd is it compared to our current lives?
It was a surprisingly funny movie, there were quite a few parts that had the whole theatre in hysterics. Part of it was the characters being extremely mechanical and straight forward. They were almost robotic, and the film itself felt the same way, with little excess storytelling outside the necessities.
Even with this, however, by the end the movie felt a little long and convoluted, like not every little thing that was included was necessary.
The acting was outstanding, particularly from leads Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. There was chemistry between them, and in a movie where nobody was supposed to have any sort of emotions or feelings they made you feel for them.
There was surprisingly a cliffhanger ending, which leads even more to feeling like you won’t be able to get this movie out of your head for a long time after the credits roll.
Overall it was a compelling, interesting story, and beautifully shot.
*My biggest complaint is that the movie in no way tied itself back to this iconic plot line:
Speaking of genuine, the real love that Amy and Tina have for each other was palpable throughout. The two seem like real sisters, and the movie wouldn't have worked without their chemistry.
Writer Paula Pell is truly one of the best in the business, and the jokes were constant and fast-paced throughout. Sometimes you were too busy laughing at one that you missed the next. There was so much happening, and you become easily obsessed with and invested in each and every character.
Outside of Tina and Amy the cast was a total clusterfuck of the funniest people living. Maya Rudolph was ridiculously good (as usual), and Bobby Moynihan was one of my favourite characters.
We also need to discuss John Cena. As everybody knows, my obsession with the Rock knows no bounds. But what's not as well known about me is my second favourite wrestler-actor is John Cena, whom I love just somewhat below the Rock. He was a standout in his 2 minute part in Trainwreck this summer, and now he's done it with another comedy, playing the beefy drug dealer who Tina is trying to get with throughout the movie.
My only real complaint about the film is that their parents are played by James Brolin and Dianne Wiest, who are currently playing a VERY similar married couple in the new TV show, Life in Pieces. But that's a minor complaint, for an otherwise near-flawless movie.
Overall, it was a perfectly constructed comedy, and the jokes were constant. I'm sure it will letdown some, but personally, it was everything I wanted from it. Watching this felt like coming home. And Darth Vader was crazy good.
'The Martian' Review
This, paired with the amazing acting made the audience so invested in each and every character. There are definitely multiple acting noms heading the way of this cast. While Matt Damon's performance of course stands out, Donald Glover gave a fantastic performance in one of the smaller roles.
And on top of all this, the cinematography made you believe you were really on Mars. I truly feel like I've seen Mars and like, I'd go. Just as long as nobody left me behind.
I was anticipating this movie for a long time, and I haven't been this excited waiting in line to see something in ages. So there was a lot of room for disappointment, but instead it exceeded my expectations.
Absolutely the must-see blockbuster movie of the year, and one that will probably be used in film classes for years to come. I simply can't express how much it impressed me. Please go and see it so you can discuss with me. If you have seen it - let me know in the comments!
Despite the dreary living conditions, the film is beautifully shot, and you feel like a fly on the wall of this tiny space, almost as if you're intruding on Ma and Jack.
Just like the book, the film will stay with you long after the credits roll. It's easy to make you cry with such heavy subject matter, but to also bring some laughs out, to see the light side of things, is an incredible feat by director Lenny Abrahamson and the young Tremblay. Larson gives a riveting performance, and the role couldn't have been cast better.
While the story is dark, and there are so many hopeless moments in it, in the end it's a story about hope, and about how losing hope is never an option.
Naturally, the film adaptation couldn't be entirely true to the book (as the book is written from Jack's perspective), but Abrahamson does well with what he has, making the audience feel claustrophobic with tight shots and his ability to make us feel as if we ourselves are in Room with them.
Part of what makes the drama feel so real and gritty is knowing that this does happen in real life, and while this story is fiction, you can't help but have a pit in your stomach knowing that such evils could exist right in your own backyard. This is also due to the fact that it takes place in just that, a backyard like any other. Lend that to the stories you see on the news and you feel like you could be watching a true story.
Overall, it's one of the best films of the year so far, and one that will leave you feeling shaken and wanting to call your mother afterwards. An absolute must-watch.
Room opens October 16th.
'The Overnight' Review
The dinner winds down and when their kids head to bed things start to get weird. Alex and Emily stick it out because they've finally made friends and they don't want to screw that up.
The film is an oddball comedy that gets so out there you can't help but laugh at the eccentricity. It certainly won't be for everybody, but if you enjoy campy, indie films then this is for you.
The performances in it are great, and you can feel that the group had genuine chemistry. Everyone played their role to perfection, and created intricate, interesting characters that had you wanting more.
A fun, summer, date-night movie for you and your significant other, as long as both of you are okay with absolute absurdity.
Amy Schumer stars in (and wrote) Trainwreck, a story about a girl who meets a boy who makes her start caring. It's a typical rom-com but it is also so, so much more than that.
First of all, Schumer, as per her usual, is the realest. Everything from the dialogue to the nature of the relationship between her and Bill Hader feels so much more real than most romantic comedies. Schumer doesn't stray from her brash humour (if you're not a fan of hers, chances are this isn't the movie for you; if you are, congratulations you'll have the best two hours of your life).
Trainwreck also focuses on Amy's family (her name is Amy in the movie as well). She has a sister, Kim (Brie Larson), which is true to real life, and a father (Colin Quinn) suffering from MS, also true to real life. This plays a prominent part in the movie and really helps to make the character of Amy more relatable and down-to-earth.
The cast is star-studded (particularly with other comics, as well as athletes). LeBron James is a total standout, who is more than a cameo but a supporting character to Hader. He plays his deadpan lines so immaculately he might have to consider giving up basketball for comedy.
The movie had me (embarrassingly) howling with laughter, and at one point completely sobbing. (Plus once more where I almost cried, and a bunch more times in there where I was in fits in laughter...) Basically all the emotions in ways where you can't control yourself from bursting out. I wasn't the only one, either. The entire theatre was filled with the sound of laughter through so much of the movie, some of the lines of dialogue were lost (oh well, I guess I'll HAVE to see it again).
Judd Apatow directed and tied everything together nicely. While some people will think the film is too long (running at 2h 2m it is relatively long for a rom-com), I found I couldn't get enough, and would have been pleased for another hour of screen time.
Without any spoilers, I had a giant grin spread over my face for the final scene of the movie, and I'd say it's going down as one of the best endings of all romantic comedies, ever.
This was far-and-away the best movie I've seen this summer, this year, and up there with one of my new favourites of all time. It was everything I wanted from Schumer and more. If you've been looking forward to this movie, get thee to a theatre ASAP, because it is not one to miss this year.
Schumer has not only proven herself as a leading lady but the next great comedic voice in movies. While we hope this doesn't mean she'll be ditching our TV screens for movies full-time, we can pray that this is the beginning of a very long career.
Trainwreck opens July 17.
To get you primed for the opening of Trainwreck, watch Amy Schumer on Jimmy Fallon last night absolutely slaying the interview game.