I’ve never been much for typical romance. I’ve never seen Dear John, or The Notebook, and I giant teddy bears creep me out. But with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’m done denying that I’m not a romantic…I’m just not romantic in the ways that perhaps others are. When thinking of the films to pick for this list I was tempted to include Natural Born Killers…you know, the film about the serial killing couple banned in some countries. The scene where they perform their own wedding ceremony on the bridge is so beautifully romantic to me – but don’t recommend me a therapist just yet – as I’ve actually managed to find five romantic dramas that I actually do enjoy, and these have a lot less murder.
SPLIT, written and directed by the talented M. Night Shyamalan, starring the wonderful James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley. The film follows McAvoy as he plays a character with split personality disorder, also known as dissociative personality disorder, after he kidnaps three girls and interacts with them in each of his personalities.
Apologies are in order before I start this blog post. I have been tragically neglecting my blog for a while now, and films that I’ve seen have came and gone and I’m still yet to review them. My only excuse is that I’m in my third year of university and also well…I spend far too much of my free time napping. I’m not kidding, I really did just wake up from a nap…
I figured since I’ve been meaning to review a few recent films, I’d compile them into one blog post, telling you the basics, and why (or why not) you should go and see the film!
First up is ARRIVAL – a science fiction based on a 1998 short story titled “Story of Your Life”. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, the film stars the lovely Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.
Going into Arrival, I was expecting a pretty decent film about aliens. That’s what the trailer suggested, and as a keen alien lover (that sounds strange but then, I guess it is) I was excited by the premise of aliens coming to earth and instead of it being a dramatic and violent world war, people actually try and use education and knowledge to translate their language and communicate with them, to find out why they’re here. Along with UFO’s and Aliens, another one of my interests is in linguistics and language, so I was really excited to see how the two came together in the film.
But Arrival turned out to be much more than what I expected. I came out actually experiencing something touching, something beautiful and thoughtful, and something that felt like one of those films that stay with you forever. As much as Arrival is of course, about aliens coming to earth and the different countries figuring out how they’re going to deal with it amongst the wide spread panic, it’s also more importantly about Amy’s character and her impact on the world, the events of her life, and how intricately connected the world is.
Something I’m really interested in is the concept of time and how it may not be as linear as we perceive it, and how that links into death, other universes and dimensions and the theory that the past, present and future is all happening at once. Arrival not only touched on these subjects, but really brought them down to a personal level with Amy’s character, and represented the aliens in a very ‘human’ way, one that I could understand and relate to, something that has not often been done in films before. The CGI for the aliens was also incredibly unique, kind of frightening, and incredibly intriguing to see on a massive screen in front of you.
I found Arrival to be an incredibly thought provoking, touching and beautiful film. It gave me much, much more than I expected, and seemed to come at a time when I was already questioning some of the elements that we’re brought up in the film, connecting with me on more than just a enjoyment level. I really recommend this film even if you’re not into aliens, but if all you want is a quick and easy sci-fi about aliens coming to earth and reeking havoc…this film probably isn’t for you.
PSYCHO CINDERELLA’S RATING – 10/10
The next film on my list to discuss is ALLIED, a world war two romantic thriller starring Brad Pitt and the wonderful Marion Cotillard, directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight.
I was really intrigued by the trailer for Allied, it seemed fast paced and interesting, a thriller to keep you guessing until the end. Following the story of an intelligence officer and a resistance fighter, the two meet in Nazi occupied Casablanca in French Morocco, and fall in love, deciding to get married and spend their lives together back in London.
The characters of Max and Marianne are incredibly endearing. Marianne particularly, played by Marion, was incredibly captivating to watch on screen, and the perfect choice for a character who was supposed to be loved by everyone, the life and soul of a party. Happily married and now with a child, Anna, one day Max is called into Special Operations and is told that they suspect his wife of being a german spy. Obviously Max is angry and confused, as you would if someone just accused your partner of such a thing, but is told if the test they plant works, it will prove she is a german spy and he will be ordered to kill her.
Of course as a loving husband, Max is completely convinced his wife is not a german spy. But the seed of doubt has been planted, and it itches away at Max from the moment he gets home, escalating into something much bigger, as the we the audience are right there with him, wondering if the charming and lovely Marianne is actually a traitor.
The film actually doesn’t have that much action, especially not as much as I was expecting. But that’s not so much a criticism, I actually found the film to be very touching and quite sophisticated, relying on the jeopardy of the problem Max faces as enough to be thrilling for the audience. I felt the film ended quicker than expected, and was lacking just a touch of something I can’t put my finger on, but overall moved me by the emotional ending and stuck with me for a while.
PSYCHO CINDERELLA’S RATING – 6/10
Lastly I thought I’d mention, The Girl on The Train, starring Emily Blunt and some other well known faces. Based on the great book by Paula Hawkins of the same name, I was expecting great things from this thriller, hoping it would be adapted as well as, if not better, than Gone Girl.
But I was wrong. The Girl on the Train was a decent film, but compared to the book, it really fell short on a lot of places. Emily Blunt was, in my eyes, a great choice for the main character of Rachel. A depressed alcoholic with a slight obsession with her ex-husband who cheated on her and is now living in the house they lived together with his new wife and child, you can’t blame her for being a little out of sorts. Justin Theroux, who played the ex-husband Tom, was also a great fit, but one big thing really let the film fall short for me.
The setting. The book is set in London, in all its glorious grittiness, it’s dark, miserable weather, cramped train journeys where all there is to look out at is rows of wall to wall houses. The setting matched the story line perfectly, emulated it even, and almost became it’s own character by the end. But in the film, they changed the setting to New York, with a train journey that goes behind these stunning houses, with balconies and huge gardens that the sun shines over. Even if I had not read the book and already had the setting of London in my mind, I think the setting still would have stood out as wrong to me. Juxtapositions between setting and story line can be effective, but in this case, it seemed…unrealistic, and took away from what the setting created before.
Overall, the film was okay, but it really didn’t give justice to the amazing psychological thriller that Hawkins wrote. Emily Blunt’s performance was amazing, believable, and passionate, but the other women characters in the film came across stereotypical and flat, and the constant cuts to past and present were enough to give me whiplash.
PSYCHO CINDERELLA’S RATING – 5/10
Have you watched any of these films this year? What did you think? Is there any 2016 films you think I should see before the end of the year? Let me know in the comments!
Green Room is a 2015 horror film starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and none other than Sir Patrick Stewart (yes you read that right!)
Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier, Green Room follows a punk band running low on money and morale. After being offered a good amount of much needed money to perform at a neo-Nazi dive bar, as you can imagine, things soon turn for the worst.
As I’ve mentioned many times before – modern horror films usually fall flat for me; they tend to be stereotypical, full of jump scares and tons of plot holes. But the premise for this horror film definitely grabbed my attention. For once, a horror film wasn’t just about a haunted house, a possessed doll or a supernatural entity. Instead the film presents us with a story line that is interesting, unique, yet not unrealistic. Neo-Nazi’s unfortunately do exist even today, and without having to set up anything, the audience is already on edge, thinking of all the possibilities that could happen.
Do you think all classic films are sexist or are there some that are surprisingly progressive for their time? Comment down below, or on my post on Film Inquiry, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
-Psycho Cinderella ❤