Nocturnal Animals is written and directed by Tom Ford staring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, it is an adaptation of a 1993 novel named Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, the film is Tom Ford’s 2nd directorial effort after 2010’s A Single Man.
The film has three separate stories taking place at once and all connect to each other like a jigsaw puzzle at the end, the first story takes place in the present day with our lead character Susan played by Amy Adams who is an art dealer in the high society and she is married to a business man played by Armie Hammer who is always traveling to New York to take care of his business, one day she receives a novel written by her ex-husband Edward that he called Nocturnal Animals and he dedicated it to her, as she begin to read the novel it makes her think about her life and and reflect on how unhappy she is, the 2nd story is the past which is the story of how Susan and Edward fell in love and got married and later on got divorced, now the third one which is the bulk of the film is the dramatization of the novel and in it Jake Gyllenhaal plays the husband Tony Hastings and he is traveling on the American highway with his family and something tragic happens to them, and I will not talk about that part.
For me it is rare to watch a movie twice in a row, but after I watch Nocturnal Animals I felt like I was haunted by this film and I needed to watch it again which I did. I got a sense that Tom Ford was all over this film his attention to detail and his artistic vision and finger print was literally everywhere which complimented Seamus McGarvey’s masterful cinematography and Abel Korzeniowski’s amazing score. it is really well made every frame of the film speaks for its self and the contras of color and the crisp images really do standout as one of the best 2016 movies.
I don’t understand how Jake Gyllenhaal is not nominated for an Oscar for his role he really did a masterful job especially as Tony, Michael Shannon was also very brilliant and he is nominated for an Oscar, Amy Adams is 2016’s biggest snub because she didn’t get the recognition that she deserved for either of her movies and she was really good here,Aaron Taylor-Johnson was completely unrecognizable in this film he did an impressive job by becoming his character he was really captivating.
Verdict : Nocturnal Animals is an impressive movie from every aspect, it is extremely well made, well written and masterfully acted. despite its critical acclaim I feel like it deserved more recognition and I really hope Tom Ford keeps making more films like this in the near future. (10.0/10.0)
Justice League Dark is directed by Jay Oliva staring Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Camilla Luddington and Nicholas Turturro, it is a 2017 DC Original animation movie produced by WarnerBros. Animation studios.
The story takes place in the DC universe as people keep getting crazy and going on murdering sprees and claiming they were killing demons and monsters. the story is very conventional in the DC Universe style, there is a villain and our heroes are going to stop him but what set the previous DC animations was the heroes and villains that I cared about but most of the cast here are unremarkable and they do too little to make me care about them especially Constantine, the villain is also very unremarkable I cared very little about him or his motives little they were.
but those weren’t the only problems I had with the film, the faces look like they are made in flash and not the new versions of it, they don’t look like a product of 2017. the voice actings are nice and well done but it just doesn’t make any sense why the animations are that bad, some of the action sequences are also good it is just the faces that are near abysmal.
Verdict : Justice League Dark does very little for me to care about it, the face animations are terrible, the story is flat and the villain is very weak it is nice to see Batman hanging out with a different group but that basically is. (3.0/10.0)
Manchester by the Sea is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan staring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and Kyle Chandler. the film released on November 2016 and currently nominated for six academy awards.
The film follows Lee Chandler who is played by Casey Affleck, an isolated man who lives in Boston and works as a janitor who get news of his brother Joe’s death and finds out that he named him his son’s legal guardian who is played by Lucas Hedges. bit by bit we get to know why Lee is living such an isolated life and what darkness is he running from and when we do finally get the whole picture it is one of the most tragic and upsetting characters I have seen on a screen in 2016.
The film’s most celebrated performance is Casey Affleck who shines as a broken beyond repair man, his performance is so surreal and raw every facial cue is leading to something else masterfully performed, I always knew Casey had a tremendous talent I am very glad he is getting the recognition for it, the rest of the cast are doing a remarkable job even though they don’t get much of screen time, especially Michelle Williams who had two very powerful scenes and of course Lucas Hedges was very believable as the teenager who lose his dad and trying to cope with it.
If I could get a chance to explain what most of the film’s scenes are it would be a bunch of people screaming at each other, but the thing is those scenes all make sense once you understand why every character is doing they are doing, the motives and the character backgrounds are all very masterful and tragic and they work marvelously well.
Perhaps not the best highlight of the film but I really did enjoy the scenery of the film as someone who loves cold winters and grey weather, the color palate of the film are very low tone and reflects the mood of the film.
Verdict : Kenneth Lonergan comes back after almost a decade to direct a masterful film that is tragic and upsetting which complements by Casey Affleck’s jarring performance. (9.0/10.0)
Note : this is a spoiler free review, nothing regarding the plot beyond the first 20 minutes or so will be discussed here.
Resident Evil 7 : Biohazard is developed and published by Capcom, directed by Koshi Nakanishi and it was released on PS4, XBOX ONE and PC.
In this game you play as Ethan who is looking for his wife Mia after she went missing three years prior to the game’s events but after three years you receive an email from her asking you to come pick her up at the Baker farm in Louisiana. Naturally when you arrive at the mansion you are greeted with warm hugs because this is Resident Evil. I wont get into any plot details but just know that the story of Resident Evil 7 is one of the best told in the franchise if not the best, it is grounded and on small scale but also giving you an idea on where the whole continuity of Resident Evil is and leaving you with couple of burning questions for the future questions.
The game ditches the third person view in favor of a first person view but don’t think this is going to be a run and gun shooter with hundreds of enemies coming at you like the action games before it, as a matter of fact Resident Evil 7 has the least amount of enemies in the series but the fights are all very memorable, very well directed and really scary. the first person view really adds to the scariness of the game, I found myself at times thinking I was going to get a heart attack while walking in a hallway knowing someone might be there at the end of it, the game doesn’t just rely on jump scares there is a subtle horror that takes place in the game that works really well, also going from an urban theme to a Southern Gothic theme which I really really love worked so well for me.
The graphics is one of the best I have ever seen, the backgrounds are so well designed and it just feel like you don’t just see and hear it you smell it too. there is some great voice work that is done here from the Baker family members to the main character is very well done, everything in the game is top quality. it doesn’t have the best sound track and the game doesn’t rely on musical pieces most of the time there is no music to comfort you basically you are forced to listen to the wind and the rain and the sounds of the old house cracking and that was indeed terrifying.
Some people had an issue with the game’s length, I finished it in 11 hours and I thought the length was perfect, I usually like games that I can spend hundreds of hours in it but for a game like RE7 the experience was very intense and I loved that I didn’t have a single dull moment in those 11 hours.
Verdict : Resident Evil 7 is a marvelous game, beautiful and really terrifying with one of my favorite RE stories to date. I feel like the best thing about Resident Evil 6 was the lesson Capcom learned from their mistakes to make Resident Evil back on top of the survival horror genre. (9.5/10.0)
The Good Place is created by Michael Schur staring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto and Ted Danson. it is a comedy show on NBC that just completed its first season which consisted of 13 episodes.
The story follows Eleanor played by Bell who finds out in the first episode that she is dead and her soul was send to heaven, or as the show call it The Good Place, a near perfect society run by Michael played by Danson who is the architect of that place. at the beginning of the show Micheal gives the people who live there an orientation about their lives in The Good Place and how they will be living in a perfect harmony forever with their soulmates which we get introduced to Chidi played by Harper who is supposedly going to be Eleanor’s soulmate, also we get to know Tahani who is played by Jamilla Jamil and her soulmate Jianyu Li played by Manny Jacinto. the show takes a dramatic turn at the end of the first episode and I really don’t want to spoil anything but it is going to a very funny foundation to a very funny show.
what makes the show that funny is the smart writing and the show’s really good setting and story, every character gets a background which gives them a fantastic depth and all leads to an amazing finale that makes everything feel well thought out and well planned from the first episode, it really takes a show that starts good and gets better and better and they all get wrapped in a really good finale.
I made a pledge a while back to not watch shows on NBC, CBS, FOX or ABC due to their stupid system and cancel hammer especially after shows like Community and Hannibal getting cancelled the way they did, but I did give The Good Place a chance and at this point I really do wish they renew it for a 2nd season but if it didn’t I think the show did leave the characters in a spot that is both interesting and comforting if we didn’t get a 2nd season. the show has good performances from all the cast but the funnies is Manny Jacinto’s character that left me almost breathless every time he talked.
Verdict : The Good Place is a surprise show that has some of the most hilarious characters in a very funny setting. (9.0/10.0)
Colony is created by Carlton Cuse and Ryan J. Condal for the USA channel, Staring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies. the show wrapped its first season in 2016 and currently airing Season 2.
The story follows Will played by Holloway and Kaite played by Callies, a married couple with three children in a dystopian future following an Alien occupation of Earth, humans now live under a strict military force which imposes a curfew and they will shoot people on sight if they break any of the rules, their laws are implemented by a group of selected humans that are collaborating with the aliens. I don’t want to talk much about the story but one thing is important to talk about, Will is an ex-FBI agent who is very good at finding people for this matter the leader of the human collaborators forces Will to accept a job at an intelligence agency to find the resistance, while Katie is working with the resistance and spying on her husband for them, this isn’t a spoiler per say because it happens during episode one.
I think the show’s best aspect is that everyone is fighting for something and no one is a pure good or bad the motives here are on full display and they are clear, while not very compelling or well written they are at least there and I did feel like every character has a good reason to do what they are doing which leads me to the worst aspect of the show, the central mystery which is a very dangerous hole some shows find themselves in they create a mystery that drives the show and that reveal of that mystery could be that thin line between a good show or a bad show, I was pleasantly surprised with shows like Man in the High Castle and Game of Thrones that handled their mystery very well so I am hopping it is the same with Colony but the thing is this show’s mystery is a bit weird, the whole thing is about the identity of the Aliens and their motives see in Colony no one has seen or spoken to the Aliens except for a selected few, they seem to be living on the Moon or in orbit and whoever opposes them they rain fire down him from above we also realize that their attack was planned for years and it didn’t just happen out of nowhere and they had a database containing information about everyone on earth, the point I am making is unless the reveal of that mystery is very well thought out from the beginning and they know where they are taking the show it could end up being a big let down at then.
Verdict : Colony is not a bad show but it isn’t great either, it has an interesting setting and does a good job to make its characters have a believable motive behind their actions but it is all relying on that one mystery which could make or break the show. (6.5/10.0)
Resident Evil: Retribution is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson staring Milla Jovovich and it is an adaptation of the popular Resident Evil video game series, the movie came out in 2012 and I passed on it back then because I was smart but I guess today I said fuck it, lets watch this garbage.
The film follows Alice played by Jovovich and her quest to destroy Umbrella corporation, most of the film’s events takes place in an underwater facility that has a bunch of simulation in it of popular real life locations like New York, Tokyo, Moscow and I guess a suburban location too, I did get the sense that he likes that whole a bunch of cities in one place like he did in the 3rd movie which was in Vegas but this was easier just make a place that has four cities in it why the hell not, at the beginning of the film Alice tells us all of the things that happened in the story before that point and it was done in a powerpoint style presentation but it gets the job across. after the really really bad green screen opening of the movie we find our hero in a jail cell and they play some loud noises to get information out of her like “who are you working for?” even though to a big corporation like Umbrella that question should be easy to answer because there is NO ONE LEFT IN THE WORLD SO WHO DO YOU THINK SHE IS WORKING FOR?? but that is not all there is more, suddenly Wesker hacks into the facility and inside her cell a drawer opens up and in it is a full set of perfectly fit clothes inside it, please remember that was INSIDE HER CELL!!! any way she leaves the cell and the same wall of lasers that was in the first film follows her, it is like Paul W.S. Anderson had a good idea back then and has to make sure he puts it in every one of these films.I could go on about the story just know that somehow she escapes the facility and goes to the White House with Wesker in the Oval Office waiting for her to tell her “this is the last stand of humanity, Albert Wesker is the president of United States now, still better than Donald Trump.
This movie is a proof that in Hollywood if you have the right connections you can still make movies otherwise nothing can explain why Paul W.S. Anderson still has a job there, if you check his movies on RottenTomatoes he hasn’t made a single movie with a Fresh rating everything this guy made is really really bad, every action scene is stolen from The Matrix during the last scene he puts couple of X-Ray bones breaking in it which wasn’t in the movie before just out of nowhere here are some X-Ray bones breaking and that is probably was inspired by Mortal Kombat that came out in 2011 and Paul probably was like let me just add a few scenes of that. let me add another issue all of the scenes that takes place in a frozen place has characters speaking without any steam coming out of their mouthes when they talk and breath, I mean I didn’t expect the room to be refrigerated like The Hateful Eight did or the movie to be shot on a frozen lake but at least CGI it like Social Network did, The monster kills a bunch of people but kidnaps a little girl for no reason whats or ever just so Alice would chase it and when she finds her she is in some kind of disgusting bag perfectly fine with no scratch on her and IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!, pitiful.
Verdict : There is nothing good to be said about Resident Evil Retribution, it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and I have to disagree with people who say no movie/game should get a Zero out of Ten because it functions, you wouldn’t say the same thing about a car that drives fine but at a random time blows up now would you? (0.0/10.0)