Tag Archives: Glenn Close

What Happened To Monday (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY

Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Max Botkin, Kerry Williamson
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe

Plot:  In a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.

Running Time: 123 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.9
Why I watched it: The trailer looked decent and the cast was good.

Random Thoughts: Lets get the title out of the way, Netflix Canada has it has 7 Sisters and what I watched the title card said 7 Sisters but you go to IMDB type in 7 Sisters and What Happened To Monday came up.

From first glance this was not only a gimmick movie but a showcase for Noomi Rapace, she plays 7 different characters, with that said when I saw the trailer the first thing that hit me was Orphan Black, one actresses many different roles, now on paper it sounds like a cool idea but really that has to be very hard and daunting and as an actor you are relying on a script to give you seven good to decent characters to play.

What I liked: The set is cool, I love Sci-Fi movies, I love when they show us a different future.  The film for me was a cross between Logan’s Run and Solvent Green, not a bad thing.  The best part to me was the set up, Willem Dafoe with these 7 sisters and trying to come up with something to keep them all together you had in these are his grand daughters and his daughter died giving birth and you have a lot of stakes set up early and Dafoe gives a good performance and he’s easily the best character.

Even though I don’t think it worked that well I have to give credit to Rapace cause 7 characters is very hard to play in one film and when the majority of the scenes is just those 7 characters man that’s almost impossible, she’s game here and she does give it her all she tries to make each one different.

What I didn’t like: First off let’s get something straight setting up a premise is different than world building and this to me is the biggest flaw of 7 Sisters, the world they live in doesn’t make much sense and it’s not shown to us that well, we get title cards and we get talking heads explaining the world but we don’t get a sense of it, it’s not real it’s set up that is a plot device that’s all.  The best Science Fiction creates new worlds and sets their rules up.

The film technically has two major problems with their gimmick the 7 Sisters aren’t fleshed out at all, honestly i didn’t know who was who, each sister got one characteristic and the film is very poorly directed the close ups and the way the director Tommy Wirkola shot it just takes us out of the film and at times it’s laughable.  The script is the real weakness here and to be blunt about it the script is really really bad, the Dafoe character is just gone after the beginning, we never see him with the grown up sisters, we get no explanation of what happened to him.  The film’s set up and plot is bonkers, this world is how big?  We only see a very small section and what they do with the kids even before the big reveal is laughable.  That’s the other thing this movie really crosses into parody at some points the Glenn Close character is a cartoon and she might be given one of the worse performances of her career, don’t get me wrong Close is a legend and has done great work again the blame is the script and direction.

The thing that I found the most disappointing is the whole set up of one actor playing 7 roles, look at some great movies were the actors play multiple  roles, I look at ‪Dead Ringers‬ with Jeremy Irons playing twins, it was shot so well and when you saw one of them you knew who they were, now if seven was too much make it 4 make it 3 and give Rapace a chance, when the film focuses on one or two it’s a better film.

As you can tell I didn’t like the film and to pile on the film is way too long, it’s over 2 hours and so much is unexplored or explained, they waste time here, the film drags and is really hard to get through.

Final Thoughts: The idea was interesting and you had three very good actors there’s no reason why this was such a mess.

Rating: ‪3/10‬

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The Girl With All The Gifts (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

Director: Colm McCarthy
Writers: Mike Carey (novel),  Mike Carey (screenplay)
Stars: Gemma Arterton,  Glenn Close,  Dominique Tipper

Plot: A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.
Running Time: 1 hour 51 minutes
IMDB Score: 6.7

Why I watched it: The trailer looked interesting, and it seemed a different take on the Zombie genre, and of course it’s a good cast.

Random Thoughts: It’s safe to say genre fans are getting their full of zombies, it’s been a long run and for a lot of people they’ve run their course but for me I’m willing to give any horror film a chance sure I’m a tad tired of zombie but this one looked like they were coming from a different view point and this is based on the book of the same name.

What I liked: The biggest takeaway for me was the performance of young actress Sennia Nanua as Melanie, she’s very good and really it’s the lead part.  She lights up the screen, it’s a tough part but she brings charm and a lot of acting chops for a young actor.  She does have some good actors to play against.  It’s always nice seeing Glenn Close and the thing here is she hasn’t done a lot of genre work, she’s good here but her character is one note for the most part.

Gemma Arterton is an underrated actress, she could just skate by on her looks but she’s done a lot of good work and here she’s very good in a quiet performance.  This is a different zombie movie, different rules, the film feels very British horror to me, if you know what I mean, a little more quiet and deliberate.  The zombies look fine and they do pose a threat, the atmosphere is good here you never know what’s coming next as the film does a nice job of unfolding not only this new future but what the rules are and what has happened.

What I didn’t like:  I beat a couple of drums when it comes to movies especially genre films, tone and pacing.  Look for my money a genre film shouldn’t be much more than 1:30, keep it tight and no padding.  This film is way too long at almost two hours and what this does is just ruin the pace of the film.  The film for the most part is boring, there’s no sense of urgency.  A lot of this film is our main cast walking around, and nothing happens.  The film needed to be tighter and honestly if you’re making a zombie film this long then we either need lots of plot or lots of character work and this film gives us neither.  The biggest shame here is except for Melanie we don’t get to know the characters, we get types and types by what they do, teacher, doctor, solider that’s  it.

Glenn Close’s character is so one note she actually has one note, she wants to operate on Melaine take out her brain and come up with a cure for the zombie fungus as she calls it, now there’s no way she could know this would work but the whole film that’s all she wants to do, she’s wounded and it doesn’t look like she can live much longer and she’s all just let me do this Melanie, seems very forced.

The main problem with the film is that it has no ending, we don’t know what would save the world and the film feels like it’s just wandering, stalling till either they run out of film or something comes to them.  I will say this about the ending it’s pretty much a non ending.

Final thoughts: I liked the acting and actors, but at the end of the day there is no excuse to make a boring zombie movie.  There’s some good stuff in here but not enough to sit through 1 hour and 51 minutes.

Final Rating: 4/10

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.png

Director: Colm McCarthy 
Writers: Mike Carey (novel), Mike Carey (screenplay)
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua 

A zombie film that really is quite different.

Google ‘not your typical/usual zombie movie’ and you’ll see a comprehensive list of reviews including Fido, Warm Bodies and World War Z. The genre is overrun with fresh takes on the undead. But what if there was a story that wasn’t a radical departure, yet offered a a deeper explanation for their being? A rationale? A purpose?

Let’s consider Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. It’s a type of fungus. Yes, seriously. I’m going somewhere with this. In 1859 British naturalist Alfred Russel discovered and named this insect-pathogenising fungus.

According to Wikipedia:

O. unilateralis, also referred to as a zombie fungus, infects ants of the Camponotini tribe, with the full pathogenesis being characterized by alteration of the behavioral patterns of the infected ant. Infected hosts leave their canopy nests and foraging trails for the forest floor, an area with a temperature and humidity suitable for fungal growth; they then use their mandibles to affix themselves to a major vein on the underside of a leaf, where the host remains until its eventual death.The process leading to mortality takes 4–10 days, and includes a reproductive stage where fruiting bodies grow from the ant’s head, rupturing to release the fungus’s spores.

In other words there’s this horrid fungus that releases spores which infects an ant, essentiallly turning it into a zombie. The infected ant then climbs to the highest point it can, latches itself on until it rots to death from the inside, all the while this spore is growing and eating the ant’s brain until it bursts, causing more spores to fall and infect more ants. Nice, innit?

Back to the film.

The Girl With All The Gifts starts on a military base where several children, with their heads and bodies bound to wheelchairs, are brought from their cells and placed in a classroom by a couple of very creeped-out soldiers. Helen Justineau (Arterton) is their teacher. She’s patient and compassionate. When one of the kids, Melanie (Nanua), asks if they could get stories instead of maths, a reluctant but sympathetic Miss Justineau agrees to contiue reading the story of Pandora’s Box from their last lesson.

When Melanie’s sensitivity and insight overwhelms her teacher, she responds by placing a comforting hand on the girl’s tightly restrained head and several military personnel burst into the classroom, pointing their guns at the children. Sgt. Eddie Parks (Considine) lectures Helen about the dangers of touching the kids and reminds her of the consequences. It’s at this point we realise what the fuss is about and why burly blokes in uniforms with loaded machine guns are so terrified of these kids.

To show the teacher why touching is forbidden, Parks rolls up his sleeve, licks his arm and places in centimetres from one of the children. Within seconds the kid is a slobbering, snarling, animalistic beast, biting at the air and struggling in its restraints. These kids were never here to be taught. These things were in the classroom to be studied, to see how quickly they learn.

Also on the base is Dr Caldwell (Close) who is researching a cure by performing experiments on the children. Caldwell plays a game of curiosity with Melanie, asking her to pick a number between 1 and 20. Melanie chooses 13 and the next day cell 13 is empty.

When Caldwell asks Melanie to solve the riddle of Schrödinger’s cat the girl tries to answer the question using logic to find out if the cat is alive or dead. Caldwell informs Melanie that the common answer to the question is that the cat MUST be thought of as both alive AND dead. The following day, Caldwell again asks Melanie to choose a number and is surprised that she picks her own cell. Melanie is brought to Caldwell’s lab for experimentation when the Doctor remarks that the girl had to be sure of why the children were being taken to the lab, drawing comparison from the Schrödinger question.

Miss Justineau bursts into the lab just as Caldwell is about to remove Melanie’s brain, but is incapacitated by Caldwell.

Hundreds of ‘hungries’ storm the base as Calwell tries to resume the procedure and Melanie is able to escape. As Helen leaves the lab, through droves of countless zombies, she’s restrained by two soldiers whom Melanie attacks with awesome viciousness. Helen, Melanie, Sgt. Parks and Dr. Calwell escape in an armoured van, along with a couple of squaddies.

There is, thankfully, a shift in tone from here, otherwise we’d be comparing this movie 28 Later.

As we discover what Melanie is, we focus less on the scrambling, aimless hungries and more on the enemy within. Here is an amiable, friendly and helpful little girl or, at least, an approximation of one. Melanie isn’t a hungry. She’s something different. She was infected in utero, eating her way out of her mother. But here she’s willing to roam through the abandoned streets for food, supplies and a way to avoid the hungries, not so much for the good Doctor or Sgt. Parks, but for her teacher who she cares for.

This is where we find the film’s message. It’s revealed that the cause of the infection is exactly like the fungus which turns ants into zombies.

The hungries are merely carriers of the fungus, helping it to spread and germinate. It becomes clear that there is a question of what kind of like is most valued. Dr Caldwell is first seen as cold and merciless, butchering children in order to better understand the infection. From her point of view, she’s trying to preserve life. Human life. Melanie is something new. It doesn’t necessarily mean that her life is any less relevant. She’s a creature of instict trying to survive. She’s animalistic but also shows compassion and empathy. Are we less beastly in our pursuit to be the dominant species on the planet. Have we ever been?

Director Colm McCarthy is hugely successful in delivering a zombie action drama which asks questions, explains the cause and effect of the infection and makes it look tragic and beautiful in equal measure. The always excellent Considine does more than deliver an archetypal squaddie in the face of danger. He offers real depth and insight into a man in a unique situation. Glenn Close is exceptional as the pragmatic doctor. Her Dr. Caldwell is calculated but desperate, yet always managing to keep her personal feelings from doing what is right in her mind. Gemma Arterton is a joy to watch as the compassionate and caring teacher but never ventures into maudlin sentimentality. Newcomer Sennia Nanua is wonderful as the subtly creepy but ultimately optimistic Melanie. It would be great to see more from her in the future.