Tag Archives: Jason Clarke

Pet Sematary (2019): Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

 

Pet Sematary Review

Directors: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Writers: Stephen King (novel), Matt Greenberg (screen story by)
Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence, Obssa Ahmed

There’s nothing like remakes of childhood favourites to make one feel really old. I’m sure most of us have experienced that. Well, how ‘bout a remake of a film you vividly remember seeing in theatres as an adult? Though it doesn’t feel like it, the original Pet Sematary is 30 now years old and I’m forced to accept the hard fact that – in movie years – I’m ancient.

That sobering bit of personal reality notwithstanding, did Pet Sematary actually need to be remade? Probably not, but that’s been said about every movie near-and-dear to someone’s heart. While the 1989 film continues to be held in high regard in most horror circles (and with good reason), it isn’t a sacred cow on the level of Jaws or The Exorcist. Why not revisit the concept with fresh eyes?

Comparisons are inevitable, of course. And for horror fans, results may vary.

First and foremost, this ain’t your daddy’s Pet Sematary, which was more-or-less a faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. This one uses the same basic premise, but takes significant story and character detours along the way, which is ultimately a good thing. Not that all the changes are an improvement, but the last thing anyone needs is another pointless scene-for-scene remake and even fans of the original movie or novel might be surprised how this one plays out.

Some King purists will cry foul, of course. Others might find themselves grudgingly admitting that this one more-effectively captures the oppressive, brooding tone of the novel. That doesn’t necessarily make it scarier – in fact, the film is seldom truly frightening – but it’s more atmospheric and a sense of impending doom hangs over the proceedings right from the get-go. The overall performances are better, as well, especially John Lithgow in the pivotal role of Jud Crandall. Lithgow’s more subtle (and slightly sinister) approach makes the character more dynamic than Fred Gwynne’s slack-jawed yokel from the original.

But comparatively speaking, it all comes down to personal preference. For another example, I found Church the Cat far more intimidating in this version. His matted, mangy appearance really makes it look like the little beast just came back from the dead, not-to-mention the way he stares, similar to how my own cat, Stinky, glares at me when she’s pissed.

While well crafted and atmospheric, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Pet Sematary is better than the 1989 film. The original went where most mainstream horror films feared to tread at the time, arguably rendering this one less disturbing or memorable. Still, the considerable story changes are intriguing enough to justify its existence.

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All I See Is You (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

All I See is You

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Sean Conway (screenplay), Marc Forster (screenplay)
Stars: Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Ahna O’Reilly

Plot:  A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves.

Running Time: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 29%    Audience  33%

Why I Watched It: Not sure, I’ll blame Netflix but I will say I was kind of intrigued  by the trailer in a good/bad way, it looked odd.

Random Thoughts: Marc Forster is an odd/interesting director he jumps from different genres and he really doesn’t seem to have a pattern or comfort zone which isn’t bad but go and check out his IMDB page and it seems random.  He works a lot but he doesn’t have a strong following. Just a heads up here the trailer kind of made this film look like a thrillerish kind of film, it’ not, more of a weird drama.

What I Liked: This is a very odd/weird/off putting film, as you watch it you’re not sure of a couple of things, what it’s about and where it’s going.  Now I don’t mind that, weird can be cool just ask David Lynch he lives there. On the surface this film is about a women who lost her sight in an accident when he was a girl and through surgery gets sight back in one eye, that isn’t much of a plot, maybe a Lifetime movie but this film does it in a different and trippy way.  This film seems like a European Art House film, it’s got sex and it’s very sexual which is something Hollywood films stay away from.  At it’s core I think the film is more of a character study, how doe we see others and our self.  I think the film is trying to get at something and is trying to make the audience think and maybe squirm a little.  The film is off, almost all of the characters seem off, the tone is left of center for sure.  I will say this I didn’t dislike the film for it but I do wish they did something with the weirdness. Blake Lively gives a daring performance and she does a lot of the heavy lifting here as she’s in almost every scene, she does the shift from being blind to being able to see well and she does a good job of making us guess who her character is and what she wants.

What I Didn’t Like: This film is really, really slow to the point where it makes you sleepy I mean for the first 45 minutes it really doesn’t seem to have a point or a plot.  The location is nice and all but this film just is and you could call it Art House but it’s a boring Art House movie.  Honestly this film doesn’t have a plot, a women gets her eye sight back in one eye, that’s it now my big problem with the film is that it sets it up as her getting her sight back changes things for her and her husband but one could argue they didn’t have a great relationship to start with.  The major flaw is the husband he’s not well written and to be honest not well acted by Jason Clarke, he gives a performance of an actor who doesn’t have a handle on his character and his floating Australian accent doesn’t help.  I’m not sure if the director and screen writers were trying to say he was insecure cause his wife was better looking than him and once she got her eye sight she could see that, it’s not really played like that, he does come off as insecure but also he’s a jerk and to be honest she’s not great either.  If the film wanted to be based on character then it did a poor job of defining these people.

The film is a chore to get through, you just sit there hoping something would happen and the kicker is the film doesn’t really define it’s self. You might have been able to do something with this idea something deep something psychological but the film doesn’t say anything the ending is just bad, when the big climax is at a talent show where Lively performances a song she’s written with her young neighbor, and the song unnerves Clarke so much he runs out of the theatre, the song starts with “I like double dutch” and don’t get me started with the dog in the film or they’re attempts at having a baby, at first I thought a lot of this stuff was a metaphor and if it is I don’t know what the metaphor is for. This film left me lost, and really I stopped caring they didn’t give me enough to either care or be interested in.

Want to point out they wasted Danny Huston here, I have no idea why he’s in this film the character goes nowhere and also while we’re talking about wasting Yvonne Strahovski is in two scenes and I think has maybe two lines of dialogue. The running time also was a big killer for me, the tone and pacing is terrible, the attempts at being sexy were fine but they went nowhere this film might have been trying to touch on Eyes Wide Shut territory but it failed badly.

Final Thoughts: Not a good film, badly written for sure, somewhere there is a story trying to come out but it ends up being just odd and uninteresting.

Rating: 3/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Movie Review by John Walsh

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa
Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke

Having discussed the film recently in our podcast, I thought I’d do a more extensive retro review of the 2014, blockbuster release, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from director Matt Reeves.

The film picks up ten years on from the events seen in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and following the pandemic of the ALZ-113 virus, it would be fair to say that things haven’t went well for humanity. Their numbers are greatly reduced and they’re separated into various small colonies with commodities and power proving to be scarce. Their last stand, if you will, plucky resistance and refusal to be wiped out by the Simian flu is all that is stopping the apes from taking over completely.

Indeed, as the name suggests, much of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes focuses primarily on Caesar and his leadership. Both him and his group of increasingly intelligent primates have built an extensive settlement, carved out a self sufficient existence in the woodland not far from San Francisco. They have a basic education system in place and a wonderfully intelligent verbal and sign language mix communication.

All is well, but it’s not long before their peaceful existence is disturbed when a small group of humans led by Malcolm (Jason Clark) run into two scouting apes. Things go awry to say the least when Carver (Kirk Acevedo) develops an itchy trigger finger and shoots one in panic, invoking the wrath of the entire colony down upon them. Caesar (Andy Serkis) being a stern, but highly intelligent and ultimately compassionate leader warns them off sending a few apes to follow.

Trouble is, the scouting team where heading into the hills to inspect and try to kickstart a hydroelectric plant back into life. With their limited power supplies only a week from running out, this is their only chance of potentially restoring full power to the city, preserving their way of life and opening up communications with any distant survivors. Which explains the frankly moronic decision by Malcom to return with his family and a few others to try and reason with Caesar. After informing Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) of the incident, amidst much panic and agitation, and also getting a visit from the Apes shortly afterwards in an impressive show of strength to ram home the stay clear message, they come to the conclusion that they must try and convince the charismatic Caesar into allowing them access to the dam anyway.

That’s really the superficial premise of the story. It focuses on the initially uneasy relationship between Caesar and the the small party of humans led by Malcolm. With their admiration, friendship and common purposes both growing and becoming apparent as the story progresses. Whilst alternatively showing the other side and ideology of the formers rival Koba (Toby Kebbell), his deeply set hatred of humans, what he believes is weakness from his leader and desire for conquest. On the human side of this ideological divide is Dreyfus. He’s not quite as blinkered by sheer hatred as the tortured Koba, but puts out a call to arms nonetheless with self preservation and an untrusting attitude towards the Apes ever present if slightly hidden to begin with.

In terms of acting in this film. There’s a quite a few very good showings in a strong ensemble performance and one truly great performance. Andy Serkis is utterly incredible as the conflicted, charismatic Caesar. He displays a range of emotions throughout, from beautiful tender moments and sadness to flashes of anger and frustration. He acts with his eyes, his body and the few words he properly speaks are powerful. This man is the mo cap master and a genuine great of our times in that regard. Jason Clark has the meatiest role out of the human characters and is generally very good. I enjoyed Gary Oldman’s relatively short time on the screen, whilst the brilliant Toby Kebbell was excellent as the villainous Koba. An honourable mention must be given to Kodi Smit-McPhee’s portrayal as Malcolm’s son Alexander too.

The visuals were phenomenal from the opening shot onwards. Little details like the Apes coats matting in the rain were captured beautifully. I actually forgot that I was looking at CG characters after a while such was the quality of the visuals and the soul and emotion the actors imbued each of them with. Disputes being beautiful, they thankfully never defined the film. Whilst Michael Giacchino’s score is great for the most part too.

I particularly liked the way this film had slow paced, deathly silent, tender moments before bursting into explosive action. The final forty five minutes pretty much transformed into a pure action film when Koba wrestled control of the colony after shooting Caesar, framing the humans for it and waging war upon them.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a pretty clear political allegory with connotations to the recent conflicts in Libya and Iraq springing to mind. It’s also about conflict both within Caesar himself and more generally between Ape and Human with two distinct ideologies fighting for superiority. Thankfully Caesar is more pure of heart than his real life counterparts and chooses to remain faithful to his beliefs when faced with inner conflict and the realities of life after rebellion, even if it does mean contradicting his mantra of Ape not killing ape to escape turning into the very thing their human captors were.

Ultimately, I loved this film. It had everything really, including an intelligent story to compliment the visuals and action. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anybody that hasn’t had the chance to see it. You won’t be disappointed.

Raging: 4/5.

Everest (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

EVEREST

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writers: William Nicholson (screenplay),  Simon Beaufoy (screenplay) 
Stars: Jason Clarke,  Ang Phula Sherpa,  Thomas M. Wright, John Hawkes, Michael Kelly, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright

The movie “Everest” is based on the true story of two commercial expeditions starting their final ascent towards the summit of Mount Everest. Both groups endure fierce winds and freezing temperatures in a battle to survive against the odds. The story begins on May 10th, 1996 and follows the story of New Zealand’s Robert “Rob” Edwin Hall (Jason Clarke) together with Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) who team up both expeditions to conquer Mount Everest.

With a strong cast ensemble the performances in this movie were excellent and brilliantly chosen. The main focus is on Clarke’s portrayal of Rob, Brolin’s Beck Weathers and Gyllenhaal’s Scott Fischer. Although the early signs in this movie suggested that Edwin Hall and Fischer are rivals it quickly settles into a survival unit and the characters begin to pull together in reaching their goal safely. “Everest” to me isn’t exactly an action movie and more drama based with stunning visuals. To me this is Jason Clarke’s best performance to date and his scenes with his onscreen wife Jan (Keira Knightley) add emotional pull to the scenario. Not playing second fiddle is Josh Brolin who along with Clarke had the bigger roles and his portrayal of Beck Weathers is something somewhat emotional and tragic by the end of the movie. Brolin gives his usual solid performance in “Everest” and although the portrayal at times is a little arrogant towards Clarke’s Edwin Hall adds to the relationship they have on the mountain.

Surprisingly Knightley, Worthington, Watson have limited screen time but don’t get me wrong all have an important roles in the movie. Keira Knightley as Jan is expecting their first child and is in some crucial and heartbreaking scenes. Worthington (Guy Cotter) in a supporting role along with Watson (Helen Wilton) are the base camp team who are basically what you would call expedition characters who set up the scenarios that lie ahead. Both are involved in key scenes and take the audience on the journey in realising the seriousness of the situation the group find themselves in.

The character of Doug (John Hawkes) and Yasuko (Naoko Mori), with Doug being a amateur climber who strives to make his kids proud of him by reaching the summit only provides emotional baggage for Edwin Hall who feels responsible in making sure his friend reaches his goal. That part of the movie didn’t sit well with me. I know the most experienced climbers cannot predict freak weather conditions but when Doug is barely breathing and can barely walk, was it wise to let your emotions interfere with your knowledge and experience of how dangerous the task of reaching Everest is? Don’t get me wrong i’m not knocking the story at this point but it came off a little to “Hollywoody” for me. One thing it did show I guess was what a good guy with good intentions Edwin Hall was. Yasuko finally completing the seven summits and proudly poked a Japanese flag at the top. Naoko Mori didn’t really have much to do in the movie….well apart from climb a mountain I guess but wasn’t that memorable. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Scott Fischer wasnt explored enough within the movie and like most of the first half of the movie was introduced and came off a little bitter towards Rob. This is probably the least used I have seen Gyllenhaal in anything to date and didn’t really do much to be honest for a main character.

Full credit to Salvatore Totino (Cinematography) From what I have read *Spoiler* the actual peak of Everest was in a sound stage in Pinewood and I must say I was very impressed with the effects in this movie to convince the audience of believing the characters where actually there. The visuals and the choice of direction (Baltasar Kormákur) go hand in hand in this production and some of the views were beautifully shot and the score mix by Peter Fuchs adds a haunting quality to those visuals

Everest doesn’t disappoint. The movie is emotional and dramatic and with a fantastic cast it was always going to be a watchable and enjoyable movie. The Character development was cleverly done within the first half of the movie leading us to care for the characters and concern ourselves with their safety. Admittedly I wasn’t aware of this true story and I’m glad I didn’t research this before I saw the climatic end as this added to the emotion and sadness of those final scenes. If you haven’t watch “Everest” yet I recommend giving it a go.