Tag Archives: John Malkovich

Bird Box (2018) Movie Review By Philip Henry

Bird Box Review, Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

Director: Susanne Bier
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), Josh Malerman (novel)
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich

Netflix continues its commitment to high quality original content with this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Josh Malerman starring Sandra Bullock in her first major role for the small screen.

The film begins with Sandra Bullock loading two children into a boat and heading down river on a treacherous, two day journey. We flash back and forth between this journey and the five years leading up to her getting into that boat and explaining how she got there.

Bullock plays Malorie, a heavily pregnant artist who has largely disconnected from the world and uses her sister (Sarah Paulson) to bring her groceries and relay messages to her mother while she stays in her apartment painting dark images on canvas. Malorie is so out of touch with the world she isn’t even aware that a major unexplained event is happening in Russia that is causing people in their thousands to commit suicide. When her sister takes Malorie for her check-up at the hospital we realise that whatever is happening in Russia has now reached LA and things go apocalyptic very quickly.

In your usual post-apocalyptic setup, she takes shelter with a group of survivors. As they try to stay safe and figure out what the hell is going on there are the usual trust issues with each other and especially with anyone new who comes knocking. I have to give a special shout-out to John Malkovich at this point who is perfect (sorry, John) as the self-confessed ‘asshole’ of the group.

It’s soon discovered that strange creatures are to blame, and to merely look upon one of them makes you want to kill yourself instantly with whatever’s closest to hand. This is why any stills you’ve seen for this film probably show Sandra Bullock wearing a blindfold; apparently if you can’t see these creatures, they can’t hurt you. This is a brilliant plot device for creating suspense and fear, and the director does an excellent job using both.

Apart from the scene where the first outbreak of the phenomenon wreaks havoc on LA, this is mostly low-key character-driven sci-fi. If you’re looking for multiple explosions, spaceships and cyborg armies going to war with laser guns, you’re looking in the wrong place. In tone this is more akin to A Quiet Place, but where they had to keep quiet or the monsters would get them, Bullock and Co. have to avoid looking at them. Same problem, different sense.

There have been a lot of people comparing it to A Quiet Place, but another film it reminded me of was M. Night Shyamalan’s terribly misjudged The Happening. If you recall anything apart from how laughably bad that film was, you’ll remember it starts off with a bunch of unexplained mass-suicides. Well, this is the movie that film could have been.

Bullock is fantastic as the woman learning to connect with other people and the world at large over the course of the movie. There’s also a lot to be read into the film’s script which is incredibly well written and structured. I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure if screenwriter or author did the heavy-lifting, but it’s a story filled with lots of layers and allegory. I know what I think it’s about, but I won’t taint your perception by telling you. Watch it and see what you think it’s about. There’s lots in there to digest and I’m sure it’ll mean different things to different people.

This is the sort of film I really enjoy and I thought Bullock’s performance was remarkable. It’s a movie I can see myself watching multiple times and finding something new to appreciate on every viewing.

Red 2 (2013) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier 

RED 2

Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Stars: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich

Plot:  Retired C.I.A. Agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.

Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 43%   Audience 63%

Why I watched it: The cast and I actually enjoyed the first one.

Thoughts: Going in even though I enjoyed the first one I didn’t see any sane reason for a sequel, the first one was a fun all-star cast silly movie but it didn’t leave unanswered questions and really did leave anything open to sequel about.

What I liked: If you’re being kind this film can be called a romp, a silly time waster and if you’re not kind then it’s a mess.  I’ll be kind today this is for the most part a harmless film, the big selling point is the cast, lots and lots of names, granted some have very little to do but they’re on screen for our enjoyment.  I really liked John Malkovich in these movies and this one he goes further and he’s clearly having fun and just playing and he’s very funny and really he’s the only thing funny here.  I have a soft spot for Mary-Louise Parker she’s likeable and she’s cute here she’s those things but her character is paper thin.  I also liked Byung-Hun Lee he’s younger and he brings a different energy to the film and helps pick up the energy level. This is a fine popcorn film, it hurts that it’s a sequel cause really it comes off as a knock-off of the first one but it’s pleasant enough, the action is over the top and the film did make me smile a few times.

What I didn’t like: The running time, good lord why is this film almost two freaking hours, it drags badly in the middle and the pacing is pretty much off for the whole film. I’ve almost given up on Bruce Willis, does he have it written in his contract that he can’t enjoy himself while he’s earning a paycheque, I would call this sleep walking but that’s an insult to those that do that.  Almost everyone else knows what they’re in and seems to be giving it a go, just having a laugh at it look at Anthony Hopkins, I liked half his performance then he started playing to type and then he bored me.

All lot of the actors are wasted they have nothing to do and they do it.  Helen Mirren has nothing to do here but she’s Helen Mirren so I’ll leave her alone. The biggest weakness of the film besides the script is that the main villains are very weak, calling them stock villains doesn’t do it justice. Also the twist they throw in is so obvious you could call it by reading the credits, you see the name and go i bet they’ll turn out to be a bad guy and you would be write.  This is a harmless film but it doesn’t mean they could have put some more effort into it.

Final thoughts: It’s not ambitious enough to get me to hate it, it was just one of those “it was what it was” take it at face value and enjoy.

Rating: 5/10

Warm Bodies (2013) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier 

WARM BODIES

Director: Jonathan Levine
Writers: Jonathan Levine (screenplay), Isaac Marion (novel)
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich

Plot:  After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 81%   Audience 73%

Why I watched it: It’s genre and I like the director but I’ll be honest I dragged my feet cause of the whole comedy/horror thing, when it goes wrong it’s painful.

Random Thoughts: I think Jonathan Levine is an interesting director even when his films don’t work there’s always something positive about them, he takes risks and every film he does is different from the last one.  I was worried this was going to be a YA movie where we deal with old teenager problems but I did have faith Levine would put a twist to it.

What I liked it: I’ll say it right off the bat this was a lot better than I thought it would be and the main reasons it was an enjoyable movie was the tone, the direction and the acting all were very good and made this much better than I think it had the right to.

A zombie romantic comedy, never thought I’d write that.  I should mention the script is good and it’s so smart to stay true to both genres, you’re dealing with zombies they can’t be treated as a joke,it’s a comedy it has to be funny and the third thing they nailed her is the love story works cause it’s well written and the two characters actually have chemistry.

Nicholas Hoult is good here and I have to say he’s under stated it would have been easy to go over the top but he plays with the fact that he’s a zombie he’s self aware so with that he not only makes the character likable but funny at the same time.  It helps he has Teresa Palmer to play off of cause I think she’s so underrated, she can do drama, comedy and genre and not miss a beat, she’s pretty but she’s likable and again she doesn’t scream or yell she gives a nice performance that could have been just the love interest role. The acting on the whole is solid and almost every character has an arc, even secondary characters are fleshed out.

One of the things that surprised me at the center of this film is heart, this is really a story of being human and how caring and loving makes us human, it was touching to see zombies be able to human themselves back to life, it was a nice little touch to everything and really that’s why I liked this film as much as I did cause they did a lot with what could have been a throw away story.

What I didn’t like: There’ only a couple of things nitpicks really.  I like short running times but I do think at times this movie went too fast, I would have liked more beats between big emotional set pieces, time for the two main characters to fall in love. Dave Franco didn’t work for me and his character could have been written out and he wouldn’t have been missed, I know why he was there but it’s the only misstep for me.  The other thing is the CGI for the “bonies” there the evil zombies and the CGI was not great and it kind of took you out of the movie.

Final Thoughts: Well written, acted and directed this was a very pleasant surprise.

Rating: 7/10