Tag Archives: Julianne Moore

Seventh Son (2014) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

SEVENTH SON.png

Director: Sergei Bodrov (as Sergey Bodrov)
Writers: Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Steven Knight (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

Plot:  When Mother Malkin, the queen of evil witches, escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter Spook decades ago and kills his apprentice, he recruits young Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him.

Running Time: 1 hour 42 Minutes

IMDB Score: 5.5

Why I Watched it: Well this film has a history, it was sitting on the shelf for awhile and then when it finally got jumped into theatres it got terrible reviews.  So I wanted to see how bad it was and also that’s a pretty good cast.

Random Thoughts: You know a film has been sitting for awhile when the supporting actors are actually names by the time the film comes out, Kit Harington is only in the beginning and Alicia Vikander who is now a Tomb Raider is the love interest here.  Both deserve better and have gotten it.

What I Liked: This was a huge bomb when it came out and it lost a ton of money so let’s start off by trying to be kind.  Give me a moment. The cast, it’s the only good thing in this movie, these are really good actors and to their credit they’re trying, but this is yet more proof that good to even great actors can’t save a bad script or a dumb script.  Oddly even though he isn’t in it much Harington showed enough to where I think he should have been the lead.  Bridges is playing the Jeff Bridges part and at first it was annoying but he grows on you, there just isn’t much there but he brings heart and so much talent and to his credit he’s not sleep walking he’s all in.  Julianne Moore is a certain age and as an actress she’s no longer the lead unless it’s an indie film so she’s taking these villain roles, she’s fine here and she actually doesn’t chew scenery she’s also going for it.

The action isn’t great but I did like the first big scene it was well done and it worked pretty well to set things up.

What I didn’t like: I mentioned the script, it’s bad and yes it’s one of those YA movies that is based on a series of books and yes it’s a bout a chosen one, we know this story and honestly they do nothing different.  Also the story is just so lackluster, there is no life in this story at all.

Ben Barnes is a decent actor but he’s so boring here, I should say bland and he has no chemistry with Vikander at all, she’s fine but she seems a bit lost with her character, to her defense it’s a badly written cliched character.

The most disappointing thing about the film is the look, this looks cheap and the production design is pretty bad, it’s so dark looking and blah, so I have to say the cinematography is really bad.  Everything in this film is just off, except for the acting it’s all below standard.  If this film is going to work as a fantasy we need to see this different and amazing fantasy world and here we don’t get it, we almost get Sci-Fy channel type effects and look.

In the end the story is just not different enough, it’s Harry Potter, well a knock-off, I didn’t care one bit and the sad thing is the story is boring you just don’t care I wasn’t engaged one bit even though I liked most of the actors.

Final Thoughts: Not a great movie, though it’s watchable, come on anything with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore can’t be all bad.

Rating: 4/10

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Suburbicon (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

SUBURBICON

Director: George Clooney
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac

What may look like a good movie doesn’t necessary mean the movie is good. Yes, i’m plunging into the deep end on this George Clooney Directorial film written by the Coen Brothers.

Suburbicon is about a home invasion that rattles a quiet family town. The synopsis is rather simple and the opening shots of the film start of quite brightly. The sets, costumes and overall look really nails the feel of a 1950’s American suburbia. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the 1997 movie Pleasantville which is one of my favourite movies. Robert Elswit’s cinematography is beautifully handled and he leaves his mark on the movie.

Unfortunately the look isn’t going to win me over completely and this is down to an imbalance between a inexperienced Director compared to the the writing talents that gave us Raising Arizona and No Country for Old Men. I’m honestly not slating Clooney’s skills as a Director. I just think that he may have bitten off more than he can chew with this release.

The feel to the movie is rather confusing as although the lead in the movie Gardner played by the brilliant Matt Damon. The actor cannot decide if he is playing a serious role or a dark humorous role. My guess is the Coen Brothers wrote this as a dark comedy but it isn’t exactly executed that well by the Director or the Actors. Having said that I felt Julianne Moore playing both the characters of Rose and Margaret was interesting enough and Moore is probably the only reason I managed to watch this film completely.

I’m a fan of Oscar Isaac and I was disappointed that he only came into the story in the last 45 minutes of the film. His character Bud Cooper was decent and shared some great scenes with Moore that almost captured what I believe the Coen Brothers were going for and it was a little frustrating there wasn’t enough of this throughout.

Overall, when I heard of the release of Suburbicon, I was looking forward to see how this movie would fare. Unfortunelty it appeared confusing in tone and the storyline was a little dull. I’m not holding Clooney and Damon responsible for the overall mess of this film but there was a lot of mis-direction and an odd performance from Damon to make me not want to revisit this movie anytime soon. Quite disappointing.

What Maisie Knew (2012) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

WHAT MAISIE KNEW

Directors: Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Writers: Nancy Doyne (screenplay by), Carroll Cartwright (screenplay by)
Stars: Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Steve Coogan, Joanna Vanderham, Onata Aprile

“What Maisie Knew” is set in New York City and is about a young girl who is caught in the middle of her parents’ bitter custody battle. The Movie is based on the acclaimed novel by Henry James. The story is primarily focused from 6 year old Maisie’s perspective and is portrayed by the Onata Aprile who is unfortunately caught in the midst of a bitter custody battle between her mother Susanna (Moore) and father Beale (Coogan)

Susanna is an ageing rockstar and from what I gather Moore used real life inspiration from Courtney Love and Patti Smith for her character in this movie. Moore’s portrayal throughout the movie is frustrating and brilliant at the same time. Committed to touring and battling against her husband for custody for her daughter results in emotional abandonment and neglect.

The same can be said for Beale who is an Art-Dealer struggling for work in New York and commits his time to traveling for business and like Susanna results in emotional neglect. Moore and Coogan appear to be the same side of the coin in many ways. They use their daughter as pawn against each other and abandon her with their Nanny named Margo (Vanderham) when they are too busy and in near enough every scene with them their young daughter is witnessing argument after argument.

Onata Aprile as Maisie plays the role naturally as a subdued child not showing physical signs of trauma because of her nature to take things in her stride. Aprile is brilliant and you really do feel for her and the situation she is in. For me Susanna and Beale don’t deserve Maisie (as stated by Lincoln later in the movie) they are selfish and very egotistical and their abandonment of their child at the drop of a hat infuriated me. Thankfully there are people in Maisie’s life who are willing to step up and look after the girl.

Ironically, Beale marries former nanny Margo (Vanderham), and in retaliation Susanna also remarries, to young bartender Lincoln, (Skarsgård). Margo and Lincoln for most of the movie are basically drop off points for Susanna and Beale who show evermore disrespect towards them and confirm what a couple of horrible people they are. We discover a bond between Maisie and Lincoln. At first I was unsure of the character and what his motives were but you get the sense that from early on he senses what the young girl is missing in her life and falls naturally into their friendship like a big brother (rather than a step father) to Maisie.

Vanderham and Skarsgård play their roles very well and the audience are just glad their portrayal of their characters are like saviours for Maisie. Both actors don’t have a lot of shared on screen time for the duration of the movie but when they do there is a natural bond there that like Maisie have been used by Susanna and Beale and are definitely the flip side of the coin.

I love the way “What Maisie Knew” is shot and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. It’s always interesting to see a movie from the perspective of the child and reminded me a little bit like “I Am Sam” a lot of the shots are from the view of Maisie and adds to the emotional impact of adults arguing in front of their child.

Overall the movie is very interesting because it follows around what the girl sees and hears, and we see her world through her eyes and her conversations to other adults. Though the storyline is upsetting, it is real and happens everyday in life and there are lessons to be learnt for all adults out there whether you have children or not. Scott McGehee and David Siegel manage to portray the events in the movie without being overly dramatic thanks to a brilliant screenplay by Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright. It is emotionally painfully to watch Maisie being passed about like a parcel from one adult to another, yet surprisingly Maisie is still holding up without showing negativity. It shows that her world is innocent and untainted and in her eyes you see hope. “What Maisie Knew” is highly recommendable.