Tag Archives: Noomi Rapace

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 Drop (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

THE DROP

Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Writers: Dennis Lehane (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (short story “Animal Rescue”)
Stars: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini

Plot:  Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.
Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 89%    Audience 76%

Why I watched it: I dragged my feet on this one, wasn’t sure of it.  No doubt Tom Hardy is a good actor but he can rub me the wrong way sometimes, his porformance can be mannered and he likes doing different voices and that bothers me or I should say it’s distracting.

Random Thoughts: This was adapted from a book by Dennis Lehane and guess what he adapted it himself, so he has no one to blame if it didn’t work.

What I liked: First off the tone and look is great, I might have dragged my feet to watch it but once I started I got sucked right in.  I really like when a movie slowly lets you know what it’s about, we get a set up off what The Drop is and the characters but this is way more interested in character than in plot.

Now this is where it helps that Lehane adapted this himself cause in the film the plot is moved forward by what the characters do, not the other way around.  The characters are fleshed out and feel very lived it and real and also the big plus is we learn more as we go deeper into the film a couple of these characters are not exactly what we think they are.

Tom Hardy is very good here, I think this maybe my favorite of his preformances, he’s quiet and at first he seems simple and then you’re not really sure, is he a criminal, is he a bad guy, or his he a bit off.  He reveals himself as the movie goes and we get to see different shades of his character.  James Gandolfini is also real good, another guy who has more going on underneath, he’s angry and of the two he seems like the badder guy.

The two have a great scene together in Gandolfini’s basement, it’s not showy, no one yells or screams but it’s one of those scenes that you know more is being said than what we’re hearing and Hardy is great in the scene basically just saying things as they are.  Hardy is on the top of his game cause a major subplot is about him finding a dog, and he’s great interacting and talking to the dog and also the way he treats the dog is big in the bigger picture.

The film isn’t filled with action there is violence but I wouldn’t call the film slow and also I don’t think it’s a slow burn film but a film that reveals it’s self as it goes every scene deals with character so they need to spend the time making these people full and complicated, almost every one of these characters have a lot of stuff going on, a lot of baggage and most of them are not black and white.

What I didn’t like: Rapace is a good actress but for me she was miscast cast, she just wasn’t right for the role and her character didn’t fit as well as the others and by the end of the film she really doesn’t have much to do.  I’m in between with Matthias Schoenaerts, I do thing it hurt the film that three of the main characters are doing american accents and don’t really feel they’re from Brooklyn especially when you have Gandolfini wearing his NY Jets jacket and just oozing New York.

The only sub plot that kind of felt flat was having this cop in the background trying to solve a cold case and even though it’s important information the character added nothing really and we find out what he found out in a better way through the characters.

Final Thoughts: This was a surprise for me as I really liked it, as you can see by the Rotten Tomatoes scores people liked it but I don’t think enough people have seen it. If you like Lehane’s books and if you’re a fan of any of the cast give it a watch.

Rating: ‪8/10‬

Bright (2017) Movie Review by Chauncey Telese

BRIGHT

Director: David Ayer
Writer: Max Landis
Stars: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace

On paper there’s a version of “Bright” that has a lot of promise. Will Smith is back in action mode, it’s being directed by David Ayer (“End of Watch”) and it’s blending the fantasy and cop genres. The only problem is that despite Netflix greenlighting the $90 billion dollar actioner and staying out of the way, “Bright” is an incoherent mess that wastes a ton of talent both in front of and behind the camera. It’s a failure on a variety of levels in some of the same ways that Smith and Layer’s last collaboration “Suicide Squad” was. The first problem with “Bright” is that its world building and mythology never feel organic. The whole concept of a bright is explained and it’s assumed to be common knowledge but it never feels like anything more than a story thread the audience has to keep track of. The graffiti around Los Angeles is meant to give the audience a window into the racial/special hierarchy but the story never really does anything with it.

The premise of “Bright” is that humans, orcs, elves, and other mythical creatures were at war 2,000 years ago and now all coexist. Magic wands exist but only a “bright” can touch it. A non-bright would otherwise explode. “Will Smith is Daryl Ward an LAPD cop with a ton of debt and a sick daughter. He is stuck with the LAPD’s first orc cop in Joel Edgerton’s Nick Jakoby. Jakoby is reviled by his fellow officers both because the hatred between the two species and Jakoby’s alleged choice of species over cop in an incident where Ward gets shot. The only function any of the other officers have is to tell Ward he needs to get rid of Jakoby. Ward is pressured into setting up Jakoby during a call to a murder call where a wand is discovered along with the only remaining survivor is an elf named Tikka (Noomi Rapace). Things go sideways fast as Ward and Jakoby are being hunted by a Mexican gang, the LAPD, the orc gang, and a cult that wants to bring about a dark lord.

The movie seems to be about Ward accepting Jakoby as his partner but the film never establishes why specifically Ward hates orcs. There’s a line comparing the human/orc hatred to the way Latinos are still viewed negatively because of the Alamo but that doesn’t quite cut it. In fact, for a film that tries to use genre to make a point about race relations both inside and outside the police department. “Zootopia” manages this feat but “Bright” falls utterly short of that goal especially when it actually depicts minority characters. It also isn’t clear if Ward is supposed to hate only orcs or if he’s just completely prejudice against all mythical creatures. Ward is a similar character to Smith’s character in “I Robot” except at least in the latter film, the character’s hatred of robots is grounded in something. Ward also has that weird tic that dragged Smith’s Deadshot in “Suicide Squad” where the audience can’t completely hate Ward because he has a daughter. Jakoby on the other hand is handled better. He is well meaning, a tad dim, but is completely adrift in the world. He’s hated by the orcs and humans alike and the film has moments where it explores that but it gets lost in between action scenes.

The motivations of the dark cult aren’t clear. Sure, it’s established they’re trying to use a magic wand to bring back a dark lord but there’s no explanation as to why. It’s easy to say, because evil, but that’s just lazy. In “Hellboy II” Prince Nuada had a clear motivation to want to raise the Golden Army. He despised that humanity banished all magical creatures and their greed caused them to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. In “Bright” the whole dark lord plot gets lost in the shuffle and doesn’t come back until the end. The film loses a lot of threads actually and by the end it tries to reintroduce those threads but like one of Abe Simpson’s stories they don’t go anywhere.

Another baffling thing is that as capable an action director as David Ayer is, the action and effects look shoddy. Netflix made a big deal about the $90 million price tag but outside of the make-up and salaries it’s hard to see where that money went. Aside from showing the Los Angeles skylines the geography of the LA in “Bright” is as muddled as the mythology. Much like “Suicide Squad” it’s a pleasure to see Smith back in swagger mode but because the story around him is weak the swagger feels labored. Edgerton does a decent job of disappearing into his character and as the film goes on there is a fun buddy cop dynamic that almost develops between the two. Noomi Rapace is wasted here. Her character is merely a plot device and she ultimately gets nothing to do. There is a subplot involving two Magic task force agents, an elf and a human that goes nowhere except to signal another threat.

“Bright” was an opportunity for Netflix to signal that they are the place where action movies that aren’t a pre-existing IP or a remake of a classic can be made. Unfortunately, it feels like an example for studios to hold up as to why they don’t greenlight these kind of movies anymore. Netflix has already greenlit a sequel so by their voodoo metrics they consider “Bright” a success. The premise can be salvaged but it would require Netflix being more hands on.

Child 44 (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

CHILD 44.png

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Richard Price (screenplay),  Tom Rob Smith (novel)
Stars: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace

“There is no murder in paradise”

Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman reunite (The Dark Knight Rises (2012) in Child 44 and have them top bill a Russian serial killer movie.

Child 44 is not the movie it could have been. It has the story (based on the best-selling novel by Tom Rob Smith) It has the talent in Hardy, Oldman and Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Prometheus) and even supporting actors Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and Paddy Considine (Dead Mans Shoes (2004), all the right ingredients are there for a great movie. Unfortunately the movie isn’t engaging enough and the subplot distracts the audience from the main plot about solving a serial killer case.

Leo Demidov (Hardy) an orphan is raised by a Russian family and is drafted into Army during World War II. A few years after the war, Leo who is now a captain and married to Raisa Demidov (Rapace). Along with his best friend Alexei Andreyev (Fares Fares) and the unpredictable and ambitious Vasili Nikitin played by Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad) join the MGB during the regime of Joseph Stalin.

Leo, Alexei and Vasili are looking for Anatoly Tarasovich Brodsky (Clarke) who is on the run from the MGB is tracked down after some intense interrogation scenes to a farm ran by a family with two young girls, who deny Brodsky is there or even know him. As Leo, eventually finds Brodsky making a run for it Leo catches up with him as they exchange blows.

Whilst in the midst of this Vasili has the family on their knees and shoots both the man and woman in the back of the head in front of their traumatised young daughters. Leo is too late to get back to stop Vasil’s actions and is furious with him. It’s in these scenes we get an idea of the kind of character Leo is. He was orphaned himself and from Hardy’s facial reactions you can see this still haunts Leo, regardless of his position with the MGB. The scenes also gives us indication the kind of job he has to do on a daily basis.

Tom Hardy is the star of the film through and through. It’s a story about his family life and professional life clashing over the case of Alexei’s child’s dead body. When his son is found murdered completely naked near the railway, the official explanation is that the boy was hit by a train since there is “no murder in paradise” since that is seen as a capitalist disease.

But Leo finds other similar cases and proceeds investigating, falling in disgrace with the Party. The officials want to pass it off as a train accident, but witnesses swear that it was murder. As more and more bodies start turning up and the hierarchy continue to look away, it’s up to Hardy to find the killer and bring him to justice.

The only issue with this movie is the way it’s presented. Part of the movie is focused on the serial killer storyline and the other half is about the Soviet Officials exiling his family and stripping him of power for his disobedience in his latest investigation. He has lost his rank and is transferred with Raisa to Volsk to work with General Mikhail Nesterov played by Gary Oldman.

When another boys body is found near the railway in the same conditions of Alexei’s son, Leo convinces Nesterov that there is a serial-killer on the loose and he agrees that Leo conducts a further investigation. It’s the way these two stories intertwine that is messy and in my opinion not executed that well.

Child 44 is a film with a promising storyline, great performances (although we see Russians talking to each other in English for some reason I can’t explain) but not engaging enough in my book. Which left me slightly disappointed and if it hadn’t been for Hardy’s solid performance I probably would have given up with this movie half way through.