Tag Archives: Teresa Palmer

Lights Out (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Lights Out Review

Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), David F. Sandberg (based on the short film by)
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello 

Plot: Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother’s experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.

Running Time: 81 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  76%   Audience 61%

Why I Watched It: A horror film that didn’t get terrible reviews, I was hopeful.

Random Thoughts: When I first heard of the film and saw the trailer I thought wow this is Darkness Falls, not a lot of people will recall this movie but I liked it and this is a very very similar plot. I want to give a shout out to Teresa Palmer, she works a lot but doesn’t seem to get the buzz she deserves,  she’s a very good actress who has done not only some very good genre work but has shown she’s willing to take risks and do different and difficult roles.

What I liked:  I’m shocked to say there’s a lot to like about the film, it has a great opening and sets up the tension from the jump and it kills off a name actor before the opening credits.  The film is very well directed and filmed, it’s a slick looking film and looks a lot more expensive than it is so credit to the director David F Sandberg, he’s someone to watch for sure.

The film is a strange hybrid of Darkness Falls and The Ring, the one thing the film does it plays it straight, no tongue in cheek this is a balls out horror film with real stakes.  I liked the fact that they use the light gimmick to build tension but the film doesn’t just rely on it the film does try to build a backstory and real characters.  The real surprise here is they flesh out the mother character played by Maria Bello, she’s actually a very important character and she’s very tragic, Bello is good here she has to go between crazy and a threat to someone who is brave and is trying to spare her family.  The acting is good across the board for this type of film it’s very good.  Teresa Palmer is good here and carries most of the action at the beginning.

The film is short and for horror films that’s almost always a good thing and here the film moves very quick, the pacing and tone are great once the film kicks into gear it  doesn’t really stop.  It’s a rare horror film that doesn’t feel padded and it doesn’t have a weak second act.

What I Didn’t Like: The ending is a bit iffy for me, it plays fine but once you think about it well let’s say it leaves a bad taste in your mouth about one character.  Also once done the film you have to wonder  why Maria Bello wasn’t the lead, it’s her story and she’s the key to everything, you have to think they wanted to appeal to a younger audience.  The only flaw in the film is how her character is treated, she’s played as a plot point at first then she’s a main part then they do something that kind of betrays what they were saying earlier.

Final Thoughts: This is a pretty good horror film, it’s a film that takes the genre seriously and also tries to do some things differently.  It’s a solid, effective and a tad unnerving horror film.

Rating: 7/10

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

Message From The King (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

MESSAGE FROM THE KING

Director: Fabrice du Welz
Writers: Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cornwell
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Luke Evans, Tom Felton

Plot:  A mysterious outsider named Jacob King from South Africa arrives in Los Angeles to avenge his younger sister’s death.
Running Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 50%   Audience  48%

Why I watched it: The cast and because I didn’t know anything about the film.

Random Thoughts: I knew nothing about this film, one night I go to Netflix Canada to watch something and a banner comes up with “Message From The King” Netflix Original,it was coming soon and they had a trailer, saw who was in it and I’m like I didn’t know this was made.  Now I love reading about movies and a pretty much know what’s coming out but not this one and add that Chadwick Boseman is a rising star and I was all in to see it.

I should warn you that in the plot summary and the trailer they talk about his sister being dead, he doesn’t know that right off, he comes to LA to find her, so even though it’s not a huge spoiler cause it happens early it is a big point plot point.  Also this is being marketed as a revenge movie and even though it has those elements this plays more like a Noir, it’s more of a mystery of what and why, King wants to know who killed his sister but the why is huge as well and it does play like a throw back film noir mystery.

What I liked: Message From The King is not a big loud revenge movie, this is a story of a man coming to terms with the death of his sister, there’s grieving but I think this is more about guilt, about feeling you could have stopped this.  The story is straight forward a man comes to LA from South Africa to find his sister, we know nothing of a backstory for him, we hear he’s a cab driver and doesn’t have much money but as the story unfolds he seems to be more than that, he can handle himself in this seedy world.  The main thing here is the film is gritty, it’s not main stream glossy Hollywood fare, mean vile people live in this world and King has to go through them to find the truth.

The acting is good, I wasn’t 100% sold on Boseman’s accent here but it’s not terrible and I will say he has a charisma about him and he does something a lot of actors can’t do these days and that’s be quiet and sell that you’re thinking, someone who’s internal is hard to play, we don’t know a lot about him and really has he solves this mystery we solve who and what this character is. The film doesn’t try to explore every character he don’t know the backstory for everyone,Teresa Palmer lives in the building that Boseman is staying in and we know she’s a single mother and we know she might be doing not great things to learn a living but we don’t go in depth because Boseman’s character doesn’t ask and he doesn’t seem to judge. Luke Evans shows up as a bad guy, a slimy middle man, he’s a dentist as well, it’s weird cause Evans is really too good looking to be a character actor but he’s good here, he shows some range.

The film is gritty and some of the subject matter is pretty tough, the violence is brutal.  The film is lean and it moves pretty well once we get into the main story and it’s very good at connecting dots to get to the main mystery, the film is really about what has happened and how it got that far.

What I didn’t like: The beginning is slow, very slow, at first I thought this was going to a chore to get through but it does pick up but anyone going in thinking this will be a fast paced action film will be disappointed.  Other than that I only have nit picks it’s not a perfect film but it stays true to what it wants to be, I would have liked that the characters were fleshed out more but I get this is a mystery.

Final Thoughts: It’s a good film, I liked it, it’s not a feel good film but it’s well shot and well acted and since I’m a noir/mystery junkie this was in my wheelhouse.  This film is not being talked about much and it’s too bad cause it’s more thoughtful and a lot deeper than most Hollywood fare.

Rating: 7/10