Get Out: A Movie Review

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getout-poster-161004Invited by his girlfriend, Rose, to visit her parents out in the suburbs one weekend, Chris slightly reluctantly agrees to go. His main worry: he is Rose’s first black boyfriend. Unsure of how her parents will react, he prepares for the worst—like being chased out of the house by Rose’s father with a shotgun—but finds her family to be surprisingly accepting, if not a little stereotypical. However, Chris’s paranoia heightens when a sudden family get together makes him feel that there is more going on with Rose’s family than he is aware of.

When I saw the trailer for Get Out, my first reaction was: this looks like the corniest horror film ever. And I’ve seen some pretty corny horror films. But after seeing Get Out, I wouldn’t classify it as a horror film, but more of a psychological thriller with comedic relief. And it wasn’t bad. The plot was original and interesting, bringing forth a horror I’m sure not many viewers have seen before or even thought of. While there were bits of the plot that were a little obvious, I thought the movie took plenty of turns that kept the viewer on the edge of their seat, guessing.

One part of the movie that I found to be slightly annoying was several sections of extremely loud bursts of music—the sudden DUN! strategically placed to make viewers jump out of their seat (and skin) just at the right moment. I’m not a big fan of this tactic, anyway, and maybe it was just my theater, but I felt like those moments were a little too loud, making it more of a distraction. The other aspect of the film that I thought was overkill was the gruesome violence at the end. Yes, I did hide my eyes through most of it because I can’t handle seeing random objects being shoved through other people’s body parts. I definitely would’ve been happier if the gore was toned down a bit at the end so it didn’t feel like it was being used as a shock factor.

However, despite the minimal downsides, Get Out was mind boggling and entertaining—a must see for lovers of not-so-serious horror films and psychological thrillers.

Lion: A Movie Review

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1487573786_garth-davis-lion-has-been-traveling-across-globe-earning-recognitions-accolades-galore-filmWhen on a journey with his brother to look for work, Saroo becomes lost when he falls asleep on an out-of-service train and wakes up to find himself traveling away from his home town and everyone he knows. The train arrives in Calcutta, leaving Saroo stranded with no money and unable to speak Bengali. Eventually, he is sent to an orphanage before being adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, while studying to become a hotel manager, Saroo begins to have memories about a brother and mother he once had in India. With the help of Google Earth, Saroo begins his journey to find the town he came from and the family he lost many years prior.

I had never heard of this movie until my husband asked if I wanted to go see it. Once I read the synopsis, my immediate answer was yes. Lion was a powerful movie that told the heartwrenching story of a lost boy who finally finds his way home. Although some people may shy away from the movie because of this, I really appreciated that half of the movie used subtitles, which helped give authenticity to the story. I also liked that they included some real footage at the end of the film of Saroo and his family to show that this actually happened.

The only problem I had with the movie was I felt that it jumped around a bit too much. While the scenes provided enough of the story for the viewer to understand what was going on and how it was progressing, I wish I knew more of what happened during those time periods when he was a child. However, I do understand that not every little detail could be included in the movie, and I do think the writer and director found the best way to portray the movement of time throughout the film.

A Monster Calls: A Movie Review

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monster_callsWhen faced with having to cope with his mother’s illness, Conor unknowingly calls upon an ancient tree monster for help confronting a secret he keeps bottled up inside of him.

Based on the book by the same name, A Monster Calls is a powerful film about loss and learning how to cope with grief. I was glad that I was able to see this movie while it was still in theaters. I loved the book when I had read it in 2015, and the movie was just as well done. It may be due to the fact that the author of the book, Patrick Ness, also wrote the screenplay, but I felt that the movie stayed true to the book. The only change that I think could have made the movie better was a bit more explanation in some parts. For instance, it felt like there was a bit of information missing from the bullying story line that makes the way that it culminates at the end a little confusing to those who had not read the book.

One of my favorite aspects of the film was the art that accompanied the stories told by the monster. The main reason why I bought the book was because of the illustrations by Siobhan Dowd and so I was very happy when the stories were illustrated on screen with an awesome water color type art. The make-up done for the mother (played by Felicity Jones) as her illness progressed was also believable and well done. While I did enjoy all of the actors involved, I didn’t picture the grandmother being so young and there were some instances where I thought Liam Neeson’s voice acting for the Monster was a little off for the character, making it not as serious as it probably should have been. Although, since the movie is a tearjerker, it did help to have the mood of the movie lightened a bit.

Overall, I highly recommend seeing A Monster Calls when it comes out on DVD, especially if you’re in one of those moods where you need a good, long cry.

Rogue One: A Movie Review

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rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6In the battle against the Empire, the Rebel Alliance feels that all hope is lost when they learn of the Empire’s newest weapon: the Death Star. However, learning of a flaw in the design plan that could take down the weapon, a handful of the members of the rebellion set out to save the galaxy by stealing the blue prints of the Death Star.

As someone who would not consider themselves a Star Wars fan, I enjoyed Rogue One more than I thought I would. The acting was superb (I became teary eyed at several points during the film), and I enjoyed seeing a range of actors of all genders and ethnicities being represented in leading roles. While the overall plot of the story was serious, the audience received a nice dose of comic relief from the resident robot K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, which helped balance everything out. Probably my favorite aspect of this movie was how it flawlessly segued into the original Star Wars trilogy, which I found to be an advantage for audience members just getting into the franchise.

However, for me, one major weakness in the movie was the amount of jumping around that occurred in the beginning. It was hard for me to keep track of where they were and who all of the people introduced were. Despite being able to remember all of the characters relations to one another, I can hardly remember half of the characters names. I personally think this could have been avoided if in the beginning there was the traditional roll on synopsis (which was absent in this film) that helped explain what was going on before the movie actually started. Because although it starts in the beginning, it still starts at a middle point: the Death Star had already been built, and this is everything that happened after. I also thought the movie felt long. There was one point where I thought movie should’ve ended, but it kept going for about another 20 minutes or so. Luckily, I considered the ending of the movie to be one of the best parts so it was worth the extra time.

Overall, I thought Rogue One was a good movie. Despite the bit of confusion I had with certain parts, I think that both Star Wars fans and non-Star Wars fans would both enjoy this movie. And if you want to have a Star Wars marathon, it’s definitely a great place to begin before watching the original movies.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Movie Review

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fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-poster-1While working on his book on the fantastic beasts of the wizarding world, Newt Scamander finds himself in New York with his leather suitcase filled with magical creatures. When an accidental switch of suitcases leads Newt and a muggle named Jacob Kowalski on a search for some escaped critters, they soon discover that there is more dangerous magic occurring in New York than just a few beasts on the loose.

Screenplay written by J.K. Rowling and tied to the encyclopedia of the same name, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was just as magical as the Harry Potter franchise. The story was told at a good pace that kept me entertained—I laughed out loud several times—and wanting more without wondering how much longer until it was over. However, I did feel there were one or two subplots too many in this film, such as the introduction of Newt’s previous love interest, but those were kept short and I’m sure will be expanded on in an upcoming film installment. While there were a few parts where I could tell the beasts were CGI, mostly when the actors were touching or interacting with the creatures, I still thought they were well done and kept true to the strangeness of the magical world.

I like that most of Newt’s history is still to be learned because it leaves room for his character to develop more as the series continues. Eddie Redmayne did an excellent job at portraying Newt Scamander, staying curious throughout the film while also seeming genuinely concerned about the beasts he was carrying, and I also enjoyed Ezra Miller’s performance as Credence Barebone. He’s an actor I like to keep my eye out for because I always enjoy his performances, and even though I had learned a few weeks back that he was in this movie I actually had forgotten and didn’t even recognize him until half way through.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter franchise—whether book or movie—I highly recommend seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It has a little bit of everything: action, adventure, romance, and, of course, magic, and is guaranteed to keep both kids and adults entertained.

Arrival: A Movie Review

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new-arrival-movie-poster-615813When 12 unidentified objects appear in different locations over the globe, linguist Louise Banks is recruited by the United States government to translate the alien language of their visitors to find out why they are here. Working with scientist Ian Donnelly, the two are pressed for time as the Chinese and Russians are quickly resorting to war with the beings they know nothing about.

In my opinion, Arrival is probably the best movie I saw in theaters this year. The story line is both simple and complex: simple because the main focus is on deciphering an alien language, but complex because there is a deeper story going on that the viewer may not be fully aware of until the end.

I didn’t know much about the movie going in to it. I only saw one trailer, and I hadn’t looked up anything else about it so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. The performances by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner were well done, with the characters developing at an appropriate speed. But what I think made the movie is how the story line was written: with the bigger story, and the twist, perfectly hidden so the viewer does not know what is going on until closer to the end, and not everything made sense until the big twist. Even after the credits were rolling, I had to sit and think about what happened because I was still in awe of how well it was played out without being given away. Overall, Arrival is one of those movies that you may have to watch several times to catch everything, but everything about it is so well done that I personally would have no problem with that.

Zootopia: A Movie Review

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zootopiaEver since she was a little bunny, Judy Hopps knew how to dream big. Instead of working with her family on their carrot farm, she wanted to be the first bunny police officer. Despite those who told her she couldn’t do it, and with hard work and dedication, Judy becomes a police officer of Zooptopia, and is quickly immersed in a case of missing mammals occurring throughout the districts. But when she hits a dead end just after taking on the case, she enlists the help of a con-artist fox named Nick Wilde to crack the case.

For a kids movie, Zootopia touches on some deep topics, specifically the discrimination of others based on their background. Being accepting of others and not fearing others because of what they may look like or believe in is an important lesson to teach children at a young age so as they grow older and start to venture out on their own they will be more open minded about the world around them.

Another topic the movie touches on is to always follow your dreams, no matter how outlandish they may seem, and that hard work and dedication are important in achieving those dreams. There are many people in the world who will tell kids to go for the careers that they would make the most money or be the most successful in, even if it’s something they have absolutely no interest in. It may be cliche, but it’s true: being happy with what you do for a living and how you live your life is what counts.

By highlighting those topics alone, I feel like this movie is a must watch for families because it may help strike up important conversations for kids who may not have experienced or fully understand the importance of accepting others or being who you are. Plus, it’s a super cute movie with a plot and characters that will keep adults as immersed as their kids.