HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: LOST SOULS

CAST

Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice)
Ben Chaplin (Cinderella)
Sarah Wynter (The 6th Day)
Philip Baker Hall (Bruce Almighty)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Elias Koteas (Gattaca)
Brian Reddy (Dante’s Peak)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Alfred Woodard (Luke Cage)

Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)

Bob Clendenin (Birds of Prey)
Tom McCleister (Envy)

This is a subtle religious horror flick that I have to assume people rejected because of the lack of scares and gore. However, the performances, direction and cinematography are all top notch. Though Lost Souls was marketed to look like a demonic scare-fest, I would compare this film to the likes of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. In fact, I would not be surprised if the makers of that film borrowed quite heavily from this one, both in style and effects.

The premise is relatively simple: A small religious sect believe the coming of the anti-Christ to be near, sitting dormant in a human body.

The biggest praise that I can bestow upon this film is that over 12 years later, this film still looks like it could have been made yesterday. In fact, it looks uncannily more modern than a large majority of recent horror efforts. Lost Souls simply does not age.

Another popular factor in why this movie is so poorly rated and received is the fact that audiences just did not like the ending. I feel sorry for those that do not. The ending is original, and though it did not satisfy blood thirsty Hollywood horror fans, it is very much appropriate for this film. To put it simply without spoiling anything: faith is the central core to Lost Souls, those with it and those without. That is what this ending plays off of, and I think it’s perfect. Please do not let any of these negative reviews divert you from seeing this film.

This is not End of Days or Stigmata. Lost Souls is not camp in the slightest. It is a dark, beautifully shot and well acted film that is significantly ahead of it’s time

REVIEW: THE TRUMAN SHOW

CAST

Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura)
Laura Linney (Mystic River)
Noah Emmerich (The Americans)
Natascha McElhone (Solaris)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Ed Harris (The Abyss)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)
Peter Krause (Six Feet Under)
Philip Baker Hall (Boogie Nights)
John Pleshette (Knots Landing)

a035b884afa29f51846bdab984980787Truman Burbank is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program in which his entire life, since the moment of his birth, is filmed by thousands of hidden cameras, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is broadcast live around the world. The show’s creator and executive producer Christof is able to capture Truman’s real emotion and human behavior when put in certain situations. Truman’s coastal hometown of Seahaven is a giant set built under a giant arcological dome in the Los Angeles area. Truman’s family and friends are all played by actors, allowing Christof to control every aspect of Truman’s life.MV5BMTM2MzQ5NTQ0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDgwNTk4Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1493,1000_AL_During the 30th year of the show, Truman notices certain aspects of his near-perfect world that seem out of place. A theatrical light (labeled Sirius) falls from the artificial morning sky, nearly hitting him (quickly passed off by local radio as an aircraft in trouble that began “shedding parts”) and Truman’s car radio picks up a conversation between the show’s crew tracking his movements. Truman also becomes aware of more subtle abnormalities within his regular day-to-day life, such as the way in which the same people appear in the same places at certain times each day and his wife Meryl’s tendency to blatantly advertise the various products she buys.

To prevent Truman from discovering his false reality, Christof has invented means of dissuading his sense of exploration, the most drastic of which was “killing” his father in a storm while on a fishing trip to instill in him a fear of the water. Christof also floods the channels with news reports and commercials about the dangers of travelling, and television shows about how good it is to stay at home. The actor that played Truman’s deceased father sneaks back onto the set as a homeless man, but is whisked away as soon as Truman notices him. Despite Christof’s control, Truman has managed to behave in unexpected ways, in particular by falling in love with an extra, Sylvia, known to Truman as Lauren, instead of Meryl, the character intended to be his wife. Though Sylvia is quickly removed from the set and Truman marries Meryl, he continues to secretly pine for ‘Lauren’. Sylvia becomes part of a “Free Truman” campaign that fights to free him from the show and to reveal his identity.

Despite the best efforts of his family and his best friend Marlon to reassure him, all these events cause Truman to start wondering about his life, realizing how the world seems to revolve and shape around him, with complete strangers to him knowing his name. Truman attempts to leave Seahaven but is blocked by fabricated emergency situations, further aggravating him. Meryl grows increasingly stressed by the pressure of perpetuating the deception, and their marriage unravels in the face of Truman’s increasing skepticism and attendant hostility towards her. This causes her to snap and partially reveal Truman’s identity and life in front of Marlon, making Truman confused. As a result, Meryl is pulled off the show, and Christof officially brings back Truman’s father, hoping his presence will keep Truman from trying to leave. However, he only provides a temporary respite: Truman soon becomes isolated and begins staying alone in his basement. One night, Truman fools the cameras and escapes the basement undetected via a secret tunnel, forcing Christof to temporarily suspend broadcasting of the show for the first time in its history. This causes a surge in viewership, with many viewers, including Sylvia, cheering on Truman’s escape attempt.
MV5BMTM2MzQ5NTQ0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDgwNTk4Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1493,1000_AL_
Christof orders every actor and crew member to search the town, even breaking the town’s daylight cycle to help in the search. They find that Truman has overcome his fear of the water and has sailed away from the town in a small boat. After restoring the broadcast, Christof orders the show’s crew to create a large storm to try to capsize the boat, prompting a heated debate with his assistants and his technicians over the morality and legality of murdering a human being in front of a live audience. Truman almost drowns, but his determination eventually leads Christof to terminate the storm. As Truman recovers, the boat reaches the edge of the dome, its bow piercing through the dome’s painted sky. Truman then continuously punches the wall and breaks down crying. An awe-struck Truman then discovers a flight of stairs nearby, leading to a door marked “EXIT”. As he contemplates leaving his world, Christof finally turns to his last resort by speaking directly to Truman via a powerful sound system, trying to persuade him to stay. Truman, after a moment’s thought, delivers his catchphrase (“In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and good night”), bows to his audience and steps through the door and into the real world.

The assembled television viewers excitedly celebrate Truman’s escape, and Sylvia quickly leaves her L.A. apartment and departs to the edges of Seaheaven so she can meet up with him. A network executive orders the crew to cease transmission of the show, leaving Christof dismayed with the realization that his show is truly over.MV5BMTM2MzQ5NTQ0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDgwNTk4Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1493,1000_AL_The Truman Show is a clever, fun and entertaining film bursting with themes to explore. Is it better to live a ‘perfect’ fake life or a flawed real one? How far can reality TV go? How far will people go to ‘do their job’? Where does morality fit in when it comes to entertainment? What is freedom?Great story, brilliant acting. A must-see.

REVIEW: THE ROCK

51PCG88TDCL

CAST

Sean Connery (Highlander)
Nicolas Cage (Gone In 60 Seconds)
Ed Harris (The Abyss)
John Spencer (The Negotiator)
David Morse (Disturbia)
William Forsythe (Raising Arizona)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Vanessa Marcil (Las Vegas)
John C. McGinley (Highlander II)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall)
Steve Harris (Minority Report)
Claire Forlani (Mallrats)

Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Danny Nucci (Titanic)
Jim Caviezel (The Passion of The Christ)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad)
Philip Baker Hall (Boogie Nights)
Pat Skipper (Bosch)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Stuart Wilson (Hot Fuzz)

A group of rogue U.S. Force Recon Marines, led by disenchanted Brigadier General Frank Hummel and his adjutant Major Tom Baxter, seize a stockpile of deadly VX gas–armed M55 rockets. The next day, Hummel and his men seize control of Alcatraz Island and take eighty three tourists hostage. Hummel threatens to launch the rockets against San Francisco unless the government pays $100 million from a military slush fund, which he will distribute to his men and the families of Recon Marines who died on clandestine missions under his command and whose deaths were not compensated.

The Pentagon and FBI develop a plan to retake the island with a U.S. Navy SEAL team led by Commander Anderson, enlisting the FBI’s top chemical weapons specialist, Doctor Stanley Goodspeed. Goodspeed’s confidence, already shaky as he is a “lab rat” with minimal combat training and experience, is further tested when his fiancée Carla reveals she is pregnant. FBI director James Womack is forced to turn to federal prisoner John Mason, a 60-year-old British national who has been imprisoned without charges for three decades. Mason is the only Alcatraz inmate ever to escape the island, doing so in 1963 through uncharted underground tunnels. While in custody at the Fairmont Hotel, Mason flees. He steals a Hummer H1 and Goodspeed pursues in a commandeered Ferrari F355, resulting in a chase through the streets. Mason seeks out his estranged daughter Jade; Goodspeed arrives with a team to re-arrest Mason, revealing to Jade that he is aiding the FBI.

Goodspeed, Mason, and the SEALs infiltrate Alcatraz. However, Hummel’s Marines are alerted to their presence and ambush them in a shower room. All the SEALs, including Anderson, are killed, leaving only Mason and Goodspeed alive. Mason sees his chance to escape custody and disarms Goodspeed, but Goodspeed convinces him to help defuse the rockets, since Mason’s daughter is also at risk. Mason and Goodspeed eliminate several teams of Marines and disable 12 of the 15 rockets by removing their guidance chips. Hummel threatens to execute a hostage if they do not surrender and return the guidance chips. Mason destroys the chips, then surrenders to Hummel, trying to reason with him as well as buy Goodspeed some time. Though Goodspeed disables another rocket, the Marines capture him. With the incursion team lost, the military initiates their backup plan: an air strike by F/A-18s with thermite plasma, which will neutralize the poison gas but kill everyone on the island.

Mason and Goodspeed escape, and Mason explains why he was held prisoner: he was a British SAS Captain who stole a microfilm containing details of the United States’s most closely guarded secrets, refusing to give it up when captured because he knew he would be killed if he did. When the deadline for the transfer of the ransom arrives, Hummel and his men fire one of the operational rockets. During the launch of the rocket Hummel changes the coordinates and diverts the rocket away from its original target and instead detonates at sea. Hummel then reveals that the mission is over and it was all a very elaborate bluff, as he never had any intention of taking innocent lives. When confronted by two of his men, Captain Frye and Darrow, Hummel orders them to exit Alcatraz with a few hostages and the remaining rocket to cover their retreat, while he will assume blame. Realizing they will not be paid their $1 million apiece, Frye and Darrow mutiny against Hummel and Baxter, killing the latter and mortally wounding the former.

Darrow and Frye proceed with the plan to fire on San Francisco. While Mason deals with the remaining Marines, Goodspeed seeks out the last rocket, which Hummel reveals the location of with his dying breath. As the jets approach, Goodspeed kills both Darrow and Frye, disarming the rocket. He signals the jets that the threat is over but not before one jet releases a bomb on the island. Though no hostages are injured, Goodspeed is thrown into the sea by the blast before Mason rescues him. Goodspeed tells Mason that Womack tore up his pardon, then informs his superiors that Mason was killed in the bomb explosion. Mason gives Goodspeed a note that holds the location of the microfilm and the two part ways. Some time later, Goodspeed and Carla recover the microfilm containing a half-century of state secrets, including who actually killed John F. Kennedy.

Directed with vigour by Michael Bay, and featuring a talented cast who get right into the spirit of things, this is an enjoyable romp. With plenty of big stunts, gun fights, explosions, thrills and spills along the way it’s big and loud and a lot of fun.

REVIEW: 50/50

CAST

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper)
Seth Rogen (Knocked Up)
Anna Kendrick (Into The Woods)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation)
Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family)
Serge Houde (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Andrew Airlie (FInal Destination 2)
Matt Frewer (Lawnmower Man 2)
Philip Baker Hall (Bruce Almighty)
Yee Jee Tso (Antitrust)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
P. Lynn Johnson (Blade The Series)
Laura Bertram (Andromeda)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Lauren Miller Rogen (For a Good Time Call…)
Andrea Brooks (Supergirl)
Sugar Lyn Beard (The Flash)

Adam Lerner is a 27-year-old public radio journalist in Seattle with an artist girlfriend Rachael, of whom his best friend and co-worker Kyle disapproves; where Kyle is brash and outspoken, Adam is more introverted and mild-mannered. After experiencing harsh pains in his back, Adam learns from his doctor that he has schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma (a malignant tumor) in his spine, and must undergo chemotherapy. He sees on the Internet that his chances of survival are fifty-fifty. After Adam reveals his diagnosis, his overbearing mother, Diane, who already cares for her husband Richard suffering from Alzheimer’s, wants to move in and care for him. Adam rejects this offer, as Rachael has promised to be the one to take care of him.Seth Rogen in 50/50 (2011)Rachael, however, is “uncomfortable” going into the hospital during Adam’s chemo treatments and is often late to pick him up, as Adam doesn’t drive; she also gets him a retired racing greyhound named Skeletor as a companion animal. Throughout Adam’s struggle, Kyle attempts to keep Adam’s spirits high, which include helping Adam shave his head prior to chemotherapy and openly using Adam’s illness to pick up women. While on a date with one such woman, however, Kyle sees Rachael at an art gallery, kissing another man, and forces her to come clean to Adam; this proves to be the final straw in their already strained relationship, and Adam breaks up with her for good. Now single, he eventually started to follow Kyle’s lead, and the two use his illness to successfully pick up two women at a bar.Meanwhile, Adam skeptically begins going to a young and inexperienced therapist, Katherine McKay (Kendrick), a PhD candidate doing the clinical aspect of her thesis at the hospital. Although their relationship and sessions have a rocky start, he slowly begins to open up to her about his disease and how it is affecting him. After she gives him a lift home in her car after one of his chemo sessions, the two develop a rapport both in and outside of their sessions, which begins to blur the lines of both their doctor-patient relationship and connection as friends. She helps Adam understand his mother’s situation as well, that even though he is the cancer patient the loved ones feel just as much stress watching someone they care about fight the disease, which helps Adam make steps in repairing the rift between him and his mother. During chemo treatments, Adam also befriends Alan (Hall) and Mitch (Frewer), two older cancer patients who are also undergoing chemotherapy. The two offers Adam advice and smokes marijuana with him.Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick in 50/50 (2011)After Mitch suddenly dies, Adam’s fears of his own potential death and unknown future become more evident. Subsequently, he is informed that his treatment is not working and that he needs to undertake a risky surgery as a last resort. The night before his surgery, Adam has an argument with Kyle and demands to drive Kyle’s car because Kyle is drunk—even though Adam does not have a driver’s license. After nearly causing an accident, Adam breaks down and criticizes Kyle for seemingly not taking his illness seriously and using it for his own ends. Adam calls Katherine and tells her that he wishes he had a girlfriend like her, but also says he is tired and just wants it to be over. That night, Adam stays at Kyle’s and while in the bathroom washing his hands, he finds a book entitled ‘Facing Cancer Together’ from their first trip to a bookstore where Kyle picked up the shop clerk—it is filled with notes, highlighted paragraphs and turned-down pages, proving to Adam that Kyle does sincerely care about Adam’s struggle and has been helping him the best way he knows how – by simply not treating Adam any differently – the entire duration of his illness.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen in 50/50 (2011)The next day when Kyle drops Adam off at the hospital, Adam embraces Kyle for being a good friend and apologizes for what he said the previous night. After Adam says what could be his final farewells to his family, he undergoes his surgery. During the wait, Katherine goes to the waiting room where she inadvertently meets Adam’s family and Kyle. After the surgery, Kyle, Diane, and Katherine are told by the doctor that although the bone degradation was worse than they had thought, the tumor was removed successfully, and that Adam would recover. Some time later, Adam is getting ready for a date with Katherine, while Kyle encourages him and cleans the incision on Adam’s back from the surgery. The doorbell rings and Adam lets Katherine inside. After Kyle leaves, Katherine asks, “Now what?,” and Adam simply smiles.This was a very moving and touching film that dealt with an awful subject in a very real and different way. I thoroughly enjoyed this and the humour lifted the intensity.

REVIEW: ARGO

 CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield lane)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tate Donovan (Shooter)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Kerry Bishe (Red State)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Chris Messina (Devil)
Titus Welliver (Lost)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Bob Gunton (Dardevil TV)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
John Boyd (Bones)
Michael Parks (Django Unchained)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)
Rory Cochrane (Empire Records)
Matthew Glave (The Wedding Singer)
Michael Cassidy (Batman V Superman)
Barry Livingston (The Social Network)
Michael Chieffo (Roswell)
Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One)
Philip Baker Hall (Hard Eight)

hqdefaultAfter Iranian militants stormed and took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 taking 56 Americans as hostages, six Americans managed to get away and took refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. After two months of the Canadians putting their lives on the line everyday, the CIA and the US State Department try to come up with a plan to get their people out.Ben Affleck in Argo (2012)Tony Mendez is a specialist who proposes that they pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo. Using Hollywood connections, Mendez creates a back story for the movie – ads in Variety, casting calls, inviting he media to a production launch – and then heads off to Iran to lead the six Americans out. When I first heard this film was being made, I had no education on the history of the movie, all I knew is that is was a true story based on something political in the middle east, with a really strange title.Affleck once again proves just how good of an actor her is in Hollywood and the way he mixes comedy with intense drama is wonderful. Some scenes are just genius, like the scene where there is a rehearsal, and the captives are treated to a pseudo execution, and then Affleck showing us that both sides can put on a show.Arkin And Goodman are the brilliant comic relief, and whenever they are on screen, the tension is ever so slightly lifted and relief sets in, apart from one scene involving a phone. Affleck, considering he is the director, is really restraint in this movie, and plays it down, whilst the rest of the cast go for it, and it’s to his credit, as it shows that his character has a lot riding on this. It never lets up on tension, even when the six are enjoying their final meal, there is a sense that the door could be broken down at any second.The final third is genuinely edge of your seat stuff. All in all, it’s a wonderful movie, a perfect antidote to some of the dross movies that get dumped on us around the time of year, and really worthy of your attention

REVIEW: BRUCE ALMIGHTY

 

CAST

Jim Carrey (Kick-Ass 2)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It)
Philip Baker Hall (50/50)
Catherine Bell (JAG)
Lisa Ann Walter (War of The Worlds)
Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Nora Dunn (new Girl)
Eddie Jemison (Izombie)
Sally Kirkland (JFK)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Ara Celi (Machete)
Max Grodénchik (Star Trek: DS9)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)

yukyukuykyukyukBruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely seems to notice him. Bruce however continues to suffer unfortunate events and it reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from Bruce’s segment in accepting the promotion on-air. Bruce becomes furious and aggressively and profanely criticizes the station during his first live report, leading to his dismissal from the station. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce complains that God (Morgan Freeman) is “the one that should be fired.”

Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where he meets God, who offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that there are rules to the job he must follow, albeit only two: firstly, Bruce cannot tell anyone else that he has God’s powers; and secondly, Bruce cannot use the powers to alter or interfere with free will. Bruce ignores God and is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as training his dog to use the toilet, chasing away thugs by spewing out a swarm of hornets, and sexually impressing Grace. Bruce also finds ways of using the powers to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa’s body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him his job back. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to make a fool out of himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.

After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her he made anchor (angering her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not helping people. He also explains that the voices are prayers to God that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond, but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle — even though God had stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area — and sets the program to automatically answer Yes to every prayer. Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce being seduced and kissed by Susan, and quickly leaves.MV5BMTk0ODQyNDc3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA2MTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Bruce follows Grace, but she is heartbroken and will not listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He can’t solve all the problems, and that Bruce must figure out a way to solve it himself. Bruce then begins to solve his problems in life practically, such as helping a man whose car broke down across the street, training his dog normally, and allowing Evan to have his job back. Bruce returns to his computer system and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As he reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for Bruce’s success and well-being. As he reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back His powers and letting his fate be in His hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck, and regains consciousness in a white void. God appears and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy. God agrees and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, shortly after being revived—near miraculously—by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, with Bruce and Grace later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field reporting but takes more pleasure in the simple stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live TV.BruceSchiemoThe film ends with the beggar who Bruce had previously run into on various occasions finally revealing himself to be God. Morgan Freeman delivers a fantastic performance as the Man himself, displaying a God whose infinite wisdom is somewhat reflected through Freeman’s massive talent as an actor. He is the kind of God who takes his job very seriously, but in such a way as to advise his followers that there are times when you need to slow down and do some manual labor in life. I love his line that some of the happiest people in the world come home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.2840726-morgan_godBruce Almighty is one of the more memorable comedies, It is a comedy written and performed in good taste, but with enough relatively low-brow humor to keep the everyone entertained. This is a meaningful comedy for the whole family.

REVIEW: ALL GOOD THINGS

 

CAST

Ryan Gosling (The Ides of MArch)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Frank Langella (Lolita)
Lily Rabe (No Reservations)
Philip Baker Hall (Bruce Almighty)
Michael Esper (Runner Runner)
Kristen Wiig (Zoolander 2)

Nick Offerman (Sing)
Zabryna Guevara (Gotham)
Zoe Lister-Jones (New Girl)
William Jackson Harper (The Good Place)

 

1It is one of those “inspired by a true story” affairs, taking its narrative cues from the tabloid-friendly troubles of Robert Durst, son of a wealthy New York real estate mogul, suspected of committing (or at least being involved in) three separate murders in New York, California, and Texas. Here renamed David Marks (presumably to avoid a nice, fat lawsuit), he is played by Ryan Gosling in a live-wire performance as a free spirit who can imagine no fate worse than going into the family business; he’s handsome and charming, and when he meets Katie McCarthy (a sunny Kirsten Dunst), they hit it off right away. They marry and go to Vermont to live the charmed life, but his father (Frank Langella) turns the screws on him to join the family business, and convinces David that he’ll have to make a good living to keep Katie happy–planting a seed of resentment towards Katie that’s manufactured out of sheer fiction.

As David sinks into his depressing job, a darkness is gradually revealed–a troublesome undercurrent, a deep and somewhat worrisome unhappiness that manifests itself in “voices” both in his head and out loud. Soon, David becomes both psychologically and physically abusive, prone to violent outbursts, capable of losing his tenuous grasp on reality. “Does that girl know how fucked up you are?” a friend asks him. To her detriment, she does not.

The film’s most basic, fundamental strength is how it refuses to give itself away; it is masterful in its ability to slowly uncoil its revelations, to allow dread and misfortune to seep in from the edges of the frame until the situation comes to a scary–and somewhat inevitable–head. But then the film jumps a full 18 years ahead (ballsy), and that’s when things get really weird.

920x920

Director Jarecki, who helmed the unforgettable 2003 documentary Capturing the Friedmans, makes the wise choice to play even the most bonkers material straight (with the notable exception of the deliberately, almost comically, melodramatic score, which is like something out of a vintage DePalma picture). His background as a documentarian is one of the film’s greatest assets–not just for his attention to detail and authenticity, but for his refusal to snicker at even the strangest story twists.

He’s also got a real way with actors–Gosling is somehow both impenetrable and impossible to take your eyes off of, and this is without question Dunst’s best work to date. She’s been a little scarce lately, so it’s good to see her from the beginning, and in their scenes of flirtation and romantic glow, she’s cute, warm, and charismatic. But she moves easily into the picture’s darker corners, her keenly-felt performance a stirring slow-motion account of a woman going right to pieces. It’s a tremendous piece of work.