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Posts Tagged ‘Blu-ray reviews’

Blu-ray Review: mother!

December 20, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
mother!Lawrence’s performance is the highlight of mother!

Director Darren Aronofsky has helmed some interesting work over the years, from Black Swan and The Fountain to Noah and The Wrestler, and from that has stemmed no shortage of controversy on a number of fronts. While perhaps not controversial in the traditional sense, his latest work, mother!, is as bizarre a film as we’ve seen in years, maybe ever, allegory or no.

THE PLOT

After his house was burned down, a noted poet (Javier Bardem) finds he’s unable to create. In an effort to help him, his wife (Jennifer Lawrence) sets about rebuilding the home from scratch. The couple live in a secluded area, with no obvious ties outside each other, when one night a stranger (Ed Harris) shows up at their door.

While he initially claims to be a surgeon that stumbled upon them thinking it was a bed and breakfast, the stranger is soon joined by his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and then reveals himself to be a fan of the poet with little time to live. The poet welcomes their presence in the house, though his wife is suspicious of them and clashes with the stranger’s overbearing wife.

Their quiet life then gets turned completely upside down by the arrival of the couple’s sons, one of which is furious over changes made to their father’s will, resulting in a confrontation. As the poet looks to calm tensions, his wife wants them all to leave and restore her peaceful existence, but the days of peace and quiet are coming to an end.

THE GOOD

There are some acting heavyweights anchoring mother!, and their performances are by far the best part of the film. Lawrence does a great job as the lead, with the story told entirely through her perspective, and Pfeiffer is superb as the surgeon’s haughty wife, deftly blending spite, mockery and a healthy dose of clueless to create a truly reprehensible character.

We’ll also hand out points for the cinematography, which keeps a two-hour film that’s set inside a single house from becoming visually boring or repetitive. In fact, the house itself is arguably the second-biggest character in the movie with Lawrence’s ongoing efforts to repair it one of the primary plot strands.

THE BAD

When people talk about the pretentiousness of Hollywood this is the exact type of film they have in mind. The entire thing is littered with subtext about religion, politics, the environment and so on, with that wink and a nod “read into what you will” sort of attitude.

Lawrence herself said mother! was about the “rape” of the planet wherein she’s Earth, Bardem is basically God, Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve, their children are Cain and Able and so on. It’s hardly impossible to create those kind of allegories in film — Chronicles of Narnia is clearly about Jesus — but it’s done in jaw dropping fashion here.

It’s already toeing the line during the first “party” scene, where people routinely invade her space and do things no guest would ever do in someone else’s home, but by the time it reaches the finale it turns the WTF factor up to 11 (maybe even 12). You can view it as symbolism if you’d like, but for us it was a bridge too far.

THE BONUS FEATURES

There are just two extras here, led by a 30-minute “making of” feature called The Downward Spiral, which mixes cast interviews with behind the scenes footage. If you want more insight into the film and the creative process associated with it this is worth watching. The other item focuses on the makeup. It’s fine but checks in at less than 10 minutes.

OVERALL

Despite some really strong acting from the principles, mother! is just too “out there” for us, losing its message amid an endless sea of completely nonsensical scenes.

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Blu-ray Review: Dunkirk

December 18, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Visually, Dunkirk is fantastic, and a restrained script allows the film to tell much of its story with little or no dialogue. In doing this, Nolan makes the event the star attraction, rather than a specific group of soldiers. We’ve seen excellent war films and series before — Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan just to name a couple — but the minimal character development here allows for a different kind of focus.
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Blu-ray Review: Harry Potter Years 1-4 4K UHD

November 24, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
If Azkaban is 1a in the HP hierarchy, Goblet is 1b. In fact, Goblet might even blend the lighthearted and darker elements more effectively while introducing several interesting new characters of its own. The Tri-Wizard Cup at the heart of it all is a great plot device, allowing for a school-based competition while the peril of the outside world continues to intrude on life at Hogwarts.
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Blu-ray Review: Atomic Blonde

November 9, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
One of the big differences between the film and the graphic novel is an increase in action, and though previews made Atomic Blonde look like another John Wick film the reality is much more interesting. The fights, while immaculately choreographed, retain an air of realism and spontaneity. Watching Theron become exhausted as fights drag on made her triumph all the more exciting.
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Blu-ray Review: Annabelle: Creation

November 2, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
In the early 1940s, doll maker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia; Without a Trace) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto; Lord of the Rings) are living a simple life with their daughter, Annabelle. Returning home from church one day they get a flat tire, and while changing it Annabelle steps into the road where she is struck and killed by a passing car.
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