New crime / mystery The Postcard Killings has Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a New York detective Jacob Kanon. Kanon is investigating the death of his daughter who was murdered in London during her honeymoon…
Based on the book of the same name by Liza Marklund and James Patterson; directed by Danis Tanovic; Cush Jumbo, Famke Janssen and Naomi Battrick are among the key cast.
I’m getting Taken (2008) vibes for more reasons than Janssen playing the mother role in both movies. Morgan’s Kanon also has something in common with Julia Roberts’s The Secret In Their Eyes (2015), where Roberts plays a law enforcement officer whose daughter is murdered.
A good Morgan performance and a hopefully memorable mystery are my reasons for wanting to see this one.
Ruairi O’Connor, Joachim Król, Eva Röse, Lukas Loughran, Steven Mackintosh, Dylan Devonald Smith, Sallie Harmsen and Pål Espen Kilstad also star.
I’ve liked Joaquin Phoenix ever since his brilliant performance in Ridley Scott’s much loved Gladiator (2000). I therefore had no doubt he’d deliver a truly memorable performance as Joker, Gotham City’s most iconic villain.
Watching Aurthur Fleck’s journey from social outcast to psychopathic murderer is a viewing experience I enjoyed for more than just Phoenix’s brilliant physical and emotional performance. Before Joker, I don’t think I’d truly paid attention to the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life. The clever use of this song, the film’s musical score and soundtrack is another key highlight.
Joker is undeniably a good film. Yet, for me personally, there is something about it that meant I found myself not particularly overly enthusiastic post viewing. One might even say that Joker is quite depressing because it’s almost ‘too real,’ when compared with what’s been happening in the US. Another reason it seemed something of a downer is the film’s heavy focus on people who are, to put it lightly, ‘unpleasant’. I of course understand director Todd Phillip’s reasons considering the nature of the story being told. Yet it’s never easy for me when the protagonist is also an anti-hero of the most insane and murderous kind, particularly when there’s no humour involved.
Overall, what I like most about Phillip’s film, is how well mapped Joker’s journey from victim to anti-hero is. From powerless to fully empowered and in control. From ‘how much more can he take?’ ‘Where can he go from here?’ to ‘There it is’. ‘The camel’s back has completely snapped and there’s no going back’
Lastly, I can’t deny that my colour loving self rather enjoyed the red suit, yellow vest, plus green shirt and hair look. Especially while Joker was on those famous stairs.
You’ve probably already seen it. If not, do it for Phoenix’s performance and all else that’s good about it.
Spiral is a new horror / mystery that has Chris Rock as Detective Banks. Banks and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation, but soon at the center of the killer’s morbid game.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman; additional key cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Marisol Nichols, Zoie Palmer, Dan Petronijevic…
I just got the heebie jeebies as I imagined what on earth could possibly lead me to decide to slice my own arm off. The answer came quickly. Especially as I first thought that Rock’s character was in a subway underground setting. All I’d need in that situation is to see one rat, then two inching towards me. That’s if I don’t pass out from the shock and disgust of such a nightmare predicament first.
I can’t quite tell if Jackson’s character is supposed to be the bad guy. It would certainly be intriguing if he were.
Nazneen Contractor, Morgan David Jones, Edie Inksetter, K.C. Collins, Josh Stolberg, Ali Johnson Brian Cook, Leila Leigh and Christopher Tai also star.
It was the humour in the trailer for writer / director Riley Stearns’s comedy / drama The Art Of Self Defensethat first had my attention. Then came my desire to see Jesse Eisenberg’s character Casey’s interest in self defense actually pay off.
Also starring Alessandro Nivola and Imogen Poots, the first third of The Art Of Self Defense proved quite uncomfortable to watch because it’s never fun to see a vulnerable person being taken advantage of. I therefore couldn’t wait for Casey to finally reap the benefits of his Karate lessons – which he does, but certainly not quite in the way one might expect.
I liked the general outline of Stearn’s story but similarly to Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster (2015), things took a dark turn I wasn’t fully expecting and I found myself wanting to go back to the more humorous phase, even though said phase was mixed in with uncomfortably vulnerable scenes.
There are two or more moments in Stearns’s film that had me questioning the believability of certain goings on. Also, towards the end, the editing had me feeling as though specific scenes had been skipped which unfortunately made the whole experience feel a tad rushed.
Everyone performed well but my favourite is Nivola’s turn as sensei, because he’s the source of much of the little humour there is, plus his quiet confidence and general air of mystery also proved quite arresting.
Generally speaking, I really can’t say that I enjoyed The Art Of Self Defense more than it annoyed me and / or made me uncomfortable. Should you find yourself particularly curious though, especially if you liked The Lobster in its entirety, perhaps give The Art Of Self Defense a chance.
I was never going to forego watching celebrated director Martin Scorsese’s latest, The Irishman; even with the arguably ‘offensive’ three and a half hour runtime.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and centred around a mob hitman’s recollection of his possible involvement in the killing of American Labour Union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975; the dialogue, style and great performances are all reasons why I find The Irishman most memorable.
As De Niro’s Frank Sheeran (the Irishman), who’s now living in a retirement home recalls his story, there’s definitely a high volume of information shared, some of which you’ll likely soon forget; in part because of the pace of events. Nevertheless, the story, acting and editing still managed to keep me engaged. And just before the one hour, thirty minutes point, that’s when things get especially interesting. It’s when all the great performances start to reveal themselves fully.
Pacino as the incredibly stubborn Hoffa and Stephen Graham as the equally stubborn Tony Pro are two of my favourites, and their scenes together are among the very best. However, the most memorable performance and my overall favourite thing about The Irishman is De Niro’s turn as Frank. I particularly appreciated the moments Frank didn’t have to speak for the audience to grasp a fair amount of the depth of his experience. So impactful were these quiet moments that I can’t hide my disappointed that De Niro didn’t get an acting Academy Award nomination.
I like how Scorsese’s film provides a kind of ‘inside look’ at the life of a mob hitman. The daily realities, the impact on family and the weight of loyalty. Still, a part of me wonders how different The Irishman would be had Scorsese taken the mini-series or multiple part feature film route instead of squeezing so much into one feature. I wonder.
The Irishman is a film to watch because of the great film making team and for a handful of truly memorable, high tension and often humorous scenes that will remind you of just why Scorsese is so highly celebrated. Just make sure you’re fully rested though, and ready to watch and truly listen before committing to the hefty three hours and thirty minutes.
From writer / director Michael Cristofer, The Night Clerk is a new crime / drama about a voyeuristic, socially challenged hotel clerk who ends up as the main suspect in a murder investigation.
Ana de Armas, Tye Sheridan, Helen Hunt and John Leguizamo star while Michael Cristofer directs…
I’ll be watching to see how Sheridan’s performance pans out. My other reasons for wanting to see this include Leguizamo and Hunt. I last saw Leguizamo in Chef (2014), which just happens to be one of my favourites.
Johnathon Schaech, Jacque Gray, Cindy Perez, Ischa Bee, D.L. Walker, Pam Eichner, Walter Platz and Stacey Ann Turner also star.
The Night Clerk Release Dates: February 21st, 2020 (US)…
InBlack and Blue, the latest action / drama starring Naomie Harris, Harris plays a rookie police officer whose body camera captures a corrupt cop shooting a drug dealer. What I hoped would have followed is a truly engrossing, gritty and desperate race against time to get the footage in the right hands.
The race and subsequent pursuit does happen. It’s just that the end result isn’t as gripping as I’d hoped. The acting isn’t bad, but the story and execution certainly could have been stronger. Especially since soon after the film started and throughout, it felt as though something important was missing, and nothing refreshingly clever and / or new happened.
I really wanted Black and Blue to join Training Day (2001) on my list of favourite cop movies. However, even though both films share commonalities in theme / story, the gap between the two movies is simply too large – because Training Day is far more engrossing, cleverly written and well executed. Plus, Ethan Hawke’s character didn’t make any decisions that had me mad. Whereas Harris’s character did some thing’s that could hardly be excused by her rookie status. Or maybe I’ve simply watched too many cop movies.
I did actually like aspects of the way Black ad Blue handled Harris’s character’s ‘identity crisis,’ which really says more about her acting than anything else. Also, there were moments within Black and Blue that had me thinking, ‘Yes! This is when things really get good‘. But the movie never went to the point of having a scene that I could choose as my favourite moment.
Watch it if you’re super curious. Otherwise, maybe just rewatch Training Day.