It’s the promise of thrilling action sequences that take place at the bottom of the ocean that drew me to Underwater; an action/thriller about a group of researchers trying to survive after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory.
The good news is that I got the well-executed and thrilling scrambling to safety scenes I’d hoped for. The bad news is that besides the initial scrambling and the face-to-face encounter with the monster towards the end, there isn’t much else about director William Eubank’s film that I found particularly impressive.
Starring Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller and Vincent Cassel; the elements that proved most disappointing include the design of the underwater monster, which, for me, seemed relatively basic and not particularly new. Furthermore, overall, the special effects could have been better. And unfortunately, some of the acting is questionable.
I know that Underwater is a thriller and not a traditional horror movie. Yet, I expected the monster to be scarier than it is. Or, at the very least, for the encounters with the monster to be more terrifying than they are. It certainly didn’t help that we barely see anything, each time the camera is pointed at the monster.
Much of the dialogue felt quite flat, which in part led to the moments that should have been more affecting, i.e. the death of key characters seem rather underwhelming.
Black Box, a horror/mystery/sci-fi film about what happens to Nolan, a single father after he loses his wife and his memory in a car accident is a film I don’t regret watching.
Starring Mamoudou Athie (Uncorked (2020), Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine, and from writer/director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour; the story centres around an agonising experimental treatment that causes Nolan to question who he is.
What I like most about Black Box is the unexpected direction the story takes at its most interesting and engaging point. I also enjoyed all the performances. Especially Athie and Christine’s. The latter of whom did a great job of playing a child who’s had to grow up far to fast.
As for what I like least about Black Box, that would be the first third of the movie because it played/felt a tad flat. Thankfully, once we get to around the thirty five minute mark, things get very interesting indeed, through to the very end.
Give Black Box a chance if you’re curious. Especially for the last two thirds and good performances.
I can’t deny that part of the reason I started watching Uncorked is because I knew it would be set in Paris, France at least some of the time. I imagined that this fact may just help me get over the cancellation of my Spring 2020 travel plans. I think it probably helped a tiny bit in the end. A very tiny little bit.
Luckily for me, the main reason I watched writer / director Prentice Penny’s drama was to see a young man’s (Mammoudou Athie) journey as he tries to balance his personal aspirations of becoming a master sommelier with his father’s (Courtney B. Vance) expectations of him.
From Vance, Athie, Matt McGorry and Sasha Compére, everyone in Uncorked performed well. I had a good time watching Penny’s movie especially after the slower pace near the beginning subsided. I found the structure of the story refreshing, specifically as it pertains to where it ends up, versus where my years of film viewing experience led me to believe it would go.
As for specific moments that will stay with me, the first is the main family dinner scene which was funny, relatable and well choreographed. The others are pretty much every scenes that features Nash, a wonderful actor whose presence onscreen has a way of putting me at ease.
Overall, I enjoyed the film’s depictions of friendship and family; all of which included a healthy injection of humour. If like myself you like stories of people working hard to make their dreams come true – however unexpected and challenging the journey, I say give Uncorked a chance. It may just give you that extra push to keep working hard towards your own goals; whether you want to become a master sommelier or something else entirely.