Alien (1979) Review

Alien (1979) Review

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Written by: Dan O’Bannon

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 57 min

Genre: Horror, Science-Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Availability: HBO Max

After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown transmission as a distress call, one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (IMDb)

When you really take the time to think about it, there aren’t that many films that stand the tests of time, especially when it comes to science-fiction. Alien is one of the few that thoroughly holds up and does not suffer from details that come across as dated. Of course, viewers may not spend to much time considering the few aspects that are due to the ongoing thrills of this film. 

Whether you view this movie as your standard alien horror or slasher flick, Alien is a terrifying movie. The titular alien is a literal killing machine who kills for sport more than anything else. It’s invincible, quiet, and very good at hiding. One could be in the same room as you, and you may not notice until its too late. 

If you don’t have anxiety, this film may give it to you. All the while you’ll be rooting for the original horror-movie badass Ripley, who almost single-handedly takes badassery to another level. 
Alien is a near-perfect film that’s hard to pick apart without turning into a nitpicky asshole. Its an overall well-rounded film with great acting, special effects, and direction. After 40 years it remains untouchable, even with the more recent attempts to reboot the series. Alien is a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Invisible Man (2020) Review

Directed by: Leigh Whannell

Written by: Leigh Whannell

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer

Rated: R

Run-Time: 2h 4min

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Availability: HBO Max

When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. (IMDb)

Over the past couple of years, there has beem a renaissance of horror with many films going back to the roots of the genre. Films such as Get Out and A Quiet Place break the monotony of jump-scare heavy horror and revitalise techniques long underutilised. 

The Invisible Man does what 2017’s The Mummy tried to and with a much lower budget. For a while now, Universal has been trying to bring back the classic horror icons with the hopes of creating a creature-verse comparable to Disney’s MCU. The Invisible Man is their second and successful attempt at doing so. 

Despite not having the best trailer, The Invisible Man is hands down one of the best films of 2020 with utterly exceptional acting and atmosphere. The film shows considerable restraint, taking its time to build up to real terror. The audience is forced to experience the film in the protagonist’s, Cecilia’s, point-of-view; sympathising with her while being kept partially in the dark about what’s really happening. Even then we’re told what is happening, you can’t be entirely sure. 

This film wears many masks as well. Not only is it a revival of a classic of the same name, but it’s also an examination of domestic violence. At one point, the film becomes less of a psychological horror movie and more of a revenge flick. All the while, it is a prime example of how the legal system can neglect the victims of domestic abuse. 

This is a must-watch film, really, don’t argue with me. Of course, as with most horror, beware the potentially triggering content.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) Review

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) Review

Directed by: Colm McCarthy

Written by: Mike Carey

Starring: Sennia Nanua, Fisayo Akinade, Dominique Tipper

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 51 min

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Availability: Netflix

A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie. (IMDb)

Much like the previously reviewed Cargo, The Girl with All the Gifts is a unique zombie film that plays with the overdone sub-genre and creates something new. 

Based off a book of the same, The Girl with All the Gifts delivers a truly philosophical look on zombies with the addition of the second-generation zombie. Something rarely seen in related films. It takes the concept of a dystopian future, and rather as seeing it solely as the end this film depicts the end of the world as the start of a new era. It paints the character who would traditionally be the hero into the villain and forces the audience to sympathize with the “other.” 

None of this wouldn’t have been possible without the exceptional preforming of the cast, who do well to present realistic characters. The star of this film is film is Sennia Nanua, who as a young actor manages to make the traditionally horrifying zombie into a sympathetic creature. She manages to show both the humanity and inhumanity of zombies, making them into a new iteration of humanity. Her youth allows her to have an unbiased view of the situation before her, as she is fond of the humans caring for her but also wants to help her fellow second-generation zombie children. 

This film is beautiful and raises a lot of questions that may make you rethink what you would do in a zombie apocalypse. For those who enjoy the action of your standard zombie movie, this has that for you, but those who enjoy the more intellectual horror of the current renaissance will find this film an excellent and thought-provoking watch.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Crawl (2019) Review

Crawl (2019) Review

Directed by: Alexandra Aja

Written by: Michael Rusmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 27m

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Availability: Amazon Prime and Hulu

A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators. (IMDb)

I generally don’t have much hope for movies like this. They tend to be formulaic, and easily predictable since the beats of this type of thriller are pretty much set in stone. This movie isn’t an exception in that it is pretty predictable. It tried to set itself apart, especially in the second act but fails to do so. 

Crawl doesn’t struggle to keep your attention but does struggle with reality. A lot of things that happened in this film were tough to believe whether you know a lot about alligators or not. This film does set itself apart in that it heavily features the protagonist potentially getting gravely injured. Of course, this starts to get a little old after the second time she miraculously gets away. The only character that was safe throughout the film was, of course, the dog. Because, if you didn’t already know, it’s a sin to kill a dog in any movie. Keanu Reeves will come after you. 

The acting was believable enough, but after watching the film I can’t tell you much about the characters other than the main girl can swim really well, her dad is stupid, and the dog’s name is Sugar. Even the few lines in the film that had me laughing have already left my mind. 

I feel like I say this about practically every movie I review, but this movie is one you can only watch once. If you want to watch a thrilling film that you don’t have to overthink while watching, this film is the right choice.  But I doubt you’d be clicking it again after experiencing it once. 

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

Boys Don’t Cry (1999) Review

Boys Don’t Cry (1999) Review

Directed by: Kimberly Peirce

Written by: Kimberly Peirce

Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 58m

Genre: Biography, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

A young man named Brandon Teena navigates love, life, and being transgender in rural Nebraska. (IMDb)

Boys Don’t Cry is one of those fantastic films that you can only watch once. It’s also one of those fantastic films, that while they are great, they don’t hold up to modern ideals and would likely suffer in the modern market for one reason or another.

Hilary Swank plays a transgender man trying to live his life in Nebraska. Swank really shines in this role, portraying the struggle a struggle to fit in as well as real terror in the horribly true* events that unfold. Her dedication to the character only elevating the film. If the film were released today, I’m not entirely sure Swank could have maintained her role as Teena, being a cis-gendered woman. But when taking into the consideration the events of this film and the story of its production– and my self being cis-gendered– I do not feel it is my place to discuss the representation in this film at length. All I feel comfortable saying that the presentation of a transgendered individual and the depiction of their often horrific struggles this film may have been ahead of its time; and puts forth the violent and heartwrenching truth that still burdens us today. 

For many, this film may be an impossible watch. Its thrusts it’s viewers into the harsh reality of this world and how it treats members of the LBGT+ community. You know something is going to go horribly wrong, foreshadowing shown in things as simple as the lighting. 

I’m hesitant to recommend this film even though I’ve described it as “fantastic” and “great.” As I said, for some this movie will be impossible to sit all the way through; for others, it will be a hard ride. It truly is one of those films you watch once, and it stays with you forever. If you decided to watch this film do so at your own discretion, as trigger warning include, violence, a depiction of sexual assault, and death. 

The violence depicted in Boys Don’t Cry continues today, and the only way to stop it is through action. I have provided likes below for three organizations that work to provide protection and support for the transgender community. Additionally, I have included an article discussing violence against the transgender and gender non-conforming community, which includes names of victims of said violence. Shall we mourn the loss of these individuals, educate ourselves on their struggles, and work to end this violence. 

National Center for Transgender Equality

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)

Trans Lifeline

Violence Against the Transgender and the Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2020 (article)

*There is debate regarding the accuracy of the film in relation to real-life events. Regardless, the events depicted are very much real possibilities many face on a daily basis.

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

Due Date (2010) Review

Due Date (2010) Review

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan 

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 35m

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time. (IMDb)

Why did I watch this movie? What compelled me to sit through this?

Can you tell what I think about this movie yet? Yeah, I didn’t like it.

I think what got me to watch was the movie was the star power of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, but no amount of star power can help this horribly derivative wannabe comedy. I can’t think of any part of this film that I actually enjoyed, actually, I was thoroughly annoyed the majority of the time. 

The premise has been done to death and honestly doesn’t need to be done for a long time. What made is so annoying is how insufferable Zach Galifianakis’s character is throughout the film. While he tends to play the lovable oaf type there was nothing loveable about this oaf. If I was RDJ’s character I would have left him on the side of the road as soon as I had the chance with no remorse whatsoever. As a result, I couldn’t take RDJ’s protagonist seriously after he put with literal hell and came out friends with Galifianakis’s character. It seemed like this was an attempt to make him out as a good guy and Galifianakis’s character as endearing, and neither of those characters qualifies for those descriptors. Galifianakis was unbearably un-funny and RDJ’s character was just a plain idiot for putting up with him. 

 The scenes in the film that were added with the intent of being funny were far from it. Some of which were downright disgusting and entirely humourless. The scenes that had a chance at being funny went on too long, effectively ruining the scene. So many times I found myself so annoyed that I wanted to just stop watching the film altogether. If there was something more original about the film, maybe I wouldn’t be as bad, but there was nothing new this film brought to the table.

Don’t watch this film. Just don’t waste your time. I wish I didn’t.

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

Hush (2016) Review

Hush (2016) Review

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Written by Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel

Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Siegel, Michael Trucco

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 21m

Genre: Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Available of Netflix

A deaf writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears in her window. (Netflix)

This film has been in my suggestions on Netflix pretty much since it became available on there, and for whatever reason I never got around to watching it. It follows a storyline quite common in thrillers and as a result my first impression of it wasn’t the best. It’s a storyline that I actually enjoy, but as of late have been enjoying less because these films tend to be predictable. The characters aren’t always the smartest and the villain is sometimes so smart they barely come off as actual humans. 

To first address the predictability of this film, I must say that while it was at times quite predictable it was predictable in a good way. Now how can a film be predictable in a good way? For me it has to heavily to with the fact that, in the case of this film, the fact that I was able to predict the next moves of the characters didn’t detract from the event actually happening. Rather it added to the suspense of when will it happen. 

A surprising positive for the film was the production. I found that the film was shot well, and very easy to understand visually. The use of sound added to the general ambience of the story, making it more immersive and, for lack of a better word, stressful. 

The acting was better than I expected, especially from the antagonist played by John Gallagher Jr.. The few scenes in the beginning in which he is wearing a mask are a particularly good example of his acting ability, considering that even though most of his face was obscured by the mask it was still evident to the audience what was going on inside his head. They say true acting is having the ability to not only act the story out on the grand scale, but to be able to act with one’s eyes. This film is a good example of this. 
Ultimately I enjoyed the film. It actually had me at the edge of my seat, cursing under my breath in shock and practically bouncing in my seat in anticipation. Nowadays it’s hard to find a thriller that can evoke such a response.

Subjective Review

Objective Review

Final Rating

Edge of Seventeen (2016) Review

Edge of Seventeen (2016) Review
via Movieclip Trailer (YouTube)

Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig

Written by Kelly Fremon Craig

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 44m

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Available at: Netflix

When Nadine’s best (and only) friend starts dating her detested older brother, the teenage cynic’s life becomes even more unbearable. (Netflix)

I try my best to be as objective as possible when reviewing books and films, but sometimes my subjective opinions make it hard for me to do so. This is one of those time where I found myself struggling. Technically this is a very good film, and I definitely see why it has performed so well, but personally, I’m not the biggest fan.

My grievances come from the fact that I can’t relate to the main character, Nadine (Steinfeld). I find her to be an annoying and self-centred teen with often times toxic behaviour. For most of the movie, she was her own worst enemy— which I realize is an aspect of the plot but still. Her mother definitely doesn’t help, and honestly, I think she’s just the worst. When it comes to the supporting characters, I don’t have much to complain about though. The highlight characters of the film (for me) being Mr. Burner (Harrelson) and Erwin Kim (Hayden Szeto).

When it comes to plot this is your classic coming of age story and shows not only the main character but those closest to her, growing in some way. This was definitely a good part of the film. I admit, in the end, I found Nadine had really learned a lesson and therefore liked her much more. The only shortcoming would be the way the mother changes, which seems more abrupt than anything.

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating