Hardcore Henry is in your face. Literally. If any movie was ever appropriate to use the cliched phrases such as “action packed” and “a pure adrenaline rush”, this is the movie to use them, because it is all of those things and more. Director Ilya Naishuller has brought his passion project to life on the big screen, using GoPro cameras and a film shot entirely from a first person point of view. What may sound like an invitation to motion sickness or an experience that feels like watching a video game, is surprisingly a brisk, entertaining adventure, and well crafted within it’s visual style.
Remember, the recent film from director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter), has a performance from Christopher Plummer that keeps the film from being a complete disaster. A man with Alzheimer travels across the country to find the general who tortured him and killed his family in Auschwitz, in what wants to be a slow burning revenge film for survivors, but instead has too many illogical scenarios making for an uncomfortable movie experience. Remember may allow audiences to recall the great actor that Plummer is, but it makes a movie they will want to quickly forget.
A letter to the agents of Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, and Tim Roth…
Born to Be Blue is as cool as the icy color in it’s title. It is a thick wisp of smoke in the air, a gentle tap on the bass strings, full of an energy from the inside out, as it veers away from the typical musical bio-pic. It is spear headed by a performance from Ethan Hawke that could be one of his best of all time, as legendary west coast jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Director/Writer Robert Boudreau (That Beautiful Somewhere) balances focus on Baker the man, rather than the typical rise-and-fall tale. It successfully highlights the musicians struggle with heroin addiction and his relationship with his second wife Jane (Carmen Ejogo), while also allowing our ears to hear the crisp, smooth music that Baker elegantly played, hitting the right notes, in a study of art vs. inspiration. Jazz enthusiasts will be pleased to get a glimpse at this portrayal, while new audiences will be intrigued to search for Baker’s tunes on Spotify.
I was frightened by the opening shot of Krisa. The camera holds on the tense, tightly clenched face of our main character, played by Krisha Fairchild, as tears peak out from the corners of her eyes. Except this is not a horror film by any means, but it will shake you. This is a movie that pokes a nerve in my life personally, as it focuses on a woman returning to a family thanksgiving after a stint in rehab to recover from her addiction to alcohol. In his first feature film, director Trey Edward Shults displays the confidence of a seasoned veteran. He portrays Krisha’s madness to near perfection, using the camera to circle the rooms, and make everyone uncomfortable. Krisha is such an honest film, it feels like a documentary.
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