Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal animals

Plot: A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.

Nocturnal Animals is self-indulgent, narcissistic bullshit. It is also incredibly dull. I’m surprised it got such a good feedback – I watched it specifically because of said good feedback. Instead I watched some weird shit for two hours without a proper ending. For a film written and directed by a fashion designer the main character spent the majority of the film with lipstick that didn’t suit her features. It is a small thing, but it made me hate this film even more.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

The acting is the best part of Nocturnal Animals but it isn’t enough to save the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is persistent in his mission for me to like him, and so far he is winning. I’ve inexplicably never liked him much. Maybe because until recently I only saw him in Donny Darko, which is the strangest film I’ve ever watched and that is saying something. Southpaw impressed me despite such deliberate emotional punches, and I’ve since been getting more exposure to this man. I liked him here too – he had a character that underwent great development and he handled the phasing well.

The story makes a valiant attempt at being mysterious and fails admirably. It tries to be artistic and visually stimulating. Its opening sequence is a desperate visualization of the attempts to make this film more than it is – a self-indulgent expedition of Tom Ford. Ford can be glad his fashion designs aren’t this desperate to be liked or he’d have failed as a designer a long time ago.

NA1

Nocturnal Animals has a litany of celebrities taking part and they have no idea what to do about it. Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson have the most screen time, and they do their best to make their characters work. Taylor-Johnson proves that he is more than just a pretty face. He’s a creepy mcCreeps in here, and I was so freaked out by his strange and awful character and felt dirty every time he was on screen. Amy Adams had the hardest work set out for her – to make the selfish Susan worthy of our empathy. It is hard to sympathize with a woman whose unhappiness stems from every decision she ever made. She had a good, kind man who she left because he wasn’t successful. She’s led a life she swore she wouldn’t, choosing a rich man who sleeps around over a poor man who loved her. Her treasonous acts reach unparalleled heights for which we judge her harshly (well, I did anyway), so sympathizing with her was really hard.

Michael Shannon is such a serious looking bloke, and thus all these serious bloke roles suit him well. He’s this strange cop in the story, with his own little built in mission, and I enjoyed him immensely.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I marginally liked the story more when I realized what was going on. I’ll say this – it is stories within a story. The within story was better than the actual story. It was a meaty revenge piece. It disappointed, but it remained better than the obvious story. I’ll stop using the word “story” now, because it is starting to irritate me.

The cast that gets a few seconds on screen – Isla Fisher, Michael Sheen, Pam from True Blood, Jenna Malone – so much to work with and yet so little attention paid to them. I love Michael Sheen now, my Underworld exposure made me team-Sheen, and I was happy to see him only to be disappointed a few scenes later.

Nocturnal Animals is way too long. I just wanted to get to the end, and then the end sucked so much I felt even more aggressive. It’s an open ending, and we all know how I much love that. Sure, I’ll think a bit about what I watched but dammit, give me a proper ending or watch me rage.

I consider this movie a terrible waste of time and am still upset that I will never get these hours back. The only good thing I got from this was writing this review, it was my catharsis to this terrible piece of shit.

Rating: 4.5/10

Advertisements

Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

movies-logo

Movies:

BEauty poster

Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

One day

One Day (2011): HATED IT.

basic instinct

Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

twilight-graphics-twilight-new-moon-840934

Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

Eclipse

Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

Hes-Just-Not-That-Into-You-2009

He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

warm-bodies-10

Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

DUFF4

The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

Blood wars

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

chef

Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

arrival-banner

Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

Drive

Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

The guest

The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

Prisoners-E invite R2

Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

PPZ

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

CSL

Crazy Stupid Love (2011): I definitely need to review this film again – It has been ages since I’ve posted it on my blog. One of the most inoffensive romantic comedies produced in later years, this movie will make you laugh and relate with some character in here.

Nocturnal animals

Nocturnal Animals (2016): This is my new hated film. Gosh, what a spectacular waste of my life. Pretentious bullshit.

 

books

Black-Hills

Black Hills – Nora Roberts

This is a particular favorite book of mine. I enjoy Dr. Lillian Chance – she is passionate about her work in the refuge she built and is smart and cool.

born-in-shame

The Concannon Sisters trilogy – Nora Roberts

While I do enjoy this series of books – Born in Shame, Born in Ice and Born in Fire, they certainly aren’t my favorite of the author. However, her love for Ireland does show when reading this, and I particularly enjoy the description of the scenery.

series

2bg

Two Broke Girls Season 4 and 5

I’m enjoying myself way too much with this comedy. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I end up really laughing at it.

What did you do in April?

Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)

man_of_steel___wallpaper_4__blue__by_visuasys-d65dwim

The planet Kryton faces extinction when its core becomes unstable, after years of abuse of natural sources. General Zod (Michael Shannon) disposes of its council, and scientist Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife Lara send their son, Kal-El, the only natural born in centuries, to earth, infusing his cells with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race, making him their hope for future generations. Zod and his followers are sent to the Phantom Zone after he murders Jor-El, but after Krypton explodes, they are freed and can start hunting for Kal-El.

Meanwhile, Kal-El has been raised in Kansas as Clark Kent, by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Clark has developed superhuman abilities, because of his Kryptonian physiology compared to Earth’s. He gradually learns to harness his abilities, but never fully reveals himself as his father taught him the danger of exposure.

Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane systematically searches for Clark after he saves her life. She goes on the distinctive trail he has left during his lifetime, and eventually finds him even though he went through a lot of trouble to protect his identity. When she demands the truth, he shares it with her, eventually making her see the truth in his father’s plea for secrecy.

When Zod finds that Kal-El is on Earth, he demands that Clark is handed over to him, or he will attack Earth. The FBI arrests Lois when they learn that she knows exactly who Clark is and where he hides, but Clark hands himself over to them to ensure her safety. Now the questions are: Is Zod as evil as we think he is, and will Clark manage to save planet Earth?

Cast members:

Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/ Kal-El

man-of-steel-trailer

I cannot describe how well this man fits into his role. It was simply outstanding. He portrays Clark Kent, from his Kansas roots to his alien parentage to perfection. He is such a sad, sad character. He manages to show how alone Superman really is, even though his earthly parents always loved him. Not only is he ridiculously good looking (it had to be mentioned and appreciated); his looks are so typically Superman that during a few scenes I thought he looked quite like Tom Welling. It is a rare occurrence that a character can be this well cast.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane

To me, Lois had always embodied a feministic, outgoing and slightly aggressive spirit. In Man of Steel, Amy Adams portrayed a more vulnerable persona. For Ms. Adams it was quite a good acting stint, as she usually is rather good in every role she does, but to me she wasn’t what I thought Lois should be. Any opinions on her portrayal? Please share in the comment section!

Michael Shannon as General Zod

Fantastic portrayal! He is such a formidable enemy. I was incredibly impressed by him. He really became a pain in Superman’s ass, as a good villain should. I felt sorry for him at the end, since his genetic programming limited him to think of the human race’s survival.

Man-of-Steel-EW-2-Zod

Russel Crowe as Jor-El

Russel Crowe is always awesome, and his portrayal as Jor-El was no exception. His love for his son is so obvious, yet he offers up Cal-El to save their race. He managed to be both father and warrior and scientist, and really impressed me (again).

Rating: 8/10

I really enjoyed this movie, and found it one of the best cinematic experiences for the year. I have previously expressed how much I enjoy Superhero movies, but let’s face it: not all Superheroes were created equal. I expected Man of Steel to be as funny as Avengers, but it was not. That is not a bad thing – in the end I enjoyed it because it was slightly more depressing. It steers more to the Dark Knight oeuvre, which makes logical sense (DC-sense that is) and also, it would be completely unrealistic for a man to be incredibly happy if he was the last of his race to survive. I would really recommend this movie to everyone. It is worth every penny spent.