Movie Review: Prisoners (2013)

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Plot:When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?

Prisoners reminds me oftwo things: why I really don’t want a rating system on my blog anymore and how hard it is to write about movies sometimes. Rating this film is particularly pretty hard. It is certainly another excellent film by director Dennis Villeneuve. He is the master of suspense, and if serious is your thing, you are bound to love him. He has an ability to slowly build his characters and give you surprising insight to their true colors when you least expect it.

The acting is superb. It is particularly easy to associate Hugh Jackman with only Wolverine, but here he proves the layered actor he can be. Keller Dover is a survivalist and a manly man. It is clear he takes pride in the protection of his family, and when his little girl is abducted after a Christmas dinner, he goes to desperate lengths to find her.

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Jake Gyllenhaal keeps up his plight for me to like him. Detective Loki is assigned to work the case. He’s never lost a case and has sharp instincts, but even he is at wits end when all clues lead to dead ends. There is also something quite sinister or desperate to his character, which is hard to pin down. He’s quite clearly very dedicated to his job, but does it with an unhealthy mindless intensity that suggests that the only thing he does have is his job.

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Then there is Paul Dano and David Dastmalchian, who both give chilling performances. Dano’s Alex Jones is a man of limited mental intelligence with an IQ of 10, but he manages to be so damn creepy I couldn’t reconcile myself with his innocence. Same goes for Dastmalchian – Bob Taylor is of such character that you need to suspect him.

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Viola Davis as Nancy Birch does what only Viola Davis can do – tell you a story with her eyes. Her dialogue is always secondary to the convincing way she embodies her characters’ every mood. She’s incredible as a grief stricken mother of the other little girl who went missing, a stark contrast to the total collapse Grace Dover (Maria Bellow) suffers.

Another opposite is that of how Franklin Birch (Terrance Howard) deals with the disappearance of his child, compared to manic rage that overpowers Keller. Terrance Howard has tangible grief on screen, and seeing his close friend unravel seems to unnerve him. He’s put in a terrible place – to either join in or condone Keller’s actions. It is a grey are that no person alive can answer correctly.

The plot is complex and winding and you likely need to watch this more than once to fully understand the story. The plot is every parents’ worst nightmare – a child that just disappeared with known sex offenders in the town. The dreary images of a town almost surviving in poverty but not yet there is bleak to behold. The violence is gritty and the atmosphere is tense. The cinematography is phenomenal.

My only complaint is this: it feels like it is 400 hours long (Zoë denies this, naturally). The end was just a bit too drawn out, and while I enjoyed the slow pace throughout the film, the slow pace of the last section annoyed me. There was also just a bit of an open ending, which frustrates me endlessly.

I will give this film a solid and respected nod with 8/10. It took me ages to watch, and I’m glad when I got to it I watched it with Zoë, because I would never have finished it on my own. It is really drawn out in the end and that is the only reason I haven’t rated it higher.

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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.

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Movies:

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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.

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One Day (2011): HATED IT.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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*

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

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

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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?