Tag Archives: Anya Taylor-Joy

Cinema Dispatch: Glass

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Glass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by M Night Shyamalan

Isn’t it nice that every time an M Night movie comes out we don’t automatically know that it’s terrible?  I mean sure, there are PLENTY of critics of his more recent films, but unlike the bad old days of the mid to late 2000s, it’s not something that’s an unfailing certainty.  I actually like this phase of his career quite a bit with Split being a rather intense and enjoyable thriller, so seeing him make a full on sequel to one of his great works is at the very least something that will grab people’s attention.  It’s been almost twenty years since Unbreakable which came out before the super hero boom in film, so perhaps this is a good time to take a look back and see what’s changed since then from one of the first big attempts at dissecting the genre.  Is this film a continuation of Shyamalan’s rise to prominence and acclaim after such a dismal spate of films, or was the greatest twist of all the one where he convinced us that maybe he was going to make better movies again?  Let’s find out!!

After serial killer Kevin Wendell (James McAvoy) managed to escape custody at the end of the last film, he has been linked to a series of similar murders throughout Philadelphia and has cemented himself as THE HORDE in the minds of the general public.  In doing so however, he has painted quite a large target on his back for David Dunn (Bruce Willis) who has a security shop that he runs with his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) while also moonlighting as a vigilante that the media has dubbed THE OVERSEER.  Eventually the two cross paths as David finds his latest victims before they get eaten by Kevin but the super hero battle is cut short when the police show up and throw them into a mental institution under the care of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who specializes in treating those who believe themselves to have super powers.  Along with these two, she’s also working with Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson) who has been at this mental institution since the end of Unbreakable, though he seems to be more of a side project since he spends most of his time in a catatonic state due to the amount of sedatives he’s provided on a daily basis.  Now that she’s got these three stooges under one roof, can she solve their mistaken beliefs that they are actually super powered beings?  Alternatively, will they finally show not just her but the world at large that people like them exist?  Will I sound TOO insufferable if I declare this movie to be better than Avengers: Infinity War?

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“I can’t say that I’m too impressed with The Philadelphia Avengers.”     “Look, we’re trying, alright?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Thoroughbreds

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Thoroughbreds and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Cory Finley

Well they haven’t announced a sequel to Ingrid Goes West yet which is PROBABLY a good thing all things considered, but it also means that I’ll have to start looking to the imitators if I want to re-experience that magic that made that film so special.  Not EXACTLY the case with this film as it was actually made BEFORE Ingrid Goes west (back in 2016), but considering both films are about emotionally unstable young women (this time there’s TWO of them!) and the ways that society can exacerbate their worst tendencies, it seems like a good place to start if I want to find another great movie that’s right up my alley.  Does this manage to succeed not just in terms of being LIKE a movie I really loved but as its own unique story?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Amanda (Olivia Cooke) who feels nothing being tutored by Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) who feels everything, and the two of them are sort of rekindling their friendship after certain life events (the death of Lily’s father as well as some really disturbing activities Amanda got up to) had driven them apart.  Now normally this would be a cause for celebration as two friends getting back together is usually a recipe for good times and wholesome nostalgia, but when it becomes clear that Lily REALLY hates her new step-father (Paul Sparks), Amanda floats the idea of just murdering the dude… because that’s what people who don’t feel anything naturally jump to… I guess?  Lily is skeptical at first, but it doesn’t take long for her to warm up to the idea which they start hastily putting together in between watching old movies on TV and sitting around in Lily’s fancy house.  Clearly they aren’t criminal masterminds, but it does seem that they know enough to try and get someone who’s ACTUALLY a criminal (not necessarily a mastermind) to try and help them with this plan, so the duo enlists Tim (Anton Yelchin) who Lily saw selling drugs at a party once, and things start to spiral out of control from there.  Will Lily and Amanda come up with the PERFECT plan to kill the douchebag step dad without getting caught themselves?  What can Tim really bring to the table now that he’s sucked into these girls’ outlandish scheme, and how far will he go to find a way out of it?  Is it just me, or do these girls watch just as much TV as I do?

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“So you want to start picking locations to dump the body?”     “Shh.  After this episode.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Split

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Split and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by M Night Shyamalan

We all want Shyamalan to have a comeback and to find a way to make up for the last fifteen years of his career; especially when it includes such unmitigated disasters like After Earth, The Last Airbender, or even The Happening which is fun to watch but for none of the reasons he intended it to be.  Now he did manage to knock out at least one decent film recently which was The Visit, but it was also a clear sign of how far his status has fallen that he was picking up Blumhouse scraps on a dopey premise with a found footage gimmick.  Now it WAS probably the best thing he made since Signs, but even with that it still wasn’t all that great and wasn’t something that I could imagine a dozen other much less accomplished directors directing along with three other direct to video horror films that year.  With this movie though, it seems he’s making a much more earnest effort; not just a paycheck to keep his name relevant, but an honest attempt to make the next great M Night movie that we’ve been waiting for since Bush won reelection.  Does the latest M Night thriller finally bring him back into the spotlight, or is this the final curtain call for the much maligned filmmaker?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the teenagers, Claire, Marcia, and Casey (Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, and Anya Taylor-Joy), being kidnapped by a mysterious dude for clearly nefarious purposes.  Once they wake up from this… spray the guy uses (do they actually make Knock Out spray?), they find themselves in some sort of basement with two beds, a small bathroom, and a locked door.  Not long after they wake up, they are confronted by their captor Dennis (James McAvoy) who doesn’t give much details but makes it clear that he isn’t about to let them go.  Sometime later, they meet Patricia (James McAvoy) who apologizes for Dennis’s rude behavior, and eventually they meet young Hedwig (James McAvoy) who tells them they’re all screwed.  Now if you couldn’t pick up on it yet, or you haven’t seen the trailers, these are all the same person as their captor, given name Kevin, has Dissociative Identity Disorder and is said to have 23 distinct personalities, though maybe five or six are relevant to the movie.  From there, the movie just builds the tension as more time passes and the women are dreading what their captor has planned for them which, according to Hedwig, are PROBABLY not good things.  While that’s going on, Kevin’s therapist Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley) is getting messages from one of his identities, Barry, claiming that they DESPERATLEY need to see her, but whenever he comes in, he seems perfectly fine and is sorry to be wasting her time.  Hm…  So just what does Dennis, Patricia, and Hedwig have planned for the women in his basement?  Will the good doctor find out that everything is certainly NOT fine before it’s too late?  What exactly are those other identities we don’t to see really like?

 

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“Did Igor bring you here so we can work on our experiments?  I mean, I prefer the bodies to be cold BEFORE I bring them back to life, but I can work with this.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Morgan

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Morgan and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Luke Scott

I think I actually managed to avoid every trailer for this movie (if I did catch one, then I quickly forgot it) because I know next to nothing about this movie other than there’s some woman who’s got powers or something.  Frankly, it looks like something right up Fox’s alley to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if the big twist at the end is that Morgan gets enrolled in the Xavier School for Gifted Children, though there might be a bit of awkwardness considering where this movie looks like it’s gonna go.  Then again, they gave Wolverine a pass and that dude’s only power is to kill people and not get hurt doing so.  Anyway, will the latest Fox sci-fi thriller be something to keep the company relevant and afloat until they can rush out the Deadpool sequel, or does this science gone wrong escapade turn out to be just as bad as Fantastic Four?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about some sort of science project by THE CORPORATION (*COUGH* Tyrell Corp *COUGH*), that seems to have gone off the rails when one of the scientist (Jennifer Jason Leigh) was stabbed in the face by their test subject known as Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who is a… synthetic human I guess?  After the incident, a Risk Assessment officer (Kate Mara) is sent by THE CORPORATION to find out what the hell happened and if the project should be terminated.  I would have terminated the project when it turned out they were KEEPING HER IN A LOCKED CELL UNDERGROUND, but what the fuck do I know?  Things seem to be going okay for the most part as the scientists are still very enthusiastic about keeping the project going (including Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Morgan seems to be no more harmful than anyone else who you’d keep under a microscope twenty four hours a day.  Still, this wouldn’t be a movie if things didn’t go horribly wrong and needless to say that bringing Paul Giamatti into a situation never ends very well; especially when you get a guy that hammy to assess someone else’s current mental state.  Will Morgan turn out to be the monster that Kate Mara thinks she is?  Was she actually sent there to see if the project is on track, or were the more nefarious motivations at play?  Most importantly, who the hell keeps dressing Morgan up in those awful hoodies!?

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“So do you like that color or do they just not give you anything else?  Don’t mind that they’re staring right at you by the way.  You can tell me.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Witch

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The Witch and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Robert Eggers

It’s probably too soon to say we’re out of the New Year Doldrums just because this movie came out, especially considering it played the festival circuit throughout most of 2015,  but whether or not this release can be used to determine a trend at the multiplexes, at least it’s something interesting to break up the mundanity and outright crappiness that we can usually expect for the first two or three months of the year.  Does this movie deserve all the praise it’s been getting, or is this another overhyped festival darling that’s being release now because it couldn’t hack it during a better time in the mainstream circuit?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows a family of ultra-religious pilgrims who have voluntarily left the settlement to live on their own and practice their own brand of conservative Christianity in peace.  Just to clear, these are the Puritans who thought the Puritans that left England to separate themselves from that sinful country were not pure enough for them.  Clearly leaving them to their own devices is going to end well for everyone.  Spoiler alert: It does not because not too long after William (the father played by Ralph Ineson) sets up their homestead just outside the woods, the baby son seems to have disappeared out of nowhere.  What happened to him?  Oh trust me.  You will find out very quickly what happened to him.  Needless to say that losing one of the kids does not sit well with either the parents (especially the mother played by Kate Dickle) or the baby’s siblings of which there are four (Thomasin played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Caleb played by Harvey Scrimshaw, and the twins Mercy and Jonas played by Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson).  Now it’s clear to us that somewhere deep inside the woods is a witch, but the family hasn’t come to that conclusion yet and as things get stranger and stranger, they begin to suspect one another which only escalates conflicts and weakens their sense of morality which is easily replaced by fervor.  Can this family get over the loss of their child and come together to hash out whatever differences they may have?  Will the witch’s devious motivations become clear as her corrupting influence permeates though the unwelcomed guests?  WHY IS THAT GOAT STARING AT ME!?

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“KING KONG AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME-E-E-E-E-E!!”

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