Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures
Directed by Angela Robinson
You know, if we’re gonna get biopics like that upcoming one about Charles Dickens that looks like a Monty Python sketch, we might as well start doing them about comic book creators too! The early years of Marvel with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, watching Batman evolve from comic book hero to Hollywood star through the eyes of Bob Kane, heck The Alan Moore story could be a freaking twelve hour Netflix series considering how much comic book controversy he’s managed to find himself in over his career! What we’ve got NOW though is probably the most interesting story of them all which is about Wonder Woman creator Professor William Marston and his unorthodox relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway and a former student of his Olive Byrne. Heck, it’s not only a great story to tell about queer women (though there is some contention of that) in a time where that wasn’t even legal, it also has incorporates radical feminism, BDSM, and comic book scare mongering that eventually led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s. With such fascinating material to work with, can it be turned into an engaging and interesting biopic, or is this a whole lot of scintillating window dressing for yet another rote history lesson? Let’s find out!!
Our story begins in Radcliffe University (a women’s only branch of Harvard) where the brilliant psychology professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and his much more brilliant wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are teaching psychology while working together on some other projects such as a lie detecting machine which is actually true. They did invent the polygraph which is a significant event in this film. Anyway, William is teaching a course on DISC theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) when one of the students catches his eye. Her name is Olive Byrne and soon becomes a TA for the Marstons; helping them with their legitimate experiments and some that may just be for fun. Eventually, this precarious situation between the three of them has to come to a head at some point and… well that’s where things get kind of awesome but also REALLY stressful. Oh, and at some point the dude creates Wonder Woman off based on the experiences and he has with the two women in his life as well as his own theories on feminism and even some of his sexual hang-ups which are REALLY noticeable if you read the earliest issues of the book. Will this trio of likeminded misfits find a place in the world that is openly hostile to them and their way of life? What will happen when puritanical busy bodies get start to understand the radical subtext within the pages of the comic book that are becoming more and more popular with children across the country? Wait, is THAT why Wonder Woman has a lasso!?
Flatliners and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
There are several movies a year that for whatever reason has trailers that will not stop playing in front of EVERYTHING I go to see. I remember Our Brand is Crisis being one of them, The Fate of the Furious played pretty constantly, even Snatched was one that was hard to avoid! This movie is certainly the latest to have that problem as I swear it was in front of every movie I’ve seen for the past three months and I’m finally happy for it to be released for no other reason than to stop seeing that trailer. I’d never seen the original film until very recently, and while the premise itself seems strong enough to support at least too movies, the trailers didn’t fill me with much hope; not just because they played them ALL THE TIME, but because I couldn’t really wrap my head around what exactly it was that they were being haunted by. I mean… I get it NOW since I watched the original, but with lines like “I did not know that the side effects would show up and start hunting us down”… yeah, it just felt like I was in for an uphill battle. Still, remakes are a great opportunity to try something new (*cough* IT *cough*), so maybe there’s a chance that this will turn out just fine! Will this manage to be just as good if not better than the original, or was this film… dead on arrival!?
Sorry. Let’s uh… let’s find out.
The titular Flatliners of the film are a group of medical students who doing some messed up experiments in the basement in the hope of finding out the secrets of the afterlife. The procedure which was concocted by Dr Courtney Holmes (Ellen Page) involves stopping someone’s heart (i.e. a flatline on an EKG machine) and letting them stay dead for a few minutes before reviving them. Initially with the uncertain help of Sophia and Jamie (Kiersey Clemons and James Norton) the group eventually grows to include Marlo and Ray (Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna) and most of them end up doing it themselves as well. At first it seems awesome as coming back from the dead apparently makes your brain SUPER strong, but eventually the SIDE EFFECTS start to kick in which complicates things for them. They start to see things that aren’t really there (OR ARE THEY!?) and it eventually becomes nearly impossible to separate fantasy from reality. Will the Flatliners find a way to stop whatever it is that’s haunting them? Is there something in their past that is the key to doing so? Seriously, why are they making it THIS easy for everyone to do the “dead on arrival” joke!?
Rules Don’t Apply and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Warren Beatty
Oh wow! THAT’S a guy we haven’t heard from in a while! I certainly have no idea what the hell he’s been up to for the last two decades, but the guy is finally back from what looked to be retirement to make this film about one of Hollywood’s most iconic names, though in fairness I really don’t know about Howard Hughes besides the name. Does the triumphant return of Warren Beatty prove to be one of the high points of the year, or is his latest film evidence that he’s gonna need a bit more time before he can truly get back into the film making game? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) who’s working as a driver for the one and only Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) in order to possibly get him to invest in some housing project that Frank is trying to get off the ground. The problem is that he’s not driving Mr. Hughes himself; rather he’s assigned to drive around Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) who’s been brought to Hollywood in order to do a screen test for a movie that Hughes is producing. Marla along with at least twenty other women are all vying for the same part… as far as I could tell, and eventually she gets called in to meet Howard Hughes. At this point, things get a bit confusing as it’s not clear exactly if Marla ever gets the part (or any parts in any movies for that matter), but in the process Frank gets the attention of Howard who makes him one of his personal assistants as the movie is now about following the both of them along with another assistant Levar Mathis (Matthew Broderick) as they do whatever the hell Howard Hughes wants to do during the declining years of his life. In the background, there’s a romance brewing between Marla and Frank, though Howard forbids any “hanky-panky” between his employees, and things start to go further and further south as Howard’s mental state gets worse and worse. Will Frank ever get Howard’s attention long enough to bring his plans to life, or is Howard just stringing him along? Will Marla and Frank get together despite the rules that are keeping them apart? Just… what the hell was this movie about? Can someone explain that to me please?
Shut In and all the images you see in this review are owned by EuropaCorp
Directed by Farren Blackburn
So when did this movie get announced, because I didn’t know anything about it until I looked up the new releases for this week. It’s not like Naomi Watts is an unknown actor, and horror movies are big business right now, so the fact that I didn’t even see a trailer for this at any of the horror films I saw this year is not a great sign of what’s to come. Still, it’s not like movies that get a whole bunch of press are guaranteed to do any better, and a lot of great horror films don’t even get a theatrical release, so maybe they just didn’t know how to sell something like this. Does this film deliver yet another fantastic horror experience in a year that has already had so many, or will this just get lost in the shuffle? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the Portman Family who at one point consisted of three able bodied and happy members, but after a car accident has been reduced to the mother Mary (Naomi Watts) and her son Steven (Charlie Heaton), the latter of whom has suffered severe brain damage and is pretty much unable to move or communicate. After six months of this routine where she cares for her son and then goes to work as a childhood psychologist, things start to change when one of her patients Tom (Jacob Tremblay) is being moved to Boston so that he can get more specialized care. The night after Mary finds this out however, Tom shows up at her doorstep… well technical he smashes the window to her car and crawls inside, and while Mary is trying to figure out what to do next, the boy disappears into the night. So not only is she dealing with her son who is in need of constant care, she now has a possible dead boy on her conscious (they’re up in Maine so it’s snowing all the freaking time) and starts to hear things go bump in the night along with a series of night terrors that are making it hard for her to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Are the things that Mary is hearing at night real and a possible threat to her and Steven? Will Tom be found at some point, or is he really just a kid-cicle waiting to be uncovered once Spring rolls around? Wait, didn’t I see this movie like a year ago!?