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Mom and Dad (2018)

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Genre : Horror-Comedy
Country : USA
Director: Brian Taylor

Cast:
Nicolas Cage
Selma Blair
Anne Winters
Zackary Arthur

Summary

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star in this pitch-black horror-comedy about a worldwide mass hysteria where, for 24 brutal hours, parents turn violently against their own children.

 

Nicolas Cage Hits Peak Nic Cage

 

 

When it comes to acting Nicolas Cage is an interesting case. Winning an Academy Award for his work in Leaving Las Vegas he has since gone on to develop an acting style unlike any other. Dubbed “Nouveau Shamanic” by Cage himself, it is a unique form of overacting that can make or break a film. It can either result in an unforgettable movie such as Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans or feel more like a parody of itself as seen in a number of direct-to-video fare. It takes a certain kind of director to harness Cage’s particular brand of acting. Thankfully for Mom and Dad, director Brian Taylor is more than up to the task.

One of the directors behind the Crank series and the Syfy show Happy! Taylor’s filmography has always had a distinct feel to it. More specifically he tends to push the boundaries and be as gratuitous as possible while still maintaining a fun, engaging story. His latest is no different and it makes for an enjoyable, if jarring, experience. On the one hand it gives audiences something new. Not only does Mom and Dad have children in peril but their safety isn’t guaranteed. It makes for a shocking, and enthralling movie to watch. That said this kind of carefree storytelling also effects the movie’s pacing. Exposition and flashbacks pop in abruptly effecting the flow of the movie. Despite these flaws it all makes for a frenetic, captivating movie. In other words, the perfect showcase for Nicolas Cage.

The big buzz around the trailer was the sheer amount of Crazy Cage and it doesn’t let audiences down. For most of the film audiences are treated to a wide-eyed Cage overacting as if his life depended on it. It’s the kind of exaggerated performance Nicolas Cage devotees eat up. That isn’t to say that’s all he does in Mom and Dad. Throughout the film we get flashbacks where Cage gets a chance to show off his acting chops. He does stellar work in these calmer dramatic moments without losing an undercurrent of rage. It’s a great performance from top to bottom and the ideal movie for Nic Cage to be his Nic Cagiest.

 

That isn’t to say he is the only good performance. As a whole the cast is great throughout. Selma Blair as the more levelheaded, put-upon wife Kendall and child star Zackary Arthur as their son Josh are excellent in their roles. Blair is particularly good before she gets infected, trying to figure out what is going on. But perhaps the best performance comes from Anne Winters. Best known for tween fair like Liz and Maddie, Winters puts in a heck of a performance as Carly Ryan. Starting as a typical rebellious teen she exudes a certain innocence that you want in your movie’s final girl. More importantly once things do start to go down her progression to the movie’s heroine feels natural. She always feels like a teen as opposed to becoming a full blown badass which is refreshing for a horror movie.

As mentioned before when it comes to his projects director Brian Taylor tends to take things to the extreme. Thankfully he brings this same sensibility to his first horror feature. While the idea of parents killing their kids in movies is still considered taboo Taylor dives headfirst into the concept. The parents shown in Mom and Dad are absolutely ruthless and will have you squirming throughout the movie. At the same time it never feels gratuitous either. Despite feeling like an older exploitation movie, it never goes all in with the gore. Instead it relies more on reactions and tension building which Taylor is surprisingly good at. Some scenes are downright chilling thanks to something as simple as a look. It’s a welcome change from the typically bombastic director.

If there is something the movie doesn’t do well it would be the comedy in the movie. For the most part the jokes about suburbia feel pretty standard. Things like the pervy yoga instructor or the housewife more concerned with being the “cool mom” are well worn territory. The delivery is fine it just isn’t particularly original though. Thankfully things do pick up when we focus more on the Ryan family. Mixing physical comedy with a more deadpan style it makes for a fun watch, particularly when Cage lets loose. Still the first 15 or so minutes can feel like Mean Girls leftovers. I can also see the way Taylor directs not being for everyone. The film’s style can be very frenetic and the way the flashbacks pop in and out of the story can be jarring for those that aren’t used to Taylor’s particular brand of film making.

 

Since the trailer dropped in late December, Mom and Dad has been touted as the pinnacle of crazy Nic Cage. And in all honesty, it probably is. The Academy Award-winning actor brings the same wild-eyed intensity he has become known for. But underneath that layer of Cage craziness is a pretty good cult movie. Even though the plot goes where you expect it to go and the humor can be hit-and-miss a stellar cast and a unique blend of tension building and gore make Mom and Dad the first great horror release of the year.

 

Rating 8/10
Links : IMDB

MOM AND DAD IS IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD January 19, 2018

 

Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Featured

Brightburn – This Superhero Parody Peppered With SF And Horror Elements Is Simply Sublime

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Take.. The.. World.
Take the world.

Superhero-movie-haters unite. Run to a nearby movie theater to see this movie. Because “Brightburn” is the ultimate anti-superhero-film of all time. The moment I realized which direction it was going, I cursed myself because after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” I’d decided to have a little sabbatical. I was going to avoid movies with characters in tightly fitting latex suits and superhuman powers. But as it became clear that it wasn’t what I expected, my enthusiasm grew all the more. My enthusiasm for films such as “Deadpool” and “Ant-Man” (because of a touch of whimsy and the originality) was effortlessly overtaken by this highly original anti-superhero film. And if one also mixes the superhero genre (of which they are continuously producing sequels and prequels) with my all-time favorite genre horror, it simply can’t go wrong. I am indeed enthusiastic, yes. Extremely enthusiastic!

 

Brightburn

 

Is it a plane? A bird? Is it Superman? Uh, nope.

It all starts as a sort of Superman parody or reboot (another favorite Hollywood term these days). Here too, we meet a young couple who have been trying to have a child for years. Even spicy lingerie doesn’t do wonders because farmer Kyle Bryer (David Denman) (and yes, the location is again a big farm) is rather clumsy, which means that his watch always gets stuck in his wife’s hair. BANG! Before they realize it, some object out of space crashes nearby. Right in their back yard. And as if it’s the most normal thing, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) finds an innocent, sweet little guy in this comet or spacecraft. They adopt him instantly and call him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). All peace and light, you think. Until the boy realizes that something is wrong. Especially when he tries to start the lawnmower and suddenly the thing ends up at the neighbors. A few meadows further.

 

Brightburn

 

An evil superhero with an attitude.

With the well-known figure Superman, the parents didn’t waste any time and told young Superman to keep his growing powers under control and only use it to help humans. In the 70s this fact was acceptable. But after the trillionth superhero movie, that concept really starts to sound boring. And that’s where “Brightburn” starts to deviate substantially. As soon as it seems as if puberty hits Brandon, and no it’s not about hair growth and other side-effects, and he wanders around the farm at night looking for something that seems to call him, it becomes clear that a constructive parent-child conversation is not really useful. When Brandon feels disadvantaged, it’s best to stay away from him. The consequences of a tantrum can be disastrous. You could end up flying into a closet or have a crushed hand as a result. So they are stuck with a teenage son with issues who has superpowers. A “Dennis the Menace” with an attitude. You don’t have to be smart to know what’s going to happen next.

 

Brightburn

 

Not really horror.

Let’s talk about the horror part. For those who are only used to super-hero films, it will be a shock. For a seasoned horror fanatic, it’s all just ordinary. It’s not terrifying or too bloody. There are some excellent gore effects in it, though. I personally found it simply exciting at certain moments. Exciting as in how the story will continue and end. And they even tried to tackle that part in an original and quirky way. The majority of blockbusters always have such a predictable outcome. In a western, the bad guys always eat dust in the end. A romcom has a happy ending in most cases. And even superheroes on the verge of despair will eventually prevail (such as The Avengers, for example). If you expect this to happen here as well, you’re absolutely wrong. But there’s one thing I’m sure of. The marketing department of Marvel already smells money. I bet they are planning a sequel already with The Avengers trying to beat the unstoppable Brandon.

 

Brightburn

 

Excellent acting.

About the acting, I can be brief and concise. Simply excellent. Especially the mother and son bonding was worked out and portrayed in a proper way. The desperation and motherly love that Elizabeth Banks radiates is simply wonderful to see. And even though Brandon seems incomparably innocent at times, the moment his evil ego pops up, he can conjure up a frightening and impressive facial expression. It’s just a shame he didn’t focus his anger on the annoying class bully as well.

 

Brightburn

 

I repeat it once more: a brilliant film.

Brightburn” definitely will end up in my top list this year. The only downside was the duration. Far too short of course. But otherwise, this superhero parody, peppered with SF and horror elements, is simply sublime. The fact this film has a go-against-the-rules attitude and the idea of a superhero who doesn’t care about humanity is a pleasant and refreshing change compared to the commercial one-size-fits-all releases nowadays. Just something as simple as Brandon’s costume. Has anyone ever wondered who actually made the Spiderman suit? Or did Peter Park have a Sewing and knitting diploma? Brandon uses a piece of woolen textile and a bedspread as equipment. Ingenious anyway. As brilliant as the film itself. I keep repeating it. It is hoped that it will stay with this unique film and that they won’t come up with a miserable number of sequels.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Action

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Gets First Motion Poster

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“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Christopher Nolan’s 2020  film, ‘Tenet,’ has been shrouded in secrecy for quite some time. Recently a teaser trailer was dropped, slightly lifting the veil as to what we can expect from the highly anticipated thriller. The star studded cast includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clemence Poesy and Kenneth Branagh amongst others. The recent teaser trailer only gives a small tidbit for fans to grasp onto, showing the lines: “Time has come for a new protagonist” and “Time has come for a new kind of mission.” The trailer is said to depict Washington’s character seemingly moving in a time loop of some sort.

Many fans are going with the idea that ‘Tenet’ is some sort of ‘Inception’ sequel, which is highly unlikely. But based on the plot description, it sounds as though it could be loosely connected:

“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Some have pointed out that Michael Caine is listed amongst the cast but is the only character returning from the original film [Inception], which went on to gross $828.3mill worldwide while being nominated for eight Oscars and bringing home four. ‘Tenet’ is set to arrive in theaters July 17, 2020

 

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