Split: A Review

Just as a thing right now, I don’t personally like M. Night Shyamalan, or any of his movies, so this review may be a bit biased. I tried to be optimistic, but I would say he did what he always does.


Split is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. In case any of you don’t know who this is, he is most famous for The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Happening, and killing any chance of an Avatar: The Last Airbender movie to happen ever again. Sixth Sense was a good movie, but after that, the movies went a bit downhill. Shyamalan is well-known now for odd plot twists in the movies. Spoiler alert, I am going to ruin some in the following sentences. In Signs, the aliens dissolve in water. Something the audience finds out by complete accident by the way. In The Happening, the plants make people kill themselves. Don’t ask me how this makes any sense, or follows any logic at all. This is where Split comes in.

I don’t know if Split really has a Shyamalan twist. I half expected Kevin to actually turn into The Beast, not just another one of his personalities. Kevin, the main character I think, but technically there are several because he has multiple personalities, is actually a really interesting character. There are multiple sides to him, not just the fact that he has multiple personalities, and I think his character is interesting even if we only meet him for five minutes. The other personalities are in control of his body more.We meet Denis, Patricia, Hedwig, and kind of Barry, but it’s more like Denis trying to act like Barry, but Barry does come out randomly, it’s odd, but goes with the plot.

The plot isn’t horrible if you look at his past movies, but it also isn’t the most interesting. I’d say what is best in this movie is the acting from James McAvoy, who plays as Kevin/Denis/Patricia/Hedwig/whomever else, and the suspense. The plot however, kind of falls flat. The rising action is fine, Devin/Patricia/Kevin kidnapped the three girls, we get flashbacks from the main girl’s story, we find out some new things about Kevin and his past, but the rising action works so well, the climax kind of poofs and is gone, and then the falling action and ending are really fast and falls flat. I think that is where this movie goes wrong. The ending doesn’t really feel like an ending. She shoots him, he survives because he’s in the “Beast” personality somehow. Shyamalan I think brought in the idea that people with multiple personalities have special abilities, but Kevin should’ve bled out from two point-blank shots from a shotgun.

I really liked the acting. Each of the personalities felt different, even when Denis was pretending to be Barry, it felt like Denis was pretending. McAvoy is amazing. The girls are not terrible. Casey, the basically main girl character, was pretty good. Through the flashbacks, we learn she was sexually assaulted by her uncle. It adds to the plot, but only because it happened to Kevin, so he didn’t kill Casey at the end because she was like him. It felt, weird? I think that’s the right word. It just felt like, oh, these happened, so she’s safe now because they went through the same thing, except she has to go back to her uncle’s at the end. The ending just felt so, odd. Not bad, but not cathartic either. I left the theater thinking, that was the ending? Oh, there was also something at the very end that I think only people who know his movies would understand. I think it was a throwback to an old character in one of Shyamalan’s movies, but I don’t know.

If you like M. Night Shyamalan, you will probably like this. If you like psychological thrillers, you will want to see this, but it is not a horror movie. Keep that in mind, if you are looking for a scare, you won’t find one. I wouldn’t see this movie again, but it’s a typical Shyamalan movie. If you like what he does, you’ll like this one.

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La La Land: A Review

Warning: THIS POST WILL MOST LIKELY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE MUSICAL LA LA LAND. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly suggest you do.


La La Land is set in California with a budding actress Mia (Emma Stone) and a jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) figuring out just how exactly to make their dreams come true. The plot follows Mia a bit more than Sebastian, but it’s really cute how at the beginning they don’t really even like each other. She’s trying to rehearse for an audition while waiting in traffic, and he honks at her because she won’t move when the traffic finally does move forward. They split apart, but always seem to find each other in some way or another.

I also loved the beginning of the movie because we begin with the song “Another Day of Sun,” with a bunch of people stuck in traffic. None of the singers or dancers are a major character in the movie. I liked how they didn’t introduce Mia or Sebastian until she was rehearsing and flipping him off as he drove around her, honking the entire time. You begin to love both of them from the very beginning. You will want both of their dreams to come true. Mia obviously wants to become a full-fledged actress and Sebastian, even though he doesn’t mind touring, his real dream is to open his own club.

The movie is broken up by season, beginning with Winter. This is where we meet Mia and Sebastian and learn a little of their backgrounds. It really brings the audience into the character’s shoes. As they continue to meet from Winter into Spring, they fall for each other and Summer is full of love and messing around. Outside conflicts begin to take a toll on both as he goes on tour and she writes a one-woman show.Mia pulls off her one-woman show, and Sebastian continues with the tour. And true to the name, Fall is where they split again. They realize that following their dreams might mean losing each other.

You feel for these characters. You yearn for their success, and cry with them when they hit a low cord. The musical I believe is all jazz, which I’m not familiar with at all, but fits this musical to a T. The love story of Mia and Sebastian isn’t very long, but it is strong and beautiful. Also, for those of us creators, the dreamers, the song “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” is amazing. I really enjoyed this musical and the fact it’s original and swept the board at the Golden Globes excites me. La La Land is for us. To show dreams can come true. Just keep pushing. I highly recommend this movie! And for now, I’m going again sometime this weekend (and listen to the soundtrack in the meantime). Enjoy!

Green Room

So I just finished watching Green Room, and I don’t know what to make out of it. The setting was good, and the acting was well done, but I just don’t understand the plot. There wasn’t really a plot. Maybe the plot just moved to slow for me to care. For having Patrick Stewart in it, I thought it would’ve been better.

So the movie is about a punk-rock band that plays at a neo-nazi gathering place, accidentally walk in on a murder, and then proceed to be murdered to cover up the fact that they walked in on a murder? I honestly don’t like the plot, but at least the set and the acting was good. If you liked the movie, please comment because maybe if I understood the movie more I would actually like it? I don’t really know.

Heathers vs. Heathers The Musical

My friend recently showed me the music for Heathers the Musical and I immediately fell in love. It’s raunchy. It’s brilliant. And best of all, the music stemmed from something in the movie Heathers (1988) starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater as Veronica and J.D. Heathers (1988) is on Netflix and shows the evolution of Veronica from the outsider turned Heather turned just figuring out what it means to be herself. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater’s dynamic throughout the movie translates well into their musical counterparts.

The plot of the musical is basically spot on with the movie. The songs happen basically where the lines in the movie are said. One of the differences is in the movie, Veronica’s best friend Betty and the character of Martha “Dump Truck” are separate characters, but in the musical they are the same character. I think this was a brilliant decision of the writer of the musical because at the end of the movie, Veronica becomes friends with Martha anyway and we never see Betty anyway. I think this is why they combined the characters.

The musical did a brilliant job with keeping some of the iconic lines from the movie, as in “Why are you now pulling on my dick?” or “Our Love is God.” Both of these and many more create the songs like “Our Love is God” or “Candy Store.” The songs are catchy and the beat of all of them will get stuck in your head for a long time. Interestingly though, the songs actually make the musical a bit sadder than the movie. Songs like “Lifeboat” and “I am Damaged” are done at just the correct times to shock the audience back to what the movie, and I honestly think the musical did a better job of, saying which is the chaos of our teen years. What we all go through maybe not individually, but we know on an emotional level what happens to all of us at one point of our lives or another. The characters are fleshed out to the point where you will cry when Heather McNamara tries to commit suicide and proceeds to sing “Lifeboat.”

I would also like to talk about the sets of both the movie and the musical. Obviously the movie set is what you would think, houses, a high school, a college party, but the musical sets are amazing. It’s a two-tiered stage with the first floor being used for most of the scenes, and the second floor being used to accentuate something like the Heathers in “Candy Store” or when the ghosts haunt Veronica in Act 2. In the very back, there is a cyclorama which they project a lot of colors and effects like where they have the rainbow colors flash cross the back when the fathers sing “I Love my Dead Gay Son.” I think the set is minimalistic, but done well enough that we know where we are in each scene.

Heathers (1988) and Heathers the Musical are both brilliantly done, well written and have just enough touch of 80’s to bring back some nostalgia of that era of movies. J.D. in the movie is more sociopathic, but at least in the musical, we want to cry when he sings “I am Damaged.” If you love the classic, find the musical version on Youtube or something and watch it because you will definitely love all of the characters and their songs.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: A Review

I just want to begin this with the idea that I haven’t read the book yet, so I don’t know how different the movie is from the book. From that point, I’ll just be looking at the plot of the movie on its own. Starting at the credits, I would just like to say that I did not expect Dame Judi Dench in this movie at all, and how small of a part in the movie she had. As the movie moves forward, we see Jake and his grandfather’s relationship from when he was little until now. Jake is actually one of the only rational characters in this movie. When his grandfather dies, under weird circumstances, Jake goes to see a psychologist. I think this actually helps Jake in remembering his grandfather’s stories from when he was a kid, which then leads him to Miss Peregrine.

With Jake’s ignorance of his own peculiar, this makes the audience ignorant as well so we learn along with Jake. This works for the type of movie Miss Peregrine’s was designed to be. If Jake can be surprised, then the audience will also be surprised, either by new knowledge, or even a scare. Talking about scares, taking it from the little kid that sat next to me in the theater, I would heed the PG-13 rating. Unless your kid likes somewhat scary and disturbing images, I wouldn’t take them. The scene that explains the background of the hollows and them eating the eyes of the children, is just, really weird. It’s beautifully done, and works well for the plot, it’s just visually, horrifying. The eyes are so realistic and the noises, it was creepy and made the kid next to me scream.

I loved this movie and I think this was a step up from the Alice in Wonderland series Tim Burton recently put out. I think it combined the whimsical and the macabre that Tim Burton is known for beautifully. I really hope they make another one based on how open the ending was. I also kind of really hope Eva Green has a bigger part in the second movie, but that’s probably because I think she’s an amazing actress. If you like kids with interesting powers and creepy beings called hollows that eat their eyes, watch this movie. It was really good.

 

Kubo and the Two Strings: A Review

So I watched Kubo and the Two Strings on Sunday, and I think I loved it. We begin the story with Kubo narrating his story as his mother is escaping from her family to a little village. The animation is beautiful! I cannot say this enough. You can see the forms of the face and the movements in the clay. I can’t imagine how the paper folding had to be done by hand. I also think this is a plot where a bard is the main character. Kubo plays his guitar and his magic flows from that.

The plot is a little slow at the beginning. It takes a bit of backstory and seeing how far into magic Kubo could go. It was sad to see his mother had episodes where she had no idea about the world around her, only when the sun went down would she come back to Kubo. He played his songs and the paper did their dancing. It was all well until the twins came. Can I just say how they are probably my favorite character designs in the whole movie! They were “perfect” and from the mother’s family in the sky. It was interesting to see Kubo’s mother and her sisters fight because her magic was blue, and Kubo’s too, but their magic was black and smokey. I believe they were twins, they fought and looked the same, but could’ve just been jusks used by the family to be “perfect.”

When Kubo flies away and we meet monkey. I don’t know about children, but I think most adults will question the relation to him. I wasn’t completely positive at first, but as soon as we found Beetle, I had a suspicion that Monkey was Kubo’s mother, and that Beetle was his father under a curse. You eventually find out who they are, but through the subtle dialogue and nuances between Monkey and Beetle, you can see the relationship. The reveal was well written, yet sad, but kind of predictable. As soon as the audience finds out about his mother and father, they die to break him and make it more likely for Kubo to control his magic. Against what logic says, this is how it works, like killing off Quick Silver in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. He died to break the Scarlet Witch, and bring her to her most powerful form.

If you like stop-motion animation and a well written story, watch Kubo and the Two Strings. It’s well worth it and you might cry, but who doesn’t? It was so beautiful!

The Conjuring 2

So I saw The Conjuring 2 last Thursday and yesterday, and I just have to say it was pretty well done. One of my friend’s started dozing off in the middle, but I think it was well paced. The action begins right away with a look into the Amityville case Ed and Lorraine looked into to see if it was demon activity, or if the man just killed his family. Then we meet the Hodgson family in Enfield, England. The action moves on from there and the jump scares begin fairly quickly as well. The only part of the movie, that I think makes it not as good as the first, is the cgi for The Crooked Man. It was horrendous. At the end though, the demon was really well done, so we know they can do the cgi nicely, but only for the demon? I would also suggest looking at the bookshelf when Lorraine is having her vision with the demon at her home, as that will bring in something fairly interesting towards the end. I think The Conjuring 2 was very well done, from a plot standpoint, I don’t really know about cinematography and such, but I love James Wan, and I can’t wait for his next movie!