Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Island

What a way to end my month of movie reviews! ‘The Island’ was everything I needed to see, Action/Adventure/Romance/Fantasy/Science-Fiction and Comedy. This 2005 film had all great elements reminiscent of one of my favourite films ‘The Fifth Element’. Directed by Michael Bay, and written by English Caspian Tredwell-Owen and Alex Kurtzman, this film was everything I didn’t expect. I love Scottish Ewan McGregor’s work and Steve Buscemi is always so interesting to look at on screen, I decided to give it a whirl.

I’m so glad I did!  The story is strong and interesting and it grips the audience all along the way. Scarlett Johansson is darling in this and it was nice to see the late, great Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) give a strong performance too. Dijon Hounsou from Cotonou, Benin whom you may remember from ‘Amistad’ also had a positive, strong role which is always refreshing to see on the big screen. With a budget of $126 million USD, this film didn’t triple at the box-office, however did get 1 win and 6 other nominations that year.

Would I watch it again? Yes, by george, I want to own this film! Sensationally entertaining from start to finish!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bon Bini Holland

Definitely chronicling many many Eddie Murphy films, specifically ‘Coming to America’ this film’s premise was known from the beginning. That said, it was still very entertaining. Coming from the Netherlands in 2015, ‘Bon Bini Holland’, has introduced us to Sandino Asporaat, an acting force to be reckoned with. He not only wrote this film but played several of it’s characters. 

Directed by Jelle de Jonge and shot in Curacao and the Netherlands, the story was colorful, comedic, and full of heart! Many things were left un-said or un-explained which could be a bit confusing at times, but viewers were distracted by the incredible and unbelievable luck of our main character ‘Roberto Florentina’ played by Sandino Asporaat. 

No serious life lessons here, but makes for a night of good laughs and some good music!

Take Shelter

Loads of apocalyptic films released within the last 10 years I’ll say; but this one 2011’s Drama/Thriller’s ’Take Shelter’, written and directed by American Jeff Nichols, was probably one of my favourite to watch. 

Clearly with a budget of $5 million USD and Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain involved a lot more people were able to see and enjoy this film, but I think it would have been just as successful as the story was interesting, unique and strong enough to stand on it’s own two feet. 

Beautifully shot, with great camera close-ups and angles, and wonderfully written, viewers could appreciate the polished style and fluidity of this film. There was healthy ambiguity throughout and honest performances by the entire cast as the audience kept wondering if our main character ‘Curtis’ played by Michael Shannon had mental illness or indeed having premonitions of the last days. Nova Stewart who played ‘Hannah’ the main character’s deaf daughter was a natural and added even more on the heart-rending factor.

The film was quite believable and tackled subjects many don’t want to deal with; like mental illness, schizophrenia, therapy, communication between couples, and having the feeling of losing control and protection of your family. I would watch it again - ‘JourneywithJair recommended’! 

The Truth About Emanuel

I hadn’t seen any film projects attached to actress Jessica Biel lately and while browsing, this film popped up. This 2013 Drama/Thriller, written and directed by Italian Francesca Gregorini was an interesting, strange, mysterious and fantastical story. I have to say lead actress English Kaya Scodelario (Moon) really stole the show and her acting chops were very strong. Biel delivered but she easily slipped into the co-star role. All other actors conveyed the emotions they needed to; but this film was clearly about ‘Emanuel’.

Beautifully shot with quite a bit of surrealism it was difficult for the audience to know what was real and what was not until the end. I loved how the main characters were connected because of their loss and how they became strength for each other. It was a special interpretation by Gregorini and viewers could appreciate that. 

With a run time of 91 minutes, without the rich and poetic thoughts of our main character, viewers wouldn’t be as reeled-in because it was a very slow-moving and sometimes spiritless as it rolled on and on...

“My name is Emanuel. I’m 17 years old and I killed my mother. I had her sliced open, like a goat for the slaughter, to get me pulled out. As she bled, the doctor pushed air into my lungs and pressed his hands repeatedly onto my chest, with the same rhythmic, repetitive motion that he used to jerk himself off that very morning. It worked. He came and I came. Back to life.”

The film did win 5 awards and one other nomination that year, so the $1 million USD budget paid off.


I didn’t have high hopes for this 2015 Horror/Thriller as the babysitter premise has been done before; but when I saw writer Richard Raymond Harry Herbeck attached to this project (The Cabin in the Woods, Cloverfield) I knew that the story and production should be decent. Director Michael Thelin orchestrated this disturbing film perfectly. Just when the audience was afraid to watch any further, he would give you just enough to make you sick but not traumatize you forever.

I think what made this movie deeply unsettling is the fact that a group of innocent children were subjected to immense torment. It’s bad enough parents leaving their children with a replacement babysitter, and the children know they have to follow the rules, but the series of events that unfurled were absolutely terrifying!

Lead actress Irish Sarah Bolger played her part as ’Emelie’ and babysitter exceptionally, and child actors, Carly Adams, Thomas Bair, and Joshua Rush, also did an outstanding job. Viewers got the full effect of the anguish both the antagonist and protagonist felt. It was definitely believable and heart-breaking at some moments, leaving the audience with a wavering unbalanced feeling at the end of it.

This film certainly packs the punch; and it’ll make you think twice before choosing a new babysitter.

Friday, September 23, 2016


** Sing sister sing! That's talent! Thank-you Whitney :)) "...I wish you joy & happiness, but above all I wish you LOVE..."**

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


“I’m not a sociopath, but I’m smart enough to think like one.”

Directed by Spanish Jorge Dorado and written by Guy and Martha Holmes, this 2013 Dramatic/Psychological Thriller kept audiences on the edge of their seats. Nominated for 3 nominations that year, this story was unique in that it was set some time in the future where associations have the ability to enter people’s memories. The company has proven to be so successful that they even aid large corporations in crime cases. How is it then, that these individuals are ‘stumped’ when it comes to 16 year old ‘Anna’ played by Taissa Farmiga? Is she a victim of past trauma? Or is she really a bright lunatic?

Leading man, English, Mark Strong proved to be a great choice, but I wasn’t as sure for some of the other characters in the story. Everyone seemed clueless even though there were loads of facts they knew about that were uncovered by memory detective ‘John Washington’. The Farming sisters, both ‘Vera’ and ‘Taissa’ never fail to deliver eerie performances and what is seemingly a simple case, turns out to be one of the most challenging and thought-provoking.

Definitely an excellent watch for those who prefer clever entertainment.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Escape from Alcatraz

It’s always a pleasure to soak in a good old movie; and even more a pleasure when it’s a real-life Crime/Drama. Written by J. Campbell Bruce and Richard Tuggle and Directed by Don Diegel, this 1979 film was written and re-enacted based on real evidence of the June 1962 escape from high security island prison ‘Alcatraz’. Starring Clint Eastwood (The Good,the Bad and the Ugly) as main mastermind behind the escape ‘Frank Morris’ and Jack Thibeau and Fred Ward as the ‘Anglin brothers’ this film was an excellent portrayal into the lives of men who won’t ever be forgotten. 

Each character brought something special to the screen but I think it would have been even more interesting if the director brought a little back-story to the real lives of the men who escaped, further widening the believability that indeed they were clever enough to pull off such an attempt successfully. Siegel did a magnificent job at really capturing the details that went into this escape. I felt that Eastwood’s interpretation of Morris was a good choice because someone with high IQ and gifted such as he would try to keep a low-profile and keep focused on what he needed to get done.

Definitely ‘JourneywithJair recommended’ for a night of incredible thrill!