The Northman (2022)

The Northman
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Sjón, Robert Eggers
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Björk
Seen on: 26.4.2022

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) only barely escaped with his life when his uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang) murdered his brother, Amleth’s father, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke) and took over the kingdom. Amleth, only a boy then, had to leave his mother Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) behind, but swore to save her and take his revenge. Now he is grown up and makes his living as a viking. During a raid, he hears news from his uncle and, pretending to be a slave like Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) and many others, lets himself be carted off to finally fulfill the promise he gave as a boy.

I was hoping for The Northman to be a bit of a bloodfest, knowing that with Eggers, I’d probably get a bit of a challenge as well. But unfortunately, mostly what I got with The Northman is darkness – and I mean that quite literally. It’s a film we barely see and that was pretty boring to boot.

The film poster showing Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) standing on a cliff, watching a fleet in the sea.
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Thoroughbreds (2017)

Thoroughbreds
Director: Cory Finley
Writer: Cory Finley
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff
Seen on: 14.3.2021

Content Note: ableism/saneism

Plot:
Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) used to be friends when they were children, but they haven’t seen each other in a long time. Now Amanda’s mother has asked Lily to hang out with her again since Amanda got quite a reputation after an incident with her horse. And Amanda is weird, no doubt about it. But despite initial awkwardness, they bond over their mutual dislike for Lily’s stepdad Mark (Paul Sparks) – which leads to a plan that could solve their problem.

Thoroughbreds has excellent performances and a good sense of style, but also an ending that ruined the film for me, unfortunately.

The film poster showing Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) sitting as far away from each other as possible on a white couch in a white room wearing white and gray.
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Radioactive (2019)

Radioactive
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writer: Jack Thorne
Based on: Lauren Redniss‘ book Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Aneurin Barnard, Simon Russell Beale, Sian Brooke, Drew Jacoby, Katherine Parkinson, Corey Johnson, Anya Taylor-Joy
Seen on: 18.8.2020
[Here’s my review of the 2016 Marie Curie movie.]

Content Note: xenomisia

Plot:
Marie (Rosamund Pike) is completely devoted to her work, but when she loses her spot in the lab, her project is threatened. When Pierre (Sam Riley) offers her a workspace in his own lab, she is hesitant to accept because she doesn’t want to have to depend on him and she certainly doesn’t want anybody interfering with her work. But she doesn’t really have any options, so she does agree. This is the beginning of their collaboration and Marie’s lifelong fight to have herself and her work recognized.

I think I wanted to like Radioactive better than I actually did. It does bring some new perspectives to the story, but not all of the ideas here work as they should.

The FIlm poster showing Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike) with her hands in her waist.
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Emma. (2020)

Emma.
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Writer: Eleanor Catton
Based on: Jane Austen‘s novel
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Myra McFadyen, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, Miranda Hart, Tanya Reynolds, Connor Swindells, Oliver Chris
Seen on: 11.3.2020
[Here are my reviews of other Emma adaptations.]

Content Note: antiziganism

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Gemma Whelan) and Mr Weston (Rupert Graves) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Mia Goth). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Johnny Flynn), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Josh O’Connor). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Callum Turner) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

Emma. was absolutely delightful. It has one of the best comedy ensemble casts I’ve seen in a long time, wonderfully lush production design and really captures the spirit of the book. I was very taken by it.

The film poster showing Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy), Frank Churchill (Callum Turner) and Mr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn).
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Glass (2019)

Glass
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Sequel to: Unbreakable, Split
Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby, Adam David Thompson, M. Night Shyamalan
Seen on: 24.1.2019
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Content Note: ableism/saneism

Plot:
After abducting several girls, Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) is on the run, but security guard slash vigilante David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is on his tail. When David catches up with Kevin, they are both apprehended by the police. They are both brought to an institution where Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), who was caught by Dunn 20 years earlier, is also housed. All three of them are attended by psychiatrist Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who tries to show them that they aren’t actually superpowered, but psychotic. But there is also something else going on, something that could threaten everything.

I didn’t expect much of Glass but it managed to not even fulfill those meager expectations. It’s a nonsensical, ableist mess that’s not even fun.

The film poster showing Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) and David Dunn (Bruce Willis). They are sitting next to each other, but their reflections on the floor are standing tall, looking like villains.
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Split (2016)

Split
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke, and in a cameo: Bruce Willis
Seen on: 11.2.2017

Plot:
Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula) are in highschool together. Casey is not exactly friends with Claira and Marcia, but one afternoon she catches a ride with Claire’s father. And it’s just on this afternoon that the three girls are abducted by a man (James McAvoy). Only that he doesn’t seem to be just one person – he can be very different indeed. And he is preparing for something. Something big. Something that is coming for them.

I hadn’t meant to watch Split with its treatment of mental illness of which I had heard only bad things beforehand. But when it became a social occasion to meet with a friends and celebrate a birthday, I ended up seeing it anyway. While competently made on a cinematic level, it turned out to be even worse than I thought regarding the mental health issue, so file this under “I watched it so you don’t have to.”

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The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015)

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale aka The Witch
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Robert Eggers
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.4.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
William (Ralph Ineson) and Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their children Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), Mercy (Ellie Grainger), Jonas (Lucas Dawson) and the baby Samuel have come to the American colonies for a fresh start, hoping that they’d have more chances there than in the UK. In the first settlement, things don’t go as planned, so they move on and find a beautiful piece of land. But there is something in the woods next to the house. Something that drags off Samuel while Thomasin is supposed to watch him. Something that keeps the crops from growing. And the family starts to become more and more suspicious that witchcraft is involved – witchcraft that seems connected to Thomasin.

The VVitch is an atmospheric, tense film that manages to package an old story in old clothes and feel entirely fresh for it. I enjoyed it a lot.

thevvitch

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