Charlie Says (2018)

Charlie Says
Director: Mary Harron
Writer: Guinevere Turner
Based on: Ed Sanders’ book The Family, and Karlene Faith‘s book The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten
Cast: Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendón, Merritt Wever, Matt Smith, Suki Waterhouse, Chace Crawford, Annabeth Gish, Kayli Carter, Grace Van Dien
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2019
1-gif-review

Plot:
Leslie van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon) and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) were sentenced to death for the murder of Sharon Tate (Grace Van Dien) – a murder they committed for their cult leader Charles Manson (Matt Smith) and that they have no regrets for. When their death sentence is changed to life in prison, graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) starts to work with them. Karlene firmly believes that therapy can help rehabilitate the three women and make them understand the gravity of their crimes. Slowly they work their way through their relationship with Charlie and what they did together and for him.

Charlie Says is the perfect example of how you should make a film about a serial killer and cult leader: not by focusing on how charismatic he is, but instead focusing on the consequences of his behavior on the people around him. I was very impressed, both by the narrative and by the film itself.

The film poster showing Charles Manson (Matt Smith), three prison cells and Susan 'Sadie' Atkins (Marianne Rendón), Leslie 'Lulu' Van Houten (Hannah Murray) and Patricia 'Katie' Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon).
Continue reading

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

prideandprejudiceandzombies Continue reading

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier
Sequel to: Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee
Seen on: 21.7.2015

Plot:
Since the machines have taken over the world, John Connor (Jason Clarke) has been leading the human resistance. To make sure that he can actually do that, John has to make sure that he is actually born as the machines sent a killer back in time to kill his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) before she gives birth. So John sends his best friend Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) in the past as well, giving him specific instructions on how things are. But as Kyle arrives in the past, he finds that it doesn’t actually match John’s memories. So he has to figure out how to navigate this changed past.

After Terminator Salvation, I was prepared for this film to be extra bad. So I packed my trusted bottle of alcohol and steeled myself for atrociousness. But while there could have been a second bottle of alcohol, easy, I found that I was honestly entertained by Terminator Genisys, despite the astonishing amount of stupidity contained within. Or maybe because of it.

terminatorgenisys Continue reading

Lost River (2014)

Lost River
Director: Ryan Gosling
Writer: Ryan Gosling
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Reda Kateb, Barbara Steele
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4.2015
[Reviews by Maynard and cornholio.]

Plot:
Billy (Christina Hendricks) lives alone with her two kids in a mostly abandoned neighborhood. When he’s not busy dreaming about his neighbor Rat (Saoirse Ronan), Billy’s older son Bones (Iain De Caestecker) tries to support them by stealing copper from the empty houses around them, which draws the ire of local thug (Matt Smith) who claims all the copper for himself. Threatened by foreclosure, Billy accepts a job offer from Dave (Ben Mendelsohn), her bank manager who has a little business at the side at a strange night club.

Lost River is not a perfect film. But it is an enchanting, strong debut that I won’t mind watching again.

Lost_River Continue reading