Review: mother!

Darren Aronofsky’s new film is ultimately a story about two characters who yearn to bring life into an empty space in different ways. Oscar winner Javier Bardem is a supposed writer and poet looking to get unblocked and his wife, played by Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, toils restoring their old home to its former glory. Their endeavors, or should I say, his endeavors welcome unexpected company as people from parts unknown begin to take up space and the two central characters are ultimately witnesses and central players to the madness that unfolds in the space within their home.


Image by Paramount Pictures and Protozoa

Bearing witness to Aronofsky’s latest venture simply dubbed mother!, I was bewitched by the grandeur and the expertise it took to craft this picture and put it on screen. Going in, I had no idea what I was getting into, watching it, I had no idea where it was going, after it ended, it didn’t dawn on me that the film drew heavy inspiration/was a very radical take on a very familiar book (I won’t spoil it for you) but for all of its mystery, suspense and extensive shock and awe, I can say that mother! is undoubtedly a work of extreme genius and I take my hat of to Darren Aronofsky for writing and directing one of this year’s most elaborate, menacing and heart-stopping pictures.

As someone who has seen almost everything that Jennifer Lawrence has done, I must say that her performance in this film is probably the best she’s done to date. She is completely immersed in this role as the voice of reason, the victim of her husband’s “generosity” and ultimately his power; in the falling action of the film as her house is besieged by her husband’s followers and she navigates through the hell her home has become, going mad in the process and in her condition, she is a powerhouse in this picture.

Lawrence’s co-star Javier Bardem? In my eyes, ever since he debuted as Anton Chighur in the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men, he has always been a powerful performer and he delivers another resplendent performance as this enigmatic and very popular figure. I was on pins and needles watching him because I had no way of knowing what these characters, especially his character, was going to do, where this movie was going to turn; in mother!, Lawrence and Bardem are both Oscar caliber.

The supporting performances of Ed Harris, Michelle Pfieffer, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, Jovan Adepo, Patricia Summersett, Amanda Chiu and so many were fleeting but resonating; the figures once you start to make the connections as to who they are to the two central characters in the grand scheme of the picture, you begin to understand how prominent they are to the development of the film’s and where it was ultimately going.

Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is tense, unnerving but captures Lawrence’s character as she descends into madness so rivetingly and it compliments the spectacular editing of Andrew Weisblum so well.

I cannot recall if mother! actually used a score, which is credited to Jóhann Jóhannsson, but if it did it may have faded into the background of the action. I actually believe it was better without a score because the tension of the picture would have been stolen if it did use music of any kind; I was just so enthralled with what I witnessed, I must have missed the use of a score anywhere in the film.

Phillip Messina’s production design was outstanding, I thought the art decoration and set decoration added to the overall scope of the picture. Danny Glicker’s costumes and the make-up team did a great job as well.

mother! is a must-see movie! The performances by its two leading actors, the unpredictable and gripping writing, the execution it took to accomplish making it, it all culminates to a work of radical cinematic genius by Darren Aronofsky.


Movie of the Week: mother!

After a thoroughly long dry spell which saw the season of summer come to a close, we’re back with another feature film of the week and this one promises to be a feature to shake audiences to the core. From the man behind Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Noah and Black Swan, comes a new thriller starring Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, who play a seemingly content couple whose existence is roiled into a frantic frenzy when strangers with mysterious purposes arrive, take up space in their quiet home and invite darkness into the space they all occupy. This is Darren Aronofsky’s latest simply dubbed mother!

Directed and written by: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfieffer, Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, Jovan Adepo, Amanda Chiu and Patricia Sommerset.

What am I expecting to see?: mother! promises something dark, disturbing, enigmatic and powerful to witness and considering that this is an Aronofsky picture, if it is anything on the level of Black Swan, I believe we’re in for a true treat! I’ve kept up with the news about this picture and about the lengths mother!‘s leading lady went to for this film and I expect nothing less than another Oscar caliber performance from Jennifer Lawrence. mother! better be one of the year’s most powerful films.

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Captain Jack Sparrow has led a very colorful life pilfering and plundering his way through the high seas and seedy ports around the world. There was a time when the world wanted to know what this practically peculiar privateer would do next after a grand adventure but now, it is evident that that time has washed away with the tides.

dead men tell no tales

Image by Disney

In the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, titled Dead Men Tell No Tales, Captain Jack has run afoul of some very harsh misfortune. Meaning, he’s broke, he hardly has a crew anymore and he still hasn’t managed to get his beloved Black Pearl out of that bottle from the last movie. To make matters worse, Jack’s reckless actions have awakened an army of ghosts, led by a Spanish pirate-hunter named Salazar, hell-bent on casting every buccaneer, marauder and freebooter to Davy Jones’ locker-or is it Will Turner’s locker since Davy Jones is dead and Will has replaced him? Who knows!

Anyway, Captain Jack’s only hope to save himself? He must ally with Henry Turner, the adult son of Will and Elizabeth, and the beautiful and headstrong woman of science Carina Smith to find the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that will endow upon its holder total command of the seas.

When the end credits started rolling on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, someone tried to gauge my thoughts on the film and all I could tell them was: “Listen, I’m just thankful it’s over!” I want to let you know that this is not my official reflection of the film, but the franchise in general since this is supposed to be the final adventure of the series.

Officially, I found this movie drudgingly unnecessary and mildly mediocre. I will admit that it was nice seeing Captain Jack, Gibbs and Barbossa again and I was willing for this franchise to shanghai me aboard for one last adventure on the high seas but while I was watching this, it dawned on me that I just outgrew this franchise; the magic and the appeal had waned; also I found it convenient that this movie had ghost sharks because with this movie this franchise definitely jumped over them!

I thought this movie had continuity errors, had a lack of balance in the subplots between the characters, had twists that strained credulity and what’s more it had me asking why didn’t anyone come up with this “Trident” concept two movies ago? Why couldn’t they just leave the franchise with the ending from the third movie where everything was just full circle and tied everything together nicely rather than force this happy ending from this installment upon audiences? I just couldn’t comprehend why the producers of this movie couldn’t leave well enough alone?!

Johnny Depp is business as usual as Captain Jack Sparrow, Geoffrey Rush as a well-to-do Barbossa was okay, Kevin McNally, Martin Klebba, Stephen Graham were faces I didn’t mind seeing again and it was cool that they brought Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley back. As for the newcomers to the story Javier Bardem steps into the CGI-aided role of Salazar and even though he has a reputation of playing a damn good villain, I feel as though he phones it in due to poor writing courtesy of Jeff Nathanson. Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario and Golshifteh Farahani did alright as well. Even Sir Paul McCartney snuck aboard! That was a hoot for a minute.

Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s efforts to try and put wind back into the sails of this franchise were wasted. Paul Cameron’s cinematography, Roger Barton and Leigh Folsom Boyd’s editing, Geoff Zanelli’s score, Nigel Phelps’ production design, Penny Rose’s costumes, the art direction, the visual effects; everything technical is just more of what you’ve seen before.

I for one hope that Dead Men Tell No Tales is the farewell voyage of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga even though it had some post-credits scene I didn’t bother to stick around to see! The era of Captain Jack has come and gone; he has the Pearl back and I pray that Disney will leave him be from this day forward!

Movie of the Week: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The swashbuckling Disney franchise that set sail on the high seas 14 years ago will come to a close (finally)! Captain Jack Sparrow has lived an “exhilarating” life to say the least. One could call it a true Pirates Life but his greatest adventure before him draws back to the past when Captain Salazar leads an army of the dead across the seven seas on the hellbent mission to exterminate every able bodied man or woman who sails under pirate colors. Salazar, like many, bears a grudge against Captain Jack and our heroic and plucky pirate hero’s only salvation is a mythic artifact that could turn the tides of the ocean forever. Sailing into theaters this weekend is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Directors: Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

Staring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Steven Graham, Kevin McNally, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Sir Paul McCartney, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley

What am I expecting to see?: I honestly love the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the kooky lead character of Captain Sparrow but this franchise needs to end in the worst way and I thank heavens that Dead Men Tell No Tales will end it! I hope this is entertaining, it brings the right amount of closure to this series and it ends on a high note. This is a great cast of actors and I don’t want to see any of their talents go to waste. I’ve been looking forward to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for a while now and I hope it is everything that I ask for.


Orlando Bloom Returns to Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will always hold a very dear place in my heart. Probably because Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the most peculiar characters I have ever seen on the big screen and his antic and exploits on the high seas are nothing short of swashbuckling fun. Big fan of the first three pictures, and I actually enjoyed On Stranger Tides, so in a way I’m looking forward to the next installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but truthfully I hope this is the final Pirates of the Caribbean movie; it’s getting old and played out already. Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin R. McNally and Stephen Graham will ship out once again, and joining them will be a very familiar face: Orlando Bloom will reprise his role as Captain Will Turner.

By – Bitte bei Bildverwendung auch Link setzen (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

You may recall that when we last left Will, he had basically signed away his life to be the captain of the Flying Dutchman, and can only visit his beloved Elizabeth once every ten years. He’s got an interesting character arc, and while he’s not as colorful as Jack Sparrow, he helps ground the films with real stakes.

Rounding out the cast is Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaits, Golshifteh Farahani and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem. Jeff Nathanson’s name is on the screenplay and Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning are directing the fifth installment of the franchise. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sets sail on July 7, 2017.

Captain Jack sets sail once again

In 2017, Captain Jack is back in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Today, production officially began on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp will once again, reprise his signature role of the peculiar pirate Captain Jack Sparrow in the new adventure written by Jeff Nathanson and directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning. Aside from Depp, Academy Award nominee Geoffrey Rush will return as Sparrow’s swashbuckling rival Barbossa, Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s trusty sidekick Joshamee Gibbs and Stephen Graham as Scrum, from the previous Pirates installment. Joining the film is Academy Award winner Javier Baviem, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites and Golshifteh Farahani. The official synopsis of the fifth installment of the high seas franchise has been released.

In the new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

My reaction: ugh! This franchise is a particular favorite of mine and I enjoy Johnny Depp portray Captain Jack on screen, but for the love of all that is pure I want this to be the FINAL Pirates of the Caribbean movie! I’ll get out of bed to see this movie, it looks and sounds like fun, but these adventures on the high seas are starting to become shallow. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into theaters on July 7, 2017.

Screen Actors Guild wrap-up

Another major awards ceremony for film is in the books with the conclusion of the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The slogan for this particular ceremony, “The only show where actors vote for actors,” so Hollywood’s elite gather together to honor their colleague’s achievements in acting in the industries of film and television. Let’s take a look at who won in the film categories:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

Winner: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Alan Arkin, “Argo
  • Javier Bardem, “Skyfall”
  • Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
  • Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Winner: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
  • Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
  • Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
  • John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
  • Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
  • Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

  • “Argo”
  • “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “Les Miserables”

Winner: “Argo”

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” takes home another prestigious film prize for Outstanding Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards