Entries in James McAvoy (2)

Sunday
Jan202019

BROKE, BROKE AND AWAY // A FILM REVIEW OF "GLASS"

BY MATEO MORENO

To say that M. Night Shyamalan’s career has had its ups and downs is really putting it mildly. Since exploding into the mainstream with The Sixth Sense in 1999 (which received almost universe love), M. Night has released one project after another, each one dividing audiences into a pure frenzy. Talk of “he’s lost it” and “he’s back to form” has been said throughout his entire career. But one thing that can be said is that he’s been consistently original. You may not like what comes out of his brain (cough, cough… The Happening… cough, cough), but it is purely his own vision being transported onto the screen. His follow up to The Sixth Sense was Unbreakable in 2000 and that film is still my favorite property of his. It told the story of David Dunn, an ordinary man who slowly finds himself to be “unbreakable.” It was a superhero story in a very non-superhero world. Samuel L. Jackson played his nemesis, Elijah Price, a man whose bones were so brittle that he was nicknamed “Mr. Glass.” Slow and powerful, and I’ve often thought of it ever since.

 

In 2016, M. Night “returned to form” once again with the unassuming Split, featuring James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man who has 23 personalities inside of him and the most dangerous one is threatening to overtake them all. It was a fun, original, and very well told film. The surprise was that in the final moments of the film, we were reintroduced to David Dunn, and realized that the two films took place in the same universe. Now, the long-awaited follow-up to Unbreakable has arrived, now less of a sequel and more of the final piece of a trilogy. GLASS is the third part of the puzzle, bringing together David Dunn, Mr. Glass, and all of James McAvoy’s personalities. It also brings back Anya Taylor-Joy from Split and a grown-up Spencer Treat Clark from Unbreakable. M. Night’s three main characters are sent to an asylum and treated by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) a woman who specializes in the very specific delusion of grandeur where people believe they are actually superheroes

 

What follows is a lot of great build up and promise that fizzles so fast that it’s actually enraging. The mood and slow building dread of his earlier films fill the first half of GLASS expertly. Sarah Paulson is stoic and sharp, Anya Taylor-Joy and Spencer Treat Clark are great supporting players, and James McAvoy is utterly brilliant (and he stays that way up until the end). However, for a movie named after Mr. Glass, Samuel L. Jackson’s presence is largely under utilized here, as he’s catatonic for most of the film and when he springs, rather wheels, into action, it’s pretty unremarkable. Most disappointing is the treatment M. Night gives David Dunn and the sleepwalk performance Bruce Willis performs it with. David Dunn is a fascinating character who’s reduces to getting thrown around and has the weakest of all storylines. The final act, which is teased to be a giant superhero showdown, is all smoke and mirrors and actually takes places somewhere else entirely, somewhere far less exciting. And the writer/director either doesn’t trust the audience to know the beats of a superhero story or doesn’t actually understand them himself, because suddenly near the end of the film, every character starts to explain out loud how this action is part of an origin story or this action is how the hero triumphs, etc, etc. GLASS had me engaged for the first half and completely nosedived into ridiculousness in the second. But I do admire the world, and the risks that M. Night took here. I just wish he knew how to land it.

 

MATEO'S GRADE: C+

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY M. Night Shyamalan STARRING James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark. Now playing in select cinemas.
Friday
Jul282017

BOND. JANE BOND // A FILM REVIEW OF "ATOMIC BLONDE"

BY MATEO MORENO

For years now, people have been clamoring for a female James Bond. Well look no further. ATOMIC BLONDE has arrived. Based on the Graphic Novel The Coldest City written by Anthony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart, Atomic follows Lorraine Broughton, an American spy working for M16. The backdrop is set against the end of the Cold War in 1989. We begin with Broughton being interviewed by her commanding officer (Toby Jones), the CIA chief (John Goodman), and a member of M16 (James Faulkner). She's covered in bruises, battered but cool as a cucumber. She tells her crazy tale to them which, as the best spy thrillers do, has many twists and turns. She arrives and is immediately ambushed before meeting a David Percival (James McAvoy), a British Spy. There's a informant named Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) who wants to get a one way ticket out of Berlin for him and his family. There's a French Spy Delphine (Sofia Boutella) that may become more than just a contact. The Berlin Wall is about to come crashing down and there's a mole within the ranks. But before she figures it out, everything around her will come crashing down with the wall in a very frenzied and stylish way.

Director David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool 2) aims to make this stylish thriller a female "John Wick meets Bond" and for the most part he succeeds. But the plot and script does get bogged down in a few too many confusing or layer upon layer moments. But his eye knows stunts (he himself also being a stuntman) and the action is beautifully chaotic and thrilling to watch. However, the real reason to see Atomic is Charlize Theron. She elevates every scene from beyond a stylish thriller into something with more heart, with more soul. She also knows how to throw a punch and kick, as is very evident in her stunt scenes (which she performs most of). She's a badass but one who's not a Terminator killing machine. She can, and does, get hurt. She makes the right and wrong decisions. And her magnetism is magnetic. She shares great chemistry with both McAvoy and Boutella and even when the film falters her commitment with confusing arcs, she pulls us back in with her commitment and presence. ATOMIC BLONDE is a stylistic, non-stop action thrill ride. Earlier I said she is the female James Bond but I now correct myself. She's one better than that. She's Lorraine Broughton, and her performance is a damn original one.

 

MATEO'S GRADE: B

Based on the Graphic Novel "The Coldest City" by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart Screenplay by Kurt Johnstead Directed by David Leitch Starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Sophia Boutella Now Playing in Theatres Everywhere

 

OFFICIAL RESTRICTED TRAILER: