Entries in Samuel L. Jackson (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
Jan032014

SILENT BUT DEADLY // A FILM REVIEW OF "DJANGO UNCHAINED"

BY CHRISENA RICCI

 

The D is silent, but the rest of this film is oh, so loud.

After an abrupt introduction to our two leading gentleman, Django played by Jamie Foxx, and Dr. King Schultz played by Christoph Waltz, we set out for a spaghetti western with a twist. The beginning seems to jar the senses a bit, but after the first encounter of the two bounty hunters working together, I was hooked.

Ride somewhere, shoot ‘em up, collect money. But this is no ordinary western. What makes it interesting is that Django and Dr. Schultz are not just bounty hunters, but different races. In this time period, that never would have happened. One of the things I like about Quentin Tarantino’s films is that he takes history, and fixes it just a little. For example, in this film Tarantino gives a former slave the chance to get paid to kill white people. He gives this free man the chance to reunite with his enslaved wife. These are things that never happened in our history, that I wish would have happened, that should have happened. Those are the things to which Tarantino gives life.

Somehow, even though this movie is a tale of revenge and rescue, it is oftentimes comedic. Watching the Klan arguing about the poorly made masks before they departed on a violent raid of Dr. Schultz’s believed sleeping place, was pure comedy. The comic-book style blood splatters and spurts had me cheering like a teen-aged boy. And the one-liners were applause worthy. Yet, through the laughing, cheering and wild applause, I was still on a razor’s edge waiting to see who lived and who died.

Tarantino has crafted a film that is the perfect blend of old ideas and new storytelling. You'll enjoy the perfect balance of off-kilter comedy, and edge of your seat action sequences. Plus, the score and music choices are innovative and fresh, and the acting was a solid work of art.

 

CHRISENA'S GRADE: A

Directed and Written by: Quentin Tarantino Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson RATED R

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: It has all my favorites, gun fights, weird humor, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

 

CHRISENA RICCI once went to a costume party dressed in an all black dress and black wig. No one there could guess who she was. So she shouted out, "I'm Christina Ricci, without the T or I and add an E!" Everyone stood there confused, she was annoyed, so she stormed off. She never returned to that apartment ever again. Which is fine, because she later realized she was at the wrong party. She now lives in New York City.