Entries in Sarah Paulson (3)

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.
Tuesday
Sep292015

NYFF 53 REVIEW: CAROL

BY MATEO MORENO

Director Todd Haynes has returned with a fascinating new film CAROL. Adapted of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt (written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan), Highsmith told a tale of unconditional love set in a time where that kind of love was heavily supported, as long as it was between two different sexes. Here, we have two women finding each other and falling madly towards that piecing sensation of happiness. However, the 1950's were not a time of enlightenment and so this love affair was sadly a hidden one.

Taking place in New York City during Christmas (magical in real life but even more magical on celluloid), Carol tells the tale of Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) an aspiring photographer who works at the counter of a department store. A striking woman named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) comes to her counter and the love story begins. They sense the same longing in each other without saying so outright. In fact, Director Haynes spends a large portion of the film relying on camera angles, shadows and light, and long stares to really make us feel the desire that sits within these women. The opening scene is shown to us from one angle but when repeated from another we get an entirely new sense of what was actually happening there. Perspective is key, and the desire they hold for each other must be kept secret, until of course it no longer can and suspicion from those around them (Blanchett's husband for instance) starts shattering their hidden, beautiful world.

Mara and Blanchett are magnetic and both of their performances cannot live without each other. They are both so richly defined yet bounce on each other with the support and grace you come to expect from a lover. The world they live in is cruel and unkind, thoughtless and regressive, but their longing for each other is anything but. Where it takes them, and what they must go through to get there is a heart aching tale that has bravely been transported onto the screen, expertly so. Haynes, along with glorious cinematography by Edward Lachman and a striking costume design by Sandy Powell have brought to life a glorious tale. Grab a tissue and head on their journey with them.

VERDICT: MUST SEE


BASED ON THE NOVEL BY Patricia Highsmith SCREENPLAY BY Phyllis Nagy DIRECTED BY Todd Haynes STARRING Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson 

Playing as part of the 2015 53rd Annual New York Film Festival. For tickets and information: http://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2015/

MATEO MORENO recently won a bet on who could hold their breath the longest underwater. He won the bet, having beat local loudmouth Jimmy "Thunderbird" Thomas with a record breaking "fourteen minutes." True, part of that time was him unconscious and the other part was him being revived, but he still counts it, and is now $20 richer. Take THAT Thunderbird! He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Monday
Oct072013

NYFF AT 51 REVIEW: "12 YEARS A SLAVE"

BY MATEO MORENO

Powerful and moving, epic and masterful, the grand 12 YEARS A SLAVE is the most honest film I have ever seen about the American slave experience.  Directed with a unflinching touch by Steve McQueen, this epic true story follows Soloman Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free Black man living in 1841 New York with his wife children.  A pair of white men offer him a job playing Violin at a Circus in Washington and he accepts.  Soon the trio are celebrating with a night out on the town and everything seems a bit too good to be true.  And it is.  Soloman wakes up the next morning shackled and enslaved.  He is no longer a free man.  He's been sold into slavery and will remain there for the next 12 years heading from master to master, some with feeling but most emitting utter cruelty.  None more so than slave owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and his equally cruel wife (Sarah Paulson).  The hatred that spews from them is a dark and bending path, but as McQueen tells it, it's the most realistic path a slavery film has taken.  It doesn't hide in the cruelty and hurt of Northup's story.  Nor does it shy away from the breaking of another slave Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o in her acting debut), who Master Epps is actually having a cruel affair with.

 

Not only is McQueen's filmmaking a marvel here, the performances one after another are simply stunning.  As Soloman, Ejiofor radiates on screen, pulling you in with each and every breath.  His struggle seeps deep within you, and he will absolutely be rewarded with an Oscar nomination come due time.  Fassbender is sickening cruel, and his performance is full of destruction and power.  It's also layered with a man who's at odds with himself, fighting something within him and losing.  Nyong'o is perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of the film, as she draws you in with even the slightest movement she makes (The whipping scene between her and Solomon was so destructive and sad I had to look away).  Paulson's character is a true Lady MacBeth, conniving and evil.  She has no remorse in her bones and it's chilling.  I imagine this film will be hard for many to watch, as it doesn't flinch as most other films do.  But however violent and uncomfortable it may get, it's an engrossing and powerful film.  One you shouldn't see, but NEED to see.

 

MATEO'S GRADE: A Must See

Based on the Novel by Solomon Northup Adapted by John Ridley Directed by: Steve McQueen Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson.

CONTENT ADVISORY: Adult Situations, Adult Language, Nudity, Graphic Violence


BOTTOM LINE: A truly extrodinary, breathtaking, and painful film.  A truthful look into our awful past, and as they say, we must be honest with our past before we can truly move forward.