Emma. is another charming Jane Austen story. Fully of wit and beauty, actor Anya Taylor-Joy's wonderful performance will take your heart.
Emma. is whimsical and good-spirited fun from the Jane Austen vault. We're lead with a marvelous performance by actor Anya Taylor-Joy, who's shining role will put a smile on your face. Based on Austen's novel of the same name of 1815, our story follows Emma Woodhouse (Taylor-Joy), a young woman who interferes in the love lives of her friends. So, after her governess, Miss Taylor marries and becomes Mrs. Weston (Gemma Whelan, Netflix's The End of the F***ing World), Emma Woodhouse searches about for a new companion. Emma is the queen bee in matchmaking in her little sleepy town known as the village of Highbury. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma is at the top of her social class but she soon realizes that she might not be the best at matchmaking. Emma takes on a new companion, Harriet Smith (a splendid Mia Goth).
Emma thinks that Harriet will be a good match for Mr. Elton (a funny Josh O'Connor, Netflix's The Crown). Mr. Elton is the village's local vicar and is quite a goofball with his faces and mannerisms. Like a religious self-parody, Mr. Elton is always raising his hands in the most awkward situations. Nevertheless, she thinks that Mr. Elton has an eye on Harriet, making him a good match for her. Come to find out, Mr. Elton likes Emma and she is taken aback with this news. This romantic misstep hurts Emma's pride and she also does not feel the same way for Mr. Elton. There's also George Knightley (a delightful Johnny Flynn) who's been a longtime family friend of Emma's. Mr. Knightley is by her side, but mostly to scold and correct her in every turn. Don't let this game from Mr. Knightley fool you. He's an impeccably well-mannered gentleman who wants the best out of Emma. Next, there's Frank Churchill (a stern Callum Turner) who's the son of Mr. Weston's (Rupert Graves, BBC's Sherlock) first marriage.
Frank Churchill is the daft-cool lad of the village. Not to mention, the village chatterbox, Miss Bates (a charming Miranda Hart, BBC's Call the Midwife) who continues to spread the village's latest gossip. Along with Miss Bates is her niece Jane Fairfax (Amber Anderson) — someone who makes Emma very jealous. Finally, adding a little bit of Bill Nighy to a movie never hurts. Nighy plays Emma's father, Mr. Woodhouse — he's anxious, fashionably dressed, and irresistible. His character brightens the mood in many scenes. Emma. is Autumn de Wilde's directorial debut — she has a keen eye for beauty. Her first feature film is lushes, beautifully shot, and ravishing in detail. The first half of Emma. is full of comedy, while the second half focuses more on emotional grandeur. On top of that, we have a marvelous musical score and breathtaking costume designs. In the end, Emma. is a delightful film lead by a delightful heroine, actor Anya Taylor-Joy. This movie is a real joy.
Emma. is rated PG (Parental Guidance) For brief partial nudity.
Directed by Autumn de Wilde
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O'Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, and Tanya Reynolds.
Review: The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man (2020) is a fresh and modern retelling of an old story. Smart, scary, and well-acted by Elisabeth Moss. This film is a high-level fright night.
Writer-director Leigh Whannell (2018's Upgrade) takes H. G. Wells' classic story and propels it into the Me Too era. The Invisible Man is a fresh twist with heart-stopping moments one after another. This film was an unexpected scary delight. Cecilia Kass (a riveting Elisabeth Moss) is trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy scientist, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House). In the dead of night, Cecilia drugs Adrian and escapes with the aid of her sister (Harriet Dyer, NBC's The InBetween). Cecilia's childhood friend James (Aldis Hodge, Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid, HBO's Euphoria) take her in. Soon after Cecilia's disappearance, she receives a letter stating that her abusive ex has committed suicide, leaving her a massive fortune.
Later on, strange events start happening around Cecilia — the stove catches on fire, bed blankets are removed, and contents of her portfolio are gone. Cecilia also passes out during a job interview and the hospital finds that she has high levels of Diazepam in her system — the same drug she used on Adrian to escape. Cecilia begins to suspects that Adrian's death was a hoax and that he's figured out a way to turn himself invisible. This begins to take an emotional toll of Cecilia and Moss' powerful performance is a gut-punch. I won't spoil what happens next, but The Invisible Man avoids the normal horror tropes and sets the bar high for future horror films. There are tons of twists and turns in The Invisible Man — from the hold-your-breath opening sequence to the creepy attic scene to a chilling scene in a mental hospital. Whannell's wonderful craft to the horror genre will keep you guessing at all times.
On top of that, we get another tour de force performance by Moss — proving why she's one of the very best in Hollywood right now. Moss' performance was potent, gripping, and fully in control of one's emotional toll. I could feel her pain, her agony, and it was unnerving at times. Another aspect that made this movie so fun was its impressive technical work. Whannell lingered on long camera shots dialing up the suspense to a 10. He also used fast-moving and tightly constructed camera shots when Cecilia was being attacked by Adrian. Even though you could not see him, Adrian's invisible presence lingered in the shot, sending chills down your spine. The Invisible Man knew how to deliver the frights along with an updated message in the Me Too era. In the end, The Invisible Man is a real 'surprise' that no one saw coming.
The Invisible Man is rated R (Restricted). For some strong bloody violence, and language.
Directed by Leigh Whannell
Starring a fierce Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Benedict Hardie, and an invisible Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
There's a far superior film that came out several years ago before the newest English-remake, it's called Force Majeure (2014). Watch that film instead.
Downhill is a frustrating English-remake that takes its audience on a crash course with no return. Not escaping the inevitable avalanche are actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. In the end, Downhill is a shallow attempt to construct anything new or original out of a previously marvelous movie. 2014's Swedish film, Force Majeure, was wholly original, darkly funny, and even uncomfortable at times. We studied the gleefully unsettling relationship between a husband and wife while taking their two children on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. Director Ruben Östlund's (The Square, 2017) psychodrama will get under your skin and cause you to reflect on your own communication skills with others. The husband, Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke), is a Swedish businessman whose profound narcissism will lead him to make some acute mistakes while on his family's holiday trip.
The wife, Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) doesn't want to listen to Tomas' workaholic mannerisms. Instead, she simply wants him to unplug from his electronics and spend more time with her and their children. The incident that happens next and spirals the story into a battling territory is a controlled avalanche that's being conducted nearby. This is a key shot for Force Majeure and the scene runs a little more than 3 minutes long. One of the avalanches sends a massive amount of snow down the mountainside. Ebba remarks: "Doesn't look controlled to me," but Tomas begins to take video footage with his camera anyway. The snow appears to be not stopping towards their dining area and what happens next doesn't cost any lives, but it does cost a break of trust between Tomas and Ebba. Within a split second, Tomas panics, runs, saving only himself, and leaves behind his family on the deck. Ebba instead grabs her two children and warps them into her arms, as any parent should. Tomas returns shortly after the snowy air begins to clear, but it is too late because Ebba has lost all respect for him.
From there, Force Majeure turns into a dark comedy and a brawling match between Tomas and Ebba. A game of tug-and-pull, their arguing will have you walking on eggshells. Force Majeure was a critical favorite and word-of-mouth sensation at the 2014's Cannes Festival, where it took home the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard. Östlund's wickedly funny film was also nominated for an Oscar — Best Foreign Language Film. I am sparing you the agony of watching 2020's half-baked English-remake, known as Downhill. In Downhill, all of the charm and comedy is evaporated into thin air. There's no room for Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell to fully grow into their characters, leaving us with an unsatisfying taste in our mouths. Downhill wants to be everything that Force Majeure was but still cannot muster up enough strength to be anything new either. So, allow me to save you some time and money: Right now, Östlund's Force Majeure is streaming on Hulu or you can rent it on Amazon Prime Video. Go quarantine yourself and watch this delicious Swedish treat.
This wannabe Force Majeure remake is rated R (Restricted) For language and some sexual material.
Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell
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