Written and Directed by Michaela and Peter Spierig.
Box Office: 5.4 million USD IMdB: 7.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Metacritic: 69%
This was one of those movies that I just happened to watch by chance. I simply googled “movies with twists” and boom - Predestination shows up. I saw that the reviews were solid, and I always had a soft spot for Ethan Hawke. So, with my fiance Rachel and my friend Taja by my side, we sat down and watched this roller coaster of a movie.
For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.
Honestly, I tried to come up with a synopsis that explains this movie better than the IMdB one, but it’s simply impossible to explain. I mean, even if I was throwing spoilers your way, I’d still struggle to explain this movie. It’s one of those flickers where you find yourself googling other peoples’ take on the movie just to see if you interpreted the plot correctly.
Due to the confusing content of this movie, I’m finding it difficult to really judge the movie appropriately. So, I’m going to break this down into four simple categories.
-How well the movie is made
How well the movie is made:
Truthfully, no real flaws here. The film is shot beautifully and is able to take advantage of a unique time travel perspective that I haven’t seen before. Because of the constant twists and turns throughout the movie, it’s very easy to lose your audience from the confusion if the story isn’t being told well. With that said, Predestination does a wonderful job of creating a story that shocks you, while still being very much understandable.
Again, no complaints. Ethan Hawke does a tremendous job. Like I said before, I have a soft spot for him and seeing him shine in such a great film again was a pleasure. But he’s not alone here. There’s a tremendous performance from Sarah Snook, who is put in a position of playing very different personalities throughout the film. She handles this extremely well.
Like I said, it’s a roller coaster but watching this story play out, little by little, putting together the puzzle pieces along the way was an absolute pleasure. It’s written so creatively that there are so many times throughout that you think you have the film down. I found myself constantly guessing the ending, fully confident that I was nailing it… but I never did. It’s one of those movies where when it ends, you just want to keep discussing it. Hence, my ongoing rant here.
Without strong characters, this movie doesn’t work. You start with two characters at a bar and quickly learn to love them. As their stories unfold, it’s impossible to not be fully indulged. You care about these characters, and that is key for such an ambitious story.
Overall, Predestination was an absolute blast. If you’re like me and had no idea what it was, definitely go check it out. Don’t watch any trailers, don’t ready any more reviews, do nothing. Sit down, press play, and take it all in.
Directed by Jamie Blanks. Written by Donna Powers. Story by Tom Savage.
Box Office: 36.7 million USD IMDb: 4.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 12% Metacritic: 18%
Oh, the teen slasher genre! A genre that I miss so dearly, but films like Valentine really help me understand why it's gone...
Woah! Hold up Valentine fans! I'm not saying I hated the movie. Quite honestly, to be brief, I actually really enjoyed it. But I also understand why films like Valentine killed off the teen slasher genre so quickly.
It is the late 1980's. At a high school dance, young nerdish-looking Jeremy Melton is spurned & insulted by every girl he asks to dance, except one named Dorothy. Later they start making out under the bleachers until a group of bullies discover them, and Dorothy says Jeremy attacked her. The boys further humiliate Jeremy by violently assaulting him & pulling off his clothes. About 12 years later, those same girls are in their twenties and enjoying the dating scene. But Jeremy has mysteriously disappeared. After one of the girls, Shelley has a date with an arrogant loser, she is savagely murdered in her medical school's anatomy lab by a tall, sinister man dressed in a dark coat and wearing a cherub mask. Just before her death, Shelley received a threatening Valentine's Day card. The other girls soon start receiving similar cards shortly after, and one at a time, they start dying violently. When police inform them that Jeremy Melton has not been seen or heard from for many years, Dorothy speculates that he may have had plastic surgery and worked out to change his appearance. Kate has recently found herself a new boyfriend but Dorothy suspects he may in fact be Jeremy, using his new look to get close to the girls who spurned him so many years before...and seeking revenge...
-Derek O'Cain via IMDb
I have been requested to watch this movie probably hundreds of times (I'm looking at you Zach Donato). Now after seeing it, I'm so upset with myself that I waited this long. Valentine is simply another Scream (1996) ripoff. It follows the formula we all know and love - Group of kids get into trouble they shouldn't be, killer starts hacking off these guilty kids, we as an audience start guessing away at who the killer is.
I will say that Valentine does bring a handful of "surprises" along the way that differ from the typical teen slasher formula; however, I say surprises loosely, as they are all ultimately quite predictable.
A huge redeeming factor for this film is that it stars David Boreanaz, or perhaps better know as Angel from the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This fact was clearly apparent to the film-makers, as they slip in a very cheeky Angel reference that had me grinning ear to ear.
Alongside Boreanaz, we have Marley Shelton as Kate Davies. To be honest, Shelton's performance is perfectly fine for the film, but all I could think about was her as Deputy Judy Hicks in Scream 4 (2011). So, ultimately I found myself very frustrated with her...
Truthfully, there isn't much to say about Valentine... At least while avoiding spoilers. It does exactly what it set out to do at the time - create a cheap teen slasher film to take advantage of the post-Scream hype. For this reason, I really enjoyed it, but I also really enjoyed I Still Know What You Did Last Summer...
It's clear to me why the critic reviews are so low, but I would never give this movie a 12% like Rotten Tomatoes claims.
Don't be fooled by my rating. I did enjoy Valentine. For me, it's a fun ride with a handful of sometimes predictable twists. You like I Know What You Did Last Summer? You'll like this.
Directed by Sidney Lumet. Written by Jay Presson Allen. Story by Ira Levin
Box office: $19,282,134 IMDB: 7/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 71% Metacritic: 54%
My fiance Rachel and I have an ongoing tradition where anytime we have some free time, we will sit down and watch a murder mystery/whodunit movie. That tradition continued the other night, and as I was scrolling through my phone on the hunt for a juicy mystery, Deathtrap caught my eye. Starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve, the cast alone was enough to make this worth checking out.
Deathtrap follows once-successful playwright Sidney Bruhl (Michael Caine) after his latest Broadway effort bombs on its opening night, leading him to tumble into despair -- until he receives a package from his former student Clifford Anderson (Christopher Reeve). Inside is an unproduced script that's better than anything Sidney has written in years. At the urging of his wife, Myra (Dyan Cannon), Sidney undertakes a plan to lure Clifford to his country home, murder him and then announce the script as his own work.
The movie basically shows like a play. It takes advantage of very wide shots and extremely long takes, giving this sense of a theater performance. That said, at no point does this really become distracting or boring. Right away, I'll say that this doesn't play like your typical whodunit movie. You're not dealing with a very large cast at all, so there's truly not many people to suspect. It seems like a cut and dry murder that you're just watching play out; however, the film takes a twist about halfway through.
We end up seeing a lot more than just a simple murder, which has you questioning every action each character takes for the rest of the film. As a result, we are left as a very uncomfortable audience, feeling the tension created by an element of suspense. Deathtrap is very different than any murder mystery I've seen before, and it manages to take stabs at a genre that has been overdone all too many times before. In this manner, it's very similar to SCREAM (1996), which pokes fun and 'parodies' the slasher genre. In a way, Deathtrap is doing the same thing, but bringing a twist to the murder mystery genre.
As for the cast, seeing Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve manage such a unique tension was extremely fascinating for me. Christopher Reeve, the man I've always know as Clark Kent (Superman), actually has moments of being genuinely creepy. To see such a handsome, 'pretty' man like him be so creepy... It was like Christian Bale in American Psycho (2000).
All in all, it was a fun ride that definitely delivers a handful of twists. I can't say that the movie left me stunned and shocked at the outcome, but it definitely had me expecting a different ending. Rachel thought the same as well. She tends to struggle to watch older films (I know, 1982 is old?). As a result, when the film first started, she didn't seem too into the film for the first third of it. When the film picked up pace however, she bought in and really enjoyed it. I'd say if you're looking for a fun, little murder mystery on a rainy night, give Deathtrap a watch. It doesn't disappoint.