Prisoners

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From the writer of ‘Contraband’ Aaron Guzikowski and the exceptional director of ‘Incendies’, Denis Villeneuve, ‘Prisoners’ is a hard-hitting, brutally realistic film that will shock you.

It’s an ordinary Thanksgiving and two families have gathered for a feast in good company.  Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a man who likes to prepare for the unexpected (like one of those “Preppers” you see in reality tv).  He’s got a good heart and loves his family, especially his youngest daughter who has a preoccupation with a red whistle (used in emergency situations), that neither she or her dad can find.

After Thanksgiving dinner, the Dover girl asks if she and her friend can go look for the whistle.  The parents, a little distracted by the holiday season, unwittingly agrees, thinking the girls’ older siblings will be accompanying them in the search…. The next thing they know, the girls are missing and no one has seen them.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Detective Loki, who is assigned to the case of the missing girls.  He’s a weathered cop and realizes the slim chances of finding the girls with every hour that passes.  With both the detective and Dover in absolute desperation, they both go about their own ways of trying to find the girls before it’s too late.

As the audience, you will find yourself trying to solve the very mystery the characters are also trying to solve… it becomes a very disturbing and chilling game of cat and mouse and one with an ending that will have you gasping.

8/10

 

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Ego

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Ego is a wonderfully thoughtful Swedish film starring Martin Wallstrom and Mylaine Hedreul.

Wallstrom stars as Sebastian, a young, good looking (and-proud-of-it) wannabe singer/musician who spends his nights picking up girls for one night stands and his days being a lazy employee at a clothing store, whilst wishing and hoping for that lucky break at a record deal to ignite his road to stardom.

As luck should have it, his meeting with a production company was successful and upon hearing the good news, he plans a celebratory night out with his friends.  On route to the nightclub, Sebastian walks into a sign post and loses his sight from the freak accident.

Spoilt Sebastian doesn’t handle the life in darkness well, until a new personal care assistant is assigned to him, a young down to earth girl named Mia.  They bond over Mia’s witty sense of humor, however when Mia learns the types of girls Sebastian is usually fond of (Blonde model types), she lies about her own looks to keep Sebastian’s interest in her.

As their relationship begins to take another level and Sebastian undergoes an operation to regain his sight, Mia struggles with the possibility of rejection when Sebastian becomes aloof and distant towards her after seeing her for the first time.

Overall a lovely heart-felt story with great performances.

8/10

 

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Crush

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A tale of twists and misconceptions, Crush follows protagonist/antagonist Bess (played by Crystal Reed).

Bess is completely infatuated with high school heart throb and star athlete, Scott.

What is interesting about this story is how it also integrates other sub plots of “crushes” experienced by the supporting characters… Some innocent… some maybe not.

Crystal Reed does a fantastic job in the role of Jess, from her awkward body language, quiet voice, she also has a likeable quality where you feel her inner pain, no matter what strife her character seems to cause.

Lucas Till (who plays Scott),  isn’t as convincing in his role.  While he looks every bit the part of the sought after athlete, it was hard to believe his character’s motivations.  He never seemed that interested in his love interest, he never seemed very conflicted with his issues with his work-o-holic dad, or his pressure filled sports scholarship.  Nor did he ever seem very scared at the strange happenings with his “crush”.

Although there are a few plot holes and the ending wasn’t written or executed with the same finesse as the rest of the film, the opening scene of Crush was definitely a high light and show stopper.  Featuring a little girl and boy sitting on the roof of their house, chatting like kids do when the boy suddenly reveals he had been kissed by another girl… The girl beside him clearly heart broken turns away… only to turn back with vengeance in her eyes and pushes the boy off the roof… without hesitation, she lets him fall to his death.

Overall, an entertaining watch, with great camera point of views from the DOP of this film.

6.5/10

 

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Disconnect

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Disconnect is a great timely intertwining story people of today can absolutely relate to.  With the boom and obsession with social media and technology, this film captures the stories of different characters and how negatively The Internet and modern life has impacted them.

From a detached and lonely teen, to his equally lonely bully, to a man who hates his job who can no longer connect with his grieving wife after the loss of their child.

Right from the get go, Disconnect immerses you into the story with a shocking and repulsive start.  It draws you into the story, making you want to learn more about the characters immediately.

This film goes where most films are scared to go, depicting issues and characteristics of human nature which are often thought of as “taboo”.

Great performances by Jason Bateman, ‘Crazy Stupid Love’s Jonah Bobo and Haley Ramm, the acting talent in this film are top notch.

One criticism would be about the end, where the rest of the film seemed very realistic and uncensored, the end seemed a bit too “vanilla”, a bit too “nice”, politically correct if you will.  It seemed as if they played down the severity of the stories for mainstream benefit… which would have been a shame, because I would have loved to see a more hard hitting finale.

8.5/10

 

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