Review: The Voices (2014)

the voices poster

“Friday I had a pretty cushy gig. Had lots of friends, I was the office hottie… now I’m a severed head in a fridge. Sucks to be me, Jerry.”
– Fiona

SYNOPSIS: A likable guy pursues his office crush with the help of his evil talking pets, but things turn sinister when she stands him up for a date. – via IMDB

It’s amazing. Things went from this:

the voices pizza scarf

to this pretty rapidly, and it was awesome!

the voices stabbing

GRADE 7Honestly, I watched The Voices because I read a bit about it on Ryan’s site (review here), and also because I needed to do research. Ryan Reynold research for science, of course. Needless to say, he was well worth the watch. It also turned out that The Voices is a better watch than you would actually initially give it credit for (not just a comedy).

I was incredibly impressed by the beautiful albeit slightly boring world that Jerry has. Crappy job, maybe, but he goes home to a pretty neat little apartment and his pets, his loyal and caring dog Bosco who absolutely loves him and Mister Whiskers, who is so freaking insane you can only laugh. He is grumpy and angry and nasty to boot, but Jerry loves him anyway. It soon becomes evident that Jerry’s mind is not as stable as it should be. You pity him because of how he is treated by Fiona, though you can sort of understand why he would have difficulty picking a woman like that up. His looks have nothing to do with it, but his social skills are lacking in the absolute extreme.

Where the movie really won me over, really got me on board, was when you peeled back the layer and saw the world as it really is, not the cushy little version that Jerry has. It is absolutely disgusting. His home is nasty and a wreck, his mind is permanently making things prettier than they are, and it seems that he will get away with everything because he has himself so sheltered and is such a loner. Also goes to show how disinterested people are, otherwise someone would have surely know that something was up with him!

I really liked the way that the storytelling was done. You get to see how Jerry understands and feels about it all, as well as the harsh reality. Nothing is given up immediately, but you are given the information you need in increments, so your view on Jerry slowly but surely deteriorates and changes, too. The humour in here is good, though dark, but I am a fan of that. The movie seamlessly crosses between hilarity and a more serious, disturbing side, which is something movies like this struggle to do most times.

The performances were pretty on the ball all round, too, and the characters were entertaining and not overly shallow, though none were as fleshed out as Jerry. I loved how this movie gets you thinking after you scratch the surface, to really look into the mind of a psychopath – this was an element that worked wonders here. The Voices did have issues in places, undeniably, but overall is certainly worth the watch if you are looking for a horror/thriller comedy and something that is a little different.

Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

silver linings playbook poster

“Nikki’s waiting for me to get in shape and get my life back together. Then we’re going to be together.”
– Pat Solitano Jr

Pat Solitano, Jr (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental hospital after serving eight months as was the minimum amount of time agreed upon by the courts. Pat was treated for bipolar disorder, something that was previously undiagnosed and something that irrevocably changed his life. He is released into the care of his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and his father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), and moves in with them. Pat has changed his life and is eager to reconcile with his wife, Nikki, who is a big reason he ended up in the hospital. She cheated on him with a colleague, causing Pat to give the guilty man a terrible beating. He will hear nothing of the fact that his marriage is over. Pat learns his parents seem to be struggling financially a bit and that his father has turned to illegal bookmarking to get money together to open a restaurant.

silver linings playbook family
“Let me tell you, I know you don’t want to listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine, and I am telling you you gotta pay attention this time.” – Pat Solitano Sr

Pat is upset about the restraining order that Nikki had taken out against him and that it is still in effect, though he is sure that he is getting his life together and that she will take him back when she realises this. Pat is seeing his court-mandated therapist Dr Patel (Anupam Kher), who is doing his utmost to help Pat out so that he will not be hospitalised again. Pat is getting to a better place in his life, and Patel sees this, though there are still issues that need to be worked out. Pat shares a lot with his therapist, including his new positive outlook on life, enshrined by the term “excelsior”. Pat is invited to dinner one night at his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles). At dinner he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), Veronica’s widowed sister, whom he feels is completely socially stunted. The two seem to get along, especially when discussing medication, yet by the end of the night they are at extreme odds again, matters which are exacerbated by the fact that Pat turned down her offer of sex.

silver linings playbook letter
“I have a problem? You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things.” – Tiffany Maxwell

Soon, though, Tiffany starts popping up everywhere and is relentless. Pat gets over thinking of her as a slut and thinking of her as a useful tool to get in touch with Nikki again. Naturally, it is a quid pro quo relationship, and Tiffany has Pat promise that he will participate in an upcoming dance competition with her. As reluctant as he is, he finally agrees to do it. Pat is sure that the competition will be the thing to show Nikki that he is a changed man and that they have a chance. Pat Sr. on the other hand is angry that his son is always out and about with Tiffany. Pat Sr. wants Pat at home, he is convinced that Pat is his lucky charm to get the Philadelphia Eagles to win their games. Pat is torn in two directions, and soon discovers that he likes Tiffany more than he should, and she is most certainly interested in him, crushed that he cannot see her through his obsession with a cheating woman who does not deserve him.

silver linings playbook dance lessons
“This is what I learned at the hospital. You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, you have a shot at a silver lining.” – Pat Solitano Jr

Pat Sr. has Pat attend a Philadelphia Eagles game, meaning Pat will miss his dance practise with Tiffany, and being there will win his dad the game he bet basically all their money on. Instead Pat and his brother Jake (Shea Whigham) get into a fight along with Dr Patel, and the Eagles lose the game. Tiffany is outraged that Pat made a commitment and didn’t stick to it, and Pat Sr. is in a state over losing all his money. To even things out Randy (Paul Herman) and Pat Sr. make a parlay with one another: the Eagles will win and Tiffany and Pat will score at least a 5 in their upcoming dance competition. Will Pat Sr. win the money back that he needs for the restaurant? Will Tiffany and Pat be able to work through their silly drama? Will they be able to score the 5 to make the parlay a winner for Pat Sr.? Will Nikki and Pat be able to reconcile now that Pat has turned his whole life around? Will Pat ever fully be in control of his problems?

A 7/10 for Silver Linings Playbook. I have never actually just gotten to this movie, despite how popular it got, despite how much it is recommended to me, none of it. Eventually, though, as always, I got to it. I had a good time with this movie, it really had me smiling and laughing with it. For one, Jennifer Lawrence completely stole the show for me, and was certainly worth her Oscar win. She was absolutely crazy yet adorable at the same time. She was intelligent and funny but not even remotely normal, and it worked. Bradley Cooper was fantastic, and the chemistry that he and Lawrence shared was just brilliant, and they complemented each other so well. I know this sounds crazy, but I knew almost nothing about this movie going in, and I liked the fact that I was not really aware of what was to come. There was plenty to laugh at, and plenty that brought it down to a more serious tone. De Niro was very good here, and it was nice to see him with a better role than usual nowadays. Jacki Weaver was so well cast as Dolores Solitano, she just worked the mother well. She was timid yet supportive, shy yet loving; she managed to balance out her husband just well. Pat Solitano, Sr. was terribly entertaining, the way that his allegiances just flicked around. Chris Tucker provided some smiles with his strange personality and funny friendship with Pat. I must say that this was a good movie, a bit soppy at times but heartwarming nonetheless and flawed , no doubt, but definitely worth checking out, even if only for Lawrence’s performance.

Review: Stoker (2013)

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“He used to say, sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse.”
– India Stoker

India Stoker (Mia Masikowska) turns eighteen and receives a horrific gift – her father, Richard (Dermot Mulroney), is killed in a violent car accident. Not knowing what to do, she draws into herself even more. She is acutely aware of the senses, and very unhappy when at her father’s wake, his brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode), turns up. Her unstable mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), seems rather taken with his charms and good looks, and it upsets India. However, things get worse when he announces that he is going to be staying with them to look after his brother’s family.

stoker bed and shoes
“Have you outgrown your shoes?” – Mrs McGarrick

Charlie has many tales of travelling the world, and Evelyn seems very engaged with Charlie. India, on the other hand, does not care much for him. Mrs McGarrick (Phyllis Somerville) argues with Charlie, and soon after the head caretaker disappears. Charlie attempts to befriend India, though she coldly turns him away constantly, and is very unhappy with how intimate he and her mother are getting. Something is wrong with Charlie, India is sure of it, but has no idea what. After a dismally short visit from her great aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver), who is most definitely not Charlie’s biggest fan, India wants to know more about Charlie, but cannot find her.

India is dealing with her own issues at school, as well as the mockery that she has to abide due to her mother’s seeming romance with her deceased father’s brother. It does not make for a good combination, as India is already not an incredibly popular girl. India digs more and more into Charlie’s history, and makes some rather gruesome discoveries about him of her own. India knows more about Charlie than she should, and his slightly weird and psychopathic tendencies, but she says nothing. After a shared ordeal, however, she seems to start to let her guard down around her uncle and becomes closer with him, though she has become more prone to lashing out.

stoker family too close
“Personally speaking I can’t wait to watch life tear you apart.” – Evie Stoker

What will India do with the information that she has on Charlie? Why is he so intent on befriending her? Will India continue to act out to harshly due to the knowledge she bears, or will she find a new way to channel that frustration? Will Charlie and her mother take that final step, and if so, how will India deal with her father’s brother being the new man in her mother’s life?

stoker uncle charlie
“We don’t need to be friends. We’re family.” – India

A 7/10 for Stoker. I am still not one hundred percent sure what it is that I watched with this, but I do know that it kept me watching. Slow paced and definitely odd, it keeps you wondering. It is more the effects and lack of anything sudden that happens that keeps you guessing, and everything looked rather pretty. The dialogue was pretty decent, though I thought Nicole Kidman’s character was really questionable. I mean who jumps for their deceased husband’s brother the moment he walks through the door? Dodgy, I tell you. However, Mia Wasikowska impressed me as India, the introverted and odd girl. The progression of the film was decent, though slow as I have said, but not really dull in any places, or any particular feeling of wanting to hurry it up. You get lulled into the story. I just had to wonder more often than not at the things that were happening – it was superbly odd, and that family has some particular issues. A decent watch and a decent movie, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.