April Blind Spot Review: The Help (2011)

“God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me.”
– Aibileen Clark

SYNOPSIS: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. – via IMDB

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this, I did as little reading on it as possible. I was only told that it is really good and well worth the watch. The subject matter is something that interests me, and it wasn’t long before I realised that this was a movie I was going to enjoy based purely on the fact that the subject matter was handled from the perspective of women alone.

Let’s get right to this by saying that there are some great characters in this, and there are some truly reprehensible ones. Emma Stone is, of course, absolutely fantastic to watch here – sassy and strong. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are brilliant – also strong women – brave women. Then there is Jessica Chastain, and she is such a sweet, innocent character. These are all characters that you like. They had good chemistry and worked well together. I enjoyed watching Celia and Minny every second, and the relationship between Aibileen and Skeeter is also touching.  On the other side of the spectrum, there is only one I really need to mention here, and that is Bryce Dallas Howard. Her character is so cruel and mean, and Howard plays her so well that you resent her guts. Ugh. Nasty stuff. I get mad just thinking about her transgressions and views.

Anyway, telling the civil rights struggle from the perspective of the women was something new, and that it was being investigated by another woman was also good. So often we hear of the plight from men, but the women, too, had stories to tell. The movie managed to balance cruelty, humour, joy and sadness very well, but it must also be noted that the subject matter, while heavy, never gets as heavy as it could. Look at it as this being a lighter serious movie, if that makes sense. Simplistic, that would be the word I would use. Also probably safe. Drama, yes, but not on the levels of, say, The Colour Purple or American History X.

A sweet film that tackles some heavy issues, but never really going for the guts and glory, but certainly carried by stellar performances and a great cast, so as to elevate it to an enjoyable watch. The movie plays it safe, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing here. Worth a watch.

Rapid Review: The Martian (2015)


“I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”
– Mark Watney

SYNOPSIS: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. – via IMDB

the martian

GRADE 7This was something I was looking forward to seeing because, well, Matt Damon. Yep, I will watch the man anywhere. Knowing it was a Ridley Scott film, I was tentative (come on, Exodus is still way too fresh in our minds to dismiss). He can either be brilliant or he can really suck. But back to space? Sure. Right off the bat, my fiancé was not a happy camper by the time this was over. While he said it was good, he was hoping for something more like Interstellar or Alien, and he got neither, but this does not mean the movie was crappy, it’s just not something he is going to rush again. I know there are a few people that feel that way. So, for me, the movie really isn’t bad. I was entertained and there was a lot to like, even with the shortcomings of it. However, I certainly don’t feel that the movie is worth all the hype that is running rampant about it, truly. I was a huge fan of Matt Damon in this, he just totally owned that role of Mark Watney, and he was geeky, nerdy, hilarious and resourceful, and he was entertaining every second he was on screen (not that I expected any less). Also, let’s not forget Sebastian Stan in 3D, something I can always easily get on board with because so much deliciousness there – but I totally could have done with more of him on screen. I loved the science side of the movie, and how it came together. I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings reference in the movie because a) Lord of the Rings and b) Sean Bean was present for the whole thing! I thought seeing the multiple uses of duct tape to be fabulous and provided me with plenty laughs, and the disco music Watney was subjected to? Priceless, and made for a hilarious soundtrack to the film. The film is visually stunning, and I was mesmerised from the off by it. All of this, however, does not make a great movie, there were some things I took issue with. The biggest flaw of this movie is the fact that everything happening on Mars is fascinating and engrossing, but the Earth element just does not measure up and falls short in too many places. Let’s not forget the silliness that was Rich Purnell, and no, I do not say that in an endearing way. The character was annoying to the nth degree, and made me cringe. Not to mention the movie was filled with things slotting into place at just the right moment, and information coming to the fore at just the right time, which made it a little too convenient for me to fully buy into. I found Watney’s crew to be incredibly underutilised – come on, they could have been more present, Chastain was criminally underused here. Some of the zero gravity movement looked a bit stiff for me, and I was incredibly unimpressed with the way that Watney loses all that weight as he stays on Mars, and a body double was used to represent this, yet the moment he is back in his (skintight) suit, he is all buff again. The script and pacing was all over the show, as well, and I thought it lacked inventiveness. Despite all this, The Martian is shot wonderfully, showcases a solid return to form for Scott, and is worth a watch at least once even though it is riddled with some silly faults.

Rapid Review: Interstellar (2014)

interstellar poster

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
– Cooper

SYNOPSIS: In the near future Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen their lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage, into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.- via IMDB


GRADE 8.5This has, undoubtedly, been my most anticipated movie of 2014. I have talked my other half’s ear off about how I cannot wait for it, so naturally I had to go the minute it pitched up here. I was not going to waste a second of my time waiting to get to it seeing how Gone Girl aired for only thirteen days in my useless cinema. If I missed this, someone was going to burn. So, what with all my excitement and anticipation, how did it stack up? I must say that I was extremely impressed. Visually it was absolutely gorgeous, though I didn’t expect anything less on that front. A solid cast carried this story for us, and I thought the performances were great all round. Initially I was not over the moon to see Anne Hathaway in such a large role for it, but she managed to not irritate me to the end. I was thrilled to see Matt Damon, I do so thoroughly enjoy the man, and McConaughey was fantastic as the lead, Cooper. The casting of the actors to play the children (Mackenzie Foy and Timothée Chalamet) was wonderful, and I was especially pleased to see Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck play their grown counterparts. They fit the bill and were realistic and believable. I know that some people have complained about the dialogue being clunky, and also silly at times with explanations (such as explaining to an astronaut about a black hole in space), but I did not find this to be the case. I enjoyed most of their conversations (though at times it did get a little convoluted), and I was grateful for the explanations sprinkled throughout the movie, and the way it was done. It did not feel like Nolan was treating the cinema-goers like idiots, but rather just ensuring we were all on the same page, and I appreciated that. Naturally Hans Zimmer created a fantastic score to accompany the film, building up tension and emotion in all the right places, and coming in as nothing short of complementary. Interstellar manages to recreate some exceptionally sad emotional scenes, many of them stemming from the tapes that the astronauts are receiving from home in space. There was some humour in this film, which was lovely, but was certainly focused more on the dramatic aspect. I thought the multi-purpose robots were extremely cool, and I felt for Cooper, trying to be the best dad that he could. John Lithgow, as always, plays a wonderful fatherly/grandfatherly figure, and I always like seeing him, no matter how small his part. I do feel that Michael Caine could have been used more, but I understand that there were a lot of characters and time constraints. Interstellar is a long movie, but it is certainly a wonderful journey, even with the flaws that it has – as much as I have sung the praises, there are things that fall a little short of the mark, but were definitely not enough to cripple and ruin this movie for me. Interstellar was well worth the wait, in my opinion, and is a really good movie overall – most importantly, it is an experience. Christopher Nolan has, once again, delivered another stunning film, though this will certainly not be in a high running for taking over and outranking some of his other works.

Sporadic Scene: Lawless (2012) – Just Like You To Believe Your Own Legend

The Bondurant brothers were certainly incredibly interesting, and had some wicked legends surrounding them. What with their crazy lifestyle and extreme luck, is it any wonder that they soon bought into their own legends?

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).

Review: Take Shelter (2011)

take shelter movie poster

“You think I’m crazy? Well, listen up, there’s a storm coming like nothing you’ve ever seen, and not a one of you is prepared for it.
Curtis LaForche

SYNOPSIS: Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. – via IMDB


GRADE 7This was not a ground-breaking movie by a long shot and left me feeling a little let down at the best of times. Michael Shannon was fantastic to watch and played his character down to a tee. Jessica Chastain also impressed me in her role as Samantha. The movie felt very long, though it was not really a long film. In terms of watching a man dealing with the paranoia stemming from coming from a family of mental illness and his struggle to understand his current circumstances it was very interesting. The struggle he and his family went through to work it out and find a way to deal with it all was also very good. It  just feels like after two hours no much happened, though the character portrayal was very good. The drama aspect was impressive, and played out rather well, greatly acted. I think a large part of this movie’s success leans strongly on the actors and their abilities. Also, the suspense was good, though sometimes I felt that it missed out on it a bit. I like how the story kept to what it was supposed to be about: Curtis, his family, and his paranoia at his situation. Not a bad watch, I just think I expected a little bit more from it all.

Review: Mama (2013)

mama movie poster

“A ghost is an emotion bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself time and time again.”
– Dr Dreyfus’s Secretary

Jeffrey Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) rushes home after murdering his business partners and estranged wife in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. He picks up his two daughters, three-year-old Victoria (Megan Charpentie) and one-year-old Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse). He flees the town and on dangerous roads, in the middle of an argument with his daughter he loses control over his car and crashes over the edge. Coming to a stop, he takes his kids and starts to trek through the snow. They come across a cabin, and he is sure of some safety for a while. However, Jeffrey has a dark plan. He intends to murder his daughters and commit suicide. There is something in the house though, something that appears to wish to look after the girls, and that kills Jeffrey when he attempts to shoot Victoria.

Jeffrey’s identical twin brother Lucas has been incessantly looking for his brother and his nieces. No luck has come from it, though one day a rescue party discovers the car that Jeffrey fled in. The girls are found, but they are most certainly not the girls that were left behind. They are feral, angry, afraid and unapproachable. They are taken to a welfare clinic and analysed by a Dr Gerald Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash). Lucas is thrilled that the girls are home, and is intent on caring for them. His girlfriend Annabel Moore (Jessica Chastain) is not really up for the job – rocker and hard partier, she is not really equipped for dealing with children.

mama strange daughters
“Daddy, look! There’s a woman outside the window… and she’s not touching the floor.” – Victoria

The more Dreyfuss looks into what happened to the girls for all the years they were alone out there, the less he actually knows. The study of the girls is not really going quite as planned. Victoria seems to be opening up far more than her sister, though she keeps referring to “Mama”, who seems to be some illusion that the girls made up to survive while they were out in the wild. Lucas enters into a custody battle with the girls’ maternal aunt, Jean Podolski (Jane Moffat), and is almost on the brink of losing when Dreyfuss offers them a life-line: he continues to study the girls and their behaviour, and the clinic provides a house and grant. Naturally, they take it. However, strange things start happening in the house with the girls, and ultimately an attack by some unknown entity lands Lucas in the hospital, and the care of the girls’ lands squarely on Annabel’s shoulders.

mama monster thing
It materializes as a wig first…

Lilly is incredibly hostile and difficult to get alone with, though Annabel is making some form of progress with Victoria. Victoria warns Annabel about “Mama”, and Annabel eventually goes to Dreyfuss to help out. He starts investigating more seriously the claims the children have of “Mama” and her jealousy, and quickly begins to make some serious progress. Victoria has a story about “Mama”, which turns out to be true when Dreyfuss does further research. Lucas is also visited by nightmares and dreams similar to Annabel, and soon it seems that everyone is doing their own independent research into the matter.

“It is only the ability to embrace the different reality, that makes science expand beyond the limits of what we know.” – Dr Dreyfus

Will “Mama” continue to prove to be such a terribly jealous mother figure of the girls? Will Dreyfuss ever really work out what is going on with the girls? Will he ever be able to let go of all his schooling to look deeper into the supernatural rather than just books? Will Annabel ever feel safe around the girls, and when will Lucas be coming home to take over the burden of kids?

A 3/10 for Mama. I mean what the hell was that even all about? It came in so highly recommended from a friend (I didn’t really have too much faith in the opinion; our tastes vastly differ, but still). What an absolute disaster. The story premise started well enough, had that inexplicable and dark fairytale type of feel and then veered off course so quickly. Jessica Chastain is a really good actress, but was not the fit for the role at all. Her talents were a little wasted on this. The short, spiky, funky dark hair, Misfits tees and sleeved tats were just not her thing. There were gaping plot holes in this story, and the story itself was so flimsy, even without the massive holes lurking around it. It was like casting a giant net out to see what would catch and what could stick. Then, of course, there was the terrifying factor of being chased by a wig. Ooooooh scary! There was not nearly enough of anything decent to save this movie, in my opinion. It had a decent cast (bear in mind, decent, not phenomenal), what with the Kingslayer and all that, but just… no. The CGI in this film was truly some of the worst I have ever laid eyes on – in a while that is – and that is saying something! No, this is absolutely not worth checking out, but is seriously worth giving a skip. I do not know how this one got so popular or how it got raved about so much, but I for one was incredibly disappointed with the story, the effects, the overall everything about it.