Connect with us

Movies News

Rebecca Hall in ‘Resurrection’: Film Review | Sundance 2022

Published

on

Rebecca Hall in ‘Resurrection’: Film Review | Sundance 2022

A year ago at Sundance, Rebecca Hall proved herself to be an accomplished filmmaker with the premiere of the eloquent drama Passing, her first feature as director. Now she is back at the festival as the star of Resurrection, a reminder of how bold and powerful she is as an actress. Writer and director Andrew Semans puts Hall in every scene of this modest but effective thriller, and she comes through with a stunning, charismatic performance as Margaret, a woman whose traumatic past disrupts the calm life she has built as a successful businesswoman and single mother of a college-age daughter.

In a scene nearly halfway through the film, Hall looks into the camera, her face illuminated in close-up against a deep black background. She delivers an eight-minute monologue — ostensibly to a colleague who is off-camera, but really to the audience — describing in detail the terrible events she endured 22 years before, a life-changing experience even worse than what we might have imagined it to be. The scene is expository and theatrical, an approach you wouldn’t expect to work on screen, but Hall makes it captivating.

Resurrection

The Bottom Line

Sharp and creepy.

Advertisement

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Premieres)

Cast: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, Grace Kaufman, Michael Esper, Angela Wong Carbone

Writer-director: Andrew Semans


1 hour 43 minutes

That scene also displays how smartly Semans takes risks with genre elements, pushing them to the edge of cliche without crossing over. Few of them are as theatrical as Margaret’s revelation. But as her life and sanity begin to fall apart, Semans playfully borrows from myriad stalker films and even edges toward a Sixth Sense element of the supernatural. The narrative sticks to Margaret’s point of view, which keeps us constantly off-guard and guessing right through to the bloody, horror-tinged end.

Advertisement

The buildup is a bit too slow, as the film establishes Margaret’s character and her world in upstate New York. With a neat bob of hair and a grey business suit, she is the image of corporate efficiency, although more tightly wound than most. In an opening scene that seems to telegraph the future, or might just be a red herring, she harshly advises a younger colleague to dump the controlling boyfriend she has been seeing.

The plot kicks in when Margaret attends a biotech conference, looks across the room and spots a man (Roth) whose presence makes her start to tremble and run from the building in a panic. He is, of course, the man from her past, David, who seems to be stalking her. He lurks in a big box store where she is shopping with her daughter. Another day he is suspiciously sitting on a park bench near her. When she confronts him, his response ramps up the tension and the questions about what might have happened. The screenplay cleverly gives us partial answers to some of the mysteries as we go along, without sacrificing any of the suspense.

Roth makes David slightly desiccated, placid on the surface but also sinister and unhinged — unless Margaret herself is the unhinged person, who only imagines that he is threatening to harm her daughter, Abbie. Determined to protect her child, Margaret reassures her, “Don’t be scared,” but the only thing frightening Abbie is her mother’s unexplained, overbearing anxiety. While maintaining  Margaret’s rigid exterior, Hall also makes her increasingly wild-eyed. Grace Kaufman is completely natural as Abbie, who becomes concerned about her mother’s state of mind as the guilt, grief and distress of the past returns.

Semans has surrounded himself with a first-rate off-camera team. Resurrection looks fantastic: Wyatt Garfield’s cinematography and Anna Kathleen’s production design create a gleaming, brightly lit world that is far from the dark cliches of most thrillers. Hall is often reflected in mirrors, even in the big box store. She takes runs in sparkling clear sunlight, and lives in a modern, white-walled apartment that reflects the sharp, clean lines of the new life she has tried to create. And when she does begin to skulk around in the dark — because what’s a thriller without that? — shafts of brilliant light create dazzling contrasts.

Resurrection is Semans’ second feature. His first, the deft Nancy, Please (2012), was another story of twisted psychology, in which the hero, furious at a belligerent former roommate, is slowly revealed to be an emotional nightmare himself.  Semans’ astute revamping of genres and confident direction were apparent from the start.

Advertisement

Movies News

Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Published

on

By

Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

Advertisement

The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

Advertisement

Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movies News

Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

Published

on

By

According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

Advertisement

To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

Continue Reading

Movies News

Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

Published

on

By

Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

Advertisement

Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

Continue Reading

Trending