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Archives for : October2016

Movie Review: “Certain Women” is a Beautifully Shot Snoozefest

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There is beauty in simplicity, but there is also simply boring. I may come off a little harsh with Kelly Reichardt’s latest film, “Certain Women”, but unfortunately it’s hard to get captivated by the slow pace of each story-line and the dull main characters.

The film is essentially broken up into three parts as we follow three women whose lives intersect. They are adapted from several short stories by Montana writer Maile Meloy.

In the first story we meet Laura Wells (Laura Dern), a small town lawyer who’s having an affair with a married man. She is dealing with a frustrating client (Jared Harris), who was injured on the job and wants to pursue a case against his employer.

After that we are introduced to Gina (Michelle Williams) and her husband (James Le Gros), who was seen in the previous segment. The two have just finished a camping trip with their teenage daughter Guthrie (Sara Rodier). They visit their elderly neighbor, Albert (Rene Auberjonois) to purchase a pile of sandstone that’s been sitting in his front yard for years. Gina wants to use it for a getaway cottage she plans to build. This is by far, the most uninteresting part of the film.

Finally, the more intriguing moment of the movie is when we see Jamie (Lily Gladstone), a rancher; randomly walk into a night class she’s not registered for. The class is intended to teach the history of public education policy in the U.S. But it’s not the subject that fascinates Jamie; it’s the nervous young lawyer, Beth (Kristen Stewart), who’s the unfortunate instructor. Basically, she is forced to teach the class and has to endure a four hour commute. Soon enough, she befriends Jamie and after class they routinely go to a local diner for a quick dinner as Jamie just watches her eat. For Jamie, seeing Beth is the highlight of her week, however, Beth does not value their time together nearly as much.

By the time the film concludes, we have seen the very minor ways these three women’s lives intertwine. Ultimately, Reichardt does a good job of portraying the overdone, general theme of isolation and the difficulty of communication. But it’s the actual stories that don’t give you enough meat to bite into. Hardly anything pulls you in; with the exception of Jamie’s borderline stalking of Beth (maybe a full story on her might have been more satisfying).

On the positive side, the performances are strong and Christopher Blauvelt’s cinematography is about the only thing that truly shines in “Certain Women”.

Rating: 2/5

Certain Women opens in theaters October 28.

“Certain Women” Official Trailer HD

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Movie Review: “The Girl on the Train” is a Messy, yet Intriguing Thrill Ride

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Emily Blunt isn’t the only one taking a ride in The Girl on the Train. The audience should be warned of the many back and forth jumps throughout this mystery thriller.

The film follows Rachel (Emily Blunt), a divorced alcoholic who spends everyday on a train ride that passes her old neighborhood. She watches a couple, Megan and Scott (Haley Bennett and Luke Evans), whom she views as “perfect” and almost lives vicariously through them. All the while she still tries to contact her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), who is now happily married and with a baby.

One day during Rachel’s usual stare at Megan and Scott’s house, she notices Megan kissing another man out on her balcony and freaks out! Completely wrecked by the fact that Megan would “throw it all away”, Rachel gets even more drunk and angry. When she stumbles off the train that night she sees a blur that looks like Megan. She wakes up the next morning in her place with a bloody head, and unaware of anything that happened the night before. Ironically, Megan has now gone missing, and Rachel is determined to find out what happened to her.

If you find reading that premise at all confusing, it’s even more of a mess watching it. To be fair, by the end everything ties together and there are no loose ends. But it might be a struggle getting there for some.

Yes, the plot might have been poorly executed, but that doesn’t make the story any less fun. From the moment the film began, I was on the edge of my seat trying to add up of every clue and anticipating the expected twist. Though the climax and the unveiling of surprises are far from Gone Girl standards, they were still satisfying none-the-less.

What’s certain is the subtle yet believable performance Emily Blunt gives as a functioning alcoholic. She stays committed the whole way through. So much so, that her character can be extremely frustrating at times.

The Girl on the Train may not please everyone. And yes, Tate Taylor’s direction is less than adequate as he struggles to give a steady flowing narrative. Luckily the mystery and story alone are enough to keep this ride interesting.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Girl on the Train opens in theaters October 7

“The Girl on the Train” Official Trailer HD

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