REVIEW: The Help

The Help
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Written by: Tate Taylor (screenplay), Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard

More than anything- its Civil Rights message, its 60s send-back, its self-awareness of both- Tate Taylor’s film adaptation of The Help is more proof that female-driven movies outside the rom-com purgatory are infiltrating the mainstream.   That is the edgiest thing about it by far. As many critics have already remarked, it is a fairly safe movie.  It tackles racism in Jackson, Mississippi in the time period surrounding the assassination of Medgar Evers and John F. Kennedy.

Like AMC’s Mad Men, it dresses its stars (or the white ones at least) in irresistibly colorful dresses and tortures their hair into ridiculously smoothed-out contortions.  Unlike that show, it is aware of when it takes place.  This script, written by the director Tate Taylor, anticipates everything it’s going to throw at you.

Continue reading

Advertisements

REVIEW: Hereafter

Hereafter
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Peter Morgan
Starring: Matt Damon, Cécile De France, Frankie McLaren, and George McLaren

As it turns out, exploring the issue of aging is best done behind the camera (stars of Red, take note.)  Clint Eastwood’s dark, pensive new film finds this busy director staying busy and still addressing the issues everyone else his age stops and spends months on.

So, what does happen when we die?  Eastwood doesn’t know, and be thankful he doesn’t pretend to either, though this is still a confident, masterfully directed film.  The overly-spiritual moments conveyed in the trailer simply don’t do it justice.

Continue reading

If they were in television… M. Night Shyamalan

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Notable Films: The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, The Happening

Famous for: Films with ridiculously unprecedented twists endings, supernatural science fiction, making cameos in his movies and crediting himself as an actor, films that lose money, The Sixth Sense

Hypothetical premise: A selfless, middle-aged heart surgeon is traumatized by the loss of his bride and mother of his children in her suicide attempt that he could not prevent or save her from after he spent a the night drinking. Now sworn sober and a dedicated father, he deals with painful flashbacks and alienation from people in his life who are much more perfect than he is. Almost too perfect. As he begins searching for cause of his wife’s suicide, he realizes it may not have been a suicide at all, instead it was a highly plotted murder carried out by the town’s council who wants to seduce the male lead and pull the memories of his wife away and replace them with memories of her. Of course, only something so mischievous and supernatural could be done by the queen of a water nymph town where no humans were allowed to leave. Escape is a world away. Each episode ends with him finding out he is in a different time period, on a different planet, as a different character. Enter aliens. Apocalypse. Continue reading