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Wildling (2018)

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Genre : FantasyHorror
Country : United States
Director: Fritz Böhm

Cast:
Liv Tyler
Brad Dourif
Bel Powley

 

 

One of my favorite things about horror movies is the chance to see major stars appear in a scary movie before their big break. Who would have thought that Jennifer Aniston would be one of the highest paid actresses on television after Leprechaun? Or that the third sequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre would feature not just one but two Academy Award winners in Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey? Far less common is when a major star to become more known for their work in horror as they get older. It just doesn’t seem to happen. And while actors like Ben Kingsley and Jeremy Irons have dabbled in genre film few have embraced it like Brad Dourif.

After an extensive career on the stage Dourif gained notoriety in his very first film as Billy Bibbit in cinematic classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nominated for an Academy Award and winning a Golden Globe he would have roles in cult classics like Dune and Blue Velvet. While he would become known as a supporting player and a respected character actors his life would change when he was cast as Chucky in Child’s Play. Since then he has become an icon of horror with memorable performances in Body Parts, The Exorcist III and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Still going strong with Cult of Chucky and Ready Player One his latest role is in the dark fairy tale, Wildling.

Raised in isolation, teenager Anna has only known “Daddy” her entire life. A man who has done everything he could to keep her from the outside world. When she is suddenly thrust into the rest of the world she comes to live with the woman who found her, Sheriff Ellen Cooper. Struggling with her place in the world, Ana soon learns that the truth behind the stories Daddy would tell her.

 

For an independent production, Wildling has quite the impressive cast. A horror veteran Brad Dourif is perfectly cast as Daddy. Despite a lack of screen time he makes the most of it telling a young Anna about the Wildlings, creatures with razor sharp teeth and claws that are searching for her. Part cryptkeeper and part loving father his simple yet creepy storytelling goes a long way in setting the tone for this fantasy-horror film. But as good as he and c0-star Liv Tyler are in their roles this movie truly belongs to Bel Powley.

Bel Powley is put in a tough spot as Anna. For most of the film she is silent, saying little more than a few words on screen. She has to go from unknowing prisoner to a sheltered girl being introduced to the world saying few words. Luckily for Wildling, Powley is more than up to the task. Originally presented as your classic fish out of water story you can practically see the cogs move behind Anna’s big, blue eyes in every scene. Thrust into a world she doesn’t quite understand the fear and confusion at how the world works is evident. At the same time, she never lets you forget about how menacing she can be. Throughout the film she displays quick and sudden movements showing off a more animalistic side hinted at throughout the film. A side that builds more and more as the Wildling goes on. It’s the kind of performance that sticks with you days after you finish watching.

I was equally impressed by writer-director Fritz Böhm. His first feature film he does a great job crafting a creature feature reminiscent of classics like 2000’s Ginger Snaps. He was able to find the perfect balance of fantasy, drama and horror, particularly during the first two acts. Böhm also isn’t afraid to let loose when it comes to the gore. Never feeling excessive, he is still more than willing to showcase some killer effects. Sadly, it starts to fall apart during the final act. While the first few acts are more about Anna discovering the truth about her ancestry and adjusting to a normal life the last half hour or so feels off. It’s as if Böhm felt the need to add a typical werewolf film ending but didn’t have enough time to build up to it. It’s the rare case where the film would have benefited from a good 15 or 20 minutes more.

 

Of all the monsters werewolves are perhaps the most versatile when it comes to storytelling. Due to their nature they can be either straight up monster movie or metaphors ranging from puberty to lost innocence. Wildling tries to do both to mixed results. The components are certainly there with stellar cast and a versatile debuting director. Even the story, while perhaps too familiar, is unique enough to stand out on its own. Unfortunately, a rushed third act leaves what could have been an engrossing dark fairy tale missing its happily ever after.

Rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

Wildling is available on VOD on April 13th, 2018

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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fantasy

Wonka Review | Delectable And Delightful

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Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Plot

Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

From Paul King, writer/director of the “Paddington” films, David Heyman, producer of “Harry Potter,” “Gravity,” “Fantastic Beasts” and “Paddington,” and producers Alexandra Derbyshire (the “Paddington” films, “Jurassic World: Dominion”) and Luke Kelly (“Roald Dahl’s The Witches”), comes an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor.

Starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Movie Review (no spoilers)

This movie is an adaptation of both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stories written by Road Dahl. The story takes Wonka on his journey into the world to start a chocolate business, but with all new ventures comes challenges, new friends and the obvious foes who will stand in the way of your dreams.

Timothée Chalamet delivers an excellent performance as Wonka alongside an energetic cast. I really enjoyed and appreciate the passion and energy Timothée brought to this movie. The choreography and the costumes was creatively done and on another level.

Wonka combines a feel-good story with musical elements, heartfelt messages and occasional humoristic elements from Hugh Grant. The story is as sweet as the chocolate and I hope that the factory will keep going as the story ends in such a way that it gives hope and the possibility of more stories and adventures of Wonka. 

No post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The movie trailer doesn’t spoil much of the main storyline. The movie has a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes.

I give this movie a 4.5 out of 5!

This movie made me feel like singing, and I leave this song adaptation for you:

“Oompa loompa doompety doo,”
At the movies I hope to see you,
“Oompa loompa doompety dee,”
Wonka’s movie, you must see!

Wonka Official Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)

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fantasy

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Part 1 Review: An Epic and Riveting Adventure Continues

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In 2019, Netflix struck gold with the epic fantasy series ‘The Witcher’ and viewers started thinking that the streaming platform might be close to getting a show as massive as ‘Game of Thrones’. The first season turned out to be successful, but it was the second edition that made everyone realize how the live-action series had laid the perfect foundation for something special. Almost two years after getting a glimpse of what Ciri could do with her powers, ‘The Witcher’ is back with another action-packed season that will captivate viewers with its masterful storytelling, thrilling battles, and impeccable performances.

Season 3 of ‘The Witcher’ picks up where the previous season left off, with Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), the enigmatic monster hunter, embarking on a new set of adventures, along with Ciri (Freya Allan) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra). This season, Geralt finds himself caught in a web of political intrigue as he navigates the treacherous world of the Northern Kingdoms. From the royal intrigues of Nilfgaard to the exploration of the elven past, the show seamlessly weaves together multiple narratives, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats and adding layers of depth to the already intricate plot. Apart from that, Geralt and Yennefer continue to do anything and everything to keep Ciri safe from the bad people.

Henry Cavill (Geralt), Freya Allan (Ciri), and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

However, one of the standout aspects of Season 3 is its exceptional character development. The fantasy series continues to explore the complexities of its main characters, especially Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. All the aforementioned characters undergo significant transformation throughout the season, allowing viewers to connect with them on a deeper level. Kudos to the writing team of ‘The Witcher’ who have done an exceptional job in fleshing out the backstories of all these characters and making them feel more relatable. Themes like destiny and the consequences of one’s choices are prevalent throughout the season. Some moments will make people realize the thin line between right and wrong by looking deep into the moral ambiguity of its characters.

Once again, the show is packed with epic action sequences that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From extraordinary sword fights to magical showdowns, the battles are nothing short of thrilling this time around. Visually, it’s stunning, and storytelling-wise, it’s more riveting than ever.

As far as performances are concerned, Freya Allan delivers another remarkable performance as Ciri and strikes a perfect balance between vulnerability and resilience. Meanwhile, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer displays how much she has grown as an actor. Season 3 explores the emotional depths of her character most effectively and gives Chalotra the bandwidth of showing her range. However, it is Henry Cavill who takes your breath away with a scintillating performance as Geralt of Rivia. From the very first season, Cavill has successfully embodied the larger-than-life character and this time around, he just knocks it out of the park by effortlessly embodying the brooding yet compassionate nature of The Witcher.

Also, the chemistry between the three leads drives the emotional core of the show.

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

All in all, Part One of ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 raises the bar, and every aspect of the show has improved significantly from its predecessors. Season 3 proves to be a worthy addition to the beloved series and if you are a fan of the fantasy series, ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 is a much-watch.

Come and immerse yourself in the magical world of Geralt of Rivia.

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