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Run | A Fairly By-the-books Thriller Film

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If you asked me to choose one film from the last few years that I think needs to be seen and talked about more, I would pick Searching (2018). It was one of my favourite films of 2018 and the few people that I’ve spoken to that have seen it all really like it. Searching was such a clever, inventive, and most importantly, originally thriller film that took place entirely on computer screens. The Searching team are back together again now as Run is the second feature film from Searching director Aneesh Chaganty and it’s written by Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, the writers of Searching. Have Chaganty and Ohanian managed to produce another small-scale thriller film that has you on the edge of your seat for the entire time. Absolutely.

Run is a thriller starring Sarah Paulson as the mother of home-schooled teenager Chloe Sherman, played remarkably by Kiera Allen. Chloe has multiple health issues such as partial paralysis, diabetes and asthma meaning her mother Diane does everything for her including helping her take her pills, blood sugar level tests and so on. However, Chloe begins to suspect that her mother is hiding a big secret from her and not telling her the truth about something. Allen is the first wheelchair using actress to star in a thriller film since Susan Peters did so in 1948 in The Sign of the Ram. It’s great that Kiera Allen was cast in this film, not just because she is a fantastic actress that really gives Sarah Paulson a run for her money in this film but also because Hollywood films so rarely cast disabled actors in roles like this. It makes complete sense for an actress in a wheelchair to play a disabled character in a wheelchair in the film.

Run is a perfectly entertaining thriller film and with a runtime of just 89 minutes it does a fairly good job of keeping you engrossed for the entire length of the film. Run, much like Searching has a very tight focus and a small setting that both films really use to their advantage. Whilst Searching was set entirely on computer screens, the majority of Run is set inside the Sherman house with Chloe having very little options to escape.

The film is very contained and very focussed which is good as it means the suspense is sustained throughout the entire film. As a result of being so contained, the film therefore lacks some of the originality that I loved so much about Searching as it doesn’t want to take many risks. Run does play it fairly safe and it doesn’t take many risks or try anything too exciting. That’s why Run is a fairly by-the-books thriller film that does the job of entertaining but it doesn’t really do any more than that.

The biggest problem that I found with Run was that it was fairly straightforward and predictable. This was especially disappointing after Searching was so original and unpredictable so I couldn’t help but feel a little let down by the fact that Run just seems to re-run ground already covered by previous films. It takes a lot from Misery (1990) based on the Stephen King novel, and it even has a very minor character in one scene called Kathy Bates in a very clear and direct nod to Misery. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, I just had very high expectations after Searching. Run was still a very good film it just didn’t really bring anything new to the genre.

The two lead performances in the film are excellent with newcomer Kiera Allen holding her own alongside Sarah Paulson and showing how great she is. We’ve seen very similar eerie performances from Sarah Paulson in some of Ryan Murphy’s shows such as Ratched and various seasons of American Horror Story so nothing about her in Run is anything too different or interesting but she still brings exactly what’s required to Diane’s character that helps carry the film along with Kiera Allen. Without the two great central performances, Run would not be anywhere near as good as it.

Run is a very entertaining thriller film that will keep you on the edge of your sofa throughout its entire runtime despite the fact that it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre.

★★★½☆

Run is streaming now on Hulu.

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Adventure

Arthur the King is an Epic Masterpiece

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Arthur the King movie poster (Lionsgate Films)

Here follows the review of Arthur the King, a story of deep connection between people and dogs. Not all heroes wear capes, some have wagging tails and would cross a river (and jungle) for you.

Plot

Desperate for one last chance to win, Michael Light convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team gets pushed to the outer limits of endurance, a dog named Arthur comes along for the ride, redefining what victory, loyalty and friendship truly means.

Arthur Foundation

Mikael Lindnord raced through a jungle in Ecuador and after feeding a few meatballs to a stray dog made a friend for life. The dog followed Mikael and his team through the rough terrain. Mikael named the dog Arthur and took him back home with him.

Arthur and Mikael Lindnord (Photo taken by Krister Goransson)

The Arthur Foundation collaborates with various organizations in different countries that work towards animal welfare.

Click on the following links to reach out to Mikael Lindnord.

Movie Review (no spoilers)

The movie is based on the memoir, Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord, who was the athlete who participated in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador. It is important to note in the movie they refer to him as Michael Light. Even though the original race took place in Ecuador, the movie changed the location to the Dominican Republic. The original race took place in 2014, while in the movie the race takes place in 2018.

Mark Wahlberg portrays the part of the Mikael and delivers an excellent performance alongside Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel and Ali Suliman. Ukai, a stray dog, was a real champion portraying the role of Arthur. The film takes us through picturesque locations in the Dominican Republic. The suspense was felt at every turn and corner and you are kept glued to the screen with a gripping storyline. The story balances the journey of Mikael and Arthur and eventually joins their path like a jigsaw puzzle.

Mark Wahlberg as Mikael Light (Lionsgate Films)

A fictional backstory is provided of Mikael’s competitive journey as well as the journey that Arthur took to get to Mikael. The movie successfully tells a deep story of connection between dogs and people. If you want to know more about the real story, you can check your local bookstore or Amazon for a copy of Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home

This movie is a 5 out of 5 for me. The connection between Mikael and Arthur is brought to life in this epic masterpiece. Arthur found a home in the heart of Mikael and thanks to Mark Wahlberg and Ukai, this film adaptation of ‘Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’ became a memorable movie.

The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the important scenes of the movie. Arthur the King has a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is no post-credits scene so no need to wait till the end.

Arthur the King Official Trailer (Lionsgate Films)

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Entertainment

A Must-See Satanic Panic Horror – Late Night With the Devil

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Written and directed by Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes, Late Night With the Devil follows a late night TV host Jack Delroy, fighting the plummeting viewership of his show by welcoming in people from the occult in order to change that, but of course, everything doesn’t go as smooth as planned.

David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy Late Night With the Devil (2023)

David Dastmalchian has appeared in a lot of films however always in smaller roles including The Dark Knight, Prisoners and more recently The Suicide Squad. This film allows Dastmalchian to take on the lead role of Jack Delroy, the host of the late night show at the centre of this film, and he genuinely does a great job. There’s a real range of emotions which his character goes through during the course of this film and he depicts them so well.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, you’re going to really appreciate the use of practical effects in this. There’s plenty of stretchy and gooey gore for all of the horror fanatics that will have you shouting at the screen. 

From left to right: Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss

If you want to hear my full thoughts, check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your opinions in the comments.

Late Night With the Devil will be released in cinemas from 22nd March and on Shudder on 19th April.

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Reviews

‘I Love You, Guys’ Review | A Poignant Exploration of Celebrity Vulnerability and Human Resilience

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We are living in an era where celebrities are worshipped like deities and sometimes, people forget that he or she is also a normal human being. If we feel happy or sad at certain moments, they do as well and even though a lot of people always surround them, they get vulnerable too. Although a lot of filmmakers forget to show that aspect of their lives, Billie Melissa Rogan takes the bold approach of showing the truth. Her directorial debut, ‘I Love You, Guys,’ is a poignant story about a celebrity fighting her inner self to maintain her celebrity image. The result is a stunning piece of art that resonates long after the end credits roll in.

The short film opens with a profound close-up of the young singing sensation named Sky (Becky Bush). She has made a name for herself by making and singing really exceptional songs. As a result, she is adored by her fans. Even though it feels like Sky has everything she wants, viewers see her submerged in a bathtub as she tries to battle her anxiety. Just then, Sky gets a phone that she’d be performing state-side. Now, that’s where we get to know about her vulnerable state for the first time. Although she says that she is really happy with the above-mentioned news, her face tells a different story. Despite her impending stardom, Sky has not started to feel the massive weight of mounting pressure, a sentiment audiences get to see in her conversations with bandmate Ryan (Pedro Leandro) and girlfriend Taylor (Celi Crossland).

Becky Bush in a still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

As the story moves forward, we get to know that ‘I Love You, Guys’ is about the fragile nature of the human spirit as much as it is about celebrity culture. It not only navigates themes of depression, it also highlights the turbulent emotional journey of Sky. One of the best aspects of the film is how Rogan masterfully brings Cory Varney’s screenplay to life. She managed to capture every minor detail of Sky’s emotions with utmost precision. Despite the fact that it is her first-ever film as a director, we get a sense that we are watching a flick helmed by a seasoned filmmaker.

Another aspect that makes this film such a compelling watch is its cinematography. Jenni Suitiala has done a phenomenal in showing expressions through vibrant colors and Rogan has made full use of the settings to give viewers a visually striking film. Whether it is heated arguments or silent moments of despair, each frame feels authentic and draws audiences into Sky’s personal life.

Apart from Rogan’s direction, Varney’s script is this film’s biggest strength. The writer has undoubtedly done a stunning job of showing the humanity of these characters. There’s a reason why Sky’s struggles feel very personal and it is because we have endured such moments in life. Moments where we doubt ourselves even when we know we are more than capable of doing a particular thing. Not every smiling person is happy. Sometimes he or she is smiling just so that no one finds out about the tough times they are going through.

A still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

Acting-wise, Becky Bush has given a performance that is surely going to open several doors for her. She delivers a magnificent performance by infusing Sky with a beautiful balance of vulnerability and strength. The way she manages to convey an innumerable amount of emotions is spectacular. I believe this is one of the most apt depictions of mental turmoil. Meanwhile, Pedro Leandro and Celi Crossland are just as spectacular. Every interaction between the characters feels genuine and nuanced.

All in all, ‘I Love You, Guys’ is a testament to how resilient a human spirit can be. In just 15 minutes, Rogan, Varney, and Bush take viewers on a journey that’s thought-provoking and talks about a subject that no one talks about. The writing, direction, and performances achieve a lot more than just viewers’ attention. The film offers a compelling examination of the human cost of pursuing fame and success. A poignant story that touches on themes of ambition, relationships, and self-discovery.

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