REVIEW PREMIERE OF: “I SAW THE LIGHT” (2016) Sony Pictures Classics

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I was happy with the choice of Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams. He had the physical look to carry it off and I knew he had the talent. I just wish I could say the same with the script. From the shaking camera to the direction & edit of this film, it is literally all over the place. Cutting from one scene to another without really understanding where it is we are going.

This story seems to focus heavily on his first marriage to Audrey Williams (Elizabeth Olsen) and that relationship. But while his band produced hit after hit, there is more time given here to the conflict between Audrey and his controlling mother, Lillie Williams (Cherry Jones) who managed the early part of his music career, than Hank himself. Also Hank’s band has trouble with Audrey, who has musical ambitions and is criticized as a no-talent back-up singer. i saw the 2 It provides Hank with a dilemma of choosing – his wife or his band? It’s frustrating that out of everything Hank Williams did, this is what they focus on. Other than the music, they barely touched on anything that made him such a colorful character and a country music icon. It doesn’t help that there is little chemistry between two lead characters.

Tom Hiddleston did a nice job with his singing here, which are definitely the highlights of the film, but at one point he gets asked how old he is to which he replies ’23’ and sorry..as much as I adore Hiddleston there is just no way he is passing for 23. Even the 29 years of age that William’s is when he dies is a stretch.
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I can’t say I know a lot about Hank Williams besides the fact he came from less fortunate part of Monroe, Alabama and fought his way out with his music and was hoping to learn more. Sadly the only thing I came out knowing more about was his alcohol and marital problems than on his impact on the Country – & – Western scene, of which he was a huge part of.

Towards the end we see Wiliams getting interviewed by reporter James Dolan, (David Krumholaz) to find out what makes him tick…sadly the film leaves us never really knowing what did.

Grade: D+
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Review Premiere Screening: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Film Independent
Nationwide release: Friday, March 25, 2016

Some photos of Tom Hiddleston at the premiere ~

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REVIEW: “10 CLOVERFIELD LANE” (2016) Paramount Pictures

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Not a big surprise that a sequel seemed like a logical choice to 2008’s “Cloverfield” by JJ Abrams as it was a big hit comparatively with a 25 million budget, while grossing right around 170 million. The ‘found footage’ film about a group of young people surviving a monster attack in Manhattan was driven by a highly sophisticated and fun marketing campaign. Mysterious trailers of the film ‘Untitled’ left you guessing as to what was the content, was also really well received by critics & film-goers alike.
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While not quite the exact same thing here, JJ Abrams sees ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ as a kinsman of “Cloverfield.” And that’s a good description because although there could be a comparison of a few elements, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a very different kind of film and can stand on it’s own. Do not expect found footage film or a direct sequel or prequel. ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ is a pure psychological thriller, with a little taste of Sci-Fi thrown in for good measure.

It’s mainly undertaken all in one place, the bunker of the mysterious Howard (John Goodman). The bunker is a typical doomsday place: an underground space filled with food, drinks and all the comforts of home, including a cozy living room and fully functional kitchen, ya know, for those underground bunker dinner parties. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is excellent as the frightened but brave one, who basically MacGyver’s her way through this film. Even John Gallagher Jr. as the simple Emmett is well cast. The biggest surprise is John Goodman as Howard, a role that is seemly tailor-made for him, as he turns the effortlessly friendly man into a creepy psycho without ever giving away which of the two he is and in turn, giving us a whole other level of fear. cloverfield 2

’10 Cloverfield Lane’ will truly have the most impact if you have minimal knowledge of it before hand because it’s nail biting exciting. And any reviewer that gives away the spoilers or the full story of this one, I wish them years of paper cuts because this is one to be experienced, not told about. The only minus is the last act of the film, here and there, it flies off the rails, But you forgive debut director Dan Trachtenberg for this little whim, as I loved the fact that just when you think it won’t go there.. it does! It’s very clever and with fresh inspiration, gives just the right subtle nod to its successful predecessor. For those who love psychological mind-bending films like this, you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: B
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Review Screening: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Nationwide Release: Friday, March 11, 2016