REVIEW: “ANNIHILATION” (2018) Paramount Pictures

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Sometimes I have to step out of the box of basic reviewing. This came to me all at once as I was waking up this morning after viewing “ANNIHILATION” last night – which by and by I really enjoyed. Sure it started off a bit slow, and I could nit-pick over a few things, but by and far it was a fascinating film – until the ending for me. The last 10 minutes took everything I had previously so enjoyed and threw it out the window. What can I say to that? Well I decided to snap it up and make the review like the movie – completely different than the norm.

There once was a lighthouse which started to glimmer,
None could figure out what made it shimmer.
All who went in, never came out,
Save for one, but he can’t recount.

 

So send in the troops , five brave souls and women to boot.
Into the ‘shimmer’ they went, where suspense and chills met them at each turn,
the gene cycle seemingly constantly to spurn.
Nothing set us up for the finale to come, disappointment was most surely to be done.
While beautifully filmed and fairly well acted, there were a few who could be redacted.

And that here sums up my review – for as surely I loved it all the way through,
the ending left me more than feeling a bit blue.
Before I forget to mention – I adored the group of women in this film – from the anthropologist Cass (Tuva Novotny), nerdy physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson), to Natalie Portmans’ ex-Army, biologist role of Lena. But my two favourites were defintiely the gung-ho beefy, butched up Gina Rodriguez as Anya, a paramedic who takes her ‘Jane the Virgin’ role and throws it right out the door – to the magnificently almost scary, creepy Jennifer Jason Leigh whose cagey psychologist role of Dr. Ventress takes this performance to a very different level.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
‘ANNIHILATION’ is out in theaters nationwide on Friday, February 23, 2018 // International release starting March 2018

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REVIEW: “MORGAN” (2016) 20th Century Fox ~ Q & A – Ridley Scott/Kate Mara/Luke Scott/Anya Taylor-Joy

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Realizing I’d completely forgotten the review embargo for this upcoming film was off as of 9pm PST on Monday, and here it is Wednesday, is sort of how I’m guessing filmgoers will feel after seeing it. They will just forget. Titling off the movie, we meet “Morgan” (Anya Taylor-Joy), an ‘It’ as we are not allowed to call human nor female, though both the forms are made clear to us. It/Morgan was made in a lab from synthetic DNA so as not to confuse you, we learn it’s the third in a line of synthetic species in an old ramshackle plantation-type home in the middle of nowheres-ville.

We get the basic introduction of the characters, aka the people who have created and work with Morgan. Dr. Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones) and Dr. Lui Cheng (Michelle Yeoh) being the main ‘creators’. Dr. Amy Menser (Rose Leslie), Dr. Brenda Finch (Vinette Robinson), Dr. Darren Finch (Chris Sullivan), Ted Brenner (Michael Yare) are all kind of caregivers to her. Throw in the very unnecessary character of handsome personal chef/nutrionist Skip Vronsky (Boyd Holbrook) to round it all up at the laboratory and all is complete. Well except for Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), the risk-management corporate consultant who is sent down to the remote, top-secret location, where she is to investigate and evaluate a terrifying accident or as Dr. Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti), the psychologist sent to evaluate her notes, the ‘issues’ that have occured between Morgan & Dr. Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason Lee) who is literally on the screen for a total of about 1 min 30sec.
morgan 1
We never find out why Morgan turns into a killing machine at age 5 in synthetic years, teenager in human years. Or why she can suddenly drive a car or shoot a gun. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it. The only character you might get somewhat vested in is Amy because she is really the only one you get some background on to relate to. Possibly some will relate to Mara’s character as there are a lot of over the top fight scenes between her & Morgan. But you get no feel in general for this film. There is a supposed surprise shock ending which will probably surprise absolutely no one as it’s plain to see what it is way before hand.

First-time film director Luke Scott, son of Ridley Scott, the producer here this time, really needed to have more under his belt and develop this story much more. I think he was trying to show flares of Alien, ExMachina of Firestarter with no success in doing so.

Grade: D+

Q & A – Ridley Scott- Producer; Luke Scott-Director; Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy

With possibly the worst moderator I’ve ever experienced from Rotten Tomatoes, asking some of the most ridiculous questions. Sample: she had Ridley Scott to ask questions to, one of the most iconic Film/TV people of our times, and it took her 8 minutes to ask a first question to him. When she did, she actually used the word ‘dope’ to Ridley Scott, as in “yeah that scene was really dope” and no, she was not a 20-something. Another sample: Asking Kate Mara about a scene when her character throws a chair against a unbreakable window enclosure, does she see that also as possibly being the ‘new fitness craze in L.A.” *sigh – we barely made it through this.

The actresses were both fun and noted how they had to remain separated mostly not only from each other, but Kate noted she also remained a bit detached from all because of what her character had to be. Luke Scott went on the explain how he had directed a short film called “Loom” and FOX then asked him to make more of a feature film take on it. It’s also always wonderful to hear Ridley, when the moderator gave him a chance to speak, give pointers and tell stories about some of his projects. All in all, I do wish this film had been better because I have and do, so enjoy almost all of Ridley’s projects.

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide Release: Friday, September 2, 2016

7 DAYS OF OSCARS: DAY TWO ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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Yep..here we are at Day 2 of my “7 Days of Oscar” just remember.. I’m giving who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because they don’t always necessarily coincide with each other!! 😀

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
As I noted with the Golden Globes – there were times I just thought ‘wow, JJL is knocking it out of the park here’ then there were more times when I thought ‘oh, no no she’s not, she’s kinda annoying me’ so this is a give & take for me but definitely not a pick.

Rooney Mara, Carol
While I’m mostly not a fan of Rooney Mara’s, I will say, she impressed me in this film and was the most likable yet in a film role for me.

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Vanilla, Vanilla, Vanilla. That’s the only thing that truly comes to mind when I think of this performance. Sorry Rachel, you seem sweet, really you do, but you are ‘vanilla’ acting-wise, in your roles, this one included.

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl ~ MY PICK
Alicia Vikander was fantastic in this role. Why everyone liked her in Ex-Machina I’m not sure, as she was a CGI character. And okay..not everyone..just males under 35 – but here she truly was wonderful and showed she can compete with the best of them.

Kate Winslet, Steve JobsWINNER
Another wonderful job by Kate, though I wasn’t particularly fond of her trying on the accent – you could almost overlook it as she was so spot on here.