REVIEW: “DOWNSIZING” (2017) Paramount Pictures

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Welp. we’ve got a strike three for Matt Damon on his 2017 films with “DOWNSIZING”. This movie takes an interesting premise, “What if we could make ourselves smaller to use up fewer resources and save the planet?” and really just does nothing with it. Having heard little about the film aside from its concept, I went into the screening fairly cold. Sadly, the film doesn’t have a whole lot more to offer than its brilliant concept and exceptional first act. I must admit that I left feeling disappointed, thinking they could’ve made this a better movie in many ways. When a film has so much promise and doesn’t exactly deliver on much of it, I feel as though many people would be let down by that.

In this dramedy, which also in part a social satire of its own genre, Downsizing follows a couple Paul (Matt Damon) & Audrey (Kristen Wiig) Safranek, who believe their lives would be better if they were to shrink themselves and be transferred to a new world called Leisureland. This place exists to conserve the Earth and save the environment, as let’s face it, smaller people need much fewer resources. With multiple meanings to the title, this is a concept that sounds incredible on paper but doesn’t exactly translate into that great of a movie. Throughout the first act, I found myself immersed in this world and couldn’t wait to be taken on its journey, but I soon found myself losing interest when political and religious elements began to take over and it started to go very sloooowww. And it’s sad as this is a movie that could’ve done so much more with its premise.

Without giving anything away, there are many characters such as Niecy Nash playing a Leisureworld salesperson, or that of Dusan Mirkovic (Christof Waltz), The Lonowski’s, Jeff (Neil Patrick Harris) & Laura (Laura Dern) or Paul’s good friend Dave (Jason Sudeikis), that come in and out of this film in a heartbeat, pretty much leaving them in the dust, when in reality they were actually interesting and added a layer to the overall story. It felt as though Director Alexander Payne wanted to focus so much on the idea of the Downsizing concept, that he sidelined quite a few characters along the way. His films have always been about characters, and while Paul and Ngoc (Hong Chau) share some great chemistry throughout this film, it’s hard not to wish that all of the characters throughout the first act were present throughout the entire film. This was a very curious issue I had while watching and definitely upon reflection.

As soon as you’re brought into this other world that has been built for those who shrunk themselves over the years, you will find yourself kind of transfixed at how interesting the visuals are and how lackluster the comedy is, but what you don’t expect is for the film to take a dramatic turn and really have you thinking hard about the world we live in and whether or not certain lines of dialogue are true about society in general. This is an eye-opening film in that regard and the third act is incredibly ambitious, but I just don’t think it really sticks the landing that it strives to achieve.

In the end, this is one of the most original ideas I can recall in recent memory, but an idea doesn’t make a film great. It’s the film itself that needs to win you over as a whole, and Downsizing just didn’t do that for me. On many accounts, this is a very impressive movie from a technical standpoint and it takes risks that I didn’t expect it to, but the risks it takes will only work for a few audiences members that can relate to it.

This is a movie that promises a lot and tries to deliver on all of those promises, while also shoving in side plots that make this film too emotionally complex to really be invested in the satirical aspects by the end. I wish this film went through a few more rewrites, because there is a satirical masterpiece of a movie in here somewhere, but it’s just not the product that you’ll be seeing in theatres soon. Downsizing might be worth your time in terms of originality, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up on it being a favorite.

Grade: C-
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Wednesday, December 5, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
DOWNSIZING is now playing in theaters nationwide. To be released Worldwide in January 2018

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REVIEW ~ “GONE GIRL” (2014) 20th Century Fox

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Now that pretty much everyone and their mother has done a review of this movie..I present you with mine!! hahahaha  As it’s been a week since I’ve seen it..Yes, I procrastinated big time on this review..oopsie!! So..here we goooooooo.. If you like a mix of the darkest of dark comedies, mixed with suspense and a good thrill..this is the movie for you.  To start with, even as an avid reader, I didn’t read the book specifically because I wanted to see the movie and not be critical of it or know what was going to happen.  I’m glad I didn’t as it keeps the many surprises of plot twists that even though it’s not super hard to figure them out, I was glad to see it all unravel on the big screen.  The toughest part of a review of this movie is not revealing everything in a review..AKA SPOILERS.. and as I never do, and this is a film you especially want to just ‘experience’ all the twists and turns yourself..trust me. gone girl 1

On the day of his 5th wedding anniversary, “Nick Dunne” (Ben Affleck) day goes from starting off bad..to worse day ever!  After spending some time gossiping with his sister “Margo” (Carrie Coon) over his troubled marriage at the ‘The Bar” that they own together, Nick returns home to discover what looks to be the scene of a crime. His wife “Amy Dunne” (Rosamund Pike) seems to be missing. Assigned to the case is “Detective Rhonda Boney” (Kim Dickens) and “Officer Jim Gilpin” (Patrick Fugit) whom suspect foul play, and almost immediately, the local community and the nation somewhat, goes on a search for Amy in part no thanks to the media firestorm that erupts as a result provides the movie’s most pointed satired character by far.. “Ellen Abbott” (Missi Pyle) who plays a news pundit whose look and manner is an unmistakable, spot-on takedown of a certain television personality that I’m sure you will not only figure out, but have a good laugh at.

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Nick tells us one side of their marriage—a troubled one, yes, but one that has its reasons for being in that state. Amy’s parents “Rand & Marybeth Elliot”(David Clennon/Lisa Banes) are the authors of a series of children’s books aka the reason their daughter’s disappearance become national news, which are snidely based on what their expectations were for Amy while she was growing up which she didn’t always succeed at.  In her diary, which cleverly is a big focal point of this movie so pay attention to it, Amy agrees with a lot of Nick says, but she also hints at a darker side to Nick that he doesn’t show.  gone girl 3

That’s the gist of the plot, and again, I don’t want to spoil any of it for anyone as there’s so much more that gradually unravels here.  Fincher has a good style and I always seem to like his films, as they have a good edge and pace to them which makes them pretty enjoyable to watch. Affleck for me is fits perfectly in this role with his boyish charm on full throttle, Rosamund Pike, who I must admit is not always my fav, in movies..but here she is superb & chilling in providing layer after layer to be stripped away until only the unexpected, terrifying truth remains. But my favourite acting here comes from Kim Dickens as the detective with a somewhat comical, sarcastic tone to everything she does. Yes, Neil Patrick Harris is here too as “Desi Collings” but his character is just to weak for me and yes, so is Tyler Perry, playing against his usual Madea type, as the lawyer “Tanner Bolt” and people seem to think this is such a breakout drama performance for him..uhhh NO..remember “Alex Cross” yeah, he’s not all that here either, sorry. This film is a mesmerizing a two hour rollercoaster ride…is it an award winning movie, for me no..but damn it’s entertaining and definitely worth the bang for the buck you will be paying for it.  Go..enjoy..and be entertained! GONE GIRL 4

And  at the end..make sure you always remember the big question as I think we can always ask..”What have we done to each other”

Grade: B-  (above average – MUST see)

(see grading scale)

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