The Light Between Oceans (2016) Movie Review / 100th post!

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If I could sum up this movie in one word, it’d be “mesmerizing”

The Light Between Oceans is the film adaptation of the 2012 M. L. Stedman novel and tells the story of Tom & Isobel, portrayed by Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander respectively, a lovely couple who live in virtual isolation on a small island complete with a lighthouse, occasional visits for sustenance, and a whole lot of rain & wind. When a baby washes ashore, they are faced with the prospect of raising this child and the consequences that may incur.

I was able to catch an advanced screening of this film last Wednesday (the 24th) and have not been able to speak about it until now. I have not been able to get this movie out of my head… I think The Light Between Oceans may just be my favourite film of the year. There are many examples of film where the style overtakes the substance and you’re left with a great looking surface-level movie that is a hollow shell of a picture. TLBO is one of those rare masterpieces (I’m going there!) where the beauty of every shot is not the only thing the film has to offer. The story is so enthralling and downright heartbreaking at times; I honestly could not control all the emotions coming out of me. There are instances where you will find yourself giggling and audibly “aw!”ing one minute, then busting out your ugly Tobey Maguire crying face the next.

The combination of a fantastic script, phenomenal locations, brilliant directing by Derek Cianfrance, who helmed Place Beyond the Pines and everyone’s favourite Valentine’s Day movie Blue Valentine, and the addition of incredibly fleshed out, well-developed characters is one of the best surprises I have ever had in the theatre. The film is an epic moving journey with a complete beginning, middle & end and you may find yourself attached to the characters moreso than you imagined going in.

Now for the two standouts in this incredibly beautiful film, Michael Fassbender & Alicia Vikander. Holy dickens these two were outstanding and I am just happy I was able to watch a film with two of my current favourite working actors… Just look up the word “amazing” in the thesaurus and all those terms pertain to both of them. Fassbender portrays the quiet and brooding yet unbelievably strong figure torn between the hardest of rocks & places brilliantly and Alicia Vikander… I swear this woman can honestly do no wrong. Her portrayal of Isobel is so phenomenal that I’m not able to place it in words. Every feeling she emotes, every movement she does is quite honestly, flawless. She is able to encapsulate the immense fears and fantastical joys her character has and THAT is called motherfucking acting, man. I cannot compliment her enough on this role; she nailed everything about her character just as well as Ellen Burstyn did in Requiem for a Dream. That is how incredible this woman is… And the chemistry these two leads have? Fuggetaboutit, dude. There’s a reason they are together in real life. If they didn’t fall in love during filming this then their acting is greater than I can comprehend. The spellbinding Rachel Weisz owns her portrayal of Hannah immensely and manages to emote all the subtle nuances that consist of her character. This movie has an Oscar-calibre cast and they live up to it, let me tell you.

Can I also just say something about the aesthetic of The Light Between Oceans? Every single frame of this movie can serve as a disgustingly beautiful screen saver. Cianfrance knows how to frame shots and when to use those uncomfortably close close-ups that encourage his actor to utilize the subtleties of the human face to illustrate what they are feeling at that moment without saying one piece of dialogue. He manages to showcase this grandiose landscape to feel larger than life at one point, then turns around and makes it feel like the most miniscule point in the world. He does that to your emotions as well.

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If I sit here… If I just sit here

I can see why some would feel a little turned off by the romantic aspect to it; however it is so much more than a simple man-meets-woman-and-they-fall-in-love-because-like-cancer-or-something-will-kill-someone type thing. It honestly surprised me how a little bit of mystery and intrigue were thrown in there, a sprinkle of war-time themes for taste and a heavy dash of fantastic storytelling engulfed The Light Between Oceans and you were left with a delicious picture you want to consume all over again… Although I probably will need to wait awhile to watch it again. Maybe like for Saturday or something.


If you’re looking for a romantic epic with characters you will feel emotionally connected to and love giving your eyes the occasional feast to… feast on, check out The Light Between Oceans. It is one of my favourites of the year and Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are allowed to come over for dinner anytime.
(clothing is optional, of course)

The Light Between Oceans receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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s/o to scene creek & gofobo for the advanced screening tickets!
image links: indiewire, youtube trailer [1][2] & [3]… Also googling “tobey maguire crying face gif”

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Children of Men (2006)

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Theodore Faron: Julian? I haven’t seen you in twenty years. You look good. The picture the police have of you doesn’t do you justice.
Julian Taylor: What do the police know about justice?

Starring: Clive Owen as Theo Faron, Julianne Moore as Julian, My Cocaine as Jasper Palmer, Chiwetel Ejiofer as Luke and Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee, dir. Alfonso Cuarón.

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Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Tree of Life, Gravity, Birdman, The Revenant)

Young Frankenstein (1974) / r.i.p Gene Wilder

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Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Hello handsome. You’re a good looking fellow, do you know that? People laugh at you, people hate you, but why do they hate you? Because… they are jealous. Look at that boyish face. Look at that sweet smile. Do you wanna talk about physical strength? Do you want to talk about sheer muscle? Do you want to talk about the Olympian ideal? You are a God. And listen to me, you are not evil. You… are… good.

Starring: Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein, Marty Feldman as Igor, Teri Garr as Inga and Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher, dir. Mel Brooks.

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Cinematographer: Gerald Hirschfeld (Goodbye, Columbus, The Car, Fail Safe)

rest in peace Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

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Gene Wilder embodied every single role he played. For me, whenever I think of him, I will forever think of the illusive Willy fucking Wonka. From being an authoritative figure, to creepy as all hell to making you want a hug from him, virtually every aspect to his performance is phenomenal. No matter how you will remember him, all I can say is thank you for sharing your talent with us.

I can’t possibly imagine what he and Richard Pryor are coming up with at the moment, but I hope they’re laughing as brightly as they made me feel whenever I watched any of their performances.

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Gene Wilder (1933-2016), Richard Pryor (1940-2005)

The Road (2009)

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The Man: Do you ever wish you would die?
Old Man: No. It’s foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these.

Starring: Viggo Mortensen as the Man, Charlize Theron as the Woman, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Boy, Guy Pearce as the Veteran and Robert Duvall as the Old Man, dir. John Hillcoat.

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Cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Twilight: New Moon, The Finest Hours)

Don’t Breathe (2016) Movie Review

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Stephen Lang made me feel like I was doing wrong by just watching this shit occur.

Don’t Breathe tells the story of a group of young hooligans who like robbing people’s homes. Dylan Minnette, star of the completely-snubbed-for-the-Academy-Award Goosebumps (2015), portrays the character who doesn’t really have a good feeling about thisJane Levy portrays the I have to do this because I gotta get out of my completely fucked up life character. Daniel Zovatto portrays the I gotta do this because cash rules everything around me CREAM. An aspect to Don’t Breathe I truly appreciated was although the main characters are somewhat caricatures we’re used to seeing, they are written and executed in a way that makes you have a genuine care for them. I thought I would become bored of them as the movie progressed since the beginning of the film sets them up so exact as to what kind of character they are, however understanding certain characters’ motives made it for an enjoyable watch since you do want to see them succeed at defeating the antagonist… Which happens to be the blind veteran man they wanted to rob… I love feeling conflicted when watching movies because it makes me think of the ethical repercussions of feeling that way.

Me: How dare they think of bothering that poor helpless man?! They deserve what is coming to them… Ohhhhh wait… I kind of want to see them steal all his money and hurt him but I also don’t…

Now I love me some contained thrillers (see: 10 Cloverfield Lane) and one of my favourite movies this year that I have been raving about to anyone who will listen was Husha horror movie about a man tormenting a woman who is deaf. I also love the Audrey Hepburn classic Wait Until Dark (1967) wherein a group of thugs torment a blind woman for a heroin-stuffed doll. Essentially, I like movies where a character is suffering from an ailment that impairs one of their main senses and it takes place in enclosed spaces and short periods of time…

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There’s No Need to Be Upset

I am happy to say Don’t Breathe has officially fallen into my favourite above mentioned category. This is one tense thrill-ride that starts around twenty or so minutes in and persists until the beginning of the final credits. I watched this in a packed theatre and it was one of the most fun theatre experiences I have ever had, if you are able to watch this in a movie theatre with a bunch of first-time watchers I would highly recommend it. You and your audience will feel an immediate connection because of the way it is filmed, there are occasional bouts of incredibly uncomfortable close-ups and sequences where you are quite literally bracing yourself for what is coming next. There are jump scares however they are executed not shittily!! Hooray for non-shitty jump scares! Let me tell you, there were one or two sequences where the entire audience was absolutely silent for, the sounds of popcorn chewing and Slushie slurping completely ceased because we were all invested as to what is going to happen next.

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The core group portrayed their roles just fine with the particular standouts being Levy, who I found played Rocky incredibly well and holy dickens, guys watch this movie alone for Stephen Lang‘s performance as the Blind Man. In terms of fantastic horror characters of the modern world, Lang absolutely nails it as a disturbingly strong older man whose hair is full of secrets! Minnette really had two emotions throughout the movie which consisted of stoneface & wide-eyes McGee and MILD SPOILER Zovatto’s character ejacultaes on the floor of a house they rob in the beginning of the movie so that says it all about his character and what he had to work with. END SPOILER.

There were a number of incredibly suspenseful moments where I genuinely had no idea what was going to happen next, which is nice to experience in specifically a horror film since the main point of horror is to cause you discomfort & fear and it is kind of difficult to accomplish that if you can call what is going to happen at every turn. I will say, there were a couple obvious guns of Chekhov’s sprinkled throughout and shots that lingered just a wee bit longer than they should have. I did appreciate that they never really deviated from the situation occurring at the house and that various scares actually added on to the progression and execution of the plot rather than simply being there for those BOOMWHUPPAH! moments… And with a runtime of just an hour and a half, the filmmakers managed to create a lovely suspenseful tale that makes me happy I do not rob homes for a living. 


If you’re looking for a horror movie that will make you feel genuinely frightened and also make you say the occasional “what… the… fuck check out Don’t Breathe.

Don’t Breathe receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Dumbo (1941)

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Timothy Q. Mouse: What’s the matter with his ears? I don’t see nothin’ wrong with ’em. I think they’re cute.

Starring: Edward Brophy as Timothy Q. Mouse, Cliff Edwards as Jim Crow, Verna Felton as Elephant Matriarch and Herman Bing as The Ringmaster. Supervising director: Ben Sharpsteen, Sequence directors: Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Bill Roberts, Jack Kinney, Samuel Armstrong

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Happy 30th to Stand By Me (1986)

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30 years ago, the Rob Reiner directed Stand By Me hit theatres and four young boys entered the hearts of many… Also it made the Ben E. King song your absolute favourite song ever.

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Adapted from the Stephen King novella The Body, the coming-of-age film Stand By Me was released in 1986 and starred a fantastical amount of young, incredibly talented individuals, specifically Wil Wheaton, the late River PheonixCorey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell as the main group whose summer consists of finding a dead body. Kiefer Sutherland appears as the bleach-blonde antagonist “Ace” whose summer consists of bullying young children and his band of merry idiots destroying people’s properties.. LEAVE THE MAILBOXES ALONE, YOU ANIMALS.

A Legend Is Born

The Lard-Ass sequence is one of the most famous scenes from the film and as Andy Lindberg, who portrays Mr. Ass, states in an interview with Yahoo! “Having that bright spot in the arc of the story helps make it stand out more.”

Lindberg describes the various padding required in order to become Lard-Ass, “They either built or rented a two-piece fat suit. I would put on legs with suspenders and then a big padded top. They had Size 60 Levi’s jeans that I would wear when I had the suit on.”

How Stand By Me Compares to Other King Adaptations

There have been over fifty of King’s works adapted to the big screen alone, with Stand By Me ranking as the 5th most successful adaptation, box-office wise. Below you’ll find the Top 5 Stephen King adaptations from Box Office Mojo.

  1. The Green Mile (1999), $136,801,374, Domestic Gross
  2. 1408 (2007), $71,985,628
  3. Misery (1990), $61,276,872
  4. Pet Sematary (1989), $57,469,467  
  5. Stand By Me (1986), $52,287,414

Surprisingly, Thinner and Maximum Overdrive do not appear in the Top 25. Not sure why that is, must be a glitch of some kind.

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Why Not The Body?

So why isn’t Stand By Me named after the work that it is based on? According to screenwriter Raynold Gideon, “… [The Body] sounded like either a sex film, a bodybuilding film or another Stephen King horror film. [Director] Rob came up with Stand by Me, and it ended up being the least unpopular option.[wiki source] Fantastic choice on Reiner’s part because the film has become synonymous with the famous and magical Ben E. King song, which plays over the opening and end credits.


Older Gordie LaChance: It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant.
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Cinematographer: Thomas Del Ruth (The Running Man, The Breakfast Club, Look Who’s Talking, Flipped)

featured image: fanpop

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