Narrator: Deja vu… All over again.
Starring: Edward Norton as the Narrator, Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden and Helena Bonham-Carter as Marla, dir. David Fincher.
Allied tells the story of World War II operatives Max & Marianne, portrayed by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard respectively, who fall in love on a mission and decide spending the rest of their lives together is something they’d like to experience. When Max finds out a suspicious tip about his beloved wife, doubt creeps into their relationship and we’re left wondering, what will happen now? The film also stars Lizzy Caplan, Jared Harris and is directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future, Forrest Gump).
Marion Cotillard is absolutely divine in Allied, it’s just a shame the actual film does not live up to the amazing performance she’s giving. From the moments where her character is at the pinnacle of happiness to the scenes that call on her raw emotion, Cotillard’s talent is showcased beautifully in the film. Brad Pitt, on the other hand… I truly think he was asleep for most of the production, I was not a fan of his portrayal of a man who is faced with the most important decision he will (potentially) ever make in his life.
Occasionally it felt like he was deciding what to put on his Subway sandwich moreso than attempting to portray any type of emotion connected to the immense betrayal his character felt toward Marianne.
Due to his performance, it was a little bit difficult to feel any sort of intense chemistry or connection between the two, although there were certainly moments where their talents shone and you felt something for this couple. Lizzy Caplan also had a small role as Max’s sister and the few moments she was on screen were great. The other secondary characters were fine with no particular standouts.
The progression of the story was intriguing at times, the first act is actually set up really well; I enjoyed seeing Cotillard and Pitt’s characters attempt to develop some type of relationship together albeit she was light years ahead of him in terms of me feeling anything for either. The film’s various revelations that are made do serve the plot well, however because I had no connection with this couple, the revelations kind of made me think, “oh… Okay. That’s a nice way to further the plot.” There are also certain callbacks to the classic of all classics, the Michael Curtiz-directed Casablanca (1942) that I rather enjoyed… There is one major plot point that is a direct plot reference to the film that made me also think, “really?? Well… Okay then…”
I had an issue with one particular aspect to it in terms of character motivation that I will spoil in the following sentence: SPOILER Max easily could have written down the message intended for Marianne, crumpled it up then flushed it down the toilet after they had sex so there would be no way for her to read it. We see his vehement denial of his wife being a traitor and he clearly doesn’t care about waiting for orders/using young pilots to do his dirty work, so it isn’t out of the realm of comprehension that he wouldn’t just say he wrote the letter and she possibly read it so if they don’t receive confirmation, then she isn’t a spy and he can live in happy ignorant bliss. END SPOILER
Allied is a beautiful looking movie, I will give it that. There are a number of shots directed masterfully by Zemeckis (surprise, surprise!) that are genuinely amazing. As a fanatical fan of period pieces, this film ticks all the boxes in terms of creating an atmosphere rich in decor, fashion and music. There is one sequence in which the incredible Goodman classic Sing, Sing, Sing plays throughout and caused some toe tapping on my end.
Zemeckis is one of my personal favourite directors of all-time and it is so frustrating to see a kernel of a fucking brilliant, intense idea being helmed by one of the Greats yet it just falls flat in terms of expanding on that kernel to create a compelling drama… We always have the prospect of Back To The Future IV though, right…? 😉
If you’re looking for a beautiful-looking period piece with attractive individuals and an execution that is relatively meh, check out Allied.
Allied receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.
Back in the day, the Lemony Snicket book series, A Series Of Unfortunate Events was one of my absolute favourite things to read. During my elementary school years, we had a Book Club where we would spend our lunches with Mrs. Slack as she gobbled down her tuna sandwich and read from the first novel of the Series to… about the third or fourth one was where we left off and I went to Middle School.
I distinctly remember that fucking fish smell emanating from her mouth as she dramatically read the pages of the novel and I loved every single second of it.
When the film adaptation was announced and eventually came to theatres, I asked my mom if she would go with me to watch it because I was extremely keen to see how well the book would translate on screen. I was ten years old and giddy with excitement as we sat in our seats in an incredibly crowded theatre.
As the trailers finished and the lights died down, the opening credits began which consisted of… An Elf… The Littlest Elf, to be specific. Were we in the wrong theatre? Does my mom think I punk’d her and she’ll have to watch a stupid happy elf prance around for an hour and a half??
Confusion set in for about 50 seconds until the scene came to a dramatic halt and I heard Jude Law‘s deliciously velvety-smooth voice state,
“I’m sorry to say that this is not the movie you will be watching…”
And an enthusiastic smile came across my face as I watched with delight the unfortunate events proceed with fantastic child acting and Jim Carrey absolutely owning the role of Count Olaf…
So thanks, Mrs. Slack. I owe you a tuna sandwich, if we ever cross paths once more.
Starring: Emily Browning as Violet Baudelaire, Liam Aiken as Klaus Baudelaire, Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine and Jude Law as Lemony Snicket, dir. Brad Silberling.
Starring: Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave, Tony Revolori as Zero, Saoirse Ronan as Agatha, Adrien Brody as Dmitri, Edward Norton as Henckels and Jeff Goldblum as Kovacs, dir. Wes Anderson.
Ouija: Origin Of Evil tells the story of a single-mother (Elizabeth Reaser) who runs a scam Medium business with her two daughters (Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson). Like any horror film, shit inevitably goes down when a spirit enters her youngest daughter.
2016 has had some incredible horror films that are well crafted and have genuine moments of terror such as The Conjuring 2, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe… I can happily say that I will add Ouija: Origin Of Evil to that list.
This was probably the most surprising horror film I’ve seen this year because everything was going against it: 1) its title is based off a board game and 2) 2014’s Ouija was one of the worst things I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing so my expectations were at a low heading into it. Mike Flanagan directed one of my favourite horror films of the year, Hush so I was excited to see how he would handle this sequel that managed to garner a 82% on RT thus far compared to its 7% predecessor. It isn’t without its faults but as an overall film, it was incredibly enjoyable and I am definitely happy I checked it out this Haaaaalllloooowwwweeeennn!
The camaraderie between Reaser and her two on-screen daughters was fantastic, I truly believed these three were a family and faced incredible hardship when their breadwinner passed away. Is it shitty to have a scam business and use your kids for said business? Yeeeeah.. But I can’t lie, I understand why she would feel the need to resort to such measures. To be fair, the Long Island Medium and dozens of others claim they “talk to the spirits” when in reality like 99% of it is all BS (in my opinion) so I can’t fault Reaser’s character too much. Her oldest daughter Lena, portrayed by Basso, gave a serviceable performance along with Reaser however there were certain moments where the latter just had words coming out of her mouth with virtually no emotions at all…
The standout for me was Wilson as the youngest daughter, Doris. She did a terrific job with the role and regardless of how ridiculous some of the things coming out of her mouth was, she rocked it. The secondary characters were pretty good too, they served the plot nicely and there was a character named Father Tom I particularly liked. There were certain moments that were reminiscent of one of the all-time greats, The Exorcist and I thought he & those moments were done pretty well.
The horror aspect to the film was also done well and although there were a couple of BOOMWHUPPAH! jump scares, there were one or two moments that genuinely frightened the shit out of me… MILD SPOILER Particularly Possessed Doris’ short monologue on strangulation… END MILD SPOILER.
The revelations made were spectacular and the first two acts were done splendidly, unfortunately it kind of loses its steam and becomes rather underwhelming in the final act following a major revelation made that honestly made me intrigued to see a film based off those events.
If I had to say what was essentially flawless about this film, it’s certainly the portrayal of the time period. Oh my god it was a brilliant idea on the filmmakers to make this a period piece because if it were to suck, at least I would have still had a few oldie jams to nod my head to as what was occurring on screen sucked.
Everything from the clothing and music to the aesthetics, to even the littlest things like the old Universal opening and occasional flashes of blips on the right of the screen that engulfed me into this world and I loved it immensely. These didn’t go unnoticed, Mike!
Starring: Brad Pitt as David Mills, Morgan Freeman as Det. Lt. William Somerset, Gwyneth Paltrow as Tracy WHAT’S IN THE BAHHHHHHHHHX?! Mills and Kevin Spacey as John Doe, dir. David Fincher.
See also for more Fincher & Pitt:
Some Like It Hot is in my personal list of the greatest comedies of all time.
The chemistry between Jack Lemmon as Jerry and Tony Curtis as Joe is ridiculously spectacular and undeniably one of the best on-screen duos in film. They star as two jazz musicians who witness a Mafia hit, a la the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and must disguise themselves to join an all-female jazz band to escape Chicago. No matter how many times I watch it, the dialogue in this Billy Wilder-directed film never ceases to make me laugh just as hard as the first time I viewed it.
The film also stars Marilyn Monroe as Sugar, a beautifully naive singer who begins a friendship with Lemmon’s Daphne and Curtis’ Josephine. Some Like It Hot marks the second collaboration between Monroe and director Billy Wilder; She previously starred in Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955), arguably her most famous role.
She apparently “jumped at the chance to work on another film with [him]” and “Wilder apparently intended to cast Mitzi Gaynor to play Sugar but after he heard from Marilyn Monroe, the part was hers.“
I highly recommend watching this film if you are so inclined and I will inevitably end up doing a Nostalgia’d Review for it because I love me some Tony Curtis.
Release Year: 1959.
Director: Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment).
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe and George Raft.
Run-Time: 2 hours and 12 minutes.