Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocturnal-animals-2016-movie-poster(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

I don’t remember ever going into the cinema as blind as I did last week for Nocturnal Animals. I’d heard a lot of buzz surrounding the name, I’d watched the trailer (once) which didn’t give much away at all, and I knew Jake Gyllenhaal was in it. That was enough for me, and I somehow convinced my husband to come along too. I don’t know how I did it, but I have a feeling it may have been something to do with the ever beautiful Amy Adams.

Before I go into an actual review, I have to share a funny moment with you. Tuesday and Wednesday showings have a silly amount of adverts before the movie, because of the wildly popular ‘Meerkat Movies’ 2-4-1 deal. This poor couple in front of us were already there when we arrived, sat through the whole slog of ads, the 5 trailers (although we were shown the Arrival trailer twice in a row, odd) and when the BBFC rating screen came on with ‘Nocturnal Animals’ emblazoned on the left-hand side, they realised they were in the wrong screen. I hope they didn’t miss too much of Doctor Strange, because that opening scene was awesome.

Anyway! Nocturnal Animals is a dark movie split into two narratives. First, we have Susan (Amy Adams), an art gallery owner living a seemingly-perfect life in her mansion of a house adorned with staff, and a husband who sadly, is hardly ever at home. One morning she receives a parcel from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), a manuscript for a book he’s written that he wants her thoughts on. The book turns out to be dedicated to Susan, but is a dark and twisted story, which haunts her.

Whenever Susan starts reading the book, we get to see it played out, by Jake Gyllenhaal himself and his book-wife (Isla Fisher). Their story isn’t for the faint-hearted, it’s a cruel and violent tale. Some scenes are particularly difficult to watch, and I get the feeling they were deliberately made as long as possible to make the audience uncomfortable. If that is the case, it definitely worked on me. I kept thinking to myself ‘Oh that won’t actually happen though, they wouldn’t show us that’ and then they did! I’m getting the shivers just thinking about it.

nocturnal-animals-jake-gyllenhaal-michael-shannon

So, whilst we see Edward’s story played out in snippets, we also go back to Susan often to learn more about her, and more importantly, what happened all those years ago between her and Edward. There’s a theme of revenge here for sure, and we know that Susan left him, but not why, or under what circumstances. It’s really well edited in these sections, the way something happens in the book that then takes us back to real life, and editing isn’t something that I normally take notice of.

Of course, I won’t give anything away, but I love an ambiguous ending. One that’s satisfying enough when taken at face value, but when you start to analyse every little detail, you begin to come up with different theories about certain elements.

I really loved this movie, but I will NOT forgive that jump scare. You can witness it for yourself, I’m not going to warn you, but it scared the crap out of the entire screen. Then I had to watch the next ten minutes from the corner of my eye in case something else happens. My poor nervous wreck of a husband now labels Nocturnal Animals as ‘that piece of sh*t movie that scared me’. He liked it of course, but he’s a bigger scaredy-cat than me!

So yes, a big seal of approval from me. Just…skip the opening credits if you can…trust me.

Advertisements

Tag (2018)

tag-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Jeff Tomsic

Genre: Comedy

Main Cast: Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb

Plot: Every year during the month of May, Hoagie and his friends take part in an epic game of tag. They go to huge lengths to tag each other, including getting a job at the company one of them works for. In this particular year, Jerry has said it’s last year taking part, and as he has never been tagged, the rest of the gang are determined to get him.

My Thoughts: I feel so conflicted about this movie. On one hand, I love that Tag is a different comedy story to most that we see these days. Based on a true story too! I also love this cast, and they gel so well together. I’ve never seen Jeremy Renner in a comedy before and he actually did really well.

On the other hand, whilst Tag started strong, it lagged in the middle, and then in the final 20 minutes or so the tone changed completely, which threw me off balance. Also, although I found it quite funny in places, 24 hours after seeing it I’m struggling to remember any specific jokes, apart from one which went too far. Ultimately, it was fun while it lasted but was kind of forgettable to me.

tag-movie-jeremy-renner-john-hamm

Best Bit: Whenever the gang try to tag Jerry – played by Jeremy Renner, he goes into an ultra slo-mo analysis of every move, and it never got old! It’s such a shame that Jerry couldn’t be an Avenger instead of Hawkeye!

Worst Bit: I love inappropriate jokes as much as the next terrible person but repeatedly making jokes about miscarriage was too cringy for me, and soured my mood a little. Do it once and you’ll get a shocked “should I laugh at this” reaction but 10 more times and I just cringe.

Fun Trivia: The film was based on the true events of the lives of former high school classmates (Bill Akers, Patrick Schultheis, Sean Raftis and Mike Konesky). As teenagers during the 1980’s, they would entertain themselves by playing the schoolyard game during breaks at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington.

My Rating: 2 and a half watches out 5. Synchronise them if you can, unless you don’t know how, don’t have a watch, or don’t believe that time itself is a construct!

tag-movie-synchronise-your-watches