‘Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You’ Review

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You

Significantly Less Innovative Than Boyhood, But In Its Way A Better Movie

I watched Roberto Faenza‘s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You a few days ago, and was reminded of another movie that revolved around a young person growing up, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood.

Though the thing is, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You was a much more interesting film–and most importantly, more watchable–despite being not as innovative (considering that Boyhood took 12 years to make, few films are going to compare when it comes to that score).

My primary issue with Boyhood was that there was little in the way of drama about the central character, though perhaps I should rephrase that:  All the drama was literally around him.  His mother had things happening to her, his father (and her ex-husband) as well.

Mason (Ellar Coltrane), not so much.

But Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You (possibly one of the worse movie titles ever) is different.  The movie revolves around a young person,  James Sveck (Toby Regbo) who’s entire family is remarkably dysfunctional, self-involved or just plain weird and he’s doing what he can to just keep remain afloat.

Another similarity to Boyhood is that James is also a child of divorce, though unlike Mason, he reacts and is effected by everything that goes on around him (a tendency that decreased as Mason grew older).

He’s a clever, and strong-willed individual, but he’s also young and hasn’t quite defined who he is or what’s he about quite yet.

He needs help, but doesn’t know how to ask for it.  You won’t necessarily like everything James does–because he’s a bit of a dick at times–but that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s an engaging character, unlike Mason, who was a bit of a tabula rasa.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You is currently on Netflix.

‘Happy Valley’ Review


Happy Valley trailer

Seeing The Women That Turn Up On British Television, I Think I Better Understand The Culture That Produced Margaret Thatcher

I don’t know what’s in British water, but they have a knack for creating engaging, dynamic female characters for television.  For me one of the best is Supt. Jane Tennison (Hellen Mirren) from multiple seasons of Prime Suspect.  After Tennison I wasn’t expecting to find any other strong women on television any time soon.

That is, till I saw Happy Valley, which also like Prime Suspect was created and written by a woman; the former by Sally Wainwright, the latter by Lynda La Plante

So now I am honored to add Sgt. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) to those esteemed ranks.

Though what I initially found interesting is that Euros Lyn directed the initial two episodes of Happy Valley, since he also did an episode of Sherlock, The Blind Banker, easily the weakest of the first (if not the entire) series.

As you can probably guess, Happy Valley is anything but, as Sgt. Cawood works to partrol the streets of a small town in Yorkshire, while raising her grandson, Ryan (Rhys Connah), who was born of the rape of her daughter.  As if that weren’t a difficult enough task, she also lives with her sister, Claire Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran), a former heroin addict.

Though to be fair to Claire, she’s actually a great character, and the only mistakes she makes tend to be out of love, not malice.

And I know that that sounds a bit like drama overkill, but it’s presented in a natural fashion, in easily easily-digesitble chunks and doesn’t come off as either maudlin or ham-fisted.

It’s good stuff, and great television, which justifies comparisons between Netflix and HBO.

Happy Valley is currently on Netflix.

Binge, and be happy.

 

‘As Above, So Below’ Review

 

As Above, So Below movie poster

As Above, So Below, let’s be clear, isn’t a particularly good movie, but it is a damned entertaining one.

The story, such as it is, revolves around Scarlett (Perdida Weeks), who’s searching for the clues that would lead her to the Philosopher’s Stone, which I should mention that her father was also searching for, before he hung himself.

Bad omens aside,  Scarlett is accustomed to going where saner heads refuse to tread, so she charges on and eventually makes her way to Paris, where a vital clue to her quest awaits.

As Above, So Below is also a found footage movie, despite the film not being found by anyone (which is a little odd, when you think about it).

John Erick Dawdle also directed Devil and Quarantine, and while those are both better films, they’re not nearly as frenetic or fun.  Though what’s curious about the film is thatthere’s a campiness, a silliness to As Above, So Below that I am not sure is not was deliberate.

For instance, there’s a scene that I call the ‘creepy woman inside the club’ scene, that is so silly–and I mean laugh out loud silly–that I couldn’t imagine what was going through Dawdle’s mind when he filmed it.  There’s even a later scene–when Scarlett and her gang are exploring the Catacombs of Paris–that is almost as silly (you’ll know it when you see, or hear, it).

The first scene I can see as a mistake that just slipped by the director.  The second…I wasn’t sure what’s going on.  Maybe he’s channelling his inner Joel Schumacher or something (in the sense of camp because Schumacher never did anything so odd by accident).

So As Above, So Below when all is said and done, in terms of the total package, is a bit lacking.  That being said, it’s fun, and besides–you probably already seen Guardians of the Galaxy (twice)it’s worth checking out.

And if anyone could stomach the Transformers (Any of them.  Take your pick), this’ll be walk in the park.  Or maybe a climb in the cave.

‘The Possession Of Michael King’ Trailer

This trailer really had me going for awhile.  As I have written before, I think stories of ghosts, gods and demons are little more than ways to explain where the sun goes at night, why there’s thunder during a storm or what makes you sick.  

And that’s all well and good, but the thing is, I also think that these stories, these myths are an interpretation of someone’s truth.  

In other words, I think that you shouldn’t tempt fate because the universe is far vaster and more strange than anything that I can even understand.

It’s also worth remembering that, for example, a crocodile doesn’t particularly care whether or not you believe in it, if the opportunity presents itself, it will devour you just the same.

And then the little girl says, “The monster, it’s you, Daddy.” and almost ruins everything that came before it.

‘Underworld’ Rebooted!

The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Underworld is being rebooted.  It’s been eight years since first entry in the trilogy (and two since the last film, Underworld Awakening).

And while I don’t necessarily think that eight years is a long time between reboots, at least it’s more than between the transition from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 to Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man.  

The thing is, a reboot of Underworld is not a bad thing, especially since the original films were little more than (visually speaking) Matrix knockoffs with vaguely supernatural overtones.  

This time around I hope that filmmakers spend less time finding out ways to better arm werewolves and vampires than to have them rely on their ‘natural’ abilities and leave the weaponry to humans, who need the assist.  

I also hope that the new movies are more on the horror side, as opposed to (somewhat generic) action films.

It’s not like there’s anything wrong with action films, though we could always use more horror films featuring werewolves and vampires.

 

‘The Pyramid’ Trailer

The found footage horror movie, The Pyramid, makes a point of mentioning that it’s produced by Alexandre Aja, the director of the reboot of The Hills Have Eyes (possibly the most ‘wholesome’ horror film I have ever seen), Mirrors and High Tension, among others.  What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s directed by Grégory Lavasseur, who’s Aja’s writing partner.   

In other words, what’s being implied is that you’ll somehow find the movie terrifying because of the influence of Aja, though looking at the trailer, I am not at all certain.

And while I think it’s just a coincidence, the trailer seems quite similar to Legendary’s As Above, So Below (both apparently feature people spending time running in terror through subterranean caverns), which is probably not a good thing.

 

Why Marvel Needs To Take Its Time Jumping On The Female Superhero Movie Bandwagon

I have written on women superheroes in movies in the past, and thought that it was a topic worth revisiting, especially since some have decided that Marvel Studios somehow has a duty to make a feature with a female lead.

Which is nonsense, but don’t get me wrong, inclusiveness is a great thing. All of us need to be able to see ourselves in the various superhero universes out there because they serve to not only inspire us, but as a reminder that reminder that we’re part of something greater than ourselves.

But there’s one problem with that thesis: Hollywood is driven not by altruism, but by money. If superhero films featuring women were successful, I guarantee you that every studio would be making them.

And it’s not rocket science as to why such films aren’t more common, which is because they have, so far, been failures at the box office.

For a prime example why Marvel should take their time, let’s look to 2004, when Warner Bros released Catwoman.  It was a failure, earning $80 million on a $100 million budget. And truth be told that was $80 million more than the movie deserved (Though Halle Berry was so classy that she actually attended the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards–also known as “The Razzies“–where Catwoman “won” in the Worse Picture category).

And the thing is, I don’t blame Pitof, who directed, or Berry’s performance in the title role (though the ‘tuna’ scene was a bit obvious and silly).

Heck, I don’t even blame Theresa RebeckMichael Ferris or John Brancato, who wrote it.

I blame whichever executives at Warner Bros who green-lit the project because alarm bells should have immediately gone off when it was learned that the main character, Patience Phillips (Berry) was ‘Catwoman’ in name only.  Her origins had very little to do with the comics that inspired her creation.  Now, I understand that executives may have wanted to go in a different direction after Catwoman made an appearance in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns–who portrayed the character as a bit too damaged–but to go so totally in the opposite direction tonally was a bit of an over-correction.

As if the Titanic, in a effort to miss a a small sheet of ice, ran smack-dab into the iceberg.

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