TL;DR – A film where profound sadness and haunting beauty intersects on the mountains of rural Wyoming.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of the film.
Land Review –
There is a genre of cinema that is sometimes derogatory referred to as a vanity project. This when a star gets enough clout to be able to direct their first film and then casts themselves in the lead role. These are usually overly dramatic works hoping to buy into that Oscar love. However, every now and again, you get a film that cuts through that noise and shows a real talent both behind and in front of the camera. With Land, we get just such a film and a phenomenal directorial debut from Robin Wright.
So to set the scene, we open in Chicago with Edee (Robin Wright) in a therapy session, trying to talk about why she is alone with her pain and why she refuses to share it with anyone. She is there out of her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) insistence, who is scared that her sister might self-harm. Edee instead decides to sell everything she owns, rents a car and drives all the way to rural Quincy, Wyoming. Here she buys a cabin off the beaten track that was already off another beaten path to be alone from everyone. But living with no running water, electricity, or phone has more challenges than first encounters, especially when winter starts.
TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.
Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.
Films that are beautifully constructed
Films that mean something to me
Films that are always re-watchable
Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema
With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.
TL;DR – Is it as good as Wonder Woman, no not by a long shot, but it is also not the steaming mess like the last two films, so there has been some improvement here.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is a mid and end credit scene.
Ok before we start I need to say that this is actually a very hard film to review because while it shouldn’t matter, you can’t avoid not looking into the issues this film had in pre-production. Firstly, you have the disastrous reaction to both Batman v Superman (see review) and Suicide Squad (see review) hitting after production had already started, and you can see the course correction that they tried to make here. But also during production Zach Snyder’s family suffered a great tragedy and he stepped aside which meant that the reshoots and final edit was completed by Joss Whedon. So it is hard to work out where to direct criticism, but also you don’t want to heap stuff on someone who has suffered greatly. So will all this groundwork I will try my best to be objective here but you can’t help but bring outside stuff into this.
TL;DR – Visually stunning, and a wonderful follow up to a true Sci-fi classic.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Besides Star Wars later in the year, I don’t think there has been a film as anticipated in the sci-fi world more than Blade Runner 2049. As I mentioned in my retrospective of Blade Runner (see retrospective) the first time I watched the original was just the other day so I came into 2049 with that whole story being very fresh in my mind. Which turns out was a good thing, because Blade Runner 2049 is not just a sequel in name only. So without getting into spoilers here, you may want to go watch the first film in preparation of seeing it here, not that you should need an excuse to see one of the most transformative science fiction films of the last century. I do have to say from the start that I went see Blade Runner 2049 at a premium showing (Gold Class for those in Australia) which I paid for, and I went during the middle of the day when there is usually fewer people. However, still with all this, I was in a session with a couple that loud talked throughout the film, in the quiet contemplative moments, and even answered an unmuted phone at some point. So while I am professional, I can’t put aside the possibility that this might have impacted my perception of the film. Now overall I really liked Blade Runner 2049 but it is hard to talk about it without hitting spoilers, hell even the cast list is a spoiler at this point. So just for the sake of precautions be prepared for [SPOILERS] ahead if you have not seen the film, which you should.
TL;DR – While not revolutionary per se, DC finally found a formula that works, and realised that there is no point moving a universe ahead if the individual movies don’t work.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is NO mid/post credit sequence
So if you have read my reviews for Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman you would probably know that unfortunately, I have not had the best time with the DC Expanded Universe so far. Now when it comes to DC v Marvel I have no skin in the game, I want both to succeed, and I only care about if the movie is good or not, and so far DC just has not made a compelling entry into this expanded universe of theirs. Well, that is until now. Is Wonder Woman a perfect film, no of course not, but it is logically structured, emotionally resonant, and filled with fascinating characters, which is a huge step in the right direction. Now as we go one we will keep this as spoiler free as possible, however, we do need to discuss the ending, but we will clearly mark them so that you can avoid them it if you want.