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Taken 3 (2014)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Fugitive parody, 26 January 2015

"If you go down this road, the LAPD, the FBI, the CIA... they're all gonna come for you. They'll find you. And they'll stop you."

Taken 3 is less of a sequel and more of a parody of memorable action films such as The Fugitive and even the first Taken. I was a huge fan of the original which I even included among my favorite films the year it came out because I was blown away by Liam Neeson's performance and the gripping action sequences. I also admit defending the sequel, although it is a decision I regret now that I have rewatched the film, because I just loved the character that Neeson plays. I thought the idea of a franchise for Bryan Mills would be an awesome one, but you just can't continue making it revolve around his family. I mean his daughter should be in desperate need of a psychiatrist after everything that she has gone through. I don't know how Maggie Grace pulls it off, but she looks even younger now than she did 10 years ago when she starred in the first season of Lost. This time the plot revolves around Bryan's ex-wife getting murdered and him getting framed for her death. While being chased by the police, Bryan has to discover who was behind Lenny's murder. We've seen this plot played out many times before, but no one has done it better than The Fugitive. You even have Forest Whitaker here playing the smart detective trying to solve the case while he is chasing Bryan (similar to what Tommy Lee Jones did in The Fugitive). The villains in this film are probably the weakest element and are often laughable which is why I felt this was sort of a parody instead of an action movie. The action scenes are difficult to watch because the camera is moving all the time and there are over 50 shots every minute or so. There are also many unbelievable scenes which Bryan walks out of without a scratch, and we don't even see how he survives some of them. But somehow the climax outdoes them all in ridiculousness. Taken 3 is a huge letdown and hopefully the final film of the franchise as promised in the posters.

Liam Neeson is an actor that I will always enjoy watching on screen, especially when making action scenes and threatening people over the phone. My only recommendation is that they don't show him running because it isn't one of his strengths. Unfortunately the film has so many shots and cuts that you can't enjoy Neeson fighting off the villains. Forest Whitaker is a great actor, but you can tell that sometimes he is just cashing in a performance. He is basically playing the same character he did in The Last Stand although this time he pays with a rubber band around his wrist while trying to solve the case. At this point I guess I would rather watch a film where Liam Neeson is threatening villains over the phone than actually seeing director Megaton ruining the action by cutting one shot after another every second. Fake Janssen doesn't get much screen time and I guess she bailed the franchise at the right moment. The villains have no personality whatsoever in this film (which I would argue is the case in the entire franchise, but at least they were threatening the first time around). The screenplay is full of plot holes and in the end you have to go through the tedious explanation of what we already know has happened just in case the audience was stupid and didn't understand what they saw. But perhaps they did it for those of us who may have fallen asleep during the action scenes because this is by far the longest film in the franchise and you feel it.

Foxcatcher (2014)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Combining elements from Capote and Moneyball, Miller delivers a chilling psychological character study, 25 January 2015

"You have a problem with me?"

If you thought Bennett Miller's Capote was a cold and distant crime thriller wait till you watch Foxcatcher because it is a very silent and slow paced psychological character study that explores some pretty interesting relationship dynamics along the way. I was captivated by this film and the atmosphere that Miller sets during its 134 minute runtime. I went into Foxcatcher completely unaware of the story it was based on, and I think that is why I may have enjoyed it a lot more than others who were already familiar with the story. This isn't your typical inspirational sport film, it is more concerned on studying the characters and you get an eerie sense that it is building into something much more than simply winning or losing a wrestling match. Miller's Capote was a crime thriller and he followed it with Moneyball which was a sports film centering on relationships, and in a way Foxcatcher is a combination of both those films. Miller is interested in telling real stories and exploring the characters behind them. Unlike Jolie's Unbroken where we get a sense that she is simply narrating a story where one event unfolds after another; Miller seems to be focused on the characters and their motivations. A lot of people might get bored with the slow pacing and somber tone of the film, but I was engaged with these characters fifteen minutes into the movie. There was a moment during the opening in which I felt the performances were a bit too actory or stagey, but once I got past that I was really invested in the psychological drama behind each one of the relationships. Miller has now directed three impressive films although this is his least approachable one.

There are some outstanding and creepy performances in this film, but the way in which the characters related to one another is what worked best for me. First of all you have these two brothers who've each won Olympic gold medals. Mark (Channing Tatum) is the youngest brother who seems to be sort of a social outcast living in the shadow of his older brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo) who is the more likable one. Dave also understands wrestling better and knows how to coach, while Mark is more muscles than anything else. They have a solid and caring relationship with one another, but there is some resentment in Mark. Their relationship changes when a multi-millionaire named John Du Pont (Steve Carell) enters in the picture. He is a wrestling aficionado and offers Mark the opportunity to come stay with him in his ranch and train in the facility he has built there. There is something offbeat with du Pont who is desperately searching for acceptance and recognition. Vanessa Redgrave plays his mother and despite not having much screen time her presence seems to have an effect on John who is seeking for her approval. There is something true about what Miller said when he referred to comedic actors as having something dark about them because Steve Carell pulls off a chilling performance as this eccentric millionaire who tries to become a role model for Mark. The problem is that du Pont isn't a coach, he is more of a sponsor, and without Dave Mark isn't that good of a wrestler. Tatum, Ruffalo, and Carell each give strong performances, which doesn't come as a surprise considering Miller directed each one of his lead actors to receive Oscar nominations in his previous films. The film relies heavily on their performances and they deliver. Carell receives most of the attention because he plays a creepy character who makes everyone around him feel uneasy at times (there is a homoerotic undertone to the film). The moments in which du Pont is trying to impress his mother by acting like he is guiding the wrestlers was the highlight of the film for me because no matter how much money this guy has you know he is desperate to be something he is not. Ruffalo is also outstanding and is given perhaps the most likable role in the movie, but Tatum is equally as good. Foxcatcher succeeds in most part due to those three strong lead performances and the way each one of these characters relates to one another.

Unbroken (2014/I)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory. Or is it the other way around?, 25 January 2015

"A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory."

Directed by Angelina Jolie, Unbroken focuses on the inspiring true story of Olympic winning medalist, Louis Zamperini, who later went on to serve during World War II going through all kinds of hardships. Unbroken opens with an incredibly strong action scene (which might be the best in the movie) and as the story unfolds we get some flashbacks of Louis's childhood and upbringing. It is a bit formulaic in the sense that it follows pretty much the same conventions as most biopics have done in the past. One of my favorite quotes in the film is when Louis's brother tells him that "A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory," but ironically after getting through this film the quote feels like it works better the other way around, "A moment of glory is worth a lifetime of pain" because Jolie makes sure we witness all the trials that he went through during the War. She focuses more on Louis's lifetime of pain and only a moment of glory. Unbroken is The Passion of the Christ of war dramas because we experience the hardships that Louis has to go through in a very detailed manner. There is no doubt in my mind that this was an inspirational story, but Jolie spends most of her time going from one scene to the next without ever trying to develop the character or tell us who Louis really was. In other words she tells an inspiring story but doesn't transmit anything about the man who went through it all. There are several reasons why I did enjoy this film despite its flaws and the first one is because of Roger Deakins's cinematography which is always outstanding. I could see pretty much any movie that this man shoots. The second reason is because the Coen brothers were involved in the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling novel. The Coen brothers aren't as successful when they don't direct their own screenplays, but this time they had strong material to work with. Hillenbrand is a great writer (Seabiscuit and now Unbroken) and the story is inspirational so there is a lot to like.

The film hooked me from the opening scene where we experience a great action scene from within a bomber aircraft overflying the Pacific Ocean. Then the generic flashbacks began and the film lost some of its potential. Jack O'Connell plays the lead character Louis Zamperini. After his solid performance in Starred Up, O'Connell, is definitely someone worth keeping your eyes on because he's extremely talented. In Unbroken we see him enduring a great amount of suffering (thus the comparison with The Passion of the Christ) so the film focuses on that aspect instead of giving us any insight on O'Connell's character. I still think the story is so inspirational that it manages to hook us and captivate us throughout the entire run time. Jolie is interested in simply telling the story so we go from one scene to the next without learning much of who the character's really are. The opening was fantastic, the scene where the plane crashes into the Ocean and the survivors struggle to survive was also another highlight of the film, and finally the torture he endures as a prisoner of war was inspiring. The technical aspects of the film are fantastic and Deakins cinematography is gorgeous. The supporting performances from Domhnall Gleeson and Miyavi are also very solid. But by the time the end credits start rolling you kind of wish the film had focused on the later aspects of Louis's life which were perhaps even more inspiring than the torture he endured.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A pulpy thriller with several surprising twists along the way, 23 January 2015

"You know when a dog bites you... you can either chain him up... or shoot him."

Cold in July was one of the most surprising films of 2014 for me considering I didn't have much expectations for it. I had never heard of director Jim Mickle nor had I read Joe R. Lansdale's novel so I was expecting a standard and by the books revenge thriller. I hadn't even watched the trailer for this film, but I did want to see Michael C. Hall in a starring role considering I loved his work in Dexter. I got much more than I bargained for from this witty and entertaining thriller set in 1989 East Texas. It begins as a simple revenge tale after a family man (played by Michael C. Hall) kills a burglar in his home. It turns out that the victim was a wanted felon so he becomes sort of an overnight hero in his small town. However, the victim's father (Sam Shepard) shows up and begins to threaten his family. Up to this point everything felt by the books, but I was still having a good time with it. From the opening scene I felt the tension and was enjoying the suspense, but when the twists began kicking in it simply elevated the film to a whole other level. With each twist and revelation the film grew on me more and more because it became unpredictable and grittier. It also has its touches of humor scattered throughout the film thanks to a strong supporting performance from Don Johnson. I had a great time with this film as it kept me at the edge of my seat. I absolutely recommend this well paced thriller which plays with its well known genre conventions.

The strong performances in this film are a big reason why the twists and thrills work. First of all, Michael C. Hall gives in my opinion the best performance in his career. He carries the film from beginning to end as we see the transformation he experiences after the fatal incident in his home with the burglar. The town may recognize him as a hero, but he feels uneasy about having killed a man even though he was defending his home. When Sam Shepard's character shows up fear begins to creep in to his life and Hall portrays these feelings perfectly. Shepard is also outstanding in the supporting role as his presence is threatening. But Don Johnson is the one who steals the show from the moment he appears on screen driving a flashy red car and wearing a cowboy hat. He is comedic at times, but someone the audience trusts to help solve the mystery. Don Johnson himself helps give the film a more retro vibe than it already had (so does Hall's mullet). I really enjoyed each one of the characters in this film along with the dark mood and surprising twists. The electric score also adds a lot to the overall atmosphere of the film. I'm really interested now in getting familiar with Jim Mickle's work because he really surprised me with this film.

The Interview (2014/II)
0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The Interview (5/10): It's proof that Seth Rogen and James Franco aren't always hilarious together, 22 January 2015

"They hate us because they ain't us!"

After teaming up successfully in last year's This is the End there were high expectations for Seth Rogen and Evan Golberg's second film. They had the bro- buddy comedy elements entirely right in their apocalyptic film, but this time around I felt some of the jokes miss the target. The problem is that the first time around they basically made fun of themselves and the entire film industry, while now they tried to mix that bro-buddy humor with a political satire focusing on the North Korean government. There are also a few attacks at the way America has handled these interventions internationally which were witty, but for the most part the film felt like it missed on most of the jokes. There were some incredibly funny moments which you know you'll get from Seth Rogen and James Franco because they have such great chemistry together. This is the sixth time they've collaborated together (but really only the third time they've both starred in a film together) and unfortunately this is my least favorite. I still think Pineapple Express is their best work and it was there where they first experimented with the bromantic comedy elements. They've pushed the boundaries over their next films making the bromance seem gayer. An important issue I had with this film revolved around the pacing which after awhile became a little tedious. I did enjoy some aspects of the film and found the segment where Seth Rogen's character is looked down upon for not being a serious producer as a witty comment on his own acting, but he knows what he is good at and sticks with it.

There were a lot of doubts whether or not this film would be released in theaters after the North Korean government threatened Sony, but ultimately freedom prevailed. Honestly, I really didn't see what all the fuss was about. It ended up getting more publicity and more people watched the film because of it. Unfortunately it wasn't the best collaboration between Rogen and Franco. I did enjoy some of their scenes together, but I think Randall Park stole the show as President Kim. His scenes with James Franco playing basketball and driving the tank were probably my favorite in the movie. At times the jokes felt repetitive, but the funniest scene of the film for me was the tiger incident with Seth Rogen. Even though I didn't enjoy the film as a whole I did find sporadic scenes working really well for me, so I still had a decent time with this film. The female characters seem to be the weakest link for Rogen and Goldberg's film as neither Diana Bang nor Lizzy Caplan get interesting things to say or do. There are some hilarious cameos however and a lot of pop cultural references (mostly from The Lord of the Rings and Katy Perry lyrics) that work half of the time.

An interesting sociological study of our current economy, 21 January 2015

"You told people if I wasn't laid off, they would be."

Deux Jours, Une Nuit is the first film I've seen from the acclaimed Dardenne brothers and I understand now what the fuss is all about. Jean- Pierre and Luc know how to direct authentic movies about real life situations in a very simple manner while at the same time making us think how we would react towards these issues. Deux Jours, Une Nuit is a sociological study we can all relate to during this current economic world crisis. This time the brothers present us a situation where an ill woman is on the edge of losing her job. She has been absent for about four months and on the week she is to start working again her bosses inform her that due to the financial crisis the employees must make the decision of either forfeiting their bonuses or allowing her to be laid off. Only two people voted to save her job, but after discovering that the vote was manipulated by one of the managers, the boss allows for another secret vote to take place after the weekend. This gives Sandra time to visit each of her 16 coworkers and ask them to vote for her, even if it means they lose their bonuses. It is a film focusing on solidarity and what it means to be a good Samaritan, and it also plays out as a character study of this depressed woman who is forced to beg for compassion. The film is shot in a very intimate way and at times it can get repetitive because we see Sandra walking on screen a lot and explaining her situation to each one of her coworkers. That repetition might not make for a compelling film, but it succeeds in doing so because we get to experience how tedious and uncomfortable it is for Sandra to ask her coworkers for support. We see the ups and downs she goes through as she receives positive and negative reactions. As an audience we feel that sense of uneasiness as she approaches each individual because we don't know how each one will react. It is a very uncomfortable film with a strong premise focusing on our humanity and willingness to be helpful towards other even if that means having to sacrifice personal gain. The different reactions of each of the coworkers are completely justified and believable.

The main character in this film is played by the beautiful Marion Cotillard who has slimmed down for her role here. She has been suffering through depression and you can tell by her facial expressions and physical posture. Despite it all she still looks great. The camera follows her around pretty much everywhere whether she is walking to face one of her coworkers or simply going to buy a bottle of water at the market. The film is honest and tries to be as realistic as possible which explains why we go through some of those mundane routines. Cotillard is always compelling to watch nonetheless and despite the repetitive nature of the film we are always uneasy about how each one of her coworkers will respond and how that will affect Cotillard's character. She gives a powerful performance and deservedly has received a nomination for best female lead performance by the Academy. Her supporting husband is played wonderfully by Fabrizio Rongione who has to always lift her spirits when she feels like giving up. The rest of the supporting players all give believable performances as well, but this is Cotillard's film and she stands out. The ending is also very powerful and the film leaves you with a lot to think about on our humanity or lack thereof.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Impressive first feature film from Jennifer Kent, 20 January 2015

"If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of … The Babadook."

When William Friedkin claimed that he had never seen a more terrifying film than The Babadook, I was certain that I needed to see this. I'm not a huge horror fan, but I was pleasantly surprised with 2013's The Conjuring, so I went into this with high expectations knowing there is hope for the genre. The film didn't disappoint despite never actually being scary. I don't think that director, Jennifer Kent, was interested in scaring her audience, but rather in creating an uneasy atmosphere that would keep us engaged. She succeeded because while I was watching The Babadook I couldn't help but compare it to some other horror classics like Kubrick's The Shining and Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. Kent spends time in creating an unsettling atmosphere with some annoying characters and isn't interested in creating jump scares like so many horror films tend to do nowadays. The Babadook takes its time to build the right atmosphere and you are rewarded with your patience during the final third act. It is more of a psychological horror film than a graphically violent one. It is almost as if you are watching a dark drama at times. There is more to this film than simply scaring the audience and once the film is over you'll realize that there is meaning behind the narrative. It sort of plays out as a metaphor exploring interesting ideas which I wouldn't want to get into because it would involve spoiling some aspects of the film, but it is clear that there is a surreal undercurrent to the film which effectively says something about the way we deal with grief and parenting. Jennifer Kent's first feature film was a breath of fresh air in the horror department while feeling as a classic at the same time. She will be a director whose work I will be looking forward to in the future. Her screenplay was also smartly written and I know that audiences will benefit from a rewatch because there is a meaning behind everything that is going on. There is an interesting undertone to this film which will only build its reputation over time. If you just look at this film as a monster film you will be disappointed because it has a different agenda.

Building a creepy atmosphere isn't enough for a horror film to succeed; you need characters you can engage with. I know that some of the complaints with this film had to do with the fact that the characters were all annoying and that made it hard to engage with, but in my opinion it worked perfectly for what it was trying to do. Essie Davis gives one of the best performances of the year and was a big part of why the creepy atmosphere worked so well. She plays a grieving mother who lost her husband on the day her first son was born. Her son is a problematic and hyperactive kid who is constantly giving her mother grief. He keeps on repeating that there are monsters in the house and always gets in trouble in school for his odd behavior. He's played brilliantly by Noah Wiseman and he effectively gets on the audience's nerves as well. Her mother doesn't really know how to handle him and when they come across a strange book named The Babadook weird strange begin to happen in the house. Essie Davis's character looks incredibly stressed throughout the film and her physical transformation is incredible. Noah Wiseman is one of those rare child actors who actually makes his character feel authentic and believable even when he is throwing tantrums and fits. I was impressed by the performances in this low budget film and they only add to an incredible tense and unsettling atmosphere. I was never scarred by this film, but I did feel uneasy and I also loved what it was trying to communicate. The Babadook is one of those films you should see now before Hollywood comes up with a terrible remake and ruins it. I hope it also marks a change of pace in the way horror films should be approached from now on.

John Wick (2014)
1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Keanu Reeves is back doing what he does best, 19 January 2015

"People keep asking if I'm back and I haven't really had an answer, but yeah, I'm thinking I'm back."

John Wick is as predictable and formulaic as the other 99% of revenge action flicks out there, but what makes this stand out is how well the action scenes are choreographed and what a breath of fresh air it is to see the action take place without all the extreme close ups and fast edits which never allow you to enjoy them. John Wick was directed by two former stunt men, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, who seem to have a grip at what they're doing because they don't take any of the fun away from the action scenes. Derek Solstad's screenplay is pretty straightforward. We are introduced to the main character, John, who is grieving over his recently dead wife. She leaves him a cute puppy which will help him during this grieving period, but a group of young Russian mobsters break into his home one night to steal his car and in the process they kill the dog. That brings John to his breaking point and we discover pretty soon that he is no common man. He was once a feared hit-man who later retired after meeting his wife. Now he is set on getting his revenge and the action begins. John is the typical hero we can route for and identify with for his loss, while the villains are ruthless and deserve to be punished. We've seen all this in almost every other revenge film, but what makes this one stand out and feel fresh is that the action scenes are stylized and energetic. So despite having a predictable plot you are entertained with some of the coolest action scenes of the year. This is no Raid 2, but it does get the job done. There is one particular action scene that takes place in a nightclub that is fantastically choreographed. These are the strongest moments of the film, but if you are looking for an original plot look elsewhere because this is very predictable. There are some interesting elements that Solstad introduces in this world where the mobsters have a series of codes and rues that they follow giving it sort of a video game vibe to it at times.

In order for the action scenes to work for a film like this where they aren't cutting the scenes every second you need to have an actor who can pull them off. They found the right one with Keanu Reeves who definitely knows his stuff. He delivers in every action scene with some fantastic choreographed moves. The mobsters build him up as someone they fear and respect, and once you see him in action you believe it. He also delivers during the quiet moments as well despite not having the best dialogue to work with. He was made for these roles and delivers. The supporting cast is excellent as well. Alfie Allen (from the Games of Thrones series) is getting typed cast as the hateful villain who behaves like a child at times. His father is played by the excellent Michael Nyqvist, who John Wick used to work for. He knows his kid made a mistake but tries to protect him nonetheless putting a generous reward on John's head. Willem Dafoe, Lance Reddick, and Adrianne Palicki get some screen time as well and they were a lot of fun. The way everyone treated John when they realized he was back in business was also another nice touch that the directors made and help lighten the mood at times. This was an extremely entertaining film with some of the best action scenes of the year despite all of its predictability. Stahelski and Leitch succeeded in making this predictable story feel fresh and if you are a fan of Keanu Reeve's work you will not want to miss this.

I couldn't connect with Jenny Slate's brand of humor, 17 January 2015

"Creative energy sometimes comes from the lowest point in your life."

Based on her short film Gillian Robespierre writes and directs her first feature length film about a comedienne who has recently been dumped by her boyfriend. It is a rom-com that has received a lot of praise for the way it tackles the issues of womanhood and abortion. The main character in this film is played by Jenny Slate and she is going through some rough patches in her life. Not only has her boyfriend recently dumped her for her best friend, but she is about to lose her job because the bookstore she works at is closing down, and she also gets pregnant after meeting a nice guy at one of her shows. Her comedic routine isn't actually working either because it is based on her everyday experiences and lately it seems to be more depressing than funny. Her brand of humor is mostly self- deprecating, but I had a difficult time finding it funny. I'm in the minority here considering most people have found this film funny, but I didn't find the humor in it. Slate basically plays a woman-child who is struggling to cope with the fact she has to become an adult. The comedy tries to be raw and honest, but I simply didn't find it interesting or funny. The romance also feels conventional at times. The film doesn't make a big deal out of abortion and that is why it has received much praise for the way it underplays the controversial issue. The film relies entirely on Jenny Slate's performance and unfortunately I never found her humor funny so that is the reason why it didn't work for me. There are way too many fart jokes in this film as well.

Obvious Child is a film that relies entirely on the screenplay and its cast because there is nothing special in the visual department. Unfortunately I found the screenplay and the main character a bit annoying. I already mentioned how the comedic aspect of the film didn't work for me, but I will give it a little more credit for the romantic side of it. It might be clichéd in some parts, but there is chemistry between Slate and Jake Lacy, who plays the sweet and patient guy who she meets during one of her shows. The film works best when the two are together, you get that uncomfortable feeling from both when they first meet or when they want to communicate something to each other. Richard Kind and Polly Draper play Slate's parents who are separated (and you can see why when you meet both of them separately in the way they treat their daughter because they feel like oil and water). Then you have Gaby Hoffmann playing the best friend role and sharing several scenes with Slate. None of these performances really stood out for me but they weren't bad either. I just didn't find Slate's character all that interesting or funny, and at times she really annoyed me. I am glad that the film is short because those 80 minutes still felt a bit tedious considering I was never able to connect with the characters.

Frank (2014/II)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An odd study of the relationship between artistic creativity and mental illness, 17 January 2015

"I love your wall. Put your arms around me. Fiddly digits, itchy britches. I love you all."

Lenny Abrahamsson directs this offbeat tragicomedy inspired by comedian Chris Sievey's comedy character Frank Sidebottom. I had never heard of him, but this film isn't actually a biopic because it only takes that concept of the character and applies it to a musician who always wears a mask around his head. It is a film that very subtly has a lot to say about the relationship between artistic creativity and mental illness among many other things. Frank is a film that I respect more than I actually enjoy considering I found the pacing a bit tedious at times and wasn't engaged with the characters. I didn't actually enjoy the music either, but of course it isn't meant to be entertaining, but it would probably have a little fan base considering their creative approach towards music. I also found it way more clever than funny. I didn't find myself laughing as much as I had hoped for. Frank is actually a short film running under 90 minutes and for about the first hour I wasn't really into it, but the last 30 minutes did draw me in and by the end I even enjoyed Frank's last song. From the moment the band travels to the SXSW concert I finally began to engage with some of the characters. The film is offbeat and weird at times sort of like its central characters and it reminds us that there is a very thin line between artistic creativeness and madness. Most of the film takes place in a cabin in Ireland where the band is recording their next album over the course of an year. You get the sense that what they are doing isn't just searching for inspiration. They actually are like of a support group in a way considering they are all mentally unstable (with the exception of Gleeson's character who plays like the fish out of the water here). Frank is a very odd film, but creative nonetheless with some touching moments near the end.

It's impossible not to talk about Michael Fassbender when reviewing this film. I truly believe he is one of the best actors living today, but having him wear a gigantic papier-mâché head covering his entire face could seriously restrain his performance. It didn't because it is Fassbender who we are talking about and he can pull anything off. So without his facial expressions he was forced to use his voice and body language which he did perfectly. His posture and the way he uses his hands convey a lot of meaning. Even his voice was restrained by this gigantic head so he really did basically do it all with his body language. If there was anything that got me trough this film during the first hour it was his performance. The lead character of the film however is Jon Burroughs (played by Domhnall Gleeson) who runs into the eccentric band members at the right time and is offered a chance to play the keyboards for them. Jon has always wanted to write songs, but he doesn't quite fit into this group of misfits. He is more interested in becoming famous than actually being creative and in a way begins to influence Frank and trying to make him sell out. The rest of the band members are played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (who is perhaps the oddest character of them all), Francois Civil, and Carla Azar. Scoot McNairy is sort of the manager of the band. Jon discovers early in the film that these are all troubled people and so he begins to develop a theory that artistic creativity comes from living traumatic experiences. So considering he has never been able to write a decent song, he believes it is necessary to go through some sort of trauma with the rest of the members in order to find his creative genius. With Frank however that concept is turned upside down and it reminds us that art isn't a product of traumatic events. It is a way of healing and coping with them through music. The film can be absurd and strange at times but it does convey the message in a very subtle way which makes the ending all that much better.

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