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A depiction of ultimate psychopathic self-justification?
As others have already noted, the acting in Brimstone is simply phenomenal, especially that of Pierce. I don't remember ever seeing an actor become so completely transformed into a character. And a terrifying character, at that. Both Pierce and Fanning give master level performances. Even as the reverend continually descended into more and more more depraved and disgusting acts, I couldn't stop watching this film. I sort of felt dirty afterwards, and perhaps that was the intention.
However, I ask, what was the purpose of the degree of darkness and misanthropy depicted here? I don't know if there was an intentional effort to negatively paint Judaism and/or Christianity as inherently prone to producing this sort of a mad man, or if was the result of the belief that the male sex is the problem, or if it was a general depiction of an example of the ability of a human being to engage in the ultimate psychopathic self-justification by seizing upon a belief system and rationalizing and twisting it into whatever is needed to satisfy one's ego.
I couldn't really recommend this film to anyone I know, as they would not be willing to even try to understand what this is all about. It sort of reminds me of The Revenant, not only in its brutality, but its cinematography.
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
Holds your attention, but an abrupt ending.
I disagree with another review about the ending being a "boy gets girl, American apple pie conclusion". No, IMO, it's quite the opposite, judging by Lockhart's diabolical smile as he rides off. Notice that his teeth were perfect again at that point. DeHaan should have been a bit slower in the metamorphosis of his facial expression in developing the smile at the end. It should have come off as more of a realization of what his mental state actually was. The problem is that, although the film is quite long, the ending just seemed too abrupt and like, "well we have to wrap this thing up now".
The Circle (2017)
Just doesn't work..
I really wanted to like this film, but, unfortunately, Emma Watson just cannot evince any semblance of true to life emotion, whether it be fear, happiness, contentment. I never could figure out if, early on, she had concerns or not. One moment, her face would seem to reflect concern; the next moment, she was happy to become chief spokesperson for The Circle. I thought Tom Hanks was actually pretty good. I thought the premise of the danger of allowing too much personal information to be controlled by a corporation was a decent one, but the film just didn't work very well.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Best comic book movie I've seen!
First, I don't claim to be any sort of sophisticated movie reviewer. I just know I cared about the characters, as well as the poor civilians and soldiers depicted paying the price of war. I thought Gadot strongly evinced a sense of shock and grief at what was happening to the children.
I like the way they employed long scenes of conversation between characters who were deliberating issues of right and wrong. Many super hero movies, such as the recent Guardians of the Galaxy(which I did enjoy), just have way too much constant action and fighting, to the point that they don't make you care as much about the outcome of the conflict. In WW, they spend the requisite time to leave no doubt that the Germans were evil and the allies were good, plain and simple, and you want Diana to prevail. And not only that, but they also explored the issue that it is a danger to all our futures when good people throw up their hands and fail to oppose evil.
Also, I like the way they made it clear that, while Ares could put it into peoples' minds to commit heinous acts against their fellow man, it was ultimately the decision and responsibility of individual persons for carrying out such evil deeds. I will definitely be getting this on Blu-ray!
The Package (2013)
The epitome of gratuitous violence...
I wish I hadn't sat through this, but I did out of hope it was going to get better. The most positive act of the main character amounts to his finally mustering the ability to tell his woman he loves her at the end of the movie, after spending the whole film involved in what seems to be interminable remorseless, brutal shootings and hand-to-hand bludgeonings. This is exactly the type of movie people warned about after the latest rash of mass killings, i.e., a film that perpetuates and even legitimizes the idea that a tough guy, a "real man" solves his problems by picking up a weapon and wiping out people that have wronged him in some way. Exactly the ideas that impressionable, labile young men do not need to have reinforced.