kristin wiig

Film Review: mother!

by Chris Piper on September 15, 2017

If a stranger knocks at your front door…

Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother struggles with hostess duties as Javier Bardem’s poet entertains.

Standing before an unpainted bedroom wall, a young and thoroughly domesticated woman ponders which shade of eggshell will look just so. She mixes up a tester, applies a strip, and steps back to regard her work. Elsewhere an older man inhabits his writing study, conjuring magic onto the page and thence to his readers. Later the two will enjoy her hearty meal, and settle into reading by the fire.

But something isn’t right. A sound, or maybe a feeling, forces the woman to cock her ear. She moves as quietly as possible, propelled by a feeling she can’t explain, to peek in on the man. He isn’t writing. He’s just sitting, waiting, watching. Something isn’t right.

Such is the ominous atmosphere of Darren Aronofsky’s latest film mother!, which only partly succeeds, through the use of the horror genre overlaid with biblical themes, at offering a portrait of female anxiety.

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Ghostbusters panders then panders some more, and only delivers when embracing its own originality.

Mighty ghostbustin' foursome.

Mighty ghostbustin’ foursome.

It’s obvious, or maybe just to me, that director/writer Paul Feig was under serious pressure to cater his entire effort in relauching Ghostbusters to the fans of the original films. Possibly due to the stupid backlash against the production for casting four women in the lead roles, and for the sake of protecting a cherished 80s title, Feig decided to include an unfathomable amount of shout-outs, throwbacks, and cameos alluding to the original Ghostbusters films. The cast, and Feig, are incredibly talented. The best moments of the new Ghostbusters film happen when the original 80’s films are out of its sights, and instead, it embraces the comedic timing and inventive action that the actors and director are each capable of, respectively.

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Steve Carell as Gru, standing with two adorable minions, in Despicable Me 2

Steve Carell as Gru, standing with two adorable minions, in Despicable Me 2

Gru’s minions are so gosh darn adorable and hilarious!  The production team behind Despicable Me 2 knows this, hence the endless amounts of advertising for the film featuring the little yellow round bundles of gibberish-speaking joy.  Despicable Me 2 lacks the overall charm of the original, choosing instead to focus on minion mayhem, a tireless string of jokes, and adorable slapstick humor.  This isn’t to say the film lacks a clever story.  In fact, Despicable Me 2 impressively avoids trudging down expected paths.  However, the story doesn’t feature the same emotional core as the original, nor does it stay as focused.  Despicable Me 2 meanders a bit, but never loses sight of the task at hand — to entertain and have a really good time doing so.  Plus…those minions!

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