Tag Archives: Elizabeth Olsen

Godzilla – Review

4 Jun

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Ohh Godzilla. He first appeared in Ishiro Honda’s 1954 movie of the same name and has gone on to become the most famous movie monster of all time and a cultural phenomenon. There are more than 28 Japanese movies starring Godzilla and an American movie released in 1998 that was disappointing, and thankfully, forgotten.

Here we are in 2014 and an American studio has made its second attempt to reinvent the franchise. The film starts in Japan in 1999, where nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) detects seismic activity in the Philippines that eventually leads to several deaths at his nuclear power plant, including his wife (Juliette Binoche). 15 years later, Joe still investigates the strange readings that killed his wife much to the dismay of his adult son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Ford’s wife, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen). After Joe is arrested for trespassing at the old nuclear power plant, Ford is forced to go to Japan and realizes that something strange and ominous is happening.

The first hour of the movie doesn’t show Godzilla, but director Gareth Edwards attempts to develop his characters. The most likable and relatable character is Joe. Despite having a fairly good cast, Cranston steals every scene he’s in and pulls off the confused heartbroken man very well. Second best is Ken Watanabe, who plays a scientist investigating Godzilla’s origins and believes that the monster “brings balance” to the world.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen round out the main cast. Olsen is a great actress, but she gets lost in the shuffle and destruction of the movie. Taylor-Johnson seems to be a new leading man in Hollywood. Unfortunately his performance is flat and lifeless. His reactions to the deaths and chaos around him are disingenuous and wooden. By the time Godzilla appears, you lose interest in the cast and you just want the monsters to kick some ass.

Godzilla and the creatures he fights look amazing. The special effects are awesome and they did a great job of making Godzilla new, while still maintaining elements from the original Japanese movies.

Godzilla isn’t without its problems. There are some huge plot holes and hilarious one-liners, but it’s an entertaining summer movie and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

 

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Martha Marcy May Marlene: Review

13 Mar

 

The film open with Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escaping from a communal farm in rural New York.  Martha scared and alone contacts her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and ends up hiding out in Lucy’s Connecticut vacation home.  In an effort to protect herself or maybe her sister, Martha will only tell Lucy and her brother-in-law Ted (Hugh Dancy) that she was living with a boyfriend.  At first Martha seems fragile, but functional enough to reintegrate into the world, but then she starts giving Lucy and Ted the creeps.

Martha starts asking strange questions, having violent outbursts and laying on Lucy and Ted’s bed while the couple is having sex in it.  At a dinner party the couple hosts at their home, Martha has a violent paranoid outbreak and Lucy stays with her throughout the night.  Lucy obviously feels responsible for Martha, but her husband is increasingly alarmed and wants Martha committed.

Throughout the film, we see what Martha experienced through flashbacks of the farm and the cult’s charismatic leader Patrick (John Hawkes) and we begin to understand how damaged she is.  Not only was her self-esteem systematically broken down by Patrick, but she was encouraged to subservient, take part in orgies, steal and even participate in murder.  Martha’s increasing paranoia seems unfounded at the beginning of the movie, yet you slowly start to wonder if the cult is coming to bring her back to the farm or kill her.

The ending is ambiguous and you are left wondering what will happen to Martha.

Hawkes is fantastic as the cult leader.  One moment he is menacing: the next he is cuddling Martha telling her that she’s his favorite.  Olsen is the real standout of the movie and it’s hard to believe that it’s her first feature film. Olsen is sweet and sad one minute then aggressive and cruel the next.  Martha Marcy May Marlene received a lot of recognition at the 2011 Sundance film festival and it’s easy to see why.

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