Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey on Epic IMAX Space Odyssey (Review)

Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey on Epic IMAX Space Odyssey (Review)

Christopher Nolan’s latest offering, in IMAX no less, is an epic new journey of discovery which takes Matthew McConaughey through a wormhole; in Interstellar, Nolan has tipped his directorial hat to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and managed to “out-Roddenberry” the Star Trek creator with worlds that surpass most imaginations. This long spectacular film entertains on a level that many movies aim for but few attain. This star studded feature, with five Oscar winners on board, should be seen in IMAX to get the full effect of what the director’s vision for the film is. Interstellar is a completely immersive experience, one that sucks the audience in and holds them captive for the entire 2 hour 9 minute run time.

House at the End of the Street (2012): Naughty Neighbours

Unknown

Looking this up on IMDb after I’d watched it, I was amazed to see quite a few folks just flat-out did not like this film. Apparently they were expecting some type of horror slasher flick and not what they got which was a physiological thriller.

I’ll admit that as a “horror” film, this falls flat. As a thriller though, it hits all the right marks and had me on the edge of my seat through at least half of the film. Hats off to the director Mark Tonderai for coming up with an effort that kept the suspense tight and the mayhem to a minimum.

The Plot:

At the film’s start a daughter kills her mother and father with a hammer and then runs off into the surrounding woods. Years later a divorced mother and her daughter move into the house next door. After being told that the house is empty after the tragedy the new neighbours find out that the couple had a son who survived the young girls murderous onslaught and he now lives in the house.

The Device:

You have to look very closely to see what is right in front of you and you can’t choose your neighbours.

The Cast: 

Jennifer Lawrence
Max Thieriot
Elisabeth Shue
Sarah
Gil Bellows
Weaver
Eva Link

*Cast courtesy of IMDb.*

Elissa and Ryan in a bonding moment.
Elissa and Ryan in a bonding moment.

The Story:

Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) moves into a lovely house in a rural setting that is to die for with her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence). Sarah explains to Elissa that the only reason that they can afford to rent this house is because of the brutal double murder that occurred in the house directly behind them. This event has driven the property prices down and therefore the rent price as well.

Soon after moving in, the two women find out that Ryan (Max Thieriot) lives in the house where his sister murdered their parents. Slightly spooked, Sarah becomes a bit too over protective of Elissa who has bonded with the strange young man.  While our sympathy lies with Ryan, it soon turns out that there is more going on here than meets the eye.

The Twist:

You can’t always choose your family members either.

The Verdict:

This film received a lot of bad reviews from some folks because they misunderstood the genre of the film. That is probably down to the marketing of the film more than an actual poor performances from the film’s main cast. If you watch the “official” trailer it promises a more roller coaster ride of a film, where as in actual fact the film builds at a steady pace versus a breakneck one.

I found it to be a taut suspenseful build up of tension. The main characters, Lawrence and Shue especially interacted well as the two victims of a marriage gone bad and their awkward attempts at bonding in their “new life.” Thieriot made me think of a young Casey Affleck gone bad. He exuded an air of wounded vulnerability that bordered on the dangerous. Unfortunately the “secondary” members of the cast could have been replaced easily. (With the exception of the local cop Weaver (Gil Bellows) who felt like every conscientious small town cop who likes the new pretty woman in town.

All in all, I’d give this film a 4 out of 5 stars because it was a superb thriller and not a horror film. It loses a star because of the wooden and one-dimensional secondary characters.

Neat Fact:

This is at least the second time that the lovely Elisabeth Shue has been threatened by a scary youngster, the first being her deadly encounter with a young Dakota Fanning in Hide and Seek.

The ever lovely Elisabeth Shue.
The ever lovely Elisabeth Shue.

Tower Heist…Ocean’s Five?

As I am a huge Ben Stiller fan I was really looking forward to his latest effort, Tower Heist. I will say up front I liked the film. I could have loved it, but the ending let it down a bit. Stiller who is the son of the comedy duo Stiller and Meara has never failed to deliver in the comedy field. Must be something in his genes.
Now unlike  Tropic Thunder and Zoolander, Stiller is not at the helm of this film. I can’t help but feel that if he had written and directed Tower Heist it would have been great instead of just good.One of the things that let this film down was the way the studios marketed it. The teasers and trailers that hyped the film made it seen like an outright comedy. This was not the case.
Cover of "Tropic Thunder (Unrated Directo...
Cover via Amazon
The film was a “genre bender” as my daughter likes to put it. It fell more into the range of a funny Action/Caper film.  It was not an outright comedy.  I know this because when I watch a comedy, I usually have to watch it at least twice.  Because if it is a good comedy I have laughed so much while watching it I have missed huge chunks of dialogue. I did not have that problem with Tower Heist.

English: Ben Stiller at the 2010 Toronto Inter...

The cast list is impressive. Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, and Judd Hirsh. It seems like ensemble films are all the rage at the moment. All the actors acquitted themselves wonderfully with their respective performances. Ms Leoni in particular showed a flair for comedy that was surprising.

English: Eddie Murphy at Tribeca Film Festival...

The plot revolves around an exclusive apartment building that appears to be a thinly veiled version of Trump Tower. The folks who live in this building are near the top of the Forbes list. Stiller plays Josh Kovacs the manager of the apartment building. Casey Affleck plays Kovacs’s brother-in-law Charlie the bumbling concierge. Matthew Broderick is the hapless Mr Fitzhugh who has lost everything and is being evicted from his apartment.

English: Alan Alda (born January 28, 1936) is ...

Alan Alda portrays shyster Arthur Shaw  with his usual sense of style. Shaw is a financial investment  whiz who has a close relationship with Kovacs. Kovacs asks Shaw to invest the apartment buildings staff retirement fund for them with the hopes of improving their pensions. Enter Tea Leoni as Special Agent Claire Denham who arrests Shaw for fraud. It seems that Shaw is only a whiz at taking people’s money and investing it into his own pocket. Kovacs then decides that the money must be in Shaw’s apartment and that he needs to get it back.

Kovacs then coerces his brother-in-law, Mr Fitzhugh, new employee Enrique Dev’Reaux (played by Michael Peña) and his criminal neighbour and one-time school mate Eddie Murphy into entering Shaw’s apartment and retrieving the stolen pension fund.

The film is clever and it did make me laugh in all the right places. The misguided marketing campaign used by the studios though did not do the film any favours. As I mentioned before this is not an outright comedy film. It was an Action/Caper  film with a lot of laughs in it. It was a definite winner and a film I enjoyed watching.

So if you watch the film think  ’Ocean’s Five’  and you will most likely not be disappointed.