- Category: Movie Reviews
- Written by Gilbert Seah
AVENGERS INFINITY WARS will still be breaking records this week. Not much opening this week except for Jason Reitman’s TULLY and the horror thriller BAD SAMARITAN.
BEST FILMS PLAYING:
ISLE OF DOGS
AVENGERS INFINITY WAR
(Check out Hot Docs 2018 now playing)
C’EST LA VIE (LE SENS de la FETE)
THE SHAPE OF WATER
YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
BAD SAMARITAN (USA 2017) ***
Directed by Dean Devlin
The film BAD SAMARITAN centres on young Sean Falco (Robert Sheedan), the bad Samaritan of the title who leaves a kidnapped woman in the house he is robbing only to feel guilty after and to decide to help her. The problem is the kidnapper. The kidnapper is a filthy rich psycho who has made it his goal to destroy Sean’s life. And so the story goes in this occasionally scary horror thriller.
The film opens with Sean Falco and his best friend Derek Sandoval (Carlito Olivero) working as parking valets for a high end Italian restaurant. They have the tech ability of finding the information from the cars they park and to use the information to rob the houses of these clients. This is not the first film based on this premise. The recent Canadian drama BOOST turned the scenario into the young robber’s coming-of-rites passage turing BOOST to become one of the Best Canadian debut features of the year. BAD SAMARITAN takes a different route as a horror triller with the victim becoming the predator in what essentially is a slasher horror flick. But as a slasher flick, Devlin’s film succeeds and delivers quite a few jump out of your seat genuine scares. The film also plays to like a abduction thriller similar to HOUSE and SPLIT. Robert Sheehan is sufficiently apt in the title role of the young lead, though the film never explains the character's strong Irish accent.
The success of a thriller or action film often depends largely on the effectiveness of the villain. As in the recent AVENGERS INFINITY WAR that had an excellent villain in the form of Josh Brolin’s Thanos, BAD SAMARITAN’s bad guy is so evil that the entire audience will be at the point of cheering aloud when he gets his comeuppance at the end. Full credit to David Tennant as the evil beyond comparison Cale Erendreich, who has an uncanny resemblance to Anthony Perkins. This is especially apparent in the shower scene (director Deviln’s clever nod to Hitchcock’s PSYCHO) when Cale shows up in Sean’s residence while he is taking a shower. Audiences shod be pleased too at spotting few other Hitchcock references.
The film contains a brief episode showing Sean with his parents. Both his father followed by his mother have lost their jobs, from Cale’s orchestration to punish Sean. The parents move to a hotel but nothing more is seen of them.
Devlin devices a few brilliant suspenseful set-ups, the best of these is the one that has Sean lying low in his car parked outside the villain’s house while the villain sees his vehicle and walks towards it. A few false alarms allow the audience to jump out of their seats proving that it is fun to be scared in a movie. The film’s climax is well executed with the suspense and thrills escalating to a high point.
The film suffers from a weird ending (not revealed in the review) desperate to contain a twist in the story. Other than that, BAD SAMARITAN is a solid scary horror thriller that comes recommended.
TULLY (USA 2018) ***
Directed by Jason Reitman
TULLY (is the name of the night nanny) a couple hires to help them through the difficult time of nursing a new born baby. The story follows a loving couple, Marlo (Charlize Theron) and her livable but often clueless husband (Ron Livingston). They are a middle-aged couple with a son who is attention challenged and has to be given special attention in a special school. When the film opens, Marlo is having a candid talk with the school councillor when she is ‘politely ’told her son should switch schools. In the meantime, Marlo is pregnant with third child. During a party, Marlo’s extremely wealthy brother (Mark Duplass, who appears to be just relishing his role) gives her a paid night nanny as a gift so the couple would not have to deal with the additional stress of having a third child. This is the story - how everyone, including the nanny herself, learns and gains insight from the introduction of a stranger to the family.
This is a female film, fascinating from a man’s point of view for there is so much to be learnt and noticed in the story of a woman going through motherhood again and through a mid-life daily crisis. Her husband likely needs to take major lessons as well. The mommy-milk making machine took me by surprise.
Diablo’s script is noticeably manipulative. The “I love us” dialogue is too coy. Tully does not appear in the film till the 30-minute mark. Reitman is setting the audience up for Tully to show up and do miraculous wonders. Before this time, Marlo is undergoing all the stresses of motherhood including sore nipples, spilled milk, dirty diapers and baby crying at the worse times. Tully always has the right thing to say and knows the right thing to do at the best moment. Marlo, on the otter hand, is flustered constantly but always saved by her. Marlo is given an unbelievably nice husband who the audience is led to believe, will let his wife watch him have sex with another woman.
Charlize Theron proves she has the guts to bear all in this emotionally devastating role. She is unafraid to show her frumpy side, when her teats have gone to bits and looking especially unattractive as in the shot where she is shown jogging next to a fit, slimmer and fitter jogger. (Her recent appearances vela her back to her gorgeous self.)
TULLY should be more of a crowd-pleaser with perhaps some insightful message the audience can take home to make the world a better place, but this does not happen. The film lacks the magic. One reason could be that all the trouble faced by Marlo and her husband are personal and self induced. It also shows that the nanny is just as faulty a human being as her employer, if fact worse, in terms of the romancing element.
As a film (the third collaboration between Reitman, scriptwriter Dianlo Cody and Theron, TULLY falls below standard of Reitman’s best films JUNO and UP IN THE AIR. TULLY just proves that Reitman knows how to make a female movie.