Bullet Train

Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is an assassin who has been unlucky in his latest missions. Now he finds himself on a train going from Tokyo to Kyoto where all he wants to do is his job. What he doesn’t bargain for is the many other assassins that are traveling along with him, all for their own purposes. What started off as something seemingly easy turns out to be the complete opposite.

One of the summer’s hottest blockbusters, Bullet Train is an action adventure romp that doesn’t let up for one moment. It starts off with a bang and keeps going until the credits roll. The fight sequences, in particular, were entertaining and exciting. Sometimes it was as if they came from a comic book and while the gore was pretty graphic, it was executed in a way that made it funny.

Brad Pitt is one of the best actors of our generation and he knocked it out of the park as Ladybug. He carried the movie on his back and had great interactions with his fellow costars. Other standouts for me include Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). They captured every scene they were in and made me laugh constantly. I wish we’d had more of them because they were just that good. And while we didn’t see much of her, I loved Sandra Bullock’s role as Maria, Ladybug’s handler.

The movie may have boasted even more well known names such as Joey King, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Logan Lerman and Zazie Beetz but they weren’t featured nearly as much as I would have liked. I guess that is one of the downsides of having such a large cast of characters. There were a couple here that we didn’t learn anything about which was a pity.

With bright neon lights and a killer soundtrack complete with Japanese covers of Stayin’ Alive and Holding Out For A Hero, Bullet Train sucked me into a thrilling adventure. There were a couple of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat and while it was totally bonkers at times, I was able to let go and get lost in it.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Eternals

Sersei (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Ajak (Salma Hayek), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan) and Gilgamesh (Don Lee) are Eternals, aliens that have been sent to Earth by Celestials to defend humans against the Deviants. Learning to balance a normal life, they must reunite after years apart to defeat the Deviants once more.

I honestly had zero desire to watch Eternals at first. The storyline just did not interest me in the slightest. Eventually I caved and figured I’d probably be missing out on something if I didn’t give it a go, not to mention the fact that it is all part of Phase 4. The early critics weren’t great and so I went into it hesitantly.

The movie was better than I expected it to be. It wasn’t groundbreaking by any means and it’s not up there with my favorite Marvels, but because I went in thinking it would be awful, I was pleasantly surprised. One positive was the introduction and exploration of the characters. We really had a proper backstory and that was much appreciated. However, there were some that I still would have liked to know more about, such as Makkari and Druig, and felt that some definitely had more screen time than others. I also couldn’t help but notice many similarities in these individuals to those from the DC universe and I’m not really sure how that made me feel.

As usual, the cinematography was stunning. I don’t think I will ever watch a Marvel movie and not be in awe at the way it was filmed. I was curious about Chloé Zhao and the direction in which she would take things. She had a great approach and I hope that for future Eternal films, she will be onboard for them.

In addition to some characters being overshadowed by others, I also felt like the runtime was too long. A lot of the scenes dragged and I found myself checking my watch for the time. Not only that, but it seemed like there wasn’t enough build up to the climax of the movie which resulted in it happening too fast.

Overall, Eternals is not a bad Marvel movie, it’s just different. I believe that it will take some time before we really learn to appreciate how these superheroes will fit into the bigger picture. Does it deserve the negative reviews it’s been getting? No, I don’t think so. It was fine for an introduction film, however, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Rating: ♥♥♥

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window was one of my most anticipated films of the year. I read the book by A.J. Finn at the very beginning of the pandemic in preparation for the big screen release. As we all know now, the date was pushed back and the rights were ultimately bought by Netflix. You can imagine the build up and excitement that I have harboured ever since. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it this weekend!

Anna Fox (Amy Adams), is a psychologist who has recently separated from her husband. She lives in their New York City home with her cat Punch where she sees a therapist on the regular for her agoraphobia. Since she doesn’t go outside, Anna often finds herself spying on her neighbours, assuming that she will never have to come face to face with them.

One day, new to the area Jane Russell (Julianne Moore) from across the street appears on her doorstep. The two form a bond over a game of gin and a couple bottles of wine. So, when Anna witnesses a violent incident happening to Jane through her window, who will believe her? Nobody saw them together and to make matters worse, Anna usually washes her medication down with alcohol altering her perception of reality. Not to mention the fact, that it appears Jane Russell (Jennifer Jason Leigh) seems to be alive and well, except she is not at all who Anna met that night.

Let’s start with the good. I thought the casting choices were well done. While I am not usually a fan of Amy Adams, I actually thought her portrayal of Anna was spot on. That was exactly how I imagined the character while reading about her a year ago. Julianne Moore as Jane was uncanny and the two had great chemistry together. Having Gary Oldman as Jane’s husband Alistair and Fred Hechinger as their troubled son Ethan were perfect additions. Rounding out with Wyatt Russell as Anna’s tenant David, Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Little and Anthony Mackie as Anna’s husband Ed, there are a lot of familiar faces to appreciate.

I enjoyed the twists and turns along the way. Despite knowing what they were going to be, seeing the reveals occur on screen was still satisfying. The pacing, while slow to start, was necessary for the film and helped set the tone. It was creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat which is really all that I could want from a thriller.

Unfortunately, as is customary with every book to movie adaption, some scenes just do not make the cut. Most of the time, these changes are necessary and I can understand them. This time around, however, there were two plot points in particular that I felt were integral to the story and therefore should have been included. I truly believe if they were added in that everything would have been fleshed out more.

At the end of the day, I am still happy that I finally had the chance to watch The Woman in the Window. It may not have been entirely what I was expecting, but I did like it for what it was.

Rating: ♥♥♥