Movie Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

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Summary: Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.
**As this movie came out last year, I’m probably going to spoil it. Maybe not throughout but in the cons, I will be spoiling the twist and ending. So be aware if you haven’t seen this movie and don’t want to be spoiled. I will put another warning when it comes up so you can skip it if you like.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Stephen Lang as The Blind Man. So this man is a blind war vet. He has a large sum of money in his house after his daughter was killed in a car accident. He seems very melancholy and sad about her death, which is understandable. However, when he realizes that people are in his house, he defends his house like a predator. He is scary regardless of the fact that he’s blind. He’s so scary but he is also brutal. He knows his house and he hunts down these kids. I’ve only seen Stephen Lang in Avatar and of course being the villain in that film he is very scary and he can totally see in that. I think he played this part very well, in being sad, a hunter, a victim and being very scary.
  • Jane Levy as Rocky. She is really the lead of the film, Rocky lives with her younger sister, mom and her mom’s alcoholic boyfriend and she’s using the items they steal to try and get money to go out to California. She seems to be a survivor and a fighter but that’s all that’s really distinguishing about her. She cares about her sister and she has a thing for ladybugs. This is the first time I’ve seen Jane Levy in a role, I thought she was good for her part, the moments when she’s scared, I believed she was, the great scene in the basement where it’s completely dark, I believed her fear and desperate need to get out. The times where she had to fight, same thing. She was good.
  • Dylan Minnette as Alex. He seemed like he was a lot younger than the other two, and he seemed like a good kid. I definitely wanted to know how he got mixed up in robbing houses with them, if it was only because he had a thing for Rocky, but he may not have had a good relationship with his dad (but we don’t really know that) but he was also smart. He was against robbing the blind man when he learned that he was a war vet and I was like “YES, my name sake, you better be the smart one. We don’t rob blind war veterans” but of course he caves. Alex was a smart kid, but obviously someone who likes to be a hero as he had a few chances to go but he stuck around for the girl. I really like Dylan Minnette, he is always likable even when he’s being stupid or kind of mean, I wanted to see this movie because he was in it anyway.
  • Daniel Zovatto as Money. He is kind of stereotypical in how he acts. He has his little braids, his tattoos and his attitude. He seems like he’s the leader of their trio, he’s crass, in your face and impulsive. I mean, Daniel Zovatto was fine in his part, I didn’t get attached to him because he’s that character that I went “oh he’s gonna be the first to go”. He’s just… that guy that got them to the house and was stupid.
The Direction. With suspense and thriller movies, it definitely helps when the direction is used in a way that makes the viewer fill like their involved in the movie. When the three characters first break into the blind man’s house, the camera follows each of them as they search the house, it follows from Money, out of the room, to Rocky, out of the room to Alex and around and back where you don’t know if there is someone there or not. When Money gets into the blind man’s bedroom, the camera goes under the bed (to show the gun) and comes out the other side… it’s so intense.
The Tension/Music. If there is something this movie does extremely well, it’s building the tension and using the music to do so. This movie is best when all of the lights are off, I don’t consider it scary (especially since I don’t like scary movies anyway) but it definitely can make the viewer be tense the entire time. There are points in this film where it’s silent and all you can hear are the characters breathing in fear, or trying not to breathe and it’s completely dark (at least to them) and we can only see them grappling around in the dark. It was so much that I felt my heart pounding as I wanted them to find ways to get out. This movie builds the tension so well. The music alongside it helps set the mood.
The Story. So the first half to the story is very simple. These kids want to leave Detroit to a better life, so they break and enter into people’s houses, so when they find out about a house that holds a lot of money, that is owned by a blind man, it seems like an easy hit. Turns out they were wrong as they quickly become the hunted. That’s fine and simple because the movie didn’t really need more than that. The movie is a survival movie without the usual gore and blood that these types of movies may have. I think that’s important to note.
Cons:
Character Motivations. Outside of Rocky, I don’t think any of the main three really had clear motivations as to why they were doing what they were doing. Money might have just wanted to get money for it, but he never really said, same can be said for Alex. Yeah, Money made the dig that Alex was doing it because he was “in love” with Rocky, but sure, that’s motivation enough to go and rob houses… to please the girl you love but aren’t sure they feel the same about you. The Blind Man has a secret that while I get it, I mean… it’s like but why? That’s so weird and just ridiculous.
The Story/Twist. There will be spoilers in this part, so skip over this if you don’t want to be spoiled. So, like I said in the “pros” the simple part of the story with the kids is fine and it helps that it’s not over the top and that it’s straight forward. Now, there is an extra story that is revealed in the film about halfway through. Alex and Rocky discover a girl tied up in the basement of the man’s house, she’s harnessed to a padded area and her mouth covered with like a leather thing. It turns out she is the girl who allegedly killed the blind man’s daughter. So, Rocky and Alex try to bring her with them to escape, she can barely walk (I mean, I would have left her because obviously he wants her for some reason and set off the alarm or left an anonymous tip or something) and the blind man shows up and shoots her, killing her. When he finds out she’s dead, he cries out “my baby” and when he thinks he killed Alex after beating him bloody, he captured Rocky and tied her in the padded room. He tells her that since they robbed him of the girl, and his baby, that now Rocky would give him his baby. He is going to artificially inseminate her with a turkey baster and of course she fights. While I got it, it’s also just weird and I felt that the movie didn’t need that part. In terms of how it ended, with Rocky getting away with the money and the blind man surviving after having killed both Alex and Money, he bought her silence about the truth and she gets the money and California with her sister. I get it, I just thought it was weird. Plus, he says “I never forced myself on her” but it’s still rape and it just felt weird.
Spoiler over.
Character Choices. So in any movie characters make dumb decisions, but these characters really make some dumb decisions to the point where I was like “really?” I mean I get that you want to be a hero and what not, but sometimes you gotta make the smart choice in order to make the best choice. If you don’t already have an escape route, don’t go back in the house! I mean really??? There were sooo many times where I just wanted to smack Alex and Rocky. Of course in movies like this, they fundamentally have to make stupid decisions because if they didn’t then there wouldn’t be a movie, but sometimes it’s so stupid that I can’t even imagine thinking that way.
Overall, I really liked Don’t Breathe, I quite enjoyed myself and I definitely think the movie is something to experience. Make sure it’s loud and dark. I thought all the actors did well in their respective roles and I didn’t dislike any of the characters. I thought the direction was really cool and helped feed into the tension and anticipation the movie creates in the beginning. The music really helps build the atmosphere and the tension is built up very well. The first half of the story is also very interesting as it’s a simple story. However, there are negatives. The character motivations aren’t very clear, at least not all around, the characters make really dumb decisions that are so dumb, they’re dumb by scary movie dumb standards and this movie is handled a bit better than a typical scary story. The other half the story and the twist I thought was really odd and almost a bit out of place in the film. I just didn’t like it. I got it, but I didn’t like it. But I liked the movie as a whole.
Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Don’t Breathe? What did you think about it? Do you like suspense and thriller movies?
What is your favorite??
Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more reviews!
Thanks for reading!

Movie Review: Get Out (2017)

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Summary: A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. This movie has it’s special group of people and legit all of them were interesting people and I think the actors did a great job. I can only go into so much detail without spoiling the characters in the film.
  • Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington. First of all, I think he is so good looking. I thought he looked good in Sicario but anyways, he’s really good here. His character is into photography and he seems to be a chill dude. He’s a bit nervous to be meeting his girlfriend’s parents, especially in knowing that her family is white. As he in their world, he looks a bit uncomfortable but is really good at keeping it together. But he begins to feel like he’s losing it and it’s so great. I think Daniel does such a great job at maintaining a nice young man persona (which he is) as well as being uncomfortable with being around white people. The way he is during the get together, he is trying to be a team player but things are weirdly happening. He reacts the way I know I would. I also appreciate his strength in the later scenes.
  • Allison Williams as Rose Armitage. Rose is the “girl next door” girlfriend. It was interesting how she was able to stand up to the police officer who questioned Chris (even though he was driving), definitely privilege there. She has a big smile, seems really sweet and doesn’t seem to be like her weird family at all. Allison Williams works here, she has the big smile that is inviting and welcoming, and as the film progresses we get to see more and she’s great in the role.
  • Catherine Keener as Missy Armitage. She is Rose’s mother, a Psychiatrist, tries to help Chris quit smoking using hypnosis (something he is not interested in), but she seems to be diagnosing him every time they talk. It’s weird. They have an interesting run in at night. I like Catherine Keener, she has an interesting voice and she works well here, she’s very unsettling in a therapy kind of way.
  • Bradley Whitford as Dean. First of all, this guy looks so weird with facial hair, I didn’t realize who he was until today. Anyway, he’s that guy who feels the need to explain that “I would have voted for Obama for a third term”, or finds a way to try to placate Chris’s uncomfortableness. Especially in reference to Walter and Georgina. He’s that guy who a black person would roll their eyes at because they’re trying so hard. He’s also a brain surgeon. He wasn’t as bad as “unsettling” as the mother, but he was up there. I think Bradley Whitford (who I also like most times) plays the part well, the lame dad, who thinks he’s hip but it’s more annoying than anything.
  • Caleb Landry Jones as Jeremy Armitage. I think he was the weirdest. He’s Rose’s younger brother and he obviously makes Chris uncomfortable due to his assumptions, especially about him being good in and liking sports (which Chris is meh towards), or the fact that he has a great physique for MMA. He even tries to get Chris to do some moves with him (so weird). I think he was the most unsettling of them all considering how he would stand in the background, or corners just looming over everyone, not to mention, he wouldn’t do something to his hair and Caleb has really lovely red hair lol. I think Caleb was perfect in this role because he is totally weird.
  • Marcus Henderson as Walter. He is the groundskeeper of the Armitage estate. Chris sees him and Dean tries to explain that Walter helped out when his parents and that they didn’t want to let him go (same with Georgina). He is really quiet, stares oddly and when Chris goes to introduce himself, Walter talks like he’s from another time period. He also does that creepy run (you see it in the trailer). Dude is so creepy. I think Marcus Henderson plays that really well too, to be able to maintain weirdness about the character.
  • Betty Gabriel as Georgina. I only saw her in that one movie that I will not name as I hated it but she was one of the few things I liked about that movie. She’s so pretty to me but Georgina is the Armitage’s maid and she pops up out of nowhere so many times (the only time I actually jumped was because of her). She also seems to have a fascination with herself in the mirror and she interacts with Chris a bit and every time she does it’s so weird. Good job Betty, you are officially scary lol.
  • LilRel Howery as Rod Williams. He is Chris’s best friend, the funny one. He’s the one who tells Chris not to go to the country with those white people (lol) and he’s the one who solves a lot of mystery on his own. TS MUTHAF**** A lol. I liked this dude. Everyone needs to have a friend like him.
  • Lakeith Stanfield as Andre “Logan” King. I think Lakeith is a great actor, I first saw him in Short Term 12 and he was pretty great here too. We see two versions of him. That’s all I’ll say. He does a great job too.
The Direction. There are so many good shots in this film. I can’t even, especially in the last act of the film. All of the scenes that are in Chris’s head, or flashbacks to his childhood, they’re all handled so well. Jordan Peele knew what he was doing, I was pleasantly surprised. The feeling of claustrophobia presented in a lot of scenes, or unease, or uncomfortably, it all depends on the choices made by the director. Two thumbs up.
The Story. On the surface, this story is about an interracial couple going to the white family’s estate. It travels through how uncomfortable Chris feels in this situation even if he loves his girlfriend. However, there is something sinister going on and I kind of figured something along the lines of what was going on, but it ended up being a step further than what I thought. It’s scary and honestly something that in a weird way could be considered funny but it’s scary for any black person to think about happening to them.
The Imagery. While the thrill factor is there, the imagery used in the film helps boost those moments. I don’t want to go into it too much because it gives things away but the things shown really help put certain things happening into perspective.
The Horror/Thriller Factor. I wouldn’t necessarily say this movie is a horror film but more of a psychological thriller. There are few jump scares but I only really got scared once. I don’t think it’s really scary but more haunting. The scene between Chris and Missy in her office, that’s the first really unsettling scene because it’s weird. Then when Chris is meeting all of the white neighbors another time because the camera is shifting between all of the people and it’s like overwhelming for Chris and for the viewers. Then of course the entire third act… again, I wasn’t scared but more like O.O. It’s so great.
The Message. This movie is not out to offend anyone, but I’m sure it’ll make a lot of people upset. It’s just exploring the fear that black people have when being a white man’s world, which is legit. It’s extreme but that’s the point. The people in this film aren’t Neo-nazi people, or whatever, but are nice people, with nice lives etc. but they represent those people who make life uncomfortable for black people while also admiring the best parts of that person. It addresses many levels of racism.
Cons:
The ending. This is really my only con and it doesn’t knock the movie down any bit for me. I think the ending is solid but it leaves so many questions unanswered. It can be argued that that’s the point, which is fine, sometimes, but I want more answers. Why would they make sure it was actually over before doing what they did? What about the other people in the wealthy neighborhood? I NEED TO KNOW!
Overall, I love Get Out and it was so surprising to me. I figured it was going to be good from the beginning but it really surprised me with how good it was. Jordan Peele created a film where the black man is not the villain, he is the victim but he is an active victim. He has created a film where it shows the fears that black people feel when surrounded by white people, as well as addressing the microagressions directed towards black people. It’s really an interesting film. The direction was great, the film looked nice and clean while including a lot of imagery that helps boost the way the film can be viewed as well as the story. It’s a very intriguing and unique story. The actors were well cast in their roles, they were fully realized. I love this film.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Get Out? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog!
P.S. Jordan Peele is married to a white woman… is he crying for help? Do you need help Jordan? lol (I’m just kidding).

Movie Review: When the Bough Breaks (2016)

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**Summary: John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) are a young, professional couple who desperately want a baby. After exhausting all other options, they finally hire Anna (Jaz Sinclair), the perfect woman to be their surrogate – but as she gets further along in her pregnancy, so too does her psychotic and dangerous fixation on the husband. The couple becomes caught up in Anna’s deadly game and must fight to regain control of their future before it’s too late.
Pros: 
Cast and Characters. I personally didn’t find these characters very “anything special” but because the actors are good in their roles. It’s parts of the characters I found silly.
  • Morris Chestnut as John Taylor. He’s a lawyer trying to make partner in his firm, he’s against using Anna in the beginning as their surrogate, he wanted to keep looking but he loves his wife so he trusts her judgement. Chestnut is always fine (lol pun intended) and he was. His character was probably the only one I could take seriously. He was the only smart one.
  • Regina Hall as Laura Taylor. She’s a chef, who has come a long way from Scary Movie, but she’s eager to choose Anna to be the surrogate and she’s the one who I blame. John wasn’t sure about her but Laura got caught up in the “Shyness” of Anna that they agree to work with her, which in a way makes sense, she’s a woman who desperately wants to be a mother and this young woman has charmed her. Hall plays that well, someone who wants this so badly she is willing to listen to someone spin a story and believe it. Also she looked great in that red dress.
  • Jaz Sinclair as Anna Walsh. I liked her for the most part, I didn’t mind her that is. She is definitely beautiful but there were parts of me that couldn’t take her seriously. Looks too young to be trying to play “sexy”, I don’t know if that’s the point or not but meh. There’s other problems with the character, which I appreciate them trying to push in there outside of just being “crazy” but… I’ll get to that later. She plays shy and nice pretty well, and she plays scary pretty well too and as her first lead role, I’ll give her a thumbs up.
Cinematography/Sets. The movie looked really nice, the way it was filmed was very crisp and clean and the sets were also beautiful. The Taylor’s house was beautiful and I had a touch of house envy… (Screen Gems loves to make these types of movies and their houses are all big like this, nothing wrong that but just saying, it’s a trend). The lake house visited later is also beautiful, the location around the house was shown enough to be pretty. It’s set in New Orleans and we see a touch of Mardi Gras but that’s about it.
The title. I thought it was kind of cool, it didn’t hit me till my friend started singing the nursery rhyme before the movie but they of course played the song and used it creepily in the film.
Cons:
Cliche and Predictable. The problem with movies like this is that there are so many of them that if you don’t do something new, it’s old, stale and annoying. There are some elements that are “new” including the “surrogate” thing and another addition to Anna’s character that I don’t want to spoil. There were a lot of things that I said “oh this is going to happen…” and it did. It’s because I’ve seen it many times before.
  • Screen Gems is the studio who put this out and I knew that name was familiar and it’s because they did Obsessed, No Good Deed and The Perfect Guy. Which none of those films I particularly liked very much, they’re all predictable and lame. The actors in them (minus Beyonce as she’s not an actor to me) are people I like and will see movies in them if they’re not the same type of story recycled but boy these people know what they’re doing and we just keep going to see the same movie repeatedly. Well, I didn’t pay for Obsessed, but the other three (including When the Bough Breaks) I did.
Mark Mitchell. He’s Anna’s boyfriend in the film and that dude was terrible. The acting was over the top and campy, every time he was on screen past his first scene, I was irritated with him. It was like the director him “make the creepiest face you can” and every time he was in a scene, he tried outdo his last creepy face scene and it didn’t work for me.
Stupidity. Why in movies like this, do characters always have these big houses with 50 million windows? Or why does everyone follow the noise they hear? Or don’t ever call the police? Or actually believe what are obviously lies? I mean I know it’s a movie but at some point the stupidity is annoying.
No Suspense. I didn’t find it suspenseful, as opposed to movies like No Good Deed or even Obsession. Anytime Anna’s character would look creepily from behind bushes, or a window, I didn’t wonder what she was going to do next. Anytime, the music would build as someone is about to see something, or something’s about to happen to them, I was just like meh. Which is unfortunate as the movie builds as a suspenseful “thriller”.
The Dialogue. Oh my goodness. Too many stupid lines that I just couldn’t ignore. Morris Chestnut has this horrible little “monologue” he says to his wife near the beginning of the movie and I couldn’t help but to laugh at how silly it sounded. The dialogue was pretty consistently bad.
The Romance Factor. I’m trying not to spoil anything, even though part of me doesn’t care enough to keep trying BUT outside of what seems like a solid marriage with Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut, the whole thing with Anna falling in love with John was just stupid. At first I thought it was going to be a trick to get their money (which honestly would have been a better twist) but then it turned into the typical sending sexy video messages, calling over and over, showing up at his job, trying to make sure his wife doesn’t come to important meetings etc and it just irritated me. They could have done something else!
The Crazy. Again, they tried to give Anna reasons to be crazy but considering how things turned out, it just started getting annoying. Also, lol we know she’s about to turn up the crazy because she changes her hairstyle, which was very cute. I had hair envy.
Missed Opportunity. I was a bit miffed at the fact that in the last third, there’s a few scenes where I feel like Laura should have been more involved. It’s after Anna sees John and Laura together and she really loses her mind, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I understand they didn’t want things to go too bad because Anna was pregnant, but after giving birth, I feel like Laura should have gotten a chance outside of her one moment at the very end. In all their other movies, the women got to kick some butt. I guess they wanted to give that honor to the man this time? lol
The Ending. Ugh. Just ugh.
Overall, whatever. The movie wasn’t very good to me, I enjoyed it I guess, just because it’s mostly ridiculously funny and there are some pretty good parts but the bad outweighs the good as you can see here. I think Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall are both too good for this movie and it’s kind of unfortunate that Jaz Sinclair’s “breakout” role is in this film. I hope she gets better roles in the future. I love to see black movies but can we stop with this type of subject matter? We’ve had four movies now that are the exact same film, just with slightly different elements. If there’s going to be a thriller, give us a real suspense thriller. No Good Deed was the best out of all of them.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (I feel like I’m being generous though).

 

**Summary from IMbD