MMT Quick Review of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS by guest contributor Samantha Hollins

Nocturnal Animals

My keen eyesight and acute hearing instinctively became fixated on the tragic beauty of Nocturnal Animals, the latest film written and directed by acclaimed fashion designer Tom Ford. This is his second film since the début of “Single Man”, an amazingly powerful masterpiece that opened in 2009. He came back with a vengeance displaying this intriguing neo-noir psychological thriller based on a book called “Tony and Susan” by Austin Wright (released in 1993).

Each scene seemed to have been carefully styled like an upscale magazine spread. You can see where Tom Ford’s fashion sense inspired the well put together backdrop and foreground settings. You will also be alluded by the detail of suitable clothing that transformed each actor into the skin of their character. It was elegance straight off the pages of Vanity Fair to the casual comfort wear of suburbia. Some of the exterior shots stood out like enchanting landscape postcards. The stunning look of every chosen location contrasted against such a twisted gritty storyline can showcase that things are not always what they seem.

A posh art gallery owner by the name of Susan Marrow (Academy Award nominee Amy Adams) is living a lavish, yet complicated life in L.A. with her second husband. This film begins to take an unsettling ride down a turbulent road when she receives the manuscript to her ex-husband Edward’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) new novel entitled “Nocturnal Animals”. The past and the present becomes active with a dark trail of events that the imagination and reality wrestles with throughout veiled secrets.

Composer Abel Korzeniowski’s soundscape became the essence of yet another Tom Ford collaboration since working on “Single Man” and garnering his first Golden Globe Award nomination. Abel knew exactly how to mesh the most haunting sounds with romantic gestures pushing and pulling amidst this brilliant score.

What a phenomenal star-studded cast that internalized the depth of such intricate roles to reinvent, making it all too real. They made truth and revenge play cat and mouse, while many hills and valleys peeked through every pitch black moment. No wonder Nocturnal Animals has been reaping praise since it premiered at Venice International Film Festival and winning the Grand Jury Prize on September 2, 2016.

The time has come for the rest of the world to witness an old Hollywood suspense that meets a modern indie plot of mystery, digging up buried jewels of deception that will leave you wanting more. “Nocturnal Animals” was released on November 18 by Focus Features in select theaters, and is scheduled to expand November 23rd with a December 9 wide release.

Samantha HollinsSamantha Hollins, aka Ghetto SongBird, is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, guitarist, poet/writer, photographer and all around creative soul, who passionately enjoys sharing her positive artistic energy and harmonic vibes. You can follow her, and get additional information about her next tour date, on her Facebook page here; and check out her reviews of Ouija: Origin of Evil and Blair Witch right here on MMT!

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening of DEMOLITION Tuesday, April 5 (Philly, PA)

Demolition (Fox Searchlight)

What’s new MMT Fam!  We’ve obtained admit-two passes to the Philly advanced screening of the new Jake Gyllenhaal film DEMOLITION on Tuesday, April 5.

To try your luck at a pass, click here to get to the Fox Searchlight landing and follow the “Get My Pass” prompt.  All passes, like theater seating, are not guaranteed and are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the synopsis and watch the trailer below, and get additional info about the film here. DEMOLITION opens in theaters nationwide on April 8.

Good luck family! Thomasena

About the Film:

Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father in law Phil (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

 

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening of EVEREST on Tuesday, September 15 (King of Prussia)

Everest Movie (photo: Universal Pictures)

What’s new MMT Family! We’re doing a 2nd give away of advance screening passes to the Universal Pictures’ film EVEREST for Tuesday, September 15, at the United Artists King of Prussia theater. This based-on-a-true-story adventure/thriller has an all-star cast – that includes Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal.

This is an open contest, so the first 50 participants that send an email with the subject line “MMT EVEREST” to Philly@43KIX.com will receive passes. Passes, like theater seating, are not guaranteed and on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can read the below synopsis and watch the trailer for EVEREST, and get additional information about the film at the official website here. EVEREST opens in theaters everywhere this Friday, September 18.

Good luck family, Thomasena

EVEREST synopsis

Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival.

GIVEAWAY: EVEREST advanced screening Monday, August 24 (Philly/South Jersey area)

Everest Movie (photo: Universal Pictures)

Happy Friday MMT Family! We’re giving away advance screening passes to the highly-anticipated Universal Pictures film EVEREST for Monday, August 24 at the AMC Cherry Hill. This based-on-a-true-story adventure/thriller has an all-star cast – that includes Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal.

To put your name in the hat for an admit-two pass, you must be subscribed to this site and send an email with the subject line “EVEREST” & your full name in the body to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com. Winners will be selected at random and notified by Sunday evening.

You can read the below synopsis and watch the trailer for EVEREST, and get additional information about the film at the official website here. EVEREST opens in theaters everywhere on September 18.

Good luck family, Thomasena

EVEREST synopsis

Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival.

MMT Quick Review of ‘SOUTHPAW’

Southpaw (The Weinstein Company)

Happy Thursday MMT Family!  I screened the new Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) film SOUTHPAW last week and I don’t know how I’m going to get through this quick review with no spoilers – but I’m committed, so I’ll try!  Let me just start with this, I went in to the movie without reading anything, synopsis or otherwise, and only knew who the main players were and it was about boxing – of which I’m an avid fan. So I was NOT ready when the pivotal moment came  – which I won’t spoil here, since I can’t find reference of it in any of the trailers released.  And since I was the only person of color at a morning press screening,  I stopped myself from fulfilling any version of the movie stereotype by talking out loud – so instead this was me literally:

Cry meme

Yes, both emotions shown were me, simultaneously!

In short, SOUTHPAW tells the story of Billy “The Great” Hope (Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal), a former Hell’s Kitchen, raised “in the system,” foster kid who made good on the American dream – marrying the love of his life (Rachel McAdams), starting a family, and becoming the reigning lightweight boxing champion of the world. Hope’s world gets interrupted by a tragic event, that triggers an immediate downward life spiral. Abandoned by many closest to him, including his business manager – portrayed by Curtis “50” Cent Jackson – Billy is forced to confront his own demons and manage his actions in order to take back his life – which includes requesting help from a retired fighter/trainer named Tick (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker).

Now I must be honest, the script is formulaic. You have the average kid who’s expected to do nothing with his life, does great despite his flaws, has life-altering experience, loses much, fights back with the help of a mentor, and finds redemption. And at times, I saw some parallels to other films – especially with Hope’s boxing nemesis, whose lines are reminiscent of Mr. T’s in Rocky III. However, the story definitely grabbed my attention after the pivot, and I couldn’t help but root for the main character to find his way back. Gyllenhaal really dug deep for this role, and his performance is certainly believable – can we talk just one minute about how cut he became for this role!? Yasss, Jake! 😉

And I don’t know about you, but I believe Curtis Jackson – aka “50 Cent” –  has grown into a really good actor. Did anyone catch him in 2011’s All Things Fall Apart? You certainly need to find and watch that one if you haven’t.

I also mentioned that this is an Antoine Fuqua directed film, so expect it to be real, rough, and raw at times – especially with the fight scenes.  Fuqua never pulls any punches, pun intended, when it comes to telling a story – so know that this one is not for the faint of heart, and takes you through a variety of emotions.

And as someone from the social work field, I have to say I nearly screamed during a court scene – but again I was the only POC in the theater so this was me (speaking in my head):

oprah 2

I’m down to offer any scriptwriter/director my consulting services when it comes to portraying kids in courtrooms – okay, that’s all I’ll say…no spoilers, I remember!

All-in-all, SOUTHPAW is an entertaining film with some great performances. It will feel familiar, because some things have been done before, but I still enjoyed it. You can watch a trailer for the film below and get additional info at the official website here.

Stop back and let me know your thoughts after you see the film! Until next thought, Thomasena

Looking for Something to do This Weekend? September 2012 Movie Picks

Hey there Music Movie Lovers!  Happy first day of Fall!  I know, I’ve slipped this past month (only two posts).  I have been extremely busy with some new projects, but not too busy to check out a few films and catch up on sharing some thoughts :).  So, if you’re in need of a few recommendations, the following are are my picks for the month of September.

First up is the movie Unconditional, which stars Michael Ealy (BarbershopThink Like a ManFor Colored Girls)  and Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: WolverineJohn Carter).  Now if you follow this blog, you know I wrote about this last month and it came with a HIGH recommendation (see August 27th post).  I want to urge everyone to get out and support this movie THIS WEEKEND!  With respect to box office numbers, it is extremely important to support independent films on their opening weekends.

Unconditional displays fine acting performances not just from its leads but the supporting cast has a few stellar players; including the very talented Cedric Pendleton (he plays Anthony and wait…oh, just go watch and see!), and child actors Kwesi Boakye (remember the oppositional nephew from I Can Do Bad All By Myself?) and in her first movie role Gabriella Phillips (pictured above).  I also enjoyed the locales in which the movie was filmed, especially the home of Lynn Collins’ character Sam.  With its message of faith, redemption, and unconditional love, this movie is one for the video collection.  I have been inspired since viewing, and can’t wait for you to experience the same.  Make sure you check out the film’s website at http://unconditionalthemovie.com/ to get theater times and learn more about the ACT campaign.

Next up is a movie from David Ayer, writer of the movie Training Day, called End Of Watch starring Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as young LAPD officers in South Central LA.  Now, admittedly, it may seem like I’m recommending day and night as End Of Watch is a gritty, hold on to the edge of your seat, ride along shotgun with the police drama.  I must say, I did get a little weary of the camera work as the officers were video documenting their beat, and I swear one gang member’s entire vocabulary consisted of the f-word only. However, I did enjoy the realism of the film and both Gyllenhaal and Pena gave remarkable portrayals of their respective characters.  End of Watch is not for the faint of heart, so if you are not the special victims unit, gang violence or forensic type this movie is probably not for you.  For more info on the film, and to view the movie trailer, you can go to http://www.endofwatchthefilm.com/.

Alright, that’s it for me Music Movie Lovers.  Wait, question: what music are you listening to right now?  I know one of my faves, Le’Andria Johnson has a new CD out.  I haven’t heard it yet, have you?  What else are you listening to, what’s in the car, on the Ipod?  Get back to me and share your thoughts below if you go see either of the films 🙂

Until next thought family, Thomasena