‘Non-Stop’ Review

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Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Anson Mount and Lupita Nyong’o

Synopsis:. An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.

*Reviewer Note:  This is a spoiler free review as always.*

Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) boards a plane, win what he thinks will be regular flight.  Little does he know, a passenger on the plane sends him a text over the private network warning him a passenger will die every twenty minutes unless $150 million is transferred to a specific bank account, that later turns out to be his.  Now, over the Atlantic Ocean, Marks is in a race-against-time to find the man who is framing him and threaten to kill people on the plane.

Once we get in the plane, everyone is pretty much a suspect. Ranging from his seatmate Jen Summers (Moore), one of the many ticked off passengers (Stoll), tech app inventor (Parker) and the flight attendants which is lead by Michelle Dockery. With so many suspect and no good lead, Marks is desperate before the clock goes to zero. Marks badgers the passengers and occasionally grabs them roughly for some interrogation. With no one to trust, force is his only option, even if it makes him look like the bad guy to the people on board and the authorities on the ground.

Neeson does his thing as usual, playing the gruff badass character who is a little broken inside.  His character isn’t necessarily innocent, which gives the character some levity, but that’s getting into spoiler territory so I’ll let you witness that on your own.  Moore also does her thing trying to help Bill solve everything but, again, is somewhat suspicions.  Dockery’s flight attendant Nancy also tries to help Bill but when he starts to take extremes she starts to doubt whether the threat is real or not.

Other smaller roles include; the other prominent flight attendant Gwen played by 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o, co-pilot Kyle (Jason Butler Harner), Corey Stoll and Scoot McNairy.  Harner, Stoll, McNairy and Nate Parker characters give Bill some challenges along the way, but of course nothing can stop Bill from trying to find his target.

One of the nice things about the movie is that it could have gone into the usual thriller tropes but it keeps the viewer guessing until the very end.  It’s probably what makes this movie work so well in that aspect.  However, in the last act of the movie when we find out the person responsible it does kind of get to generic territory.

All in all, Non-Stop could have been a cliché/generic and predictable thriller but instead director Jaume Collet-Serra and co. bought their A-game and gave us an enjoyable who-done-it thriller.

Non-Stop

4 out of 5

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‘Carrie’ Review

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Dir: Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss)

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort and Judy Greer

Synopsis: A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a non-spoiler review as always. I do want say I know it’s going to hard for some not compare this to the original Brian De Palma version. I even found it a bit hard because this movie is a real homage and shares some similarities (and even lines) but I’m going to review this movie for what this movie is.*

 

The movie starts with an interesting scene of Margaret White (Moore) that gives you the sense of how Margaret sanity truly is when he daughter Carrie is born. We fast forward and see Carrie (Moretz) as a teenager in high school. She’s shy, unpopular, a social outcast, and a bit naïve of her body. When Carrie has her period in the school shower she’s truly concerned with what’s happening with her body, even to the point where she thinks she’s bleeding to death. Of course instead of helping, the other girls lead by our main bully Chris (Doubleday) laugh at her and record her pain. It’s at that moment when we start to notice Carrie has something special about her.

It’s also here when we see popular girl Sue Snell (Wilde) take some pity on her and gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Greer) who shows Carrie some kindness.  After everything calms down, Carrie is told that her mother is coming to pick her up and we see that besides being put on the spot, she’s afraid of her mother.

We don’t blame Carrie for being afraid of her mother. Her mother runs a very strict house, so to speak. She’s very religious and will at times quotes things from the bible (sort of) to Carrie because she’s “misbehaving.” She’ll be even punish herself sometimes to make Carrie stop. Needless to say, she’s a bit unstable.

Moore does do a good job of playing up Margaret. She is subtly frightening and fierce and there is an interesting addition to her character that I kind of wanted to see more of. But, on the other end she can show that she truly loves her daughter and wants to protect her but when she turns on her it makes us look at her differently.

But let’s not forgot, this movie belongs to Chloe Grace Moretz playing our title character. Many believe Moretz was miscast or even saying that they can’t see why they cast Moretz because she’s to pretty to play someone who in the book is not pretty. I don’t think that any of that really matters. Without sounding like most of the pervs out there, Moretz is pretty but it’s her acting that makes her Carrie. Her performance as someone who has been raised in such a horrific, abusive home by her mother is what makes her so uncomfortable in her own skin and withdrawn around her classmates. Some of her strongest moments are when she’s acting across from Moore, especially the final scene, and as Carrie tries to stand up to Margaret and gaining more self-confidence her powers get stronger.

The rest of the cast do their parts as well as they could. Greer as Ms. Desjardin who plays Carrie’s protector and even tries to cheer Carrie up does okay in the small role she has. Wilde and Ansel Elgort are likeable as the school’s it couple, Sue and Tommy, who decide to do something positive for Carrie, after Sue can’t get past her guilt over joining in on the cruel incident with Carrie, so you kind of feel for them at the end.

Of course everything leads up to the infamous prom scene. It’s still a bit disconcerting to see Carrie having a good time at prom only to know she going to have pig’s blood dumped on her. It’s there of course where everyone that’s made fun or laughed at her learn what happens when you push someone to far. Carrie taking out her classmates is a bit terrifying especially when you see she’s kind of enjoying it and doesn’t care who’s in her way.

All in all, Carrie isn’t a bad movie. There are some standout moments and the acting from Moretz and Moore is top notch. However, the movie never really reaches it’s full potential even with the pay off prom scene. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the movie but for my only original movie comment, some of this has been done before.

 

Carrie

3.5 out of 5