Tagged: Lucy Faust

Midnight Special

Summary: A father named Roy (Michael Shannon) goes on the run with his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), after the boy’s special powers attracts the attention of a cult who believes he delivers messages from God and also the CIA.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Jeff Nichols

Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols

Cast: Lynn Berry (herself), Sean Bridgers (Fredrick), Kerry Cahill (Linda), Bill Camp (Doak), Adam Driver (Sevier), Kirsten Dunst (Sarah Tomlin), Joel Edgerton (Lucas), Lucy Faust (Caroline), Sharon Garrison (Jane Adams), Dana Gourrier (Sharon Davison), Nancy Grace (herself), Scott Haze (Levi), David Jensen (Elden), Allison King (Hannah), Sharon Landry (Merrianne), Jaeden Lieberher (Alton Meyer), Michael Shannon (Roy), Sam Shepard (Calvin Meyer), Paul Sparks (Agent Miller)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR MIDNIGHT SPECIAL REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Jeff Nichols has really announced himself as one of the best modern day filmmakers over the past few years. To be honest Nichols is yet to make a bad film, and his features which have included Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud have been gems that have regularly made my Top Ten films lists of the years they were released. Hell, I would go as far as to say that Mud is right up there as one of the best modern day films made. For that reason alone when I heard that his new film, Midnight Special, was a dark edged sci-fi that just happened to star two of my favourite actors, Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton, I was just as excited as I was about the release of Captain America: Civil War or Batman vs Superman.

Midnight Special begins with Roy (Michael Shannon – Man Of Steel) on the run from the law after he and his childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton – The Gift) snatched his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher – St. Vincent) from a cult where it is expected that Alton and his supernatural gifts will continue to be the cult’s bridge between themselves and God.

But as Roy and Lucas rush to get Alton first of all to his mother, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia), and then to the co-ordinates that he has been sent, the journey is made dangerous by the fact that they are pursued by henchmen sent by cult leader, Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepherd – Mud) and law enforcement agencies led by Sevier (Adam Driver – Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Then there is the fact that Alton’s supernatural powers seem to be changing all the time, sometimes with catastrophic results.

There is no doubt that Midnight Special is going to frustrate some audience members. The film begins with an amazing opening as Nichols has the courage not to let the audience be able to figure out too much. In fact for the first 20-30 minutes you are led to believe that Alton has been kidnapped and you have absolutely no idea who Lucas is. The film keeps you completely in the dark to key information and that just adds to the suspense as you try to piece everything together like a jigsaw puzzle. That works remarkable well for the beginning of the film but what is annoying is when Nichols decides to do the same thing with the ending the film. There are so many unanswered questions in the end that it almost drives you crazy. In fact there are so many things left open that this is the one time I wouldn’t be angry if they decided to make a sequel to the film just to finish it off.

For the most part though Midnight Special works sensationally well.  The way the film drifts from the cult storyline to a road-thriller shows that Nichols has the maturity to be a filmmaker that doesn’t shy away from throwing all the traditional filmmaking styles right out the window to get his story across. The fact that Nichols also manages to mix tropes from road trip and thriller movies into a film that ends up being a sci-fi also shows why he is one of the most exciting filmmakers of the modern generation.

Nichols’ well written screenplay also allows his cast to shine. As you would expect Edgerton and Shannon at their usual brilliant best while the film also allows Kirsten Dunst to remind audiences that she is still an actress who can really deliver when she is given the right material to work with. The script also lets Adam Driver show those who have been critical since his performance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens just how good he has always been in the indie filmmaking society. But the star here is clearly Jaeden Lieberther who like he did in the Bill Murray film St. Vincent shows the world how is destined to become one of the finest actors Hollywood has ever seen.

Midnight Special is the kind of film that has the potential to frustrate cinema goers who like a simple linear story, but if you like your sci-fi a little left of centre then you are going to adore this film. In fact this is the kind of movie that you’ll go to see and then urge your friends to see because you’ve loved it so much. Sure Midnight Special is not as good as Nichols’ previous films but it is still well worth a look.

Stars(4)

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s full Midnight Special review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #173.

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick Gardener’s full Midnight Special review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #173.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Midnight Special (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Midnight Special reviews: You can also listen to our full Midnight Special review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #173.

Trailer:

Beautiful Creatures

Summary: A supernatural love story set in the South, Beautiful Creatures tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st February, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Richard LaGravenese

Screenwriter: Richard LaGravenese, Kami Garcia (novel), Margaret Stohl (novel)

Cast: Bryan Adrian (Billy), Eileen Atkins (Gramma), Camille Balsamo (Katherine Duchannes), Tiffany Boone (Savannah Snow), Beau Brasseaux (Caster Shades), Richard Brosnahan (Genevieve Duchannes), Leslie Castay (Principal Herbert), Lindsay Clift (Althea Duchannes), Milton Crosby (Earl), Viola Davis (Amma), Zoey Deutch (Emily Asher), Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), J.D. Evermore (Mitchell Wate), Lucy Faust (Juliette Duchannes), Andrea Frankle (Lila Wate), Kyle Gallner (Larkin Ravenwood), Sam Gilroy (Ethan Carter Wate), Cindy Hogan (Mrs. Asher), Jeremy Irons (Macon Ravenwood), Thomas Mann (Link), Margo Martindale (Aunt Del), Treston Miles (Emory), Gwendolyn Mulamba (Mrs. Snow), Lance E. Nichols (Mayor Snow), Philippe Radelet (Suttler), Randy Redd (Revered Stephens), Emmy Rossum (Ridley Duchannes), Robin Skye (Mrs. Hester), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lincoln/Sarafine), Jackie Tuttle (Isobel Duchannes), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Mr. Lee), Justine Wachsberger (Justine Duchannes), Teri Wyble (Charlotte Duchannes)

Runtime: 124 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Beautiful Creatures’ Review: 

If you’ve seen all the publicity around ‘Beautiful Creatures’ you’ll know that it is supposed to be the replacement film for all of those who have been in mourning since both the ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter’ franchises have come to a close. The sad fact is however that ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is so bad that it doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the other films.

Based on the semi-successful series of novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl ‘Beautiful Creatures’ follows Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich – ‘Twixt’, ‘Stoker’) a young literature obsessed high school student who since the death of his beloved mother and dreamt of the day that he can escape from Gatlin, South Carolina instead of wasting his days away in a dead-water town with his best friend, Link (Thomas Mann – ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’, ‘Fun Size’).

Then suddenly Gatlin is made a little bit brighter by the arrival of Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert – ‘In Fear’, ‘Ginger & Rosa’) who is sent to live with her mysterious uncle Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons – ‘Night Train To Lisbon’, ‘The Words’). The religious townsfolk have always been critical of the family for years believing that they practice in witchcraft and they instantly decide that Lena should leave especially after an incident that sees Emily Asher (Zoey Deutsch – TV’S ‘Ringer’, TV’S ‘Switched At Birth’) and Savannah Snow (Tiffany Boone – TV’S ‘Unmatchable’, TV’S ‘Suburgatory’) injured.

When Lena finally allows Ethan close to her he learns that she is a caster (fancy name for witch) but that she is scared that on her sixteenth birthday she may turn dark like the other females in her family, something that family members Sarafine (Emma Thompson – ‘Brave’, ‘Men In Black 3’) and Ridley (Emmy Rossum – TV’S ‘Inside’, TV’S ‘Shameless’) are counting on happening. And while it appears that it is written in stone that doesn’t stop Lena, Ethan, Macon and local ‘seer’ Amma (Viola Davis – ‘Won’t Back Down’, ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’) from trying to prevent it from happening.

It is surprising just how bad ‘Beautiful Creatures’ really is. It is obvious that Summit Entertainment wanted to re-create the success they gained with ‘Twilight’ and they have obviously directed screenwriter/director Richard LaGravenese (‘P.S. I Love You’, ‘Freedom Writers’) to make this film as similar to their blockbuster as he could. Sadly though this brings the film completely undone, the soundtrack and the leading lady that looks like she could be Kristen Stewart’s sister almost make the film seem like a parody.

Also adding to the parody feeling are some of the cheesy moments during the film that actually have the audience laughing at instead of with the film… actually some of those moments are so bad there may be a few groans as well as laughs. LaGravenese then drags the film down even further when he tries to introduce some ‘Dark Shadows’ style comedy into a film that really should have been a supernatural horror in the vein of ‘The Craft’.

Sadly the producers of ‘Beautiful Creatures’ couldn’t even get the casting right for the film. Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons pretty much embarrass themselves in roles that could really tarnish their careers while Alden Ehrenreich is far too old to be playing a teenage romantic lead. And as for Alice Englert well she shouldn’t be giving up her TV work anytime soon because her performance here certainly won’t be having Hollywood producers knocking on her door.

No matter how much of a fan of the genre you are ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is the kind of film that you really need to avoid. This is one of 2013’s shockers… Golden Razzie nominations are sure to follow.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Beautiful Creatures′: Check Episode #21 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Beautiful Creatures’. Dave Griffiths also has another review of ‘Beautiful Creatures’ available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Rating: 2/5

IMDB Rating:Beautiful Creatures (2013) on IMDb