Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Movie Review: "Paris Can Wait" (2017)

Director: Eleanor Coppola
Year: 2017
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

A film producer's wife goes on a road trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband's coworker.

"Paris Can Wait" is written and directed by Eleanor Coppola in her narrative feature film debut. Prior to this movie, she had only made documentaries, most notably "Hearts of Darkness." If her name looks familiar for a different reason, it's because she is the wife of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. The film stars Diane Lane as Anne, who, oddly enough, is the wife of a famous filmmaker named Michael, played by Alec Baldwin. The two are in Cannes for the annual film festival, but when Michael has to make an emergency trip to Budapest to solve a crisis on one of his sets, Anne decides to go on to Paris, which was their intended destination, ahead of him. Michael's friend and business associate Jacques, played by Arnaud Viard, offers to give Anne a ride there, but winds up taking numerous detours along the way, turning what should have been an eight or so hour drive into a three day journey of sights, food, wine, and unexpected memories.

"Paris Can Wait" feels more like a video travel brochure for France than an actual film with a story. Most of the movie is spent gawking as our protagonists eat decadent food and visit lovely French tourist sites. Anne takes photos along the way, which constantly pop up on screen as if were looking at the Instagram feed of a wealthy world traveler. The entire picture almost has an elitist feel to it and is a prime example of why average people feel like celebrities and those who are wealthy are so disconnected from the plight of everyday people.

Jacques uses his knowledge of food, wine, and the Romans to try and impress his friend's wife in order to flirt with her and eventually attempt to seduce her, even though he promised himself he "wouldn't try to hold her hand." The way this character is written feels slightly smarmy, knowingly attempting to pick up on his coworker's wife because he thinks she's underappreciated in her marriage. Anne as a character is an extremely weak protagonist and is not some kind of a strong woman striving for any modicum of independence. She defines her life and her existence by her husband's job, completely subservient to his needs since everything she has ever cared about has moved on (her business partner has recently moved to London, her daughter is off at college, etc). When Anne goes on what seems like it might be a journey of self-discovery, she does so as a passenger with another man telling her where to go, what to eat, and what to drink. Her desire to drive straight to Paris is constantly overruled by his desire to woo her with lavish, grand romantic gestures (most of which he can't pay for, by the way), banal conversation, and glass upon glass of ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape. Meanwhile, we the audience are stuck in the middle seat between the two of them hoping someone will roll down the window because it's super stuffy and stiff in here.

Unfortunately, on top of all of this, Lane and Viard don't have much chemistry. As much as Coppola wants us to root for Anne to succumb to Jaques's sexual advances, we spent the movie rolling our eyes and hoping she could fend off his harassing behavior and remain faithful to her husband regardless of how flighty or busy he may be. The majority of this picture is trite, forgettable, and inoffensive. The ending, however, is so forced, fantastical, and cliche, that it hurt our overall enjoyment of the film. It took BigJ from a somewhat bored state of placation to beyond annoyed in just one contrived scene (one contrived moment in said scene, really). If you dig unrealistic romances, lifestyles of the rich and the famous, and desire a look at the vacation habits of the opulently wealthy who are bitterly out of touch and can spend over €700 on opulent and unnecessary dinner without a second thought, then "Paris Can Wait" may be for you, otherwise, you can wait a long, long, long time before you watch this one.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 49%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

Movie Review: "Beatriz at Dinner" (2017)

Director: Miguel Arteta
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

A massage therapist and holistic healer named Beatriz has just finished working at a client's house when her car breaks down in their driveway. She is asked to stay for dinner, but the evening gets awkward when it turns out Beatriz and the rest of the guests have very different values and views.

"Beatriz at Dinner" is directed by Miguel Arteta, who is known for movies like "The Good Girl," "Youth in Revolt," and "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." It is written by Mike White, who is best known for writing "School of Rock" and "Nacho Libre." It stars Salma Hayek as the titular Beatriz, a woman who has worked her way up in the world after coming to America from Mexico. She is a massage therapist and holistic healer who works at a local cancer care facility. When Beatriz goes to the home of a wealthy client for a massage appointment, her beat-up old hunk-a-junk car breaks down. Luckily, her client Cathy, played by Connie Britton, considers her a friend and asks her to stay for dinner. Beatriz, however, doesn't exactly fit in with all of Cathy's husband's business associates.

This film is all about cultures clashing with one another at the worst opportune time. On one hand, you have the lower middle-class Mexican-American immigrant who is into nature, healing, and is all about caring for other people, animals, and the planet. The dinner guests, however, are business-minded, money-oriented real estate developers who care about cash above all else and only consider themselves and their own happiness. Much of "Beatriz at Dinner" is spent in the thick of uncomfortable and awkward conversations as these guests try to ignore Beatriz and her "out their" views and stories. Beatriz has no problem speaking her mind, which is often in the direct conflict with the other guests, who easily and gladly talk about the piece of land they are about to plow regardless of the animals or humans that reside there. These moments can be funny on occasion, but in a secondhand embarrassment sort of way. There is definitely a political message as strong parallels run between these characters and a few socially relevant real life individuals, namely the man occupying the White House. The message is not exactly delivered in a nuanced or subtle way as Arteta and White directly thumb their noses in Trump's face by describing his entire family within these characters almost to the tee. The movie is essentially a stump speech.

Salma Hayek gives an stupendous performance as Beatriz, and we really believe her in the part. She does well as the voice of reason amongst a group of people who would normally never give her the time of day but are forced to hear what they think are crazy, hippie-dippy ideals. John Lithgow also gives fantastic performance as well. He is the primary antagonist and is the prime source of conflict with Beatriz. They have some fiery exchanges, and Lithgow proves to be one of this year's best adversaries.

There is some really good stuff within the heavy-handed "Beatriz at Dinner." It's obviously a very personal story for director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White, but when it's all said and done, it wound up being just an alright experience for us, especially considering the ending feels like a massive cop-out. We were fine up until then, but the ambiguous, unnecessary ending is where it loses us in a big way. This movie will only be appropriate for a certain group of people as it is essentially a gigantic f-you to people who have money, or make lots of money, and those who are more conservative-learning moviegoers probably won't enjoy this picture.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Movie Review: "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" (2010)

Director: Edgar Wright
Year: 2010
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Bassist Scott Pilgrim falls in love with a rather unique woman, but in order to be with her, he must first defeat her seven evil exes.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" is directed by Edgar Wright, who is known for his films like "Shaun of the Dead" and "The World's End" He also wrote the movie along Michael Bacall. It is based on a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley. It stars Michael Cera as titular Scott Pilgrim, the bass player for the Canadian garage band Sex Bob Omb. One evening, he sees a woman with vibrant fuchsia-pink colored hair named Ramona Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whom he immediately falls in love with despite that fact that he's already in a relationship with a 17-year-old named Knives Chau, played by Ellen Wong. In order to be with Ramona, Scott must first defeat Ramona's seven evil exes in combat battles to the death. Joining them in this wonderful but bizarre movie is a stellar cast including Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Kieran Culkin, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Mae Whitman, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman.

Edgar Wright is an astonishingly great filmmaker, and his directorial efforts on "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" are no exception. This is an absolutely amazing, fun-filled movie. Wright has done a splendid and whimsical job in building this universe where it's like living in a video game (a wonderful, magical Canadian video game). There is such a distinct, cool aesthetic to what is, at its core, a romantic comedy. It makes a story we've heard and seen a thousand times before feel revitalized and fresh. The visuals are nothing short of brilliant, especially in the fight sequences where Scott must battle it out with Ramona's seven exes. The colors, the costumes, the music, every aspect of this movie makes it quirky and wildly amusing.

Michael Cera is a great casting choice as a somewhat immature, insecure early 20's-something bass player. It is a bit of a type-cast for him, but he plays it well and with conviction. We believe him as a guy who wants to get the girl, but has to do so in a very different way than simply asking her for her number. There is also a lot of great humor in "Scott Pilgrim," whether it comes from Scott's self-deprecation, Wallace's charm as Scott's gay roommate, Knives' obsessive Sex Bob Omb fanaticism, or the increasing level of nastiness as Scott progresses through Ramona's evil exes. Wright also inserts sound effects, cultural markers, and music into the mix to enhance the entire experience.

It had been a long time since we watched "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," and upon revisiting it, we had smiles on our faces pretty much from beginning to end while watching this fun, zany, video game-esque flick. If you haven't had the chance to see this film, you must seek it out because it is stupendous. We have seen all of Edgar Wright's movies and he hasn't made a bad one yet as far as we're concerned. It is unfortunate that an interesting, out there film as good as this one didn't do well at the box office while far inferior movies rake in millions. 

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Movie Review: "The World's End" (2013)

Director: Edgar Wright
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes

Gary King lived the greatest day of his life the night he graduated from high school when he and his friends attempted (but failed) The Golden Mile, a 12 bar pub crawl. Now, 20 years later, Gary wants to relive that epic night and make another attempt at The Golden Mile with all of his old friends who have moved on with their lives. After much persuasion, the group arrives at their hometown only to discover much of it has changed, almost as if it has been taken over by alien robots or something.

"The World's End" is the third film in what is now called the Cornetto Trilogy, a trio of genre comedies directed by Edgar Wright. Wright also wrote this movie along with the film's star Simon Pegg, who plays Gary King here. Joining Pegg is Nick Frost, who always plays Pegg's sidekick in the Cornetto Trilogy films. In this case, Frost plays Gary's old high school chum Andy, who has gone on to attain a successful career while Gary has remained fixated on the past, more specifically, one single night in the past, for his entire adult life. His obsession, this one night, happens to be the day he graduated from high school and attempted The Golden Mile 12-pub crawl with all of his friends, including the aforementioned Andy. His other pals include Oliver, played by Martin Freeman, Steven, played by Paddy Considine, and Peter, played by Eddie Marsan. Now, Gary wants gather all of his friends back together in order to relieve that night lo those many years ago, but things aren't quite the same in their quaint small town. Some of the pubs are becoming corporate drinking holes, and some of the townspeople have been replaced by robot aliens, you know, like they do!

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and their friends have done it again. If you're a fan of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," it's safe to say you'll most likely enjoy "The World's End." Honestly, the best part about the Cornetto Trilogy movies is that Pegg and Nick Frost are friends in real life. It makes their on-screen relationships and chemistry so much more believable and so much more meaningful. This film is extremely well made and gives a hilarious take on the sci-fi genre with an emphasis on movies like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Stepford Wives." The signature brand of British wit mixed with loads of funny action is always enjoyable, but now, Wright and co. are adding lots of booze and sci-fi robot scariness, and it's even better than you might imagine. All of the players, Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan, all contribute to this former group of friends in their own humorous, sometimes self-deprecating way.

Wright and Pegg don't make everything in "The World's End" a complete berserk sci-fi laugh-fest. They actually manage to find a surprising amount of heart in this story as well. Pegg's Gary King is not a very good person. He is completely selfish and is a total liar. However, he still manages to be sort of charming and sympathetic because he's a guy who has never been able to move on past his highest point in life as a senior in high school. He's pissed away the rest of it on drugs and alcohol, and desires nothing more than to relive that one happy night from 20 years ago because he has not had a happy day since. This actually winds up making him quite endearing through his assholery. This movie also tackles the issue of corporate giants taking out the quaint charm of pubs in England by turning them into cookie-cutter TGI Friday-type establishments, it just does so in a way that also incorporates robot aliens, and we're completely okay with that.

We always laugh a lot when we watch "The World's End," but for this last film in the Cornetto Trilogy, there's a lot more intense friendship drama, unspoken animosities, and delusions of grandeur to go along with the alien takeover and the hometown nostalgia. We love Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost whenever they work together, and this film is no exception. This is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the other aforementioned titles.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Movie Review: "Transformers: The Last Knight" (2017)

Director: Michael Bay
Year: 2017
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 29 minutes

Cade Yeager, a British professor named Vivian, and the remaining Autobots search for the staff of Merlin, which has the power to destroy the world and will let Cybertron suck the energy from Earth in order to be reborn.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" is the fifth, yes, the fifth movie in the "Transformers" franchise. It is once again directed by Michael Bay, and this time, he has a whole army of new writers replacing Ethan Kruger, who had written "Dark of the Moon" and "Age of Extinction." Returning to star in the movie is Mark Wahlberg, who reprises his role as Cade Yeager, one of the few humans who still stands by the Autobots. He also becomes "the chosen one" at one point, so there's that. Also returning from previous installments are John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, and Stanley Tucci (though in a different role than the one he played in the fourth flick). New to the franchise are Anthony Hopkins as Sir Edmund Burton, last living member of the order of the Witwiccans; Laura Haddock, the aforementioned highly educated British professor; Isabela Moner as Izabella, an orphan who serves no purpose other than showing up at the perfect necessary moment; and Jerrod Carmichael as Jimmy, Cade's comic relief sidekick who didn't quite sign up for the job he's assigned. The plot here isn't much different than the one from any of the previous installments as two warring factions of Transformers search for an ancient Cybertronian object that has the power to destroy the earth.

Full disclosure, after watching the entire "Transformers" series within the span of a week and a half, we can't say we were exactly looking forward to this new movie. Other than the original "Transformers," which is a surprisingly fun and action-packed flick with the right balance of humor and explosions, the following three movies were either too goofy, too self-serious, or slow, plodding, chaotic messes that couldn't get the audience invested in the action happening on screen or the characters surrounding it. When the first part of "The Last Knight" started, we were actually enjoying ourselves. Sure, Michael Bay and his band of merry writers turn King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table into an absolute historical fact and have them team up with the Transformers, but we can deal with his revisionist zaniness as long as it remains fun. Unfortunately, the fun and excitement don't last for long and gradually get less and less interesting and engaging as this movie progresses.

This fifth installment winds up having the same recycled plot we've seen from previous installments as Cade and co. chase yet another McGuffin for the entire duration of the movie. There are slight alterations, of course, as well as a new but obvious focus on any installments that may come in the future. The second act of this flick is as slow as molasses, and we don't care about 99% of characters or the countless subplots running concurrently that get all jumbled together. Each action sequence gets more and more grandiose with less and less focus as time rolls on. It is a sheer visual mess of calamitous sights and sounds with people falling everywhere and robots fighting to the point where we never know who is doing the ass kicking and who is losing. It's all too much. We liken this to what happened with George Lucas during the "Star Wars" prequels. His vision and the ideas behind the stories are interesting, but nobody told Lucas to rein it in, and not just by a little, but by a lot. Michael Bay needs that same sort of truncation. He needs to learn that there IS such a thing as too much mayhem, and that is "The Last Knight."

The marketing for "The Last Knight" relied heavily on the angle that Optimus Prime betrays the Autobots and the humans, kind of like Dominic Toretto in 2017's "Fate of the Furious" and how he betrayed his family. Here comes a bit of a ~~**spoiler**~~: Optimus Prime betrays the Autobots for about five minutes of a two hour and thirty minute movie, and him snapping out of his trance of betrayal as Nemesis Prime is more contrived than the Martha moment in "Batman v. Superman." ~~*end spoiler*~~ Seriously, it is absolute trash writing.

Some of the actors in this installment are far too good for the material they are working with. Mark Wahlberg is still charming when he wants to be, but definitely ventures into the tone of voice and general annoyingness featured in "The Happening," which is never a good comparison. Anthony Hopkins can still be sufficiently commanding, but it's like he asked Michael Bay to make him the goofiest person he's ever been in his entire acting career because he wanted a change. It's painfully obvious that he's out of his comfort zone singing "Move Bitch" by Ludacris.

From a technical standpoint, luckily, Industrial Light & Magic's insane visuals are still stellar looking. However, one odd thing we noticed early on in "The Last Knight" is its constant change in aspect ratios. Within some scenes, there are up to five or six cuts going from 1.85:1 to 2.35:1 and somewhere in between. We don't know if this was present in any of the other films, but it's definitely quite distracting, especially considering it serves no purpose. It gets worse as the movie rolls along its very slow run time, and with nowhere to focus our eyes in frame due to the sheer amount of pandemonium happening on screen, it's easy to notice the slight aspect ratio changes that keep happening over and over.

We are sure there is still an audience out there for a movie like this, but we certainly aren't it. Granted, we love big, dumb action movies as much as the next person, but we'd prefer to watch something like "Pacific Rim" to something like this. There is a line for us, and people in Hollywood have taken to making statements like, "this one is for the fans" or "this is just mindless entertainment" in an effort to excuse sub-par storytelling, shitting writing, mediocre (at best) acting, and so much chaos, confusion, and lack of cohesion that it is headache-inducing. "Transformers: The Last Knight" may very well be the last movie in this series helmed by Michael Bay if it doesn't work in his favor. We just hope audiences are wising up to the fact that Bay's gotten away with making them watch the same movie over and over for the last decade, and this fifth installment is absolutely no exception.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 52%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Movie Review: "Hot Fuzz" (2007)

Director: Edgar Wright
Year: 2007
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes

Nicholas Angel is London's best police officer. After making his current department look bad by contrast, he is transferred to a small English countryside village. Once there, a string of odd accidental deaths begin to occur, and Nicholas believes they may actually be murders.

"Hot Fuzz" is the second film in what is now called the Cornetto Trilogy, a trio of genre comedies directed by Edgar Wright. Wright also wrote this movie along with the film's star Simon Pegg. Joining Pegg is Nick Frost, who always plays Pegg's sidekick in the Cornetto Trilogy films. In this case, Frost plays his partner Danny. Pegg plays Nick Angel, the top cop in all of London. He is so damn good at his job, the other police officers on the force think he is making them look bad. So, Nick is forced to transfer precincts, moving from the bustling streets of London to a small countryside village called Sandford, Gloucestershire. This new town is virtually crime-free, much to his chagrin, and has an unfit, lazy police force because of it. Eventually, Nick starts to take notice of a series of strange, deadly accidents, but since he's a top-notch copper, he finds some irregularities in these cases. He begins to believe these are not accidents at all, and that, in fact, they are homicides. Also in the film are Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Rafe Spall, just to name a few other actors. 

Where "Shaun of the Dead" poked fun at the genre of horror, "Hot Fuzz" is Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's take on the action genre, more specifically, the big, grandiose, over the top buddy cop style of action flicks. It does so by pointing out the fact that being a cop isn't at all how it is portrayed in cinema. Where movies show cops getting in car chase after car chase and gunfight after gunfight, "Hot Fuzz" shows the facts, the less glamorous nature of writing tickets and doing excessive amounts of paperwork. Danny is a huge fan of buddy cop films and is constantly hounding Nick about them, even though he's seemingly never watched an action movie in his life. Seriously, who hasn't seen "Point Break"?! Luckily, as the film progresses, it starts to mirror its blockbuster action counterparts more and more. It eventually goes all out by movie's end, finishing in an absurd flurry of massive gun battles, elongated chase sequences, and big explosions to go along with its ultimate mystery.

Pegg and Frost work extremely well together, as always, and they have a hell of a supporting cast backing them up in this flick. Like all of Edgar Wright's movies, "Hot Fuzz" is loaded with a ton of wit and a really cool aesthetic and style to go along with it. Once again, Wright and Pegg play with the expected genre tropes and create something not just satirical, but genuinely hilarious and borderline batshit crazy. We laugh our asses off every time we see this movie. In fact, we actually may enjoy it more now than we did when we first saw it 10 years ago. Edgar Wright has to be one of the best comedy directors out there because we have greatly enjoyed all of his movies up until this point. Another must see satire from a bunch of comedic geniuses!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Movie Review: "My Cousin Rachel" (2017)

Director: Roger Michell
Year: 2017
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

A young Englishman named Philip plots revenge against his cousin's wife Rachel shortly after his cousin becomes ill and passes away. The reason Philip blames her is because of a mysterious letter he received shortly before his cousin's passing. When Philip finally meets this newly widowed woman, he is so taken with her charm and her beauty that he beings to fall in love with her as his judgment becomes more and more clouded.

"My Cousin Rachel" is written and directed by Roger Michell and is based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. This material has been adapted twice before, the first time in 1952 in a feature film starring Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton, and again in 1983 in a made-for-TV BBC serial starring Geraldine Chaplin. We hadn't seen either version, so this story is still fresh and new to us. This new adaptation stars Rachel Weisz as the titular Rachel, a charming and cunning beauty who has been recently widowed. Joining her is Sam Claflin, who plays Philip, a young Englishman who cherished his recently deceased cousin, who was like a father to him. Right before his cousin's death, Philip received a chilling letter from him claiming Rachel to be an evil woman who was slowly planning and plotting his demise. Bitterly angry, Philip plots revenge against her, but those plans go straight out the window when he actually meet her. He is instantly stricken by her beauty, allure, and poise. This person couldn't be the monster his cousin described. The two begin to grow closer, but all may not be as it seems as Rachel begins to slowly control and influence Philip without him even knowing it.

Victorian era England is a favorite subject among filmmakers. The pomp, the faux pleasantries, and the prim and proper all give directors and designers a chance to show off classical looking settings and make intricate, gorgeous costumes to go along with epic camerawork and stunning cinematography. These kinds of pictures can be hit or miss for us. Sometimes we enjoy them quite a bit, as was the case with the movie "Far from the Madding Crowd," and other times, we don't enjoy them at all, for example, the terribly boring "Effie Grey."

As for "My Cousin Rachel," we enjoyed it for the most part. We manage to get pulled in by the mystery of it all as Philip has to discover whether or not Rachel is actually a sinister woman with evil intentions, or if he is merely projecting. On one hand, we watch her manipulate Philip and make him bend to her will, but on the other hand, we always have to wonder if her actions are actually sincere and just appear manipulative because Philip is harboring such anger about his cousin. To top it all off, Philip isn't the brightest guy in the world and didn't take well to schooling. He is young, naive, and lets his emotions constantly cloud his mind and his judgment. Rachel never once asks Philip for anything, money or otherwise, thus giving her more charm than meets the eye.

The best part about "My Cousin Rachel" is by far the acting. Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin both put on superb performances, and the two play really well off of one another. Weisz is one of our favorite actresses. She is such a powerful performer. Here, she walks a fine line between sad widow and cunning temptress, blurring the lines between what's spoken and unspoken. She uses sexuality and her femininity as a tool to inadvertently get what she wants without having to beg for it. Claflin has really grown on us as an actor over the last few years. We really enjoy his performance as Philip, even though he is playing a little bit of a dullard with a temper and an agenda. He has a fantastic ability to fly off the handle at any given moment, but can also be soft spoken and innocent when he needs to be. He is also able to fully display the attributes of a man falling in love with the one person he shouldn't be loving.

There is some excellent writing and dialogue throughout the film with a couple of hard hitting lines early on in the opening narration. There are a lot of twists and turns, lies and deceit, thrills and drama. We didn't expect it to end the way it did, and Michell keeps us guessing the whole way through its run time. Also, it is a nice change to see a movie about an older woman beguiling a younger man as it is almost always the other way around in cinema. The film's only real drawback is its pacing. It moves pretty slow throughout its run time as the layers are slowly peeled back inch by inch, but at least it isn't too excruciatingly long. Any longer and we would have given it a lower score for sure.

"My Cousin Rachel" can be a taut thriller at times. It will keep the audience questioning the characters and their motives until the credits roll. This is a good watch for fans of period piece films set in the Victorian era in England, and fans of mystery movies will enjoy this one as well.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?