Film Review: DOWNSIZING (USA 2017) Top 10 *****

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Downsizing Poster
Trailer

A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

Director:

Alexander Payne

 

DOWNSIZING marks filmmaker Alexander Payne’s departure from real life and real life drama as witnessed in films like NEBRASKA, THE DESCENDANTS and ELECTION.  DOWNSIZING is Payne at his most playful, a sci-fi adult fairy tale of sorts, but one in which real life drama still exists.  The film stars Matt Damon who like the role in his last film George Clooney/Coen Brothers’ SURBUBICON is about a man who strives for a better life but things end getting more f***ed up.  What a man will do to correct the situation is what SUBIRBICON and DOWNSIZING are about.  It is interesting to see how two different filmmakers deal with a similar premise.

DOWNSIZING, a film combining several genres offers the solution to the world’s problem of overpopulation.  If people can be reduced in size to a thousandth of their original, many of the world problems could be solved.  People will only eat, use and dispose much, much less product.  When science finally achieved the success of downsizing, many colonies were begun.  So, Matt Damon and wife opt to be reduced and live in their new reduced size colony for monetary benefit.  Things never go as expected.

The film centres on Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) who is married to Audrey (Kristen Wiig) and who has spent most of his life working  hard but still raying int he same old house.  He figures that downsizing will allow him and his wife to afford the luxuries they would otherwise never achieve.  But unknown to Paul, the problems he faces do not shrink like their bodies.  After his is shrunk, Paul finds to his horror that Audrey has chickened out the procedure.  Paul is left divorced in miniature Leisureland.

Paul finds truth though the Vietnamese cleaning lady Ngoc (Hong Chau) after partying at his neighbour, Dusan’s (Christoph Waltz).  He slowly but surely redeems his life in a story unfolded in Payne and Jim Taylor’s script that is both dramatic and hilarious.  There is a very funny segment where Paul gets high at Dusan’s glitzy party.  He walks around with a ridiculous wide smile on his face, remarking at one point: “I am going to take off my shoes.”

There are many good examples why this script should win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.  This might be Payne’s second after winning Best Adapted Screenplay for THE DESCENDANTS.  One are the words Ngoc replies to Paul after giving him a farewell gift of a Bible in Vietnamese:”Words don’t matter.  Just remember me!”  Or the dialogue when Paul asks her “Who am I?”  She replies, pronouncing his name correctly the first time Paul has heard it pronounced correctly.  “You are Paul Safrenek!”   Or the classification of fucks into 8 categories, with Ngoc asking Paul: “What kind of fuck did you give me?”

DOWNSIZING’s script is brilliant with lots of attention to details.  The film does not go into thriller territory but attempts more ambitious aims.  Payne’s social satire is the most ambitious of all his films but it largely works thanks to the script.  Damon’s performance is fantastic (even the glimmer fem his eyes) with help from a host of impressive stars (Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Laura Dern, Jason Sudeikis and Neil Patrick Harris).   The prize performance comes from Hong Chau, as observable in the scene where she convinces with happy tears,  Paul and company the reason she has to visit Norway.

Shot in Toronto and around the fiords of Norway.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKEPCcPVrx0

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1987 Movie Review: SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 2, 1987

 

SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 2SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 2, 1987
Movie Review

Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring: Eric Freeman, James Newman
Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

An evil, psychotic patient at a Mental Hospital tells a psychiatrist of his murderous past.

REVIEW:

Having become an internet phenomenon due to the line “Garbage Day”, this was meant to be a film to scare its audience, chilling the bones to their very core. But instead of a non-stop scare-fest we are treated to what has to be one of the most outrageously funny movies ever released.

Due to Eric Freeman’s fantastic, over-the-top acting we see one of the most unintentional comedic performances this reviewer has seen for some time. Initially told in flashback, we first find Ricky in a mental hospital. A psychiatrist (James Newman) asks Ricky (Freeman) about his brother Billy. To cut a long story short, Ricky’s brother and he had witnessed both their mother and father’s murder at the hands of a man dressed as Santa Claus, as well as her being raped. Fast forward a few years and they find themselves in an orphanage being looked after by Nuns.

Some of the Nun’s are nice, but then there’s Mother Superior. The ultimate bitch in all cinema, she mentally tortures little Billy to the extreme that upon leaving the orphanage he is given a job; as a Department Store Father Christmas. Ultimately, Ricky goes a little crazy, and goes about killing anyone and everyone he sees as being “naughty” and must be “punished”. Thanks to his mental imbalance, he heads to the orphanage to finally see off Mother Superior, but instead is stopped just as his axe misses her. And all this in front of Ricky!

Onto Ricky, he is soon adopted by a young couple and soon leads a normal life. Suddenly his adopted father dies when he is a teenager and decides to go out on his own by landing a number of menial jobs. However, the years of mental torture at the hands of Mother Superior take their toll on poor ol’ Ricky. He too starts seeing people being “naughty”, and carries out punishment in a number of ways, whether it is strangulation or putting an electrical wire in their mouth’s and switching the voltage to its maximum. But the question remains; can Ricky be stopped before finishing the job started by his brother? Will Mother Superior ever be saved?

Only available to the UK on YouTube or if you have a spare £20 to spend on EBay, this was recommended by a workmate who said of the “Garbage Day” quote and since then it was on my list of movies which have to be seen and, boy, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The makers were told to re-edit the original film, and then make a supposed sequel. As they discovered that making a completely new movie just by editing the original they realised they had to shoot some new footage but with a substantially low budget. Sometimes, even the filmmakers were paid such a low wage that negative memories are held who worked on the movie. But hey, if you ignore this lack of funds and concentrate on the film as a whole you are treated to such a great flick which is due to raise a smile. And the main reason for such cheer? The answer: Eric Freeman and his eyebrows.

Apparently hired because he looked more like a movie star than another actor who was a better talent, Freeman looks the part of a Hollywood tough guy but just fails on every level. As Stallone and Chuck Norris have both the looks and capability of looking the part of ripping a mans heart out whilst its still beating, Freeman looks as though he would find it impossible just to sneeze in your face. And those eyebrows! Whenever you seem him “threatening” someone, his eyebrows take off like an aeroplane and never seem to land back in one place. According to the production staff, they tried to track down Freeman when the film was recently released in order to do a commentary track. They soon discovered that he is untraceable and cannot be found anywhere. I do hope this guy is still around and not six feet under as it would be great for him to continue acting.

I guess to those who like more highbrow movies should avoid “Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2”. This is merely a cult movie which many love and even more hate. The sight of a murderous Santa Claus might not be their ideal cinematic representation, but for many this is downright laughable. Anyways, what is not to like? Over the top acting by Freeman, great shootouts and even a love story for the romantics in the crowd. For those reading this not from the USA and Canada, this movie will prove quite troublesome to track down. But then again, there’s always YouTube. Go on, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

 

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TIFF 2017 Movie Review: DOWNSIZING (USA 2017) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Downsizing Poster
Trailer

A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

Director:

Alexander Payne

Stars:

Matt DamonChristoph WaltzHong Chau
 

DOWNSIZING, a film combining several genres offers the solution to the world’s problem of overpopulation.

If people can be reduced in size to a thousandth of their original, many of the world problems could be solved. People will only eat, use and dispose much, much less product. When science finally achieved the success of downsizing, many colonies were begun.

So, Matt Damon and wife opt to be reduced and live in their new reduced size colony for monetary benefit. Things never go as expected, as in a similar film long time back in Michael Crichton’s sci-fi WESTWORLD.

DOWNSIZING contains a script written by Payne and Jim Taylor that is occasionally brilliant with lots of attention to details. The film does not go into thriller territory but into more ambitious aims. Payne’s social satire does not fully work and ends up too ambitious for its own good.

Still, the film is engaging from start to finish to a large part to Damon’s performance with help from a host of impressive stars (Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Laura Dern, Jason Sudeikis, Alec Baldwin, and Neil Patrick Harris). Better a film that with high aims that falters that a minimalist film with no faults.

The special effects and cinematography are also amazing. Shot in Toronto and around the fiords of Norway.

DOWNSIZING