I’m Thinking Of Ending Things Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

Charlie Kaufman’s long awaited Netflix Original Film is very unconventional and bold, but the screenplay suffers from over explaining the philosophy of life. What starts out as a young woman, questioning her relationship, ends up being a convoluted study on ageism and life itself. I’m Thinking Of Ending Things has a very intriguing first half and then it somehow falls apart, as it spirals into an ending that doesn’t quite suit what came before it.

At first, Kaufman explores the layers of what it means to be in a relationship, or rather, how to get out of one that didn’t feel quite right. The Young Woman, played by Jessie Buckley, has this internal monologue that highlights what is wrong in her relationship by doing a voiceover, while her boyfriend Jake, played by Jesse Plemons, is talking to her. They both gave solid, individual performances but the script is what caused this to be so confusing and sometimes uncomfortable.

It just felt really messy and oversaturated with philosophical symbolism, by the end it seemed like Kaufman got lost in what he was trying to convey as well. The tonal shifts throughout the film were very abrupt, which put a damper on trying to make any thematic connections whatsoever. Every time I thought I understood what Kaufman was trying to say, he took it to an entirely different place leaving me confused with what was happening in The Young Woman’s mind.

As they both travel to the outskirts of farm country to have a formal family dinner, to meet Jake’s parents, The Young Woman becomes more cynical and she is now scared of her future.

“Humans can’t live in the present, so they invented hope.”

The Young Woman (Jessie Buckley) ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

In a way, the home of Jake’s parents became the layers of The Young Woman’s mind, as she assessed the lives of his father (David Thewlis) and mother (Toni Collette). There are so many ways to study the psychology of these characters because The Young Woman feels stuck and envisions her future with her in laws.

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is a mixture of an existential crisis, relationship issues and family dysfunction, that loses all meaning in the 3rd act. It becomes unbearable to listen to The Young Woman ramble on about life without actually making any points. It’s almost as if Kaufman is trying to recreate his previous work to continue his ongoing theme of heartbreaking relationships that address mental illnesses. This one just falls through entirely because he tried to do too much with it.

The Snyder Cut Journey & What We Can Expect

Since 2015, the road for Zack Snyder and DCEU fans has been a rocky one. The one moment in Hall H, when the Batman v Superman trailer came on and everyone went nuts, was the moment that changed the hype level for this franchise. However, after the release of the film, things took a turn for the worse.

The criticism for Batman v Superman hit the fan base hard and for many years, they had to defend Zack Snyder and his film. 4 years later the film is still very much divisive and constantly raises a negative discourse online. After Warner Brothers took the damage from Batman v Supermantheir next film, Suicide Squad, also faced harsh criticism online from everyone. The DCEU franchise has not had a very easy entry into the world of comic book films but the fans still had faith in Zack Snyder to deliver with Justice League.

PRE JUSTICE LEAGUE RELEASE

As they were filming Justice League, Zack Snyder would post updates on his Vero account, with storyboards, still pictures and behind the scene photos. In March 2017, it was reported by ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ that Zack and Deborah Snyder experienced a tragedy in their family, as their daughter, Autumn passed away from a suicide. It was rumoured, that Zack wanted to finish Justice League and asked Warner Brothers to postpone filming, but they refused and hired Joss Whedon to finish the film. Zack Snyder stepped down from his own film, to be with his family, as his work was slowly chopped up and left on the cutting room floor.

Joss Whedon stepped in and only used 10% of the Zack Snyder’s footage, which was already completed. The rest of the film was reworked and rewritten to fit Whedon’s vision of Justice League, which was released under Zack Snyder’s name for the final result. Joss Whedon had removed the heart of the Justice League, in his rewrite, as Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, was cast aside and given a much smaller role, as was intended. Whedon added a Russian family in the third act, which was apparently more important than the team development.

POST JUSTICE LEAGUE RELEASE

Fans could tell the difference from the very first Justice League trailer, which was all Zack Snyder’s footage, versus Joss Whedon’s version. The lighting was off, the atmosphere felt different, the humour was not the dark sarcasm, we were accustomed to in Man of Steel or Batman v Superman. It was a completely different film.

“Sources say “Justice League” reshoots have been used to punch up the dialogue. Whedon, the director of “The Avengers,” is well respected for his ability to create memorably wry exchanges between his characters.” – Justin Kroll, Brett Lang for Variety

The fans were skeptical with Joss Whedon’s vision because Zack Snyder’s vision, for the DCEU, was extremely different, than what the MCU had to offer and that was never seen as a bad thing. Whedon’s choices were very interesting and did not really capture the same essence that Zack Snyder had already put in place, in the previous two instalments of his Superman story arc. Majority of the final product felt forced and extremely rushed, leaving Warner Brothers with another bust at the box office. Justice League earned $228 million domestic and $656 million worldwide, as reported by Forbes’ it cost Warner Brothers more money to make it, than  it brought in.

This collage shows the differences from Zack Snyder’s film versus Joss Whedon’s reshoots.

ZSJL reshoots

Source: @Deven_Wagner on Twitter

 

The social platform ‘Vero’ is something Zack Snyder used throughout his journey on Justice League. In the early stages when Warner Brothers asked him to cut down his runtime.

ZSJL early vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

As Zack Snyder continued answering fan questions on his Vero people began to question what actually happened with Warner Brothers and Justice League. Zack did not watch Joss Whedon’s film, he stayed away from everything after he was forced to give up his film.

Exhibit A: Fans Asking Questions About Joss Whedon’s Cut of Justice League 

ZSJL 2 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

Exhibit B: Zack Snyder Posting His Scene of Cyborg and His Family 

ZSJL 4 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

Exhibit C: A Photo of Uxas Which Was NOT Used in Whedon’s Cut 

ZSJL 3 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

 

#ReleaseTheSnyderCut Movement 

On January 7th, the attention for #ReleaseTheSnyderCut gained a new momentum. Fans of the Snyder Cut stood outside the Warner Brothers Headquarters with a #ReleaseTheSnyderCut sign, showing them that fans do care about Zack Snyder’s full vision.

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 2.31.58 PM

Source @BatmanNewsCom on Twitter

After this, the movement became stronger and fans of Zack Snyder continued to press on social media that his cut existed and was, in fact, real. There were multiple sources confirming and reassuring all of us that there was a cut and it would come out in due time. The hashtag went viral and the fans kept pushing for 4 years. It wasn’t until Zack Snyder posted this image on his Vero that fans really pushed the envelope on the movement.

ZSJL 1 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

Zack Snyder showed fans the film reels of his original 214 minute cut that he has kept with him. It is real and it does exist. During all of this, there was also merchandise that was sold through Ink To The People that fans purchased to support the Snyder Cut and all proceeds went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The fans were so incredibly dedicated to making sure that Zack Snyder’s full vision would be seen in whatever form because of the poor circumstances that caused him to step back. The fans believed that it was mishandled and that he deserved justice.

On the March 27th, 2020, the 4th Anniversary of the often divisive Batman v Superman, Zack hosted a watch party on Vero and that night, something very unexpected happened. It was the day that united the whole cast of Justice League, which made for a very emotional evening. Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck all used the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag on their social platforms.

Ben RTSCGal RTSCJason rtscRay RTSC

Shortly after, the hashtag grew stronger and continued to be the Number 1 trending topic for a couple of days. Fans continued to push and they started questioning when the official drop would be. The rumours began to swirl, claiming that Zack was going to strike a deal with HBO Max. Zack then wanted to host a Man of Steel watch party to restore some hope in the world.

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 3.40.36 PM

Many people tuned in because there was a rumoured surprise at the end of the watch party. People claimed that Zack had some information on the Snyder Cut that he would share with us. He shared his storyboards and gave running commentary about the details he used in Man of Steel and then his wife, and executive producer Deborah Snyder, came and joined the party. After the film was over, Zack invited fans to ask questions on his Vero but what they did not expect, was Superman himself making an appearance. Henry Cavill showed up in his famous blue tank top and helped Zack Snyder reveal the official HBO Max poster for Zack Snyder’s Justice League’. There is no set date but it will be coming out in 2021.

JL official

Source: Warner Brothers and HBO Max

Love Letter To DCEU Fans

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Teaser Trailer 

 

JUSTICE CON & DC FANDOME 

Justice Con is a fanmade event, created by three, very dedicated women on Twitter and YouTube, @TheNerdQueens and @ya_girlmeg/Wonder Meg on both platforms.

Justice-Con-Logo-Featured

The con was a complete success and it was filled with so much positivity during those 2 days! Ray Fisher had his own panel and discussed Cyborg’s arc in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, he also addressed the alleged toxicity on set, with Joss Whedon in the director’s chair. Towards the end of his panel, Zack Snyder jumped in and the views skyrocketed. Fans loved seeing Zack and Ray interact on the livestream!

Right after, Zack Snyder had his panel and taught the fans about aspect ratios because he is using a different aspect ratio for the Snyder Cut. Zack also revealed a new t-shirt in honour of his daughter Autumn and his dedicated fanbase.

zs ap

It will be released over at Ink To The People and all proceeds will go to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Zack didn’t stop there, he gave us a short, 20 second clip of something fans have been waiting for. This little teaser got everyone excited for what we could expect at DC Fandome!

You can expect a darker version of Justice League with Victor Stone at the center of the story. Zack Snyder always intended to have Cyborg as the heart of Justice League and there are plenty of more scenes with him at the forefront. There are possible Martian Manhunter scenes, more of J.K. Simmons Commissioner Gordon, a first look at Ryan Choi (Atom) working in Star Labs with Silas Stone and a possible Green Lantern cameo!

What we do know is that we are getting a full Zack Snyder’s Justice League trailer on August 22nd. So get your accounts ready, go schedule your panels and get ready to enter…. the SNYDERVERSE!

Lovecraft Country Preview


By: Amanda Guarragi 

Lovecraft Country debuts on HBO tonight at 9pm EST, it is based on the novel, written by Matt Ruff, under the same name. It is a show that will blow you away with its uniqueness, relevance and perfect casting. Misha Green and Jordan Peele present a fantasy horror series, that is incredibly well written, multilayered and timely. The performances from Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett, as Atticus Freeman and Letitia “Leti” Lewis will intrigue you, and will have you tuning in, week after week.

Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) meets up with his friend, Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip, across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. Atticus has just returned from war and has experienced the horrors of it, as he returns home, the PTSD of the creatures lurking near the trenches continues to haunt him. He is aware of these fantastical creatures and is on the lookout when travelling to find his father. On this journey, the three of them experience racial injustice from multiple Sheriffs and the parallel of what is truly evil, is evident.

LC 2

Courtesy of HBO & Monkeypaw Productions (left) Courtney B. Vance, Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett

Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett are both so incredible in this show. They have such powerful energies and are completely grounded in their characters. They both worked so well together and had excellent chemistry. Majors and Smollett have key moments for their characters and they will make you remember them. There’s so much depth to Atticus and Leti, they are such likeable characters and the way they navigate their own journeys in this show is amazing. They are both incredibly gifted actors and they truly shine in this series.

Lovecraft Country has such great storytelling from Misha Green, it is so incredibly detailed, that the layers of generational discrimination and injustice is the undercurrent, while the characters attempt to navigate the idea of witchcraft. It has this perfect balance of what can symbolize evil and it is up to the viewer to process it. The obvious bigotry, that is present through the police officers, in those counties, shows that even though the face of racism changes, the structured ideology is present and it must be handled.

The camerawork, teleplay and horror elements flow so perfectly together than it makes it seamless. It feels like such a perfectly crafted show because of how everything clicks together. The most important aspect of any horror piece, is the suspense and that is definitely something this show does extremely well. There are moments that will never leave your mind because of how eerie or unsettling those scenes were.

Lovecraft Country is a show that will be studied each week, as the story unfolds on HBO. It is so incredibly detailed and layered, that it will leave you wanting to know more about this world they have created. It’s a powerful show filled with great fantasy horror elements, strong writing and seeking justice for past racial indiscretions towards the Black community. Tune in tonight, for the premiere at 9pm EST on HBO/Crave.

 

Project Power Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

Project Power is a jam packed, action film, that explores having unique, superhuman abilities by taking a yellow pill. The powers last for a total of 5 minutes and each pill carries a different power. The streets of New Orleans is crawling with these unpredictable yellow pills, young teenage Robin (Dominique Fishback) and Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a local cop must team up with ex-soldier, Art (Jamie Foxx) to dismantle the group who created the pill. The film, co-directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman is a generic action film, with an interesting story written by Mattson Tomlin.

The concept of this film will remind audiences of the mutant powers in the X-Men, but it is able to change up the superhuman abilities a bit more because of how unpredictable the pill can be. Within 5 minutes of taking the yellow pill, it can affect everyone differently, it could cause death, or they could suffer serious ailments after taking it. It is symbolic for holding power in your hand, whether it is good or bad and it could affect your life within those 5 minutes. Tomlin’s script is really well thought out but the execution is what was lacking for this film.

The cast give great performances and they really carried the film until the very end. Dominique Fishback, Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all had great chemistry with each other and had very strong backstories that came together nicely. The connection between Robin and Art was interesting because she reminded him of his daughter and the flashbacks to show how he lost her flowed nicely in those scenes they shared. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the undercover cop was such great casting, he was so good in his role and it’s always great to see him in an action film.

The story was really detailed and the information about how the yellow power pill came to fruition, unfolded nicely as the film went on. The issue with the film was the pacing, special effects and the execution of certain actions sequences. The editing was messy to the point where it was hard to understand who was fighting on screen. The different superhuman abilities were also confusing because they never explained how or why each pill was different.

Project Power has strong writing and performances but lacks in executing action scenes that work with the concept. The special effects were pretty mediocre but the ideas that were put in place for these superhuman abilities were commendable. It has the typical action film clichés, some questionable moments regarding political commentary and some choices that will surprise you. It is another original concept from Netflix and that is the important thing because we have to support original films.