Tag Archives: Film reviews

Orphan: First Kill Review

People often question why a prequel would be made many years after the original movie was made. They also ask themselves whether it lived up to the expectations of the original movie. I have seen many prequels, and I’ve been impressed with some and disappointed with others. Orphan: First Kill just left me feeling neutral.

The first Orphan, from 2009, focused on terror and shocking discoveries. Orphan: First Kill adds in-depth detail and backstories about the discoveries in Orphan. It also lays out the foundation surrounding the evil Leena/Esther; Leena being her real name, and Esther being her imposter name. Isabelle Fuhrman is back as the evil and demented Leena, and this revival is one of the few exciting parts of the film.

In Orphan: First Kill Leena is in a mental institution in Estonia and she finds a way to escape. As a ravenous and evil person, she creates an escape plan from Estonia and makes her way to the states by pretending she is someone without parents, a girl named Esther. A family, the Albrights, takes her in. The Albrights include parents Tricia and Allen, and their son Gunnar, played by Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland, and Matthew Finlan. Esther begins exhibiting strange behavior and there are increasing signs of troubles, but she’s initially more mentally scary than violently scary. Mrs. Albright begins to realize that Esther may be an impostor and Orphan: First Kill becomes a cat and mouse game of questions and answers. The Albright family does not want to believe what may be true about their Esther, and the film begins to feel more like a big family crisis rather than a pure horror flick. So the disturbing factors are toned down many notches in Orphan: First Kill, compared to Orphan.

Director William Brent Bell has an eye for a chilling, child terror premise. One of the more bizarre features of the film is that due to a rare hormone disorder Esther looks like a child, but she is actually a grown woman. A woman who looks like a young girl is repulsive and scary for many, including myself.

The foundation of Orphan: First Kill is in tune with Orphan, but It was just a little too obvious—a girl who is a killer escapes and finds a way to be an impostor, and then tricks a family into taking her in. Fuhrman’s return performance as an evil princess type is again daring and beyond deranged in an enticing and haunting way. So although Orphan: First Kill is obvious, it’s still a fun adventure of suspense. Overall, though, I give the film just two and a half stars.

Three Thousand Years Of Longing Review

Three Thousand Years of Longing is a film where the premise seems promising. That is because its trailers and ads make it look extraordinary or revolutionary. Sadly though, the storyline and the concept are arbitrary. The dynamic of the characterizations in Three Thousand Years of Longing is spot-on. That is because there are intriguing character backgrounds. I will say though, that the backstory to the film’s continuity is strange and twisted.

When the film begins, the concept of the Disney classic Aladdin (from 2019) came to my mind. It is practically an Aladdin themed premise taken to today’s world. With Idris Elba as the Genie type of character, his performance is brilliant. The film does display brilliant performances. It is just that the film’s labeling and backstory seems to have more stereotyping than a fantasy premise. To an extent, I felt all the blame of errors was being labeled onto Elba’s character. That is beside the point though.

This is the plot of Three Thousand Years of Longing. Tilda Swinton is Alithea. She is a scholar that is going solo on a trip to Istanbul. Her background involves research on life and creatures for reason. Despite her loneliness at this conference, A man that seems like a wizard comes into her life, and he is The Djinn (Elba). As Alithea is taken by surprise, she begins to grow close with the Djinn in deep conversation. However, her closeness becomes questioned as The Djinn offers Alithea three wishes. The three wishes are granted because of how she gave him his freedom from an art-type of antique. There are problems though with the wishes for Alithea. The Djinn may not be real. Also, with Alithea’s background of mythology, she knows tons of stories of wishes going awry. Three Thousand Years of Longing is a tale of curiosity towards wonderment of the three wishes for Alithea.

The three wishes in Three Thousand Years of Longing does not present happiness. It does not even have much elaboration on positive uses of the three wishes. The film tries to be more poetic than finding a fantasy with wishes. From this, I felt that the film’s artistic filmmaking is more of like a love tale than a breathless cinematic experience. However, it is not breathless.

Three Thousand Years of Longing may be symbolic. The film may also be a fantasy. As I have said though, the continuity and backstory of events keep seeming to be stereotypical. There are multiple moments where when Alithea tries to understand her choices, that she questions the harshness of The Djinn’s past. I just felt it made it look like The Djinn kept on having the negative label. The film may have tried to be experimental and surreal, just its approaches were off-putting.

Breaking Review

Life can be unfair, and being in financial crisis to the point of it causing a mental breakdown is devastating on many levels. In Breaking, a film based on actual events, director Abi Damaris Corbin explores the irreparable damages that can arise from such devastating circumstances.

Breaking is about a 2017 event where Brian Brown-Easley, played by John Boyega, held up a Wells Fargo bank because was not receiving his disability checks. The depiction of Brian’s anxiety and of the robbery in Breaking is stark and surreal. The surrealism is heightened through the performance of Boyega. His anxiety is not only incredibly high, but it is also high for those he puts at risk—and for the world that is watching the chaos he has created. The crazy part is, he wants all that attention.

Breaking begins with a heavy introduction to Brian’s anxiety, his financial struggles and other mental issues. He tries to communicate the best he can to find alternatives or solutions to his financial issues. But with many debts and other stressors, he makes a very unfortunate decision. He casually walks into a Wells Fargo Bank and makes it obvious to bank employees Estel and Rosa, played by Nicole Beharie and Selena Leyva, that he is robbing the bank. He tells Estel and Rosa what to do quietly, but the danger rises when he tells them to alert the police and the media. Hostage negotiator Eli Bernard, played by Michael Kenneth Williams arrives and believes he can help Brian find a guiding light, but is there a light to be found?

The negotiations between Boyega and Williams raised several questions for me. Why is Brian taking the incredible risks he is taking? How did he decide that holding up a bank would solve his problems? What is Eli’s plan as the negotiator? The answers are concrete, but the situation is complicated.

he unpredictable nature of the situation makes Breaking invigorating, but tense and unpleasant in an exciting way. And given the seriousness of Brian’s decision to rob a bank, the film’s audience will know that there will be consequences no matter the result of the negotiations. Overall, though the film is an exhilarating and dramatic, engaging yet heavy, cinematic experience. Three stars for Breaking.