Welcome to Bitesize for Buffs, a bi-weekly column from our resident Movie Buff, Steven Lechowicz. In this column, Steve aims to give his thoughts on some of his favourite movies that are either, currently screening in cinema’s, available through streaming services, or good ol’ fashioned physical media. Steve will review 3 of his picks for the week, which he has just recently viewed, which will include his quick thoughts behind these picks, and the classic Five Star rating for each movie. We hope you enjoy this new bi-weekly column.
IT Chapter Two (2019)
Andreas Muschietti’s ‘It Chapter Two’, the second part of the two-chapter film remake ultimately falls flat in telling a structured story that can balance horror, storytelling and humour, struggling with poor pacing throughout the second act, and over using the sometimes-great flashback sequences. The film attempts to find its scares through flashing back and re-imagining the past events seen in the first film. It attempts to retell each character’s deepest fear, that still haunts them following the events of the first film. This often felt tiresome and loses the scare effect, in which the first film executed well. ‘It Chapter Two’ is much longer than it needs to be with a 2 hour and 50-minute runtime, creating a pace that often drags, impacting the ability to consistently hold the audience’s attention. However, not all is negative, Bill Skarsgard’s reprised role as Pennyworth is
as brilliant as ever, creating a character that is engaging throughout. As expected, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader are great, often shadowing the average performances of the rest of the older cast. Moreover, the returning cast from the first film, are all just as fantastic as the first, often creating the most memorable, emotional and charismatic moments in the film. Furthermore, cinematographer Checco Varese crafts beautiful scenes, with transitions that are executed to the highest level. The films final sequences were an emotional and well-executed conclusion to Andreas Mushietti’s take on the classic novel. ‘It Chapter Two’ provides enough entertainment to make the price of admission worth the watch, however if you’re coming in expecting an on par or superior experience to that of the first chapter, you’ll be left disappointed.
Synecdoche, New York (2009)
I was lucky enough to experience ‘Synecdoche New York’ for the first time recently and wow, what a piece of art! Synecdoche New York tells the story of theatre director Caden Cotard (played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) who’s life soon turns bleak as his wife and daughter leave him as his ongoing battle with health issues persist. Creating a replicated Mock-up of New York City, Caden gathers a variety of actors to live out a life in which speaks to his inner conscious. From the beginning to the end, Synecdoche New York leaves the audience always questioning, opening the story to many interpretations that allow the viewer to dive deep into their own personal mind and conscious. Metaphors throughout, nothing is obvious in Synecdoche New York, every scene has a meaning, every piece of dialogue has impact and the film brings emotion that will influence many throughout the entirety of their experience with film. Synecdoche New York is not only a fantastic film, it’s a brilliant piece of art, impacting the viewer in ways which will play on their mind for days, months or years. Nothing short of a masterpiece.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Kramer v Kramer tells the heartfelt story of Ted Kramer (played by Dustin Hoffman) a business focused protagonist, who just lands the biggest role and achievement of his career. He soon finds out that his wife Joanna (played by Meryl Streep), leaves him unaware, leaving Ted Kramer questioning his priorities in life. The film follows the story of the relationship that Ted and his son Billy (played by Justin Henry) build throughout the film, and the impact it has on his life and career. The chemistry between the two actors is phenomenal, creating one of the most authentic family/marriage experiences to classical cinema. The relationship the two characters build is significantly conveyed through wonderful writing and direction. The inclusion of the brilliant Meryl Streep adds to the authenticity of the film, as we see the views of both Ted and Joanna. Kramer v Kramer proves to be an authentic heartfelt classic, that pays a beautiful tribute to love, family and marriage.