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A Young Mother! Didn’t Do Her Job [MOVIE REVIEW]

A woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and her middle-aged, successful writer, husband (Javier Bardem) celebrate moving into their large, newly renovated, remotely located, early 20th century home. That evening – unexpectedly - there’s a knock at the door. A physician (Ed Harris) has been told that the couple’s home is a bed and breakfast. The doctor recognizes the writer whose work he deeply admires. The two bond over drinks. The doctor accepts the writer’s invitation to stay over. His wife not exactly thrilled about a stranger staying the night. The next day the doctor’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives with the intent of staying for a while. Things go from strange to outright bizarre when the couples’ adult sons show up to confront their parents over the terms of their father’s will.

This is the start of an invasion of the household by a series of strangers with the husband comfortable with the arrivals.

Mother! is a bad film! And, it is Dead on Arrival! It starts with the all-too-common big, old, isolated house as the setting. I guess scary things just can’t happen in a big city high-rise. The early scenes feature Ms. Lawrence in teasingly revealing nightwear. And for some reason, and maybe the symbolism escapes me, but she’s barefoot in every scene; even when she’s walking around a dirty basement.

The cinematography scheme shoots the actors very closely, possibly to create a sense of intimacy between them and the audience.

The film develops where the viewer, like the wife, try to figure out the abnormal goings on which don’t bother the husband. Is he naïve or just overly generous, or insensitive or clueless in accepting an increasingly large number of “guests” into their house? As more people arrive the more bizarre events become.

Ultimately, all of these highly perplexing happenings have to be explained. And in the end, they are not. This failure results in this film’s failure.

The performances are adequate; except for Michelle Pfeiffer who is outstanding as the catty, doctor’s wife. However, in horror films, it’s the story itself which is the star.

As to the diversity rating, the film gets an “A”. The story is such that the cast is as diverse as could be expected in light of the remote, rural setting.

But by not tying up its loose ends and not giving the viewers the satisfactory explanation of what they just saw, Mother! you failed! And you are Dead on Arrival!

Mother! is two hours and one minute in length and is rated R.

MOVIE REVIEW: Passengers – Don’t take this voyage.

Passengers is a moderately entertaining adventure starring Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, and Laurence Fishburne

Talk about a long nap, the 5000 passengers and crew on the Starship Avalon are on a 120-year voyage from earth to their new outer-space home. They are put into a state of hibernation for the super long journey. However, due to a malfunction, Jim Preston, (Chris Pratt) an engineer, wakes up after only 30 years. He panics when he realizes that he’s likely to die before the vessel reaches its destination in 90 years. He finds his way around the spacecraft, locating the food and exercise facilities. His only companion is Arthur (Michael Sheen), the robot bartender. After a year, loneliness overwhelms him. He walks among the other passengers deeply sleeping in their pods. After a lengthy emotional and moral internal debate, he decides to awaken another passenger, journalist Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence). Once awake, she panics just as Jim had done. Also, as he had done, she tries to figure out a way to get back to sleep. But again like him, she eventually accepts her fate. And as would be expected, they fall in love and all is well until Aurora learns that unlike with Jim, her waking up was no accident. It was an intentional act on his part.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence talking with a robotic bartender played by Michael Sheen at a bar on the Starship Avalon in the movie Passengers Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures 2Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) talking with Arthur, a robotic bartender, on the Starship Avalon. Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures 

Passengers is a moderately entertaining adventure and viewers can’t be sure where it’s headed. However, it never reaches its entertainment destination. The writers start with an interesting premise: a young man and woman wake up 90 years too soon on an intergalactic voyage. After that, they just don’t seem to know where to go from there. Another one of the crew members, Chief Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne), wakes up and has a short, strange interaction with Jim and Aurora. The film deteriorates to the point where viewers laugh at scenes and dialogue not intended to be funny.

No complaints about Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. They serve their purposes: eye candy for viewers and are credible in their roles. The special effects are weak compared to the technological marvels Hollywood is capable of these days.

It’s difficult to give this film a Cast Diversity rating, with such a small cast. It would have received a D- accept for the short appearance by Laurence Fishburne with lifts it up to a C+. As Jim walks past the passengers in pods, very few of the inhabitants are people of color; this was an opportunity to add some color to the cast.

Leave these Passengers alone. Just at Jim and Aurora feared about their own plight; Passengers is Dead on Arrival! It’s 116 minutes and rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity, and action/peril.

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