Review: ‘We Have Always Lived In The Castle’ in theaters and VOD today.

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE 

A film by Stacie Passon
based on the book “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson

Starring Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, 
Sebastian Stan, and Crispin Glover

SYNOPSIS: Merricat lives with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. The trio are survivors of an arsenic poisoning that killed everyone else in the family five years prior. Merricat is bold and imaginative, and protects the property with “spells”. Despite being hated by the townspeople, the sisters live an idyllic life, until cousin Charles arrives. Charles offers to help around the house, and inquires about the family’s finances. Constance is charmed by Charles, and Merricat resents Charles’ intrusion. As Charles and Merricat battle for control, tragedy threatens to strike again.

There is a heavily literary feel to the structure, script, and performances. If you consider yourself a reader, these aspects will delight you. This all makes perfect sense since it’s based on Shirley Jackson‘s novel. Taissa Farmiga has given us a gorgeous portrayal of Mary Catherine. The specificity of her facial expressions, her physicality, and her tone is a master class in character acting. Sebastian Stan is entirely unlikable in his charm and clearly underlying intentions. His strong presence will make you squirm just as it does the other Blackwood family members. Alexandra Daddario is as elegant and she is uneasy with her plastered on smile. Obviously hiding true emotion on the outside, it’s the moments when the stare lingers a touch too long in which we are suspicious and fearful of her truth. Crispin Glover, who ages at a snail’s pace, is a complex, almost ancillary uncle character with what seems like bouts of early onset dementia. As the only other survivor of their dark tragedy, his idea of a memoir drives his protection of his nieces and the family legacy. This story is filled to the brim with mystery. There are so many assumptions and unanswered backstory questions, but that didn’t stop me in any way from enjoying the hell out of it. It’s the darkness that keeps your interest. The music, costumes, and sets are delicious. With elements of magic, superstition, and greed, We Have Always Lived In The Castle is stylistically engrossing.

In theaters and VOD on May 17 

Review: ‘IDEAL HOME’ is filled with love and laughs.

presents

IDEAL HOMEA film by Andrew Fleming

Synopsis: IDEAL HOME is the touching and humorous story of Erasmus and Paul (Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd), a bickering gay couple whose life is turned inside out when a ten-year old boy shows up at their door claiming to be Erasmus’ grandson. Neither Paul, nor Erasmus, are ready to give up their extravagant lifestyles to be parents, but maybe this little kid has thing or two to teach them about the value of family.

Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd make a convincing couple in this absurdly hilarious and heartwarming comedy. Coogan plays eccentricity to the max as reality tv chef and newfound grandfather. His commitment to a joke, visually or otherwise, has definitely met its match in costar Paul Rudd. What makes Rudd’s performance so spectacular is the subtle mannerisms and genuine emotional connection to his character’s backstory. Redemption and the desire to make the relationship between Erasmus and Paul last drives the performance’s authenticity. Jack Gore as mistreated young Bill is the epitome of a child with no filter. Although still so young, he possesses the maturity that any writer or director would die to work with. The comic chemistry is delicious and the film’s message that a family is about love and learning is front and center through raunchy humor and tender truth. It’s a gorgeous nod to the LGBT community and their families. We need more of these stories. I have to say that Ideal Home is undoubtedly one of my favorites of the year. I am sold. 

Opening in theaters and VOD on June 29th

Written & Directed by Andrew Fleming (The CraftDickHamlet 2)
Starring Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Jack Gore (BillionsWonder Wheel), Jake McDorman (Lady Bird, CBS’s 2018 revival of Murphy BrownLimitless the TV series, Shameless), Alison Pill
Produced by Aaron Ryder, Maria Teresa Arida,
Clark Peterson, Maxime Remillard
Executive Producers Steve Coogan, Gabrielle Tana, Lisa Wolofsky