Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Charlie Says’ flips the script on the Manson girls.

 

Charlie Says

Charlie Says, directed by masterful filmmaker Mary Harron and written by Guinevere Turner, tells the familiar story through fresh eyes—those of Manson’s most devoted girls, van Houten (Game of Thrones’ Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón). Thanks to a devoted prison educator who slowly draws the women out from years of a madman’s mesmerizing and abusive spell (Matt Smith), the women’s story is told in eerily detailed flashbacks, forcing them to reflect on the path that leads them to such unforgivable crimes.

This is not a story about Charles Manson. This is a story about three women who were manipulated by a mentally ill man who convinced them they were loved. Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Leslie Van Houten, all came to be followers of Charles Manson because they were lost and looking for someone to make them feel important. It’s the performance from Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, and Merritt Wever that catapult this story forward. Wever, in particular, is the heartbeat that guides these broken girls into reality. Bacon represents every girl that needed Manson (played by Matt Smith with a quiet but fiercely alarming power) to be their father figure. Murray, as Leslie, is the audience. You feel for these ladies through intercut flashbacks and prison scenes. Each like a peek behind the curtain and into the insanity of a man who thought the Beatles were speaking to him through the ‘White Album”. These women were brainwashed sex slaves. It wasn’t until a feminist teacher Karlene Faith, with enough empathy to teach these women, did anyone begin to realize that they too were victims alongside those murdered. The film is chilling. The structure is disturbingly effective. You end up caring about these women who history has taught us to loathe. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. I’ll say it again. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. It is about the victims he kept closest to him.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Mary Harron is the writer and director of films including American PsychoThe Moth DiariesI Shot Andy Warhol, and The Notorious Bettie Page. Her television credits include episodes of The L WordSix Feet UnderBig Love, and Oz, and, most recently, The Following (FOX), Constantine (NBC), and Graceland (USA).

Michael’s Review: ‘Terminator Genisys’- Arnold is Back, but is That a Good Thing?

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30 years after the iconic role that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map, the actor returns to the franchise with Terminator Genisys, the first in a brand new trilogy about an apocalyptic future where machines rules the Earth and humanity fights for survival. Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) takes the helm on what Paramount Pictures hopes will be a resurgence of interest in a stale and uneventful franchise as of late. Can Ah-nold and his new cast members “reset the future”?
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The year is 2029,  John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human Resistance, continues to wage war against the machines alongside his right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), but the battle is coming to an end. Connor commands his forces to attack Skynet at multiple locations, one to strike at the main defense grid in Colorado, and a second, led by Kyle and himself, to destroy Skynet’s last hope weapon, a time machine hidden at a remote storage facility. Connor and Reese arrive, but just after Skynet sends back a T-800 to the year 1984 to kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke).

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Foreseeing this outcome, Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sara, a young waitress who, at the time of her attack, would be vulnerable and unaware of the coming doom that would alter her life forever. Moments before Kyle disappears, he witnesses one of the Resistance fighters, Alex (Matt Smith), attacking John. Without knowledge of the outcome, and knowing his mission, Reese arrives in the year 1984 to find young Sara, but as he arrives, the machines were waiting for him. After being ambushed by a T-1000 (Byung-Hun Lee), Reese is rescued by Sara, who is not the Sara that he was told of, and her Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a reprogrammed T-800 who was sent back from the future by an unknown source, to protect Sara when she was young. Reese quickly realizes that the original timeline has been altered, and the mission has become more clear, destroy Skynet before Judgement Day.

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The trio has one chance to get this right. The Guardian has built a time machine similar to Skynet’s and Sarah plans to 1997 to prevent Judgment Day, the temporal point for which she believes to be where the final battle is waged, however, Reese, who has been seeing glimpses of memories from a time he does not know, persuades Sarah and the Guardian that they should travel to 2017 instead. But what awaits them when they arrive is nothing like they could ever imagine. As the fate of world rests in their hands, can they arrive in time to stop Skynet from going online?

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Alan Taylor does a fine job keeping this confusing story on track. From start to finish, this film does a very good job of walking a fine line between honoring the original film as well as creating its own new identity within this already established world. The script by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier works well in explaining the appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s aging T-800 and developing a fresh take on the Sara Conner back story which doesn’t appear forced or convoluted within the context of the universe. Speaking of Sara Conner, Emilia Clarke is fantastic in her first go as the iconic female freedom fighter, originally played by Linda Hamilton. The “Game of Thrones” star is no stranger to taking on high profile roles and she plays Sara with careful precision and intensity that will help her being accepted by long time fans of the original film. 

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Jason Clarke takes on the role of John Connor, now on the characters fifth actor in 30 years. Clarke, a rugged, strong actor, fits well within the role of the leader of the Resistance and plays the character much how I envisioned him in the brief glimpse we see of him at the beginning of T2: Judgement Day. Seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 again, to me, will never get old. I love the character and the way that the aging actor plays him with such wonderfully subtle detail. Schwarzenegger delivers yet again. Jai Courtney does an admirable job as Kyle Reese, a character originally played by Michael BiehnCourtney has a tendency to play the character a tad too wooden at times, but he recovers and delivers a sufficient performance.

Overall, Terminator Genisys is a fun walk down memory lane with a lot of new twists. With a variety if options for this franchise now, it will be interesting to see how they continue this story. Terminator Genisys is a far better film than the last two installments in the series, but just missed being included within the greatness of the original film and T2.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

Extra scene in the middle of the credits, no stinger after the credits

Trailer:

‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ Gets a Release Date

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Screen Gems has officially set a release date for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Burr Steers’ adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s re-imagining of the Jane Austen classic. The film will be released on February 19, 2016. February is normally a month in which studios dump their not so stellar films, so hopefully this scheduling doesn’t foreshadow a mediocre release.

The film tells the classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England, but they must also faced with a new challenge, an army of undead zombies who want to eat their brains!!

The movie stars Lily James (Cinderella) as Elizabeth, Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows) as Jane, Ellie Bamber (A Mother’s Son) as Lydia, Millie Brady (Mr. Selfridge) as Mary, Suki Waterhouse (The Divergent Series: Insurgent), Sam Riley (Maleficent) as Mr. Darcy, Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Wickham and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Mr. Collins.

‘Terminator Genisys’ Trailer Has Arrived!

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Ah-nold is back! The trailer for Terminator Genisys has been released online. You can view it below! Read More →