Sundance (2022) review: In ‘DUAL’ writer-director Riley Stearns wades into emotional darkness through deadpan sci-fi.

DUAL

 After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah commissions a clone of herself to ease the loss for her friends and family. When she makes a miraculous recovery, her attempt to have her clone decommissioned fails, and leads to a court-mandated duel to the death.


The minute I realized the deadpan nature of most of the cast’s delivery, I exclaimed, “Oh shit, this has to be by Riley Stearns!” In 2019, I saw The Art Of Self-Defense, and the stylized nature of the dialogue has stuck with me ever since. Festivals can be a blur. I usually enjoy going into a screening blind. Either that or I can’t remember a damn thing by the time I’ve consumed 20+ films. Lucky for me, DUAL was my final watch. It was on my dance card immediately because of Gillan and Paul. I’m a big fan of Doctor Who and Westworld, and this plot sounded like a combo of the two worlds. I wasn’t necessarily wrong from a storyline and humor perspective. 

There’s a blunt absurdity to it everything in this film. The indifferent nature of this emotionally complex scenario makes it cringe-worthy in the best way possible. There is no filter on anyone. Aaron Paul is Trent, Sarah’s Death Dual coach. He’s so zen and focused you cannot help but smirk every time he speaks. Could I watch him dance every day of the week? You’re damn right. Would I hire his character to teach me to disassociate violence and be a badass? Every time. Karen Gillan plays both original and clone Sarah. They are two distinct but equally fascinating characters. As original Sarah, her dispassionate personality is jarring. Once her training begins, Gillan’s past roles come in handy. As her clone, she gets to play Sarah with a bit more uppity finesse. Besides her tone, Gillan’s physicality made me laugh out loud. The 110% commitment by these actors makes DUAL so damn entertaining. Beyond the sci-fi aspect, it’s the emotional depth and darkness that hits me harder a day after watching. Riley Stearns, you wily bastard. You got me again.

Cast: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale.

World Premiere.


To find out more about tickets and the full lineup for Sundance 2022, click here!


Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ *VERY minor plot details*

The Guardians are back and in a big way. James Gunn returns to helm the sequel to Marvel’s unlikely smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy looking to capitalize on the franchises soaring popularity injecting more humor, more spectacle and more all outrageous fun this time around. This film is not short on stimulation so marvel in the infinite glory that is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are just a few weeks out from the events of the first film and their out to keep their good name by ridding the galaxy of those who would do it harm. Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), leader of the Sovereign race, has hired the Guardians for a mission in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but situations turn sour as the Guardians find themselves on the other side of the fight. Facing certain death, a mystery traveler rescues the team and reveals himself to be Ego (Kurt Russell), Peter Quill’s missing father accompanied by his servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

Angry about the escape, Ayesha hires Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his crew to hunt down the Guardians and bring them back to pay for their crimes. The Ravagers head out to find the heroes while Quill comes to grip with his new found father; but could everything be as it appears? Facing a multitude of foes closing in on the team, they must align with some unusual allies to once again protect the galaxy from certain destruction. Can the Guardians remain vigilant in their quest for good to prevail or will outside forces pull the team apart and end their friendship forever?

Marvel continues to find the perfect directors to lead their franchises, bringing out the very best in the source material by allowing these directors to inject their unique style of storytelling. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Director James Gunn‘s radical departure from the core Marvel movies made the first film a surprise hit, but no one will be surprised when Vol. 2 wows audiences this weekend with its rare brand of humor and eye popping visuals. The cast, including Chris PrattZoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, are noticeably more comfortable this time around within their characters and within their collaboration with each other. Kurt Russell is an outstanding edition to this cast and, as the elder statesmen, brings out the very best in Pratt’s Star Lord during their emotional scenes.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an absolute joy of a film. From start to finish, the ride is nothing short of exactly what you would expect from a James Gunn Guardians of the Galaxy film. Take the family, take the neighbors, take everyone you know and run to the theater to see this…and do NOT leave your seat throughout the credits…there is 5 extra scenes!

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

Yes. 5! 4 throughout credits and 1 post credit

Trailer:

Review: ‘The Big Short’ Delivers Big

TBS_1-Sht_Rated Teaser_2_eIf you were to ask anyone what the two scariest things that could happen to this country would be, my guess is that they would answer: terrorism and an economic collapse, both of which have become reality in the last 15 years. The latter is the subject of Michael Lewis’ non-fiction book “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” which is now a feature film directed by Adam McKay. The film tackles the build-up of the housing and credit bubble during the 2000s and failures of the financial district which lead the market to crash, which serves a gut punch to all the experts who allowed it to happen. In short, The Big Short is a film that should become required viewing for all business students and politicians.

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

In 2005, hedge fund manager Michael Burry (Christian Bale) stumbles upon a major discovery while researching loans bundled into highly rated mortgage bonds. Burry discovered that each and every one of these bonds was loaded with delinquent home loans that he believed would default over the next few years.  Knowing that Wall Street bankers and government regulatory agencies has no intentions of acting to fix this certain doom, Burry invents a financial instrument called the credit default swap in order to “short” the booming housing market, much to the dismay of his hedge fund’s owners and investors. A mortgage broker іѕ a professional whо іѕ licensed wіth thе Real Estate Council оf Alberta (RECA). In order tо obtain thіѕ credential, a mortgage broker іѕ required tо meet educational аnd professional conduct requirements, аnd complete background security checks. A mortgage broker ѕhоuld nеvеr bе compared tо уоur local financial institution. Thе purpose аnd function оf еасh іѕ vеrу different. An independent mortgage broker іѕ just that-independent-meaning thеу hаvе nо association wіth аnу оnе lender. Thаt means it’s thеіr job tо offer уоu unbiased advice. At Metropolitan mortgage corporation you will get best broker, For more information look at this site.

After Burry makes his bet at Goldman Sachs, Wall Street banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) is informed of Burry’s strategy, and decides to uses this knowledge to persuade hedge-fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell) that he too should invest millions in credit default swaps. Initially skeptical, Baum and his team (Jeremy Strong, Hamish Linklater and Rafe Spall) undertake their own investigation. Researching the housing market in Florida, they interview homeowners, realtors and mortgage brokers and discover that what Vennett has told them is true and that we are facing the worst economic crisis in decades.

Christian Bale plays Michael Burry in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

Christian Bale plays Michael Burry in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

While visiting NY to make their pitch their hedge fund to some of the bigger banks, money managers Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) and Charlie Geller (John Magaro) also stumble upon the housing-market bubble and with the help of ex-banker Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt), use his connections to help them make their own bet against Wall Street. If all of these men are right,  they will make billions, while millions of Americans lose their homes, their jobs and their retirement savings; if they’re wrong, they’ll lose everything. The gamble against the U.S. economy is on.

The Big Short is nothing short of spectacular. The script by McKay and Charles Randolph keeps a lot of the technical aspects of Lewis‘ book in tact, but helps to assist the average film goers understanding of the subject matter with vignettes that are as much hilarious as they are informative. Director Adam McKay assembles one of the best ensemble casts in decades and each actor brings their very best to this important film. Steve Carell has never been better and turns in a stand out performance. Christian Bale captures the eccentric nature of his character perfectly and Ryan Gosling has perfected the art of ego better than any actor in years.

This is a must see film and an instant contender for awards season.

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

#AskTheGuardians – Submit Your Questions to the Cast of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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