The Silence of the Lambs: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #47

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of the most notorious movies of all time is the Silence of the Lambs. It’s got brilliant acting, iconic quotes and brought something new to cinema screens. It even won the Big Five at the 1992 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Male Actor, Best Female Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay). I’d heard so much about it and finally got the chance to watch it (and check it off my watchlist). This week’s review is the Silence of the Lambs.

Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, the Silence of the Lambs is based on the book of the same title. It follows Clarice Starling, a young student at the FBI’s training academy. As she is a top student, Jack Crawford enlists her help to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter, one of the craftiest and violent psychopaths. Lecter is currently serving lifetime behind bars for his acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford needs Clarice to interrogate Lecter as he may hold information about a new psychopathic murderer on the rise, Buffalo Bill. Clarice holds the key to extracting the information out of Lecter and stopping the graphic murders.

Anthony Hopkins played the criminally insane and psychopathic Dr Hannibal Lecter, who is admittedly one of the best movie characters ever. Hopkins portrayal of a creepy, cannibalistic psychopath was so brilliantly and perfectly executed that Anthony Hopkins rightfully earnt his Oscar award for Best Male Actor. The role of Clarice Starling was played by Jodie Foster. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic performance, and it was definitely award-worthy, but maybe not Oscar-worthy. She was well suited to play Clarice, and there aren’t many people who could have delivered a better performance than Foster, but I couldn’t help but feel that her delivery was lacking ever so slightly in a couple of areas. One was her vocal delivery, as I found it quite monotone at parts. I can’t quite put my finger on the other area. Having said that, the way Foster and Hopkins portrayed their characters when Clarice and Lecter were interacting with each other was so amazingly done. Buffalo Bill was the main antagonist and was played by Ted Levine. I thought the way Levine played Buffalo Bill was very well done on his part but would have liked to have seen more of his character.

The way the film came to life from the book was well done on Demme’s part. It created mystery and suspense in a way that left me intrigued by the film. The storyline is quite straightforward and, with the help of good music and acting, is produced into a film that kept me interested throughout and on the edge of my seat. The film also tended not to suffer from giving too much away via exposition but it did happen in a few places.

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Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter have a dramatic encounter.

Now for my favourite parts. I loved the opening of the film. It had dramatic music that left us in suspense and immediately got me thinking ‘who is the girl, why is she running through the woods?’. It used no exposition to give this away and was done smoothly in a way that I enjoyed. Then the joint best scene was up next, and it was the first meeting between Clarice and Lecter. It was such a perfect introduction to Lecter’s creepily psychopathic cannibalistic character and the interaction between the two was something brilliant to watch. The film dies down for a while but is still interesting. The next scene I enjoyed most when Lecter was being held at the cage prison cell in Tennessee and he attacks the guards and escapes his cell. This entire scene (including the reveal of Lecter wearing one of the guards faces as a mask) was so crazy and exciting to watch and was perfectly delivered in terms of its visual depiction on screen. I liked the whole system of figuring out which order the victims were in, but what really got me was the plot twist of Clarice knocking on Buffalo Bill’s door when it was set up to be the FBI at Buffalo Bill’s house. The entire scene of Clarice fighting against Bill was fantastic and was made even better by the night vision fight. Lastly, the film’s end was the perfect ending to the Silence of the Lambs. It saw Hannibal Lecter having escaped prison phoning Clarice from Bimini. The camera cuts over to Frederick Chilton (Dr Lecter’s nemesis) walking through Bimini before Dr Lecter ominously tells Clarice that he’s ‘having an old friend for dinner’ before hanging up the phone and stalking Chilton through a crowd of people.

Overall, I’m giving the Silence of the Lambs an 8.4/10. Jonathan Demme’s great directorial skills were combined with some of the best acting I’ve seen from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster (whose admittedly was not as good as Hopkins, but was brilliant nonetheless) and an interesting story from Thomas Harris made for a fantastically enjoyable and awesome movie.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for the review of a comedy movie, and while the film may not be the best, it sure is hilarious. See you then!

What to watch in 2019

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Happy New Year! I hope you have a great 2019. It’s gearing up to a fantastic year, cinematically speaking. In this post, I’ll be looking at what movies and TV shows are coming out this year and what you can expect from them. I’ll be speculating some plots so you have been warned if any are actually true. Links to trailers for the films and their release date will be attached if it is available.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – 26th July 2019

For those who didn’t know, my all-time favourite movie is Pulp Fiction. So when news of Quentin Tarantino directing his ninth film came out, I was hyped. Of all the great movies coming out this year, nothing has me more excited than Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Damien Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and so many more amazing actors and the plot itself seems quite interesting. Rick Dalton, a faded TV actor, and Cliff Booth, his stunt double, try to make a name for themselves in the film industry in 1969 Hollywood, during the Helter Skelter period. I’m looking forward to seeing Tarantino direct again, especially with a storyline and cast as awesome as what’s lined up for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Tarantino describes it as the closest thing he’s done to Pulp Fiction. Furthermore, Tarantino has said that he’d only make 10 movies, so I’m hoping that his films get better with time. As to whether Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be a better film than Pulp Fiction and take the top spot as my favourite movie, well, only time will tell.

CAPTAIN MARVEL – 8th March 2019

In the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War, a mid-dusting Nick Fury sent out a pager to Captain Marvel in a last minute attempt to save the world. We now get her backstory and uncover why she is the key to the future. Brie Larson plays the titular character, with Samuel L Jackson playing a younger, two-eyed Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn playing villainous Talos, leader of the Skrulls. Captain Marvel serves as a set-up prequel to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and hopefully will a good film.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – 26th April 2019

It’s fair to say that the biggest movie of this year is Avengers: Endgame, the follow-up to the biggest film of 2018, Avengers: Infinity War. To try to undo the decimation and devastation caused by Thor not going for the head (and the consequent snap), the remaining, non-dusted Avengers must band together to somehow magically rewind time and stop the massacre from ever happening. Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner and more, and the film being the last one in Marvel’s Phase Three (and the end of some of it’s biggest heroes), Avengers: Endgame is shaping up to be an awesome film.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – July 2019

As if Avengers: Endgame isn’t enough, Marvel are releasing another film next year, Spider-Man: Far From Home. Following the events of Endgame, Peter Parker goes on a summer vacation around Europe with his friends, but he struggles to keep his identity of Spider-Man hidden as the threat of the Elementals rises. Tom Holland is back playing Spider-Man, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing Mysterio, Jon Favreau playing Happy Hogan and Zendaya back as Michelle. Seeing as Far From Home will be the first film released after Endgame, it’ll be interesting to see what the impact on the MCU will be.

TOY STORY 4 – 21st June 2019

Despite all the tears shed after Toy Story 3, Disney are back with Toy Story 4. Though there is no storyline put out there, the trailer shows that it’s something about new toys being played with, in this case, it’s Forky. There’s also something about a carnival, as seen with the soft toys voiced by Key and Peele. I think that part of the storyline will be that Bonnie has grown bored of Buzz and Woody and instead created her own toys (Forky), but I’m not too sure how the carnival will fit in. Tim Allen has said that the film’s story is “so emotional” and he “couldn’t even get through the last scene” while Tom Hanks has also said that the ending scene was a “moment in history.” Only time will tell, but Toy Story 4 is definitely going to be a big film for next year.

GLASS – 18th January 2019

The Unbreakable Universe is expanding. Glass follows David Dunn trying to bring The Beast out of Kevin Crumb, the man with 23 personalities living inside of him from 2016’s Split. In the background, Elijah Price, also known as Mr Glass, emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets that are critical to the pair. The cast includes James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson and is from director M. Night Shyamalan. The thriller seems promising and seeing as it will combine the universes of Unbreakable and Split, it is likely that Glass will one of most successful horror/thriller movies of 2019.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL – 14th June 2019

Though it’s not the best franchise of all time, I really love the Men in Black series. It’s funny, smart and together the films are a great piece of sci-fi movies. Directed by F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator,  Straight Outta Compton), the Men in Black reboot sees Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite to protect Earth from alien scum, except this time, it’s a mole in the Men in Black organisation. The spin-off could go either way, but I have faith in it. It has a good director attached, stars brilliant actors (Hemsworth, Thompson, and even Liam Neeson is in the film too!) and from the look of the first trailer, it looks to be a great movie.

THE LION KING – 19th July 2019

Disney’s 1994 classic is getting a live-action remake with a phenomenal cast, including Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) voicing Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and even James Earl Jones back to voice Mufasa. Just having Childish Gambino and Beyoncé duet to a classic Lion King song is enough to get me excited for this film. The Lion King is shaping up to be a huge success, though I’m not prepared to see Mufasa die again.

JOKER – 4th October 2019

It’s difficult to do a reboot, especially of a character who has been played so well (Heath Ledger) and quite badly (sorry Jared Leto), but I have faith in Joaquin Phoenix in playing the Joker. With Todd Phillips (The Hangover) directing, Joker is an origin story looking at how Arthur Fleck turns from being a failed comedian to a life of crime in Gotham City. It also has a great cast, including Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz. Having seen Phoenix’s performance in last years ‘You Were Never Really Here’, Joker is a film that I am looking forward to seeing how it does.

ZOMBIELAND 2 – 11th October 2019

Ten years after the first film, Zombieland finally gets a sequel. The 2009 hit was loved for its great comedy, gory action and it just an all-round great film. Zombieland 2 sees the original cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) back to play Colombus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, where they must face off against evolving zombies, meet other survivors and adapt to the joys and pains of their makeshift family life. Joining them are Avan Jogia and Zoey Deutch, and there are reports that Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray (who died in the first film) are in the film too. If Zombieland 2 is anything like the first, then it definitely going to be a brilliant movie.

US – 15th March 2019

Though I’m not the biggest horror movie fan, I thoroughly enjoyed Jordan Peele’s 2017 success, Get Out. This year, Peele directs and writes Us, the story of Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, a couple who take their children to their beach house. Their fun with friends is disturbed when some unexpected and uninvited guests turn up. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elizabeth Moss, the film looks to be pretty awesome. Knowing that it’s directed by Peele and has the acting abilities of Nyong’o and Duke, it’s safe to say Us is going to be good anyways.

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX – 19th December 2019

The intergalactic adventures of Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB8 continue this year, with Star Wars: Episode IX. Not much is known about the film’s plot, but it should be awesome. Mark Hamill is to play Luke’s ghost, Billy Dee Williams is back as Lando Calrissian and archive footage of Carrie Fisher is being used for Princess Leia’s character. What’s more, JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens) is back to direct, so it’s going to be a great conclusion to this trilogy.

Thanks for reading this week’s post. What are you most looking forward to seeing this year? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews!

Once again thanks for reading this week’s post. Join me next week for a TV show/game review. See you then!

The Shining: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #37

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Seeing as it’s Halloween soon, I thought I’d review a horror movie. If you know me in real life, you’ll know I hate horror movies. I don’t see the point. Why pay money to be scared? When it comes to horror movies, I’m out. However, there’s no point reviewing movies if you avoid one genre. So I put my hate of horror aside and watched one of the most notorious and classic horror movies, The Shining. Here is my review of it.

Based on Stephen King’s novel and from director Stanley Kubrick is The Shining. Writer Jack Torrance becomes a winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in an attempt to get over his writer’s block and moves in with his family. There, his son, Danny experiences demonic visions. While Jack’s still stuck in writer’s block, Danny’s visions only become more disturbing. Jack begins to explore the hotel and uncovers more of its dark secrets, causing him to go down the path of insanity and leading him to terrorise his family.

Jack Nicholson played Jack Torrance, the normal-turned-psychotic author. The Shining is easily Nicholson’s famous role. His acting in this film was brilliant, as you can see the slight but eventual slip into insanity. Nicholson captures the true essence of a disturbed, murderous man and his portrayal of this is not only iconic but also what makes The Shining so good. Danny Lloyd played Danny Torrance, Jack’s son who experiences the telepathic ability of ‘shining’, where someone who can shine is able to telepathically communicate with others and also see into the past and future. Danny Lloyd played Danny when he was six/seven years old, and for such a young actor performing in this role, he did such a brilliant and commendable job. Lloyd made the film more engaging and allowed the viewer to connect with his character, experiencing fear and horror just as he did. Shelley Duvall played Wendy Torrance, Jack’s wife. Wendy experiences her husbands slip into insanity first hand and the way Duvall depicts this on the big screen is wonderfully done. I felt her performance was lacking in a few areas, but generally, I liked what she did with Wendy’s character.

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Another classic scene from cinematic history, the Grady twins in the hotel corridor.

The music was absolutely brilliant. It was hauntingly beautiful and chilling, adding to the eerieness of the movie. The best scene for music is when Jack escapes from the pantry and hacking his way through the hotel on a murderous rampage against his family. The music is at a spine-chilling theme which is almost in sync with your heart rate and BAM! Jack bursts through the bathroom door in the iconic ‘Here’s Johnny!’ scene. True movie magic from a brilliant actor.

The Shining has become one of the most iconic movies of all time. It’s because it takes something so simple and does rely on an ancient backstory of some sort to create a story. All you need is a family, a hotel, winter and just a brief summary of the ability to shine. From there, just have some brilliant acting, some surprising twists and turns and create an atmosphere that leaves people on the edge of their seats and that’s how you make a great horror movie. The Shining has all of this but was one of the first horror movies that actually earned a name for itself. From the bloody elevator to Room 237, not forgetting the twins, The Shining uses chilling music combined with an uneasy silence to scare viewers in a way that is unforgettable and sticks with them for life.

For someone who’s a hater of horror movies, The Shining was a good film and gets an 8.2/10 from me. It doesn’t play into the typical field of having killer clowns and creepy toys with jump scares to frighten the audience. It’s a psychological horror, that constantly plays with your mind through music and the uncertainty of what could happen next.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Self-five to me for getting through a horror movie! (🙏🏽) Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes and more! Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews!

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I’m in China for the next eight days on a school trip so there won’t be a review next week. But join me in two weeks time when I review a movie related to China somehow. Zai Jian!

Shutter Island: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #36

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As Shutter Island has a huge twist at the end, there are spoilers in this review as indicated by bold warnings.

One of my favourite types of movies is those with a huge twist or something that makes the movie more interesting and fun to watch. From Se7en (check out my review for it here) to The Prestige, some great films have been made with twist endings. I recently watched Shutter Island with my uncle, not expecting much from it. By the end, I found myself in shock and awe over how brilliantly made this movie was.

Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Sir Ben Kingsley is Shutter Island. US Marshal’s Edward ‘Teddy’ Daniels and his Chuck Aule are travelling to Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island to investigate the peculiar disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando. The pair investigates and interviews various people, only to learn that Solando’s doctor, Dr Sheehan, is away. During their investigation, Daniels reveals that his wife, Dolores Chanal, was killed by an arsonist, Andrew Laeddis. In a dream, Teddy sees a little girl and his wife Dolores, and she tells him that Solando is still on the island somewhere, as is Laeddis but the staff on the island claim he was never there. Soon, Solando resurfaces, prompting Teddy to break into Ward C, the most criminally insane of the patients to look for Andrew Laeddis. While investigating, Teddy meets George Noyce, who tells Teddy that everyone on Shutter Island, even his partner Chuck, is playing a game designed for him to solve. As the mystery deepens, it’s down to Teddy to find Andrew and uncover the true story about what is really happening on Shutter Island.

Leonardo DiCaprio played Teddy Daniels and, like most of DiCaprio’s performances, it was fantastic. His acting ability is on point, as his emotional complexity allows the viewer to know exactly how he is feeling and further engages the viewer with the film. DiCaprio made the film more enjoyable and interesting. Chuck Aule was played by Mark Ruffalo, who is a talented actor, but I find his acting very rigid and he doesn’t have much range. As an actor, he was great in Shutter Island but I couldn’t help but feel that someone else could have been better. Don’t get me wrong, he was fairly well suited to the role, but there were people who could’ve done better. I felt that as good as Ruffalo was in this film, but he was lacking in some areas that, if they were fulfilled, would have may have actually made the film better. Sir Ben Kingsley played Dr John Cawley, the overseer of the mental hospital. This was my first time seeing a film with Ben Kingsley in it and I was impressed by this acting skills. As Dr Cawley, Kingsley had the perfect tone of mysteriousness mixed in with a sense of sanity. It comes to make sense at the end of the film, which makes Kingsley’s acting choices even more commendable. He, much like DiCaprio, made the film more intriguing. Michelle Williams played Dolores Chanal, who did a great job playing the somewhat psychotic character. The character chemistry between Teddy and Chuck, and also Chuck and Dr Cawley was very well done. You must hand it to Ruffalo because though he may not have much range, he is able to act phenomenally with any other actor in any situation he’s put in.

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Dr Cawley and Teddy Daniels discuss Rachel’s mysterious disappearance.

⚠️Now scroll down to the next bold warning to continue reading my review. I am now going to discuss spoilers for Shutter Island. I highly recommend that you watch the film though, as it’s a truly amazing movie. You can watch it on NowTV and Amazon Prime Video.

The film is slow to start off with but then builds to something truly amazing at the end. Teddy is convinced Chuck has been taken to the lighthouse on the island and breaks in as an attempt to rescue him. There, Chuck and Dr Cawley await, ready to explain everything to Teddy. As he was told by George Noyce, it was all a big game played on Teddy.  Dr Cawley reveals that Edward Daniels is, in fact, Andrew Laeddis and that he killed his wife, Dolores Chanal. Rachel Solando is revealed to be Dolores Chanal, and the girl in his dream is his daughter. Rachel Solando was never real, it was just a nurse playing her. It is then revealed that the viewer that Andrew Laeddis came home from work to discover that Dolores has drowned their three children. In a scene superbly acted out by DiCaprio, Edward tries to rescue his children and breaks into tears. Dolores explains that they can take care of the children like dolls, but Teddy then shoots her. From here we can piece together some of the story. where insane Edward kills his wife, then is taken to Shutter Island and put in Ward C before creating the alternative personality of US Marshal Edward Daniels. Edwards Daniels is an anagram of his real name, Andrew Laeddis, and Rachel Solando is also an anagram of Dolores Chanal, Andrew’s wife. Dr Sheehan was actually Chuck this whole time too, explaining why Chuck was paired with Teddy in the first place. Mind blown.

It gets even better. If you rewatch the movie, or just pay very close attention to the movie, you will notice little details that show that somethings up, and this is mainly shown through the use of water. For example, there’s a scene where a woman being interviewed by Teddy is drinking a glass of water. We see this from Teddy’s point of view, but she does not have a glass in her hand. We then cut to an over the shoulder shot of the woman putting down a glass. Teddy has blocked out the water, as it is part of the reality he is trying to forget (Dolores drowned his children). Further, in the interview with the woman, she looks at Chuck when describing Mr Sheehan and looks awkwardly at Teddy when asked if she had ever met Andrew Laeddis. There’s even more, where any scene with water represents Andrew trying to escape his past, such as the boat trip to the island at the start of the movie. I’m pretty sure if you watch this film with the keenest eye, there will be the tiniest of details that Scorsese has snuck in.

⚠️We are out of spoiler territory. No more spoilers will be mentioned in this review.

Despite this movie being slow to start off with and a little dull in places, it was certainly worth the wait. The whole ending reveal is marvellous, mind-blowing and will leave any viewer in complete shock and awe. It must be handed to both director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Scorsese was able to bring together this fantastic story and portray it in a cinematic way that was an all-around great experience. DiCaprio was honestly one of the best parts of the film. Like most roles, he immersed himself in the character and gave a truly fantastic performance. Together, you have the awesomeness that is Shutter Island.

Overall, Shutter Island gets an 8.1/10 from me. It was a brilliant film which, though had me a little disinterested in places, left me in complete amazement over how crafty and smart this film was. I’d highly recommend that you watch this film. It’s currently available on NowTV and Amazon Prime Video. It makes for the perfect movie night in and will leave you wanting to rewatch it.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures, sneak peaks and more! It’s the one source you need for all things movie related. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for a horror movie review. Please note as  I’m headed to China for a week on Thursday, the reviews are likely to be out late. But I’m kind of facing my fear of horror movies to do this. See you soon!