Oscar History

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Brief Takes: Unsane and Pacific Rim Uprising

by Nathaniel R

Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)
Synopsis: A disturbed young woman, who is institutionalized against her will, is convinced that a former stalker is one of her nurses.

Capsule: The queer community got there first. Although to be fair when isn't that the case? Soderbergh's iPhone shot movie is no aesthetic relevation like the trans iPhone classic Tangerine. Still, more filmmakers ought to try to make something as fast and cheap and spirited as this thriller inbetween pricier or weightier projects...

That said, this isn't as fun as the words "fast and cheap and spirited" promise. It's far more effective (if less traditionally exciting) in the first act when it has you waffling on whether its heroine (antiheroine?) is actually in need of this forced time out in a mental insitution. Once it becomes a more standard thriller, its sickening jolts have a queasily programmatic aftertaste. C+

MVP: Claire Foy
Oscar Chances
: No, but Claire Foy is at least having a good time carrying this swift nasty B thriller.


Pacific Rim: Uprising (Steven S. DeKnight)
Synopsis: The war with the Kaiju is long over when the sequel begins but a related threat looms. Will young Captain Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), Cadet Amara (Cailee Spaeny) and the skeletal remains of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps be ready to face it?

Capsule: In the era of Netflix bloat it can be strange to see movies or tv (see this movie and also the pilot of Rise recently) that feel utterly rushed, like they're trying to work through a whole 'season' in 60-90 minutes. 'I'm sorry world building, emotional shifts, narrative arcs, and character development -- we just don't have the time. Stop being so needy! The people will get it if you just adhere tightly to borrowed tropes and stock personalities. It'll be okay you'll see.' Well, it's certainly "okay," that's true. But is that all there is to aspire to? Hours after seeing it I'd completely forgotten it, except for three elements: fun oil & water chemistry between John Boyega and Scott Eastwood as rivals (of sorts), two inspired action beats within larger generic setpieces, and Cailee Spaeny's spunky teen science girl drive. (Brilliant teenage girl engineers are having a moment -- see also Black Panther)  C-

MVP: The visual effects team
Oscar Chances: No. Guillermo del Toro may have finally found Oscar favor but he's only producing this time. And it's a B movie through and through.


Ready Player One (Chris Feil), Love Simon (Nathaniel R), Loveless (Seán McGovern), Thoroughbreds (Spencer Coile), Death of Stalin (Chris Feil), Red Sparrow (Eric Blume), A Wrinkle in Time (Chris Feil), and Game Night (Chris Feil)

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Reader Comments (5)

Nathaniel, we just saw Unsane, and your review is spot on. This was a very unpleasant experience and I couldn't wait for it to be over. Truly nasty.

March 31, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Not to be pedantic, but Tangerine is not about drag queens, they are transwomen - I do feel like it is important to make that distinction! Sure no harm was meant though.

April 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

andrew -you're correct.

April 1, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I would not pay a cent to see the Boyega in anything after the last dreadful Star Wars movie. And did anyone really want to see a sequel to "Pacific Rim"?

April 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I can't think of any possible reason beyond an eventual visual effects Oscar nomination that will get me to watch Pacific Rim 2. Good grief.

April 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

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