Clearing the last two rentals for now before we resume the alphabet Double Feature! These two are both 2019 titles that I’ve finally gotten a chance to catch up with. Let’s check it out!
Charlie’s Angels (2019)
Director (and screenplay): Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Elena Houghlin, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Jonathan Tucker, Nat Faxon, Chris Pang, Noah Centineo
When a young systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, Charlie’s Angels are called into action, putting their lives on the line to protect us all. – IMDB
I’m going to confess right now that I wasn’t a big fan of Charlie’s Angels in the 90s. In fact, I probably don’t remember too much of other than the three Angels back then and then didn’t even realize there was a sequel. The reason that I watched Charlie’s Angels (other than it being a cheap rental) is the fact that I’ve been constantly realizing that Kristen Stewart is a really talented actress and Twilight was definitely her low point (in my opinion, of course. If you like Twilight, that’s perfectly fine with me). I went into this one completely blind. I didn’t realize it was meant to be a sequel and in turn the third movie of this franchise and didn’t realize who was the director or any other the other supporting cast. However, Charlie’s Angels does refer to its previous movies in context but it does standalone on its own, which is important since its been over 15 years since its predecessor.
Charlie’s Angels isn’t a masterpiece cinema and has some flaws but it also was incredibly entertaining. In many ways, it shows off the directing style of Elizabeth Banks that wasn’t too obvious until you can really see her influence in the entire film if you’ve seen Pitch Perfect 2 before. I’m a fan of Pitch Perfect as a whole and enjoyed the second film and the comedy element and you can see some of that sort of comedy in this Charlie’s Angels as well as the female character designs whether its the contrast of the three Angels as well as her own role as Boz. Elizabeth Banks shows off how talented she is in all the hats that she wears in making this movie. Of course, we can’t neglect the three Angels played by Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott. Its all about training the new trio as its really the new team of two formed by the former two as Sabina and Jane that are sent in to help Elena as she tries to get back a technology that could cause a lot of damage. Elena’s character especially gets a lot of development as she becomes more and more courageous through everything she goes through and has the smarts to compensate for her lack of experience. The dynamic of Sabina and Jane is also a evolving friendship which has a bit of the female version of “buddy cop movies” except this obviously isn’t a buddy cop film.
Thing is, Charlie’s Angels in term of depth might be similar to one-liner action movies (The Expendables or Crank, perhaps) and its more about the entertainment and action-packed sequences which may work for some and not so much for others. For myself, it achieved exactly what I was looking for and actually exceed my expectations in the enjoyment factor. Running at almost 2 hours, it had some pacing issues. However, credit where its due, the three leading ladies were very good. There’s some nice action sequences and the comedy mostly does land well. The cast bounces off each other’s role fairly well. There is some formulaic elements like its bad guy design and its easy to see where the twist is at a certain point. However, it does also have a great supporting cast like Patrick Stewart, a reintroduction of the agency and its structure at the beginning to see its progress of the decade between the previous movie until now and manages to keep it standalone. All things that I appreciate and like about this film.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Director (and screenplay): Mike Flanagan
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind
Years following the events of The Shining (1980), a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal. – IMDB
*Originally posted for Friday Film Club on Movies and Tea HERE*
Being the sequel of The Shining, Doctor Sleep is based on the 2013 book of the same name by Stephen King, which takes place decades after the events at the Overlook Hotel. At the helm of this film is Mike Flanagan which takes the director’s seat as well as the screenplay writer which aims to pull together the elements of the source material of The Shining as well as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining while adapting Doctor Sleep to its sequel. In many ways, for someone like myself that hasn’t read any of the source material, Doctor Sleep takes a step into something more than just a crazy Jack Torrance from the first movie and gives it a much more ominous and supernatural angle to these characters with certain powers especially in the now adult Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) who embraces it after the trauma left behind from his childhood at the Hotel and has to face them while trying to protect a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) with similar powers against a cult called The True Knot.
Mike Flanagan has truly grown over the years from the days of his independent horror films like Absentia and moving forward a little more mainstream especially in the successful The Haunting of Hill House series on Netflix. There’s a specific charm to how he handles every element in his horror films to create the dark atmosphere, build up on the characters and have this underlying sense of lingering fear that tests the boundaries of when to expect a scare and when it will actually happen. With him in the director’s seat, Flanagan adds his flair to Doctor Sleep and works wonders on creating a visually appealing horror experience especially with suitable camera rotations, how it’s all set up and having a level of subtlety that fits the film.
Doctor Sleep runs at a whopping 2 and a half hours which is pretty much a lengthy film. However, what is great is that it never feels like it’s that long as the story keeps moving forward. At the same time, the characters are focused enough on the few prominent ones like Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of adult Dan Torrance and a quick span of his growing up process, particularly psychologically and the nightmares that accompany him after surviving the childhood events. It manages to give a link to The Shining before moving forward, which is a good approach. One of the standout performances do go out to the young girl Abra, portrayed by Kyliegh Curran. The cast for Doctor Sleep in general all do a great job from the leader of The True Knot played by Rebecca Ferguson in a charming outfit and character to Cliff Curtis who plays Dan Torrance’s friend that helps and believes him through his unbelievable story.
There’s so much to love about Doctor Sleep and while I haven’t read the source material, it works well on its own as it does call back to the film adaptation of The Shining at a various points but the story behind the film itself is much more fleshed out and takes a different direction than The Shining that its a different experience altogether and one well worth checking out.
That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these 2019 films? Thoughts?