Thursday, February 26, 2015

Movie Review - Filth

Filth (2014)
Starring James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, and Jim Broadbent
Directed by Jon S. Baird
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I don't really know what to make of Filth.  There's a part of me that is intrigued by director and screenwriter Jon S. Baird's unique dirty comic book/Monty Python/Tarantino-Luhrmann-esque comedic mashup. (Note:  Filth is weirdly none of those things I just mentioned and all of those things I just mentioned and more at the same time -- an odd mix.)  And then there's another part of me that found myself completely distanced from the proceedings that I didn't care at all what I was watching.

James McAvoy is Bruce, a British cop in line for a major promotion.  Outwardly pleasant to all his coworkers, Bruce's goal is to ruin their chances of upward mobility, therein securing himself the position.  More than just an underhanded manipulator, Bruce is an amoral deviant and a horribly unethical cop, taking drugs from his arrestees, attempting to sleep with underage prostitutes in a blackmail attempts to keep them from jail time, and many other less than kosher schemes.  To build a movie around a guy like this and try to get the audience to relate is a difficult task...and not entirely successful here.

While McAvoy does well with the seedier aspects of his character, the actor is also burdened with less-than-fruitful attempts to connect the audience with an emotional past that partly shaped Bruce into the nasty guy he has become.  This aspect of the plot seems tacked on -- why can't the character just be a giant a-hole?  Why does he need to be saddled with some heartbreaking back story?  Once again, this isn't McAvoy's fault, but he certainly isn't helped by this subplot.  Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, and Imogen Poots are quite good in their smaller roles as well, but this is McAvoy's character's story for sure.

In the end, I appreciated the attempt behind Filth with its larger than life comedic stylists, but it doesn't quite work and should've dropped the attempts at emotional heartstring-tugging.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Movie Review - The Two Faces of January

The Two Faces of January (2014)
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac
Directed by Hossein Amini
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Quite frankly, I had forgotten that I watched The Two Faces of January about two hours after I watched it.  Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel (the writer who brought us Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley), screenwriter and first-time director Hossein Amini fails to garner any modicum of excitement or thrills -- unfortunate seeing as how this is supposed to be a film that seemingly bases its success on whether suspense is generated.

Taking place in 1960s Greece, the film opens with married couple Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) taking a lovely vacation where they meet young tour guide Rydal (Oscar Isaac). Rydal is set up as a petty crook - milking the MacFarlands and other tourists of their money -- and seemingly the film's "bad guy," however, as we soon discover, it's Chester who holds the film's biggest secrets.  After a lovely day with his wife and Rydal, Chester is greeted at his hotel room by a private investigator who states that his clients have had money stolen from them by shady investment practices employed by Rydel.  This sends the MacFarlands on the run with Rydel assisting them through the streets of Greece and Crete as Chester grows increasingly more wary of anyone who tries to assist him.

The Greek setting is certainly lovely to look upon, but the film lacks the necessary tension for a flick like this to succeed.  While Oscar Isaac fares best as the rather innocent Rydal caught up in Chester's foul play, Mortensen and Dunst are almost blank slates, unable to carry the necessary weight and/or emotion for their characters to truly be believable, relatable, or interesting.

The Two Faces of January is a film that I probably should've liked, but instead found quite disappointing. 


The RyMickey Rating:  C-

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Movie Review - Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Starring Eileen Atkins, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Emma Stone, and Jacki Weaver
Directed by Woody Allen

I've come across Woody Allen rather late in my life and I've admittedly still got a lot of catching up to do with his repertoire. While I've kept up to date on his current pieces, his supposedly "good" era of the 1970s and 1980s still is strongly underrepresented in my filmgoing experience.  Nevertheless, Magic in the Moonlight is Allen's latest directorial and penned piece and while it's light and amusing, it's almost too airy for its own good.

Colin Firth is Stanley, an illusionist whose stage act as Chinese magician Wei Ling Soo is renowned across Europe.  Stanley also happens to be well known for debunking soothsayers, fortune tellers, and afterlife believers and he is called upon by his good friend Howard (Simon McBurney) to head to his friend's house in France where a beautiful psychic named Sophie (Emma Stone) is working her charms on Grace and Brice Catledge (Jacki Weaver and Hamish Linklater), a mother and son who find hope in the young woman for different reasons -- one is amazed at Sophie's ability to purportedly contact her dead husband and the other is amazed at Sophie's ability to make him fall in love with her.  Upon Stanley's arrival, he is adamant that he will debunk Sophie's powers, but as he spends time with the psychic, he finds himself being taken in by her charms and begins to think his entire philosophy on life may need to be readjusted.

There's a charm present throughout Magic in the Moonlight and it certainly is thanks in large part to the actors, all of whom exude a 1920s flapper-esque joie de vivre.  Unfortunately, charm doesn't make a movie completely sing and there's not much else the film has going for it.  Allen's film is supposed to be a comedy, but the laughs are few and far between.  Sure, you may smile at Colin Firth and Emma Stone's repartee, but in the end what they're saying is rather inconsequential.  Then again, I always appreciate Woody Allen's use of music in his films and even when his jokes fall flat, his film soundtracks don't.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar Predictions 2014

UPDATE POST-OSCARS

Horrible job this year -- 16/24.  Ugh.  Unfortunately, the worst Best Picture nominee took home the big award (in my opinion).  However, I will take solace in the fact that Whiplash took home three awards -- two of which were somewhat surprising (although not necessarily entirely unexpected...it was my second choice for Editing and Sound Mixing).  Neil Patrick Harris was disappointing.  The show was bland and all of his jokes (with the exception of the Benedict Cumberbatch/Ben Affleck/John Travolta bit) fell flat.  Just poorly written one-liners that didn't land.  Certainly "pleasant," but that doesn't cut it, in my opinion.

Other quick notes:

- Biggest surprise of the night was the win for Big Hero 6 as I thought How to Train Your Dragon was kind of a lock after Lego Movie was passed over.

- Nice win for Eddie Redmayne over the overrated Birdman's Michael Keaton.

- The three Selma standing o's -- so pandering it was disgusting.  (And I REALLY liked the film.)  And Terrence Howard being unable to make it through a teleprompter read because he got too emotional talking about the film?

- I can't believe that for the second time, the fantastic special effects work on The Planet of the Apes films was overlooked.  The work those fx artists are doing on this series is, quite frankly, mind-blowing.

- Poland finally lands a Best Foreign Film award!  Yay!

This blog will continue down its path of catching up on 2014 films with the RyMickey Awards arriving sometime in the summer.

While I'm not quite over the nearly complete dissing of Gone Girl, most of this year's nominees are actually a fairly deserving bunch.  I'm not quite as well-rounded this year as I'd like to be -- missing out on Foxcatcher and a few Best Actress pictures -- but what I did see I enjoyed for the most part.  Some films have aged well in my mind since I've seen them -- Whiplash -- and some have not -- The Grand Budapest Hotel -- but 2014 was overall a solid year for film (which I'm obviously still exploring and will continue to do until the summer's RyMickey Awards).

Listed below are my predictions for what will win along with some thoughts on certain categories about what should win and/or should've been nominated.  (Reviews can be found by clicking on any underlined films.)

Best Picture (listed in order of my personal ranking)
Will Win:  Birdman
Should Win: Whiplash
Should've Been Nominated: Gone Girl

Best Director
Alejandro G. Inarritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game
Will Win: Richard Linklater
Should Win: Richard Linklater
Should've Been Nominated: Damien Chazelle - Whiplash

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild
Will Win: Julianne Moore
Should Win: Felicity Jones
Should've Been Nominated:  What a blah year for women for the most part...

Best Actor
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Should Win: Eddie Redmayne
Should've Been Nominated: Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel; David Oyelowo - Selma; Jake Gyllenhaal - Enemy/Nightcrawler

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Should Win: J.K. Simmons
Should've Been Nominated: Chris Pine - Into the Woods; Henry G. Sanders - Selma

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Laura Dern - Wild
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods
Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Should Win:  Blah...
Should've Been Nominated: Agata Kulesza - Ida; Tilda Swinton - Snowpiercer

Writing - Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
Writing - Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Animated Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Cinematography: Birdman
Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Documentary Feature: CitizenFour
Documentary Short Subject: Joanna
Film Editing: Boyhood
Foreign Language Film: Ida
Makeup and Hairstyling: Grand Budapest Hotel
Music - Original Score:  Theory of Everything
Music - Original Song: "Glory" from Selma
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Short Film - Animated: The Dam Keeper
Short Film - Live Action: The Phone Call
Sound Editing: American Sniper
Sound Mixing: American Sniper
Visual Effects: Interstellar

Movie Review - If I Stay

If I Stay (2014)
Starring Chloë Grace Moritz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Jakob Davies, and Stacy Keach
Directed by R.J. Cutler

It's such a shame that If I Stay wallows in the typical cinematic tropes of standard teenage romances because at the crux of the film is a rather lovely and somewhat emotionally resonant contemplation of the afterlife.  On a snowy day, Mia (Chloë Grace Mortiz), her mother (Mireille Enos), father (Joshua Leonard), and brother (Jakob Davies) are all involved in a horrific car accident.  Mia immediately finds herself having an out-of-body experience watching herself being whisked off to the hospital only to find upon her arrival that her parents and brother are in similarly dire straits as well.

Unfortunately, while the aforementioned aspect of the film works surprisingly well providing more than one touching moment, the bulk of If I Stay is told in flashback with Mia recalling her final year of high school when she, a talented cellist, falls for Adam (Jamie Blackley), the guitarist of a punk band.  Her parents -- former rock band performers and groupies themselves -- find the pairing ideal, but Mia questions whether her burgeoning love is harming her chances of getting into a great music college.  This relationship is nothing short of typical, filled with the corniest of dialog, and many scenes of the teenaged actors pining doe-eyed at one another only to get flustered when one or the other questions their commitment to the romantic affiliation.

Chloë Moretz confounds me a bit here as I found her unbearable to watch in those relationship moments, but moderately intriguing in some of the celestial out-of-body scenes.  Jamie Blackley fares a little better, but his character is so damn stereotypical that I found myself not caring for him in the slightest.  While Mireille Enos makes out the best as Mia's mom, she's not given a whole lot to do which is unfortunate as a movie about her character's relationship with her husband would've made a better film.

The potential was here for something positive and while I can't help but give If I Stay a little credit for its final act which stands out a bit from typical teenage fare (this was aiming for a "D" rating until the film's final twenty minutes), it ultimately sinks itself with a horribly disappointing been there-done that teen romance angle.

The RyMickey Rating: C-

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Movie Review - The Immigrant

The Immigrant (2014)
Starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner
Directed by James Grey
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

It's a shame that the nice, reserved performance from Marion Cotillard as Eva, a Polish immigrant arriving to the States in The Immigrant isn't matched in quality by the film itself.  Instead the onerous bleakness of James Grey's film creates a heaviness that's almost impossible to climb out from under, providing a none too pleasant experience that lost me about halfway through.

When Eva is turned away from entering the US after an erroneous claim is made that she willingly subjected herself to prostitution while on the ship to the mainland, she is forced to await return to Europe.  Separated from her sister who was quarantined upon arrival, Eva is devastated until Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix) sees her plight and, noticing her beauty, decides to help her out.  However, Bruno's seeming benevolence isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Bruno runs a burlesque hall which also happens to serve alcohol -- a hot commodity in 1921's prohibition era times -- and Bruno convinces Eva to use her feminine wiles to make money to help get her sister out of quarantine to see a legitimate doctor.  The strong-willed, former nurse Eva finds her steadfastness wear down quickly as she sinks into a world unknown to her.

I was with The Immigrant until this point about forty-five minutes in.  Sure, it was a bit depressing, but I could accept the interesting story and the solid performance from Ms. Cotillard.  However, the film then shifts into a love triangle between Eva, Bruno, and a magician named Orlando (Jeremy Renner) and the love story feels ominously uncomfortable and restrictingly heavy.  For the next seventy-five minutes, no one's happy, there's a lot of talking about how no one's happy, and this viewer wasn't happy either, finding himself zoning out and caring very little about any member of this trio.

Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for such a hefty piece.  That's entirely possible.  However, I can't help but think part of the issue lies in James Grey's direction which plods the film along at a glacial pace and becomes a bit unsure of itself in terms of what kind of film it is when the romantic triangle rears its head.  As mentioned, Cotillard is good here and is positively the only reason to watch.  Renner tries, but his character often seems like a caricature -- not as much as Phoenix's Bruno, however, which feels like a mash-up of typical 1920s gangster-y stereotypes.  Unfortunately, Phoenix doesn't bring anything new to the table from an acting perspective either.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

Friday, February 20, 2015

Movie Review - Boyhood

Boyhood (2014)
Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Marco Perella, Brad Hawkins, and Zoe Graham
Directed by Richard Linklater

I appreciate the experiment of Boyhood, but the movie itself feels oddly unimportant given its cinematic uniqueness.  Then again, I that's the point, is it not?  Let's place a camera into the life of a boy and follow him through twelve years of his life -- whether that life be full of excitement or not.  A cinematic reality show, if you will, with a fake story to go along with it.  I say that and I ponder just how different this is from something like the Real Housewives franchise that has been going on for years and years.  That's an unfair comparison, however, as Boyhood at least feels steeped in reality unlike the hair pulling and cat calls of those overly privileged women.

Seeing it so late in the game, I'd already heard the critical lauds heaped upon Boyhood and I must admit that I was slightly disappointed as the film began.  That being said, as the film progressed across its nearly three hour length, I found myself becoming oddly more involved in the lives of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his sister Sam (Lorelei Linklater), and his divorced mother and father Olivia and Mason, Sr (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke).  There is something compelling about the simplicity of life and watching it unfold like a home movie onscreen.

As a younger child, Boyhood focuses on Mason's parents a bit more than the kids and while it's perfectly believable that Olivia would fall one alcoholic loser and maybe even two (which she does), these particular scenes that support the bulk of the first half of the film feel the most forced, obvious, and acted.  Perhaps it's because they stand in such stark contrast to the mundaneness of the rest of the film (which I say not with a sense of disdain, but with fondness).  However, as the film advances through Mason's life, Mason himself becomes more interesting as he discovers the person he wants to be.  Granted, I would never be friends with Mason and I'd quite frankly find his philosophical meanderings, drug usage, taste in music, and bleakness rather obnoxious, but it's admittedly interesting to watch a "real" person age through life and find himself.

Director Richard Linklater didn't quite know what he was getting when he cast Ellar Coltrane and his own daughter Lorelei at such a young age and the emotional results of those choices are a little suspect at times.  Though neither Coltrane nor the younger Linklater are disappointing, there are times during which these two are needed to "act" that feel admittedly forced.  Coltrane fares a little better, but then again it's his character's story so he probably should win out amongst the two younger stars.  The young man is particularly at his best during his scenes in eleventh and twelfth grade when he falls for the lovely Sheena (Zoe Graham) -- these moments rang most true and proved to be a nice capstone to Mason's story.

Patricia Arquette has been racking up awards left and right for this performance and while it certainly isn't bad in any way, shape, or form, I found the role oddly bland.  Yes, her Olivia makes questionable decisions when it comes to men, but beyond that her character isn't given a whole lot to do.  I wanted some touching scenes between her and her children, but I never got them.  Ethan Hawke, on the other hand, I found much more compelling as Mason's father.  Perhaps it was the "father-son" dynamic that Linklater wanted to explore a little more, but in the private moments in which Masons Jr. and Sr. talk to one another, Hawke exudes a sense of profound caring for his cinematic son, imbuing in him a sense of purpose, individuality, and identity.  I'm not quite sure Hawke was playing anyone but himself -- it kind of felt oddly similar to his character in the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series -- and I think his character has the least amount of emotional growth, but his work is really solid here and slightly under-appreciated.

It is true that what Richard Linklater has done here is create a compelling piece of art.  Its uniqueness, bravery, and ballsiness can't be understated.  Would I have liked a little more oomph?  Yes.  Would I have skipped over the seven to twelve-year-old years and maybe just crafted a two hour movie from a teenage perspective?  Perhaps.  However, the "epic" nature of Boyhood has to be commended in some ways.  None of Linklater's works blow me away in terms of his directorial flourishes or techniques, but as a writer and storyteller, he's intriguing in what he wants to bring to the cinematic medium.  For that, he must be commended.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Movie Review - Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer (2014)
Starring Chris Evans, Song Kang Ho, Tilda Swinon, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ko Asung, and Ed Harris
Directed by Bong Joon Ho
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I'm going to put aside any political ramifications of Snowpiercer -- a film which some may seem to be a call for socialism -- and simply say that I found director Bong Joon Ho's film to be quite an amusing take on the uprising of an oppressed lower class as they fight for fair treatment.  Part action, part sci-fi, part drama, and part comedy, Snowpiercer is one of the best films of 2014 with some surprisingly strong performances from an eclectic cast.

In 2014, global warming has wreaked havoc on the earth and scientists decide to push chemicals into the atmosphere to cool things down.  This experiment, however, backfires and ends up freezing the earth making the planet seemingly uninhabitable.  A mysterious man named Wilford (Ed Harris) has built a train that contains various ecosystems and familiar earthly ways of life (beauty shops, sushi restaurants, nightclubs).  This "rattling ark" now contains the planet's last survivors, but the passengers are broken up into different economic strata based on the price of their ticket with the poorest relegated to the dungy, dark caboose of the train.

Jump ahead to 2031 and the inhabitants of the back of the train are fed up with their treatment.  With the help and wisdom of the elderly Gilliam (William Hurt), Curtis (Chris Evans) decides to lead a revolution against their oppressors by staging a coup that will allow them to inch their way up to the front of the train and take control of the engine.

Snowpiercer works because it's an action film -- filled with exciting fight scenes and tense moments -- combined with an actual story that's worth your time.  Director Bong Joon Ho is adept at crafting fight sequences (one that takes place in the dark is particularly intense), while at the same time allowing intimate character-driven moments to shine as well.  The entire cast is strong with particular kudos needing to be lauded upon Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton.

Evans, heretofore known only to me for his superhero roles, takes what we know him for -- those action-oriented roles -- and embraces that, while at the same time adding layers to a character that easily could've simply been a typical "savior" role.  Evans' Curtis is a flawed character with much depth, and in a memorably touching scene in which Curtis recalls a particularly horrific and harrowing time in the back of the train, we see Evans truly showcasing his emotional range and talent as an actor.

Swinton, on the other hand, gets an opportunity to showcase her comedic chops in the amusingly arrogant role of Mason -- Wilford's right-hand woman who is the political mouthpiece of the train's upper crust.  Hamming it up, while at the same embodying a somewhat horrific authoritative side, Swinton continues to prove that she's an actress who constantly makes interesting choices in the characters she portrays.

With some stellar production design to boot to add visual appeal, Snowpiercer is absolutely one of the more interesting and unique films of 2014.  Considering I enjoyed it this much and I'm not even delving into the political ramifications the film espouses, Snowpiercer is much richer than its surface appears.

The RyMickey Rating:  A-

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Movie Review - The Giver

The Giver (2014)
Starring Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, and Taylor Swift
Directed by Philip Noyce

I never read The Giver growing up so despite the Lois Lowry book being a staple of many folks' youth, it held no revered place in my mind.  I thought that may help things given how the general public opinion of director Philip Noyce's adaptation was that of disappointment upon the film's release this summer.  Unfortunately, it didn't.  While visually appealing, The Giver fails to deliver anything new on a science fiction premise we've seen before.  (Granted, perhaps the novel The Giver gave us this premise first...but in the cinematic world, this movie feels like old news.)

The year is 2048 and following some horrific events, a community has decided to erase all memory of its inhabitants in an attempt to create a "perfect" city in which everyone lives peacefully together.  The experiment is seemingly working as sixteen year old Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is assigned his career at the annual graduation ceremony.  Jonas is deemed "special" and is granted the right to visit The Giver (Jeff Bridges), the only member of the community who retains the memories of the past.  These memories are utilized by the Giver to advise the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) to shape the community's actions.  Aging, however, the Giver begins to pass on his memories to Jonas who finds his community's robotic and sterile atmosphere disturbing and decides to do something to shake things up a bit.

Unfortunately, this "utopian" society thing feels so played out nowadays and The Giver comes at (one can only hope) the tail end of this sci-fi subgenre.  While visually appealing (director Philip Noyce begins the film is stark blacks, whites, and grays and only introduces colors as Jonas begins to receive memories), the film feels simplistic and childish at times.  It lacks the metaphorical messages that I assume it wished to espouse.  The young Thwaites is fine, but he's really quite emotionless and his character's romantic subplot with a young gal just weighs the film down with unneeded teenage angst.  Meryl Streep is okay, but certainly nothing special, and Jeff Bridges mumbles so incoherently at times that I felt like I wanted to put on the subtitles.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Movie Review - Under the Skin

Under the Skin (2014)
Starring Scarlett Johannson
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
***This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime***


It would be perfectly understandable if you were to watch Under the Skin and hate it.  Had I watched the Jonathan Glazer film on another day in another mood, I could totally see myself despising it.  However, perhaps I lucked out as I found this weird science fiction piece oddly intriguing and visually appealing.

There's no denying that this is a unique one.  Scarlett Johannson is an unnamed woman who seduces lonely, isolated men in Scotland, luring them to a location at which strange and tragic things happen.  However, our lead character soon begins to feel doubt about her actions, causing her to discover emotions in herself that she never knew existed.

Under the Skin is a difficult film to talk about without going spoiler-crazy, so I'll leave the summary of the flick as simplistic as it seems above.  While not much is spoken in Under the Skin -- in fact, the film's final act contains perhaps as few lines of dialog we've seen since The Artist -- much is being said through images.  Director and co-screenwriter Jonathan Glazer has crafted a beautiful film to look at with mystical special effects standing in stark contrast to the griminess of some of the seedier streets of Scotland.

Ms. Johannson is front and center through it all and she certainly carries the piece.  Admittedly, however, it took me a little bit of time to fully realize all that her role and character truly is.  While I was watching, I found her nonchalantness to be a bit off-putting, but in retrospect, her alienated and subdued feelings and reactions are quite fitting for her nameless character.

Under the Skin is short, but there are moments where its somewhat repetitive nature wears a bit thin.  The bleakness of some of the middle act causes the film to drag more than it should, but it's a thought-provoking film that likely has metaphors out the wazoo should I give it another go -- which I might in due time seeing as how I appreciated what it brings to the table.

The RyMickey Rating:  B