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The Hole In The Ground is the remarkably well-accomplished debut feature from Irish writer-director Lee Cronin. Single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) has upped sticks to the countryside with her eight year old son Chris (James Quin Markey). After Chris goes for a mysterious midnight stroll in the nearby forest, Sarah begins to notice disturbing changes in his character. Is this even her son at all?
A gut-churning slowburn, this horror-thriller recalls 2014’s equally nerve-shredding The Honeymoon and shares DNA with The Babadook. Convincing central performances and potent sound design and cinematography.
We are kept guessing until the very end: has her son really been replaced, or is it all in her own mind? A true delight.
© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry
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The Blind Side is the true story of a wealthy WASP family, headed by Mater Familias Sandra Bullock, who take in a seventeen year old homeless black kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Battling social prejudice, lavishing him with clothes and an education, this is altruism at its best — or is there an ulterior motive? A prestigious football scholarship is at stake.
This fish-out-of-water tale has plenty of heart. Success is never a foregone conclusion. Tight scripting earnt this flick an Oscar nom for best screenplay, Bullock herself won Best Actress for her subtle, humane, and convincing portrayal.
© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry
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Arrival sees a linguist tasked with making first contact with extraterrestrials. Based on an award-winning short story, the film can only be described as this generation’s Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Same epic feel, familiar dark featureless monoliths (spacecraft). Yet it’s no rip-off.
Truly alien aliens, a tension and uneasy terror that surely would acccompany first contact, a disturbing sense of realism. All achieved without wobbly camcorder shtick.
Just like its illustrious spiritual forebears, Arrival is beautifully understated, deceptively straightforward plot-wise, and handles deep themes without pretension or pomp.
The anti-Independence Day. Found Contact snooze-inducing? Miss it. I say: instant classic.
(see the full-length review here)
© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://www.space.com/34783-stephen-wolfram-arrival-interview.html