The Duet review strikes again! I’ve been doing a lot of these lately, haven’t I? I promise I’ll be back to my more traditional, thorough review format very soon—saw a new movie that I’m itching to talk about—but for now I’ll discuss a couple of fairly new releases. One of these I really dug, and the other was a smidge disappointing. If you know me even a little, I bet you can guess which is which. So let’s talk about Snowpiercer and The Guest!
Synopsis: “Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- The cast. With Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, and Octavia Spencer, Snowpiercer has some pretty heavy hitters, and they all do a solid job. After seeing him as good ol’ boy Captain America, it was nice to see Evans tackle a grittier character. There’s a particularly stirring monologue he delivers toward the end that reveals a lot of dark stuff about the character, and it’s great. Also, Song Kang-ho! I really haven’t seen him in much (only this and The Host), but I like the guy, and he’s pretty awesome here as a drugged out security expert.
- Seeing the differences in each section. A group from the dirt-poor area in the back of the train slowly makes its way toward the front, and it’s very interesting watching the progression. Each section is designed for a specific purpose, but the sections toward the front are where the wealthy reside, and those areas definitely reflect that wealth. Having basically every social class squeezed into one big train is pretty fascinating.
- The big fight sequence. In the middle of the movie there’s a game-changing fight that’s tense and exciting and filmed in a pretty cool way. I won’t say anything more for fear of spoilers, but it’s a great moment.
The Low Notes:
- Though interesting, the premise is also extremely ridiculous. For me, it was kind of hard to get past that. First of all, the fact that scientists decided to shoot some random climate-change experiment into the sky in the very near future is crazy. Second, the fact that one man’s solution was to stuff humanity into a constantly running train is also crazy. Third, the fact that the train would almost instantly divide into classes is, you guessed it, freaking crazy. If this really is humanity’s last hope, wouldn’t only the super wealthy be able to afford tickets? This plot is like swiss cheese, y’all—full of holes. Oh yeah. I went there.
- The heaviness. From start to finish, this film is straight up depressing. I realize this is a post-apocalyptic world we’re dealing with, but something to lighten the mood a bit would be great. Also, not so many people dying would be nice. Yeah. This is one of those movies. Like I said—heavy.
- The ending. It may be a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the movie, but it just didn’t work for me. There were…a lot of questions. That’s all I’m saying.
The Staccato Version: Snowpiercer has very cool ideas, an excellent cast, and clear vision from director Bong Joon-ho…but that wasn’t quite enough for me. The plot holes and the sheer heaviness of this film kept me from being able to fully appreciate it. I know I say this a lot, but it holds true here, too: I wanted to like this film much more than I actually did. It’s a shame, but it’s the truth.
My Grade: B-
Synopsis: “A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- Dan Stevens as David and Maika Monroe as Anna. When I heard that Stevens had been cast as the Beast in Disney’s upcoming, live-action Beauty and the Beast, I didn’t really know what to think since I hadn’t see any of his work. After seeing this, I think he’s going to be a great Beast. He’s extremely creepy, yet somehow still very charming in this. (He’s also very pretty, which doesn’t hurt a bit.) And Monroe! She’s great! I hadn’t known what to expect with this girl, who, between this and It Follows, suddenly seems to be turning into a modern Scream Queen, but her character had just the right amount of sass and smarts in this. Monroe portrays that well. I think she might be one to look out for…
- The ‘80s vibe. I noticed how much director Adam Wingard likes to infuse that retro feeling into his films when I saw You’re Next. The plot set-up, the characters, and especially the soundtrack make you think of a time when horror was fun and not just grim and gross. I saw a review that likened it to the original Halloween (which, I know, was in the ‘70s, but it fits) and Drive. That’s pretty much spot-on.
- Did I mention that soundtrack? It sets the tone perfectly, and I really dug it. A good soundtrack is a powerful thing.
The Low Notes:
- Anna’s family is way too trusting. David shows up, and all of the sudden it’s like he’s part of the family—after a matter of, like, two days, too. I realize it’s a movie, so we have to suspend disbelief to certain degree, but come on, fictional family. Really?
- We never totally understand David’s motives. He seems to want to cause chaos just for the heck of it. That could have something to do with his history, which is briefly explained, but even so that’s not much of a reason…
- The ending. After a lot of fresh, tense thrills, the end falls into pretty predictable territory. It wasn’t terrible or anything—I still liked it. I had just hoped for something more, I guess.
The Staccato Version: I thoroughly enjoyed The Guest. Stevens is great, Monroe is great, the retro vibe is great, and the movie as a whole is complete and utter fun. Not perfect, maybe, but fun—much like You’re Next, actually. In fact, between this and You’re Next, I’m very excited to see what Wingard has up his sleeve next.
My Grade: B+
43 thoughts on “Duets: Snowpiercer and The Guest”
I feel the same way about that train movie and I probably liked The Guest a little more than you did : )
Happy Monday, Hooker!
Happy Tuesday, Strumpet! Oh I know you were a pretty big fan of The Guest. 😉 I actually would’ve expected you to hate Snowpiercer…
Nice work Cara, I have yet to see either film but The Guest looks very good.
Thanks, Vinnie! Definitely check out The Guest! It’s great!
Adding to my watch list right now.
Good call. 😀
You always have some great recommendations Cara.
Aw thanks, Vinnie! 🙂
Don’t mention it Cara, I’m just telling the truth.
The best part about Snowpiercer is when literally everybody dies at the end.
Wasn’t Snowpiercer your entry for Shitfest this year?
Yes, yes it was.
I thought it was you, that was such a great entry by the way.
Thank you. I’d like to think I would have had a good chance at winning if it wasn’t totally rigged by a corrupt Eric.
There’s always Shitfest Summer to take part in.
Yep, better get my bribe ready now!
It’ll be a tough competition and I’m taking part this time around.
I’d wish you luck but it won’t do any good. It’s predetermined.
Just wait until Eric sees what you’ve been saying?
He has to live with the guilt of what he’s been doing.
HEY. I won that trophy fair and square, hombre. This is the only reason Miguel has even the slightest respect for me. He knows I earned him.
…But I can’t speak for all those other winners. 😉
Spoilers, dammit!!!! 😉
No, screw that awful movie.
You know you’ve made me want to watch it more than EVER now, right?? 🙂
It will take you 19 tries.
Um SPOILERS!!! Hahaha.
A+ for The Guest and a solid B for Snowpiercer. Excellent stuff, Cara :). I can’t express my love for The Guest enough. Easily one of the best films 2014 had to offer!
GUSH GUSH GUSH!
Thanks, Joseph! A+ for The Guest, huh? Wow, you were a big fan! Lol. I really did like it though. I was torn between a B+ and an A-. If these were percentages, it’d probably be an 89%. 😉
Excellent work here lady! These are two films I really liked! I know that Snowpiercer had some crazy concepts to work with, but I tried not to look at that too closely, but rather as some crazy dystopian fiction with some serious class issues to deal with. As for The Guest… I cannot rave about it enough. i freaking loved every second if it and it is one of the first movies that I watched twice in a matter of days. Stevens is delicious and that soundtrack was perfect and… okay, I will be quiet now 😉
Thanks, Zoe!! I liked Snowpiercer okay, but I just couldn’t get past some of those issues. Just…couldn’t. Lol. The Guest was great though!! Such fun!! And yeahhhh Stevens…mmmm…
Okay – I’m here to comment properly instead of just bitch at Brian. 😉 I still really REALLY want to see Snowpiercer anyway (although I suppose I know the ending now…). Looks fairly “me” but I’m intrigued by all the hate as well! Don’t know why but I’m still not feeling The Guest… Maybe because I didn’t love You’re Next? But your review has come the closest to convincing me to watch it! Plus Monroe was really great in It Follows. 🙂
I mean, Snowpiercer wasn’t horrible…but it also wasn’t nearly as good as it could’ve/should’ve been. If you’re curious, I say go for it! I’d love to see you weigh in! Aww give The Guest a shot!!! If nothing else, Monroe is awesome and Dan Stevens is very, very pretty. 😀
The Guest was a blast from start to finish! I loved that movie. Nice write up and Snowpiercer was pretty solid too even though it is indeed oppressive and a downer with a kind of silly story at it’s core but it had great execution and a cool cast. Nice job!
Thanks, Vic! Yep, I really enjoyed The Guest. Just pure fun. As for Snowpiercer…meh. Haha. I wish it had been a little better. I still liked it more than I disliked it, but overall I found the idea more fascinating than the actual movie. But it wasn’t bad. 🙂
Both really interesting indies.
The guest is the better film overall.
But Snowpiercer has a grand sci fi idea 😀
Oh yeah The Guest gets my vote for sure. You’re right–great idea with Snowpiercer. Too bad the actual execution couldn’t have been better.
I liked Snowpiercer and every time I see Chris Evans I think of you! I still need to see the Guest. Everyone seems to like it. 🙂
Bahaha!! Because of Zoe’s suit post?? Or just because I have made no secret of the fact that I find him beautiful?? Lol. And yaaaasssss watch The Guest! Another blond gentleman to drool over. 😉
Because I know you now and you love Chris! And yes Zoe was spot on with that post and all our crushes. Gotta see The Guest, and I love those blonde gentlemen. 🙂