I Origins (2014) Review

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I Origins (2014)

Directed by Mike Cahill

Starring:
Michael Pitt
Brit Marling
Astrid Berges-Frisbey
Steven Yeun
Archie Panjabi
William Mapother
Cara Seymour

Running time: 106 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB):
A molecular biologist and his laboratory partner uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it.

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My Opinion:

Has anyone else seen this? Has anyone even heard of it?? Well, it showed up at a cinema near me & I liked the sound of it after reading that it was another Brit Marling film (written & directed by the same guy who directed Another Earth & co-wrote the script for that one with her). I quite liked Another Earth so the hubby & I went to this one today and we were the ONLY ones watching it. Don’t you love it when that happens?? 🙂

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As far as Brit Marling films go, I liked I Origins a lot more than Sound Of My Voice (which I reviewed HERE). But did I like it better than Another Earth?? Hmm… I think I actually did. It’s very similar to the style and the sort of themes explored in Another Earth. I think. You know, I’m not one to really think TOO hard about movies and I’m terrible about noticing things like symbolism and all that. Luckily, I had the hubby with me today to point out a lot of things that I’d have otherwise missed in this movie and it helped me to appreciate the film a bit more (but don’t tell him I said that). I especially liked his theories on the lift (elevator to you Americans). Maybe I’ll further explore all that in my mind. First, though, I need some lunch as I haven’t had anything other than popcorn!

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Let’s see… I’m not sure how much to say about this movie as I think it’s really best to not spoil it in any way. As you can tell by the pictures (and the poster), eyes are very important to the plot. Michael Pitt & Brit Marling are scientists who research the evolution of eyes (to put it very basically – there’s a bit more to it but that was all a bit over my head). There’s a lot of talk of God vs Science and all that. This is very “indie”, though, so it won’t be for everyone. It’s a “sci-fi drama” and, just like Another Earth, uses sci-fi more as the backdrop while it’s actually exploring human relations and how we’re so different yet so connected. I’m going to wrap this up now because I probably don’t really know what I’m talking about.

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Summary:

If you’re a patient person who likes an intriguing story that takes its time exploring the characters and throwing a lot of symbolism out there before getting a bit more in-depth as to what the movie is REALLY about, you might like this. If you hate indie films and you weren’t a fan of Another Earth, it’s unlikely that you’d enjoy this movie. It’s very slow-paced, yes. But, as much as I love having a cinema to myself, I’m sad to see movies like these go so unnoticed. I KNEW we’d be the only ones watching this film today. Yet I dread to think how many people will be at that same cinema watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when it finally comes out here. It’s a sad world we live in…

I recommend this to fans of Another Earth for sure. Overall, I think I even preferred I Origins to that film as I liked the story and characters a bit more. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to see it as I believe it’s a pretty limited release in the UK right now as well as in America back in July.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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**Edit to add: Oh! I forgot! There IS a scene at the very end after all the credits that you should probably stay for….

October HORROR FEST starting tomorrow at Cinema Parrot Disco!

Okay – it won’t be much of a “fest” but it’ll hopefully be a bit of fun for the few people who occasionally stop by on this blog. 🙂 Last year I did this whole “Halloween Horror Fest” where I reviewed several horror movies based on other bloggers’ reviews that I’d liked. This year I’ll just be doing random horror movie reviews but I’ll try to review as many as possible for all of October. So, other than reviewing new releases that I go to in the cinema in October (I’m hoping to see Gone Girl Thursday & post a review for it Friday), it’ll be ALL HORROR, baby! Well, except for maybe one that’s more of a thriller, one that’s a dark fantasy, and one that’s more of an “alien invasion comedy” that my hubby insists I can’t post during my horror month. But, hey – my blog, my rules!

Here’s a little bit about what’s in store for this month:

IMDB Top 250 Reviews: I’m starting these up again next week but will only be posting one each Tuesday. For October, I have four Top 250 reviews of films that should fit in okay during my month of scary movies.

CPD Classics: Remember these? I used to sometimes review all-time favorites of mine or favorites that I just felt needed highlighting as they aren’t that well known. Several of these will be popping up throughout this month so I can talk about some of my favorite horror films (including my top two). But only some – I need to leave some for me to do next October just in case I’m actually still blogging then.

Zombie Fridays: Starting next week, I’ll post a review of a zombie movie every Friday for the rest of the month. Two are classics and two are their remakes – I thought it would be fun to compare them.

That’s it, folks! Nothing too special planned but I hope you enjoy my horror reviews and perhaps discover one you’d never heard of and would like to check out. I know that’s one of the things I love most about blogging – discovering new movies through the reviews posted on all the great blogs here. 🙂

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Sound Of My Voice (2011) Review

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Sound Of My Voice (2011)

Directed by Zal Batmanglij

Starring:
Brit Marling
Christopher Denham
Nicole Vicius

Music by Rostam Batmanglij

Running time: 85 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Peter (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius) decide to join a mysterious cult being led by Maggie (Brit Marling), who claims to be from a dystopian future & has come back to select a special group of people to lead into this future. Peter & Lorna plan to do a secret documentary that will expose Maggie as a fraud but they each start to have various doubts about Maggie & how far they’re prepared to go.

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My Opinion:

I like the little bit I’ve seen of Brit Marling so far. She wrote & starred in Another Earth, which I thought was really good and had a great concept. And she wrote & starred in this which… Well, I thought it was a decent concept & she was good in it but I didn’t like the movie near as much as Another Earth. (Sorry, Eric!)

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So, anyway – a couple (Christopher Denham & Nicole Viciusare) are doing an undercover documentary on cult leader Maggie (Brit Marling), who claims to be from the future. They want to expose her as a fraud but both start to have some doubts as to how far they should go as they get more & more involved in this strange cult and even start to maybe have some doubts as to whether Maggie really IS a fraud. The actors playing the couple were both fine – they had pretty simple roles that could have been played by anyone, really, but the girl had a very interesting looking nose.

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Brit Marling is definitely the star of this film, just as she’s the “star” for those in her cult who have been persuaded to believe her crazy story. She does have a certain sort of charisma or a certain “something” that helped make her believable in this role. She has a kind of vulnerability that worked really well in Another Earth and also works well here, combined with an underlying strength that almost makes her a little scary as she plays a series of psychological mind games with her followers to test their loyalty.

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The story is okay. It’s a very short film & I thought it ended quite abruptly. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I read somewhere that there was meant to be a sequel and it does feel that way. You get a conclusion of sorts but it’s one left up to interpretation so, if you don’t like that sort of thing, you may want to skip this one. I don’t mind an ambiguous ending, though, so I was fine with that – I just didn’t like that it felt incomplete. I don’t know if the movie really explores cult mentality or anything like that – I still don’t see how anyone can get sucked into those things no matter how influential the leader may be. And, here’s a warning: There’s a puking scene I couldn’t watch. Oh man – I CANNOT handle puking scenes! There has only ever been one good puking scene in the history of film (Stand By Me). And the one in Sound Of My Voice was sick – I hate that you can’t even close your eyes during puking scenes because you still hear all the retching and… Urgh!!! Gross. I have to admit that I’m a wuss on that and it’s probably affected my overall rating for this film.

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Summary:

Sound Of My Voice is an interesting film with a good idea that I don’t think is explored very well in its 85 minute running time. It feels incomplete and the ending is abrupt. However, I still think Brit Marling is a talented writer & actress based on this film & on Another Earth. I would still recommend this film to those who like these sort of slow paced independent movies but I’d recommend Another Earth first because I think that is a much more solid film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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I should point out that the the director’s (Zal Batmanglij) brother (Rostam Batmanglij) did the score for Sound Of My Voice. Rostam is in Vampire Weekend (Don’t ya hate talented families?). Anyway, I shouldn’t admit to this as I was a (wannabe?) metalhead in my youth but I do like a bit of Vampire Weekend even though it’s all a bit “preppy” for me. I still think this was their best song: