Mini-Reviews #1 (The Vast of Night, Shirley, Bad Education)

Despite Hollywood being in a rough spot right now, there is still plenty of content to cover. There are movies which I either too long to watch or I technically couldn’t watch them because of regional restrictions (looking at you, Shirley and Bad Education). Instead of taking the time to review every single one of these movies and messing up the chronological order of my posts, I’m going to review them all here. Without further ado let’s start with a movie that is flying under everyone’s radar.

The Vast of Night (Amazon Prime Video)

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Directed by Andrew Patterson
Starring: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz

About: Set some time in the 1950’s, two teens investigate strange other-wordly sounds coming from the radio so they go around interviewing people. The film takes place all in one night and the stories you hear will haunt you for days!

This movie was actually brought to my attention because of Chris Stuckmann’s review. I didn’t even see it on my own Amazon Prime Video homepage which is super unfortunate. I ended up seeing it earlier this week and to say I love and adore this movie. Over the years I have become a huge horror fan and I have to say, The Vast of Night is a movie which truly terrified me at times. You know those moments where you feel unsafe and you think something horrifying is at the center of it, this is the movie version of that. You can show masked killers and killer clowns all you want but to me, the less you show the scarier and when you combine that with the eerily realistic atmosphere this movie has, it makes for a chilling hour and a half. Apparently this is done on a micro-budget and while some say it restricted the film, I actually thought it added even more charm and suspense. The incredibly long-takes make you feel like you’re watching a live-stream of sorts, the chilling and clever script makes you feel like you’re listening to a horror podcast. Most horror movies makes me feel tense, The Vast of Night actually got into my head.

RATING: A-


Shirley (Neon)

Directed by Josephine Decker
Starring: Elizabeth Moss, Odessa Young, Michael Stuhlbarg, Logan Lerman

About: Famous horror writer Shirley Jackson gets a new dose of inspiration when a young couple is taken in by her and her husband.

After watching The Invisible Man (2020), my interest for Shirley was already peaked. I liked the trailer and I love the cast so I should’ve loved this movie, right? Well to be completely honest, by the time Shirley ended I had no idea what to make of it. I know for a fact that it’s not a bad movie because I liked the performances, camerawork, sets and parts of the story but the truth is I wouldn’t call it a great movie either. Having seen it yesterday I still don’t know how to feel about it. I don’t know what the story is about and the movie struggled to keep my attention during the first half. I love Elizabeth Moss’s performance and my favourite part out of all of this is her and Odessa Young’s dynamic. This was definitely their movie. It’s not a movie I will ever watch again and I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone. Am I glad I saw it? I still don’t know but one thing’s for sure, I liked the two other movie on here way more. 

RATING: C-


Bad Education (HBO)

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Directed by Cory Finley
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney and Geraldine Viswanathan

About: Based on a true story, Bad Education tells the shocking story of the biggest public school fraud scandal in American history. 

Bad Education is one of the year’s most engaging and suspenseful movies. I was never once bored throughout this movie. Every scene is used to it’s utmost whether that be giving information or fleshing the characters out. I love how this movie decides to gives the viewer. It never feels like exposition, the movie knows the right time and method on how to give you the right amount of information. The visual language of this movie also really helped my enjoyement of the movie. The tracking shots and cinmatography is very clever and it gives the movie an added layer of sophistication, even more so considering this is a TV Movie. This movie is edited to perfection, the final scene was really done smoothly. Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney are outstanding, their characters were the type you couldn’t look away from. They stole each scene they were in and considering they’re the leads that’s amazing. The characters are three-dimensional and it’s important for a story like this. Considering the horrible things these people are doing, there were times where I genuinely felt for them and that’s a credit to the smart script. As for flaws, I just wish they gave Geraldine Viswanathan’s character more to do but other than that, Bad Education is a well-made drama with fantastic performances and I hope that it gets recognized during awards season, whenever that is. 

RATING: A-


Have you seen these movies? 
Did you make anything of Shirley?
If you have Amazon Prime Video, have you seen The Vast of Night?
Do you think Bad Education will get recogized during award season?

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