‘To The Bone’ only scratches the surface


To The Bone
tells the story of a young woman, Ellen (Lily Collins), who’s dealing with anorexia nervosa. She meets and unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

The thing withTo The Bone is that whenever a topic such as eating disorders, suicide, or mental illnesses are dealt with, there will always be an outcry and a triggering aspect to those who watch it, no mater how the topic is dealt with. WhileTo The Bone hardly takes itself seriously, there are crippling points that are truly traumatic, but it doesn’t take it too far, and thank God for that. Netflix have learned their lesson, unlike with ’13 Reasons Why’ where it’s portrayal and glamourisation of suicide was crippling to the point of outrage. With the writer/director Marti Noxon and protagonist Ellen/Eli portrayed by Lily Collins both suffering from eating disorders, there is a true authenticity to the story despite the unconventional methods that Ellen/Eli’s eating disorder is dealt with.

It’s no doubt that people will be sceptical going into this film, especially those who suffer or continue to suffer from eating disorders, and none the less trigger for some.To The Bone is something that should be approached with caution, though what’s seen isn’t particularly as damaging as some other comparison’s. This, however, shouldn’t be taken without a grain of salt. Each person’s experiences can affect the way they perceive the world and have their own triggers, with anything in this film being triggering for different reasons. For those who haven’t experienced the condition, or know of someone close to them who has, it could give potential insight into how someone with an eating disorder could be potentially going through.

To The Bone explores dark and complex issues while interweaving it with unexpected moments of humour, creating an empathetic piece of work. It’s not something that’s easy to sit through, and the situation the characters are going through isn’t exactly made entertaining, it lays anorexia out before us and tells it like it is while give the story moments of hope throughout. And this hope can be seen as a distraction from the actual treatment of the condition, displayed through the romantic sub-plot. Love may not cure all but it certainly helps was the journey.

Despite Lily Collins not being the strongest of actresses, a lot of her performances emotionless and dry, bringing up the question as to how she got here in the first place, there was a glimpse of talent and honestly in her performance. This comes from her actual experience with an eating disorder, something she clearly struggled with for a very long time. Collins still proves to be an actress that has a long way to go in her chosen profession if she wants to see any sort of change without a heavily reliance on her famous family.

Where awareness of disorders are becoming more promising, there’s still a stigma, and To The Bone only scratches the surface.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.

‘John Wick: Chapter 2′ is what every sequel should aspire to be.

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John Wick: Chapter 2
 continues the story of John Wick after he returns to the criminal underworld to repay a debt and discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

With this sequel that every sequel aspires to be, Keanu Reeves proves that he still has it and that he’s an immortal vampire that’ll never share his secrets of eternal youth. Chapter 2 proves to be still as ridiculously over the top as the original and it’s rare that action type films have any sort of artistic value but with John Wick, there’s no doubt that it proves to be something of quality.

if you want a break from all the drama and seriousness of cinema, without having to venture into the sloppiness that comedy has become, this is the film for you. The production value of the film has been set incredibly high and is an incredible film in itself, from the colour, design, and action sequences that are beyond impressive and would put any Tom Cruise action film to shame.

And despite its extended run time from the original, you don’t feel its length as film sucks you in and spits you out. To simply put it, John Wick: Chapter 2 proves to be all around enthralling as you live in another world. It’s one of the best action films in a very long time and is everything you’d want from one. Even with other familiar faces in rapper Common is commendable in his role and the brief appearances of Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, as well as Laurence Fishburne, they all made their own impact in the small roles they were given. It was a primarily Keanu Reeves held role and any up and comer struggling with the weight of a film on their shoulders should take note. The only slight disappointment was Australian Ruby Rose who barely made an impact. While representation is a downfall in Hollywood, Rose’s character can be commended for that, but her performance as a whole was bland and unmemorable. She’s not an actress and it shows.

If you loved the first, you’ll love the second, and even then, it’s well worth your time and money.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.

‘John Wick’ is a film for those who are tired of seeing another action and CGI heavy film.

John Wick tells the story of an ex-hitman who comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. John Wick is finally another film that Keanu Reeves can be proud of after a string of misfires including 47 Ronin and The Lake House as well as being vacant during the years in between.The Matrix star has had it rough since the release of the popular trilogy, struggling to find another film to put him back on the scene.

And it looks like the filmmakers finally realised that the audience was looking for something that provide action but without the excessive wire work and special effects that’s often pumped with needless or predictable backstory that adds absolutely nothing like the beautiful girlfriend or wife figure whose against the hero putting himself in constant danger or the troubled teenage daughter or son. None of this is in John Wick.

What John Wick offers is pure entertainment. It hardly has a story and consists of a long action scene with some dialogue and close ups added. It looked convincing and wasn’t trying to be something it wasn’t. The filmmakers gave us a satisfying beginning and ending without anything more.

Reeves’ unemotional blank stare finally found it’s place in this film and he left the acting for his co-stars with nice bit parts for Willem Dafoe and John Leguizamo as well as a villain role for Swede Michael Nyqvist of the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo fame.

John Wick is a film for those who are tired of seeing another action and CGI heavy film by the likes of The Expendables or Taken.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.

‘The Neon Demon’ is a mindless disgrace.

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The Neon Demon
 tells the story of when aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

I honestly have no words for this film. It was probably one of the worst films I have seen in a long time and honestly don’t know why it caused such a positive buzz. Like many of director Nicholas Winding Refn’s films, there is a lot of style and little to no substance. The Neon Demon is the pinnacle of examples of form following function with what better way to show this through the empty and heartless world of modelling scene in LA. If this was the point of the film, he has definitely made it loud and clear.

Winding Refn has definitely made himself abundantly clear as a visual auteur but nothing else. As a storyteller, he still has a long way to go, and maybe would do better in music videos with his visual style, handing scriptwriting duties off to another much like he did with Drive (which was still average at best), or maybe should just lend his hand to cinematography instead as his last two efforts in Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon nothing more than horrifically “pleasing.” The bare basics of this film of a sixteen-year-old model literally being devoured by the fashion industry is hardly anything more than something to carry his visual capabilities. This film is literally like a fashion magazine such as Vogue or Elle – there are many “glamorous” photos but they’re mindless and without any text. The Neon Demon is like a look book where you can peruse through the two hours of footage presented but by the time you reach the end, there’s no message other than the endless display of what society portrays as beauty.

To accentuate all of this, Winding Refn has added horror elements to the film that is less horror and more gore and disgust. Combining these two elements just makes this film ridiculous and somewhat irritating, especially towards the end of the film where it just became porn for the male viewer as it began to take more of a misogynistic approach. I was disgusted by what I saw on the screen and how the female characters were portrayed. At multiple times I found myself gagging in disgust.

The acting from actresses and actors that have performed well in their previous efforts, come across as unnaturally pretentious but I guess this stems from an extremely lacking script and a poor director. The soundtrack thumps a reminder into the audience of what kind of world we’re in and further’s their disgust of what’s being portrayed on the screen.

If you like the mindlessness of scrolling through fashion magazines and not wanting to actually follow a coherent and promising storyline with well acted performances, then this is the film for you – a mindless disgrace.

Film-O-Meter: 0/10.