Tag Archives: Jessica Chastain

The Huntsman: Winter’s War


Snow White and The Huntsman was a box office hit back in 2012. Then backstage scandal meant both it’s lead actress Kristen Stewart and it’s director Rupert Sanders would not return for the sequel. So a sequel instead was rebooted around Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman. But will a sequel with such ropey beginnings be able to work?

Set before the events of the previous movie, Queen Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) sister Freya (Emily Blunt) finds her ice powers unfleshed after a tragedy. Powered by her giref Freya builds her her own kindgom and makes an army out of children who will grow up to be her Huntsmen. As years go by two of them Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) break Freya’s rules by falling in love with distasterous consquences. The film then skips seven years to after Ravenna’s death when Eric is sent on a mission to recover the lost mirror of Ravenna coming back into contact with those of his past.

Stewart’s Snow White was one of the more blandest characters in the previous film so her presance isn’t sorely missed (although her absence doesn’t really make sense), but Hemsworth’s The Huntsman wasn’t that much interesting either. So trying to set the sequel/prequel around him was perhaps not the best idea. The film is also so busy trying to fit around the fact that Snow White is not around that several characters have their backstory’s retconned from the previous movie such as Ravenna suddenly gaining a sister. Why didn’t she go to her for help in the previous film if she was around then?

Then there’s the film’s attempt to make this a lighter, funnier movie than it’s predessessor. Not a bad idea but most of it’s humour is hit and miss. The film also has three great actresses in Chastain, Theron and Blunt but Theron isn’t in it enough and Chastain’s Sara feels underdeveloped and lacks chemsistry with Hemsworth. Blunt fares better with Freya having a tragic backstory that powers the action and her scenes with Theron are great but there aren’t enough of them together.

Overall The Huntsman Winter’s War isn’t a terrible film just an uncessary one.

Rating 2.5/5 -a fine casting and some enticing visuals aside this prequel/sequel fails to ignite a new franchise to life

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Mama is a story about two young children, Victoria and Lily, whose father kills his wife and takes his children to the woods intending to kill them too. The father is soon dispatched and the girls are left in the care of a mysterious figure known only as Mama. Five years later the girls are found in a feral state and left in the care of their uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain). Unfortunately Mama doesn’t want to let go of the children.

This is an uneven film. The first half is great. Mama is scary when we don’t get to see her properly and the children, especially Lily are a bit creepy too. Chastain is strong as Annabel, as we see her slowly develop a relationship with the two girls and she starts to really love them as her own. Both the children, Megan Charpentier as the more aware oldest child Victoria and Isabelle Nélisse as the more animal like Lilly, are fantastic. Not annoying like a lot of child actors.

But the film starts going downhill as soon as we fully see Mama. She was much scarier when it was just shadows and blurry images. Unfortunately she is revealed too early and just isn’t frightening, which undercuts the rest of the films scenes.  There are some scenes where she is just laugh out loud funny-which is not a good reaction to your film’s big bad.

Its par for the course for horror films to have its characters do incredibly stupid things just to get some scares. For example one character-having learned the truth about Mama-decides to go alone to the abandoned cabin where the girls were found to confront Mama. This doesn’t end well and unfortunately there are plenty of characters that make other stupid decisions that really start to grate after a while.

However while this is far from a perfect film Mama does give us some good jump scares. It also provides us with a lovely emotional element. Too often horror films concentrate on the gore and the villain and forget about make their protagonists someone to cheer for instead of just being body parts for the baddie to chop up. At least with Mama it gives us characters to care about and hope they can make it as a family. Of course whether they do or not I can’t reveal here.

Rating 3/5

Although the scares wear off after the first half I do appreciate a horror film that made me care for the characters as much as this one.


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