Amy Adams, Annabelle 2, Antonio Campos, Christine, David F. Sandberg, Drama, Horror, Jake Gyllenhaal, Literary adaptation, Miranda Otto, Previews, Rebecca Hall, Suicide, Tom Ford, Trailers, True story, TV reporter
Thankfully, Christine is not an unwanted, unexpected remake of the 1983 John Carpenter movie about a haunted car, but instead the true life tale of a haunted woman, Christine Chubbuck. Chubbuck was a US TV news reporter working in Florida during the late Sixties, early Seventies. She battled depression and suicidal thoughts before killing herself live on TV in July 1974. In telling her story, director Antonio Campos and screenwriter Craig Shilowich have created a compelling, richly detailed account of Chubbuck’s life and struggle with her personal demons, and the movie features what many critics are already describing as a “career-best” performance from Rebecca Hall. From the trailer we can see that the era when Chubbuck was alive has been painstakingly recreated, and that the cinematography by Joe Anderson is an integral part of what makes the movie look and feel so fresh and nostalgic at the same time. A tragic tale, to be sure, but Christine seems keen to be true to Chubbuck’s awkward yet painfully endearing persona, and which also doesn’t appear to shrink from exploring the “issues” that led to her untimely death at the age of just twenty-nine.
Based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, Nocturnal Animals is Tom Ford’s first movie since A Single Man (2009). A movie that features a narrative full of twists and turns, it sees Amy Adams’ art gallery owner apparently threatened by the existence of a novel written by her ex-husband (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). The novel reads like a revenge tale, a way of his getting back at her for something she did to him that was really terrible. She recognises herself in the story, and comes to believe that he’s written it deliberately to make her afraid that the story will come true. Adams, after her disappointing turns in the likes of Big Eyes (2014) and the less than stellar DC outings involving Superman, here gets to grip with a meaty, dramatic role that better suits her abilities than having to play second fiddle to a green screen. But it’s still, first and foremost, a Tom Ford movie: stylish, elliptical in places, and beautifully lensed by Seamus McGarvey, making it a feast for the senses as well as the intellect.
The inclusion here of the first, teaser trailer for a sequel to a spin-off movie that nobody really wanted, is, on the face of it, a little strange in itself (the original didn’t even merit inclusion in the Monthly Roundup it should have been a part of; yes, it’s that bad). But three things warrant giving the trailer for Annabelle 2 the equivalent of a hall pass: one, that’s Miranda Otto holding the cross, an actress who rarely makes bad movies; two, its director is David F. Sandberg, fresh from his success as the main creative force behind Lights Out (2016); and three, it keeps things commendably brief and doesn’t rely on a manufactured jump scare to get you, well… jumping out of your seat. These may not be enough to stop the movie from being as bad as its predecessor, but for the moment, this is one teaser trailer which understands that, when it comes to horror, less really is more.