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Category Archives: Film/Movie Review
“Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse” (IMDB, 2013).
The Conjuring starts out with the story of this family being terrorized by a porcelain doll inhabited by an inhuman spirit. However, that is just a real from the Warren’s collection as they talk about their jobs as demonologists and proverbial Ghostbusters (so to speak). Then we move on to the family moving into the farmhouse before they are terrorized by the spirits that inhabited their home first. Throughout the movie (which is a telling of the true story of the Perron family) the mother is tormented by this woman, and so are her five daughters. Ed and Lorraine Warren leave their daughter, Judy, home and try to save this family from the horrendous past the house holds.
Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, a clairvoyant woman who is the wife of Ed Warren (played by Patrick Wilson). She does a fabulous job, though I must take a moment and say that I really wanted her wardrobe. Lorraine is a delicate character who portrays herself as a strong woman, but she’s dealt blows from devils and witches and spirits of all sorts that make her weak. She needs the support of her husband. Farmiga does a fabulous job keeping the two parts of the character’s personality visually balanced, though when its time to show her vulnerability she doesn’t hesitate to explode.
Ed Warren is the only non-clergical recognized Demonologist and is played by Patrick Wilson. He’s a stronger character than his wife, being unable to see the monsters his wife can. Wilson does well, playing a strong, father-like character once again. He’s a good father, a good husband, and does a good job befriending each of his clients. The protective feel you get from his character slowly travels all over the characters. Wilson seems to be unstoppable. His performance is honest and pure.
Carolyn Perron was the typical mother back in the seventies: a loving wife, a wonderful mother, and a hard worker to keep her family together. Unfortunately, that’s everything that the monster in their new farmhouse loves to feed off of. Lili Taylor (from The Haunting) does a fantastic job portraying a woman tormented and terrorized in her own home. Once again, you find that she does such a realistic job playing a vulnerable woman with her own inner strength. You can’t help, but root for Carolyn through the entire movie, hoping she makes it out alive.
Ron Livingston plays Roger Perron, Carolyn’s loving husband. Roger is a truck driver who stays away from the home in the beginning week, doing his job. However, once the proverbial shite hits the fan, he does the right thing and stays home with his family. His strength dissipates over the course of The Conjuring, losing control of his will the more he loses his wife. Caring for his girls, Roger is the typical father figure. Livingston doesn’t seem to cover the role very well.
The Conjuring was a great horror movie that is actually real. Everything that happened in the film, happened to the Perron family. The coolest part of the movie was the end credits. You got all the names on actual family photos and newspaper clippings. About 90% of The Conjuring actually happened. My only problems with the movie was that you really got to know the five girls (Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April), but we don’t get to know Judy Warren as well. You only get snapshots into her life with her parents and grandmother. The other problem is that we don’t get a clearer idea of what had happened to Rory, the little boy ghost, at the end.
I give The Conjuring 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Amazon.com. IMDB. The Conjuring (2013). 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1457767/?ref_=sr_1>
Mama is a horror/suspense movie about kids who were dropped off/abandoned in a cabin in the woods. They’re found years later and reintroduced into society via a psychologist, their uncle, and their uncle’s girlfriend, but they didn’t come back alone…
Warning: Spoilers Below.
So they are taken to this psychologist who tells the uncle that he won’t get the kids unless he takes this house for testing and the like. So they move in and things are fine and dandy until weird things started happening. A lot of them in the beginning aren’t in front of the adults, but Lilly does scare Annabel pretty badly. Then, as the uncle-Lucas-gets closer to them “Mama” starts getting violent towards him. Soon, he ends up in the hospital. Annabel has to take them on by herself. She ends up getting close to Victoria, but Lilly keeps pushing her away. Until one night and then she and Lilly start getting closer. Then, Annabel starts having dreams about “Mama” whom the children have been playing with.
Mama was an insane woman who broke out of an asylum with her child and tried to kill both of them. They both died, but the kid did not join her in the lake. Instead, he or she ended up hanging from a branch on the cliff. So, Mama started looking for her daughter or son and found Victoria and Lilly. She started raising them. Mama tried to possess Annabel, but stopped because Victoria reminded her that she promised. Then she possessed their aunt who doesn’t have any real importance until here in the movie. Mama takes them back to the cabin. In a big, climatic moment, Mama tries to kill the girls and only succeeds in Lilly. And then the movie ends with no resolution.
Analyzing the Character and the Actors’ Abilities:
- Annabel was the girlfriend of Lucas. She was kind of bad-ass with short hair and a base guitar that she played in a band. Jessica Chastain was phenomenal. I really did believe that she didn’t want to be around the kids and that she didn’t really know if she wanted to stay in the relationship.
- Lucas and Jeffrey were played by the same man. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did a fabulous job playing two different characters. He played the psychopathic father who killed his wife because of the economic crash and tried to kill his daughters. Lucas was the loving uncle harmed by Mama. I much preferred him as Lucas, because sometimes it looked like Jeffrey was just putting on airs. He seemed to not really have loved his daughters.
- Megan Carpentier played Victoria. She has been Amanda Seyfried’s younger version, according to Internet Movie Database.I think she did a good job being disturbed, but I’m not sure about her as an actress. I cannot really make decisions on children unless they were absolutely horrendous. Victoria has a chance of re-socialization.
- As with Megan Carpentier, I cannot truly judge Isabelle Nélisse based on her performance as Lilly, but I did enjoy it. Lilly probably wouldn’t have been able to be re-socialized into society.
They were the main characters, so I am not going to go into the others acting, especially since I did actually enjoy this movie and I want to smack the psychologist because he’s an idiot.
Anyways, it was a good movie that had some rather interesting twists that we didn’t see coming until towards the end of the movie. Then it was a typical “cross over” and “possession” film. The cliches did hurt a little.
I give the film Mama 4 out of 5 stars.
I got a Sucker Punch that knocked me from my seat. Hehe. Okay, seriously now.
Sucker Punch opens to Babydoll as she sits on a stage, in the bed. A nice segue takes us into her bedroom as she waits to find something out. Next thing we see is a doctor, who shakes his head. We find out that someone had died, her and her sister’s mother by the look of things. A man checks the mother’s Last Will and Testament and doesn’t like what he sees. He locks Babydoll in her room before going to her sister. She runs in a closet and then the man breaks in. We don’t know what he was going to do because Babydoll breaks out of her room and tries to shoot the guy. She kills her sister instead. When she had a chance to kill the man, she ran.
Somehow they find her at a grave, maybe of her father’s, and bring her to an asylum. He checks off all these things on his this form before we meet Blue. We don’t stay long in the asylum because as soon as she hears Mistress Gorski speak to one of the other patients. We spend the entire movie in Babydoll’s delusion of being forced into prostitution. Blue is in charge of the club, giving the girls to the clients and Madame Gorski teaches them to dance. Babydoll sinks into a delusion while she is dancing, so it’s like Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream.” She develops a plan through the delusion and convinces the other girls to help. We meet Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, and Blondie through two different means towards the beginning of the film.
Abbie Cornish did a good job playing such a clichéd character who doesn’t care about anyone, but her sister, Rocket. However, the character and the acting were both mediocre because Sweet Pea was written that way. Its more than a little disturbing how much like other characters Sweet Pea is like. Maybe giving her a deeper reason than just being over protective might’ve given Cornish something to go off of.
Rocket was an interesting character as was her hair. Unfortunately for Jena Malone, the most of the movie was spent staring at her hair as it changed rapidly. What I did gather from her performance was that I’m looking forward to something that has a bit more depth. Rocket’s only depths were her sister and the cook trying to have sex with her.
Venessa Hudgens impressed me. Having been forced to see all three High School Musicals, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her performance, because of how cliché HSM and her former character were. I was afraid that she wouldn’t be as good playing someone with quite a bit more depth. I’m not worried about that anymore. I am worried, however, that despite Sucker Punch she might be type-casted to only take clichéd roles.
Amber was a clichéd cheerleader-like character played by Jamie Chunq. While Chunq did a good job portraying such a role, there are still a few issues. Amber, the character, is beyond cliché.
Oscar Isaac did a mediocre job of portraying someone’s whose supposed to be a tough cracker without being cliched. He fell short in the performance because it reminded me of a movie I had never seen, but is talked about by my significant other all the time. Blue was not entertaining.
Carla Guqine started out being quite cliché. The doctor who takes interest in each patient and the strict dance instructor. It deteriorates so that its obvious that there’s a slight attraction between Gorski and Blue before its blatantly explained that her role was to teach the girls to survive Blue. This shows that she has a lot more depth.
Babydoll (played by Emily Browning) was a splendedly played character. Browning knew that the delusions were just in her imagination, but she made it seem like the character didn’t know the difference until the end. She was believable and I couldn’t find many cliched things about her. The fact that she’s the naïve “child” of the film, is a cliché.
The acting over all was well done, though it could have been better. Ican’t believe how many times I’ve typed “cliché” in this review, but it’s the best I could come up with when it came to the actors. The cinematography was superb. It’s a shame that a well shot film with an amazing plot, and decent dialogue had so many cliched characters. It pains me that a film of the quality of Sucker Punch would be brought down by the idiocy of unoriginal characters that weren’t even reinvented.
Sucker Punch is a good film that I more than recommend you either check it out from the library or rent it if you can. Its definitely a buy, though, for those of you who can afford it.
Sucker Punch receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Death of a Ghost Hunter starts slowly, where we see the murders of the family and a girl in the house by the wife. Then it switches to the ghost hunter who is talking on her journal. After meeting with the house’s owner she gets a team to investigate. They are there for a while and the characters go as follows:
Seth Masterson, the owner of the house. He calls Carter and refuses to enter the house. He was in maybe all of three scenes, so getting a clear idea of Cordan Clark’s abilities is impossible.
Yvette Sandoval, the slutty writer who gets high with the camera man. She’s there to write a little story about the entire thing for the local paper. Davina Joy did a decent job showing a writer’s curiousity and obsession with knowledge.
Mary Young Mortenson, an overly religious girl who isn’t all that believable. She comes across as being overly religious, but is said to be a fanatic. The acting in this girl’s case was under done. I would have gone a step further. Lindsay Page could have done a better job.
Colin Green, the camera man who hopes for a glimpse at the supernatural. Mike Marsh did a phenomenal job playing a sinful man who smokes and does pot. I think that he did a good job.
Carter Simms, a investigator into all things supernatural. She’s one of the skeptical ghost hunters and she makes it clear from the very beginning. Patti Tindall does a good job showing fear and curiosity, but I really do think that she needed to step down a notch during the fight scene. She could have also been mistaken for the fanatic if she hadn’t been talking about things in her field. Leave that out and you have a fanatic of sorts.
The set was well done. It was obviously someone’s actual house because they had such a low budget, but it was well done. Getting pictures made up would be easy enough, as would some of the props. The chains looked real in coloring, but on closer inspection they looked like they might be foam. The sex helmet would be easy to build and set up as well as make a shallow book.
The music was suspenseful when it’s perfect timing and unassuming when it was necessary. The special effects were obviously cheap, but well done. It was so amazingly well done that I actually had to take a closer look at the special effects. The blurred out apparitions was a little obviously played with in photoshop, however.
Timing had a bit of an issue. It took too long to get into the important actions. When you are establishing a timeline in a movie, especially in the last two decades, you show what happened in the past. Then, you show your main character and get a bit of the backgrounds. Afterwards, you get everyone together immediately. Having Carter interview the housekeeper before the group got there was too soon.
The characters had one major flaw: they trusted Mary Young’s words. Carter should have double checked everybody’s names with Seth because a true skeptic would not take anyone at their words. Later, when its obvious, they don’t actually call the police like they should have. They should have also paid more attention to the girl who had obviously become possessed by Mary Beth. As soon as she started acting weirder than she had been before they should have gotten the hell out of there. Of course it was possible that hindsight after she died, as hindsight is twenty-twenty.
The ending was incredibly predictable. I mean it was obviously residual hauntings going on and it was obvious that Mary Young was the daughter of Miranda and the father of the family. As soon as Miranda came in and there was a mention of the baby in the police reports (I think). It was obvious to us, anyway. Dramatic irony for the win, by the way.
I give Death of a Ghost Hunter 4 out of 5 stars.
Anti-Christ, a provocative film about the evils of human nature that knocked my socks clean off!
Anti-Christ is about a man who is going through the grieving process with his wife after the death of their child. Charlotte Gainsbourg played a convincing woman going through a constant state of panic while her husband (Willem Defoe, Spiderman) tries to cure her with exposure therapy. There is a lot of blood and pain, so if you can’t stomach it, then don’t watch this amazing film.
First of all I must say that Defoe and Gainsbourg both do a phenomenal job portraying their characters. They set the mood for each of the scene splendidly. I want them to work together again, and soon! Their chemistry was so realistic!
Next, I must applaud the cinema-photographer because there were so many beautiful shots of the nature as well as so much provocativeness in the less extreme shots. He did a wonderful job. I felt like I was there with the characters as all the action went down. The few special effects were so beautiful as well. Go special effect guys! Wardrobe was good, nothing was too outrageous which meant that the actors could play up their clothes instead of play up to their clothes. And they looked like they were easy to move around is as well.
The soundtrack was done completely organically. Not one instrument that you couldn’t find directly from nature without doing anything do it was used. The music sounded amazing and I want to sway to it as they played it. The person who found the location needs to be given a raise. I don’t know how they found Eden, but the place was beautiful. There were only a few places where it didn’t quite match up, but those areas needed to be done in a studio. It took an extremely close look at the set to notice that they weren’t the same.
Now, I’m giving this film all this praise because it was amazing, but I did have one issue with it. Trier tried to change the concept of an anti-Christ into something that is more like a battle for balance of power. This doesn’t really work because the title is something so ingrained in Christianity that its not something you can really change. I know that Lars von Trier titled it this because of his personal experiences, but it doesn’t work. If the film ended with the woman becoming pregnant after killing her husband that would make a bit more sense, but that’s not how it went down.
Over all Anti-Christ was so good that its at the top of my must see film list.
I give Anti-Christ 4 out of 5 stars.
Christmas Vacation. A movie that several of my friends have recommended as being extremely funny. I’m afraid that I cannot quite say the same. Christmas Vacation is about a family trying to have a sensible Christmas with shenanigans getting in the way. There are bickering in-laws, bickering siblings, and even some prat falls that just may or may not fall short.
It opens differently than many comedies and other genres open, with a clever little cartoon about Santa. Santa is fighting to survive the trek through the Griswold’s house. The cartoon is so funny that it set the bar for the rest of the movie. A bar that it could not possibly reach. I felt like I was watching one of the old Disney animated shorts.
After the opening sequence that I would pay to see we have to bear witness to a drawn out road scene where the Griswolds are driving to pick up a tree. Clark goes all crazy because some drivers were being jackasses. It was unnecessarily dramatic. Seriously, there are bad drivers everywhere. No point in it. There is no humor in it either. Its just a man over reacting to the road.
The actor playing Clark (I refuse to use the names of the actors because this is such a bad movie) over acted everything. Every single moment is over acted to a painful extent. I wanted to take over the directing, but its too late. Every other actor did the same. There’s one thing when its just one actor, but its ridiculous when its everyone, except for the guys playing the next door neighbors, whom had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. There was no plot. The next door neighbors were lovable. I would have loved to have Margo and Todd live next door to me.
There were numerous unrealistic situations that would never really happen in real life and be funny. A sled going that fast down a hill mainly. I mean, come on! It was practically shooting rockets. Clark would have also broken several bones by the half hour mark. The lights would have come off the house because the staples would not have held Clark’s weight and neither would have the gutter.
The weight of the world must fall on the actress who played Audrey because they seemed to have told her to be constipated all the time. She even sounds constipated during the unnatural sounding argument she had with her mother. I wasn’t sure who sounded more fake: Ellen or Audrey.
Speaking of fake; the reveal of the house after Clark finishes putting up the lights takes far too long. It was as if they needed more length to he movie, because it would end up short. We spend ten minutes watching the guy give a speech and another ten with the drumroll. After he fails his family “consoles” him. It takes another twenty minutes and a lot of begging before they move onto the next scene. Seriously, I was begging. It would be one thing if the consoling was done with some sort of humor, but there was nothing. Even the “witty” side cracks fell short.
Now, I like prat falls as much as the next girl, but this movie was ridiculous. A prat fall, if done right, can seem better than something cold on a hot, muggy day. Charlie Chaplain was the master of prat falls, but no one studied him for this movie. I felt like the prat falls could have been done better. I mean, it was like having sex with a hot guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing: there’s a big, suspenseful build up, but it either falls short or it has unsatisfactory results.
Clark went up in the attic to hide Christmas presents and his mother-in-law closed the attic door. His attic door was in the ceiling, so you’d have to pull it down to do anything and push it up. Now, no mother would just close the attic door without yelling up to make sure no one is up there for sure. That’s just common sense. He also had enough time to yell out about being up in the attic. So he makes his way to the window and then near a chest. He just stands there and his feet goes through the ceiling. He could have used the hole that was created to get out of the attic and then fix it later. Also, if the attic floors are that weak, then clark should not be in the attic, walking on the floors. Then, common sense says not to sit on the closed attic door because someone might open the door.
When the lights are finally working we learn that they are all connected to one light switch in the garage. There is no way that would work, especially with all those weird plugs in one outlet without any kind of extension. And then the redneck part of the family comes in town and plays up the stereotypes that pains even the most stereotypical redneck. And then Clark doesn’t use the full range of sarcasm. I also doubt that Clark would steal anything from his job because it doesn’t fit with his personality. They are also guilty of cruelly making fun of elderly issues and diseases and why didn’t anyone check on the animals? You have to check on them to make sure they don’t get into anything.
Then, they drew out the bonus scene. It lasted much longer than it should have been. I don’t care about what you’ll do with the extra money. I don’t care. The cheer that went out over the family sounded incredibly fake and wrong. It doesn’t sound natural when he swears, using four letter words that didn’t come up before. There was minimum cursing in the beginning and then all of a sudden Clark drops an “F”-bomb. There were also several points where the neighbors would have called the cops because of Clark’s brother. Then, they killed the cat. Animal cruelty hurts me.
There is this entire scene where they are running away from a squirrel. A little squirrel. Just contact animal control or chase the little thing out the door. There was a simple way of doing it. It was over dramatic and then the police raided their house and their next door neighbor’s. Dramatic music pays and they drop in from the sky and break the windows. It was entirely unnecessary. There were too many characters, so I couldn’t make any personal connections. No emotional impact for the movie from me. Also, Clark did not recite Twas the Night Before Christmas. He read it. That annoys me more than anything.
Now, there were a few good things about the movie. The issues involving money was realistic and the prat falls of the neighbors were entertaining. It also had a good soundtrack for the most part. That was pretty much it. Those were the only good things in the entire movie.
Christmas Vacation was not worth the hour and a half of my life that I wasted watching this monstrosity.
I give Christmas Vacation 1 out of 5 stars.
Or at least sue the Hughes Brothers.
When I saw From Hell on the video rack at the local video store I was excited about watching it and writing a review about it. Johnny Depp stars as Inspector Alberline in a Jack the Ripper thriller that promised something that it could not follow through with. They promised to explain who committed the horrendous murders, but they didn’t really give us much more evidence than what a lot of us already knew. I was ashamed while I watched this film play out. Its one thing for Hollywood to mess up simple things that Indie films kept accurate, but its another when a well known name screws us over.
The first thing I noticed was that one of the prostitutes was wearing rather expensive looking lace that she would not be able to buy in reality. It was expensive black lace that looked like fishnets, which women were not wearing back in the Victorian Era. Another thing I noticed, also involving the whores, was that the group of friends was being too friendly. Back in the Victorian Era whores were overly competitive, so they were friendly. However, the prostitutes would not have hung out that often. They would have been too busy trying to coerce men into enjoying the pleasures of the flesh for a fee. When the whore got someone she slept with him standing up and facing each other. No man in the Victorian Era would be willing to face a woman he was not married to because she was nothing more than a common “unfortunate.” They would be in the doggy position.
The language of the common people in the film was in no way accurate. I would not have had an issue with it if there weren’t so many more damn inaccuracies in the movie. The accents were also a tad off. The prostitutes’ accents should have been much more common. They sounded too eloquent to be whores. Also, Jack the Ripper silenced the women he was killing as he started killing them, despite that the East End would have been so loud and full of screaming that there would have been no point. Everyone would have just ignored what was happening.
After the first two murders the two coroners both vomited and passed out. That would have never happened. They would have been used to Syphilis victims, which would be worse than any organs missing. They would have seen several victims of the sort and Jack the Ripper’s the only publicized killer whose details kind of became public. There should have also been more screaming coming from the East End of London. It was accurate that the whores were thrown out of the tavern because there were more girls in the room than had paid for it. There are no mentions of legal proceedings, which I knew there were because they needed the legal proceedings to decide whether or not the crime was really a crime. They needed to discuss whether or not a killing was suicide, homicide, accidental, or natural causes.
I do have to commend the Hughes Brothers on how the murder scenes were portrayed. They artistically avoided showing the details of the gruesome murders, so you got the gist of it. You knew what had happened because of the dialogue, but they never showed much gore. The only thing they did show was the human heart the physician placed in the tea kettle over the fire. There was also a really cool murder sequence where you see the whore with her throat whole and then a shadow passes and her throat is cut. It was done really well and I loved watching the sequence. It was also accurate that Alberline made a lot of enemies.
Now, Alberline was the type of man who was very strict about who he hung out with. He would have never taken such good care of a prostitute, never mind her group of friends. Also, the important papers were ineligible to me while I was trying to read it. It was too blurry. Also, the crime photos are way too detailed for the time period. We should have never seen the stitching of the closed autopsy cuts. The time scheme also didn’t work, because Jack the Ripper stopped killing in 1888, but everything passed in the film in a few months. It also lacked suspense and I think that it may be because there wasn’t much in the line of suspenseful music. I mean, they could have used Mozart of Beethoven because that was the music that was popular during this era. Mary Kelly’s bedroom was set up differently than what was in the film. Drawn diagrams show that the windows and door were not close to each other.
I only have two more issues with the film. The first is that the film is about Jack the Ripper, not a love story with Alberline and a prostitute. The love story took over in the end and I felt like it should not be there, especially since Alberline was happily married with no children. He also did not die of opium. He died of old age long after the Ripper case was over. Those two inaccuracies entirely screwed up the film. That was the final straw. The story wasn’t even about Alberline, it was about the case. The case was more important than the character.
I do have to say that actors did a remarkable job with such utter crap. Johnny Depp was at full strength in his roll of Alberline, though it was inaccurate. There were other well known actors in the film as well, but I’ll not mention their names so you can play the I-can-spot-a-familiar-face-drinking-game.
I wouldn’t recommend From Hell as a serious thought as it isn’t worth the time, nor the money that went into it, but if you want to watch actors do what they do best then this is the movie for you.
I give From Hell 2 out of 5 stars.