Tag Archives: film review

The Story of Delusions: “Sucker Punch” 2011

 

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.


Crapmas Vacation-Film Review

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.


Ripper Should Rip this Movie

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.