Month: November 2015

November, 2015- Best and Worst Movie of the month

Where I review the best and worst movies I’ve seen this month, and give you the basics of what’s going on with these films.

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Now On Netflix Review- Preservation, 2014

Available now on Netflix UK

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Utter trash.

Couple Wit and Mike (Wrenn Schmit/ Aaron Staton) decide to take a camping trip in an attempt to run from their problems, but things don’t go to plan when Mike’s brother Sean (Pablo Schreiber) ends up tagging along. Of course it’s probably a blessing in disguise as they’re soon being hunted by mysterious men and ex- military brother Sean is probably their best hope to get out of the woods alive.

Why? Why does everyone split up in horror films? It never, ever, works.

After seeing that Mike and Wit can make their way back to the car Sean decides to go back and save his dog.

It’s never a good sign when you kill of your best character half an hour in. Sean is quickly murdered, which is an endless disappointment because he was the only character with an interesting back story. Still, I watch on because I have a secret love for VOD trash.

There’s not an awful lot of mood or atmosphere in this film, it is what it is, which is a trashy survival- esque horror movie.

The ending ‘twist’ is an obvious cliche, you’ll work it out early on if you’re watching this movie with any kind of interest- but it is a cliche for a reason as it still works to add a disturbing layer as this film comes to an end.

2/5

Now On Netflix Review- Death Proof, 2007

Available Now on Netflix UK

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Tarantino’s Death Proof is a film with two intense acts. It’s a dialogue- packed, blood- splatter horror with a re-watch-ability that guarantees the same thrill every time you watch it.

Death Proof is often considered as Tarantino’s worst film and I cannot see why. It’s full to the brim with great imagery and while it has a whole load of Tarantino’s obsessions present (there’s no shortage of feet here), that doesn’t mean this film is weak. Yeah, it revolves around ‘hot babes’ partying and drug taking but behind that the film is ultimately a feminist piece- or at the very least pro- woman. In placing women in central roles Tarantino does quite a good job at representing these characters pretty fairly- every now and then they fall into an unfortunate stereotype but considering Death Proof often feels like it’s on the edge of being a parody or homage to earlier exploitation horror flicks then I’ll let that pass.

Visually it’s kind of strange, with a grainy film filter covering the screen and a weird moment of black and white right it the middle we could easily be fooled into thinking this film was made in the 70’s (even though it’s not)- but it kind of works. With bright colors and bold sets that jump out the screen in every other scene the filter acts as a buffer for our senses.

As this film comes to a close we’re treated to what I assume was about twenty minutes of an all- out intense car case, and I loved every minute of it. There’s no amazingly clever premise or ‘wow I can’t believe that’ twist behind Death Proof, it’s simply a silly, fun, intense horror flick that Tarantino succeeds in making an exciting watch.

4.5/5

Now On Netflix Review- The Babadook, 2014

Available now on Netflix UK

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Single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), is struggling to look after her over- active son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), in the wake of her husbands death. When Samuel finds a rather disturbing book on the shelf in his bedroom the Babadook stops being a child’s nightmare and begins to become a terrifying reality for this small family.

The film is a chilling look at the tangibility of grief and addiction. Prescription drugs and the fathers death become central to the the film, but they only subtly let us know what The Babadook is really about. It’s sad, it’s disturbing, and it’s relentless. We’re treated to scene after scene of the difficulties in raising a child when both mother and son are struggling with their own terrors. Samuel with his childhood fear of monsters, and Amelia with visions of her dead husband- both protagonists of this film play their roles extremely well.

The film does not give us any relief as we soon dive into the unnerving world of the Babadook. As a horror film The Babadook fulfills what it’s supposed to do- the whole thing is absolutely terrifying. There’s a spine- chilling atmosphere to the whole movie as we’re often trapped in the blue/ grey house with Amelia and Samuel. Director Jennifer Kent plays on the films mood extremely well, it’s frightening at the best of times- and absolutely terrifying in others.

Undeniably gripping, emotionally painful, completely relentless- The Babadook is a must see horror.

4.5/5

For the love of Werewolves

Since the release of Late Phases on Netflix UK my love for werewolf films has taken on a life of it’s own. While I have yet to see a single film that completely nails the look of the wolf- man, I have seen plenty werewolf films that still deliver something between terrifying and awesome. So with that said, here’s a list of werewolf films I’ve watched this year that I think do the genre justice.

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New Release Review- Midnight in Paris, 2011

Available from 24th November on Amazon Prime Instant

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When couple, Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachael McAdams), take a trip to Paris Gil cannot help but use the opportunity as a way to gain inspiration for a novel he’s been struggling to write. Then, as if all his hopes are handed to him on a plate, he is transported back to Paris in the 1920’s- at midnight of course. He meets a whole host of famous writers and artists from Picasso to Hemingway, and the movie really begins.

As a student studying English at University the idea of being transported away to a time when these people existed, and then actually getting to meet them, was immediately fascinating to me. Even though I was consciously aware that this is not how these people would have spoken or acted they were still wonderfully engaging characters on film. Honestly an all round beautiful movie, but how could it not be when it’s set in one of the most magnificent cities in the world, Paris. Paris is just, if not more, important to this film than the characters are and we’re treated to some truly beautiful shots of it.

There isn’t one weak acting performance in this but with a cast whose members include Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, Tome Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Corey Stoll as Hemingway (some of my favorite performances in the film) there wasn’t really any danger of that. Add that to an undeniably charming script and some great visuals and you find yourself watching Midnight in Paris. It’s hard not to like this film.

From being genuinely funny to quite profound, and sometimes even ridiculous, this movie doesn’t disappoint. It’s a vibrant depiction of Paris and a romantic look at life.

4/5

New Release Review- True Story, 2015

Available from 16th November on Virgin Movies, eir Vision Movies, TalkTalk Box Office, Amazon Instant Video, blinkbox, iTunes

Jonah Hill and James Franco taking a step away from the comedy/ clown roles and into something a little more serious didn’t 100% work for me. While Jonah Hill delivered more than James Franco did, neither performance blew me away, which is disappointing when you’re watching two stars on screen. Rupert Goold’s True Story isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s an okay watch with some pretty interesting ideas floating about.

When journalist Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) lies in his latest piece for the New York Times he is fired and disgraced, unable to work his life seems to be going no where when suddenly a suspected killer uses his name as a alias. Eager to find out what is going on (and hoping to revive his career) Finkel goes to meet the suspect, Christian Longo (James Franco). As we’re quickly sucked into Longo’s story we’re all left wondering, well did he do it? And that’s not an easy question to answer.

True Story has some intriguing elements and there are many questions raised in this film that, in theory, could be interesting. True story is an exploration of the idea of truth. Searching to find out whether everyone’s story deserves to be told. And how can we uncover the truth, if there is such a thing? Unfortunately this doesn’t work well on screen, or perhaps it was just the pacing of the movie- I don’t know. Something just fell flat for me.

While True Story didn’t deliver as much as I wanted it to I have to admit I was still hooked from beginning to end. It’s a pretty decent ‘I have nothing else to watch’ movie, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to catch it.

2.5/5

Now On Netflix Review- Silent Night, Deadly Night, 1984

Available now on Netflix UK

I love slasher films, even trashy ones.

After Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) witnesses the murder of his parents by a man dressed as Santa Clause he is sent to live in an orphanage. Things go from bad to worse as his childhood trauma is made worse by well- meaning nuns until he manages to get a job in a toy store. Considering Billy is a boy with a deathly fear of all things Christmas you would have thought he’d have chosen a different career path- but whatever you think is best, Billy.

His fear reaches it’s climax when he has to dress up as Santa for the toy store (as if we didn’t all see this coming Billy, you idiot). He finally snaps, and goes on a murderous rampage screaming “Punish” and “Naughty” whenever he gets the opportunity. There’s no great acting, and no great visual elements- aside from the odd kill that often ends up being more funny than disturbing in its ridiculousness, and yet it’s still an okay film.

There’s no mystery to the killer in Silent Night, Deadly Night, within ten minutes you can tell exactly where this movie is going- but I’m not mad at that. Sure, the whole thing is more ridiculous than scary but that’s what makes movies like these fun to watch.

There’s no real reason as to why you should watch this movie, it’s trash from beginning to end, but it’s good trash. A movie to laugh at if nothing else.

2/5 — Because I liked it way more than I should have.

New Release Review- Nebraska, 2013

Avaliable from 14th November on Netflix UK

Alexander Payne’s 2013 black and white drama Nebraska is a beautiful film- from cinematography to plot there isn’t a weak element. When a film looks like this it can be off putting in an era where bright feel- good films power through the box office, but don’t take Nebraska at face value- I mean everything looks good in black and white anyway, right? This film certainly does.

Bruce Dern and Will Forte play a father/ son duo and together they steer this movie forward, with great acting on both sides. Woody (Bruce Dern) is an aging, alcoholic, confused man who believes he has won a million dollars- but has to get to Nebraska to retrieve it. David (Will Forte) is his recently single, concerned son, looking to spend time with his father and ultimately decides to help Woody get to Nebraska. Of course things like these are never easy and this simple road trip turns into a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

After Woody convinces his home town, and many family members that this clear scam to win a million dollars is real it’s hard to see a happy ending in sight. Old friends and family members try to convince Woody that he owes them money- he was an alcoholic after all, drinking his money away.

At times this movie seems extremely bleak but as Nebraska wraps itself up it leaves you feeling good. The ending is simple but effective, of course he didn’t actually win the money, but that doesn’t mean the film has to end up in a bad place, and thankfully it didn’t.

4.5/5