Category Archives: Film Takes

Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods (15)
Starring Kristen Connelly and Chris Hemsworth

3.5/5 Stars

Strap yourself in kids; you’re in for a real treat with this postmodern horror. Hailed as the next instalment to Wes Craven’s Scream and from the writer of the ass-kicking and stake-stabbing Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the  gritty and tense Cloverfield, Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods is a film with no limitations and strikes the perfect balance between the stereotypical and the surreal.

This looks familiar but I can't quite put my finger on it...
Image courtesy of Forbes

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Review: The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black (12A)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe

4/5 Stars

Good evening and welcome to Eel Marsh House, where everything is black, covered in cobwebs and small china dolls or monkeys play instruments.

In other words, welcome to shit-your-pants-ville.

Blue blue blue eyes Mr Radcliffe.
Image courtesy of silvascreen.com

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Review: Heavenly Creatures (1994)

The long wait is over. I have safely landed back into the blogosphere; blame my absence on MA work, Christmas and selling books.  Or just my laziness and over-tiredness. With my insomnia back in full spirit after its sip of mulled wine, I’ve taken a journey into the land of film, more specifically the fourth dimension of Heavenly Creatures.

Heavenly Creatures (1994) directed by Peter Jackson is certainly a marvel to behold. Based on a true story from Pauline Parker’s journal entries in the 50s, Jackson begins a devilish journey into the ‘fourth dimension’, where fantasy grips two young girls and leads them straight to Hell’s gates.

Image courtesy of A.V. Club: Friends forever.

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Old Horror Movies: Psycho

Returning to my series of blog posts on ‘Old Horror Movies’, I shall take you into the psychotic world of Norman Bates. It’s not a pretty one, plus he has an avid fascination with stuffed animals and birds. Let’s just say, he likes to get his hands dirty.

Hello my pretty…

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Superman Without His Pants!

Snyder just got it all wrong. Again.

I’m about to give up hope; may as well just run myself off the edge of a cliff, because I know my hero won’t be there clad in all his glory to save me.

So what’s the dealio Snyder, Cavill? Costume designer gone on their vacation, to the land of no return? Took off with Supes underpants, in a hurry to take over the world!? I knew you were an evil man Lex, but stooping to that level…

In case you haven’t got the foggiest idea what I’m speaking of, here’s a clue: the latest on-set pictures to be released of the new Superman film has Henry Cavill with the iconic red underwear gone, and in its place, lo and behold, Cavill’s crotch.

Gone Commando Cavill?

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The Inbetweeners Movie: Riding Out On A High

Shagaluf? Sorry, it’s Malia

The Inbetweeners have been posing nude in front of our tv screens for a successful three series, now they’ve got us hooked on the big screen ready to bare their bums (as well as other parts) in a 90 minute ‘LOL’ trip to the Greek Island, Malia.

On hearing the word ‘movie’ in the same sentence as ‘end of the series’, it is safe to say that I was a little dubious.  Though it worked for Sex and the City, fully disregarding the atrocity that was the sequel, I was blindly hoping that The Inbetweeners Movie may just ride out on a high.

I wasn’t disappointed.

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Superman Turned Sour: First Look at The Man of Steel

Snyder and his team of hard-working Supe fans, have once again fallen short of expectations. The Man of Steel originally due to be released in Christmas of 2012, now pushed back to the summer of 2013, have provided fans with a sneak-peek at the brand-spanking new costume with Cavill looking ‘edgy’.

If you haven’t already seen it, you can view the whole article in full here: http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/08/04/%E2%80%9Cman-of-steel%E2%80%9D-revealed/

At first, I was damn excited for this film, but it seems with each new cast member or each new design feature, the Snyder re-boot is certainly flying to the fortress at an electrifying pace, and unfortunately never to return. Yes, they are meant to be revitalising what is seen to Hollywood as a ‘dead’ story, but are they taking it too far? Are they stepping in the wrong direction? Are they catapulting themselves into Krypton in the midst of their war, annihilating themselves upon landing? Personally, the new ‘edgy’ look just doesn’t cut it, Snyder is trying to fit a stray puzzle piece into the wrong puzzle board.

Superman isn’t like Batman for a reason; he is not human, and he doesn’t have the same flaws as humans. So why suit him up in scales and a cape that is more eligible to win dirt collector of the year award? If they were going for the ‘alien’ look, then they’ve definitely hit it on the head. With the constant improvements in CGI and design formats, Snyder’s team have certainly forgotten one significant element: Superman can fly; what use is an outfit with bumps in the air? Maybe they should go back to basic in physics; sleek, smooth and streamlined aids flight, rather than bumpy, bulky and similar to Batman.

Yet it isn’t just the suit that looks atrocious; Henry Cavill’s facial expression looks, quite frankly, evil.
Now unless our man has been taking an extra trip on the red K, Superman should look confidently calm in the face of his enemy. Henry Cavill is not that man.

What high hopes I had for this film, have been dashed, demolished and dunked in a pool of CGI corruption. I thought I would warm to Cavill, and maybe it is just a bad picture, but Snyder hasn’t even recreated the signature Superman ‘curl’ in the hair.

So I leave a final message to Snyder and his team: Get the hair right, or lose your respect. Get the suit right, or lose your fans. Direct Cavill better, or lose the Superman we’ve grown to love.

Christopher Reeve: The Real Superman

Old Horror Movies: The War of the Worlds

Being a big fan of horror films, combined with having plenty of time on my hands, (as a recent graduate!) and my amazing superhuman ability to stay awake until 6am, analysing the good ol’ horrors seems like a perfect plan.

I see green in there…

The first of this series of blog posts will focus on the 1953 adaptation of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. How can I call myself a horror fan, particularly of sci-fi horror, if I had never seen H. G. Wells’s mutant take-over? I was certainly ashamed of myself, but as of now, I can face the world of horror with my head held high… (for the time being).

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The Devil Hath Cometh: Antichrist Review

November being the last time I blogged, I thought I would come back with a bang – or should we say a review of some knife-wielding psychopathic husband and baby killer; Antichrist.

For those of you who haven’t seen this spectacular vision from the eccentric director, Lars Von Trier, it is certainly one film that die-hard horror fans cannot miss.
Von Trier opens with a heart-wrenching, gut-spilling and excessively phallocentric scene, where a baby boy finds his feet to climb a second-story window. The words ‘phallocentric’ and ‘baby’ paired in the same sentence is, of course, far from normal, but normality is not this films forte.
Filmed entirely in black and white, with classical music filtering our ears, the little boy steps off the window-ledge while his mummy and daddy have mind-blowing sex … or passionately make love for those with sensitive eyes.
The pleasure of the lovers (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) is beautifully juxtapositioned with the heart-breaking moments of their little boy falling in slow-motion. Losing his grasp on the teddy, he hits the ground in the moments of Gainsbourg’s sexual climax. The music fades and we are left with a feeling of intense terror and meloncholy. 

In the months after their son’s death,  Gainsbourg enters a coma of grief and with the help of her husband, a therapist by profession, they begin to seek a cure for their despair.
Unfortunately for the couple, Gainsbourg has become possessed by the idea of masochism, sadomasochism and an unhealthy sexual appetite. The terrible guilt of her son’s death weighs down upon her shoulders, and she begins to have vivid dreams involving her son and a garden she calls ‘Eden’.
Horror films are notorious for their slow-building tension and suspense, and Anti Christ does not fall short of these expectations. However, if you are the type of fan that likes a ‘quickie’ (gruesome but satisfying chain of deaths) then this is not going to be your cup of tea. The film focusses on the relationship between the couple and their abiding guilt for the death of their child.

It is on the couple’s arrival at ‘Eden’ that things start to get interesting. Allegorical symbols, sex, nakedness and a whole lot of blood spills forth onto the screen whilst Gainsbourg’s character continues her psychopathic rage. There is an interesting and more accurately disgusting moment within the last scenes of the film. I would like to divulge this scenario to you, but I’m afraid it would spoil the entirety of the film and its ending. For those of you who have seen the film, doesn’t it make you wonder how Willem Dafoe survived his wife’s reign of terror?

In a nutshell, this film is one that takes a strong stomach, but the beauty of the mise-en-scene and the heart-breaking opening sequence saves this film from becoming another ‘screamo-horror-shocker’.

Culture In Three Words: Eat Pray Love

My holiday was a little shortlived; I had five days in fact before something came up back home. Guess it was fate that I had to be back home though, because a lot of stuff has came up that I had not been anticipating nor expecting.

Sunday the 26th, I managed to coerce my parents in taking me to the recent Julia Roberts film Eat Pray Love; lucky for me (free ticket), not so lucky for my Dad though; he wasn’t impressed he was dragged to a ‘chick flick’…
Aside from the glaringly obvious fact that men DO NOT, under any circumstances, like ‘chick flicks’ – unless of course they are hoping to bed the woman afterwards, and want to ‘sweeten the deal’. Though, let’s be fair, our sugar coated lipglossed mouths aren’t exactly kissable after we swallow hoardes of our own salty tears, yet the men still think we look attractive with panda eyes as we rush to the little girls room afterwards. This isn’t to say that all men do not like ‘chick flicks’ because I’m sure there are many who do, unfortunately my Dad isn’t in this category; he rolls his eyes at P.S I Love You and on commenting on Eat Pray Love he grumbled something along the lines of, ‘it was alright.’ In other words: I got dragged to a film primarily for women, what do you expect me to say?!

Granted, this film’s target audience is women. I’ve seen many ‘chick flicks’ and to be fair I wouldn’t label this film as that genre. Eat Pray Love is a woman’s journey for self-discovery. She doesn’t travel because she wishes to find love, and she certainly doesn’t travel to find sexual discovery. She travels for herself. Is this a concept so foreign to us all now? Like many women, Julia Roberts’ character, Liz, is busy, ambitious, clever and well-driven. She has problems, like we all do, but she chooses to kick her miserable self-loathing character into a care-free woman with a good dose of the travel bug.  She visits three countries; Italy, India and Bali – each one of them gives us an entirely new perspective of her character, as she goes through the ups and downs of independant life on the move.

It wasn’t just the character of Liz that I admired, but the culture of each of the countries and their people. In general, I find culture astonishing and this film captures the beauty, the heartbreak, and the startling reality of the places and the people. We learn as Liz learns, we share in her intimate friendships and her private meditative states. We are there with her; we are on the path to self-discovery with her.

Liz embodies all women in our own society and culture; she is where we wish to be and what we want to be. Liz defines our hearts desires, the difference is she put them into action. Afterall, how do we know who we truly are if our lives are too busy to just stop and think?

The key to self-discovery is just around the corner, we just don’t know it yet.