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Showing posts from October, 2017

The Babadook Review

The Babadook is a 2014 horror film written and directed by Jennifer Kent. The film was a huge sensation among film nerds when it premiered, being touted as possible the best horror film of the past decade.

Story
Amelia (Essie Davis) is doing her best to look after her young son (Noah Wiseman) in the face of a great personal tragedy. One night, she reads him a book called "Mister Babadook", which tells the tale of a monster that will never leave your house if you let him in. From that point on, Amelia begins having strange, disturbing visions as she holds on to what's left of her sanity.

While the setup on the surface isn't very original in that it's basically just another haunted house movie, it's the execution that makes all the difference in the world. This film really understands what makes great horror; it's not just that it scares you or unnerves you. Horror comes from theme and tone. The tone of the film is unforgiving, with harsh inconveniences like…

ParaNorman Review

Paranorman is a 2012 stop-motion family film written/directed by Chris Butler and co-directed by Same Fell. Upon its release the film was praised for its creepy atmosphere, mature tone and brilliant animation work. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2013 Oscars.

Story
Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an ostracized little boy with the ability to talk to ghosts. After discovering that there's a mysterious witch's curse that's going to strike the town that evening, Norman sets out on a quest with an unlikely gang of his sister, his equally ostracized best friend, his big brother and the local bully.

Whatever problems I might have with this movie (and trust me we'll get to those) I can't deny that the film is fairly unpredictable. There were quite a few story twists that I didn't see coming and were fairly compelling. It goes to some really dark places (for a kid friendly film anyway) and they work really well for the most part.

However, for being essenti…

Neon Demon Review

The Neon Demon is a 2016 drama/horror written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and co-written by Mary Laws/Polly Stenham. Though receiving neither critical acclaim nor box-office rewards, the film has become a much talked about oddity among film lovers and is considered by some to be a masterpiece.

Story
Aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to LA and begins to quickly rise in the world of California modeling. Though she excels at her new profession, her success attracts jealousy from other models, who believe they should be climbing higher than she is.

I'm not sure how much I should give away in this part of the analysis. On the one hand, there is some genuinely shocking stuff in here, especially some genuinely disturbing stuff in the third act, that would lose all its gravity if I told you what was going on. On the other hand, I'm not really sure I can whole heartedly recommend this to anybody precisely because of those shocking story moments. And when I say shocking,…

Halloween Review

Halloween is a 1978 slasher written and directed by John Carpenter. The film had a huge influence on the horror genre, becoming the archetypal blueprint for the slasher for many years to come.

Story
Michael Myers, a mentally disturbed man, has been kept inside an asylum since he killed his sister when he was six years old. Now, he's escaped and has set his sights on Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), a random teenager looking after two children on Halloween night.

If this movie sounds like a million other slashers you've seen, that's because this is the one that started them all. I bring this up, because I'm not knocking the story down any points precisely for this reason. I mean, the entire thing is predictable from start to finish. If you've seen Nightmare On Elm Street, It Follows or even just Cabin in the Woods, you know exactly how this is going to go. However, again, this is the film that gave birth to literally every trope you've seen in the serial killer horror …

The Crow Review

The Crow is a 1994 gothic fantasy action film written by David J. Schow/John Shirley and directed by Alex Proyas. Based on the James O'Barr comic book of the same name, the film has grown a cult following due to its dark, emotional themes, excessive violence and the on-set death of the film's star Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee.

Story
The night before Halloween, a group of psychotic thugs breaking into the house of musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancee Shelly. They beat and rape her to death and toss him out of a window. One year later, a magic crow brings Draven back from the dead to exact his revenge, giving him supernatural powers to aid him in his quest.

The setup for the film is a pretty unique on its own, but it probably wouldn't have been able to carry the whole movie. What makes the film work is the execution of the concept, which is balls to the wall gothic in every frame. When I say gothic, I'm not just talking about the superficial subcultural tha…

Blade Runner Review

Blade Runner is a 1982 noir sci-fi written by Hampton Fancher/David Webb Peoples and directed by Ridley Scott. Based on the Phillip K Dick novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the film received a lukewarm reception at best upon its release, but has become a cult classic popular enough to be a household name, despite multiple confusing cuts.

(Please note that I watched the "final cut" for this review)

Story
Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a blade runner, is tasked with hunting down a group of rogue androids who have taken to the streets of Los Angles.

That's really all there is to the plot, but the story actually has a lot going on. There's no problem with a story having layers, but the problem is that a lot of it isn't concrete and so it's very difficult to describe in written form. There are long stretches of the movie that go without hearing a word of dialogue, just letting you soak in what's been going on in the plot so far and making your own jud…

Why The Reichenbach Fall Is the Seminal Sherlock Holmes Story (Spoilers!)

With the premiere of The Reichenbach Fall in 2012, BBC's Sherlock delivered one of the best season finales of the past decade and possibly of all time. But it wasn't just a great season finale; it was a fantastic Sherlock Holmes story overall. In my opinion, this hour and a half segment of television perfectly encapsulates the character, the fanbase and the entire Sherlock Holmes legacy. And it did that by deconstructing the entire mythos as it's been built up for the past two centuries.

Let's start with the quickest possible synopsis of the episode: After criminal mastermind Jim Moriarty robs three highly secured locations simultaneously seemingly without lifting a finger he's put on trial. He miraculously gets off scot-free despite presenting no evidence for himself and visits Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street. There he reveals that he threatened or bribed the jury to get him off and that he intends to burn Sherlock through one final problem. A few months later, a …

Shaun of the Dead Review

Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 zombie comedy written/directed by Edgar Wright and cowritten by Simon Pegg. The film is the first of the cult classic Cornetto Trilogy, which also includes Hot Fuzz and The World's End. The film has gained a cult following since its release and garnered a reputation as a newer Halloween classic.

Story
The lives of two slacker idiots (Simon Pegg/Nick Frost) are thrown out of balance when their quiet suburban town is affected by a zombie outbreak. Now, armed with a shovel and a cricket bat, they must use what few wits they have to keep themselves and their group of friends alive to make it to their local pub to wait out the apocalypse.

I've gone on record saying that Edgar Wright movies aren't my favorite in the world. A lot of times they don't really make me laugh and that's a problem when you're looking at a comedy. The jokes he tries to tell always seem like the most obvious jokes you could possibly tell in any given circumstance. I …

Split Review (Spoiler Free)

Split is a 2017 supernatural thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It's one of the most talked about films of the year and is considered Shyamalan's comeback after a long string of duds.

Story
A trio of girls is abducted by a disturbed man named Kevin (James McAvoy) with 23 individual personalities living inside his head, each completely aware of the other, three of whom have taken over Kevin's body, subduing the others so they can't interfere with a dark and sinister plan involving the three girls. Meanwhile, one of the girls (Ana Taylor-Joy) tries her best to break out of their prison by manipulating the more vulnerable personalities into doing what she wants.

Before seeing this movie I was really nervous about it, even when reports started coming in that it was pretty good. Shyamalan hasn't been good since Unbreakable or arguably Signs and now he's coming out with a movie with a concept that would be tricky to pull of for most seasoned director…