Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crimson Peak

Before I start, I just want to tell you how badly I want to spoil this movie for you. There is, as always, a twist towards the end of the film, and it's somewhat difficult for me to discuss the plot without going into the (rather unsurprising) twist. But okay, okay, I'll try to refrain from talking about it. I know a lot of people were/are excited about Crimson Peak, so if you haven't seen it yet, I won't ruin it for you!

Basic plot: A young American woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is swept off her feet by a visitor from England, Thomas (Tom Hiddleston). She leaves her life in America behind to marry and live with him in an isolated, creepy, dilapidated house in the UK. Don't get me wrong, I can see the appeal. Handsome foreign man is so in love with you that he wants to take you with him across the pond? But as soon as you see the house, you can tell it won't go well. You know that's the case at the beginning of the movie, to be honest, but still. It's a beautiful but bleak setting, and I felt instant depression at the thought of living there.

Red clay encompasses the surrounding land, even underneath the house, giving everything a rather bloody look to it. Again, great imagery! That's what ends up selling this movie above anything else. Storywise, it's lacking. You have a ghost story mixed in with a murder mystery, although it never manages to be scary. After watching the trailer, I thought this was going to be about vampires, I really did. Jessica Chastain (who plays Thomas' unhappy, dog-hating sister) and Tom Hiddleston both look like vampires, so you can see why I thought that. In the end it's about Edith finding out what her new husband is hiding, and what horrors happened in the house she's living in.

I felt they could have done more with this. The characters and plot could have benefited from some added depth, but it ended up feeling a bit hollow. It's entertaining, but surprisingly forgettable given how much detail and thought was put into the costumes and sets.

My grade: B

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hinterland Season 1

Angst personified

Oh look, a gloomy detective series set in Wales. I'll take it!

Most detective shows follow a formula, and Hinterland is no exception. Unfortunately, it's not a good formula, not when it's this overused. DCI Tom Mathias is described as "troubled." How unexpected! The go-to issue in these cases are: alcoholism coupled with a murdered wife/child. They don't get into his past right away, but it doesn't take long before you know he has children (I assume they're alive) and an ex, and that he sometimes drinks in his lonely trailer. He also never smiles. Ever. Tom is a serious man, and he's got his unresolved issues just like all detectives do. Oh yes, and he jogs a lot, typically at the beginning and end of episodes.

Don't let my negativity fool you, though; I like it. It's a decent show with a beautiful, atmospheric setting. It's not going to make you laugh, which is a shame, but it does provide some gritty murders and interesting plots. Still, it's lacking in something, and I haven't been able to put my finger on it just yet. More character development? I haven't found myself emotionally invested in anyone so far, and after watching all four episodes of season one, which each boast a 90-minute run, I still don't know enough about anyone to genuinely like or hate them.

Maybe season two will provide more background and improve all around. I'll find out once I manage to catch up on it. Until then...Red Dwarf is getting re-watched. It's been my go-to show all week. It's one of my childhood favorites, and the nostalgia is strong with that one.

My grade: B

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Silent Hill

Advice: if you love the name Sharon, you should watch this movie.

"Sharon! Sharon! Sharooooon!" No, really, keep yelling her name. Don't mind the monsters who can hear you, I'm sure they're all too busy watching Duck Dynasty and munching on Doritos (mm, Doritos) to pay you any attention. So yes, keep doing what you're doing, because you're full of good ideas, Rose.

Story: Rose's adopted daughter Sharoooooon is one hell of a sleepwalker, and she loves saying 'Silent Hill' in her sleep, so naturally Rose and her husband, the wasted Sean Bean, look it up and see that it's a foul, supposedly haunted place in West Virginia. Rose, being responsible, kidnaps Sharooooooon and drives her there, despite the glaring signs telling her not to, and risking her daughter's life in the process. Frankly, no one should go to West Virginia. If you were born there, okay, it's not your fault, but if you go there willingly, shame on you!

After they arrive, via car crash (that's what good parents do), Sharoooon disappears and Rose starts running around the abandoned Silent Hill, where something is obviously amiss, but you know, gotta stick with the plan, which is yelling "Sharon!". On her journey, she runs into lot of creepy creatures and tortured dead bodies. Fun! Then she finds out that the scariest thing in this world are religious people. I could have told you that, Rose...

I can't believe I watched all two hours of this. Not only was the acting bad and the characters annoying, but Sean Bean was hardly in it! That should be a crime. Really, if you weren't going to adequately use the Bean, you might as well have cast a beanbag instead.

Silent Hill is based off of the video games (haven't played them, but I'm curious to). I suspect it works much better as a game. As a film, it just doesn't gel. I can imagine the possibility of a better script and better actors, but I don't see that ever happening, which is a shame since there's something worth salvaging here. As you probably guessed (or know, because you might have been tied down and forced to watch it), there's a sequel. My heart says no, but by brain says, "What if there's more Sean Bean in it this time?" No, listen to your heart this time, girl.

My grade: D

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Visit

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this movie. As excited I was to see this, it still managed to exceed my expectations. M. Night Shyamalan, are you really back to form? Because you need to keep making movies like this, I'm serious.

The Visit is about two exceptionally nice kids who decide to visit their estranged grandparents so that their single mom can have some alone time with her new boyfriend. You mean they're not angsty and trying to sabotage her happiness? I don't believe you! Nonetheless, that's the case. Their mom doesn't even want them to go, it's just unfathomable. If I ever pop out little minions, they need to be like this.

Unfortunately for the kids, things don't go quite as planned, because their grandparents are beyond weird. They're only staying for a week, but things escalate quickly. It's both creepy as hell and hilarious. I adore this movie! All scary films should use humor in combination with scares; it's the perfect mixture. Naturally, there's a classic Shyamalan twist involved. Those always make me nervous. Remember The Village? Yeah, that's why I was nervous. I'm happy to report that The Visit's twist only added to its amazingness, though.

On top of all that goodness, the kids aren't even annoying. They're likable and able to carry this film. The boy, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) is especially funny.

Well, now I've gone and built this movie up, which means you'll have impossibly high expectations. Oops. Forget everything I said! This movie sucks, should still go see it this very minute. What better way to anticipate Halloween?

My Grade: A+

The Martian

I'll preface this by saying that I almost skipped out on this in the fear that it would be like Interstellar, which wasn't a bad movie, but managed to disappoint and confuse and leave me feeling irritated. Also, Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain look nothing alike, fools! Speaking of, Chastain and Matt Damon were both in Interstellar, and now they're both in this, so naturally I wondered if there was some connection between the movies (thankfully there isn't). That was before I actually looked into it, however. After reading up on it and seeing the great reception The Martian received, I suddenly wanted to see it very badly. I do love Matt Damon, have I ever told you that?

This ended up being my choice for family movie night, and we actually convinced my brother to come along (a rare occurrence), and even a family friend wanted to go. Amazing! No one left disappointed. The Martian is an excellent film, and that's not something I often say about a movie.

If you don't know the story, it goes like this: Mark Watney (Damon) and his crew are on Mars (my home planet) when a storm hits, presumably killing Watney in the process while the rest of the crew manages to escape. But of course he didn't die, and now he's marooned on Mars and unable to communicate with anyone from Nasa. He's a survivor, though, and more importantly, he's a botanist. I'm telling you, this is the only time I've ever taken botany seriously. I need to learn how to farm on Mars, because you just never know.

The Martian is both touching and funny. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't cry, because it doesn't take much to tickle my hormones. Bottom line, this is a must-see!

My grade: A+

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Current Addictions

O, my love! I'm never prepared to find a show to fall in love with. Alas, it happens when I least expect it. At the moment I'm in love with The IT Crowd and Gotham. Despite this, I'm still open for some further lovin'. Is that wrong of me? Maybe. PBS is going to start airing Indian Summer tomorrow night, and while I don't plan on watching it right away, I suspect I might like it quite a bit. Either way, I'll let you know if and when I watch it. In the mean time, I'm going to be a gothic geek. OKAY?! Okay.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Updates and Movies of Disappointment

I know, it's been awhile. I'd like to say I've been off on a whirlwind tour of Europe, but that's not true (yet). There have been too many moments when I think, "Oh, this movie was awful, I need to review that", and then I let it go and can't fathom coming back to it. And then months go by, with piles of movies gathering and nothing to show for it. But while I'm very gifted in the art of procrastination, I'm also equally good at coming back to things I've left alone too long. That being said, it's time to give this baby some fuel!

What really motivated me in finally updating tonight is that I'm going on a short, albeit exciting trip to Niagara Falls soon, and there's something satisfying and comforting in knowing that I've checked a few things off of my to-do list beforehand. Not that my life won't continue to be filled with various messes to clean up and tasks to complete, but maybe getting a few minor things out of the way is a decent start.

Now, onto the movies! I'm giving you two of my recent watches, both of which were massive disappointments. The first one being...

Attack on Titan (the movie)

Just to be clear, this is part one. When I realized it was split up into more than one movie, I was happy...and then I actually watched it. Please, no more! I'm not a big anime fan, and I never will be, but Attack on Titan was one that I genuinely enjoyed. That and Death Note are right up my alley. The big difference between their live-action adaptations is...Death Note rocked, and Attack on Titan was terrible, the first one, at least, but it's a good indication of what the next one will be like.

None of the characters were likable, nor were the events quite as dramatic as they should have been. Although the whole being-eaten-by-a-Titan is still terrifying and gory. They really don't try to make it any nicer, which I'm happy about.

Bottom line, check it out if you must, but expect nothing, nothing I tell you! Just re-watch the series while eating spaghetti and meatballs, and see where that takes you.

My grade: D

Area 51
You know how much I love a good shaky cam movie. It's something I'm rarely able to resist, but with that kind of risk-taking comes a lot of pain. And boredom. So much boredom. You probably have no idea where I'm going with this, but...this movie is boring. Nothing duller than aliens and infiltrating a secret government facility, am I right? This should have at least raised a few hairs on the back of my neck. Instead, it reminded me of how stupid they make everyone in scary movies, and that I should be watching something quality like Jersey Shore instead.

Plot: Three friends go to a party, one of them goes into the woods and he presumably encounters an alien (this is never made clear). Naturally, one of them has a camera rolling throughout the night, because...of reasons that I have yet to determine. Anyway, alien-magnet Reed immediately becomes obsessed with Area 51, and three months later he and his friends go on a road trip down there in order to break in and find out about all dem aliens. Nothing wrong with that. Also, nothing stupid about it at all. Fun fact, though, the hot guy is the most intelligent one in here. I know, right?! I'm not saying he's that smart, but he's got enough common sense to question the whole plan...but not enough to simply stay home and let them make their own mistakes. I guess we can't win them all.

At the end of everything, this movie evoked no emotion from me, unless you want to count my indifference.

My grade: D