…The Amityville Horror

It’s October, yay! Horror films are a must this month and so I decided to watch the Ryan Reynolds version because it was easily available on Netflix (laaaazy) but also because more people had seen this and I felt like I should have seen it as its become a sort of modern classic especially for my generation. Also, I’m always surprised to see famous people in horror films; I always get the impression that A-list stars think of Horror films as being the ‘rif raf’ of the business. However, a topless Ryan Reynold’s was definitely something that kept me from nodding off throughout this films more boring parts.

Essentially, I think everyone knows the story of the Amityville Horror..? If not, basically a family move into their dream house and then start being harassed by spirits and ghosts etcetcetc.

the amityville horror

The film has quite a solid premise, and had some good potential moments for jumps and scares but somehow just falls flat. There’s not even a tense feeling or atmosphere to make up for it either. The scariest (?) moment was probably when the babysitter was locked in the closet. My heart definitely jumped a little, but again, nothing came of it. The moment was gone before the tension could properly build or before a jump or scare was slipped in.

Chloe Grace Moretz is super cute in this film, you can see her potential even then and she was probably the best actor in the whole film.

I’ve got to admit that I don’t really have any strong opinions on this. It’s just very bland and seemed to trudge along without many scares; I won’t watch it again and I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch it. If you haven’t seen it, you aren’t missing out!

Advertisements

Remakes

With the announcement of Sony rebooting ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, there has been a wave of backlash against remakes themselves all over social media. I’m one of those annoyingly optimistic people when it comes to remakes. It might be my love for Doctor Who, with which comes a need to build a thick skin for change as the doctor regenerates every few years. Change and remakes are inevitable in today’s society.

After reading that “summer 2012, May through August, had 36 releases from major studios, and 25 of those were a remake, an adaptation or a sequel“, made me realise that this is a huge chunk of our cinema going trips, and the trend isn’t letting up any time soon. As I said, I’m always optimistic for this sort of thing. New Jurassic Park? Yay! New Star Wars? Bring it on. New Doctor? Gimme.

Some people immediately dread change and prefer to stay in their comfort zone where they know what to expect and know that they love it how it is. To me, a new perspective, in a new more modern society, new technology can only make me optimistic.

I do, honestly, realise that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes remakes and reboots can go so so terribly wrong. I just think people should save their dread and horror and anger at remakes until they actually see the film.

Being pleasantly surprised is better than being right, my friends.

…October Challenge: 13 Horror Films before Halloween

I’ve decided to set myself a little challenge. Y’know like those ones people do at New Years like ‘Read 100 books this year’ etc. Well, this one is essentially a list of 13 horror films that I should have seen, but haven’t. I probably haven’t seen these films because I’m a big wuss and unless someone else suggests we watch it, there’s no way I’ll be watching them alone. I’ll probably be watching this list alone though…. wahh. Let’s get started…

1. Child’s Play (1988)

2. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

4. Mimic (1997)

5. Troll Hunter (2010)

6. Orphan (2009)

7. Funny Games (2007)

8. Martyrs (2008)

9. Halloween (1978)

10. The Evil Dead (1981)

11. Friday the 13th (1980)

12. The Amityville Horror (2005)

13. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Essentially, I can choose any film to watch at any time and just cross it off the list. As long as I have them all watched by the time Halloween rolls around. I’ll be doing short updates and discussions on the films as I watch them so watch this space.

If you wanna join in you’re more than welcome. Either with my list or one of your own! It’s a good way to expand my horror film repertoire and it’ll be fun too!

 

..Mama

My friends and I often gather together to watch a horror film or two every couple of months. Mostly because we’re all too scared to watch anything alone if it has even the slightest hint of the horror genre; we’re such wusses. But, we can’t help but watch them. The genre is absolutely fascinating and personally is the genre I enjoy watching the most at the cinema; it seems like an event.  Being gathered in a room with a group of equally unsuspecting viewers, and being able to feel the tension in the cinema as something is about to happen, and then the resulting screams; it’s such fun.

The latest horror we watched was ‘Mama’. We didn’t know much about it other than a couple of kids get found in the woods after being lost for a few years and some creepy things start happening because they brought something back from the woods with them. Turns out these two young girls were ‘looked after’ in the woods by Mama; a dead 19th century woman, and this is the spirit which accompanies them back to their Uncle’s house when they are found.

mama

Everyone thinks that they ‘know’ the horror genre, the expected tropes and story lines and ‘Mama’ was a mix of these and something surprisingly fresh. The first half of the film felt exciting and tense and mysterious. I was never quite sure what to be more afraid of, ‘Mama’ the spirit which became angry when any adult attempted to take care of or become close to the two children. Or the youngest child, Lilly, who could barely speak and ran around like those creatures out of ‘The Descent’; terrifying.

Another surprising element to ‘Mama’ is that the acting was actually good. I usually live by the rule ‘if there are famous actors in a horror, it will not be scary’. If there are famous actors in it then it is usually more of a suspense or a thriller, not a good horror. And so I was surprised to learn that Jessica Chastain (now an Oscar nominated actress) starred and that the film didn’t suck.

However, after the first half things really started to go down hill. Once you visibly saw Mama, it wasn’t scary any more. It ruined the tension, the suspense and the thrill of not knowing. I honestly think I could have created something more scary on MS Paint when I was 10 years old. Seeing Mama completely ruined the film for me and I could no longer take it seriously. Their Mama creation reminded me of the terrifying creature in ‘Rec 2’ (the scariest film to date, IMO) but they got lost along the way when trying to inject a sympathetic side to the possessive mother role.

If there was a way for them to have continued the film without showing you Mama, I believe I would have liked it a whole lot more. And with Guillermo del Toro involved I have to say I expected better.

However, the film must have resonated with me as a few weeks after seeing it, my own mother read out a story (read about it here) in the newspaper about 2 men living in the Vietnam Forest for 40 years without any human contact… safe to say I couldn’t sleep that night for fear that they’d brought back an actual Mama.

What did you think of ‘Mama’? Do you have any horror film recommendations for me?

… The Cornetto Trilogy

Thursday night I attended a marathon screening of the Cornetto Trilogy; ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘The World’s End’. Having booked my tickets weeeeeks in advance in fear that they’d sell out, I essentially forgot that I had pre-booked them and so when the date rolled around it felt like a bit of a surprise gift to myself. Love it when that happens.

shaun of the dead

So at 7.30pm on Thursday I found myself right in the middle of the back row, with all the essentials; popcorn, large coke and an ice blast… obviously. ‘Shaun’ was released when I was 13 and so you could say it had a profound impact on my teenage years and my interest in films. My favourite thing about ‘Shaun’ and the rest of the trilogy (as well as references to ‘Spaced’) is their love of in-jokes and cool little Easter Eggs that make you just fall in love with the film every time you see it because each viewing leads to a new little nugget of fun referencing you didn’t quite see the other 14 times. My latest realisation is that during the Winchester scene after Liz has broken up with Shaun, Ed explains the whole plot of the film when trying to cheer Shaun up. “First thing tomorrow, we’ll have a Bloody Mary, grab a bite at the King’s Head, have a couple at the Little Princess, stagger back, then come back to the bar for shots.”

I’ve seen ‘Hot Fuzz’ much less than the hundreds of times I’ve seen ‘Shaun’ and so seeing that on the big screen was extremely fun, I enjoyed it more than I ever have. Don’t get me wrong, I love ‘Hot Fuzz’, but ‘Shaun’ just always has a piece of my heart. I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s bromance in their films, ‘Hot Fuzz’, although a different set-up as far as their friendship is concerned, is no different to their ‘Shaun’ relationship.

‘The Worlds End’ on the other hand, is a different story. It was so… odd that Pegg and Frost’s characters were rather frosty towards each other (sorry, couldn’t resist).  I missed their bromance in this film, and although there were amazing laughs and in-jokes a-plenty, I still felt there was some ‘thanks, babe’ missing. I’ve heard a lot of people say that this was their favourite of the whole trilogy. However, like I said, it was good and it was funny, and I loved that they tackled a bit of sci-fi a la ‘Paul’, but all that was sort of clouded by the fact that Simon Pegg’s character, Gary, made me feel slightly uneasy. It was fairly obvious as soon as the film began that Gary had a few problems, and that was built upon throughout the film and so even though I was laughing throughout most of it, I was still a little consciously aware that he was unhappy. And when he’s en route to desperately down his final pint, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for and pity Gary and that made me quite sad that they were ending the trilogy on a bittersweet note.  I think I’m just used to a ‘happy-go-lucky’ Pegg character!

The premise however, the five old friends, pub crawl, blue blooded aliens; perfect! So much fun and somehow, although I’m only 22, quite nostalgic. Me and my friends have a local pub we used to frequent in our teens, and I couldn’t help but sit in the cinema thinking ‘omg it’d be so amazing if aliens attacked when we went to our old local’.

Ultimately, I’m clearly still in love with ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and I think I need to give ‘The World’s End’ another viewing to truly appreciate it. The marathon trilogy itself was an amazing atmosphere, having a room full of fans all passionate about the trilogy is a really good feeling. Each film began with a little message from Pegg, Frost and the director Edgar Wright, with the first message being my favourite; “everytime anyone says the word ‘fuck’ you have to applaud”. And we did. Every time.

…Batman

So, Christian Bale today finally put all those rumors about him reprising his Batman role to bed. He has admitted that as far as the possible future Justice League movie is concerned, he hasn’t been approached and believes that the role is “a torch that should be handed from one actor to another.”

If I’m being completely honest, I’m writing this post rather begrudgingly. I do want to ponder who will be passed this ‘torch’ and discuss pros and cons of different actors who could be suitable to the role. However, I can’t help but think that we need a bit of a Batman break, no? Bale has become almost iconic in the role of Batman, especially for this generation, and so I feel like it should be left alone for a few years before bringing someone new in. Alas, the Justice League rumors are rife, even more so now with the huge success of The Avengers, and so it’s highly likely a new Batman will be wheeled in rather soon. Shall we have a bit of a ponder at who?

Jake Gyllenhaal

jake gyllenhaal

Pros:

He’s the right sort of age. Roles such as Jarhead show that he has the ability to work on his body to become Batman physically.

Cons:

Bit of a baby face? If he grew and maintained a good 5oclock shadow he might be okay.

 

Josh Brolin

josh brolin

Pros:

Looks like a anti-hero, he could play the ‘good guy with demons’ character well. After the next Sin City film is released he’ll become a little more on people’s radar.

Cons:

Perhaps a bit too old? By the time production moves along and they actually get filming he could be hitting 50.

 

Gerard Butler

gerard butlerPros:

Er, did you see his body in 300? He’s well up to the challenge of maintaining a Batman physique. He’s got an attractive enough face which you could see getting into a Batman rage.

Cons:

He was in The Ugly Truth.

 

Idris Elba

idris elba

Pros:

He’s proved his anti-hero worth in Luther and now he’s branching out to Hollywood with Thor and Pacific Rim. Intimidating and exciting onscreen presence.

Cons:

Batman has only ever been portrayed by Caucasian men. Time for a switch up I think!

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

JGL

Pros:

With the way Nolan left TDKR I couldn’t not include him in the list. Whether the Justice League team will bring him across is a different matter.

Cons:

Doesn’t seem to quite have the maturity that Batman has. And like Gyllenhaal, a little baby faced and cute. He’s more of a sidekick.

So what’s your verdict? Who do you think should take over the Batman role?

…Man of Steel (spoilers)

man of steel 2

Bit of background info; I’m not the biggest Superman fan. I love a good superhero film and I love a good summer blockbuster. However, I have never read a comic and can’t even say that I’ve seen every Superman film. But! I was a Lois & Clark fan as a child, y’know the one when Teri Hatcher didn’t look quite as terrifying as she does now. So this discussion will be highly impartial as far as canon character traits and story lines are concerned.

After leaving the cinema I was just filled with that excitement and passion you feel after seeing such a good film you wanna just run back in there and watch it again. Beginning on Krypton with Russell Crowe, I felt like I could have had a whole film focused on these moments of hostility and breakdown upon the planet, alas we got 20minutes. However we were introduced to Superman’s father, the ‘bad guy’ General Zod and a really cool flying dinosaur creature which should have totally gotten more screen time.

Soon we’re introduced to Lois Lane. Oh how I used to both idolise and despise past-Lois’ in equal measure. Lois is intelligent, funny, flirty and yet somehow never made the blindingly obvious connection between Superman and Clark Kent when all that was different was a stupid pair of glasses. I was internally begging Snyder not to make Lois’s character as ignorant and insulting to me as I’d previously seen. Thankfully, right from her introduction Amy Adams’ Lois is smart and intuitive and arrives in a Canadian army-run site to report on ‘something under the ice’ to which she sets off alone to investigate. Lois makes her own decisions and forms her own narrative; such as deciding to accompany Superman onto General Zod’s ship. And I think it creates a slightly different and brilliant dynamic in that Lois knows extremely early that Clark and Superman are the same person. She’s the free thinking human female character who can hold her own in a superhero film that I’ve always wanted to see.

And now, can we just take a moment here to think about just HOW good Michael Shannon as General Zod is…

Okay.

I gotta admit that I love a bad guy who I can sympathise with. Darth Vader being my first when I was a kid, up to Voldemort in Harry Potter and Loki in Thor and the Avengers more recently. If there is even the slightest reason I can be on their side; then I have a soft spot for them. General Zod is literally born to protect and cultivate Krypton, and so when he is fighting Superman and threatening Earth I just wanna be like “oh guysss, sit down and chat about this please!? No one needs to get hurt, he’s just misunderstood!”

However, that’s obviously not what happens. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of smashing and flying through buildings. I’d like to know just how many humans Superman killed versus how many Zod killed when forcibly flying through buildings. I’ve read that this annoyed and miffed quite a few people, however really, in the grand scheme of things, if Superman wasn’t throwing Zod through buildings and perhaps killing a couple of people whilst attempting to kill him, Zod would rack up a hell of a lot more of a death count in the long run. Also, this is potentially just film 1, in any followups Superman can learn from the destruction that was caused in this film and then grow from that and become the good guy who frowns upon killing people.

From a female point of view, Henry Cavill looked near perfect as Superman and although there were a few tweaks with the classic red trunks costume he was visually as Superman as you could get. Superman has always been a rather clean cut superhero; a classic good guy. And so the rather shock ending between Superman and Zod was literally an outloud gasp of shock from me. I have never seen something so brutal in a 12a film; the fact that Superman had time to think about what he had to do and then do it made it so much more barbaric. Usually in superhero films the hero ‘accidentally’ kills the bad guy when they go too far; this was premeditated. Superman’s scream afterwards was literally chilling; again usually those types of screams are cheesy and iffy but you could feel the pain at Superman having to kill his last connection to his home planet in order to save a family from Earth.

I have to mention the special effects used in this film. I watched this in 2D and there wasn’t a single moment where I was pulled out of the film by thinking ‘oh that looked a bit shit’. Particularly good shots were Superman’s flying scenes; some of the over the shoulder shots with his cape fluttering in the wind were glorious. I also love this ‘zoom in’ camera trend we’ve been seeing more and more in Sci-fi’s lately. I think I first saw it used in Battlestar Galactica; where the camera from a wide establishing shot zooms right in on the action. It makes it feel more ugent and more lifelike and gives it a real documentary feel. It was used rather frequently in Man of Steel and it definitely made me feel more immersed in the action.

I am really really hoping for a sequel, I think everything worked well together and I’d love to see a development in the Clark x Lois relationship. As well as the introduction of Lex Luther at some point perhaps? (I saw someone on Tumblr post about how amazing it would be if Natalie Dormer played Luther, and I gotta admit, that sounds amazing. And if not her, a female bad guy in general would be delightful).

So, what did you guys think? Think Snyder pulled it off? Were you unhappy with anything in particular? Let me know!

Why am I here?

Last night I returned from my local cinema filled with excitement after seeing Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’; so much excitement in fact that I began trawling the internet for blogs, videos and critics opinions and views as I became so encompassed in the hype. At the peak of excitement at around midnight, Total Film’s twitter account posted a video of their team discussing and reviewing the film; perfect timing! After hitting play however I became somewhat down heartened at seeing four men sitting around a table. As a woman I wanted to hear what this big blockbuster superhero film meant to females; whether it was considered approachable, how it handled Lois Lane as a character from a female critics point of view. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure these four men know what they’re talking about, it’s why they do what they do, I was just a little miffed that a woman was not included in the discussion. The four guys discussions and banter was still funny and insightful, I would have just liked the input and opinions of a woman.

So today I woke up and found that this video was still playing on my mind and so I began a search for some female internet critics that I could add to my bookmarks… and I searched… and I kept searching…

Instead I found this article explaining how film criticism is even more male-dominated than it was six years ago. More specifically, the study found that of the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes, female critics make up just 18% of the film reviews. At this point I was in disbelief and a little exasperated.

Furiously opening new tabs left, right and centre, I eventually found myself on the Guardian film blog website; now desperate to find myself a well-established female critic preferably employed by a reputable magazine or newspaper site. This effort was mostly just to assure myself that there were some out there. On the first page of the Guardian’s film blog, there was just one article written by a female and another fourteen articles written by male critics.

Now, I know that I haven’t spent weeks and months slowly searching the internet for female film critics and I am 100% sure that there are some amazing ones out there. However, in my couple of hours of searching, shouldn’t there be a fair few more that I should have stumbled upon?!

Hence my creation of this little blog.

I am a former media student and I am an avid film and television watcher however I am not going to pretend that I know anything more than any other film critic. I am however going to have my own opinions and unique take on films. I enjoy discussing films, tv shows and pop culture, and I know that I bore my family and friends when attempting to do this with them as they aren’t really interested in how I felt when that specific camera angle did that thing over that guy’s shoulder.

So here’s my first post. A bit of why this came to be created I suppose. A mixture of always wanting to begin a blog and the last push that discovering that article about female critics gave me to finally create one. I understand that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of film blogs out there and so I don’t expect avid readers; I am doing this because I love it and if someone else does too then that’s just great.