Let The Right One In (2008) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Eric of The IPC. He’s already done reviews for Se7en (HERE) & Twelve Monkeys (HERE) & There Will Be Blood (HERE) & Fight Club (HERE). Thanks so much for all these reviews, Eric! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about Let The Right One In, IMDB rank 250 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

Sorry! Don’t mean to sound dramatic – I just love that line. :-)

Anyway, I need to take a bit of a break from my blog. I’m sure it won’t be a permanent thing as I enjoy chatting with you all too much! I’ll see how I feel in a month or so. In the meantime, I have a lot of IMDB Top 250 guest reviews to post still so I’ll continue posting those once a week. I’ve watched several lately myself so I may sneak some of my own IMDB reviews in there as well.

I’m off to sleep off a nasty cold now but I promise I’ll catch up on replying to all your comments from the past week soon. And thanks for all your comments on my silly reviews – I really do appreciate it & I’m sorry I’ve had a hard time keeping up on reading all your blogs lately.

Talk to you all soon! I’ll still be around and I’ll still be replying. It may take me a while sometimes but I’ll never leave a comment unanswered. :-)

CPD Classics: The Stepford Children (1987) Review

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The Stepford Children (1987)

Directed by Alan J Levi

Starring:
Barbara Eden
Don Murray
Randall Batinkoff
Tammy Lauren
Richard Anderson

Running time: 96 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
The Stepford Children is one of three made-for-TV sequels to the 1975 film The Stepford Wives. In this sequel, Steven and Laura Harding & their teenage children David and Mary have just moved to Stepford. Steven joins the town’s mysterious “Men’s Association” and Laura and her children soon begin to realize that something isn’t quite right in all-too-perfect Stepford.

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My Opinion:

You know how, when you’re young, you watch something and become really fond of it and still like it years later even though you know it’s not “good”? This TV movie is probably my biggest guilty pleasure. None of you would like it & I’m not recommending it. I’m just going to talk about it because I LOVED THIS THING when I was about 13 and watched the videotape I’d recorded it onto over and over until finally tracking down a VHS copy years later in the UK where I believe it actually had a limited cinema release. The VHS tape had that dodgy cover at the very top of this post. Hilarious! No one in the movie looks anything like that. Here’s an old ad I found for it & it’s much more accurate:

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The girl in this ad is Tammy Lauren and she was one of several actresses I was obsessed with as a teen (I discussed this recently when I talked of my love for Catherine Mary Stewart in my Night Of The Comet review HERE. Oh – and I’d like to add that Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney, the other girl in that film, both retweeted me & now follow me on Twitter. Freaking awesome!!!). ;-)

I loved Tammy Lauren in The Stepford Children – she had her own style and a cool attitude and didn’t always follow the rules so of course didn’t fit in when her family moved to Stepford, where all the wives and children were a little too “perfect”. I always wondered why she wasn’t in more stuff beyond TV other than Wishmaster (she was also in another great TV movie called I Saw What You Did – maybe I’ll review that next October! I’m sure you all can’t wait for that…). Look at her hair! Oh how I remember my Aqua Net days…

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Anyway – does everyone know what The Stepford Wives is about? I’m not talking about that awful remake with Nicole Kidman! I mean the 1975 film that’s a bit of a cult classic. You know – this thing:

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Well, I saw The Stepford Children with no knowledge of The Stepford Wives so it probably helped my enjoyment a bit as I wasn’t 100% sure what was up with the strange women & children of Stepford. I just really liked the two teens (Tammy Lauren & her brother, played by Randall Batinkoff). Oh, and I just looked Randall Batinkoff up at IMDB HERE – he’s turned into a hottie! Anyway… Where was I? God this review sucks. Basically, I liked this movie because of these two plus the boy’s girlfriend, who was the only other teen living in Stepford who appeared to be “normal”. Their dad joins the “Men’s Association” after they move to Stepford and they (and their mom – played by I Dream Of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden) start to become suspicious of this organization and the odd behavior of the Stepford residents. It’s all very predictable & silly and the ending, which kind of freaked me out at the time, will honestly just make you laugh if you somehow manage to watch this now. Here’s a spoiler-y glimpse:

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Yeah… I know… A little dodgy. How about this?

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Lol! I don’t care. I love this movie and I know it’s because I was young when I saw it & I just really bought into the characters & story at the time. It’s a fun made-for-TV movie and, for years, I’ve been wanting to see the one they made after this one (The Stepford Husbands). I like the sound of THAT – I’d like to order up the Chris Hemsworth model! Seriously, though – if you have the slightest bit of interest in these films, just watch the original Stepford Wives. The idea of “the perfect wife & family” was a little more relevant to 1975 and is probably partly why none of the later films really worked (especially that godawful remake in 2004 – it was a very old-fashioned concept by then). The Stepford Children is probably about as good as these horrible grainy images look but I still love it anyway. (And, yes – I did rewatch it again recently for this review). ;-)

My Rating: 7/10

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ATM (2012) Review

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ATM (2012)

Directed by David Brooks

Starring:
Brian Geraghty
Alice Eve
Josh Peck

Running Time: 90 minutes (so, 80 minutes too long)

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
On a late night visit to an ATM, three co-workers end up in a desperate fight for their lives when they become trapped by an unknown man.

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My Opinion:

I reviewed House At The End Of The Street recently and was a total snobby bitch about how awful it was. Well, you know what? That was The Godfather compared to this pile of shit! When I first read about this I thought “Three people trapped in one of those little ATM shelter things I think they only have in big cities in America as I’ve only ever seen one in that episode of Friends where Chandler got locked in one with a famous model? Can that really work for a whole 90 minute movie?” NO! Apparently it can’t!!!

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Well, I don’t know – maybe it could have worked with a better script & characters. Hell, I liked Panic Room. Come to think of it, there was also that Ryan Reynolds movie where he’s buried underground for the whole thing and that wasn’t TOO bad, although I didn’t love it (oh – that was actually written by the same guy who wrote ATM! just noticed that on the poster above). Oh, and I have yet to see Locke, which is just Tom Hardy in a car, but THAT looks good. So, okay – the concept here maybe wasn’t all that bad. I guess the problem is the idiotic characters, stupid script, a totally generic “bad guy”, and one of those horror movie endings that makes you go “what the hell was the point of all that?!”

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Alice Eve is hot, though. Why do the boys in the audience get her while we have to look at the two dorks above? Really?? That kid from Drake & Josh??? He was also in the Red Dawn remake I suffered through recently. Ugh. If for some reason you’re a fan of his, do yourself a favor & watch the movie Mean Creek instead. That was pretty good. Do NOT watch this! I’m bored. Summary time!

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Summary:

Two guys, one girl with big cups. Stuck in an ATM thingy for 90 minutes while some psycho torments them (and us!) for no reason whatsoever. Yawnfest.

My Rating: 3.5/10

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IMDB Top 250 Horror Recap

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I’d like to thank everyone who has done a guest review for my IMDB Top 250 Challenge. I should have planned ahead & saved the horror reviews for October. I’ve kept a few of my favorite Top 250 horrors for myself to review someday so will post one of those the last week of this month and have another review of a modern horror classic from Guest Reviewer Eric posting next week.

As I don’t have a new review of a horror movie from the Top 250 today, I figured I’d post this horror recap with links to the guest reviews (and one I did myself) in case you missed them. Thanks again, everyone! I’ll continue posting the IMDB reviews every Tuesday for the rest of this year then will see how many I have for 2015 as the guest reviews have started drying up. Does anyone want to join in who hasn’t yet done one? Let me know. :-)

Se7en 1995 (Guest Reviewer: The IPC)

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The Silence Of The Lambs 1991 (Guest Reviewer: Raging Fluff)

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Pan’s Labyrinth 2006 (Guest Reviewer: Cameron’s Pit Of Terror)

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The Sixth Sense 1999 (Guest Reviewer: Flick Chicks)

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The Exorcist 1973 (Guest Reviewer: Celluloid Junkie)

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Rosemary’s Baby 1968 (Guest Reviewer: Film Grimoire)

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Nosferatu 1922 (Reviewed By Me)

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The Host (2006) Review

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The Host (2006) (Goemul)

Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Starring:
Song Kang-ho
Byun Hee-bong
Park Hae-il
Bae Doona
Go Ah-sung

Running time: 119 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Host is a 2006 South Korean monster film. The movie concerns a monster kidnapping a man’s daughter, and his attempts to rescue her. According to the director, his inspiration came from a local article about a deformed fish with an S-shaped spine caught in Han River.

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My Opinion:

I watched this a while back but hadn’t reviewed it as I wasn’t sure what to say about it. I’d been wanting to see it for ages as I thought it looked really good and it’s had a lot of positive reviews. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it although I know it’s quite a “good” film. I definitely preferred A Tale Of Two Sisters, another South Korean horror movie I watched more recently.

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The Host is actually a political satire but I’m not going to pretend to have a lot of knowledge about that or attempt to discuss that aspect of it – you’d be able to find better discussions of that online. I’ll just talk about what I thought of it as a “monster movie”, which is the reason I watched it. As a monster movie, I thought it was pretty good! I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by showing pictures of the monster as this isn’t one of those movies where you hardly see the monster – you see it a lot and it looks good so I was happy about that.

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The movie also had a great and very promising start. We get to know the main characters pretty well straight away and I immediately liked the young girl and the relationship with her father. The father is… Simple? Slow? Maybe just really immature? You don’t at first realize he’s the girl’s father as she’s the mature and responsible one and seems to be the one taking care of HIM. They’re very sweet together, though, and it’s a shame we don’t get to see a little more of them together at the beginning before she’s kidnapped by the monster (not a spoiler – the movie is about her kidnapping and her family’s attempt to then rescue her). I was back & forth on how I felt about the father. At times you feel for him as he’s sweet and childlike and clearly loves his daughter but the stupid things he does throughout the movie get a bit frustrating. I liked his father, who was always standing up for his son, but his brother and sister felt a bit wasted in this movie (especially the archery champion sister). It’s unfortunate that this bickering bunch get much more screen time than the young girl, who was by far the best character (in my opinion anyway).

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I’m not sure what else to say. The girl is great, I loved her relationship with her father, the monster looked good, and the opening of the film was very promising with good character development and an exciting scene when the monster appears and wreaks havoc before kidnapping the girl. It falls apart in the middle, however, as we watch the family search for the girl. The other characters were just far less interesting than the girl and their bickering and stupidity was a little annoying at times. Also, I really didn’t like how this movie ended (obviously I won’t give that away but I don’t mean the very final scene – that was good and I liked it a lot). It’s hard to know how to rate this as I think it IS a good movie and I’d recommend it if you like monster movies and/or foreign horror films. I really liked the beginning but found myself a little bored until the ending that I didn’t find very satisfying. Good monster movie with characters that are well-developed (for a horror movie) but definitely flawed in the middle.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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CPD Classics: Night Of The Comet (1984) Review

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Night Of The Comet (1984)

Directed by Thom Eberhardt

Starring:
Catherine Mary Stewart
Kelli Maroney
Robert Beltran
Sharon Farrell
Mary Woronov
Geoffrey Lewis
Peter Fox
John Achorn
Michael Bowen

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls to fight the evil types who survive.

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First of all, I know I promised “Zombie Fridays” through October but I’ve had to change my schedule slightly so may not manage that. I’ll try. Night Of The Comet is KIND OF a zombie movie! Second of all, I should point out that CPD Classics are simply some of my all-time favorite movies or movies I just feel deserve more attention. Not all of them will necessarily be “good” but they’re all special to me (like Hardware!). Night Of The Comet won’t be for everyone but I grew up with it and it’ll always make me think of my early teens and make me feel all nostalgic.

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

Night Of The Comet is part of the post-apocalyptic genre that I adore. I did a list of My Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Movies HERE and gave this an honorable mention. I think that’s back when I wanted you all to take me seriously but, if I’m honest, this would be in my Top Ten. This is certainly one of the movies most responsible for my fascination with this genre.

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So, as the above plot synopsis says, a comet wipes out pretty much everyone on Earth besides the two sisters in this film and a small group of scientists who were the only ones smart enough to worry about the comet and took shelter. Oh, and it also turned some people with limited exposure to the comet into “zombies”. See? Zombies! (Don’t go expecting a full-on zombie movie, though – there are only a few of them!)

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There truly aren’t many survivors in this movie and I was always quite fascinated with how desolate it is (think Will Smith in I Am Legend or Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later). These two girls are left roaming around these silent big city streets and there’s not a soul in sight (except for a couple of those zombies). They first go to this great massively 80’s-looking radio station as they figure there may be survivors there since the station is still on the air. Then, and this is my FAVORITE bit, they realize they can go to THE MALL and take whatever they want since everyone is dead! So we get this great 80’s montage where the sisters, seemingly not too terribly bothered about the planet being wiped out, go on a fun little shopping spree and try on loads of clothes. I LOVE IT. Now, I’ve never been a girly girl but I first saw this when I was 12 or 13 and I think a small part of me wished for a similar scenario in real life so I, too, could go on a post-apocalyptic shopping spree. Is that fucked up?? Lol. Screw that shopping spree in Pretty Woman (where Julia Roberts shows those snobby bitches that she’s not just a slut, she’s a slut with MONEY!). Night Of The Comet has THE best cinematic girly shopping spree.

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Now, onto the characters… The little sister is played by Kelli Maroney and, when I used to watch this all the time, I found her character a little annoying. I actually did re-watch this for the first time in years the other day and liked her much more. She’s just very “young” and she’s meant to be the less mature one who kind of needs to be taken care of by her older sister. It’s quite cute how the only thing she cares about with everyone dead is the fact that she may never have another boyfriend plus I have a soft spot for her as she was also in Fast Times At Ridgemont High and the awesomely bad (but I love it anyway) Chopping Mall.

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Probably the MAIN reason I liked Night Of The Comet so much, however, was because of the older sister (played by the lovely Catherine Mary Stewart). She’s COOL. There are a few (mostly obscure) actresses I wanted to “be” as a young teen. Regulars here will already know how much I loved Elisabeth Shue in Adventures In Babysitting. I also had a thing for Meredith Salenger (most her movies were crap but I wanted to look like her) and Tammy Lauren (a prize to the first person who can name something she’s been in without looking her up! she’s going to be in another review of mine this month). Then there was Catherine Mary Stewart in THIS. First of all, she works at a movie theater which I thought was pretty cool. She’s wearing this dumb uniform at the beginning but manages to look awesome in it. She’s also screwing the projectionist, which is super cool (yeah – I think it would kick ass to make out in that little room while a movie is playing). Hell, it’s what saves her life as she’s not outside when the comet appears!

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Let’s see… She’s also amazing at playing video games (she’s super pissed off that some new initials have emerged in amongst all her high scores on the video game at the movie theater where she works). Oh! And… She’s good at fighting off zombies and is really good with a gun as the girls’ father was in the military or something and taught them both how to shoot (now very convenient for these comet-apocalypse girls!). Finally, she wears the coolest 80’s clothes and is of course totally attractive.

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Summary:

Wow. I hope none of you actually read any of that above – it sounds like I was a massive geek! Well, all kids are geeks at that age, right? This is the first CPD Classic that I actually re-watched before writing my review as I hadn’t seen it in a long time. I already knew it wasn’t that “good” so was expecting it to be horribly dated now. You know what? It’s better than I remember. I can’t say anyone watching this for the first time now is going to love it unless they love 80’s movies (and this is VERY 80’s) but it’s a fun film and has a very “cult classic” feel to it now. There are plenty of 80’s films I still adore even though I will readily admit that they’ve not aged well but I was very surprised to find that, after re-watching Night Of The Comet, it’s actually gone up in my estimation. Worth a watch for lovers of the 80’s, anything post-apocalyptic, zombies, video games, girls dressed as cheerleaders while shooting guns, no thorough plot explanations, and shopping.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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The Return Of The Living Dead (1985) Review

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The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Directed by Dan O’Bannon

Starring:
Clu Gulager
James Karen
Don Calfa
Thom Mathews
Beverly Randolph
John Philbin
Jewel Shepard
Miguel A. Núñez Jr
Brian Peck
Linnea Quigley
Mark Venturini
Jonathan Terry
Allan Trautman

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Return of the Living Dead is a 1985 American black comedy/zombie horror film that tells the story of how three men accompanied by a group of teenage punks deal with the accidental release of a horde of brain hungry zombies onto an unsuspecting town. The film is known for introducing the popular concept of zombies eating brains, as opposed to just eating human flesh, like previous zombie iterations, as well as its soundtrack, which features several noted deathrock and punk rock bands of the era.

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My Opinion:

Confession time: any regulars here will know that my first love when it comes to movies are those from the 70s & 80s and that I’ve seen my fair share from those decades. However, I never saw this one. This is a movie people like THIS GUY and THIS GUY love and one of them will moan at me for not being all like “Oh my god this is the best movie EVER!!!” like he did when I reviewed Night Of The Creeps HERE even though I gave it a positive review. ;-) I’ll probably compare the two movies a bit as they’re a similar genre from the same era & I didn’t see either of them until years later.

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I’m still trying to decide which film I prefer. Overall, I think I liked the story and characters in Night Of The Creeps a bit more but think The Return Of The Living Dead is actually the better movie and script & slightly more my thing as I do love my zombies. As with Night Of The Creeps, however, I won’t ever love it in the same way I might have had I seen it as a young teen and grown up with it.

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So, anyway – the director of this film wrote a few other obscure things such as the Total Recall screenplay and, um… the story for something called… Alien?

In The Return Of The Living Dead, one of the female characters rips her clothes off at the beginning and then runs around fully nude for the ENTIRE movie. I’m sure this made those two guys I mentioned earlier quite happy, especially as horny teenage boys. For an old lady watching this for the first time now, it was a bit of a chuckle at first then got a little tiresome. This is from the guy who created the story that gave us one of the strongest (and probably my favorite) female movie characters of all-time. Lol. No, I’m not being a prude – I just found it kind of funny. (I’ve looked into this as I was curious and he actually wrote them all as generic non-gender-specific characters for Alien so he wasn’t the one who created the final character of Ripley. FYI in case you’re curious too!). Hey – the naked actress in this follows me on Twitter which I think is kind of awesome so I’m not really complaining. ;-) This movie is a laugh and I did have fun with it. Ellen Ripley rules, though! I know which character I’d rather have with me in a zombie apocalypse – she’d be awesome fending off the zombies with her flame thrower.

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Summary:

I’m not being harsh – I enjoyed this movie quite a lot. I got a good few laughs out of it too (“send more paramedics…” lol! that was hilarious!). If anything, my main criticism would be that I felt this was too short and the ending was pretty abrupt. Being a typical horror movie, I’m assuming there may be longer cuts of the film? I’ve not looked into it but this is one case where I actually wanted the movie to go on for longer. So, that’s probably a good sign that I was enjoying it. I liked the “punks” and love how that ties the movie to an era I love but the characters I actually liked the most were all the older men in this. A bit more character development would have been nice but I know this movie is more about the fun, the cheesy gore, and the laughs. Hey, if “black comedy/zombie horror” is your type of genre, you should be watching this if for some odd reason you haven’t seen it. Yes, I think I’d rate this one above Night Of The Creeps. In fact, I think it probably doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. When you think about it, this was 19 years before Shaun Of The Dead but certainly doesn’t seem to get mentioned as often as that one does.

Actually, I’d really like to watch this one again…

My Rating: 8/10

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**FYI: This movie is waaaaaay better than Life After Beth. THIS is a proper zombie comedy.

Life After Beth (2014) Review

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Life After Beth (2014)

Directed by Jeff Baena

Starring:
Aubrey Plaza
Dane DeHaan
Molly Shannon
Cheryl Hines
Paul Reiser
Matthew Gray Gubler
John C Reilly
Anna Kendrick

Running time: 89 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young man’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.

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My Opinion:

I can’t figure out how I feel about Aubrey Plaza. I’ve never seen Parks And Recreation. I first saw her in Safety Not Guaranteed, which I didn’t exactly love but I didn’t mind her. Then I saw her in a couple interviews and thought she was kind of weirdly funny. Then I watched that awful The To Do List and she just got on my nerves. This is my “horror month”, however, so I figured I’d check this movie out as I love a decent zombie movie (even though there are too many of them now).

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This movie had potential even though it’s too much of the same old “been there done that” when it comes to zombie comedy. The title is perfect and it makes you wonder if they came up with the title first then tried to write a movie around it. Some of this movie works but most of it doesn’t. Unfortunately, the weakest thing about the film is its two main characters (played by Aubrey Plaza & Dane DeHaan). I didn’t really like Plaza in this one – she played the role fine, I guess, but it possibly could have been a bit better with a different actress. That funny-looking Dane DeHaan was fine (sorry, Zoe – I think he’s a little funny-looking). ;-) I liked him most in Chronicle but it feels like he plays that same sort of role too much and his role in this one is somewhat similar in that he’s again a “troubled youth with issues”. Oh well – the role suits him. His main issue in this one is that he seems perfectly happy to have sex with a girl who has just returned from the dead and is very likely a zombie. Ew. The ROT…

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I understand the point this movie is trying to make about relationships and how we can sometimes stay in unhealthy ones because we find it hard to let go. It doesn’t work that well in the film, though, as I really didn’t care at all about the two main characters (especially poor Beth, who we don’t get to know at all in “life” – we only see her as a thoroughly unlikable zombie-girl made to represent the stereotypical “crazy bitch” girlfriend, which was almost a little sexist & insulting). It may have been better if we’d seen her as she was before her death. Maybe. I don’t know.

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What DOES work fairly well in this movie are all the lesser characters that provide the comic relief. Both sets of parents (John C Reilly & Molly Shannon as Plaza’s and Cheryl Hines & Paul Reiser as DeHaan’s) were pretty funny and I liked DeHaan’s asshole brother (Matthew Gray Gubler), who was a little bit like Bill Paxton in Weird Science. I wish these characters had had more screen time and that we’d had more of the overall story explained & happening all along (there’s a bit more to it than just “girlfriend comes back from the dead”) but, unfortunately, they chose to pretty much focus ONLY on the relationship between Plaza & DeHaan. This may have worked if their characters had been at all developed so that the audience cared one way or another what would happen to them. Without knowing what their relationship was like before the death, it just seemed a bit pointless.

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Summary:

Pretty pointless zombie-romance-comedy when there are plenty of better ones out there in this day & age of zombie movie obsessiveness. Just watch Zombieland or Shaun Of The Dead if you want a zombie comedy (or the movie I’ll be reviewing tomorrow) or Warm Bodies if you want this weird new genre of zombie romance. Those are good – Life After Beth is not. A waste of a good movie title.

My Rating: 5.5/10

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The Sixth Sense (1999) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Allie & Jenna of Flick Chicks. Thanks for the review, girls! :-) Now let’s hear them discuss The Sixth Sense, IMDB rank 143 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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Allie’s thoughts are in blue & Jenna’s are in red

Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is a young boy who can communicate with spirits that don’t know they’re dead. He spends a lot of time with a child psychiatrist, Dr Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) to try and help his problem.

The Sixth Sense is a really hard film for me to review. I first watched it at a sleepover with my friends when I was about 12, and just as we pressed play, my friend blurted out ‘Oh, this is the film where *insert major spoiler here*’. I have to admit, that really killed it for me. If I could somehow come across a time machine, I think one of the first things I would do is go back to that year and watch the film alone, spoiler free.

I got to watch this completely spoiler free, I think I went to the cinema with my friend Hayley to see it – I was terrified the whole way through.  The down side was I missed a lot of the story because I constantly had my cardigan over my face waiting for something to jump out!  It was only after I watched the whole film that I realised it wasn’t that kind of horror but by then I knew the ‘major spoiler’ so the second (non-scared) time just didn’t have the same impact.  Also, my friend started belting me in the arm (Allie will confirm that this is something I also have a nasty habit of doing when something exciting/scary/interesting happens in a film! - It’s true, I still have the bruises) when the wedding ring dropped, she knew what was going on and I didn’t have a clue!  I’m pretty sure she had to explain the spoiler to me afterwards as well! ha!

However, back to the film.  I did love this film, apart from being scared the story is great and Haley Joel Osment was brilliant as the terrified Cole and Bruce Willis actually does well in a non-action hero role.  The ending definitely makes this film as it can become a little slow in the middle, but that is all forgotten when the film ends.  I generally love M Night Shyamalan films anyway, I think I am the only one of my friends/family who enjoyed The Village, I thought it was really clever and Signs was hilarious

The scenes of teenagers who have blown their brains out and women hanged from the ceiling still terrify me but it’s worth it to see the story play out.

Do you fancy feeling like a total old person? This is what the little boy, Cole looks like now:

Wow, I feel old now!!

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This is a film that everyone should watch at least once. There are a few films in the Top 250 that I question, but this firmly deserves it’s place. I wish I could give it a 10/10 but it’s just not the same knowing how it ends.

This is a must watch for everyone, just don’t be scared and ruin it for yourselves, its not that kind of horror movie.

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House At The End Of The Street (2012) Review

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House At The End Of The Street (2012)

Directed by Mark Tonderai

Starring:
Jennifer Lawrence
Max Thieriot
Gil Bellows
Elisabeth Shue
Eva Link
Nolan Gerard Funk
Allie MacDonald

Running time: 101 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film’s plot revolves around a teenage girl named Elissa who, along with her newly divorced mother Sarah, moves to a new neighborhood only to discover that the house at the end of the street was the site of a gruesome double murder committed by a girl named Carrie Anne who disappeared without a trace. Elissa then starts a relationship with Carrie Anne’s brother Ryan, who now lives in the same house.

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My Opinion:

Well, this was a load of shit. That was easy! Review over. ;-)

Okay – I suppose it’s not the absolute worst “PG-13 horror” EVER but when you’re old like me & you’ve seen a million movies, you like to see something that feels at least somewhat original. The “surprise” ending was soooo NOT surprising – it’s been done before and done much better. Honestly, the ending is just plain stupid and almost felt like an insult to the audience. However, maybe I’m just too old & bitter. A young teen who hasn’t watched many movies like this may like it okay and not say “Really?! Oh, fuck off!” to the screen at the end. (Yes, I did tell this movie to fuck off)

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I knew this was meant to be pretty bad but I figured I’d check it out anyway as I like Jennifer Lawrence okay and have loved Elisabeth Shue since my teenage obsession with Adventures In Babysitting. I know Shue has been in some dodgy shit in recent years but what’s Lawrence doing in this?? Well, both actresses do the best they can with the material, I guess. Lawrence’s character of course doesn’t listen to her mother’s warnings and keeps hanging out with Ryan, the son of the murdered couple who used to live next door (and possible psychopath??? who knows! and who the fuck cares!). This is just one of those movies where the characters do stupid things that annoy you. I was bored. I was only half paying attention at the end and ended up thoroughly confused over a couple of things but couldn’t be arsed to rewind and rewatch. So I filled in the gaps reading Wikipedia. Yeah, I didn’t miss much – the story was still shit!

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Summary:

This sucks. A boring and thoroughly unoriginal example of PG-13 horror BLANDNESS. Ugh. I don’t recommend this unless you’ve never ever watched another movie in your life. If this is the first movie you ever watch, maybe you won’t be able to guess what will happen pretty much every step of the way. However, if you’ve never ever watched a movie before, it would make me really sad if you started with this one! So, yeah – I guess I don’t actually recommend this to anyone.

My Rating: 4/10

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**I saw this great YouTube video recently called “WTF Happened To PG-13?” that I thought would be good to share now. I know I’ve said before that I’m a wuss on extreme violence and am sometimes happier with my “PG-13″ horror films. However, I hate how the rating is too often used just for BAD teenage horror and often also as an excuse to release some “uncut” version later on DVD. The video shows how PG-13 used to push the boundaries of the PG rating and nowadays, instead, it’s used water down R-rated films and turn them into “PG-13 Blandness” like this. Anyway – it’s an interesting video if you want to check it out. :-)

Gone Girl (2014) Review

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****SPOILER-FREE REVIEW****

Gone Girl (2014)

Directed by David Fincher

Based on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Starring:
Ben Affleck
Rosamund Pike
Neil Patrick Harris
Tyler Perry
Carrie Coon
Kim Dickens

Running time: 149 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

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My Opinion:

Yes, I’ve read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (you can read my review of the book HERE – also spoiler-free). I really will keep this short as it’s a hard movie to discuss without spoilers and, for those who haven’t read the book, I hate the thought of anyone spoiling the story for you. It’s a GREAT story and it’s what I loved the most about the book. I’ll say now that, if you’ve read the book, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the film. If you haven’t read the book, I think you’ll enjoy the film even more as you’ll be getting to watch the story unfold without any knowledge of what’s going to happen next. You’ll be getting to experience the same feeling I had reading the book, which I read very quickly as I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

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I had my doubts about Ben Affleck being in this as he wasn’t at all what I pictured and seemed a bit too old. Well, you know what? He’s great in this! I was happier with Rosamund Pike being cast as she did fit my picture of the character. She’s absolutely amazing as Amy! I’m very happy with all the performances but especially Affleck, Pike, and Kim Dickens who does a fantastic job playing the main detective. Carrie Coon is also good as Affleck’s twin sister but her character felt a little less explored than in the book where she was one of my favorite characters.

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As far as movie adaptations of books go, I’m happy to say they’ve done an excellent job with this one. As always, things had to be left out to keep the running time down but I don’t think it was anything that hurt the story in any way. You of course aren’t going to get quite as much character development as you will in a book but they came very close to achieving as much as possible, especially with the main and most important characters. I’d have liked to see more of Rosamund Pike as I didn’t feel they captured her character as well as in the book (through no fault of Pike’s, though – again, this will just be down to time restraints).

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Summary:

This movie is very good. I don’t think many people will find it better than Fincher’s Fight Club or Seven but I think it comes fairly close in some ways. I know some people have been a little disappointed with his more recent efforts but I can’t see many people coming out of Gone Girl and saying they didn’t at least enjoy the story and the performances. In a way, I’m jealous of those who get to watch this without having read the book as I never enjoy a film as much if I’ve read the book (especially this sort of genre) as it loses its impact when you know the outcome. I’m very happy with the adaptation, though. Seriously – I have no complaints there and think they’ve done a pretty damn good job achieving all they did in 149 minutes as it’s a very complex story and set of characters. Well done to all involved! I definitely recommend this one and, if you’ve not read the book, I’d almost say to watch the movie first and then read the book to further flesh out the characters. This is probably the first time I’d EVER say to do things in that order! I just think you’ll have a great time with this movie if you go into it knowing as little as possible.

My Rating: 8/10

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Dolls (1987) Review

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I’ve done of review of the fantastically cheesy 80’s horror film Dolls for Tyson Carter’s ‘Recommended By’ Blogathon over at Head In A Vice. I somehow managed to miss this film in the 80s and liked the sound of it from Laura’s review of it HERE over at FilmNerdBlog.

You can read my review of Dolls on Tyson’s site HERE. Thanks for letting me participate, Tyson! And thanks for always reviewing such wonderful and somewhat obscure films, Laura! I always discover some great stuff on your blog. :-)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) Review

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A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) (Janghwa, Hongryeon)

Directed by Kim Jee-woon

Starring:
Im Soo-jung
Moon Geun-young
Yeom Jeong-ah
Kim Kap-soo

Running time: 115 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A Tale of Two Sisters is a 2003 South Korean psychological horror film. The film is inspired by a Joseon Dynasty folktale entitled “Janghwa Hongryeon jeon”, which has been adapted to film several times. The plot focuses on two sisters who, after returning home from a psychiatric hospital, experience increasingly disturbing events involving both them and their stepmother.

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My Opinion:

Happy October! Time to kick off a month of horror reviews… :-)

I’d been wanting to see this movie ever since I first saw that great bloody poster up there and read what the movie was about. Then, several years later, I ended up watching The Uninvited without realizing that it was the American remake of this film. And you know what? I quite liked that movie! Yep. I can be a bit of a snob about remakes sometimes but, screw it – I’m a “PG-13 horror” kind of girl and The Uninvited is right up my alley. I make no apologies! However, I was a bit annoyed when I realized that I’d watched the remake before seeing the original. So, what did I think of the original after finally seeing it the other day?

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I’m not going to spend the whole time comparing the two movies – they’re very different. The American one is, of course, much more literal & neatly ties things up for us at the end. The main basic story is there but was changed quite a lot. I like them both in different ways although A Tale Of Two Sisters is, of course, the superior film. What I really liked about this movie was the relationship between the sisters – they were very close & totally believable as sisters as well as best friends. I liked how protective the older girl was of her younger sister and it made me want a sibling. Both girls were very good in this & helped make the film more enjoyable for me. You really want things to work out for them.

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The story itself is a good one – it’s one that will keep you guessing as to what’s really going on (as long as you’ve not seen the remake beforehand. Grr!). However, there were still surprises in store for me as the story wasn’t exactly the same. The step-mother was good as the “evil” (and possibly insane?) woman who stole the girls’ father from their mother. I’m not sure if, at the end, things really added up? I’d perhaps watch this again with the knowledge of the ending to see if the pieces fully fall into place. Like I say, the American one didn’t really leave any loose ends but, hey – you know us Americans: We need it all spelled out for us. ;-)

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As for the “scare factor”? I’ll admit that this one did give me the heebie jeebies and I jumped a good couple of times. I’m a naturally jumpy person so making me jump doesn’t mean much – what I look for in a horror movie instead of just your usual “jump scares” is one that I’m still thinking about when I go to bed at night and that makes me think twice about turning off the lights. This one is one of those types of movies and… Well, I never sleep in pitch black darkness anyway as I don’t like the dark but I’ll admit I kept an extra light on after watching this one. Like an idiot, I watched it alone late at night and it DID manage to creep me out a little (not many movies do). THAT’S my favorite type of horror – the “psychological” horror or a really good ghost story. Slashers don’t scare me but give me something supernatural and I’m freaked out. A Tale Of Two Sisters is a very good example of these types of horror films and I definitely recommend it to fans of this sort of genre. It’s not the best or scariest horror film ever but those who know me will know I’m very picky when it comes to horror movies and find the vast majority of them to be extremely disappointing. Overall, I was pretty impressed with A Tale Of Two Sisters.

My Rating: 7/10

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I Origins (2014) Review

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I Origins (2014)

Directed by Mike Cahill

Starring:
Michael Pitt
Brit Marling
Astrid Berges-Frisbey
Steven Yeun
Archie Panjabi
William Mapother
Cara Seymour

Running time: 106 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB):
A molecular biologist and his laboratory partner uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it.

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My Opinion:

Has anyone else seen this? Has anyone even heard of it?? Well, it showed up at a cinema near me & I liked the sound of it after reading that it was another Brit Marling film (written & directed by the same guy who directed Another Earth & co-wrote the script for that one with her). I quite liked Another Earth so the hubby & I went to this one today and we were the ONLY ones watching it. Don’t you love it when that happens?? :-)

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As far as Brit Marling films go, I liked I Origins a lot more than Sound Of My Voice (which I reviewed HERE). But did I like it better than Another Earth?? Hmm… I think I actually did. It’s very similar to the style and the sort of themes explored in Another Earth. I think. You know, I’m not one to really think TOO hard about movies and I’m terrible about noticing things like symbolism and all that. Luckily, I had the hubby with me today to point out a lot of things that I’d have otherwise missed in this movie and it helped me to appreciate the film a bit more (but don’t tell him I said that). I especially liked his theories on the lift (elevator to you Americans). Maybe I’ll further explore all that in my mind. First, though, I need some lunch as I haven’t had anything other than popcorn!

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Let’s see… I’m not sure how much to say about this movie as I think it’s really best to not spoil it in any way. As you can tell by the pictures (and the poster), eyes are very important to the plot. Michael Pitt & Brit Marling are scientists who research the evolution of eyes (to put it very basically – there’s a bit more to it but that was all a bit over my head). There’s a lot of talk of God vs Science and all that. This is very “indie”, though, so it won’t be for everyone. It’s a “sci-fi drama” and, just like Another Earth, uses sci-fi more as the backdrop while it’s actually exploring human relations and how we’re so different yet so connected. I’m going to wrap this up now because I probably don’t really know what I’m talking about.

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Summary:

If you’re a patient person who likes an intriguing story that takes its time exploring the characters and throwing a lot of symbolism out there before getting a bit more in-depth as to what the movie is REALLY about, you might like this. If you hate indie films and you weren’t a fan of Another Earth, it’s unlikely that you’d enjoy this movie. It’s very slow-paced, yes. But, as much as I love having a cinema to myself, I’m sad to see movies like these go so unnoticed. I KNEW we’d be the only ones watching this film today. Yet I dread to think how many people will be at that same cinema watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when it finally comes out here. It’s a sad world we live in…

I recommend this to fans of Another Earth for sure. Overall, I think I even preferred I Origins to that film as I liked the story and characters a bit more. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to see it as I believe it’s a pretty limited release in the UK right now as well as in America back in July.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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**Edit to add: Oh! I forgot! There IS a scene at the very end after all the credits that you should probably stay for….

October HORROR FEST starting tomorrow at Cinema Parrot Disco!

Okay – it won’t be much of a “fest” but it’ll hopefully be a bit of fun for the few people who occasionally stop by on this blog. :-) Last year I did this whole “Halloween Horror Fest” where I reviewed several horror movies based on other bloggers’ reviews that I’d liked. This year I’ll just be doing random horror movie reviews but I’ll try to review as many as possible for all of October. So, other than reviewing new releases that I go to in the cinema in October (I’m hoping to see Gone Girl Thursday & post a review for it Friday), it’ll be ALL HORROR, baby! Well, except for maybe one that’s more of a thriller, one that’s a dark fantasy, and one that’s more of an “alien invasion comedy” that my hubby insists I can’t post during my horror month. But, hey – my blog, my rules!

Here’s a little bit about what’s in store for this month:

IMDB Top 250 Reviews: I’m starting these up again next week but will only be posting one each Tuesday. For October, I have four Top 250 reviews of films that should fit in okay during my month of scary movies.

CPD Classics: Remember these? I used to sometimes review all-time favorites of mine or favorites that I just felt needed highlighting as they aren’t that well known. Several of these will be popping up throughout this month so I can talk about some of my favorite horror films (including my top two). But only some – I need to leave some for me to do next October just in case I’m actually still blogging then.

Zombie Fridays: Starting next week, I’ll post a review of a zombie movie every Friday for the rest of the month. Two are classics and two are their remakes – I thought it would be fun to compare them.

That’s it, folks! Nothing too special planned but I hope you enjoy my horror reviews and perhaps discover one you’d never heard of and would like to check out. I know that’s one of the things I love most about blogging – discovering new movies through the reviews posted on all the great blogs here. :-)

The Giver (2014) Review

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The Giver (2014)

Directed by Phillip Noyce

Based on The Giver by Lois Lowry

Starring:
Jeff Bridges
Meryl Streep
Brenton Thwaites
Alexander Skarsgård
Odeya Rush
Katie Holmes
Taylor Swift

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Jonas is an 11 (soon to be 12) year old boy in a future where there is no war, suffering or pain. He and his family unit follow strict rules within their community including things such as the precision of language and the sharing of feelings and dreams. Everyone is assigned a role in life at the Ceremony of Twelve and no one is more surprised than Jonas when, at his ceremony, he’s selected as the next Receiver of Memory. During his training, he starts to discover that his community may not be as perfect as it seems.

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My Opinion:

I’ve just read & reviewed this book HERE (and was lazy & used my same plot synopsis). As always, THE BOOK IS BETTER! I mean, sometimes the film adaptations are okay. However, I was really disappointed with this one so, seriously – please read the book if you have any interest in this story! It’s a quick read. They changed A LOT of details for the movie & made a fairly simple story too over complicated.

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As yet another teenage dystopian film, The Giver is okay. It will probably seem boring to teens, though, as it’s not exactly as exciting or action packed as The Hunger Games. I knew they’d do this but it still pissed me off – they added loads of action that wasn’t in the book and gave small characters WAY bigger and more important roles (Meryl Streep’s character has a small part at the start of the book then you never hear from her again plus the two friends aren’t all that significant). It annoyed me as it’s so obvious they’re trying to compete with Divergent, etc, but the book is a lot more subtle and I think the story works much better without all the movie’s added drama (and romance that every teen film seems to require).

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Okay – Focus! Just talk about the movie…

Let’s see – I did like the Pleasantville black & white thing with added bits of color as the story went on. Don’t think that’s a spoiler as it’s obvious from the trailers (yes, it’s that way in the book too). I was looking forward to that aspect (I did love that in Pleasantville) but I didn’t think the movie handled it quite right all the time. The boy isn’t at all what I pictured & they changed an important thing about his looks as described in the book. Jeff Bridges is okay but more “gruff” and bitter than I’d expected. I hated Katie Holmes’ character and hated how they turned it into a story more about Jonas & his two friends whereas in the book the focus is much more on his family unit & the child they’re taking care of (Gabriel). Dammit! This is impossible. I clearly can’t discuss this movie without constantly comparing it to the book. I give up. JUST READ THE BOOK! :-)

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Summary:

The Giver has a simple yet powerful story that I felt got lost in all the extra scenes they somehow felt necessary to add into the movie to keep teenage audiences interested. Give teenagers a LITTLE credit & don’t just assume they can’t think for themselves. The movie takes the one main theme & shoves it down the viewers’ throats whereas the book presents things in a way that gives the reader the ability to make up their own mind about things. I feel that the movie leaves no room for discussion afterwards and the ending of the movie is a big disappointment compared to the excellent ending in the book. I really have no idea what to rate this movie as, if I’d NOT read the book, I think I’d have quite enjoyed it. However, knowing that the story is told in a much better way in the book does annoy me. Hmm. The movie is decent enough, I guess. Just do me a favor & read the book first? Please??

My Rating: 6/10

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Sorry – this was a rubbish post! I was actually planning on taking a short break from blogging & leaving My Top Ten Carpets & Rugs In Movies as my last post for a while. Go read that HERE instead – that was fun to put together! I’ll start up the reviews again through October with as many horror movies & scary films as I can manage. :-)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Book Review)

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

What It’s About:

Jonas is an 11-year-old boy in a future where there is no war, suffering or pain. He and his family unit follow strict rules within their community including things such as the precision of language and the sharing of feelings and dreams. Everyone is assigned a role in life at the Ceremony of Twelve and no one is more surprised than Jonas when, at his ceremony, he’s selected as the next Receiver of Memory. During his training, he starts to discover that his community may not be as perfect as it seems.

My Thoughts:

I’ll be honest and admit that I’d never even HEARD of this book before seeing that there would be a movie coming out but it appears that it was quite a famous (and somewhat controversial) one. Published in 1993, I was just too old for it. After spending my pre-teens reading Sweet Valley High then moving onto Christopher Pike, I discovered Stephen King around 12 or 13 and read nothing but him for years. The Giver is a good one, though – I wish there’d been more “dystopian future” YA books when I was young so I could have grown up with those instead of just things like Sweet Valley High (not that I’m dissing Sweet Valley High. It ruled! I even wrote to Francine Pascal & got a SVH audio book in return). ;-) I know the dystopian thing is WAY overdone when it comes to YA fiction these days but, believe me, there wasn’t much of it for us 80’s kids.

It’s a shame that The Giver will be seen as “just another dystopian YA book” now. I’ve only read some of the more current ones, such as The Hunger Games, but The Giver strikes me as being much more simple and aimed at a younger age than the current YA type of books (I’d say maybe ages 9 or 10 to early teens?). I don’t mean “simple” in a bad way, though. I think some of the current stuff can be a bit overblown and, as much as I loved the first two Hunger Games books, the final one was a bit over the top and I found it very disappointing. If I had a pre-teen kid, I’d start them off with The Giver as their introduction to these types of books and it’s one I’d be very happy to have them read as I think it teaches some basic yet important lessons in a way that’s easy for them to understand. It doesn’t overdo things – it actually leaves plenty of things up to the reader to decide and I’m sure makes for some very good discussion (I know it’s apparently read in a lot of schools). Basically, and I’ve said this before, The Giver is Brave New World plus a bit of Fahrenheit 451 for pre-teens and I don’t see that as a bad thing at all. I love things like Brave New World and 1984 and I think The Giver is a great introduction to books like those. I’d highly recommend it to kids of today (or to their parents to encourage their kids to read it) as I think it’s more suitable for them than a lot of current YA fiction seems to be. I can understand why it won the Newbery Medal and is seen as a bit of a modern classic.

Summary:

I realize I haven’t discussed the actual story or characters in this book at all. Jonas is by far the most developed character but, being a fairly short children’s book, we don’t get much character development with anyone. The story is what’s more important here and I found it a solid story that effectively gets its point across and also manages a “good ending” that stays with you (in my opinion – but I won’t go into that at all as I always try to avoid any spoilers). Some may be critical of it being over simplistic but I find that a bit ridiculous as it’s aimed at a pre-teen audience. I also JUST watched the movie a few hours ago, which I’ll try to review over the next few days. I know I’ve not gone into much detail but movie reviews are really more my thing – I’m sure I’ll be discussing things much more in the movie review. All I’ll say about it for now is: READ THE BOOK INSTEAD!!! I highly recommend this book to pre-teens, their parents, and people like me who still enjoy a decent story no matter what age it may be aimed at.

My Rating: 4/5

My Top Ten Carpets & Rugs In Movies

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Has anyone done a list of their top ten carpets & rugs in movies yet?? I can’t find one! Anyway – this came about as the hubby & I were discussing my number one on this list (a movie I’m pretty obsessed with). He doesn’t love it the way I do & part of my argument as to why it’s so awesome is because of THE CARPET! So….

Here are My Top Ten Carpets & Rugs In Movies:

10. The Pink Panther

The lovely Claudia Cardinale on a weird tiger-rug. Guess it’s a little more sexy than that picture of Burt Reynolds on the bearskin rug…

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9. The Machinist

Super skinny Christian Bale has a super hard time with a dead body in a rug (Don’t worry – that’s not really a spoiler as it’s the opening scene).

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8. American Hustle

Hey look – it’s Christian Bale again! Except this time he’s fat & and he has an even more problematic rug…

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7. The Money Pit

Who doesn’t love Tom Hanks?! (Other than Abbi…). Here’s poor Tom stuck in a rug after falling through a hole in the floor of his “money pit” house.

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6. Trainspotting

Ewan McGregor sinks into this rug in a drug-fuelled haze while the excellent Lou Reed song Perfect Day plays. Great scene!

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5. Aladdin

Come on! You know the magic carpet from Aladdin needs to be on this list… :-)

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4. The Big Lebowski

Again – you knew this one would be on the list!

The Dude: “That rug really tied the room together.”

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3. A Nightmare On Elm Street

Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to get away from Freddy Krueger and your carpeted stairs suddenly turn into some sort of gooey quicksand? Poor Nancy! Still, it was probably better than getting licked by the Freddy-phone.

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2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Chewbacca – the greatest walking-carpet-sidekick ever!

Princess Leia: “Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?”

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1. The Shining

There is no other possible number one for this list. The Shining is responsible for bringing us the creepiest carpet in the history of film.

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Next Week: CURTAINS!

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Not really… ;-)

Honorable Mention: I couldn’t find a picture of it to use but I like Gru’s pandaskin rug in one of my favorite movies of recent years -Despicable Me

Now, I think the only proper way to end this post is with a song from Nick Rivers:

Unforgiven (1992) IMDB Top 250 Review

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Unforgiven (1992)

IMDB Rank: 93 out of 250

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Starring:
Clint Eastwood
Gene Hackman
Morgan Freeman
Richard Harris
Frances Fisher

Running time: 131 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had turned to farming. A dark Western that deals frankly with the uglier aspects of violence and how easily complicated truths are distorted into simplistic myths about the Old West.

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My Opinion:

I always thought this was a cool Metallica video…

Hey – It’s me! Finally doing another IMDB Top 250 review myself. And I’m here with another WESTERN! Ugh. The two things I’d been dreading most from the Top 250: War movies & Westerns. Well, the war movies have turned out to be really good (The Bridge On The River Kwai & The Great Escape being my favorites). I’ve only reviewed two Westerns so far and…. they were pretty damn good as well! (Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and especially Once Upon A Time In The West, which I liked quite a bit and will keep comparing to Unforgiven throughout this review). So, is Unforgiven as good as these? Umm… No. It’s okay but I’m not sure if it should quite be up there with the classics.

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I’ll repeat, though, that this has never been a genre I’ve been into so I wasn’t as likely to enjoy it as much as some would. This is one that Eric of The IPC loves and he begged me to let him review it here but, unfortunately, I have to work through the Top 250 that I’ve never seen and review them myself. For a more positive review, you can read his HERE. (Plus he MAY be reviewing a Western classic on his site tomorrow that I enjoyed far more than Unforgiven). ;-)

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I think what didn’t work for me here is that Unforgiven felt too “modern”. I have very little experience with Westerns but what I HAVE seen have all been from the 80’s or later (Back To The Future III & City Slickers are awesome! Lol). After seeing one Leone film, I’m thinking that spaghetti Westerns may be more my style & I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of them. Maybe I’ll prefer a young Clint Eastwood in something like The Good, The Bad & The Ugly? Once Upon A Time In The West just felt & looked so grand and epic (and, my god, that amazing SCORE…). I didn’t get that sort of feeling from Unforgiven although I’m sure the filmmaking was just as impressive (I won’t pretend to know anything about filmmaking). I don’t know. I admit that my mind wandered during both these Westerns (and I may have gotten bored and tweeted for a while) but Once Upon A Time In The West is the one that’s stuck with me more whereas I’m already struggling to remember much about Unforgiven and it’s only been a month since I watched it. Hmm.

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I’ll say that Clint Eastwood gives a good performance and I of course loved Morgan Freeman as always – I’d watch him in anything. Gene Hackman’s bad guy, though certainly a huge asshole, felt a little too one-dimensional to me. I’m also still a little confused as to what the point of the character played by Richard Harris was – it seemed an unnecessary role. As for everyone else, I don’t think any characters really stood out except for maybe Frances Fisher as a fairly feisty prostitute who wants the men who’ve hurt a fellow prostitute to pay for what they’ve done. Ah yes – prostitutes. Must be a Western! Seriously, is that all women were back then?!

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I was hoping to feel something more for the characters than I did. I did enjoy Eastwood & Freeman but didn’t QUITE feel a strong connection between them. As for the story, I found it a lot more simple than I was expecting. It’s pretty straight forward but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – I’ll admit I’m still not 100% sure what the hell was going on in Once Upon A Time In The West. However, certain images and scenes from that one have really stuck with me and I can’t say the same of Unforgiven.

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Summary:

I didn’t mean to sound so negative in this review. Unforgiven is a good movie. Odds are, I’ll never LOVE a Western – they just aren’t my thing. I do have a lot of respect for Clint Eastwood as a director and actor, however, and he’s done a good job with both here. I enjoyed his scenes with Freeman and thought the ending was good. If you’re a fan of Westerns but for some reason haven’t seen this one, I’d recommend it. My ratings, as always, are based mostly on my personal feelings about the movie. If I were to rate this on worthiness alone, it would be higher.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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The Ten Most Iconic Female Movie Characters Blogathon

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I was nominated by my buddy Mike over at Screenkicker to carry on this wonderful “blogging relay” started by Dell On Movies (you can see the original post HERE plus the links showing all the participants and the changes this list has gone through HERE).

Here are Dell’s rules:

A list of 10 iconic female movie characters has been made. That list will be assigned to another blogger who can then change it by removing one character (describing why they think she should not be on the list) and replacing it with another one (also with motivation) and hand over the baton to another blogger. Once assigned, that blogger will have to put his/her post up within a week. If this is not the case the blogger who assigned it has to reassign it to another blogger.

And this is the list that has been passed onto me:

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I love the idea of this blogathon as I’ve always felt there aren’t enough good roles for women in movies. I’ve thought about this for days and, the truth is, it was very hard to choose one as I think the majority of those I would choose are already (or have already been) on this list. You CANNOT beat Ellen Ripley or Princess Leia and I’ll now be following this blogathon closely to see if anyone dares to remove either of them. ;-)

I have a large list I worked from (I take these things very seriously!) and there were certain things I didn’t like about some of the characters on my list. Too often, women are portrayed as either:

1) crazy or
2) nymphomaniacs or
3) victims

Most of the characters on my list fell into at least one of these categories so I tried to not pick one who was just one of these things without there being a good reason for their character being that way or without the character making the best of their situation. For instance, Fatal Attraction is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine and Glenn Close gives a memorable performance but I’m certainly not going to choose a character that makes all us women look like irrational “psycho bitches”. The same goes for Kathy Bates in Misery.

I didn’t have any from “category 2″ on my working list but the number of female “victims” in movies is huge. It’s actually quite sad (look at horror movies – us poor women!). However, I think “victim” is sometimes fine as long as the character deals with it in the right way. Plus, it often gives the character more depth. So I’ve actually decided to remove & add characters who both fall into the category of “victim”.

I remove:

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And I add (one who was previously added then removed):

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My Reasoning:

I’ve read the first book & watched the first (original) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is certainly a deep character and her look is very iconic. However, (and remember I only have knowledge of the first story), she’s such a thoroughly damaged character to the point that it made me uncomfortable. She LOOKS tough but she’s a complete mess inside. I know I should watch the rest of the films at some point but, based on what I know of her so far, I don’t think she belongs on a list with these all-time greats. Plus, I just don’t love the film – it feels very out of place when you see the classics on this list.

I like Tarantino’s films but none of them are exactly all-time favorites of mine. The Bride, however, is a great character and one I feel is worthy of being in a list of iconic female movie characters as I think she’ll still be thought of in 20 years time when similar lists to this are being made whereas I’m not sure Lisbeth Salander will be. I know Tarantino is always heavily influenced by older films and that The Bride will be an amalgamation of various characters but, hell – it works! The movie may be a little shallow but it’s good fun and, dammit, I LOVE seeing a female being the lead role in a violent action movie and seriously kicking some ass. She falls into the victim category but, unlike Lisbeth Salander, she gets her head together and does exactly what she sets out to do. Her look may also be borrowed from Bruce Lee but, again – it IS a great look. Who doesn’t instantly think of Uma in the yellow outfit when they hear the words “Kill Bill“? So… There you go. That’s my choice as I can’t choose Ellen Ripley. :-)

My Nomination:

Wow – that was all very wordy. Sorry about that! Don’t know what happened there. It’s time for me to shut up and pass the baton to another blogger. I choose an amazing female blogger who I am confident will make a great decision: Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Take it away, Zoe! You have one week. :-)

Oh, and can I just give a shoutout to one of my favorite “chick flicks”? I couldn’t choose just one of these women as I think they go together and shouldn’t be separated so I’m giving a shoutout to Thelma & Louise. They’re victims but, damn, they have good fun for a while! (Especially with the lovely Brad Pitt). ;-)

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Alphabet Attack: Movie Illustrations by Dave Crosland

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Check out these cool illustrations & more at Dave Crosland’s (aka King Gum’s) site here: Blogspot.

He calls this series “Alphabet Attack” and says this about it: “Each piece is titled after a letter of the alphabet, and themed by faves from science fiction, film, comics, and literature.” See the full article here: GeekTyrant. :-)

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Pulp Fiction (1994) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. He also reviewed Saving Private Ryan HERE and The Manchurian Candidate HERE. Thanks for the reviews, Rob! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about Pulp Fiction, IMDB rank 4 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, I’ve never thought to mention it but if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews. I know I’ve made a few that are specific to the movie being reviewed. I’ll also do an IMDB update post soon & will post some more logos.

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Quentin Tarantino showed the world was he was made of with his debut film Reservoir Dogs and that movie’s success led to this masterpiece getting proper funding.

His use of non-traditional methods of storytelling works extremely well here as he tells three interweaving stories in a very unconventional non-linear fashion.

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The fact that he was capable of securing so many great actors for this movie is a testament to how amazing his story and script are.

Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz and Rosanna Arquette are all excellent.

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I love how QT has always been able to take characters in non-conventional roles and write perfect conversation dialogue totally unrelated to their current situations making the characters seem more real than we thought possible.

The idea of having two hitmen discuss fast food in Europe while on their way to ‘work’ is brilliant.

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Truth is in many ways, QT’s written dialogue is what holds his stories together.

In the twenty years since this movie came out, I have found its dialogue to be so easily quotable.

Here’s a list of some great lines from this movie. In order to try and keep this spoiler free, I will omit what characters say each line.

  • Hamburgers. The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.
  • I don’t need you to tell me how ****ing good my coffee is, okay? I’m the one who buys it. I know how good it is. When Bonnie goes shopping she buys ****. Me, I buy the gourmet expensive stuff because when I drink it I want to taste it. But you know what’s on my mind right now? It AIN’T the coffee in my kitchen, it’s the dead nigger in my garage.
  • That’s thirty minutes away. I’ll be there in ten.
  • It breaks down like this: it’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it, and, if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it. It’s legal to carry it, but that doesn’t really matter ’cause – get a load of this – if you get stopped by the cops in Amsterdam, it’s illegal for them to search you. I mean, that’s a right the cops in Amsterdam don’t have.
  • The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.
  • Bring out the Gimp.
  • Nobody’s gonna hurt anybody. We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what’s Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda what’s Fonzie like?
  • That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the **** up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.
  • Are you calling me on the cellular phone? I don’t know you. Who is this? Don’t come here, I’m hanging up the phone! Prank caller, prank caller!
  • Uuummmm, this is a tasty burger
  • Mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down with?
  • What now? Let me tell you what now. I’ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin’ niggers, who’ll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin’, hillbilly boy? I ain’t through with you by a damn sight. I’ma get medieval on your ass.

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1994 was a very strong Oscar year and although this movie got 7 nominations including Best Picture, it only was able to win 1 award (Best Screenplay).

It’s hard to say if this is a better overall movie than Forrest Gump or Shawshank but it is clear that this movie has grown in appreciation over the last two decades.

This movie is currently #5 (but #4 when Mutant first started her list)  on the IMDB Top 250 and is definitely worthy of such a lofty position.

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The Boxtrolls (2014) Review

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The Boxtrolls (2014)

Directed by Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi

Based on Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

Starring:
Isaac Hempstead-Wright
Elle Fanning
Ben Kingsley
Toni Collette
Jared Harris
Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Richard Ayoade
Tracy Morgan

Production company: Laika

Running time: 96 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collecting trolls called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) and Eggs has to save his family from Snatcher.

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My Opinion:

I’ll get straight to the point: I didn’t enjoy this one. At all. I really really wanted to! I thought it looked very promising. Last Halloween, I watched and reviewed ParaNorman and I liked that one a lot. However, I also fell asleep halfway through Coraline YEARS ago and never bothered to finish it, so… I guess that’s only 1 out of 3 Laika films I’ve liked so far. Hmm.

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I’ll give The Boxtrolls this: the stop-motion animation is amazing! I can’t fault that in the slightest. I also really liked the overall look & style of the movie. What I didn’t like, however, were the characters or the story so I really couldn’t buy into it all despite the boxtrolls themselves being pretty likeable. Unfortunately, they weren’t IN the movie enough. There was far more focus on the human characters than I was expecting and I got very bored when the boxtrolls weren’t onscreen. I could kind of take or leave the main boy in it (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) but I found the girl (Elle Fanning) quite annoying, especially her voice which I think just didn’t work for the character. Unfortunately, the rest of the human characters were even worse (although I suppose the baddie, Ben Kingsley, is at least a very memorable character). Seriously – The Boxtrolls needed more boxtrolls! I liked them just fine. Although I do this ALL the time when I watch a movie at home, I never do this when I go to the cinema: I fell asleep off & on somewhere in the middle of this thing when it was just the annoying human characters onscreen. Probably not a good sign… ;-)

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I’m not going to ramble on about this one. Is it bad? No. It just wasn’t for me. If you think it’s your type of thing or that your kids will like it, don’t let me talk you out of going to it. My hubby liked it FAR more than I did. The five-year-old with us also seemed to like it okay, so…. Maybe it IS just me! The movie is an odd one. As for the age it’s suitable for, it’s certainly not as scary as ParaNorman or Coraline, which I would never let a five-year-old watch. This one is aimed younger than those but I’d say kids would have to be six or seven for the most part to actually appreciate it and the main bad guy is probably far too scary for those under five or so. As always, though, every kid is different.

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Super Short Summary:

I just didn’t like this one. Sorry! Giving it a lower rating would be unfair, however, as I know it’s not “bad”. Based on ParaNorman, I’d still watch another film made by Laika. Awesome stop-motion animation, at the very least!

My Rating: 5/10

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Snatch (2000) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. She’s already reviewed The Godfather: Part I (HERE) and Part II (HERE) as well as The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE) and Big Fish (HERE). Thanks once again, Zoe – you’re doing way better on this project this year than I am! Wow! :-) Now let’s see what she has to say about Snatch, IMDB rank 112 out of 250.

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews. I know I’ve made a few that are specific to the movie being reviewed. I’ll also do an IMDB update post soon & will post some more logos.

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Yep yep, I am back to plague Miss Mutant here for her IMDB Top 250 Challenge. Definitely provided me with a whole lot of movies to go back to and watch again, though naturally some were enjoyed more than others. Nevertheless, Snatch is definitely a film I have been threatening to go back and watch again for years. I even went as far as to buy it and it has been languishing on my shelf ever since. When nobody selected it for this, I figured now was as good a time as any to get back to it.

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“Yes, London. You know: fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins… LONDON.” Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz

I am sure most of you have seen Snatch, right? Well, for those of you who haven’t, the best synopsis I could find was the following (pulled from Starpulse): “When a dizzying robbery takes place in the Orthodox Jewish diamond district, a flawless 86-carat gem, the size of an infant’s fist, is lifted in the snatch. Taking it to London, the diamond’s thief and courier, Franky Four Fingers arrives in the city as a stopover en route to New York to deliver the huge diamond to his bigwig crime boss, Avi. But because Franky can’t resist temptation and London is a town with its share of illegal trade, a small crowd of miscreants and malefactors eventually ends up chasing each other and the whereabouts of the diamond. These include: Doug the Head, a jeweller who pretends he’s Jewish because it’s good for business; Boris the Blade, a Russian gangster with a deserved reputation for being impossible to kill; Bullet Tooth Tony, a legendary hard guy and Brick Top, perhaps the scariest of the lot.”

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“I probably know a lot you don’t.” – Franky Four Fingers

Now that we have that out of the way, let us talk about the creation that Guy Ritchie put forth. To say that Snatch has a volume of characters as well as subplots all working their way back into the initial one is an understatement. So much is going on at any given moment that sometimes viewers may find themselves lost upon the way. But stick with it, it all comes together eventually. The cast was really good for what was done here, everyone suiting their character very well. I’m quite a Brad Pitt fan, and I must say his portrayal of Mickey was very funny, he was very entertaining. I also liked how he brought some dimension to the character other than just untrustworthy Pikey. He truly loved his mother, and his reaction to her brutal murder was intense, probably granting the movie its only serious scene, no way to laugh at it, which balanced things out nicely, though it would later give rise to humour again.

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“It’s an unlicensed boxing match. It’s not a tickling competition. These lads are out to hurt each other.” – Turkish

Jason Statham as Turkish and Stephen Graham as Tommy were just classic. Here were two guys that were just seriously not winning, no matter how hard they tried to get things to work for them. As bad as you think their luck is (and truly, it just gets worse and worse), they are easily topped by Vinny (Robbie Gee), his partner Sol (Lennie James), and Tyrone (Ade), their driver. While Turkish and Tommy have crime boss Brick Top (Alan Ford) on their case, the latter trio has Russian gangster Boris the Blade (Rade Šerbedžija) on their tails to track down Franky “Four-Fingers” (Benicio del Toro) and get his briefcase. Boris, in turn, has Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz (Dennis Farina) chasing him down. The diamond has everyone circling themselves, desperate to get it, though initially not everyone is aware of it.

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“You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.”  – Bullet Tooth Tony

The humour works for this film, but I have a feeling a lot of what made this so smart and so witty back in the day may be lost to newer audiences, which is a pity, too, because it came together quite well. Be warned that the humour is rather British, too, and I liked that. The movie is fast, the dialogue snappy, and the events entertaining. Snatch is ultimately still a stylish flick, no matter which way you look at it. As much as I enjoyed this film again, it was not the best thing ever, and I didn’t love it as much as I did when I was younger, and I honestly feel there are far better films out there. If you haven’t checked out Snatch, I would still recommend it; you won’t be wasting your time.

Question Of The Month At Oracle Of Film

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I’ve participated in yet another Question Of The Month for the amazing Luke over at Oracle Of Film. This month’s question was “What Upcoming Movie Are You Most Anticipating Right Now?”. You can view my reply (which may be obvious from the above photo) and a bunch of other great answers HERE. :-)

Now, since answering that I’ve read about and seen a trailer for two pretty damn cool looking movies. One is called Ex Machina and it’s been directed by Alex Garland, the guy responsible for writing things like 28 Days Later & Sunshine and it sounds like the kind of sci-fi I love. Here’s a short plot synopsis from IndieWire (and you can read more at the link):

Ex Machina is an intense psychological thriller, played out in a love triangle between two men and a beautiful robot girl. It explores big ideas about the nature of consciousness, emotion, sexuality, truth and lies.

Then I saw the below trailer for Autómata and, damn – that looks good too! I do love sci-fi more than anything – Can’t wait to see all of these!