The House Of The Devil (2009) Review

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The House Of The Devil (2009)

Directed by Ti West

Starring:
Jocelin Donahue
Tom Noonan
Mary Woronov
Greta Gerwig
Lena Dunham
Dee Wallace

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret; they plan to use her in a satanic ritual.

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My Opinion:

Last October I watched my first Ti West movie for my Halloween Horror Fest (The Innkeepers – review HERE) and actually quite liked it so I’ve been meaning to check out The House Of The Devil ever since then. Hmm. I’ll say it’s very obvious it’s from the same director. I’m still not sure how I feel about Ti West but, based on the little I’ve seen, he clearly likes to use the same sort of template for his films. I was thinking about checking out his movie The Sacrament soon as well but was expecting it to be another movie where NOTHING happens for the first hour or so and then suddenly all hell breaks loose in the last 20 to 30 minutes (and Cara has just confirmed that this is indeed the case once again in her review of The Sacrament HERE). I like his style for the most part so far but can totally understand why a lot of people hate his movies. Be aware that if you watch The House Of The Devil it’s veeeeeeeery slow until, yes, all hell breaks loose in the final 20 minutes or so. Exactly like The Innkeepers.

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I’m struggling to think of what to say about this one and am still not completely sure how I feel about it. There were certain things I loved, like the opening credits in the photo above and the look & mood of the film and, of course, how it’s set in my beloved 1980s. My favorite scene is when the main girl, played by Jocelin Donahue, puts on her walkman and dances around to The Fixx (One Thing Leads To Another! Remember that song?? I’m so old…). Oh yeah – and the house is a pretty cool looking creepy old house as well.

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Dee Wallace has a small role, which is cool for us old horror fans. Also, Mary Woronov is in this who I was shocked to realize was the scientist in the underrated Night Of The Comet (which I recently reviewed HERE). Here she is – I can’t say I recognized her:

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I also really did like the main girl and thought she had the perfect look for this movie – it felt like West was going for a Margot Kidder/70’s actress type of look which helped to set the “Suspiria” mood, which I think he was also going for. I like and appreciate that as all my favorite horror films are from the 70’s & 80’s but, if I want to watch Suspiria, I’ll just watch that instead of a modern day copy.

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This is sounding a bit too negative. I was almost sort of loving this movie, actually, until the end. With The Innkeepers, I was a little bored until the final half hour which I thought was really good and saved the movie. I often complain that horror movies rarely know how to end but I found the ending of The Innkeepers pretty satisfying. However, the opposite is true of The House Of The Devil. I REALLY wanted to love it and things were going well as I was actually thoroughly enjoying that “Ti West thing where nothing happens for the first hour” but then the ending just didn’t quite work for me. This was pretty disappointing as I think I’d be raving about this movie if I’d been happy with the ending. I of course won’t spoil it so can’t go into what I didn’t like (there was only really one specific thing). Let’s just say I wish he’d kept it a little more simple and “classic”. And, although the absolute final scene didn’t bother me, I’m sure a lot of people hated it.

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Summary:

I think what I’m trying to say in a really long-winded way is this: I liked this movie (despite my negative-sounding review) but can totally understand why it’s not for everyone. I doubt anyone will go read my Innkeepers review now but I was much more positive in that one. However, although I think The Innkeepers is more “accessible” and is the one I’d be far more likely to recommend to people without worrying that they’d hate me for recommending it, I actually think The House Of The Devil is the better film of the two. Does that make sense?? That may be why I sound so disappointed. I think this movie had a lot of potential and I’d like to see a Ti West movie I can truly say I loved from start to finish. Maybe someday. This was so close at first…

My Rating: 7/10

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The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (1920) Review

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The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (1920) (German: Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari)

Directed by Robert Wiene

Starring:
Werner Krauss
Conrad Veidt
Friedrich Fehér
Lil Dagover
Hans Twardowski

Running time: 71 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is a 1920 German silent horror film. The story centers around Dr Caligari and his somnambulist Cesare, whom the doctor keeps asleep in a coffin-like cabinet and controls hypnotically.

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My Opinion:

Well. This movie is pretty freaking awesome. I’m so glad I finally watched it and would highly recommend it to all horror movie fans to see a silent movie from 1920 that kicks the ARSE of most modern day films.

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You can read lots of excellent reviews of this film elsewhere. I don’t have the knowledge to discuss German Expressionism or silent film, really, as I haven’t explored much beyond Charlie Chaplin. For my Halloween Horror Fest last year, I watched another silent horror (Nosferatu – review HERE). I’ll compare the two as they’re of the same time period and genre.

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Both these films rightly deserve their status as horror classics. I can’t quite decide which one I liked more. I think The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari is better in many ways. It has a great story that works just as well today and doesn’t feel “dated”. Plus… My god I loved those sets! (I guess they’d be that “German Expressionism” style I won’t pretend I know much of anything about). The look of a film is very important to me and, although I may know next to nothing about art, I know what I like the look of and I LOVED the style of this film. I’m assuming Tim Burton is a huge fan of this film. The somnambulist is an awesome cross between Edward Scissorhands and Robert Smith (of The Cure, Cara). ;-) Check him out!

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Should I pretend I didn’t have to look up the word “somnambulist” when I watched this? Okay, I had to – it’s a sleepwalker. Dr Caligari goes around “displaying” his somnambulist at carnivals, who can tell people their futures whenever Caligari awakens him from his slumber. I won’t say any more so as to not ruin the story for those who may want to watch this but the story feels very ahead of its time, especially the ending. I didn’t realize how much modern horror films owe to The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari.

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As for the “horror”, I’d have to say The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari is really not going to be very scary or creepy to anyone watching this today. I’m sure this wasn’t the case at the time but Nosferatu certainly has the edge on it now when it comes to the “creepy factor”. Nosferatu has SUCH an iconic look that I think most everyone immediately knows if the name is mentioned. I have to admit I’d not seen any of the images from The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari before watching it whereas I’d seen plenty of Nosferatu. Caligari is more “arty” and the look and story feel very modern for its time while Nosferatu is a much more old-fashioned take on the timeless vampire tale. They feel years apart yet Nosferatu was actually two years after Caligari. I loved them both in different ways but, if you go for a more classic horror story, you may prefer Nosferatu. It feels more like a “horror” film overall than Caligari does.

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Summary:

Whether you’re a fan of horror or just a fan of “film” (as in, like, not just the stuff made by Michael Bay which will be the case amongst movie bloggers anyway I’m sure), you should really give The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari a watch. Nosferatu as well! They’re true classics in both the silent film and horror movie genre but they’re also both very different. I’d be interested to know which one more people prefer. If you’ve never watched a silent film before, though, I’d definitely say to go with Caligari first as it looks and feels like it was made years later than Nosferatu and is an “easier” film to watch.

My Rating: 8/10

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Popcorn (1991) Review

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Popcorn (1991)

Directed by Mark Herrier
Alan Ormsby (uncredited)

Starring:
Jill Schoelen
Tom Villard
Dee Wallace
Tony Roberts
Ray Walston
Derek Rydall

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A group of teenagers preparing an old horror movie show in an abandoned theatre discover a recording made by an actual murderer who died long ago. Very soon a shadowy figure resembling the killer starts stalking them one by one…

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My Opinion:

First of all, this thing may have come out in 1991 but it’s SO 80’s. Second of all, I watched this a good few months ago and have had to read about it online to refresh my memory. So… Apparently it’s not very memorable! Or I’m just senile. Which is also likely.

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I’ve mentioned this a few times but there are certain horror movies from the 80’s (and very early 90’s) that I’ve meant to watch for years JUST because I vividly remember their VHS covers in my local video rental store. I never got around to renting some of them (probably because I kept re-renting April Fool’s Day & the Nightmare On Elm Streets). One of them is Return To Horror High. Another is Curtains. Another is Dead Alive (Braindead – which I’ve seen part of). And, yes – another one of those was that glorious Popcorn poster at the top of this post. So I finally get to tick one more of these cheesy old horror movies off my list!

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I was thinking I had to remain totally spoiler free but, duh, the poster kind of gives the “wearing other people’s faces” thing away. As will my images. Screw it! I doubt anyone will rush out to watch this after my compelling review anyway. Let’s just do this as a “what’s good & what’s bad about it” review. What’s bad is the horrible quality of the version I watched. I was happy to see this was showing on TV but I swear that channel must just have a bunch of old pre-watched videotapes lying around. Maybe there’s a cleaned up version of this available (I don’t care enough to look) but I do wish I’d been able to see it all a little more clearly. Also what’s “bad” is that it’s totally cheesy & 80’s. Which most of you will see as a bad thing but is kind of more of a “good” thing in my book… ;-)

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So what’s actually good about this cheesy old low-budget-looking thing? First of all, the story in that above plot synopsis isn’t too bad but most of all I loved the SETTING of the story. A cinema!!! (Or movie theater to Americans). I’ve always thought that more movies should be set in movie theaters. I wanted to see more of the movie theater at the beginning of Night Of The Comet (I just had to mention that one again). It’s also a big part of the reason I love Cinema Paradiso so much, which is all about love of film. Shit – am I comparing Popcorn to Cinema Paradiso?! Well, Popcorn is certainly no Cinema Paradiso but I appreciate the setting.

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In this story, university film students put on an all-night horror film festival. Three movies are shown and they’re actually a lot of fun to see bits and pieces of while, behind the scenes, a psychotic killer is stalking and killing the film students. Actually, the fake 50’s B-movie style films within the film were probably the best bits. The story of the killer who’s stalking the students is a pretty basic 80’s-type of slasher plot but it’s not too bad – I’ve certainly seen worse. But, hey – Ray Walston & Dee Wallace are in this! Who doesn’t love a bit of Dee Wallace?? And… Umm… That’s it. I have nothing more to say so I’ll skip my usual “summary”. There’s nothing too original here as far as the “slasher” film is concerned but the setting makes the movie a bit more fun. It’s not going to change your life if you watch it but it’s not going to ruin it either.

My Rating: 6/10

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Dead Snow (2009) Review

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Dead Snow (2009) (Norwegian: Død snø)

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Starring:
Vegar Hoel
Stig Frode Henriksen
Charlotte Frogner
Lasse Valdal
Evy Kasseth Røsten
Jeppe Laursen
Jenny Skavlan
Ane Dahl Torp
Bjørn Sundquist
Ørjan Gamst

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Dead Snow is a 2009 Norwegian zombie splatter film that centers on a group of students surviving a Nazi zombie attack in the mountains of Norway.

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My Opinion:

This is my second favorite Norwegian movie of all-time after Troll Hunter! (Okay – they’re the only Norwegian movies I’ve seen). This is also the third zombie comedy I’m reviewing for my month of horror movie reviews (that I totally flaked out on and stopped posting for a week). I liked Dead Snow much more than Life After Beth but, while I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much The Return Of The Living Dead, I did like it and thought it showed a lot of promise. I’ve heard some pretty positive things about the sequel and am not surprised as I thought this was a great concept that didn’t quite work overall but could possibly be improved upon in a sequel. I’ll have to check that out at some point.

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What does work is, as I said, the concept. Nazi zombies! Why did no one think to do that sooner? Or HAS it been done before? Not that I can think of. A lot of reviews have also mentioned the look of the blood on all that white snow and it did make for a great look to the film. Also, the characters are decent. At least, as far as horror movie characters go, a few of them are fairly well developed. There’s a great “movie nerd” guy who keeps talking about & quoting movies throughout the film so that was fun for a geek like me. And guess what? Slight spoiler, but… He’s the one who gets laid! So there may still be hope for movie geeks (maybe even Mike?). ;-)

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I think what didn’t work quite as well as I’d been hoping was the comedy. The movie takes itself slightly more seriously than I was expecting and a couple scenes felt a little too dramatic for a comedy. The pacing was a little off as well as it seemed too slow at first then suddenly gets pretty mental at the end. These aren’t huge complaints, though, as I still thought it was pretty good. I think I’m just trying to figure out why I didn’t like it QUITE as much as I should have as it’s my type of thing and all the elements are there for it to potentially be great. I think they could have upped the comedy more and been a little more silly and made it a bit more “fun”. It sounds like this may be the case in the sequel?

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Summary:

If you’re looking for comedy horror, I’d recommend Tucker & Dale Vs Evil or Grabbers instead as they were just loads of fun. If you specifically like zombie movies, though, I think you’d be perfectly happy with this as a zombie comedy as well as just a zombie movie. The gore gets fairly excessive at the end so that should keep zombie fans happy. It’s not as funny as The Return Of The Living Dead but there were a few unexpected laughs and the characters are more well developed and likable than a lot of horror movie characters manage to be. The movie doesn’t quite reach its potential but it’s still a pretty good effort. However, I can’t believe that girl sucked that guy’s finger just after he’d done a poo & wiped himself and hadn’t yet washed his hands!!!!! That’s just nasty.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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The Babadook (2014) Review

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The Babadook (2014)

Directed by Jennifer Kent

Starring:
Essie Davis
Noah Wiseman
Daniel Henshall
Hayley McElhinney
Barbara West
Ben Winspear

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

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My Opinion:

Last year I was pretty positive in my review of The Conjuring mostly, I think, because I was SO desperate for a good horror movie to ever actually be made again and that one was about the closest we’ve had to a decent American horror movie in years. It wasn’t perfect but at least it was almost a return to the good ‘ol days of horror movies that didn’t rely solely on cheap jump scares and/or excessive gore. Well, The Babadook is more the sort of horror movie I’ve desperately waited years for. It’s an Australian film so it’s still “foreign” which means that, once again, only foreign countries seem capable of making decent horror films these days. Time to catch up, America! You can do better than Paranormal Activity 12 & inferior remakes of foreign horror films.

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I know The Babadook won’t appeal to the more casual cinemagoer but I highly recommend it to those looking for a good old-fashioned psychological horror. The acting in this is FANTASTIC. Essie Davis is especially great as the mother and you can really feel her pure exhaustion in being a single mother dealing with a six-year-old boy who seems to have some deep psychological issues and is starting to show signs of violent behavior. Noah Wiseman as the boy is also very good, especially considering that it appears this is the only thing he’s really been in. He has a great look and can be terrifying one second and so adorably sweet the next. These two really are brilliant and help to make this such a good film.

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As for the story itself, it’s fairly straightforward stuff and not necessarily something we’ve never ever seen before. However, it’s how a story is presented that can make or break a horror movie. As I mentioned above, this isn’t one of those movies that relies on cheap jump scares and there’s also no gore (a bit of violence and blood, as to be expected, but nothing over the top). Some of the things that happen are pretty disturbing, especially as such a young child is involved. There’s nothing “silly” here – I saw this in a fairly full cinema and there were none of the usual laughs you hear when you watch things like Insidious and something that’s meant to be scary happens but it just ends up looking ridiculous. The slowly building tension is quite intense and the underlying theme is genuinely terrifying. I’m being quite vague as I don’t want to spoil this in any way for those who like the sound of this one. This is psychological terror. It HAS been done before but this film does it all in a very effective way.

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I can’t end this without making mention of the BOOK in this movie. If you’ve read anything about the movie or watched the trailer (which I’m going to include at the end of this review as the film still isn’t that widely known), you’ll know that the Mister Babadook character comes from a children’s book the mother reads to the son. This book is bloody horrifying! I think there may be an actual book made of it?? I’m not sure but, if there is, it will NOT be on my Christmas list. My only complaint when it comes to this film is that I wish we’d seen even more of the book. Or… Maybe not…

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Summary:

THIS is a good psychological horror film. It’s disturbing and terrifying and makes you think instead of jump. I wouldn’t say it’s the scariest horror movie I’ve seen but it’s certainly one that will stay there in the back of your mind and you’ll think about it every now & then as you’re drifting off to sleep and worrying about the things in life that scare you. I do think this is one that older viewers will probably appreciate more than the young, especially those who are parents as it will play on their fears more than anyone else’s. And, once again, I have to say that the two main actors are magnificent – it was wonderful seeing such quality acting in a “horror” movie.

My Rating: 8/10

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Official UK trailer:

About that book – Apparently they WILL be releasing it. I’ve just received the below tweets from The Babadook. Nooooooo!!!!!!

Question Of The Month At Oracle Of Film – What Makes Your Ideal Horror Movie?

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I’ve participated in another Question Of The Month for Luke over at Oracle Of Film. I love this month’s question (and hope I didn’t ramble on too much): “What element makes your ideal horror movie?

You can read all our replies HERE. Thanks again, Luke! :-)

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A Great 1-Minute Horror Movie & A Creepy Ikea Ad From Singapore

Hi all! I’m back for the moment. I’ll explain my break a bit more but first I want to share two great YouTube clips.

First of all, I absolutely love this brilliant commercial for IKEA Singapore. Redrug!!!! Lol. Love it. This also ties in nicely with my list of My Top Ten Carpets & Rugs In Movies HERE. ;-)

Next I thought I’d share this creepy little one minute horror movie by director Ignacio F Rodó & based on a two sentence story by Juan J Ruiz called Tuck Me In. Check it out:

Finally, I’d like to explain my little meltdown recently when I declared that I’d be taking a break from my blog. I just realized that I can’t keep up the “one movie review every weekday” thing anymore. It’s been stressing me out for quite some time now as I’m finding less & less free time for blogging. Most of you have been very supportive since that post. Thank you – I appreciate that. :-)

So, for now, my posts are probably going to be extremely sporadic. I’ll try to stop stressing out and feeling like it has to be “all or nothing” and just post reviews if and when I get the time. Some are better than none, right??

Besides, I watched a load of horror movies for my October Horror thing and it will bug the hell out of me if I don’t get the remaining five posted before the end of the month!!!

How about a game?? Here are images from each of the remaining films I watched that I’m hoping to review this coming week. How many can you guess? (Three of these are already written so I can at least guarantee you those!) :-)

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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: