Paperhouse (1988) Review

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Paperhouse (1988)

Directed by Bernard Rose

Based the novel Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr

Starring:
Charlotte Burke
Glenne Headly
Elliott Spiers
Ben Cross

Running time: 92 minutes

Plot Summary: (via IMDB)
Anna is becoming lost in the loneliness of her own world when she discovers she can visit another, a house she has drawn herself and occupied by a young disabled boy. But as she discovers more of the links between her fantasy world and the mundane present, she is drawn only deeper into a dream turning into a nightmare.

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My Opinion:

Well, what a strange little movie this was! I’m not quite sure what to think of it. If I’d have seen this as a 12 or 13-year-old, I think I’d have loved it. It’s very much the weird sort of dark fantasy/slightly scary kind of thing I always loved (my favorite TV show from a very young age was The Twilight Zone). Too bad I missed out on this one, probably because it’s an obscure British film. I caught this on the Horror Channel a few months ago and it’s a shame that the quality was sooo AWFUL. Just like when I watched the movie Popcorn, it was harder to fully enjoy because of that. I thought the story was great, though. Like all the other movies I’ve reviewed this week, this was based on a novel (Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr). I know nothing about it but imagine it’s a good read and, again, am sure I’d have loved it as a pre-teen. I bet the few now-grown-up kids who saw this in 1988 would be like “Oh, wow – I remember that movie!”. There are certainly some scenes that would stay with you if you’d seen it at a young age and a couple that were kind of “borderline” on the horror and violence so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone younger than 12 or 13. When looking this up, I saw that it’s from the same director (Bernard Rose) who later went on to make Candyman. A lot of reviews compare this movie to Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, which is kind of a fair comparison although Paperhouse is certainly less horrific. It’s just a bit “eerie” and slightly unsettling. It also reminded me in a small way of things like Labyrinth and Mirrormask, two other movies that involve young teens living in their own fantasy worlds.

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In Paperhouse, an 11-year-old girl is home recovering from an illness when she draws a house which she soon starts visiting in her dreams. She finds she can add to this world by drawing more of the picture but things soon turn sinister in her dream world. I was a little confused by the sudden turn of events having to do her father and am not sure what the meaning of that was meant to be. I enjoyed it because I like to see films that are a bit “different” but it’s not one I put much thought into afterwards. The movie doesn’t go out if its way to explain things and I suppose you could interpret her dream world in different ways. I’m curious about the book now and if it goes into more detail or if, like the movie, it’s up to you to decide what it all means. It’s certainly not a film for everyone and it’s hard to know if I’d recommend it to anyone. Hmm. Oh! I know who might like it! Laura – I think you’d be interested in checking this one out. πŸ™‚

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Summary:

An odd film that, I think, is aimed at a pre to mid-teen audience. I really liked the central story of a young girl living in an eerie fantasy world that she’s created in her drawings and the relationship she forms with the boy she meets in this world. Everything is dark and grey and dreary and I’m not entirely sure if that’s down to the horrible quality of the version I saw or if it’s just because, well, it’s set in England (Ha! No, I’m actually not joking – you wouldn’t believe how sunless & dreary it is here). It helps sets the tone & mood of the film, though, and makes it feel like more of a “horror” film than it actually is. I’m really not sure how to rate this one… In some ways, I found it great and very refreshing as it’s so unusual and I love to get a break from your typical mainstream types of movies sometimes. However, I don’t know if it’s exactly a “good” film. It feels very low budget & 80’s (not negative things in my book) and… I don’t know! Seriously – I have no clue what to rate this one. Brian is going to yell at me for my confusing ratings again if he reads this. I actually had this movie on my to-watch list for YEARS after reading about it a very very long time ago and liking the sound of it. I’m very glad I managed to finally see it & it’s one that will stay with me as the story and visuals were so unique. It may not be the best film I’ve seen this year but it’s one of the most memorable. I appreciate its creativity.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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By the way – Thanks to everyone for all your wonderful comments on my blog this week! I don’t get much time to reply to anyone during the week – I’ll catch up with you all this weekend! πŸ™‚

CPD Classics: Big (1988) Review

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A note before I start the review:

Since starting this blog, I’ve only reviewed movies I’ve just recently watched instead of attempting to review old favorites of mine. This felt too difficult for me as I’m not always great with words & feel like I won’t do these movies justice. I’ll attempt to do very SHORT reviews (probably on Fridays) where I talk briefly about what I like about some of my favorite films or films I think deserve a bit more recognition than they get (be warned: there will probably be a lot of 80’s movies because of my age). In most cases, I won’t be re-watching them as I know them so well. I’m starting with Big as I did re-watch that recently.

Big (1988)

Directed by Penny Marshall

Starring:
Tom Hanks
David Moscow
Elizabeth Perkins
Robert Loggia
John Heard
Jared Rushton
Jon Lovitz
Mercedes Ruehl

Running time: 104 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
12-year-old Josh Baskin makes a wish to be “big” on an old carnival fortune telling machine after he’s embarrassed in front of a girl he likes when he’s told he’s too short for a ride. To his surprise, he wakes up the next morning as a 30-year-old man.

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

I was in my early teens when this came out & remember going to it in a group with several relatives as it was such a hugely successful family film at the time. I feel like there are very few “family” films like Big these days. Nowadays it would star an Adam Sandler-type instead of someone like Tom Hanks and the humor would be so dumbed down and immature that only the youngest members in the audience would enjoy it while they’d throw in an occasional “dirty” joke to try to entertain the bored adults. The family would walk away from the film (after it’s predictably sentimental ending) with maybe the kids thinking it was okay but the adults just glad that they got to rest for a couple hours while their kids were entertained.

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Big appeals to everyone between the ages of 8 and 108. I liked it as a (moody) early teen, my mom liked it, my aunt liked it, my grandma liked it. Everyone liked it in 1988, right? It was a nicer time. The film is wholesome without being annoyingly so (I mean, there’s even some PG boobies-in-bra action). Tom Hanks is on top form as a 12-year-old stuck in the body of a 30-year-old and I can’t imagine anyone else nailing that role the way he did. He’s brilliant and totally believable. We don’t get a bunch of stupid high jinks – we get a young boy who at first is very scared then slowly starts to do his best to adjust to his new life as an adult. We never forget that he’s 12, though, even as we see him mature after getting his first job and “girl”friend – Hanks plays the role perfectly from start to finish. And how loveable was he as we watched this “big kid” playing with toys & spending his paychecks on all the stupid things a 12-year-old boy would and getting the pretty but uptight female co-worker to loosen up & jump on his trampoline?? And then there’s the big piano scene! You have to love Hanks & Robert Loggia dancing on the big piano and playing Heart & Soul. If you don’t love that, I want to hear from you in the comments below! That scene is an all-time classic.

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Big is a heartwarming coming-of-age comedy with a character who behaves in a very realistic way to an unrealistic situation. We never forget that we’re watching a 12-year-old boy and the movie doesn’t treat the audience like idiots. It appeals to all ages by telling a simple story in a simple way and having a lot of heart and soul. That’s why it’s a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 8/10

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