Horns (2013) Review

Horns (2013)

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Based on Horns by Joe Hill

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham, David Morse, Sabrina Carpenter

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Horns is an American dark fantasy horror-comedy film directed by Alexandre Aja, loosely based on Joe Hill’s novel of the same name. Daniel Radcliffe stars as a man who is accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend (Juno Temple) and uses his newly discovered paranormal abilities to uncover the real killer.

My Opinion:

Okay, so I watched this movie after reading the book because I of course wanted to see how they’d adapt such a weird story (you can read my review of the book HERE). I know that movies are rarely as good as the books but they did a pretty poor job with this adaptation. It started out pretty good, too, so it was disappointing that it fell apart.

Yes, we have Harry Potter playing Ig, a guy who grows Devil horns. And has sex! NO! Do NOT have sex, Daniel Radcliffe! That’s just really disturbing – you’re a little kid. And Juno Temple… is it just me or is that girl annoying? I suppose she wasn’t too bad in this, though, as she was kind of how I pictured Merrin. She’s famous because her dad (Julien Temple) is famous. Can we just talk about his music documentary/music video work instead? That’s far more interesting than Horns. My husband told me he likes it more when I go off on a tangent, like when I “reviewed” Primer and ended up talking about Weebles. Really?? Surely people find that annoying! Just Google Julien Temple if you don’t know him – besides things like his Sex Pistols documentaries, he directed far more music videos than I realized (videos for Judas Priest, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Depeche Mode, etc etc, and that David Bowie movie Absolute Beginners). Oh, and check out my chat with Hard Ticket To Home Video’s Brian of Billy Idol’s White Wedding video HERE (which wasn’t directed by Temple – I’m just whoring my Music Video Friday posts that only I & two other bloggers like). 😉

Right! Horns. I think the movie captured the love story between Ig & Merrin pretty well, which was good as that’s what I liked the most about the book. But it did a terrible job with all the other characters. As always, I won’t spoil the story but the two other biggest characters are probably Ig’s brother Terry & Ig’s friend Lee (who couldn’t look more different from how he’s described in the book). Their stories were changed quite a bit and they got no character development at all in the movie. I hated the changes as they didn’t really seem like the type that were necessary to save on time or whatever (I let some changes slide as I know it’s hard to squeeze a long book into a short movie). For those seeing the movie only, I think you’ve totally missed out on most of the characters’ motivations for doing the things they did.

And Heather Graham couldn’t have felt more out of place! They changed & made her role far bigger than it was in the book and I’m afraid to say that she came across as quite desperate in this & her acting was just embarrassing. It makes me sad to say that – I kind of like Heather Graham. I’m assuming she was told to act in that way, though, as Wikipedia oddly describes Horns as a horror comedy, which I don’t think is at all accurate. There are a couple small dark comedy moments but don’t watch it expecting a dark comedy – it’s a supernatural murder mystery horror. It’s a very unique & original story so I suppose that’s just Hollywood trying to give it a simple classification.

Despite my complaints, I did like this movie okay. I’m going to be picky as I liked the book but, trying to look at it as someone who hasn’t read the book would, I think it’s a decent enough film. It does try a little too hard to be “cool” but I think that’s pretty common for movies aimed at twentysomethings. Yes, like Joe Hill’s books are very much aimed at a younger generation than those older fans of his dad’s (Stephen King) work, this movie very obviously knows its specific target audience. Which is fine – I’m sure a lot of now-adults who grew up with Harry Potter love this movie. I think Daniel Radcliffe will have been chosen for this very reason & he’s much better than I was expecting – I ended up having no issues with him playing Ig (I read on IMDB that Shia LaBeouf was originally going to play Ig. Yuck – can you imagine?! That would’ve been a huge mistake!). Also, the movie’s soundtrack is pretty good. It was out of place half the time & far too obvious sometimes (such as using Personal Jesus) but I’m not going to complain at a soundtrack including David Bowie even though the song Heroes worked much better in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (plus David Bowie is currently the “artist you must include in your soundtrack to make your movie seem cool“).

Summary:

Horns is a decent enough horror movie if you’re looking for a different sort of story that you’ve not seen in a thousand other films (that’s usually my biggest complaint with horror movies such as Mama). Don’t get the wrong idea when I say it’s aimed at twentysomethings who grew up with Harry Potter – it’s a dark film & very much a “horror”. I was surprised when looking up the director’s other work (The Hills Have Eyes remake, Mirrors, Piranha 3D(!), and the ultra-violent Switchblade Romance which has been on my list to watch for the blog every October but I still haven’t because I’m a wuss). Well, Horns is less extreme than any of those. I far preferred the book, of course, but at least they got the central love story right in the movie even if they made a mess of everything else. I’d actually recommend only watching the movie with this one if you’re not much of a book person – you’ll enjoy the movie more that way. If you are a book person, definitely read the book first.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Here’s a Julien Temple video! This song is stuck in my head now. Judas Priest – Breaking The Law:

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Twelve Monkeys (1995) 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 a bonkers review of Se7en (which you can read HERE) and now he’s back to give us another review in typical Eric-style. 😉 Thanks so much for joining in on this IMDB thing, Eric! Now let’s see what he has to say about Twelve Monkeys, IMDB rank 180 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 HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.

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Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

12 MONKEYS – 1995

We’ve all seen 12 MONKEYS, right? RIGHT??? RIGHT???!!!??? Well, since we’ve all seen it at least 30 times, I recently constructed a highly safe, comfortable, humane movie theater and screened it for twelve monkeys who hadn’t seen it. Using my high tech and professional recording devices, let’s see what they had to say.

Subject 1: Babboo Jones

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That was pretty good, Meester. That was made by Terry Gilliam?? The Monty Python guy?? Not bad, I need to see some more of his shit. Can I get my fucking bananas now???

Subject 2: Peepers “Stinky Butt” Brown

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They “live underground like worms?????” YIKES!! Also – LOL!!! “You are the most bootiful woman I have ever seen” HAHAHAHAHA!!! Even I can spell better than that I’m a shit eating monkey!!!!

Subject 3: Johnny “Stinkfinger” Harris

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Remember when Brad Pitt was cool?? Remember when he’d do character stuff like this?? Now he’s all ‘I’m fuckin’ Brad Pitt!! Look at my woman’s hair!!!” and shit. What a dope. OOOPS, sorry, just farted.

Subject 4: Daniel Isaacs (no relation)

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Time Travel, eh? Interesting. I like how it’s new for them and it’s not always correct. Hey – was that Arthur Dent?? The original one. From the TV show.

Subject 5: Raul Buena Vista De La Munoz

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What the fuck is that smell coming from the break room??? It smells like broccoli and SHIT. Excuse me for a minute.

Subject 6: Caitlynn “Like A Whisper” Simpson-Bonilla

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I like how we had to look at Bruce Willis’ butt. Not once but TWICE! MEEEEEEOOOOOW PUSSYCAT!!!

Subject 7: (name redacted)

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DID HE JUST EAT A FUCKING SPIDER??!?!!!??????!!!!

Subject 8: Lisa “The Angel” Scheueczk

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I really liked how it ended with the ki – DID I JUST HEAR A GUNSHOT?????!?!

(audible screams from outside screening room)

I have blood on my hands…. I HAVE BLOOD ON MY HANDS!!!!!!

Subject 9: Phillip “The Distance” Fudge (that’s really his last name)

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“The boy is hiding in a barn” CLASSIC!!

Subject 10: Jeffrey “Bleeding Gums” Johnson

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This is a total Sci-Fi classic – all the way! Great acting and story telling! I’m VERY hungry. VERY.

Subject 11: Jimmy “The Schnozz” Durante

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Where’s the fucking food??? HA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA.

NOTE: At this point the subjects were becoming unruly due to lack of feeding. The Alpha soon took charge.

Subject 12: BRIAN @ HARD TICKET TO HOME VIDEO

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EAT SHIT ISAACS!!! HERE COMES A KNUCKLE BALL!!!! (flings a handful of fresh poop)

And with that, the session ended and I was left with quite a mess to clean up.

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**Terry Gilliam has called 12 Monkeys “part of a dystopian satire trilogy or Orwellian triptych” begun with Brazil and ending with The Zero Theorem. Without meaning to, I guess Eric & I have recently reviewed this “trilogy”. You can read his review of Brazil HERE and my review of The Zero Theorem HERE.

The Green Mile (1999) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe is loving this IMDB project – she’s already reviewed The Departed (which you can read HERE) and she’s planning on doing more! (And may have done another one already…) 😉 Thanks so much for the reviews, Zoe!

Now let’s see what she has to say about The Green Mile, IMDB rank 65 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 HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.

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Here’s another entry for Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having so much fun with this, revisiting some movies, checking them all for her, some of them I have been meaning to look into again for so long, and now I finally have the driving factor. This is a movie that I hold most dear, who lived up to every inch of the book, proving that you can, in fact, adapt a book successfully if you just know what you are doing.

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“On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job?”
– Paul Edgecomb

The Green Mile is an absolutely stunning tale of the supernatural, faith, the strange things, horror, hope, miracles and all sorts of things. Naturally, when it begins, you don’t really know what is coming. I mean Stephen King is renowned for horrors, but what some people forget is that he is an exceptionally talented author who has more skills than just to terrify the pants off of you. From his strange mind he brought us an account, one that makes you smile, one that makes you sad, one that evokes anger and pity all at once. John Coffey is portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan (R.I.P.), and I think he was superbly cast to play the giant that was accused of the disgusting slayings of two young girls. He is a monster of a man, not the most intelligent person in the world, but shy, wholesome and well-mannered, very incongruent to the hulking monstrosity his physical exterior represents.

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“People hurt the ones they love. That’s how it is all around the world.” – John Coffey

Coffey’s character can only grow on you, and if it does not, then there is something fundamentally flawed in you. He was pure innocence in a world of cruelty, anger and hatred, and even though he was wronged, he did not take it out on anyone once. I loved the relationship he developed with the guards Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks), Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn). It was great to see how they interacted with this man on death row. Then there was Tom Hanks, again pulling together a great drama role right here as Paul, the man who had to get to the bottom of whatever was going on, who was drawn in and fascinated by Coffey, a peaceful and pure human being. Naturally not everyone was going to be so nice, and Dough Hutchison did a fine job as Percy Wetmore… in other words, I really did just want to climb over somewhere and kill him. He was inhumane, he was cruel and he deserved so much more than a big, fat slap. He was revolting and evil to the core, and was intent on throwing his weight around and bullying everyone no end. People like that sicken me, and he was incredibly convincing, always selfish, putting himself ahead and being resentful at every available opportunity.

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“Try it! You’ll be on the bread lines before the week is out!” – Percy Whetmore

Sam Rockwell was simply brilliant as “Wild Bill” Wharton, and impressed me with his portrayal of the malicious and wicked man. He was undeniably cracked and never once let you forget about it. He was the very embodiment of what I expected from King’s character. I also enjoyed David Morse, whom I find to be an underappreciated actor. He lent dignity and morals to Brutus and gave him real flesh and character. The movie’s pacing was gradual though never boring, but you must not expect something gushing action in every scene, never relenting or letting you breathe. This is a film designed to make you chew over it, think about it and make decisions based on that.

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“All I wanted me was a little cornbread, motherfuckers! All I wanted me was a little cornbread!” – William “Wild Bill” Wharton

I enjoyed how the film was set in the thirties, and the appearance of the prison, the uniforms, the way of life… things was done so much differently. Coffey’s gift being discovered was a thing of beauty. Paul had been suffering for a while with a severe bladder infection, and in a moment of fear and pain, Coffey had healed him, fixed the problems. Such is the nature that shows that Coffey is special, that he is amazing and that he should not be where he is, though he is there now and will have to make the best of it. The guards all become rather protective of Coffey and develop a respect and friendship with him, though not everything is destined to go that way. Paul’s relentless need to get to the bottom of what really happened is touching, and it shows you how one person can change your perception in life as well as how you go about it.

I honestly believe The Green Mile is a classic, and most definitely something that everyone should see at least once in their lives. Frank Darabont again gave another striking vision of a King novel, something I am starting to feel only he fully grasps.

I just can’t see God putting a gift like that in the hands of a man who would kill a child. – Paul Edgecomb

World War Z (2013) Review

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World War Z

Directed by Marc Forster

Produced by:
Brad Pitt
Dede Gardner
Jeremy Kleiner
Ian Bryce

Based on World War Z by Max Brooks (Supposedly. Like… Extremely LOOSELY based on! Lol.)

Starring:
Brad Pitt
Mireille Enos
Daniella Kertesz
James Badge Dale
Fana Mokoena
Ludi Boeken
Matthew Fox
David Morse
Elyes Gabel

Plot Synopsis:

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a former employee of the United Nations, is called upon to leave his family & travel the globe in search of the cause of a worldwide zombie pandemic and in the hope of finding a cure.

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My Opinion:

So, okay – I read World War Z by Max Brooks (son of Mel!). I LOVED it – I thought it was one of the best books I’d read in years. Then I heard they’d be making it into a movie and I’m usually happy about that – although I rarely like the movies as much as the books, I still enjoy seeing how they adapt them. After all kinds of known problems while trying to make this movie, we finally got to see the first proper trailer. And, like everyone else who read the book, I was like “what the HELL is that?!”. Lol. I don’t need to say more – I think everyone knows by now that, aside from the title, the book and the movie have VERY little in common. So let’s move on…

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Knowing this was NOT going to be the World War Z I know, I went to this with fairly low expectations and also went to it knowing it was going to be more of a serious “nationwide pandemic” film than some kind of Romero zombie movie. This is more I Am Legend or even Contagion than Night Of The Living Dead. And that’s fine – I ended up enjoying it more than I had expected. Not that the book was a full-on zombie thing anyway – it’s more like a book on war… (Sorry – not going there! I won’t mention the book again). 😉

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Apocalyptic Movies of any sort are always my type of thing. Don’t know why… And World War Z is a decent enough example of this type of film. We got to see the human side of things through seeing Brad Pitt’s character have to leave his wife and two daughters behind as he travels to try to discover the cause & a cure. We briefly meet some soldiers that we get to know a little bit about – this was one of the better parts of the film (and a small part of this was in the book!!). And Brad helps a female soldier in Israel played by Daniella Kertesz. She’s probably one of the best characters in this and she wasn’t even listed when I looked up the actors’ names on Wikipedia! We meet quite a few characters as Brad travels the globe and I enjoyed that and actually wished they’d been able to spend a little more time with some of these characters.

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As for the action & “gore” – well, there IS no gore. Honestly. Never seen a zombie movie with pretty much NO blood whatsoever. But that’s fine by me. As I said, this isn’t some zombie horror movie – this is a human drama exploring the effects of a worldwide pandemic. And, aside from a few minor silly things, this movie does the “apocalyptic” thing so much better than a Roland Emmerich movie. Other than some CGI zombies piling on top of each other and looking a little silly, World War Z felt much more realistic than an Emmerich film ever has. And the action seemed just right – just enough but nothing too insane and over-the-top (hello Man Of Steel!).

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Summary:

If you go to World War Z with an open mind and expecting a human drama about a worldwide pandemic instead of a gory zombie horror movie, you may find that you actually enjoy it. It certainly has some problems and is far from perfect but it isn’t the total disaster we were all expecting after hearing about all the production problems and all the changes that were made. I’d have liked to see a bit more character development of some of the lesser characters but we meet them all too briefly to really achieve this. So, overall, I’d probably recommend this film. But I’d DEFINITELY recommend the brilliant book. You can do both – they’re completely different things…

My Rating: 7/10

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**I think a lot of people will have by now read about the original World War Z ending and how it was massively changed. If you’re interested, this is a very good article explaining the changes: The Playlist.

I hate the sound of this original ending! I have to say they made the right decision.

See if World War Z has made this list of My Top Ten Apocalyptic Movies. 🙂