Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Hereditary - The Modern Exorcist

For those who know me, I am a sucker for any kind of horror movie. I consider myself a horror connoisseur. When I first saw the previews for this movie back in February, I was hooked. Hereditary gave me The Exorcist vibes with a touch of an M. Night Shyamalan twist. Reading other critiques beforehand, my standards were set pretty high. My expectations were exceeded. Our story begins with an average family who has recently lost their grandmother. Charlie (Milly Sharpiro) is a thirteen-year old girl and her grandmother's favorite. Charlie seems to have signs of some mental illness although it is never stated directly. She tends to keep by herself with strange ticks and makes dolls. After coping with the loss of the grandmother, the family loses Charlie in a car accident. The son, Peter (Alex Wolff), tries to rush Charlie to the hospital after Charlie goes into anaphylaxis at a party only for her to put her head out the window and get decapitated. The whole scene is as messed up and disgusting as it sounds. Toni Collette (Annie) gives a stunning performance as a grieving mother who wants to do anything to bring her daughter back. In a last ditch effort she tries to be a medium and contact Charlie directly. While this is a horror cliche, a major pet peeve of mine, director Ari Aster succeeds in a tasteful way. Aster orchestrates a horror masterpiece with predictable concepts by the us of artistic camera angles and subtle horror sequences. Annie, for example, designs miniatures (i.e., doll houses) of her life. Many of the scenes and transitions are depicted from the view point of the miniature on which she is working. Perhaps what made this movie so disturbing is how different grief was portrayed. Peter seems to try to live normally while being numb and breaking down in private. Steve (Gabriel Byrne), the father, is just trying to make things normal in the household. Meanwhile, Annie is falling apart. These contrasting coping mechanisms create conflict both externally among characters and internally as well. If halfway through the movie you are not convinced that this movie is truly terrifying, the ending is worth the wait. The ending is predictable but is executed well because of its disturbing factor. I found myself mouthing "WTF" at least three times at the end.  Jump scares and showing scary scenes abundantly can change a great horror movie into a B-rated film. Ari Aster manages to create a horrific movie without the use of either. The horror scenes are so subtle that the suspense messes with your head. Many of the horror scenes take place in the periphery of the focal point creating a haunting and unsettling atmosphere. I don't want to give any spoilers away for those who haven't gotten the chance to see it, but the ending messed me up completely. I came out of the theater satisfied but with the same sense of uneasiness as the first time I saw The Exorcist. I tried my hardest to admit that I was not terrified after watching the movie, but I found myself sleeping with all the lights on and checking the backseat of my car repeatedly on my way to the gym at the break of dawn. While I would place Hereditary under a psychological thriller rather than horror, it definitely sets the standards high for future horror movies in this decade.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

We Need To Discuss the Series Finale of Breaking Bad

   We really need to talk about this. Last year my boyfriend and I started Breaking Bad and we watched all the way up to the second to last episode of season 5. I had heard some mixed reviews about the series finale so we put it on hold until last Sunday. I still feel very conflicted over it. Warning: If you haven't watched Breaking Bad, a) who are you and b) this post will contain a lot of spoilers.
   The series finale left me feeling very unsatisfied, but also feel like the ending made a lot of sense. However, killing off our beloved Walter White was very unnecessary. Had we just ended on season 4, everything would have been fine and dandy. Then again, I think that was the point of season 5. To me, I felt like seasons 1-4 dealt with Walter's struggles of providing for his family and being able to afford nice things compared to his other friends. During that time Walter was a family man and he was somewhat unsure of his drug business and tried to keep his family out of it. That's what made it so interesting to me. A simple chemistry teacher has this secret life that no one would expect from him. Let's be honest here, Walter White did not appear to be intimidating at all. If you saw him on the streets, you would think he was they typical family man. But as we see him progress, he gets so much cooler. When he shaves his head for the first time, you know things are about to get real.
   Season 5 Walter is a completely different character. This is the corrupt Walter. The family man we loved before is gone. I feel like season 5 was all about Walter's internal struggle between what's right and what he actually wants to do. He says it all in the series finale. Everything he has done was for him. It shows just how much this business has corrupted him. He has lost everything and it is all because he wanted the money and he was really good at cooking meth. It doesn't justify the ending, but how he communicates to Skyler and devises this plan to set things right and put an end to it redeems him. Not to mention how awesome his plan was. Only a truly brilliant man like Walter could come up with that neat little gun contraption. I do understand how the show couldn't have ended happily. With that being said, Vince Gilligan, you should have stopped the show at season 4 so I could feel more at peace. I have several complaints. For starters, I wish Walter and his son would have had some resolution. Walter Jr.'s last words to him were "just die already." Well good news, Walt Jr., he does. At one point Walt Jr. looked up to his father which shows when he discovers the truth about Walter. He's angry and upset and in disbelief. Truly heartbreaking. Also, I would have liked to see Jesse and Walter make amends. I get that the whole "I watched Jane die" thing is a set back on their friendship (if you can call it a friendship), but they have been through so much together and it made me sad to see that all come to an end. Plus, Jesse could have showed a little appreciation seeing as Walter saved his life in the end. Now my third and final complaint: what happened after Walter's death? Walter's death broke my heart, but I really want to know what happened to his family after they find out. Were they sad? Did Walt Jr. regret everything he said? What did Jesse do? Did the Schwartz's actually give Walt Jr. the money Walter gave to them? I need answers.
   All in all though, Breaking Bad was easily one of the best shows I have ever watched. Even the series finale was iconic. You don't come along very many shows like this one, so it was nice getting to enjoy it. If you haven't watched it yet, they have all the episodes on Netflix and I promise it's binge worthy. Just be warned because I definitely wanted to cry after the series finale. It changes you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Star Wars: Just a Remake?

   Everyone has been talking about the new Star Wars movie. In fact, Star Wars: The Force Awakens surpassed both Titanic and Avatar in box office earnings (my boyfriend told me that, so I am not entirely sure how accurate that fact is). However, despite popular opinion, I was not too crazy about it. 
   The movie begins with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) helping Finn (John Boyega) escape from the First Order. After a space ship crash, Finn is left to find BB-8, a droid who has come in contact with our heroic lead, Rey (Daisy Ridley). *Spoiler alert* Rey and Finn come across the Millennium Falcon and meet up with Han Solo and Chewbacca. Long story short, Rey learns she is the new master Jedi and must team up with the Resistance to defeat Kylo Ren and the rest of the First Order. This whole plot does sound oddly familiar though right? That's because this movie is none other than a remake of the old ones. Now don't get me wrong, I am happy that we are establishing a new version of Star Wars for the new generation. But I would appreciate a new story with a new plot. The equivalent is making a movie about Harry Potter's son going to Hogwarts only to find that Voldemort's heir is hunting him down. 
    Now this movie did have some pretty amazing aspects to it. The effects were amazing. My boyfriend and I watched the first six together before we saw this one together and the difference from a visual stance is significant. I actually felt like I was in the galaxy fighting the First Order with the Resistance. Plus how can you not love BB-8? He is almost as cute as R2D2. 
   However, I was slightly disappointed by Kylo Ren, or Darth Vader 2.0 I should say. He even has his own helmet and everything. First of all, he is Leia's and Han Solo's son; so naturally, I assumed he would be a very attractive man. When he took off his helmet, I was expecting a darker more mysterious Zac Efron type of guy. But, I was very wrong. All I got was a huge nose staring at me from the screen. Now don't get me wrong, Adam Driver did a very nice job of portraying his character, but he was no Anakin in anyway shape or form. I did not feel the passion of Kylo Ren like I did with Darth Vader. In the older movies, I felt Darth Vader's conflicted feelings. Kylo Ren just made me mad. That is the honest truth. Darth Vader and I had some ups and downs. There were times where I thought I was done with him. We were on and off through the whole series, but in the end I learned to like Darth Vader. I am not so sure about Kylo Ren. There are a lot of things we still do not know about him; but after the stunt he pulled in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I'm not so sure I will ever like him. 
   In conclusion, if you are a Star Wars fan, then I highly do recommend this movie. It was definitely not my favorite and it doesn't even really compare to the originals. However, it is still incredibly entertaining and just an overall fun and flashy movie. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sinister 2:Just As You Expected

    Usually I am a huge fan of Blumhouse Productions. I loved the Conjuring, Insidious, and even the first Sinister. However, Sinister 2 was definitely a typical horror movie sequel. Now I will not go as far to say that this should have been a straight-to-DVD film, although I can definitely see how it has straight-to-DVD potential.
   Our story begins exactly how you would expect. Just like the first one, a family moves into a home with a dark past. A family had been murdered there just like the Oswalts in the first movie. Yet, this sequel took a different direction. In the original film, we get to see the point of view from the adult's perspective. The children, although very important to the movie, are not seen very often. This movie was all about the children. We get to see the point of view of Courtney Collins' (Shannyn Sossaman) sons, Dylan and Zach. The Deputy from the first movie also makes an appearance, but this time he is burning down houses to put an end to Bughuul's antics. Zach and Dylan see the dead children who have been succumbed to Bughuul's ways. Bughuul, in case you do not know already, is a demon which we know to be the boogeyman. His goal is to take children because he feeds on the corruption of innocence. The pattern involves one child being chosen, that child murders the family, and then Bughuul takes the child into his realm. Furthermore, the child must film the murder because Bughuul requires an offering. Well we get to see those children who specifically target Dylan. Dylan is this young boy whose brother, Zach, beats up and bullies. Dylan must watch all the films that the children give him in order to make his own movie. Now these films made by the children are no joke. I would be lying if I said I wasn't horrified when I saw them.
SPOILER ALERTS: Dylan finally watches one last film entitled "Sunday Service." Now if you thought the films in the first movie were bad, this one takes the cake. This little boy drugs his family. He ties them all up in a circle and covers their stomachs with a bucket. Underneath the bucket is a rat. You can see where this goes and yes, you get to witness all of it. As if that wasn't enough, he then watches the blood poor out and makes the symbol of Bughuul with it. I was so done with the movie after that. We then find out from the Deputy that the first disappearance ever was from Norway. Someone picked up this radio signal of a child's piano playing. Later on they heard the sounds of a child murdering her mother. Now that actually gave me chills. But the whole movie fell flat after that. Zach finishes the deeds of the children because Dylan refuses and he starts to film this murder he wants to commit. Well, the Deputy will have no part of that because he loves kids and he also loves Courtney Collins. The Deputy saves Courtney and Dylan in the most anticlimactic way possible: he breaks the camera in Zach's hand. You think he is going to kill Zach because Zach has a scythe in one hand and a camera in the other. No, he takes a candlestick and breaks the camera. After that, Zach runs to the basement in disappointment only to be taken by Bughuul. Bughuul never receives his offering and it turns out all they had to do was break the camera the whole time.
  Overall, I would give this movie a 4/10. The film itself is well made despite a bad story. Also, I got the chance to meet the actor who plays Bughuul, Nicholas King, so I am a little biased here on the rating. If you like scary movies, it is definitely worth watching. However, I recommend you wait for this to come out on Redbox or even just TV because it is not worth the $7.00+ to watch it in theaters.

A Touch of Sass

   I have found a new love of writing. Therefore, I have decided to create a personal blog apart from my movie reviews. Yes, I will continue to write on this blog as well to keep people from wasting their time on lousy movies (new review coming soon heads up!). My blog is entitled "A Touch of Sass" and found at this link:
   Everyone feel free to view my blog. I will be talking about a variety of things, so you do not want to miss out!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Forrest Gump - A Truly Memorable Story

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." This quote is something we have all heard. Whether it is through a friend or even through the film Forrest Gump, we all recognize it.
   My boyfriend was out of town and my sister was busy, so naturally my instinct was to watch Netflix all night long. I chose the timeless film Forrest Gump directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Winston Groom (novel) and Eric Roth (screen play). I have seen this movie countless times. In fact it will remain as one of my favorites. However, I decided it would be a great idea to write a review on it especially for those of you who have not seen it. Now even if you have no idea what this movie is about, Tom Hanks is the star. Everyone can agree that Tom Hanks is a phenomenal actor. He is arguably one of the best of the generation. I cannot think of a movie in which Tom Hanks poorly executed a character. Therefore, this movie was destined for greatness, greatness bestowed by Tom Hanks.
  Our story begins with a young Forrest Gump in a small town in Alabama. He is different. He is not smart like the other kids and he has what his mama calls "magic legs" which is just a fancy way of saying he has a disability. Although every kid treats him poorly, Jenny Curran treats him as a human being. In fact, they become best friends. If you haven't seen this movie, here is my warning to you right now: do NOT be deceived by Jenny's sweet face and southern accent. She is not the southern belle that you expect her to turn out to be. Robin Wright did a fine job playing Jenny. I am sure she is a wonderful person but she played one of my most despised characters.So Forrest and Jenny go through life as best friends, but after high school they go separate ways. Forrest makes history and Jenny gets into a lot of bad situations like drugs and alcohol. Yet, here is the saddest plot line in the whole movie: Forrest achieves so many things to win the heart of Jenny Curran who runs away from him every chance she gets. Unfair right? SPOILER ALERT: after about thirty years of running away from Forrest, Jenny reveals that Forrest is the father of a child and that she is ready to marry him. Here is the plot twist though: she has AIDS. Just when you get closure and think everything is okay, everything falls apart. Jenny screwed up in my opinion. Most of us are guilty of friend-zoning a person whether we realize it or not. Yet, here is this guy who is standing in front of her doing absolutely everything he can to win her heart and he is never good enough. She had a troubled life and I will give her credit for that, but she had so many chances to turn her life around. He gave her so many chances. Although, Jenny is not all that bad. Forrest ends up a millionaire and she still won't date him after he makes his money. Kudos to you Jenny Curran for loving him in the end for his personality and not his money.
   Now I did learn some things from this movie. We can create our own destinies. No one believed in Forrest Gump and he turned out to be an incredible human being. Then again, I am biased seeing as Tom Hanks played him. It is really difficult to hate a Tom Hanks character. Maybe if Justin Bieber played the role of Forrest Gump my opinions would differ a bit. The second thing I learned is somewhat sad. Here we have a man with so many people he impacted and so many accomplishments and the one person who impacted him the most is Jenny Curran who did not care about him until the end. It is really sad to think that you can love a person with all your heart and they don't feel the same way back. You can dedicate your whole life to one person and they will not return the favor. But then again life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. I guess we have to take risks in life because we'll never know how it all ends.
   I would rate this movie 10/10 stars. Tom Hanks, you are a treasure. This movie will forever remain timeless with a phenominal cast and phenominal story. There are many historical aspects to the movie as well. Even if you don't like love stories, history enthusiests will have a party with this film. Miracles happen as Forrest Gump once said and this movie is one of them.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Phantom of the Opera (2004)

   Let me start by saying that I have actually seen this movie more than once. The first time I saw it, I was about nine years old. Because of my young age, I did not remember much. All I remember is crying at the end. My sister and I were having a movie night and wanted to watch a musical. We both love the music in this production to begin with, so naturally Phantom of the Opera was our first choice. I remembered this movie being very sad, but I was not aware of the downward spiral my emotions would take.
   This movie stars the always attractive Gerard Butler playing the mysterious and handsome Phantom. Emily Rossum plays the beautiful Christine and to my surprise Patrick Wilson plays Raoul. Even if you hate musicals, this movie is enjoyable because the acting is superb. Christine is a very understated character in the beginning. The Opera House treats her as a background character. The "star" however, is a mean, spoiled woman named Carlotta (Minnie Driver). Although she can sing she does not match up to Christine's standards. When Carlotta backs down Christine assumes the throne as star performer. When asked who her teacher is, she says it is her angel of music. Just as the phantom says Christine makes his soul take flight, the phantom's appearance made my emotions take flight. I immediately fell in love with Gerard Butler's character. Call me insane, but I love the mysterious, attractive "bad boy" so to speak.When he sang Music of the Night my heart melted. I was enthralled by his vocal dynamics followed by a sweet symphony playing in the background. Honestly I would not care to stay in his dark dungeon forever because he gets paid a salary, he's handsome, and he has tons of little trinkets that would provide entertainment.
   As the movie progresses the phantom develops feelings for Christine. However, Christine has her eyes on another, her childhood friend Raoul. Although Patrick Wilson executed his role as Raoul very well, I still will never like this character. I tend to analyze movies very distinctly. My sister will even tell you the same because I notice everything: facial expressions, background scenery, etc. What I grasped from this is that Raoul fell in love with Christine's voice which made him fall in love with Christine as a person. Not to mention that Raoul thinks she is insane for having this "imaginary tutor." The Phantom in contrast sees her potential from the get-go. He loves her sweetness and most of all he loves her because she is not frightened by him. Honestly though if Gerard Butler tells you to stay with him why would you not? That is the real question I have for Christine. And as the play and movie both go, Christine chooses Roaul over the Phantom. Yet is this the whole story?
   SPOILER ALERT: The end of the movie got to me more than any movie I've watched in a while. He kidnaps Christine and says her fate is to stay with him. Raoul runs after her. The Phantom says that he loves her and blames his face for the fact she does not love him back. Yet Christine says it is his actions that really drove her away from him. At this realization he lets Raoul have her. He loves her but he realizes that his actions have consequences. His actions lost him Christine. But there's a twist here. Christine loves him too. When Raoul and Christine ride on the boat back to safety she looks back at him longingly. At the end older Raoul is visiting Christine's grave. He brings her the Phantom's music box. On the grave is a single rose with the ring the Phantom presented her. Christine isn't as bad as I thought she was. She chose the Phantom in her heart and that is enough happiness for me.
   I encourage everyone to watch this movie at some point. It is more than a musical. It is very entertaining and the music is beautiful. Plus there is some really awesome dance numbers, fights, and attractive men serenading the audience. What more could you want?