This is just a quick update for everyone. As of the last few days, I think I’m getting a virus and I feel a bit off colour. I’m telling you this because I may take a few rests from blogging and not review as much in the next few days depending on how I’m feeling. Don’t panic as I’ll still be around. I have enjoyed this month of blogging but am going to rest just a little bit. Who knows, this virus may be gone in the next few days or so. Hope everyone understands.
- Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller
- Martin Henderson as Noah
- David Dorfman as Aidan Keller
- Brian Cox as Richard Morgan
- Jane Alexander as Dr. Grasnik
The Ring is a remake of a well-respected horror so I can understand the trepidation of some people about how successful it would be. They need not have worried because The Ring is an exceptionally well crafted and very unsettling horror with imaginative brush strokes.
The Ring centres around an unusual videotape that comes with a strange and unsettling story. Filled with bizarre images, it is said that anyone who views it will then receive a phone call, telling the viewer that they will die in seven days. A group of teenagers who viewed the tape while on a trip all turn up dead exactly a week later and at the exact same time. One of the victims was the teenage niece of Rachel Keller, an investigative journalist. While supporting her young son Aidan who was very close with his cousin and is very troubled by it, she becomes curious after she hears someone mention the sinister tape. Being a journalist, she is naturally drawn to delve into the mysterious case. Tracking the whereabouts of her niece she comes to the cabin she stayed at, and it is here that she encounters the mysterious tape. In an attempt to understand the events attributed to the tape, Rachel watches it and sure enough receives the ominous phone call of seven days left. Desperate to uncover what is going on and fearing for her life, she calls upon the services of her ex-boyfriend Noah, who is also the father to Aidan. He is an expert in video technology and is helpful to her cause, though he is very skeptical of the power of the tape. In her investigation, the images of the tape and strange visions lead her to link it with The Morgan family, in particular a strange young girl named Samara. Yet there is still more to unearth that could spell a different outcome for all party to the tape. Now terrified of whether she can save herself and those closest, Rachel has just seven days to discover the origins of the tape before it is too late for anything else.
Gore Verbinski handles the material with a stylistic yet still accomplished sense of direction. He has a clear eye for pacing and making events not what they seem, deepening the mystery with resplendent assurance and command. While he is very much a visual director, he also taps into the unpredictable and unraveling mystery of the piece rather well. As The Ring boasts a lot more thematic maters than the average horror film, this is something of a given. I loved seeing a horror film that wasn’t mindless but instead intelligent and gripping. Imagery throughout The Ring is pretty haunting and the way that it is explored deeply is another bonus in the supernatural horror of everything. And by the far the most creepy image is that of Samara, a pale young girl in white dress and flowing black tresses that cover the eyes emerging from a well on the tape. There are some stretches within The Ring that get a bit too drawn out for its own good. But the overall impact and atmosphere paper over these minor cracks in what is still an essentially frightening movie, that gladly has brains as well as a scare factor. The green-blue tint that pervades almost all of the film conjures a surreal aura to everything, which goes a long way in making the audience feel both drawn into the building set of events and cause deep anxiety. This use of a colour palette can’t be praised highly enough as it weaves a creative spell all through The Ring. Hans Zimmer is on music duties and structures a deepening dead that drips from every sonic tweak he infuses into the film.
Naomi Watts is very convincing in the terrified yet steadfast role of Rachel, who finds that the mystery with the tape may just cost her everything if she doesn’t decipher it all quickly. Watts brings out a purposefulness and a confusion that go in hand in hand in making us feel something for the character whose investigation turns deadly and more unsettling. Supporting her is the easy charm and growing nervousness of Martin Henderson as Noah, who scoffs at the idea of a tape having that power but then regretting it big time. It must be said that the level of fear that both Watts and Henderson project is excellently conveyed and pretty potent. David Dorfman plays the scared and unusual child of Rachel’s well, with the drawings and things that he sees becoming integral to the plot. Brian Cox and Jane Alexander add a lot to their roles as people from Samara’s past, who are terrified of the horror that occurred and seems to be spreading once more.
A downright eerie film with a compelling mystery throughout, The Ring is one hell of a spooky film that knows just the right way to have you creeped out as well as getting you to think.
- Bradford Dillman as Paul Grogan
- Heather Menzies as Maggie McKeown
- Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Robert Hoak
- Bruce Gordon as Colonel Waxman
- Barbara Steele as Dr. Mengers
A knowing monster movie horror with a delicious sense of humour, Piranha makes for a fast-paced and thrilling make that is fun from start to finish. Prepare for gory delights a plenty in this creature feature.
Maggie McKeown is a determined but often very clumsy insurance investigator who is assigned to find two missing teenagers near Lost River Lake. Once arriving in the area, she enlists the services of tracking man Paul Grogan, who has fallen into isolation and booze since the break up of his marriage. Reluctantly, he helps Maggie and leads her to an old military complex that has been deserted to years. The place looks empty enough and the two commence with a search for the missing teens. While snooping around the seemingly disused facility, Maggie activates the drainage switch to the pool, hoping to find evidence of the teenager’s bodies. Instead, she lets out something a lot more deadly and unpredictable into the river. They are berated by a disoriented man by the name of Dr. Robert Hoak for their actions. He begins to explain his terrified reaction to what Maggie did. She let out a school of mutant piranhas that were originally going to be used during the Vietnam War, before the covert project was scrapped. The fish were created to survive in cold water and breed rapidly. Hoak kept some of the fish and carried on testing, but is now feeling a lot of remorse for his actions. Taking Hoak with them, Paul and Maggie head down the river by way of a raft as the piranha are most likely to head to potential food. And it just so happens that there is a summer camp about to have a swimming competition just down the river. Along the way, Hoak is killed when he saves a young boy from death by piranha. Unfortunately, he perishes before telling anyone how to destroy the fish. The military, who want to keep things under the radar, are soon on their tail in trying to track the fish too before word gets out of what is going on. It’s a full on race against time as Paul and Maggie head down the river to warn everyone, the military gets on their back and soon enough carnage ensues. One thing is for certain, they must think fast before the deadly fish somehow reach the ocean and cause even more bloody mayhem.
Joe Dante and his direction is particularly inspired. Blending a tongue in cheek satirical nature with gory horror, he fashions something that fires on both cylinders with impressive results. It’s like Dante is saying that he knows that the story is silly and outrageous but to hell with logic, this movie is for entertainment purposes. And entertain he does with his command of direction that sets Piranha on a quick-paced journey of tension and glee. It makes no bones that it is coming off the success of Jaws( which came out a few years before this) and lampooning it to an extent, and I loved it for that unapologetic sense of humour and attitude. The pace is handled with great efficiency, with events taking shape from the start and quickly unfolding in gloriously crazy fashion that never lets up. One could almost say that Piranha is something of a chase movie as well as a horror. I mean, you have Maggie and Paul tracking down the piranhas, the military attempting to hush them up and the piranha themselves heading for their next meal. You have some genuine suspense in this film, on full display whenever the eponymous critters are stalking and then making a literal meal of anyone in their way as they continue down the river. The script laces events with plenty of references to old monster movies that will have film buffs watering at the mouth to spot them. And the way that the humour, that usually takes its cues from the clumsy acts of Maggie combines with the bloodshed is yet more than enough reason this is seen as a cult movie. Glorious music is on hand to ratchet up the tension as the man-eating fish grow in number and power.
The cast of Piranha is pretty good with the parts they are given. Bradford Dillman makes for a sardonic and cynical hero who at the start is unwilling to help, but whose purpose is reawakened by the threat of disaster. Dillman exudes a gruff demeanor that is well-suited to the broken Paul, but displays a certain amount of likable tendencies as his mission to stop the creatures is put into action. Then we have Heather Menzies as the clumsy but not completely ridiculous insurance investigator. She spends most of the film trying to make amends for letting the piranha out, but while she could have become annoying, Menzies avoids that with her sense of flawed yet lovable charm. Stealing the show in hi supporting by integral part is Kevin McCarthy as the doctor regretting his involvement with the experiment that has just been let loose. He manages to be both slightly menacing and quite sympathetic in his short screen time. Also present in neat parts are Bruce Gordon as a nasty colonel and Scream Queen Barbara Steele as a marine biologist.
With the layers of cracking humour and effective scenes of terror, Piranha entertains in a really amazing way, packed with the goods for horror and satire on creature features. A real slice of B-movie monster horror at its best.
Where I am, the temperature is getting colder and you can tell it is autumn and heading for winter in due course. Well to heat up things, I thought I’d use some sexy pictures to spice things up. Here are some saucy but classy shots of famous people to have a gander at( I’m sure many people will notice that I do love Kelly Brook a lot.)
Today is Spirit Day, a day that was set up in 2010 to show support for LGBTQ youths and raise awareness of the bullying they have faced. I hate any form of bullying, it makes me sick. We are all unique individuals and deserve to be allowed to be ourselves without fear of stigma or prejudice. I want the LGBTQ community to know I am right behind them in supporting them. They have my full backing as no one should have to endure hate just for being themselves.
Laws of Attraction
- Julianne Moore as Audrey Woods
- Pierce Brosnan as Daniel Rafferty
- Michael Sheen as Thorne Jamison
- Parker Posey as Serena Jamison
- Frances Fisher as Sara
This romantic comedy never quite hits the mark that it is going for in trying to emulate classic battle of the sexes movies, but thanks to good chemistry from the leads, Laws of Attraction is at least an entertaining way to pass the time.
Audrey Woods is a successful divorce lawyer in New York who does things by the book and studiously, which pays off as she has never lost a case. That is threatened however by the recent arrival of the irascible Daniel Rafferty, another divorce lawyer who boasts a similar reputation, but different methods. While Audrey is the analytical and slightly prim one, Daniel gets by on luck and charm. They find themselves continually pitted against the other and this is where a sexual tension builds. Audrey, who has all but given up on the dating scene, has no interest in a relationship after seeing so many just wither away. Daniel on the contrary is extremely attracted to her and wants something genuine out of it, much to Audrey’s chagrin. Yet these feelings may go on the back burner when trashy couple of rock star Thorne and designer wife Serena head to the divorce court. Audrey and Daniel continue to clash in and out of the courtroom, especially when they must visit the couple’s castle in Ireland that both of the squabbling parties wants for themselves. Yet after one specific event during an eventful night for Audrey and Daniel, things between them could very well change, even though each is on the opposing side. The gloves are off as battle commences, yet will the undeniable spark that sizzles between them thaw out or ignite into something else?
Peter Howitt and his direction are passable, but not really setting the world ablaze. Regardless, he displays some talent for humour, despite the slim pickings and silliness of some of the content present. Laws of Attraction isn’t what you would call compelling viewing, and yet there are some good points that can be combed from the mess. It amounts to a pleasing diversion if nothing else, but you are left with the feeling that more could have been injected into the film somehow. The script was amiable and had moments of good banter between the feuding lawyers, but it never had that snap of the romantic comedies of old that it was trying to reference. Undeniably, it has a few laughs in there that occasionally hit the mark very well that I simply can’t deny. But judging the overall experience, there is definitely something curiously uneven about Laws of Attraction that drag it down in my estimations. The chemistry of the leads makes up for some of this, raising the film to a watchable level. There is the glossy style of the film that carries a certain kitsch and archaic quality to it, plus the locations of New York and Ireland are quite stunning. The music provided is pleasing to the ear and more than a little playful. And I did enjoy the retro infused title sequence that is one of the better attempts in the film to have an old-fashioned sense of celluloid. But considering there are good elements in Laws of Attraction, one can’t help but feel there is a void there that needed to be filled.
If anything saves Laws of Attraction from being dull and a complete washout, it has to be most of the cast, in particular the romantic leads. Julianne Moore is one of the most versatile actresses out there and here she shows a whole new different side. Vastly sailing above the by the numbers material, she displays some deft skill at comedy by playing career woman Audrey with a neurotic humour and heart. The tough outer steel of the character is a mask that slips to reveal insecurity and a want for love, all of which is embodied with ease by Moore. She really made me laugh in parts of this film with her quick talking antics and smart yet desperate yearning. It’s hats off to the delightful Julianne Moore in another great performance. Pierce Brosnan plays the rakish sparring partner and love interest. Portraying suave and smooth is nothing groundbreaking for him, but as it is his strong suit, he uses it well in the part. The same can’t be said of Michael Sheen and Parker Posey, who are basically thrown into the mix as a plot device and nothing else. I respect and enjoy watching both actors normally, but the sheer lack of any decipherable role is unfortunate for both of them. The film could have at least called for them to do more as the trashy couple going through the acrimonious divorce. Frances Fisher is the best in the supporting cast. As the Botox-loving, cocktail swigging mother of Audrey, she registers the most laughs in her attempts to be young again through any means possible. Whenever she is on screen, Fisher is a comic delight to be enjoyed.
It never ever reaches full potential and more than often feels rushed, though the acting is fine from Brosnan and Moore. I just wanted something more out of Laws of Attraction, which winds up with me seeing it as a mixed movie.
- Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
- Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
- Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron
- Ron Livingston as Roger Perron
Inspired by the case of Ed and Lorraine Warren; paranormal investigators who came to the aid of the Perron family, who were experiencing disturbing events in their home, The Conjuring is a spooky exercise in genuine terror in the old-school vein. You won’t be sitting or sleeping soundly once you’ve seen this movie.
In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron move into an old farmhouse in Rhode Island with their five daughters. Yet within days of arrival, unexplainable phenomena beyond any explanation occur. All of the clocks in the house stop at the exact same time, Carolyn is trapped in the basement after hearing noises, she also develops strange bruises with no apparent cause, and one of the girls claims that a force is disturbing her sleep before threatening the family with a warning of death. Terrified, Carolyn and Roger seek out the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The couple are paranormal investigators with Ed having studied demonology and Lorraine being a powerful clairvoyant. Ed and Lorraine come to the house and set apart unearthing what the cause of this haunting and evil presence may be. Sure enough, more creepy events ensue for everyone and the evil within the walls refuses to leave. Ed with his knowledge of such things is worried though about Lorraine as while she is a clairvoyant whose senses are immensely powerful, each time she encounters something paranormal and supernatural, it weakens her little by little. Lorraine meanwhile is not the type to just sit around and with steadfast curiosity, she refuses to give up even at the expense of her own well-being. Ed and Lorraine have found some strange things in the past, but this could be the one to top them all. With determination they venture deeper into the history of the old farmhouse in an attempt to bring whatever resides there out. Yet coming up against the shocking evil that is located in the Perron home proves to be the Warren’s hardest and most personal case, that pushes them way beyond anything they have encountered before.
James Wan successful direction takes its cues from the horror movies of old that were all about the terror of the unexplainable and the unexpected. He is excellent at steadily layering on the horror and suspense with admirable restraint, before unleashing full-on terror when you least expect it. Believe me when I say, the last half of The Conjuring is frightening and so very intense that you won’t have any nails left by the end. Wan is adept at the old phrase that what you don’t see or think you see is a lot more scary than just revealing itself to you. The events depicted are inspired by the findings of Ed and Lorraine, but whether or not you believe the true story angle of The Conjuring is beside the point. The ensuing occurrences of creepiness and spiritual horror are presented without a CGI fanfare that weakens other films of the genre. This approach to the display of events that befall everyone makes the discoveries all the more realistic and even tangible. While the story has one foot in fact, the possibility of the supernatural is also there. This offers a good insight into how the two could overlap with the other, most embodied by the Warren’s themselves who are Catholic yet still believe in the paranormal. There is nary a drop of blood to be found in The Conjuring, which is admirable as it knows the meaning of restraint and how eeriness can be much more effective for scares. I wouldn’t say there is anything shiny or brand new to be found in The Conjuring, yet refreshingly this does not detract from the haunting ambience that the whole piece emits from beginning to end. If I had to choose an area in this film that I was probably most impressed by, it would be the overall visual style and sound effects in The Conjuring, as they neatly balance with the rest of the unnerving movie. The faded visual style gives a worn out feel to the house and events and while being effectively used for ambience, it also constructs a convincing recreation of the 70’s setting to a very high standard. The uneasy score, mixed with the jolts of things that go bump in the night, make sure this film is as haunting as anything in recent horror memory.
Vera Farmiga is the heart of The Conjuring as the sensitive clairvoyant Lorraine Warren. A softly spoken character whose abilities are extraordinary, Farmiga exhibits a resilience of strength but an underlying vulnerability in the part that is extremely well-acted. She registers concern and hopefulness without a drop of sentimentality with relative ease that all adds up to a strong performance of resolute emotion and significant clout. Backing her up is the sagacious presence of Patrick Wilson as her notable husband Ed. He gives off a well-worn charm and quiet depth in the most subtle of ways that perfectly compliments the work of Farmiga. And I must say, that the two share a very good chemistry and working relationship with the other that is very much in evidence throughout The Conjuring. Lili Taylor is extremely convincing as the terrified mother, who is the worst affected by the haunting of her house and whose emotional frailties become more noticeable as the film progresses. Ron Livingston provides understatement and stifled horror as the husband of the haunted property, who is trying to hold it together to protect his family from whatever it is that wishes them malice and harm.
Marvelously rendered with style and suspense, The Conjuring is a refreshingly old-fashioned horror that jangles the nerves from start to finish and never resorts to cheap tricks to get the scares.