Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category
Although I’m a horror enthusiast, I’m not very much into horror movies. I prefer novels or drawn art. That’s because horror movies, most of them, depend on those sudden scares that get you jumping, rather than letting your imagination take control. Some movies like Signs and The Village are more about imagination, not graphic depictions or auditory effects. However, it’s still refreshing every once in a while to watch a typical horror movie. I think the last time I watched a horror movie of this kind was way back when I watched The Grudge in the theater. It was pretty good with a nice Japanese flavor.
A couple of days ago, I watched Dead Silence. Why did I choose to watch this one? Well, the idea of dolls having a life of their own has always fascinated me. It all started many years ago when I heard about Chucky in the Child’s Play series of movies. Although I never got to watch a full film from the series in my childhood (I was so scared to complete it even among my family’s company), the picture of a hateful doll killing innocent people has forever been engraved in the walls of my mind. Later, and in a much friendlier way, dolls and toys had lives of their own in the popular movie Toy Story. I wish the release dates were the other way round, because I was really so young to witness dolls killing people with hammers. That wasn’t fair.
Dead Silence main theme is this: dolls taking revenge on people. Or would I say, their owner does? Yes, there’s a dead ventriloquist here and she’s angry, really mad. You’d expect her dolls to be loyal to her, wouldn’t you? And they are. The story is about a hateful soul of a murdered ventriloquist who wants to take revenge on all those who ‘silenced’ her. Reportedly, a young boy who’d attended her last show went missing. That boy was somewhat mean to her during the show, shouting things like “her lips are moving, the doll is not real”. Later, the boy’s family thought of Mary Shaw, the ventriloquist in question, as the only suspect, and consequently the convict. They didn’t waste time in cutting out her tongue and killing her. This would be so crazy in our time where the law is rampant (supposedly), so don’t be surprised if you knew that that happened more than a hundred years ago in rural America. Mary Shaw had 101 hand-crafted dolls which were all buried with her according to her will. In her life, she’d aspired to create the ‘perfect doll’ – as her diary says in the beginning of the film. That perfect doll was revealed to be a creation of utmost skill later on. Something that crosses the line between non-living things and human-like characteristics.
The story is set in Ravens Fair; a small, almost completely deserted town in rural America – the sort of towns that are called ghost towns. On the edge of town there is the old theater where Mary Show used to perform and live. The protagonist, a descendant of the murdering family of Ashen, journeys from the center of town to that theater on many occasions searching for clues for his wife’s murder that happened just minutes after receiving the doll Billy from an unknown sender. Oh, I’ve forgotten the cemetery. There is one too. Now you have a classic old-school horror setting. And it’s not bad; in fact, it works quite well. The music is also well done and suits the screenplay perfectly. So what do I think could be better? Well, Billy. Billy was a very interesting character and he was actually the main antagonist for almost half the movie, but in the latter half, his role diminished considerably, and his demise was pretty disappointing. I think all viewers expected more from Billy. Though the movie is not just about him, he was shown in the beginning to play a big role which got much smaller as the movie went on, and that’s the director (or the writer’s) mistake. The dialogue wasn’t the best you can hear in a horror film either, but it did the job.
The angry soul of Mary Show has been taking the lives of all descendants of the Ashen family for many years. However, a condition must be met before she can kill them; they have to scream. That’s why an old folk poem, popular in town, advises against that. The film’s title is derived from the complete silence of ambient sounds Mary Shaw creates before she attacks. She silences those who silenced her – according to her own words, simply by cutting out their tongues and adding them to her mouth. In the process, the victims’ jaws are also broken apart, creating a facial appearance similar to that of a face of a wooden doll, like Billy. It doesn’t get fairer than this, does it? But Mary Shaw was really evil in her life. Some viewers may think she deserved what happened to her in some way, for the boy she kidnapped was exploited and may had had something to do with her creation of the ‘perfect doll’. You may wonder what role her dolls have in the process of revenge. It seems that they act as ‘helpers’ or ‘mediators’ of some sort to Mary Shaw, and though they do have lives of their own (they can talk and look around), they don’t commit the act itself. For instance, Billy lured the protagonist’s wife to her death by calling for her to the bedroom where Mary Shaw did the job. On the other hand, the protagonist escaped an eminent death once, because he knew the poem and did not scream. His dilemma was doubled because he was under close surveillance from a detective for being the only suspect in his wife’s murder.
In the end, after being lured to Mary Shaw’s theater, with the help of the detective, the protagonist successfully burns all 100 dolls in the theater in addition to Billy at his father’s home, thinking he brought an end to Mary Shaw’s terror. But he was mistaken. The ‘perfect doll’ Mary Shaw wrote about in her diary was revealed, bringing the number of dolls up to 102. The protagonist also discovered a horrible secret about his unconcerned old father, that he was a victim of exploitation by that ‘perfect doll’. That was one shocking ending!
Overall, I think the film is worth watching if you’re looking for a classic-looking horror flick. It was such a refreshing experience. There is much more detail in the movie, but I didn’t want to get deeper into it in the review to not spoil everything. I’ll leave that to you!
I gave the film a 7/10 rating on IMDB.
Black and White in their home; a broken car in a backstreet in Treasure Town.
I watched this animated film today, and all I can say is that it was astounding, in every way. The attention to the details is extraordinary; each frame is full of wonderful detail, it can be used as a standalone piece of art. The animation is slick, the music is great, and the colors really stand out.
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Walking with Dinosaurs was a six-part television series produced by the BBC, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, and first aired in the UK in 1999. The series used computer-generated imagery and animatronics to recreate the life of the Mesozoic, showing dinosaurs in a way that previously had only been seen in feature films. The program’s aim was to simulate the style of a nature documentary and therefore does not include “talking head” interviews.
The Guinness Book of World Records reported that the series was the most expensive documentary series per minute ever made.
Well, BBC‘s documentaries, at least the more recent ones, happen to be very interesting to me. What I like about them, especially the science-oriented ones, is that they mix science with art. The documentaries, like Walking With Dinosaurs , often feature literary narration and story, together with an artistic sense in every scene. Cinematography is excellent, and with dead-accurate scientific accuracy, the documentary becomes a joy to watch.
After the break, I’ll take a little bit about this series of documentaries and will show some screenshots of the films.
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Well, this is kind of late, but I’ve just watched the movie on DVD, since I haven’t had the chance to watch it in theater. If you’re thinking about getting the DVD, kindly read on. This quick review will give you an idea about the film, especially its artistic appeal.
People and critics have crossing opinions about the film. Some praise it, and some discredit it. In fact, those who didn’t like it are those who expected it to be anything other than an animated graphic novel. It’s not about the plot, the characters, or depth. It’s just a comic book that was given a breath of life.
Breath-taking scenes like this one constitute the main ‘glory’ of the film. As you’ve probably already noticed, a comic-like type of visuals was intended.
Lots of images and comments follow…
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Genre: Crime / Drama / Thriller
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Written by: Larry Cohen
Colin Farrell …. Stu Shepard
Kiefer Sutherland …. The Caller
Forest Whitaker …. Captain Ed Ramey
Despite being a 2002 production, I managed to see it on TV (by luck) only a couple of days back. I couldn’t even catch it from the very beginning, but starting at the moment Stu had begun to receive the very long mysterious thrilling call from The Caller. And that’s the most important part.
In short, this is a true one-of-a-kind thriller. You won’t watch movies occuring entirely at one location with just an actor, and another actor’s voice… everyday. The thriller is thrilling, and the anticipation to what’s next is intense. You’ll be left at the edge of your seat if you watch this even on TV.
The movie action occurs in a semi-busy street of New york city. Stu Shepard is a publicist who – as most of these – talks much, lies much, and is just not plain straight in his moves. He is married to a blonde whom he loves, and she does too. However, he periodically meets another brunette in a motel, and enjoys some good time. He talks to her from a phone booth in that street, because his wife checks his mobile phone bills every now and then.
Now while he was making a call in the phone booth, and after he hang up, he heard the phone rings. He answered to find an unpleasant party on the other end. It was an extreme moralist who thought Stu was very guilty. He accused Stu of cheating on his wife, and deceiving his clients. He ordered him to not hang up, or try to escape, or he’d kill him. How’d he? The Caller was in some window of a building ahead, carrying his sniper gun with laser targetting. The Caller wanted to hear Stu confesses all his guilts in public. Meanwhile, Stu was almost obligated to get out by some street whores, and their manager, and the police, but he never got out until the very end of the movie.
Colin Farrell is great as Stu. It’s amazing to watch his expressions change from indifferent, to calm, to nervous, to scared, to maniac throughout the call. Kiefer Sutherland is also overwhelming as the Caller. His calm, cold, scary voice is just.. scary. Forest Whitaker is very real as captain Ed.
The direction is great, at least enough to keep you at the edge of your seat. I think that’s enough for a thriller to be successful. There are some instances where the camera would wander aimlessly on the blocks windows, in an attempt to make you think where the Caller is hiding. These are good too.
And guess what?! There is a plot twist too. But I’m not gonna tell you about to not ruin it for you, though it’s pretty obvious at the end of the movie.
The music is subtle as all thriller music scores are. I can only define it as ‘blurry’ (if that term could be applied on sound too). It just gives you more and more thrill, because it has no specific start or end. Just Impressive.
More about Phone Booth in IMDB.
In short, this movie is great — a must see. I think it truly deserves the 7+ rating (or even more) it has on IMDB. It's based on a fantasy world by CS Lewis. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first installment of 7 tales that constitute the Narnia universe. Originally, the tales are targetted towards children though – being an adult – I've found them really good.
I won't talk about the story or the plot to not spoil anything. Instead, I'll talk about everything except that.
The acting is not bad really, esp. if it comes from children such as Lucy and Edmund. May be Lucy couldn't control the way she shows her emotions. She felt a bit reluctant especially in the happy/sad situations.
At first, one may feel the way the story is told is kind of rushed, but after checking out the original book, I found it's the same way it goes there too. The book was meant for little children, so it was straight-off and clear.
The music was good, but not special. Do not expect something like The Return of the King's. Mr Tumnus's playing on his fluke was nice nevertheless. However, the sound effects were the best I've heard in a long time. The way Aslan the lion roared, and the wolves talked was unbelievably true. Of course, this is coupled with the mastery of the visual effects too.
The visual effects were one of a kind. The creatures like Aslan, the beavers, the wolves, and some fantasy birds were full of life. Aslan's military assistant (pictured) who had a half-man half-horse body was a visual masterpiece. The way 'it' ran and fought was breath-taking.
The characters which are primarily the four brothers, Mr Tumnus the Faun, the White Witch, the beavers, and Aslan had depth in them though they didn't appear for much long time on screen, for as I said before, the movie had many fast scenes, one after the other. Aslan looked truly as a king, his voice, and his looks. However, he is critcized for being much more smaller than what he is supposed to be (in the books).
Lastly but not least, Andrew Adamson did a great job at coming out with such great direction and overall the feel of the movie, making it the 3rd most grossing movie in its first week in history.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is coming next year.
I know I'm fascinated about that movie. Anyways, here go some nice quotes I've picked off IMDB..
Elder Gutknecht: Why go up there when people are dying to get down here?
— When Emily the corpse bride asked him to let her as well as Victor visit the land of the living.
Victor: [to the corpse of Scraps] Play dead… Oh, sorry.
— Victor's dead dog Scraps got angry for that order. He was already.. dead.
The Corpse Bride: [singing] If I touch a burning candle I can feel no pain… if you cut me with a knife it's still the same…, and I know her heart is beating, and I know that I am dead… yet the pain here that I feel, try and tell me it's not real… for it seems I still have a tear to shed…
— Emily sang this song on discovering that Victor didn't want her as a wife because she was dead. 'her' refers to Victoria, the living woman whom Victor loved.