Review: The Craft (1996)

13

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“True magic is neither black, nor white – it’s both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time. The only good or bad is in the heart of the witch. Life keeps a balance on its own.”
– Lirio

SYNOPSIS: Four girls at a Los Angeles Catholic school form a coven of witches that cast spells on their classmates and each other. Their new powers overwhelm them, leading to an internal power struggle. – via IMDB

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I watched this movie so many times as a kid. So many damn times. I liked the fact that these girls were different (not to mention witches) and not afraid to embrace that. That’s always something I enjoy, when women do not conform to the expectations of society. The Craft is a good film. It starts out all innocent and sweet, and then devolves into utter madness.

I thought the actresses picked to play the witches were all great, and all brought something else to the table. These are just young girls with small things that irk them, that come together because they are different, they believe they are powerful. Initially they ask for little things, each having their own small issues. This is where some big lessons come in. They say you can’t always get what you want, and be careful what you wish for. You hear it all the time. This movie shows how seemingly innocent things can be turned on their heads.

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The constantly shifting dynamics between the girls is also something that is fascinating. Innocent, then friends, then obsessed and changing, afraid of Nancy, yet power hungry and feeling superior to the rest. Then there is Sarah, a witch and girl questioning her group, not wanting to conform to the inevitable peer pressure. That does not stop the magic the girls try out from just getting bigger and more crazy, and does not change the fact that these girls can be right bitches.

Seeing how the magic doesn’t quite work as one would hope, and how it can sour terribly was interesting. It takes a different spin on it than a lot of movies handling magic and witches usually do.
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Review: Bird Box (2018)

14

“Listen to me, we’re going on a trip now, it’s going to be rough. If you hear something in the woods, you tell me. if you hear something in the water, you tell me. But under no circumstances are you allowed to take off your blindfold.”
– Malorie

SYNOPSIS: Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety. – via IMDB

So there was so much hype surrounding this that I figured it was time to give it a shot and see what it was all about. I think this was largely down to people doing silly challenges. Well, I got to it and it was… okay. I know, I know. Opinions seemed varied about it, but I didn’t love it.

I felt the movie was excessively long for what it gave us. Like, it could totally have justified the run time if there was just more going on. As it was, way too much. Also, it never felt like it got intense enough, if that makes sense? It was always on the fringes of delivering, but never did. It didn’t even get you riled and then not pay off, it just… carried on and on. So I wasn’t super invested. And for all the “it’s unique and different”, I didn’t feel that.

I thought the performances were decent, albeit not groundbreaking material that you will remember long after the movie is over. The story itself won’t even linger long after aside from the blindfolds. I suppose that is how it was with Hush. It was not necessarily unique in terms of genre (home invasion), but had a different spin (deaf victim). So it was with Bird Box. End of the world/invasion type deal, and you can’t look at anything because it will drive you crackers (serious Lovecraftian stuff going on there).

So Bird Box was okay, albeit long. It is not something that will stay with you long after all is said and done, and is not as different and unique as it would like to think it is.

Review: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10

 

“I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?”
– Kat Stratford

SYNOPSIS: A pretty, popular teenager can’t go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does. – via IMDB

This is such a classic in my opinion. I have seen it plenty of times and I still love it. There is so much about it that just screams the nineties but it pulls it off. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this movie, and it is still a blast from start to finish. It has held up really well after all these years.

Everyone does a great job with their characters. Julia Stiles is a fantastic, bitter girl, Heath Ledger is fantastic as the outcast bad boy, Larisa Oleynik is a suitably spoiled brat, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is that sweet boy-next-door type. There are so many characters to talk about here so I will not really get into them all. It’s a sweet, fun story with plenty of humour in it. No matter how many times I have seen this, there are still things I laugh at. 10 Things I Hate About You is also super quotable, and will stay with you long after you have moved on.

The humour is great and the story keeps you hooked throughout. There are so many little things that come together in this to make it worth the watch, and I loved to see how certain characters interacted with others. The soundtrack also totally works with the movie. I thought the rumour mill surrounding Patrick was absolutely amazing, too. While this is not the most original and unpredictable movie ever, it is done so well and the cast work so well together that it still has a fresh feeling to it. Also, I absolutely love the chemistry between Stiles and Ledger.

So much has been said about this fantastic movie over the years, and there is not really much that I can contribute to the discussion. I will just say that 10 Things I Hate About You is quirky and sweet and has heart and gets me every time. It manages the fine balance between sweet but not sappy, and I appreciate that. It is the kind of movie that guys and girls alike can enjoy. The movie is bags of fun every time and I highly recommend it, and not just because of the nostalgia!

Also, could we just take a moment to admire Heath Ledger in this??

Review: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

2

“Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony.”
– Elizabeth Bennet

SYNOPSIS: Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice? – via IMDB

So I went through a stage where I literally just binged on everything Pride and Prejudice and then just never published my reviews. Shame on me, I know. I was wary of this because while I love the story, there is Keira Knightley. I was seriously hoping she would pull this off the same way she did Atonement, but alas, there was no such luck in my cards. I didn’t dislike her in this as much as I usually do, and she seems better suited to period pieces than other things.

I feel that some of the cast members were just not right for their roles. Donald Sutherland never really grasps Mr Bennet, and never truly embodies that snark on screen, or the relationship between him and Elizabeth. Pity, too. Obviously I have my issues with Knightley, too, to be sure (I just don’t think that she was the perfect choice), and there was something quite off with Rosamund Pike’s portrayal of Jane. Oh well, those are the biggest offenders, I think. There was some amazing casting, too. I think that Macfadyen was a great Darcy. He embodied that pride, that calm and superiority, and he was unflappable, which is great. Brenda Blethyn’s Mrs Bennet correctly made me squirm in my seat and feel immense amounts of embarrassment for those girls, too – so tacky! I thought Kelly Reilly was excellent as Caroline Bingley, as she truly was horrible and snobbish and a total bitch, so well done. Jena Malone, too, nailed that immensely selfish brat Lydia.

There were parts of this movie that I absolutely adored (I am looking at you, hand into the carriage scene!). I also particularly enjoyed all scenes featuring Charles Bingley and Jane, as Bingley is so adorable around her, and they are a sweet couple.

I feel that there were some issues with the pacing – a big part of this was Mr Wickham being introduced and sped off of screen within two minutes, and yet he is such a large part of the main story, so you never really can understand Wickham being such an issue between Darcy and Elizabeth, and he is quite an important character. I also felt that this movie hardly captured the humour of the book, and came across as far too serious. There were moments I smiled, for sure, but for the most part this went for full on drama. Pride and Prejudice does have some truly beautiful sets and some great costume design and a score that suits it perfectly, and that does help you slip into the story and the characters and the time more. The dialogue was also quite loyal to the book, which I appreciated.

Pride and Prejudice is indeed a solid adaptation of its novel. There were some hitches with the cast and the pacing, but it is still well worth a watch, something I can see myself revisiting in future. The story is a classic for a reason, and does have a timeless love story between two characters you cannot help but love and root for. Worth the watch.

Review: The First Purge (2018)

8

“Please don’t tell me you’re sending mercenaries into the island disguised as purgers?”
– Dr Updale

SYNOPSIS: America’s third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given to anyone who does. – via IMDB

Sweet baby Jesus, this franchise is never gonna give up the ghost. There was The Purge, which was wasted potential because it was a home invasion movie with an interesting concept we didn’t really get to see. Then there was the Anarchy sequel, and I unexpectedly loved that one – we actually got to see the Purge, and I got all excited that the franchise was actually going to do something with itself. But no. Then there was that botch job that was Election Year, and I thought it couldn’t get worse. Well, it could. I also see that there is now a series on Amazon. Come on! Will this never end?!

Apparently not. So let’s tackle this one. It sucked. Plain and simple. It was predictable and it was awkward and it just… no. Like wheeling and dealing with politics with absolutely no finesse, giving us characters we don’t give a crap about, generating more idiotic sequences than you can shake a stick at, not to mention that the psychological angle of this was completely and utterly ignored, which in conjunction with the politics had the potential to deliver a much better punch. But no, let’s not do that.

The pacing was off, too, because while the movie doesn’t necessarily boast a long run time, it feels like forever and six days long, and just didn’t feel like it was coming to a close at all, or moving along. It was so frustrating, and that adds to the litany of issues I have with it. I wanted to see so much more than this. I mean let’s face it, this franchise has been milking the concept because it is one that has fascinated viewers, but hasn’t really fleshed anything out. It strives to from time to time but falls short. It’s just coming across as a cash cow.

So no, I was not a big fan of this one and feel that this was an interesting concept, I mean the first  Purge, and how it came about, and instead of spending some time exploring the psychological aspect and truly delving into the politics, we get this half-assed offering from a tired franchise that churned out exactly one good movie. My recommendation? Skip it.

Review: Mandy (2018)

5

“You are a vicious snowflake.”
– Red Miller

SYNOPSIS: The enchanted lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiralling, surreal rampage of vengeance. – via IMDB

Uhm. Okay. Yeah. This. Well. I expected so much more. I heard so many good things (Ryan especially enjoyed this) and I had hopes, so my husband and I decided to give this a shot and… it took a sharp left turn. My husband said it more like took a major u-turn to head back up into oncoming traffic. It just… no.

The movie is bizarre. It really is like a bad trip. Initially everything starts out just fine, what with Red and Mandy living their isolated little life, but it works just fine for them. Then that crazy cult gets involved and everything goes downhill. Like… I am all for revenge movies. I honestly, truly am, and I even like them when there is loads of humour involved, but this movie? It went from serious and heartbreaking to stupid ridiculous. Not the fun kind, just so cringy. I also read someone day it had like a David Lynch type vibe, which might also explain what I didn’t enjoy about it.

Mandy looks fantastic. The use of colours and neons is wonderful, and the score is also good. It is just a pity the content doesn’t keep up. It goes from a strange, dreamlike, trippy vibe movie to a complete… I don’t know what. Not to mention Nicolas Cage delivered a super goofy performance. The two halves just don’t really gel together, and the movie’s tone is all over the show. The villains and the story are not fleshed out at all, so it’s just this strange journey you are undertaking with Red, and you know he wants payback, but that is all really. There are some half-assed reasons for this cult and these bikers dudes but… no. Also, that dialogue :/

Mandy didn’t work for me. I didn’t have a good time, and this movie could have been serious and dramatic and hardcore revenge, or it could have been an entertaining revenge flick, and instead it starts off atmospheric and then gets embarrassing. Not a cool wtf like Evil Dead or great revenge like John Wick. No. I know a lot of people enjoyed this, but I did not. And it was excessively long. So while Mandy was stunning to look at, it just totally wasn’t my cup of tea.

October Blind Spot Review: The Goonies (1985)

10

“Home? What home? In a couple more hours, it ain’t gonna be home anymore. Come on, guys, this is our time. Our last chance to see if there really is any rich stuff. We’ve got to.”
– Mikey

SYNOPSIS: In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure. – via IMDB

I didn’t love this. There. I said it. Got that off my chest. I know that this movie is exceptionally popular, that is has major love, that there is immense amounts of nostalgia attached to it, but whatever. Maybe I am a heathen, but I did not love this. In fact, it irritated me more often than not.

First off, this movie was noisy. Nobody stopped screaming or yelling or anything, and it grated on my last nerve. There was just noise all the time. Ugh. Biggest peeve off my chest. Then there was Chunk, a character who really pissed me off. He was constantly whining and eating and screaming and no. Just no. Though I did enjoy his confession to the Fratellis. Anyway. This movie also felt as though it were forever and six days long, despite only being a two hour movie. Maybe the noise and ridiculousness made it feel longer than it should have.

Also, I want to reiterate how far child actors have come over the years. These kids weren’t bad, and they totally delivered better performances than were usually seen in this time, but if you look at kids in movies more recently, the performances are more believable and natural, which I prefer. These had that awkward hallmark to them, though they had moments where there was something good that shone through. The Goonies is that typical old school family movie, and it didn’t work for me.

What I did like though was the way the characters (especially Mikey) had ways that they said something, were corrected, absently say it the right way after that and then say that is what they said, goodness. That made me smile every time it happened. I also really liked Josh Brolin here, and Sean Astin was very sweet.

So yeah, maybe if I had watched The Goonies as a child it would have a more special place in my heart, but I didn’t, and so it doesn’t. It is not the worst movie I have ever watched, but I do not feel like I was whisked off on a pirate, treasure seeking adventure. The villains chasing these kids were shallow and cheesy, and the dialogue was cringy. The adventure left much to be desired, and oh man, what I would have given to have less screaming assaulting my ears at every turn. Definitely not a movie I will be returning to in a hurry. Or ever.

Review: Hereditary (2018)

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“Who’s gonna take care of me?”
– Charlie

SYNOPSIS: After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets. – via IMDB

So there are a lot of rave reviews about Hereditary, and I figured it was about time to check it out and get up to speed with movies lately (gosh, I have been so behind it is shocking). Plus it is October, so there are horror movies everywhere you look, and I do so have a soft spot for the genre, even though there are more terrible ones than good ones nowadays.

So Hereditary is super atmospheric. Like, seriously. It is weird and dark and tense and sets you on edge and doesn’t really let up from there. That being said, I definitely feel that the movie is split into two very different parts. The first presents a deeper, psychological story, stuffed to the brim with an unsettling feeling and a family in extreme mourning, and this all devolves into the second which is just cuckoo crazy supernatural madness. I don’t necessarily love the way ended (being just a wee bit cracked), but I still enjoyed watching it. I did like how some scenes were set up and executed, especially that WTF car scene. The family history is also slowly but surely laid out, and it works so well in explaining the characters and their weird little world.

I feel that Toni Collette delivered a pretty good performance, constantly making me think she was right on the bring of completely losing her mind. Her dinner breakdown was amazing, as that scene truly captivated her terrible state of mind, and exactly what kind of sticky situation her emotions were stuck in. I feel that Gabriel Byrne was underused, and I truly enjoyed his steadfast character, the one who tries and tries and keeps his head but is human and ultimately shatters, too. Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro also do a pretty good job playing the kids, with Shapiro being off pretty much from the outset, and Wolff being the typical teen from early on.

Anyway. Typical of an A24 horror, Hereditary looks really good, visually, and has a score that works hand in hand with the story being told. Overall, Hereditary is a pretty good movie that might not have ended as strongly as it had started, but is indeed still worth a look see, especially if you enjoy horror movies.

Review: Apostle (2018)

12

“These people, they’re blasphemers, a cult, a disease.”
– Charles

SYNOPSIS: In 1905, a drifter on a dangerous mission to rescue his kidnapped sister tangles with a sinister religious cult on an isolated island. – via IMDB

Alrighty, so there have been a lot of horror movies for me to be checking out recently because it is the month of October, and I will not let that go to waste, as I am always looking for a horror. When my husband and I saw the trailer for this on Netflix, we were intrigued. It looked vicious and dark and nasty and (for me at least) there was Dan Stevens, and yes, that was a super seller for me.

We popped this on and immediately went into this weird and twisted little story. The movie is pretty damn good, but not without flaws. There are a lot of things I would have loved to have fleshed out more, such as Thomas Richardson’s faith and the breaking of it, as well as Prophet Malcolm’s family life, the building of the village, etc. We don’t get those things, but we get other things. For one, the violence and brutality displayed in Apostle really is intense. It starts slowly enough, and it might not feature in every second of the movie, but when it is presented, it is crazy. I swear, when we got the violence and crazy, I was literally yelling about that asshat Quinn and all the evils I desperately hoped would befall him. What a cruel, wicked man.

Apostle fluctuated between going really fast and drawing you in, and then slowly delivering on other things. For the most part, this worked. I also liked the atmosphere that the movie builds, but do feel that the score wasn’t always worked in tandem with the movie. That being said, their is a constantly feeling of dread, which starts low key but relentlessly builds throughout the run time, and I loved that. I am always really big on the atmosphere on a movie. I prefer a scary atmosphere way more than I prefer a monster. I also liked that Apostle’s story is different from what we usually get in the horror genre. Aside from all that, Apostle is also really beautiful to look at, what with the scenery and the sets. Very cool.

I have never watched The Raid movies (I know, I know, maybe one day), so I had no point of reference for what to expect from Gareth Evans. Maybe that worked in my favour, maybe not, I have no idea. I enjoyed Apostle, though there are flaws. I enjoyed watching Stevens, as always, and thought that there were plenty visuals that were fantastic in here (particularly looking at that immensely merciless branding). The violence and brutality in this were pretty harsh, but worked hand in hand with the film. While there were many aspects that could have been explored to make this resonate more, the fact that they weren’t does not ruin Apostle, but does limit it from being a truly great movie.

Review: The Babysitter (2017)

12

“Things get messy when you make a deal with the devil.”
– Bee

SYNOPSIS: The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter. – via IMDB

Ah! This movie! This is so my cup of tea, and I enjoyed the hell out of this. Chop, I am so with you on this one, it’s great! Everything works.

The cast is really what makes this – they all seem to be having an absolute blast, and that comes through. I think that Judah Lewis was fantastic as Cole, and Samara Weaving was great as Bee. She totally nailed down that sort of girl next door thing but with an extremely healthy dose of crazy. The two of them play off one another really well, and I loved watching them together. She really was like the best babysitter, and you could understand how he saw her as probably his best friend, even if it meant she had to stay his babysitter.

I would like to thank McG and co from the bottom of my heart for a shirtless Robbie Amell for essentially the whole movie. Yes, for science, and your contribution is immensely appreciated. So. Much. He was hilarious to boot, too, but still. Science.

Okay, back to the movie, right? Sorry, can’t help it, he was distracting in the movie, too. I think the humour for The Babysitter was spot on, and definitely had me laugh quite a few times. This movie totally embraces how crazy it is, and it just works. I really loved the little cuts in the movie to show certain events (the pocket knife, Cole’s plans, etc). I also think that things were just pretty weird all round. The Babysitter is a load of fun, and just goes for it every step of the way.

Anyway, as you can tell I had a great time with The Babysitter. If you are into horror comedy, this should totally work for you. It’s a total blast and it has some fantastic moments and silly characters, with a solid score and it looks stylish, too. Absolutely worth the watch!