Rapid Review: The Conjuring 2 (2016)

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“I know your name, demon, and that gives me dominion over you!”
– Lorraine Warren

SYNOPSIS: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a malicious spirit. – via IMDB

the conjuring 2

GRADE 2What. The. Heck. I mean really! This movie was hyped up, it was raved about, people adored it, it got compared to the first. Let me tell you what it has in common with the first – Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. That’s it. I am telling you. When The Conjuring was released, I really liked the movie, up until the final third. It relied on atmosphere and was well acted, all of that. Upon rewatching it, I found it to be quite the hollow experience, and felt that I had scored it too highly. It was definitely a one hit wonder for me, and had no rewatch value. However, it was crafted well. As for The Conjuring 2? Unimaginative title and a terrible film all around – and not a good sequel, as so many have lauded it. This is not a good example of a sequel done right, in my opinion. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are good, but come across as limited due to the script. The script also tried to force emotion into it in places, and it fell flat and was terribly awkward. Let’s talk about how heavy handed and over the top this movie was. I mean seriously folks. There was no time to get freaked out or vested in what was happening because there was no grace, no elegance, no mystery, no finesse. It was just in your face, no subtlety, and felt like you were being force fed this horror. There was potential when The Crooked Man came to life – instead of scaring the socks off of me (as he rightfully should have), he was this terribly animated character that looked beyond stupid. Ugh. Let’s not forget how conveniently everything worked out for the Warrens – yes, it just so happened to be the same thing that they picked up in the Amityville house, all the way out in England? Puh-lease. I have no time for this movie, and cannot believe I had been looking forward to it for another solid horror. It didn’t deliver on any front, and was certainly a massive waste of my time. Ugh.

Rapid Review: The Judge (2014)

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the judge poster

“The law is the only thing capable of making people equal.”
– Dwight Dickham

SYNOPSIS: Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family. – via IMDB

the judge

GRADE 7So when The Judge came, I saw a lot of reviews calling it bland and boring, so I didn’t rush out to see it, though I was quite interested in seeing it from the off. I am glad that I finally did check it out, at the behest of my neighbour and my mother. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It didn’t feel very long and it was engrossing. Typically, Robert Downey Jr played a cocky, smart-mouthed, sharp and overly-sarcastic lawyer, but the role worked for him. I was interested in seeing Duvall in here, seeing as whenever I think of him I think of his consigliere role of Tom Hagen in The Godfather, and this is a total change. Duvall is still a great watch, and I loved the way he and RDJ worked off of one another. The relationship between father and son was so strained, and the numerous glimpses you got as a viewer to see how totally different Judge Palmer is from the image you are given by Hank was so rewarding. The arguments between the two were sometimes extremely painful. The supporting cast was really good, and I thought that Jeremy Strong delivered a heartfelt performance as the slower Dale, Vince D’Onofrio was a great Glen, obviously I am a fan of Vera Farmiga and she again worked wonders here. Billy Bob Thornton was relatively underused, but he rocked his suits and gave off the air of a man out for blood. Everyone pulled their weight and it was nice to see. Granted, many may feel that they  have seen this before and complain about the length, but I think that the drama was handled very well, and I lost time watching this seeing as it was so engrossing. Not only that, the execution was so well done that it doesn’t matter if the father/son bitter pool has been overplayed, and we all know that the family must heal and all that. It is a nice thing to watch and experience with them, plus there are quite a few laughs laced throughout it, and the sad moments sprinkled between, too. I was not a big fan of how the big argument in court plays  out because, well… courtooms aren’t treated like that, and questioning/cross-examination doesn’t play out like that and I know that. However, to add the drama and hit you in the feels they went with it, so it is just something to get over. But even after all is said and done, The Judge is a generic movie, but good. It breaks no boundaries, takes no bold leaps, and gives us nothing we haven’t seen before, and while the performances are strong, each and every one of these actors has given us better. Director David Dobkin really played it very safe with this.

Top Ten Actresses I Would Watch In Almost Anything

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So when Abbi over at Where The Wild Things Are did her top ten list of actresses she would see in pretty much anything, that sparked a whole new thing on the blogosphere. Now, I am embarrassed to admit that I started this list soon after she did hers, and I just never got around to going back to it and finishing it up. I realised recently that now is the time to do that! Without further ado, I present to you my top ten actresses I would see in pretty much anything.

Emma Stone

emma stone

Where is the love: She is cute, she is smart, fun, and sexy and so normal, you cannot help but love the girl. She is down to earth, and not afraid of making a fool out of herself, and that is always cool.
Best role: Wichita in Zombieland (2009)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The House Bunny (2008)

Angelina Jolie

angelina jolie

Where is the love: So many people complain about Angelina Jolie and I’ve never been able to understand it. She is exceptionally talented and wicked sexy, and works hard. She’s a (big) family woman, which is cool, yet she’s still grounded and out there. Plus she and Brad Pitt are just like the most gorgeous couple ever.
Best role: Uhm… this isn’t easy. I am going to go with Jane Smith in Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Marion Cotillard

marion cotillard

Where is the love: That voice, the way she carries herself, the distinct regal air, Marion Cotillard was destined to impress me. Not only that, she can handle herself in just about any role, but I must say that she excels at playing the slightly psychologically unstable.
Best role: Mallorie “Mal” Cobb in Inception (2010)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Taxi 2 (2000)

Eva Green

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Where is the love: Talented and beautiful, Eva Green brings it all to the table. Oozing style and sophistication, she is captivating on screen, always bringing that extra little something to a character, and she isn’t afraid to go wherever the character may take her, even when that is Ugliesville.
Best role: Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The Dreamers (2003)

Jessica Lange

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Where is the love: Jessica Lange is just awesome. I really like her stuff, and I think she is mesmerising and she’s still got it going, even for her age. She dominates the screen whenever she is on, and can play anything from timid and quiet to in-your-face vixen.
Best role: Fiona Goode in American Horror Story: Coven
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Far North (1988)

Judi Dench

judi dench

Where is the love: Let’s be serious… Judi Dench is just so British, and she embraces it wholeheartedly. Tea and biscuits British, and above all else, she is a solid and entertaining actress. She can play a variety of roles across the board, ranging from comedy to hard-hitting, take-no-nonsense powerhouse performances such as M, she never fails to impress me.
Best role: M in any Bond film, but also Evelyn Greenslade in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

Carey Mulligan

carey mulligan

Where is the love: She is so cute and quiet, but can always deliver an understated but powerful portrayal of a character, and I like that talent.
Best role: Irene in Drive (2011)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: And When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007)

Helena Bonham Carter

helena bonham carter

Where is the love: Ditzy, crazy, talented, striking? What’s not to love about Helena Bonham Carter? She embraces all her roles and lends them some of her quirkiness, and she is always just absolutely astounding to watch, no matter what role she is in. Something about her is just so inherently different.
Best role: Marla Singer in Fight Club (1997)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Dancing Queen (1993)

Mia Wasikowska

mia wasikowska

Where is the love: Mia Wasikowska won me over with her portrayal of Bertha Minnix in Lawless (2012). After that, I kept my eyes open for her films because she is gifted and different, and brought something fresh and new to the screen (in my opinion). She has continued to churn out some consistently impressive work, and she has this air of innocence about her she can use to either define a character, or manipulate the audience with.
Best role: India Stoker in Stoker (2013)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Lens Love Story (2007)


Honourable Mentions:

Julianne Moore

julianne moore

Where is the love: I love Moore for her consistency, and how much effort she puts into her roles. I like the way she has played such a variety of characters, and she has given each and every role her best.
Best role: Clarice Starling in Hannibal (2001)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Nine Months (1995)

Cate Blanchett

cate blanchett

Where is the love: Blanchett is so refreshing in her sense of uniqueness, and brings that to life on the screen with every role that she takes. She draws you in no matter what her role, and can play anything from elvish queens to folk rock stars.
Best role: Jade Quinn (Bob Dylan) in I’m Not There (2007)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Ponyo (2009)

Katharine Isabelle

katharine isabelle

Where is the love: Katharine Isabelle is undoubtedly the horror queen (for me) and she dominates that role. Husky voice and those big green eyes, she was destined to rock any role thrown her way. She is a solid actress, never over the top, delivering just the right amount required for her performances, able to play weak or bitchy or in your face, Isabelle is very talented.
Best role: Mary Mason in American Mary (2012)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Cousins (1989) 

Mélanie Laurent

melanie laurent

Where is the love: French and proud about it, Laurent always manages to play a brooding yet strong woman, slightly different, always impressive.
Best role: Shosanna Dreyfus in Inglourious Basterds (2009)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Rice Rhapsody (2004)

Vera Farmiga

vera farmiga

Where is the love: I think that Vera Farmiga is pretty underrated, and I like her. Very subtle, but she can totally rock her roles. I must say, she can get pretty creepy sometimes cause she can play cooked a little too well.
Best role: Norma Louise Bates in Bates Motel. Because really – she nails that performance each and every time. Slightly too realistic sometimes.
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Breaking and Entering (2006)

Amanda Seyfried

amanda seyfried1

Where is the love: What I enjoy about Amanda Seyfried is that she’s a little different. I don’t know why she would appeal to me as an actress, but she does. I have enjoyed watching her play the super special and slow Karen in Mean Girls, and her general progression on to other roles, bigger, better, meatier, is something I have liked. She always does the best with what she has, and even when she is in a crappy movie, she always stands out.
Best role: Karen Smith in Mean Girls (2004)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The Big Wedding (2013)

Review: The Conjuring (2013)

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the conjuring movie poster

“The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges on which we decide to follow.”
– Ed Warren

The Perron family buys a new home in 1971 and moves in – this is their fresh start. However, their dog Sadie does not seem to be impressed with the home, no matter that Roger (Ron Livingston) and his wife Carolyn (Lili Taylor) seem very content. They find out that there is an abandoned and boarded up basement beneath the house, and establish that they will sort it out. From the outset, though, something seems wrong. Carolyn wakes with unexplained bruises on her body and sees a doctor at Roger’s insistence, and is given pills for an iron deficiency. Day two in the home, however, there is an issue. Sadie is dead, and the five Perron daughters are quite upset by this. The clocks in the house all seem to stop at 03h07 without fail every morning.

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“There is something horrible happening in my house.” – Carolyn Perron

Initially this does not set anything off with the family, however later it becomes evident that something is happening. Roger takes a job with his rig that takes him to Florida for a week. Alone in the house, Carolyn realizes something is dreadfully wrong. She and her children suffer dreadfully by what seems to be an incredibly vicious haunting – Carolyn falls victim to an attack in the basement. The eldest daughter, Andrea (Shanley Caswell), is once again woken by her sleepwalking sister Cindy (Mackenzie Foy). Andrea is attacked by a malevolent spirit, and Roger makes it home just in time to witness all that is wrong with the house.

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“We’ve been called ghost hunters. Paranormal researchers. Wackos.” – Ed Warren

Carolyn seeks out Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), desperately in need of their help. Her family is cursed or haunted, she is sure of it, and only these paranormal investigators can help. At first Ed and Lorraine are reluctant, until it is apparent that Carolyn is desperate, and they make a turn past the house. Lorraine is a gifted clairvoyant, and upon entering the house establishes that some evil has attached itself to the family. The Warrens explain to the Perrons that the only way the Catholic Church will sanction an exorcism of the house is through an investigation so that proof can be presented.

the conjuring warrens and perrons

“You have a lot of spirits in here, but there is one I’m most worried about because it is so hateful.” – Lorraine Warren

Soon Ed and Lorraine are in full swing, digging up the history of the property and previous owners as well as other odd occurrences around the area. Ed is worried about his wife, who was very badly affected in an exorcism a few months ago. She loses a part of herself every time she works these cases. Though he is glad to have her with him, he is also afraid he will lose her due to the line of work. The Perrons need help, and when Ed and Lorraine call in their assistants to help check out the house, things seriously go wrong.

The Conjuring lorraine warren

“When the music stops, you’ll see him in the mirror standing behind you.” – April Perron

Will the Warrens be able to cleanse the house for the Perrons? What exactly has caused such a black stain on the house, and how will they be able to defeat it? Will the children ever be alright again after all is said and done? Will Lorraine be able to survive another ordeal like the faulted exorcism months before, and will Ed be able to deal with it if anything does happen?

The Conjuring scores a solid 8/10. This is what you want from a horror. It was well directed, it looked good, the actors were great for what they did and the effects were good. The way everything looked was creepy, too. I enjoyed the progression of the story telling, not too fast and not too slow. It was paced enough to really get under your skin and make it crawl. The film keeps you hooked from the very off, and that is something that rarely happens with a horror flick. I was watching so intently, and everything seemed to just work. I was far more impressed that I expected to be, and I can understand now why it got such an immensely positive response – it really just was that good! This film definitely delivers bags of eerie and some scares, and the atmosphere is just plain down scary at the best of times and the presentation was simply spine-chilling. I enjoyed every second of this movie, and it had me at the edge of teh seat from the get go. It has been an incredibly long time since any type of movie like this actually got something from me, but James Wan knew exactly what he was doing with this, and implemented it so well. Vera Farmiga really is a talented actress. She was absolutely great as Lorraine Warren, giving the character plenty of weight. This would definitely be the film to freak out those that scare easily and have weak stomachs, so just bear that in mind, though it is well worth the watch.