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Archive for February, 2010

The Children

Directed by Tom Shankland

Regardless of my overall opinion of this horror film, it has succeeded in doing one thing for sure, that being convincing me that I no longer want children. Not ever. Not even for a moment. I always had a suspicion that there was more to little kids than meets the eye, and this film confirms that belief. And the thing is, it’s not even the “crazier” things these kids do that make me not want any. It’s in the initial first half of the film when they’re just normal little brats that make me not want them. Kids are evil. And then they get “Eviler.”

“The Children” starts off slow, there’s no getting around that. The acting is all up to par, and somehow, nobody in the film ever manages to go too far over the top (which, considering the subject matter, is a miracle in and of itself). But as I said, at first it’s almost boring. Relationships are set up and loosely defined, but at no real point in there ever a sense of sincerity, at least not at first.

Then the kids start killing people. And it’s awesome.

I’ve seen scarier and more tense films, but I have seldom seen a movie that sustains both for as long as this one does. The final forty or so minutes are just relentless. I’ve seen films like “Children of the Damned” and I’ve met people who think that that film (and others like “The Omen”) are terrifying. I never liked those movies, they just seemed so damn cheesy. I will say this though, if you are one of those people who DID find those other films scary, stay away from ‘The Children”. It’ll probably make you shit your pants. These kids are evil, not only because of what they do, but because of how underplayed they are. It’s normal for most films to take small children, turn them evil, and give them scary contacts or bleach their skin. Now, “The Children” does those things as well, but it does it right. And unlike most films it doesn’t have these “monsters” behaving like little Machiavellian geniuses with a master plan. They just kill because they’re sick. Imagine if those two little girls from “The Shining” (still the two scariest children in a movie ever) were given their own horror film and you’ve got “The Children”.

So my advice is, if you are able to withstand a british film with (at times) extremely thick accents, and you like horror, give this film a shot. And wait out the initial thirty minutes, cause it only gets better after that. Plus, best tagline ever.

Trailer:

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The Real Olympics

Like Craig Ferguson, I’m tired of the Olympics. For reasons I’m not really going to go into here, I don’t care for them much. I know that makes me a horrible person. Many people have told me this. My friends have told me this. I don’t care. But I will show you the one type of Olympics that I WOULD watch… BEAR OLYMPICS.

These damn bears are playing hockey!

And yes, like Morgan Freeman, these damn bears have made my week.

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God Damn you Toronto. You lose the first basket-ball game I’ve ever actually gone to. And not only do you lose, but you lose worse than you have in nearly two months.

Ah, hell, I can’t stay mad at you. You still have the best mascot in all of basketball. Plus, you made that mascot eat a cheerleader during the halftime show and then spit her back out. I don’t really understand the weird subliminal sexual undertones there, as I’m sure most of the 8 year olds in the crowd didn’t either. But I love you for trying.

P.S. Please do try to beat Cleveland tomorrow night. And someone give Basch’s ass a nice rub so he can play again…. maybe get the Raptor to do it during the halftime show.

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The Wolfman

Directed by Joe Johnston

I was too drunk while watching this movie to accurately (or coherently) write a review for it. So I’ll keep this short. Pretty colours and ample amounts of gore? Good. Benicio Del Toro as an English (cough Spanish cough) Werewolf? Bad. Under directed and over written? Ugly. Anthony Hopkins chewing up the scenery and delivering line after line of horrible dribble? God Damn Beautiful.

No matter how bad a movie is or how little he has to work with, Sir Anthony is a star. The movie is mindless entertainment, and worth a watch only if you go in, expecting nothing more.

Trailer:

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Last Tuesday, Ferguson decided to tape an entire episode of The Late Late Show with NO audience. And it was genius. Not because it’s never been done before, but just because he did it with such sincerity and grace. This is one intelligent man and if you’ve never seen this show before, do yourself a favour and stay up to watch it (or at least DVR it!) it’s always worth it.

This is the introduction of the aforementioned episode. Watch it. The man is talent incarnate.

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Shutter Island

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Had this movie stuck with its original release date of early October, this would probably be the film that I would be rooting for to take home the gold on Oscar night. But since it got delayed until this past weekend, I’m gonna have to wait over a year to see if I still feel as strongly about it as I do right now.

Here’s the thing. I dislike Leonardo DiCaprio. At least that is, I did dislike Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, I’m one of those people who still can’t wipe the disgusting taste that was “Titanic” from my mouth. I’ve been told many times that this makes me a film snob. My only response to that is, if that’s the one thing that makes me a film snob, then I’ll live with it. I just don’t like that movie. I’m sorry. But we all know James Cameron is better than that, and that, more than any other reason, is why the film irks me so. So, I found DiCaprio guilty by association. (Which I’m willing to admit to as being unfair.) Then he started teaming up with Scorsese and this started to worry me even more. First came “Gangs of New York” which, while decent, was a far cry away from Marty’s better films. Then came “Aviator” which I still have yet to see, but will have to get around to soon at some point. Finally came “The Departed”, and yes that movie was awesome. With that film DiCaprio finally redeemed himself in my eyes for the celluloid sin that he helped create those many years ago. So by the time “Shutter Island” started getting publicized, for the first time in my life, I was really looking forward to a film that starred Leonardo DiCaprio. It didn’t disappoint.

Okay, now that the sidebar is over, onto the film. I’m just gonna come right out and say it, I like this film more than “The Departed”. I’m not gonna say it’s my favourite Scorsese film, but I will say that it’s in the running. I’m a sucker for horror films, and not only horror films, but psychological horror films. And films set in the 1950’s. And Mark Ruffalo. And I’m starting to become a sucker for Emily Mortimier. So you see, this film has everything going for it. Not only does it possess a star that is finally coming into his own and becoming the legend that many people have believed he would one day become, but it also has absolutely stunning cinematography, and heart-pounding use of sound and music. I still get goosebumps thinking about the opening dolly through the prison gates with the music pounding through the speakers. And the dream sequences are of the top-tier quality that they could easily be found in any one of David Lynch’s better films.

Sitting through this movie, you can tell that everyone involved had a lot of fun trying to think up of interesting and creative ways to make a horror film. And in my experience those make for some of the funnest films to watch as well. When Scorsese and DiCaprio started their partnership the better part of a decade ago now, I would have given anything to make them stop. Now, I pray that they don’t. Play it again, boys.

Trailer:

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Edge of Darkness

Directed by Martin Campbell

I ended up enjoying this film more than I thought I would. Campbell proved that he knows how to handle the slow brewing and introspective action film when he brought Bond into the 21st Century so fantastically with “Casino Royale”. He doesn’t quite hit it out of the park with this one as he did back then, but it’s still an entertaining and watchable film. It’s also interesting to watch this film with the understanding that Campbell was the man who directed the original British television mini-series. Very few film directors ever get the chance to go back and re-envision previous pieces of work, but it often leads to interesting dichotomies… even if the second time around is seldom better than the first. (Which I am only assuming is the case with this one, having never seen the original.)

Gibson is also his typical star-studded self. For a man who hasn’t really acted in nearly a decade, he shows no sign of rust. Say and believe what you will about the man’s personal life, but Mel Gibson is a star, one of the rare ones that only come around once and a while. This is far from one of his most memorable roles, but he stills create a sense of resonance and connection with the audience that so few other actors are capable of, especially in a role that would not “jump off the page fully formed” so to speak.

The only real drawback that the film has is in its subject matter. I don’t really want to spoil what that is, because even the trailers do a pretty good job at not letting you know what the story is really about, but to suffice to say, this story would have resonated more back in the 80’s when the original was written and simply serves as a needlessly complex and (best case scenario) redundant idea for a modern day film at times.

Oh and also, this film has some of the most violent death by gunshot wounds I have ever seen. Especially the one in opening minutes.

Trailer:

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