Monday, November 17, 2014

Movie Review: Begin Again (2013)

Begin Again was a cheesy imitation of Coyote Ugly which was an ugly picture to begin with.  The film stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine and revolves around Keira Knightley's character Gretta getting into the music business after her boyfriend (Adam Levine) gets too big for his britches when he strikes it big.  

Levine's acting is left to be desired and feels like he's reading from a script.  Keira Knightley, who I usually really like gave a phone in performance  and was like a crazy person who forgot to take their meds.  as for her singing ability, or lack there of, she kept singing the same drivel over and over again with each song sounding the same.  With her recent break-up what little music there was came off as a bad remix of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know".  Mark Ruffalo is first introduced as a man down on his luck just being fired from his job as a music producer.  He discovers Gretta and when approaching her his demeanor was that of a drunken homeless person and wasn't sure why she pursued the meeting he presented.  There was also the constant fear of Knightley and Ruffalo hooking up which would have been eww as he looked old enough to be her father. 

Begin Again had a bad beginning, middle and end.  It had all the potential to "go somewhere" but instead stayed put.  In short, there was no Voice to the picture and no chairs turned around  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Movie Review: Gone Girl

On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

This was the best part of Gone Girl, it is not Ben Affleck and his expressionless acting but the bird on the bat.

Neil Patrick Harris almost gets decapitated.  It was way too violent, more than it needed to be and was borderline slasher.  Also, while we're talking about blood when Amy is released from the hospital she was dolled up with a cute hairdo and scrubs but she still has blood all down her neck.  Somehow, I don't think that's protocol.

On a side note, my prudishness also came into play as the nudity (while expected) was a little much as well, whatever happened to leaving some to the imagination.

I wasn't impressed by Rosamund Pike's performance.  She wasn't the Amy I pictured, someone more conniving and instead I just got stilted.  Although my expression throughout the movie was similar to this.

There was definitely something missing in Gone Girl and it wasn't Amy Dunne.  Gone Girl wasn't even close to amazing but rather a cluster fuck.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Psycho (1960)

Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother. ~ Moviefone

I was thirteen the first time I saw Psycho.  This was before I learned that the blood was chocolate  syrup and scared me shitless.  I probably hadn't seen this film in fifteen years, I hoped it would live up to my expectation, hoped it would translate, unlike the now comical The Birds.  Hitchcock's Psycho was suspenseful but didn't have the same "I'm too scared to take a shower" appeal to it.  

I've always kept an eye out for Alfred Hitchcock's trademark cameos, In Psycho it takes place 4-6 minutes in depending on whether you count the credits. He stands with his back to the camera as Janet Leigh brushes past him.

At first one could think this story is about Marion Crane, a pretty girl on the run who chooses the wrong turn-off and definitely the wrong shower.  In one moment we learn that it is not about Janet Leigh but about Norman Bates and his mommy issues.  It is always the quite ones you have to look out for.

Through out the movie Hitchcock keeps you guessing about the identity of Mother and what really goes on behind closed doors.  It is not until the end do we learn what's in the root cellar and even though I knew what to expect when her chair turned around I was still given a start.

Norman Bates is what makes the movie.  He is the epitome of creepy but yet I couldn't help but feel sorry for him.  He is sick and Anthony Perkins excels at delivering this. Perkins is impeccable with his lines and expressions creating an eerie tone to the film.  

It is what is said more than what is done that creeped me out more.  In fact more than the shower scene this last dialogue is what does me in.

"It's sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man... as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can't move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do... suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

I think it is the idea that Norman doesn't believe he  has done anything wrong or out of the norm that gets to me.

Psycho stood up much better than The Birds ever will but I think the terror of it has gone out the window, particularly when the remake was so gruesome.  We are a bit jaded to that kind of thing.  But I think there will always be people who either don't know or care that Marion Crane's blood is Hersey's syrup and will always be a little bit scared of someone who wouldn't harm a fly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Movie Review: Dial M for Murder

In London, wealthy Margot Mary Wendice had a brief love affair with the American writer Mark Halliday while her husband and professional tennis player Tony Wendice was on a tennis tour. Tony quits playing to dedicate to his wife and finds a regular job. She decides to give him a second chance for their marriage. When Mark arrives from America to visit the couple, Margot tells him that she had destroyed all his letters but one that was stolen. Subsequently she was blackmailed, but she had never retrieved the stolen letter. Tony arrives home, claims that he needs to work and asks Margot to go with Mark to the theater. Meanwhile Tony calls Captain Lesgate (aka Charles Alexander Swann who studied with him at college) and blackmails him to murder his wife, so that he can inherit her fortune. But there is no perfect crime, and things do not work as planned. ~ IMDB

Hitchcock's Cameo -- a group photo of Tony Wendice's college days

I hadn't seen Dial M for Murder in several years and surprised me how well it has held up.

Suspense, Hitchcock's trademark and hits it on the head in this scene in particular.  Tony having to listen to his wife's certain murder was brilliant.  I chewed my fingernails at the events happening on each side of the line, torn with disgust (on Tony's part and trepidation with Margo).  It was a great balence between the two.

My one complaint is how ridiculously stupid and naive Margo Wendice was.  The beautiful Grace Kelly acts it out to a t but still annoyed me.  I just wish she was a little more than a dumb blond with a pretty face.  Otherwise, it was a great thriller only jogging my memory with "I remember this" only seconds before it happens.  Hitchcock has a way of pulling you in, losing all track of time and place, with Dial M for Murder a thrilling film.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Femme Fatale Friday: Rhoda Penmark

"A Femme Fatale, translating to "Deadly Woman" in french, is an alluring, seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire. Often this leads them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations." ~ Wikipedia

Claude Daigle, an eight year old boy, son to surviving parents Dwight and Hortense Daigle.  During the Fern Grammar School Picnic drowned in the near by river, falling off of the peer.  Claude was a sweet boy who loved his parents dearly and had just recently won the school penmanship metal.

40 year old Leroy Jessup,   had been a longtime employee of Monica Breedlove, doing handyman jobs at Miss Breedlove's town apartments.  Mr. Jessup died suddenly from an accidental fire in a bed of excelsior.

These deaths were not accidental but the calculated work of a child.  Rhoda Penmark.  This Femme Fatale is an eight year old who seems wise beyond her years and comes off as the the perfect child, always wearing dresses and her hair in pigtails. Children always know how to behave in public and so does Rhoda Penmark. Playing the smarmy, cutesy cutesy girl to a T, having everyone in her presence eating out of the palm of her hand.  Everyone that is except her mother.  Parents always know their children's behavior problems right?  Christine Penmark falls victim to this behavior making her crazed and irrational, slowly discovering her daughter's true character, yet Rhoda's evilness still conquers all.