Tag Archives: cinema

The Devil Inside

12 Apr

I blame my mother for my bizarre love of movies designed to terrify and cause sleepless nights. While most children were watching cartoons or Disney movies I was watching The Omen, Queen of the Damned and Alien. In fact for a year of my childhood I truly believed that gruesome creatures might attach themselves to my face (explains my distaste for having my face touched) and burst forth from my stomach like I was human pinata (and to be honest I’m not completely convinced they wont now.)

Which is why The Devil Inside was an obvious choice to go see at the cinema, I’m fascinated by anything to do with the genre of the supernatural; and religion, luckily for me I’m not the only one, as I had Stu (movie sceptic) Kelly (fellow horror film lover) and Grant (well happy to see anything really, particularly if it involves tea or monkeys?)

With front row seats I settled myself down for what I imagined was a Blair Witch/Paranormal Activity like movie experience,  and to be honest I’m still not sure if that’s what I actually got.

So the plot focuses on Isabella Rossi a young woman with a tragic family past, making a documentary on exorcism in an attempt to understand what happened when her mothers botched exorcism left three people dead, and her mother sent to a psychiatric hospital in Rome. Isabella and her friend Michael journey to Rome to meet her mother and after a short but turbulent meeting, are convinced there’s more to Isabella’s mothers condition than poor mental health. Attempting to further their understanding of exorcism they attend lecturers at a school of exorcism where they meet disillusioned priests David and Ben, and when the Catholic Church denies Isabella’s request for another evaluation of her mother’s condition they reluctantly agree to help.

Mockumentaries are a genre of film that has exploded over the years, all starting with The Blair Witch, mockumentaries use the filming theory of ‘less is more’ and generally this works, as I find that often things beyond our senses ability scare us the most. This mockumentary follows the same ideal, and although it works I think that this film could have done with more supernatural footage, another problem was that the plot was quite predictable, you would think with a genre like religious supernatural thriller they would have allowed their imaginations to run wild and explored the theme, but the film stuck to a time-honoured traditional exorcism story. However the most disappointing aspect of this film is the ending, the film reached a critical moment and then just stopped. For a minute I thought there had been a technical fault and I was waiting for it to come back on again, I imagine it was meant to be a shocking twist ending the director thought would be clever and would pave the way for the longing of a sequel. All it paved the way for was a perplexed audience, my friends and I were not the only ones leaving the cinema with a sense of confusion, and the feeling of being cheated.

Despite the unfortunate amount of negative aspects this film has, I’m still glad to have seen it and found it fairly interesting and engrossing. I think I went to the cinema with expectations of what this film would be like after watching the trailer and because The Devil Inside didn’t match them I found it lacking. If you’re expecting a ground breaking film on the theme of exorcism and religion then you will leave disappointed but if you’re looking only for a simple horror that you don’t have to give much thought too, that ‘does what it says on the tin’ then this is the one.




Welcome to the best exotic marigold hotel!

15 Mar

My new phone contract is the gift that keeps on giving, as now I have another excuse to spend my time in the cinemas thanks to Orange Wednesdays, for the first time in my life yesterday I sent off my text to Orange awaiting with anticipation the magic code that would allow me to get two for one cinema tickets!  And what better way to use that two for one offer than seeing the surprise hit of the box office, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Take a journey to exotic India!

Sitting down in our seats my friends commented that we were the only people under forty in the room, which made me slightly nervous as to my choice, and whether I would be receiving some severe ribbing if this all went disastrously wrong, but that worry soon faded when the film had us all laughing only three minutes in.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes us on a journey with seven british retirees who for different financial reasons are unable to afford to retire in Britain, and decide on spending the rest of their twilight years abroad in exotic and more affordable India. Newly widowed Evelyn (Judi Dench), recent high court judge Graham (Tom Wilkinson), aging Lothario Norman (Ronald Pickup), man hunter Madge (Celia Imrie) , married couple Jean and Douglas (Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighly), and bitter racist Muriel (Maggie Smith) are lured by the advertisements of a beautiful new refurbished hotel and luxury lifestyle. However on arrival they find that so many things were not quite as advertised, the hotel is dilapidated, the facilities almost non-existent and the food a spicy change from their usual cuisine.

Sonny (Dev Patel) , the young well-meaning optimistic dreamer, is the manager of the hotel. Excited by his first real paying guests, armed only with enthusiasm determined to make the hotel and his dreams of ‘outsourcing retirement’ a success, fights a losing battle struggling to balance his financially challenged hotel, grumpy guests and controlling mother. Each member of the group makes their own discoveries as they all clumsily settle into their new lives in India, finding themselves again in a way they never could in Britain.

This is a film that will definitely make it to my DVD collection when it is released, the acting was brilliant, particularly Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighly and Maggie Smith. If you ever have any questions on why these actors are considered of the highest calibre, watch this film, it really showcases their comedic talent. Dev Patel had me laughing out loud, he played his role as the optimistic dreamer very well, his line ‘everything will be all right in the end, if it’s not alright…then its not the end’ not only made me giggle but also made a lot of sense, and spoke to the optimist in me. I may be referring back to that quote in the future when times get hard!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel drew me in and had me emotionally involved, I found myself rooting for the characters and getting into the spirit of the film. Part of this films magic is how it captures you, makes you think about your own life and where you’ll be in the future. Personally I hope I have at least half of the adventurous spirit that the characters in this film had, when I reach their age!

I don’t usually give ratings in my film reviews, as unless a film is truly terrible I find it hard to sum up each films individual qualities and reduce and place them into a generalist stat, as each film is different and has something to offer. But I shall conform this once and give it nine out of ten, the only reason it lacked the ‘ten out of ten’ rating was because in the middle it dragged slightly, but that is certainly forgivable when you take into account how good the film is in its entirety.

So pay a visit to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and open yourself up to an exotic adventure in India that you’ll never forget!

The woman in black

17 Feb

This is the film I’ve been waiting for. Ever since the trailer burst on to our tv screens oh so many months ago, I knew I had to see it, my school girl crush on Daniel Radcliffe non withstanding, the trailer brought back memories of happy times spent in my old A level drama class, going to see the production with my friends, studying the play, analysing it to death and even writing about it in my exams!

His talent isn't limited to Harry Potter 🙂

The fact that I knew exactly what to expect with this film because of my previous study did nothing to ruin the experience for me, I spent the whole day getting in the ‘paranormal’ mood by watching re-runs of ‘Most Haunted’ and ‘Ghosthunters’ and my favourite horror movie companion Kelly spent the lead up reading horror stories. Both of us feeling sufficiently terrified before we’d even sat in our seats I promised not to punch when I jumped (it’s a thing I do) and she promised not to scream out loud, with this agreement in place we were ready to go! 

There are some slight differences between the original and the film, but the main storyline is this…

Young Edwardian lawyer Arther Kipps still grieving for his wife lost to a difficult childbirth, is forced by his law firm to go to remote Eel Marsh House,  and handle the estate of deceased Alice Drablow. Leaving his young four-year old son Joseph in the care of his nanny, with only the promise of a reunion in the nearby village after the work is completed, to look forward to. But the seemingly simple task of organising the estate is not as simple as it seems, on arrival Kipps is greeted with hostility and fear, desperate to complete his task and be reunited with his son, Kipps ignores the warnings from the locals and enters Eel Marsh House  finding much more than he bargained for.

I wondered if the film would live up to the hype or fall short of expectations, but I have to say it deserves its reputation, from the off set an atmosphere was created, by the bleak grey colouring of the scenery and costumes as well as the tragic forlorn expressions constantly clouding the lovely Daniels face. Lots of reviewers said they found this to be the scariest film they’d ever seen and I hate to jump on the bandwagon but I have to agree. I was clinging on to Kelly for dear life with one hand, and with the other peering through my fingers, even the unflappable horror film veteran Kelly found herself becoming jumpy with a racing heart.

I think the most surprising element of this film was the certificate rating! 12A? What were they thinking? I would not take anyone under 15 to go see this, they’d be traumatized! I can’t help but think that this low certificate rating was to allow the younger Daniel Radcliffe fans the chance to spend their money seeing this film. This aside The Woman in Black is a fantastic horror/thriller that takes its audience to the brink of terror and back again, every moment is carefully crafted to create suspense and fear, plenty of talent was on display, the child performances were particularly chilling and Ciaran Hinds did a wonderful job playing the wealthy sceptic landowner, forced to face the terrifying truth.

So if like me you have a fascination with the paranormal, enjoy being scared witless and are crushing over the gorgeous Daniel Radcliffe then go see The Woman in Black, and allow yourself to be taken on a twisted journey with a dramatic conclusion.

War Horse: A beautiful story from a tragic era

18 Jan

Going to see War Horse was inevitable from the minute I saw the trailer, I love horses, I use to ride myself and I think that these genres of film are important to watch, as we should never forget the horrifying events of both world wars, this film had already captivated me before I even made it to the cinema, the trailer alone was that fantastic. I’ve never seen the play (much to my regret I imagine it was a wonderful production) but I’m sure the film lives up to the productions and novels glory.

When my lovely friend Kayla suggested we go to the cinema for an evening out it was between The Sitter and War Horse, well the choice was obvious…rubbishy innuendo filled comedy? Or beautifully crafted movie presenting an epic part of British history? I was slightly hesitant to see War Horse at the cinema as I knew I was in for a bit of a tear jerking few hours with lots of screeching actors, however I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of the usual wailing dramatics that I’ve seen before in films trying to portray heartbreak and horror, War Horse presented poignant sorrow and silent sentimentality, pride, dignity, hope and courage. I found this to be far more effective as in real life we don’t go running around wailing our emotions, and the mark of a wonderful actor is to present emotions to an audience just as clearly but without the banshee method. Well that’s exactly what you’ll get with War Horse, a lot of attention and care has gone into this film.

Directed by Steven Spielberg War Horse features the story of Albert Narracott who experiences love at first sight when he sees a young colt, later when his father buys the colt at the market even though he needed a plough horse, to spite his greedy landlord who was also bidding, Albert is delighted and promises his furious mother that he will raise the horse and make him useful.

Albert names the young colt Joey and the two form an unshakeable bond of friendship and love that is put to the test, when Joey is sold by Albert’s father to save the farm, to a young cavalry soldier about to enter into the fray of the First World War. Albert swears that when he becomes of age he will join the army and be reunited with Joey again, no matter how long it takes and how far he has to go. 

I must say that this is one of the few films that can truly be described as ‘beautiful’ from the filming locations to the acting everything about it is stunning, quite a few high-profile actors made their appearances, I was particularly delighted to see Benedict Cumberbatch from the BBC’s Sherlock who is an amazing actor (and my latest celebrity crush, he has lovely cheekbones, delicious!) and David Kross from the award-winning The Reader.

Another wonderful thing I thought War Horse highlighted was the sacrifices that the horses made in the first World War, around ten million horses were estimated to have been killed overall, one million from the UK alone with only 62,000 of those horses returning, most killed either in cavalry charges, exhaustion or for meat when the war concluded. The pain and suffering of these poor courageous animals deserving as much honour and remembrance as the men who died, War Horse finally gives them their just tribute.

So take some time out of your week to go see War Horse, and become immersed in the amazing story of two friends that even a war which turned the world upside down, was unable to keep apart.

The girl with the dragon tattoo

15 Jan

Its been a long time since I have graced the cinema, and there have been quite a few films recently released that I have been dying to see, I didn’t choose to see The girl with the dragon tattoo, I never read the series of books (much to my dismay I never got round to it) but for the first time in a long time despite the fact that it may not have been my first choice, I left the cinema feeling like it was ‘money well spent.’

So the film stars Daniel Craig as disgraced publisher Mikael Blomkvist who through his naivety prints a story without the firm evidence to back up his claims, and is now being sued for hundreds of thousands in libel court by the sinister billionaire and industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. With his career in tatters and his bank balance worse, when the mysterious Henrik Vanger calls and asks him to investigate the unsolved death of his niece Harriet which Vanger has been searching for an answer to for the past 36 years, Blomkvist cannot refuse, particularly when Vanger offers him the key to bringing down Weenerstrom should he discover the truth. Meanwhile Lisbeth (the girl with the dragon and a few other tattoos besides) a freelance surveillance agent and researcher, specializing in investigating people on behalf of Milton Security, is struggling with a new guardian who controls her finances due to the state believing her to be ‘mentally incompetent’ and ‘asocial.’

Blomkvist and Lisbeth come together through the desire to solve the ever-growing and deadly mystery of Harriet’s death, and race against time to find an answer as they find their lives under threat. I won’t spoil the film any further for potential viewers but its safe to say that this movie has some plot twists in store for you!

The girl with the dragon tattoo is a gripping mystery that certainly had me on the edge of my seat, I found myself without realising it, drawn in and engrossed in the story line, forming opinions of my own on who killed Harriet which is always the mark of a good movie and also finding a new heroine in Lisbeth, who overcomes adversity that would have crushed some one less than herself. I do have to warn viewers that this film is a bit graphic with the scenes of sexual violence, its 18 for a reason, the scenes were disturbing and had me turning away, so in that sense this film is not for everyone. In fact a little trivia, the films sexual violence themes emerged from the late Stieg Larsson’s guilt of witnessing a gang rape at 15 and not being able to help the victim, who was named Lisbeth (our punky heroine.)

In conclusion, this film is certainly an excellent mystery thriller that will keep you guessing to the very end, having never read the books I can’t comment on whether the film stays true to them, but I can’t see how any of Larsson’s fans could be disappointed leaving the cinema. Go see it and allow yourself to be whisked away into a world of intrigue and deadly secrets, that results in a shocking and disturbing finale.

Apollo 18 (Aka the reason I now fear innocent looking rocks)

15 Sep

The combined issues of me being bored, direction-less and working part time, along with poor Kelly working the night shift at the hospital Wednesday night led to both of us coming together Tuesday evening for what must be the fourth time we have been to the cinema this month. Not that I’m complaining the cinema has always been one of my favourite past times and Tuesdays I get half price cinema tickets! Yay!

Kelly’s need to stay awake through the next day and my strange love of things that terrify me meant Apollo 18 was the obvious choice, I love those mockumenatary horror films, the best of all time being ‘The Blair Witch Project’ which still has me avoiding forests, camping and suspicious looking elderly women. The worse being Cloverfield, it didn’t terrify me but did make me question whether I would have the guts to face a city full of monsters to save someone I was in love with. (I guess thats something right?)

I have to say before the film even started the scene was already set for me to be terrified witless, as the only two people in the entire cinema, the lights go down ready for the trailers to begin, I start to get ready to cover my eyes for impending horror and then four boys burst in….suffice to say Kelly spent the next ten minutes through the trailers practically peeling me off the ceiling, whilst I tried to get my heart rate back to human level.

After that I spent the next half an hour rather disappointed, I have to warn you that Apollo 18 is a real slow starter, in fact one of the only things Kelly found of interest to comment on in the first forty minutes was “hmmm that guy is pretty hot.”  But keep with it because it does get more interesting and is worth hanging through the beginning for.

So basically Apollo 18  is based on the idea that the 1974 cancelled Apollo 18 mission actually went ahead and was never publicized, due to the unfortunate fact that it never returned. We follow two astronauts Ben and John who after landing on the moon find strange footprints, a dead Russian astronaut, eerie sounds and impossible rock movements and more importantly no explanation.As a mocumentary horror I think it works, despite the first half an hour being hard work afterwards I was completely hooked, even Kelly was gripped each time Ben and John made a new discovery about the mysterious happenings on the moon and why the moon rock samples kept relocating themselves…..(you will develop a healthy suspicion of all rocks as I have) I have to say the ‘footage’ was quite good and very authentic matching exactly what you would expect of a space mission taking place in the 1970’s, whether you end up a fan of the film or not after seeing it, the production team clearly paid attention to detail and you have to appreciate that!

I always judge how good a horror flick is by its ability to make me scared and twitchy but keep me interested enough to sit through to the end and this one passed the test. Anyone who has actually sat through a horror movie with me before (and it can only be a select few due to my unfortunate tendency of when I jump to hit out and punch the nearest person to me, in some weird sense of self defence) will know whether a horror movie has had the desired effect on me, and Kelly can attest to the fact that this one certainly did. (Hopefully I didn’t bruise her to much)

So if you want to be frightened and you are a fan of conspiracy theories then you’ll really enjoy Apollo 18, I have seen better horrors I won’t deny it, Apollo 18 is certainly one of those films that ‘does what it says on the tin.’

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