Tag Archives: film

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.

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.

Exit through the gift shop

7 Dec

Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum was selected for the screening of the new film from popular and mysterious street artist Banksy. ‘Exit through the gift shop’ is part of the large street art exhibition the Herbert is currently showing to the public.

This strange but equally compelling film, documents the rise of street artist ‘Mr Brainwash’ from his beginning as Thierry Guetta, the Frenchman.  Whose obsession with filming everything and with street art leads him to meet and film famous and illusive street artists, such as Invader, Shepard Fairey and Banksy. We see how with the help of Banksy and other street artists, Guetta moves forward to become a street artist himself and take the art world by storm and cause massive controversy with his exhibition, much to the surprise of the street art community.

Street art, technically classed as graffiti and an illegal offense often carries political messages and challenges authority through art with iconic images such as the print of ‘obey’ by Shepard Fairey. What started as backstreet graffiti now has a following of thousands of fans, with some street artists selling work for thousands.

“The film was hilarious” Michaela Yates a Banksy fan commented “I’ve always loved Banksy and have some of his prints at home so I was excited about this film. It wasn’t what I expected with the focus being on Mr Brainwash but I thought it was great, the footage of how street artists produce their creations showed me a whole new side of street art, and it was amazing.”

Mark Jameson a street art enthusiast also found ‘Exit through the gift shop’ to differ from expectations and felt a strong reaction towards Mr Brainwash. “It was a fantastic film, and great to really get inside street art, the interviews with Banksy and Shepard Fairey gave some real insight into the process they go through as artists and also show some of the thoughts behind some of their more well-known works. The focus on development on the street artist Mr Brainwash was interesting but I was hoping to see more of Banksy, Mr Brainwash’s work seems a bit unoriginal to me and just a different copy of what other street artists have already come up with, and not worth the hype.”

‘Exit through the gift shop’ gives a never before insight into the world of street art and challenges the audience to decide whether ‘Mr Brainwash is the latest in a long line of brilliant street artists, or just another copy cat.

(NOTE: This interview and article was competed and published a long time ago and is being included as part of my online journalism portfolio)

Behind the scenes exclusive! Debbie Isitt on Nativity!

7 Dec

Popular local director Debbie Issit returned to Coventry University to discuss her award winning film ‘Nativity’ and give the lucky Coventry Conversations audience an exclusive sneak peak preview of the behind the scenes footage appearing on the unreleased DVD and the future development of ‘Nativity’ as well as her other upcoming projects.

Isitt, renowned for her improvisational and creative approach to her work smiles as asked why her film was such a success with the viewing public “I suppose it was just one of those films that the public took to their heart, we won the Richard Attenborough award and even caught the attention of Gordon Brown, who needed some Christmas cheer! My family and myself sat at the back of the Odeon cinema in Nuneaton on Christmas eve watching the film and the audiences reactions, thinking this is fantastic, we’ve made a film and these people are here watching it on Christmas eve.”

Despite ‘Nativity’s popularity with the public and reaching number four in the Christmas film charts, film critics remain unconvinced, particularly and most memorably Jonathon Ross who in ‘Film 2009’ slated it as ‘the worst film ever made.’

“I’m use to being slated by the press and have done for years, but I felt slightly confused. I couldn’t understand why he hated it and was so disgusted by it” Debbie commented. ‘Nativity’ cost around three and a half million to make, in competition with Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ this underdog regional film went on to be a large success “our tiny low budget, cheap title film is competing with Jim Carrey and other big ones’ Debbie said proudly.

Debbie revealed the exciting amount of interest in developing ‘Nativity’ with Universal Studios interested in doing an American remake, “I’m reluctant” Debbie admitted “there’s no guarantee I can direct and I can’t separate the work I make from me, its not about the money, some people are for sale but that’s just not me.”

Sky are also interested in creating a mini series based on the film and plans for a ‘Nativity 2’ as well as the possibility of a potential stage production are in the pipelines. “We really want to make a sequel” Debbie commented eagerly “we have a really good idea for Nativity 2.”

“I’m always there with a camera” Debbie advises budding directors looking to send their own creative visions out into the world “if you want to direct there’s nothing like seeing the world through the eyes of a lens, make your own movies and film everything!”

Issit is set to return to Coventry University to unveil a placard honouring her achievement and eager fans won’t have to wait long for ‘Nativity’, which is set to be released this November.


(NOTE: This interview was done and published some time ago and I am including it on here as part of my journalism portfolio)


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