thriller

Terribly ugly awfully perfect film.

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Film Review:  Snowpiercer (2013)

My Rating:  5.9 craft beers on a 6-pack scale (no such thing as a perfect 6-pack!).

Genre:  Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller

Rating:  R (not finding a rating but, yeah, I’d give it an R)

Runtime:  126 mins

Directed by:  Joon-ho Bong

Writers:  Joon-ho Bong, Kelly Masterson (others as well but I didn’t want to turn the page)

Stars:  Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, and John Hurt!!!

Note:  English language film, also Korean, Japanese, French

 

IMDB Snowpiercer
IMDB Snowpiercer

 

Terribly ugly awfully perfect film.  Yeah you read that right.  Wrap your brain around that!

As usual there will be no spoilers in this quick and dirty review.  There may be allusions and feelings (yuck…feelings) but no spoilers herein lie.  

Synopsis:

Silly humans destroy the world.  Only a train with an engine that seems to be able to run forever allows the remnants of silly humanity to survive (you may wonder why bother at the end of this movie though).  To what end I don’t entirely know, but it is not the end that this movie is at all about; it’s absolutely about the journey.  The movie could end abruptly a half-hour or more early and nearly the same effect would have been had.  Still I suggest you watch the whole thing.

I attempt to have my film reviews at under 500-words.  Usually 500 plus or minus a paragraph gets the job done.  I will attempt to do the same here, however I doubt I’ll be successful in this endeavor.  To get us started I begin with this:  I loved this movie so much that I never want to see it again.  Why?  Well…because it made me angry.  And I loved it for it.

Why did it make me angry?  When I say it made me angry I don’t want to convey the notion that I’m upset at the film in anyway, no, not at all.  I’m upset at myself.  I’m upset that I didn’t pay enough attention to my 11th grade English class with Mr. Alan Watt’s.  I remember skipping his class.  I remember sleeping in his class.  But what I don’t remember clearly is Dante’s Inferno because I was simply too cool for school and the likes.  Had I paid closer attention I perhaps would have enjoyed this film even more than I did already.  Thankfully I paid attention in social studies when we were instructed on class systems and the inherent struggles of the proletariat versus the aristocracy and upper class.  Read Dante’s Inferno and then remember your class system struggles studies, and the fact that this is a movie set upon a train in an apocalyptic world (with a humanity that wants to survive but most assuredly does not deserve to do so), and you’ll walk away all the better for having seen this film as first an educated person.

I wanted to watch it again…so I immediately returned it so I wouldn’t get to so as to purposefully torture myself.  A wonderful film that my only regret being is that it took so long to see.

Mary Lou Perfect 10 Gold

Now, why not the perfect rating?  Well ever since the perfect-10 with Mary Lou Retton in the Olympics perfection has been forever tarnished.  The idea of the “perfect-10” is that there is no way at all, ever, ever, ever, that it could be any better.  Since I do not conform to the perfect-10 rating on anything, especially since I am not a corrupt French figure skating judge, I have to point out a couple flaws that kept Snowpiercer, at least in my humble determination from Mary Lou status.

First, John Hurt is wasted.  He has some good lines but then the baton is passed/fumbled to Chris Evans who is trying not to come across as Captain America throughout the length of the picture.  He kinda sorta almost succeeds.  He has one scene where he is definitely NOT Captain America (unless you consider him Captain “Corporate” America…you’ll get the joke hopefully when you see this movie) but other than that he just needs a shield with a star on it and he’s the Marvel superhero we all know and love.

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton is…well, Tilda Swinton.  You can’t stand her and you love her for it.  She is wonderful so she pushed the movie toward the Mary Lou perfect-10 but, like the rather wasteful performance of John Hurt (seriously…was he sick one day during an important scene and they Bong just decided to move on without him?), you’ll then find Jamie Bell’s character wasted.  Sad…almost won the gold with that 10.  Oh well.  A 5.9 is pretty cool in the craftbeer rating world I suppose.

I can’t wait to watch this film again and torture myself by hating myself because it is so terribly awesome.

Cheers!

J.W.

P.S. Perhaps it should be noted that this review was written while I was under the influence of vodka.  You see I’ve had the flu/cold and thought I needed orange juice to help with an infusion of vitamin-C.  BUT, not being a fan of straight OJ, I needed something to make it a little more palatable and thus I’m sure you can now understand the virtue and inclusion of vodka in this situation.  So, for the sake of vodka…

…Cheers once more!

J.W.

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Review: The Awakening – Period Piece Ghost Film That’s Better Than Most

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Film Review:  The Awakening (2011)

My Rating:  5 craft beers on a 6-pack scale.

Genre:  Horror/Thriller

Rating:  R

Runtime:  107 mins

Directed by:  Nick Murphy

Writers:  Stephen Volk, Nick Murphy

Stars:  Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton

Note:  English language film, a UK production.

So I write this a day after watching The Awakening.  Looking at the film a day later I almost wonder at my initial high rating.  Perhaps too high in fact.  When compared to the IMDP and Metascore ratings I see I’m indeed a little elevated.  Perhaps my 5 craft beer score has more to do with the fact that I was on my 5th beer by the end of the movie and again I’m on my 5th brew as I write this now.  Perhaps.  I’m sticking with the rating however so here we go.

IMDB The Awakening

IMDB The Awakening

There will be no spoilers so don’t worry.  Really this review is my impression and not a justification piece to point out what worked and what failed.  This film was pretty darn good.  The thing that’s quite possibly the most scary is the screen presence of Dominic West.  I try to not like him.  I try really, really hard.  But I can’t.  Even when I think about him in Centurion (as a very unbelievable Roman general with a terrible, terrible accent) and The 300 (as a douchebag politician who…well he nailed this one actually) I just don’t like his work very much.  But in The Awakening he’s pretty darn good as a cross between a lead and a supporting actor.  I wish we got a little more about his story, but we got what we got, which was enough to move the story along.

Rebecca Hall was good simply because she wasn’t over-the-top annoying.  She was beyond annoying in The Town (my previous reference film concerning the actress) and I wasn’t thrilled to see she was in this but she managed to not suck so she was therefore good enough.  It was hard sometimes to hear exactly what she was saying but thankfully I had the subtitles on so I could more easily follow what she was saying despite much of it probably being better off as internal narrative.  I have to say that I’m 36 and not hard of hearing.  West came in lough and clear so the subtitles were not needed throughout.  Hall just needs to speak up a bit.  Maybe it wasn’t that bad…but I think it was.

So there is a little blood (in like one rather super violent scene), a little less blood in another violent scene, and a couple of places where you may be a little scared but not royally so (in my opinion).  Oh, and you see a boob and thusly the film is rated “R.”  What really drew me into the film was the setting as a period piece (set in 1921).  The Awakening takes place just three-years or so after the First World War and it did a pretty good job of conveying the psychological scars of a nation with wounds that are far from healed.  To have a generation or two erased from existence due to the horrors of war is a pretty heavy burden for a people to carry.  England is a country of people that want ghosts to exist because there are so many loved ones now absent.

Is this a lights out scary movie?  No.  Not at all really.  What’s best about The Awakening is that it isn’t a super clichéd slasher, buckets of blood, screamfest.  Nope.  It’s just an entertaining thriller with some rather solid acting (West) and a pretty good ending that made me think I should have seen it coming but didn’t.  I like films that surprise me and The Awakening did so.  It’s worth a watch but perhaps my 5-craft beer rating was too high.  I may change it tomorrow.  I’ll sleep on it.

Cheers!

JW

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“HARD TO PUT DOWN!”

“GRABS HOLD AND DOESN’T LET GO.”

“BRILLIANT STUFF.”