Category Archives: movies

The Conjuring REVIEW: Decency VS. Demons

The Conjuring REVIEW: Decency VS. the DemonsREVIEW: The Conjuring is the latest saga inspired by the real life experiences of ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, also famously noted for their link to the Amityville Horror. And while the thruthiness here is somewhat questionable (we all know Hollywood is going to up the ante for the big screen, right?), the “inspired by true events” value makes the movie extremely mesmerizing. If you didn’t find yourself Googling “The Conjuring” and researching the true story afterwards, you may have been in the minority.

The film has solid acting, sticks true to the classic horror film format and features a slow build up that makes the film’s final thirty minutes or so that much more exhilarating. In the scare department, the film falls a little short. I didn’t find myself checking under the bed, looking in the closet or over my shoulder once I got home. That being said, I know from other reviews, The Conjuring did scare elsewhere. However, where the film truly succeeds is in the “thriller” category. Shortly before its climax, things are so high paced that you’re left wondering, “will the fight for decency win out in the battle against a demonic force?” Film maker James Wan, also known for films like Saw and Insidious, truly succeeds in showing the strength of the human spirit remaining strong in the face of pure evil, something that’s pretty rare in many horror films. RATING: 3/5

PS. Wondering what the doll from the film really looked like? Check this out:


Radcliffe Shines in First Post-Potter Film

The Woman in Black (Hammer Film Productions)

Sure, actor Daniel Radcliffe has faced some eery endeavors in his young career as an actor. Just think..evil dementors and even Lord Voldemort himself, all brought to you courtesy of the wonderful world of Harry Potter. However, this time, Radcliffe’s in for something spookier: the deranged ghost of a woman hellbent on causing the deaths of a small British village’s children. And it’s all because her own child was kept away from her own reach and passed away in an unfortunate incident in the town’s marsh. She’s out for revenge. If she can’t have her own child, then nobody can!

Solicitor Arthur Kippsis is sent to organize the paper work at the deceased woman’s home in order to legally prepare the manor for sale. Not surprisingly, Arthur must face the woman’s ghost and save the town from her doom all while eventually attempting to ensure his own son’s safety (Harry has a kid? Who would have imagined?).

Indeed, it’s interesting to see Radcliffe move away from the role he assumed for nearly the last decade. As an actor, he shines in a new light, even if he does still come off as somewhat Potteresque.

The film itself is based off of the 1983 novel of the same name by English Author Susan Hill. While I definitely felt the film’s plot could have contributed more credence to the idea of solving a mystery, there’s still plenty to enjoy here (even though not everyone will like how it concludes). It’s filled with fright, eery imagery and overall makes for a fun, jump outta’ your seat scared type of thrill. On an interesting note, it ends in the same settings as The Deathly Hallows: A train station.

While Radcliffe will always be seen as Harry in the minds and hearts of many, he’s surely proven he has the versatility to fill the shoes of a variety of roles in his post-Potter career. Rating: 3/5

Pirates: On Stranger Tides – Movie Review

Walt Disney Pictures

(The Wookie Post) – Despite falling flat with many critics, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie breathes new life into a franchise that had begun waring itself out by over-reliance on cgi, sappy love, magic, and all too crazy plot-lines. Instead, On Stranger Tides lessens the above, all while giving enough of the classic Pirate elements that viewers loved so much in the first film.

Depp is back as Sparrow, along with similar characters from the previous films (first mate Gibbs, Barbossa). The new movie doesn’t have Knightley or Bloom and that’s a good thing for the franchise, it cuts back on the all too sappy love scenes (However, there is a crew mate that falls for a mermaid, but this is tolerable).The addition of Penelope Cruz pays off (she has great on-screen chemistry with Depp). Blackbeard’s character is alright in the movie, although not grand.

Finding the fountain of youth may sound too cliche for a story line, but this film keeps the plot line more simple where it’s not overshadowed by CGI and isn’t nearly as silly as the last two films’ all too crazy plots (Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End). Also, the humor is back, there are plenty of laughs in On Stranger Tides (again..where the last 2 had started to fall flat). Overall, this film is a throwback to the first and the obvious best since it.

So why all the flat review? Had this film been released as the second in the franchise, it would have been met with more positive ones (Just my belief). However, it’s guessable that the critics have felt this franchise has dragged on too long. However, I think it has the opposite effect and shows that there’s new life left.

Overall, it’s a fun film. All while breathing new life into the franchise, On Stranger Tides should help Captain Jack’s merry adventures continue for a few more rounds. Rating: 3/5

Classic Movie Review: The Last Time I saw Paris (1954)

I’m continuing on examining classic movies starring the young and beautiful Elizabeth Taylor in commemoration of her recent passing.  The Last Time I saw Paris is definitely a classic, but a sad one at that.

It’s a movie that lets the viewer fall in love with a young couple’s post World War II happiness and brings them full circle through the demise of their marriage, helped in part from striking a certain amount of personal wealth that only aides in the happy couple’s self destruction.

The idea that personal excess deprives of any personal potential is no new idea, nor is it anything short of actual reality.

4/5 Stars

Classic Movie Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Starring Paul Newman & Elizabeth Taylor

Here’s another film starring Elizabeth Taylor, along with Paul Newman.  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof comes from an adaptation from the play by Tennessee Williams.  It explores what happens when tragedy strikes a southern family that has for too long been obsessed with material wealth rather than the idea of making loving memories.  Maggie(Taylor) and Brick(Newman) are an unhappy couple visiting Brick’s wealthy family for his father’s birthday(aka Big Daddy).  Brick is a former football star alcoholic who’s bitter about his best friend Skipper’s death(by suicide), in fact he actually blames Maggie in some part for it (he believes Maggie slept with Skipper).

Maggie still loves Brick very much but Brick wont give into Maggie as he states he can no longer stand her.  Brick’s father, nicknamed Big Daddy, has recently arrived back from the doctor, believing he is cancer free.  However, this is not the case.  The doctor just lied to Big Daddy in order to spare him and the family of sorrow for Big Daddy’s birthday.  As the family gathers at the estate, the viewer is treated into seeing the excess of a life based on money rather than love.  When it’s finally realized by everyone that Big Daddy is actually terminally ill, the matter of who the estate will go to come into question.  Wether it will go to Brick(who has absolutely no interest in attaining his fathers wealth or to his brother, who wants the inheritance(but whom his father can’t stand).

The viewer then sees the dreams and structure of a family so based on material excess rapidly deteriorate.  With his interaction with his son Brick through the course of the film, Big Daddy finally realizes that having material wealth isn’t everything and that the best thing you can leave others are loving memories.  Once Brick becomes happier about his family situation, he is able to resolve his bitterness towards his wife Maggie(who actually didn’t sleep with Skipper).

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a display of rapid family change.  It’s the tale of a family on the brink of chaos.  It’s as if their obsession with material wealth accumulated so much that it’s as if it all explodes negatively at once upon the revelation that the head of the family is actually going to die.  Breakout performances by Newman and Taylor keep the viewer’s attention for the entire course of the film.  In the end, the viewer is treated with the most important lesson: Material wealth isn’t everything, it’s the memories that count.

5/5 Stars

Classic Movie Review: Giant (1956)

1956’s film Giant is an adaptation Edna Ferber’s novel of the same name and stars Hollywood legends Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean(It was also Dean’s last film).  It chronicles the life of wealthy Texas cattle hurdler Jordan Benedict(played by Hudson) and his wife Leslie(played by Taylor).  Benedict travels to Maryland to buy a horse for his ranch from Leslie’s family.  Leslie is a young, attractive gal with a perhaps too progressive attitude for Benedict as she’s not afraid to inquire openly into his affairs(this sets them up to clash during the course of their marriage) .  The two are attracted to each other, thus beginning the union of the traditionalist Mr. Benedict and non-traditionalist Leslie.

Mr. Benedict takes his wife back to his home in Texas, thus starting their lives as newly weds.  Leslie must adapt to the culture shock that is Texas and the traditional way of both Mr. Benedict and his friends.  The film chronicles their marriage from its beginning and until around 25 years down the line.  Mr. Benedict intends to have a son to follow in his footsteps and one day run the ranch.  As the development of oil refining in the area increases(discovered by Benedict’s former ranch hand Jett(Dean) ), Benedict initially resists join in the new craze.  Benedict is also initially resistant to Leslie’s embrace of local hispanics.  However,  Benedict eventually gives into change has his lifelong plan ultimately collapse when his son eventually marries a hispanic, refuses to run the ranch and decides to instead become a doctor.

Benedict is eventually forced to give into the oil refinery craze and agrees to a deal with Jett about oil refining on his land.  We see Benedict suddenly let his guard down and eventually give into Leslie’s progressive, untraditional attitude as he defends a few hispanics discriminated against at a local diner towards the end.  The defense of the hispanics(which results in an ensuing fight between Benedict and the diner manager) becomes one of Leslie’s favorite moments by her husband.  The movie totals over three hours long and features breakout performances by Taylor and Dean.

Giant is a chronicle of a traditionalist(Benedict) giving into the changing times, urged on by a wife who is way ahead of her time(Leslie).  It’s the forced collapse of traditionalist dreams due to a combination of the changing times and the separate wants and desires of those whom Benedict is close to.

3.5/5 Stars

Elizabeth Taylor: A Queen of Hollywood’s Golden Age, 1932-2011

During the height of her career, Elizabeth Taylor shared the Hollywood stage with the likes of other actors and actresses such as Gene Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, and Marlon Brando.  It is, however, hard to find another actress that could better exemplify this Golden Age of Hollywood movie production.  Actress Elizabeth Taylor was known for her beauty and on screen charm that set her up to star in countless Hollywood classics.

A Place in the Sun (1951)

She was born in Hampstead, London, England to two wealthy americans residing there.  Her mother had been a stage actress and her father, an art dealer.  Along with her family, she moved to the United States 7 years later and entered the Hollywood scene as an actress at an early age.  Through her parents’ connections, Taylor landed her first Hollywood contract at the age of 9.  It was worth 6 months, renewable, and payed 100 dollars a week.   Her first role was in the comedy There’s One Born Every Minute. It was her first and only role during her time with Universal as her contract was cancelled.  She soon signed a new contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, setting her up for her next role in Lassie Come Home as Priscilla.  The movie was warmly received and Taylor continued her young career.

Alongside co-stars Rock Hudson and James Dean in Giant (1956)

Although her first couple movies with adulthood roles such at 1949’s Conspirator and 1950’s The Big Hangover would be considered dissapointments at the box office, Taylor was praised for her performances nonetheless.  In 1950, she starred in Father of the Bride, a romantic comedy that was successful at the box office.  This success set Taylor up with a sequel and countless other dramatic lead roles in movies such as Love is Better than Ever, Invanhoe, and Rhapsody.  She married Hilton hotel heir Conrad Hilton at the young age of 18.  The marriage didn’t last and Taylor married british actor Michael Wilding soon after (with whom she’d have 2 children).  Other movies began to gain Taylor even more praise, thus earning her academy award nominations for such films as Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddeny, Last Summer.

Cleopatra (1963)

While filming the classic movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with actor Paul Newman, Taylor’s life was struck with tragedy when third husband Mike Todd was killed in a place crash.  Taylor persevered and continued the filming.  She won her first academy award for best actress in 1960’s BUtterfield 8. In 1960, Taylor became Hollwood’s highest paid actress for her role in Cleopatra.  The film was the role of a lifetime for Taylor but was plagued by delays and increased production costs.  In fact, film almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox.  Despite this, the film was nominated for 9 academy awards(including 1 for best picture), 4 of which it won.  On the set of the film, Taylor began a romance with co-star Richard Burton.  The two later married and went on to star in a lot of other films throughout the 1960’s including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, a movie that earned Taylor her second Oscar for best actress.

Malice in Wonderland (1985)

Throughout the 1970’s, Taylor continued to star in films but her power at the box office had considerably diminished.  Taylor was known for her life off the camera as well.  She had her own struggles with substance abuse and checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in the early 1990’s.  She was also a notable advocate for the fight against aids.  She was noted for her close friendship with superstar Michael Jackson, with whom she shared a similar childhood.  Towards the late 1980’s, Taylor began appearing in less roles.

By the 2000’s, Taylor’s health had unfortunately diminished, although her undeniable charm remained intact.  She was given the honorary british title of Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.  Among recent rumors that she’d be portrayed in an upcoming biopic about her life, Taylor took to her twitter stating, “Hold your horses world. I’ve been hearing all kinds of rumours about someone being cast to play me in a film about Richard and myself.  No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor herself.  Not at least until I’m dead, and at the moment I’m having too much fun being alive…and I plan on staying that way. Happiness to all.”