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50 First Dates (2004)
This is what you call a 'feel-good' film
The basic storyline of 50 First Dates: Henry Roth lives in Hawaii and spend his time wooing women who are visiting the island, simply because there is little chance of commitment. Then he meets Lucy Whitmore. One day they hit it off, and the next she doesn't even recognise him. It turns out that she suffers from short-term memory loss, and every day he tries to win her over once more. Firstly, I have to say that 50 First Dates is a really funny film. It isn't overly stupid, but it's not subtle either. But underneath the humour is where I believe this film's true beauty lies. It shows love in a way that I have never seen in another film before. From the way that her family sacrifices everything to keep her happy, and blissfully unaware of her condition, to Henry who, despite the fact that he could have just about any woman that he wanted, decides that he wants to be with Lucy, regardless of the fact that he has to meet her for the first time every day. Henry's character undergoes somewhat of a transformation in front of our eyes. The film starts off with him coming across as somewhat of a pig (well, to us women anyway :)), and by the end of the film, we truly admire him. He even sacrifices his dream so that he can be with Lucy, and help her to move on with her life. The film isn't really predictable, either. For example, I spent the entire films assuming that the ending would be somewhat different. Although romcoms almost always have happy endings, this one damn near had me in tears. And it wasn't even sad. I never knew what a feel-good film was until I saw this...highly recommended.
House of Wax (2005)
At last, a film that I can say scared me a little
First off, let me make one thing clear...I HATE teen slasher movies. The characters in them are boring, and you don't really care if they die. They rely on shocks rather than being creepy and gross, and they get very predictable after a while. House of Wax actually interested me. It is VERY slow to start...the first 45 minutes or so is basically the characters talking, preparing for the road trip and actually arriving at their camp site. I was glad when the truck turned up at where the teens were camping, because at that point, I was honestly thinking about walking out. The main reason that I went to see House of Wax was because I hadn't seen a film in a while that had actually scared me. Or at least creeped me out. I was highly disappointed by The Ring 2, and although The Amityville Horror almost made me scream (when the gollum-like creature appeared at the mirror), I was still left disappointed. I think that I spent the latter part of House of Wax with my hand over my mouth...it actually creeped me out. The only other film that has had that kind of affect on me was Saw. The deaths are all gruesome (especially poor Wade's...but I think the fire killed him, because the wax apparently didn't), and like someone pointed out before, what makes them so unnerving is the casual manner in which they are carried out. Some of the characters I feel were placed there just so that they could be killed. For example, Dalton and Blake. Even Paris Hilton wasn't on-screen for as long as I thought she would be. To enjoy this film, you will have to overlook a few things that seem impossible. (Spoiler) For example, how could someone have survived being stabbed multiple times, having boiling hot wax poured all over their body, and having half of their face pulled off? While it is not an amazing film (it does have it's flaws) it is enjoyable (even if the ending is a bit clichéd). I advise you not to enter the cinema with high expectations. You may enjoy it more that way...I sure did.
For centuries, the vampires and lycans (werewolves) have been at war, unknown to humans. No-one knows how this war started, only that the lycans made the first move. Though the war is far from over, the vampires seem to be gaining the upper hand, and some have decided to sleep for centuries on end. While the aristocratic vampires inhabit a gothic mansion, the lycans are forced to live in the sewers. Special vampire warriors called the death dealers, assigned to take the lycans out, one-by-one, prowl the streets at night. One of these death dealers, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) discovers a lycan plot to kidnap a young human medical student, Michael (Scott Speedman), and decides to take action. When she gets no help from the coven leader, Kraven (Shane Brolly), who seems to be more interested in Selene than disposing of the lycans, she awakens Viktor (Bill Nighy), the most powerful vampire ever to walk the earth, and sets about protecting Michael herself. But soon she finds herself falling in love with Michael, and risks everything protecting him, even betraying her own kind, and also finds out the true reason behind the Lycan's interest in Michael, a plan which could tip the war in the favour of the lycans.
When the trailer for Underworld was first shown, it seemed like a bad rip-off of The Matrix, but I am pleased to say that this is far from the truth. Though it borrows a few elements from The Matrix, it still sets its own standard. The special effects are amazing. I wasn't so sure about watching another werewolf (sorry, lycan) film after seeing the wolf effects in Dog Soldiers, thinking that they couldn't get any better, but I'm glad that I gave Underworld a chance. The lycan transformation scenes are simply brilliant, especially Michael's change at the end, and the Vampire effects were stunning. One performance stood out more than the rest, and it wasn't Beckinsale's or Speedman's. It was Bil Nighy's. He was perfect as the vampire elder Viktor, making him seem real, and not another dracula rip-off. Another graet performance was that of Michael Sheen, who plays the lycan leader Lucian. Though I am not a big fan of the genre, Underworld impressed me, and I can't wait for the sequel.
***** out of *****