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Doctor Who: Midnight (2008)
Seriously. Just. Wow.
"Midnight", I can safely say, is a Doctor Who experience unlike any other. In a series that had previously left me quite underwhelmed, this completely blew my mind.
This is bar none Russell T. Davies' greatest work. He tosses aside all of the DW typicality: the companion, the hideous monsters, the running... Even the Tardis takes a leave of absence. In their places, he gives us a claustrophobic,motionless, and tense 45 minutes of sheer paranoia - and boy is it amazing!
Here we find The Doctor leaving Donna behind at a spa while he boards a tour bus on its way around Midnight, or 'the diamond planet'. He gets acquainted and rather chummy with the other passengers to pass the time, until suddenly the bus stops unexpectedly in a place where no person has ever gone, and they realize that they are no longer the only passenger on board . . .
As we all know, Steven Moffat is the master in creating a disturbing, chilling, and very cerebral atmosphere. Remember "Blink"? He created a monster that was genuinely terrifying without being aggressive or loaded with prosthetic. Well, Davies does him one better here. This time, we don't even know what the monster is, or what it looks like. It's more of an essence, like a demon possession. It grabs hold of its victim and corrupts it. How? We don't know. Why? Don't know. And that's what makes it so horrific.
This seems to be The Doctor's strongest adversary to date. He can't use words to talk sense into it, or use his screwdriver to find out more about it, and as paranoia strikes everyone on bored, he can't even win their trust. There's nothing for him to fight, and he is left in the mercy of scared innocents that think of him as a risk to their own safety. In fact, this is the only time we've seen the 10th rendered completely helpless - and David Tennant plays to that beautifully! In fact, everyone in this episode did a magnificent job! It's just a gripping study in character and emotion from start to finish.
All in all, this was my favorite episode to date, and by the end of it, my heart was racing so fast, I just had to watch it again.
The Scarlet Letter (1995)
A beautiful piece of cinema... So why does everyone hate it!?
I was completely shocked after watching The Scarlet Letter to find such strong negative criticism towards it. 4.7 on IMDb? 14% on rotten tomatoes? nominated for several Razzies?? But why? The only possible answer I can come up with is that this film is largely being critiqued by Hawthorne Puritans, so to speak. And truly, to say that this adaptation strays from the book is like saying that the Kardashians sometimes appear in the media. It does take liberties, and several key plot points have been changed - but does that make it a BAD MOVIE? I have read the Scarlet Letter, and I can see the appeal, but it's not as if it was without it's flaws. It needed some back-story. The characters needed more likability. There needed to be a greater depth to the relationships. This movie gave it all of that with the added bonus of giving it a more exciting story line.
The novel aside, this movie was absolutely gorgeous in every aspect. The sets, score, and costuming were top quality, and really transported me into 17th century New England. The acting was stunning throughout the cast, with Demi Moore portraying a strong, enduring Hester Prynn, Robert Duvall giving a thoroughly chilling performance as her husband, and Gary Oldman managing to transform Reverend Dimmesdale - a horribly weak and unlikeable character in the book - into a charming and extremely complex man that the audience could sympathize with. There is nothing that this movie didn't have that most Oscar nominated hits have as well.
The only flaws I can think of were, and this is a stretch, the excessive amounts of nudity (which on Mr. Oldman's part were actually very welcome), and the fact that the feminist attitudes were slightly anachronistic. But again, does this make The Scarlet Letter bad? I don't think so. The people I saw it with didn't think so. I honestly don't understand how anyone COULD think so. (and I here I though comprehending God was going to be my biggest challenge) So I say go ahead and watch The Scarlet Letter. Just don't turn it on expecting a word-for-word rendition of the book because you will be disappointed. Instead, expect a beautiful, high-quality, high-intensity romantic thrill ride that deserves a much better reception than it received.
Nil by Mouth (1997)
Painful, Disturbing. Bleak. Wonderful.
Nil By Mouth is not a film made for enjoyment - or even entertainment, for that matter. This is a raw, gritty insight into the very real world of alcoholism, abusive relationships, and general dysfunction.
In his directorial debut, Gary Oldman makes no attempt to sugarcoat his perception of life in South London. Utilizing rough dialogue, claustrophobic camera work, grim lighting, and a constant presence of violent tension, he has instead created a cathartic and uncomfortably honest atmosphere from start to finish.
The entire cast is pitch-perfect for what this film is trying to achieve- that being to divert from the typical Hollywood 'art imitating life' and into the real, unglamorous, and painful lives that thousands of people world-wide have to face every day. They are not in this film for their looks or reputation, but rather for their ability to capture what it is to be human in broken circumstances. They don't make practiced faces into the camera. They don't spew out Oscar-ready monologues. They don't shed the single, pretty tear down the cheek. No. They forget about the camera's presence and do exactly what you and I would do in their given situations, making them better actors than most A-Listers that you'll see today.
Nil By Mouth is a thoroughly unpleasant 2 hour watch, and it will certainly be difficult to sit through. Never-the-less, it is a film that needs to be watched. While film is a great medium for escaping our daily hardships, it can also be used as a means of opening our eyes to the crueler side of life - the life of our neighbours, our friends, or even ourselves. Oldman has achieved this without mercy or restraint, and as a result has created a masterful study of every-day horrors.
Le cinquième élément (1997)
Love it or hate it, it's guaranteed to entertain your face off
I'll admit, I despised this the first time I saw it. I found it cheesy, over-the-top, and incredibly annoying. But after a couple viewings, it has gradually become one of my favorites.
I think the thing about this movie is that you have to be in the right frame of mind before you see it. If you're looking for something emotionally moving,intellectual, or powerful, put this down immediately and watchShawshank Redemption instead. However, if you're looking for somegiggles and action-packed creative fun, this is the one for you.
It's bright, colorful, quirky, and fast-paced. The characters are all charming in their own unique ways. Even the doofy looking wart-faced aliens have their endearing moments. I also love how memorable everything about it is - For better or for worse. From that unbelievable 'Diva's Song' to the endless ramblings of Ruby Rhod, to Zorg's -er, head plate, there's nothing remotely like it that you'll see anywhere else.
It almost serves as a spoof of sci-fi with it's silly aliens and ridiculous gadgets. Who knows? Maybe it's not a spoof. Maybe it really does take itself seriously. But as long as you don't take it seriously, you're guaranteed to fall in love.
Låt den rätte komma in (2008)
Right when I thought that Vampire Romance was a lost cause...
I stumbled upon "Let The Right One In" while flipping through channels late at night. While every ounce of interest that I once held for vampires died the moment I grew a brain cell and stopped loving Twilight, I had heard some great things about this film and decided to give it a chance.
At first I just sort of had it on in the background while I did other things, but was soon entranced by the gorgeous visuals. The wintery paleness of the setting swallowing up the colorless Oskar beautifully reflects the pain of a young boy who is beaten and taunted every day of his life, but can't find the strength to fight back. It also serves as a stark contrast with Eli - the dark circles under her dilated, sad eyes and the crimson blood smeared around her lips revealing a girl who can never fit in.
Apart from that, I really enjoyed the fact that it was in Swedish. It's really nice to have a break from our dumbed-down language once in a while. Now, I admit that sometimes I find foreign films hard to follow subtitle-wise, but the dialogue in this one is so simplistic and succinct that I hardly even needed the subtitles to understand what was going on. It also helped that it was so beautifully acted all around, but in particular by the two young leads. Each of them emoted genuine passion, innocence, and sorrow so subtly that I forgot that they were even acting.
What I loved most about this film is that it was so much more than an artsy vampire flick. Instead it focused on more relatable themes such as coming of age, standing up for yourself, and unconditional love. I was also grateful that it didn't try to sexualize vampires, but instead depicted them as disgusting yet tragic monsters. It was especially heartbreaking to see this in the form of a twelve year old girl doomed to fight to maintain her innocence while having to commit unspeakable crimes in order to stay alive.
I could ramble on longer, but I don't want to ruin anything for you - assuming that you'll do what any sane person would do and see this a.s.a.p. It's dark, disturbing, sweet, and sad, and is sure to have something that will please any viewer.
My not-so guilty pleasure
I'll start off by admitting that I'm almost 19 and I look forward to watching this show whenever it comes on YTV. I understand that Victorious is designed for a younger audience, but let's be honest, it's easily one of the most quirky and just flat-out enjoyable nic shows out there. Yes it's a touch over-dramatic and can be pretty corny, but that's all part of the show's charm. It's like the love-child of Community, Glee, and one of the other nic shows like, I dunno, iCarly - and that, as it turns out, is a pretty killer combination. All of the cast members are so talented. From musicality to comedic timing, they've got it all. All of the characters are unique and interesting - particularly Cat and Sikowitz.
Okay, I guess I'll stop ranting. To sum up, Victorious is the only live action kids show that I've ever thoroughly enjoyed, and unlike my love of Spongebob Squarepants, I'm not afraid to admit it.
I love it! What else can I say?
Usually I take my reviews relatively seriously through many a paragraph, but in this case, I'm just going to keep it quick and to the point. "Megamind" is a thrill to watch! With a healthy dose of animated action fun, lots of good humor, and even some adorable sentimentality, I enjoyed every second of it.
Probably my favorite feature of this film was the animation. While I still think 2D is the best way to go, this was undeniably a gorgeous film to look at.Especially the eyes! Wow! Beautiful.
Also, the voice acting was quite good, and the story was both funny, exciting, and heartwarming all at once. While it may not be the most original thing to ever hit the screen, there's no denying its quality. This is a film that people of all ages can enjoy - without the need for hidden innuendos and hinting towards 'naughty' words *cough* Rango *cough*. So go ahead, get the whole family together and watch "Megamind"! Seriously. It will not disappoint!