Psychological Movie NightCrawler: First Thoughts

The actor of Prince of Persia goes modern in NightCrawler, and his performance is just as convincing.

He even mastered that slightly careful, deranged tone, we have learned to associate from similar movies with psychos of various sorts.

The kind of tone that says: I am trying to restrain myself from butchering you, try not to make both of us sorry for the self restraint.

The movie displayes the inner workings of TV news.

Where those who hunt the best video shots can be likened to modern day mercenaries.

With skills and no consciousness, they would sell their kindly old grandmother without a second thought, and record her gruesome death on video camera.

At least that is my impression from the movie.

The movie presents an acid social commentary on modern times and can be viewed as a dark parody of the “self made men” genre, not too different from the American Psycho.

The movie is very focused, does not offer many scenes for variety, but the consistent plot development and especially the incredibly belieavable characterization of the protagonist made it highly watchable, despite its extensive length of almost two hours.

Outside of the typical horror tropes.  this movie is nonetheless not for the faint hearted.

Lovers of psychological thrillers and character actors might find it highly appealing.




Some Solomon Kane Thoughts

Solomon Kane, the movie(2009), presents an intriguing version of the original based on Robert E Howard’s classic.

In a sense, the movie Kane is more psychologically consistent.

The background story given him explains his motivation amply, although it changes the conflicted and tormented look of him we get from the stories.

His humanity is accentuated through his relationship with the good Puritan family in the movie, a feature utterly lacking in the original stories. There he is shown to have friends, allies but they are always addressed in the context of his mission.

The magical/supernatural elements are properly dispayed in the movie as well, although the famous staff of Kane is conspicuously missing, the producers were probably hoping to rectify it with a sequel that is not planned at this point.

The movie could have benfitted from being turned into a mini series. Too many events were crammed into it, making it somewhat long and perhaps for that reason less popular with the viewers.

The setting was often appropriately Gothic, except where it was appropriate pastoral to highlight the Puritan element.

The actor playing Solomon, James Purefoy, also known to us from the Following, was a powerful presence, dynamic and, equally important here, with a resonant voice.

Overall though, the movie differed from the original in more than one respect.

The “real” Solomon seemingly failed to find his redemption, had a different, less defined family history, and, honestly, a less attractive appearance.

[If you want to compare, check out our Solomon toy for instance which is closer in looks to the original

To some degree, Solomon is made more human in the film.

The story Kane, is a different matter.

Despite fighting for humans all of his life, he has remained as alienated from them as the Elder gods written about by Howard’s best friend and mentor H P Lovecraft.

But with my usual disclaimer, don’t expect the same, expect a different version loosely based on the original, the movie was actually very decent on its own.


Abattoir- Horror Movie Thoughts

I would consider Abattoir to represent the genre of speculative horror. The plot centers around a mystery that is never completely revealed although frequently alluded to.

It has an original mythology of its own, even though it heavily relies on tropes of the past, combining some of the more prevalent ones, like Satanism or ghosts hauntings into a single coherent whole.

The movie seems to be aiming for a sequel, because the story remains somewhat unfinished, but not in any annoying manner, which characterizes some modern movies.

I liked the fact that the plot was relatively easy to follow, that the visual aspects were displayed but not to the extent of overshadowing the content.

I really, really liked the villain. Naturally, not as the person I would want to hang out with in a coffee shop. But he was every bit as striking as the antagonist of the horror classic, the Cabinet of Dr Caligari.  Horrifying with his appearance, intentions and motivation, not to mention his unusual powers.

For reference, I would loosely classify Abattoir, Death Note and the Ring as all belonging to speculative horror, even if the craftsmanship, and the consistency, vary from one to another.


Rumplestiltskin (1987) Review

The movie starts out on a good note, with the introduction of the charismatic figure of the little creature by the name of Rumplestiltskin. Loosely based on one of the several versions of a German fairy tale, the creature is shown true to his nature: mischievous, entertaining, powerful and yet abiding by the certain unbreakable laws of magic.

His human antagonists seem flat in comparison. The miller’s daughter is appropriately naive and beautiful but also somewhat dull. The prince is noble but I only get a sense of his personality through his relationship with the heroine, by himself he lacks depth.

The atmosphere of the movie is crafted well, the Gothic setting is reminiscent of the pastoral ideas within the German Romantic period, but the music fails to match the tone, its delivery is technically acceptable yet lacks the soul and comes off more childish than it should have. Fairy tales are not always for the faint hearted after all  and could be enjoyed by adults when done right.

The king is given a name in the movie and it resembles a certain well known Hungarian name, which seems like a nice enough touch, to establish the Geographic proximity to Germany perhaps.

The conclusion of the movie is very similar to the fairy tale itself, with but a slight alteration in the naming challenge which was amusing.

Overall, the movie definitely deserves a three star rating. The acting and the plot were both passable, with Rumplestiltskin himself favorably showcased and some scenes in it can be tentatively recommended to lovers of fairy tales.


Maleficent Movie Review

Well, only the laziest of studios have not explored the fairy tale gravy train recently, but this movie actually does a decent original retelling. The figure of Maleficent herself, her relationship with Disney’s traditional character, Princess Aurora, is delightfully unpredictable.

Beautiful special effects, gothic flair, delightful creatures and a well rounded titular character. I think Maleficent the movie delivered on the promise of Winter Wars that fell flat in comparison. I would recommend it to those who still appreciate a good fairy tale whether they are still young or at least remember being young:)

House Of Dracula Movie Review

House of Dracula is one of those horror classics that don’t lose their charm entirely despite the advance in visual effects the big screen is spoiling us with.

It brings back together some of most memorable Universal monsters: Frankenstein,  Wolfman and Dracula, not necessarily in order of appearance.

The actors make their characters believable, Dracula is not simply evil but is also dedicated; Wolfman cannot control his transformation but does not excuse his actions.

The kindly old professor does some fascinating research in the movie and is more reminiscent of the gentler Bulwer image from Dracula 1931, than the less appealing, to my mind at least, militant vampire hunter, Van Helsing,  who seemingly has been getting only younger with each Hollywood retelling.

I must say that the kindly old professor image is more appealing to me, and the way he was portrayed in the House of Dracula, less stereotypical, more divided, was an even more brilliant stroke.

Yet another striking feature I found memorable in this movie, is its usage of the Christian cross. It is known in the vampire lore of course to defend against vampiric hypnosis and direct physical attacks. But I felt upon watching the 1945 horror movie that its usage was almost ironic, with a certain person rather unconsciously touching the cross to protect themselves against who they actually were(I am using the gender neutral description to avoid spoilers of course!).

The movie presented a few delightful twists, with the minor characters, understandably receiving lesser development. Though even among the lesser characters, one was charmingly reminiscent of the conspicuously displaced Renfield.

Overall, I would recommend at least for some of the scenes in the movie to be watched and it is available for free on youtube.