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Set in Santa Rosa, Northern California, in 1949. The film opens in a barbers shop where Ed Crane works as second chair, for his brother-in-law Frank. Frank owns the shop. Ed’s wife, Doris, is bookkeeper for the local department store, Nirdlinger’s. Ed is suspicious that she’s having an affair with her boss, Dave Nirdlinger, whose wife Anne actually owns the store

One day, a businessman turns up as a customer in the barber’s shop. As the man chats, he expounds on a new technique called dry cleaning. Creighton Tolliver needs $10,000 from a silent investor to get the business up and running. This dwells on Ed’s mind for a while, then he decides to blackmail Dave for the money, sending him an anonymous note. Eventually Dave pays up, terrified that his wife Anne will find out about his fling with Doris. Dave suspects Tolliver of the blackmail, and beats him up.

Dave then confronts Ed and attacks him. Ed kills Dave in self-defence. Doris is arrested for the murder, being the most likely suspect as she helped Dave cook the books to provide the $10,000 blackmail money. So far, so good. The rest of this plot section will give away plot twists, so read no further if you wish to retain the element of surprise when you go to see this film.

Frank mortgages the barbershop to pay for top attorney Freddy Riedenschneider, who prepares a wonderful defence. During their meetings, Doris realises that Ed knew of her affair with Dave. As the truth of Dave’s death dawns on Doris, she hangs herself. Trying to find company after Doris’ death, Ed becomes friendly with local attorney’s daughter Birdy Abundas. She plays classical piano, and in Ed’s opinion, shows a lot of promise. As a personal project, he takes her to visit Carcanogues – a virtuoso piano teacher. He is not impressed. Birdy, feeling she hasn’t come up to scratch for Ed, tries to repay his kindness to her by fellating him while he’s driving them back home. This causes an accident. As he regains consciousness in hospital, he’s arrested for the murder of Tolliver, whose beaten body has been recovered from a local lake. Ed is sentenced to the electric chair.


Every once in a while a stylish, stunning film makes an appearance. This is one of those films. Aping the classic film noir style of forties and fifties Hollywood the film bowls us along its twists and turns. But being the Coen brothers, there’s the quirky humour and odd surreal touch added too. Although more James M. Cain rather than Raymond Chandler, the noir style of shadows and light, atmospheric cigarette smoke highlighted at every turn (if Billy Bob Thornton wasn’t a chainsmoker before, he surely must be by now), the sharp fashions and angular looks, rekindle that genre with great authenticity. When Anne pays Ed a visit to tell him that Doris isn’t guilty, she could almost be Joan Crawford as Mildred Pierce. (Come to think of it, isn’t Mildred Pierce’s daughter named Anne?)

You feel for Ed – everyone constantly talking at him, many of them not noticing his presence. Doris married him because ‘she liked it he didn’t talk a lot’. We notice Billy Bob Thornton’s presence alright – what a performance. The craggy sculpted face, lit to reveal its silent contours. His form carries those suits rather well. And what a pleasure to hear an actor’s voice and dialogue clearly, with no background noise at all in many places. Very unlike the recent ‘Moulin Rouge’ where the actors were straining to be heard. Both Thornton, and orator/lawyer Riedenschneider (Tony Shalhoub) possess very resonant voices, with a gravelly edged timbre. The film also reveals an interesting evocation of the hairstyles of the era – Ed could almost become a philosopher on the subject of hair!

 This is a good film, wonderful acting (for example – Frances McDormand registering that Ed knew about her affair), with both principles (Thornton and McDormand) turning in excellent performances. And rarely, in a Coen brothers film, it isn’t all cold distance, you can get close to these characters and become aware of their emotions. This is the brothers best yet.


Excellent – do go and see this wonderful film.

If you like this film…

Two main strands of comparable film viewing suggest themselves – other work by the Coen brothers, and classic film noir. The most comparable of the Coen brothers films are ‘Blood Simple’ and ‘Millers Crossing’, both of which are extremely grisly in parts. ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘O Brother, Where Art Though?’ are also worth a look.

For original film noir based on James M. Cain’s novels, there’s ‘Mildred Pierce’ which stars Joan Crawford on top form, and ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ with Lana Turner and John Garfield (later remade with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson). For classic noir the list is endless. Particular favourites are ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ (the Dick Powell version) and ‘Double Indemnity’ (Barbara Stanwyck and Joh Garfield). Enjoy!…

Michael Hultgren No Comments

The Affair Season 1 Review

“The Affair” is an unusual romance and little mysterious drama about a mature guy and girl who meets and falls in love while they were married. I really like the way things execute between two of them.They feels comfortable with each other in very few meetings. I really like the way the scenes were shot in this TV Series.I haven’t seen much on extramarital affair so far. This drama is emotional driven and psychologically executed.Marriage is based on a mutual relationship but sometimes even the long lasting relationship of marriage are based on the money. At least that what it seems to be true in here. Also, You can find someone even when you are perfectly married.

Noah Solloway (Dominic West) finds Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson) like they are perfect for each other even when they are married to someone else. Ruth Wilson brings a charm to her character even when she is not in frame you want her to see badly. She takes things forward in a way with natural acting. This Series focuses on the family matters associated with extramarital affairs with a little focus on money matters.The drama shown here is interesting and is unpredictable. With very episode it might bring something new to the story. Things may get little inclined towards a different direction.What remains consistent is nice and cool screenplay.

If you want to start a new TV Series which involved middle age characters. This could be a good one to start.Also, If you’re also of the similar age you are more likely to like this TV Series. It has won three Golden Globe awards including the best actress for Ruth Wilson. Like I mentioned she is too good.

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Would-be young British writer (Christian) moves to Montmartre, Paris, at the turn of the last century (1899). He falls in with the ‘bohemian’ crowd, which include artitst Toulouse-Lautrec and composer Satie. These two want to put on a musical extravaganza and enlist Christian’s help in writing it. He is deputed to approach Zidler, the Moulin Rouge’s manager, to persuade him to fund the enterprise. Christian goes to the Moulin Rouge to talk to Zidler, who is in the process of setting up a meeting between the wealthy Duke of Worcester and Satine (the courtesan star of the Moulin Rouge). The Duke of Worcester is to be tapped to provide funding for Zidler’s next production. Much confusion ensues, and Christian ends up meeting Satine, who assumes he is the Duke, and starts to seduce him. The real Duke interrupts the seduction, but Satine manages to convince the Duke to fund the production, and agrees to be the star of the show

Christian and Satine use the rehearsals as an excuse to cover the depth of their burgeoning relationship – trying to keep it secret from the Duke who wants Satine for himself. Zidler has effectively sold her to the Duke in return for his investment in the Moulin Rouge and its new spectacle. Christian becomes jealous of the Duke’s eventual ownership of her. Meanwhile, Satine discovers that she is dying of consumption (tuberculosis), and attempts to ‘give up’ Christian ‘for his own sake’. The Duke discovers their mutual enthrallment and vows to have Christian killed unless he leaves Paris.

However, Christian suddenly appears on the stage during the opening night of the show. He sings his love of Satine out, who reciprocates in kind. The Duke leaves in disgust. As the curtain falls, Satine collapses and dies in Christian’s arms. Christian is left writing the story of their love.


This is a very visual musical – the constant spinning, fast inter-cutting, and noise, leave you exhausted by the end, and often bewildered as to what, exactly, is going on. It is a real shame that the principles have to sing their guts out and still can’t be properly heard through the cacophony which drowns out their best efforts. This makes it a bit tricky trying to figure out what is happening at times. Though what’s going on doesn’t really matter that much as the plot is paper thin anyway. And it has been ‘done’ before – most notably by Alexandre Dumas in ‘La Dame Aux Camellias’ and by Puccini with ‘La Bohème’. There are some superfluous scenes which could be excised as they don’t appear to have any bearing on the story. An example of this is the appearance of Kylie Minogue as ‘the Green Fairy’. The only purpose this appears to serve is to reference Julia Roberts’ appearance as Tinkerbell in ‘Hook’.

This episode is one of a number of film references. Those noted include ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Hook’, ‘Ziegfeld’s Follies’, ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘Gilda’, ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, ‘The Seven Year Itch’ and ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’. Not to mention the Busby Berkeley musicals of Hollywood’s golden era, and the BBC’s paeon to vaudeville: ‘The Good Old Days’. I’m sure there are others.

Nicole Kidman’s performance owes a lot to Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth (if ever there’s a biopic made of Hayworth, Kidman should be the prime candidate for the role). Richard Roxburgh’s Duke of Worcester owes a lot to Alan Rickman’s Sherriff of Nottingham in ‘Robin, Prince of Thieves’, but isn’t as camp or as good. For some strange reason, McGregor bears a passing resemblence to Kenneth Branagh. Both Kidman and Ewan McGregor can sing, by the way, and her style is reminiscent of Monroe’s breathy little girl voice. And, of course, there’s the ‘diamond’ number referencing Monroe again, as well as reminding us that Satine is Zidler’s ‘little diamond’. Popular culture is well represented also, particularly by the use of songs and songtitles. Jim Broadbent is a revelation – rapping with the best, and giving a bizarre rendition of Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’; but the most wonderful collision of culture comes with a tangoed version of the Police number: ‘Roxanne’. Sounds unlikely, I know, but its one of the best sequences of the film. Another high point is the use of Elton John’s classic ‘Your Song’. In the early part of the film Ewan McGregor gives a touching partial rendition of the song, which fits particularly well with the scene. However, this film tells us little about the can-can, or aboutbohemian life and its characters – the period the story is anchored in. The only nod to the era is the ‘look’ of the characters – they look exactly like those to be found in Toulouse-Lautrec’s art – originally used for advertising the Moulin Rouge and the can-can dancers. Really the film acts as spectacle and little else.

There are flaws in this film, it is true. But for sheer visual stimulation: What a spectacle!…

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Adaminte Makan Abu

Adaminte Makan Abu hit theatres today after winning national, state awards last month four times each on both the occasions. The movie is about Abu and his wife portrayed by Salim Kumar and Zarina Vaheb respectively who wants to make it to Mecca to perform the holy pilgrimage at any cost, despite their poverty and sufferings.

Does Abu lives up to the expectations with its part of glory and controversies (unwanted most of them as always in the case of award winning movies) after all? Well, not exactly.. Abu disappoints you with its predictability in narration right from the beginning to end. We certainly knew what was coming (not a drawback technically, in the book of prescribed format of art films in India which may term this a mandatory feature!)

“I don’t differentiate movies as art and commercial, for me there are only two kinds of movies; interesting movies and uninteresting movies” said once, renowned film maker Raj Kumar Santhoshi. With lack of drama Adaminte makan Abu belongs to the second category unfortunately. Almost all the characters in the movie are goodness personified, which heavily attributes to this problem.

On a positive note, Salim Ahmed has been successful in bringing out the best of technicians associated with this venture which makes it craft wise excellent. An outstanding back ground score is the soul of any film and Abu has it thanks to Isaac Thomas Kottukapally. And Madhu Ambat, the master cinematographer with his brilliantly crafted shots conveys a deep sense of loneliness and gloom. Apart from the winners, make up man Pattanam Rasheed has done a great job converting Salim Kumar to a 75 year old man. Ramesh Narayanan also deserves attention for the songs. Art direction is worth mentioning as well by debutant art director Jyothish.

In acting department, Zarina Vaheb plays the character of Abu’s wife to perfection; even Suraj Venjaramoodu who is known for gimmicks surprises you with his realistic portrayal. But the film belongs to national award winner salim Kumar who literally lives as Abu. However director Ranjith had commented that Mammootty’s performance in Pranchiyettan and the Saint was much better than salim Kumar’s Abu. He has also asked if the award was given to the performance of actor or to the tragic shades to the character.

Now that is something worth discussing!..

Last time, we had a similar situation was on 1999 when Kalabhavan Mani (Vasanthiyum Laksmiyum Pinne Njanum) lost out to Mohan Lal (Vanaprastham) the only change being the more established actor on the receiving end this time around. Coming back to Pranchiyettan and Abu, Pranchi is way ahead when it comes to the range of emotions displayed by the character. Mammootty, the master showman pulls out a wide range of emotions through Pranchi while Salim with his limited range fails to explore Abu’s emotions other than helplessness even with the support of tragic shades to the character as Ranjith pointed out. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to watch Salim transforming to Abu with ease and this easily stands out his finest performance till date.…

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Ted (2012) Movie Review

Ted is a 2012 American comedy drama. Directed by Seth MacFarlane. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and voice by Seth MacFarlane, supporting cast include Giovanni Ribisi, Joel McHale. Ted was released on June 29, 2012 in the United States and distributed by Universal Pictures.

360MR Rating 6.5/10 Genre Comedy Drama PG-13 Directed by. Seth MacFarlane Produced by Scot Stuber Seth MacFarlane Starring – Mark Wahlberg Mila kunis Giovanni Ribisi Joel McHale Matt Walsh

SYPNOSIS In a little village near Brockston Massachusettes, a lonely boy, John wishes his new christmas present, a big head teddy bear will come to life. His wish coincides with a falling star and is granted. Ted becomes a sentient being and is apparently a celebrity for a while in the town.

Present day (2012) John lives with Ted, Ted has grown up to be hateful and swears a lot. Although their closeness has not waned. They live a hedonistic life even though John is in a 4 year relationship with girlfriend, Lori. Lori expects John to pop the question as their fourth year anniversary approaches. But believes John can’t seem to settle down or be serious to Ted’s presence around him who has largely become a nuisance. They then decide it best to rent a seperate apartment for Ted and also get him a job at a grocery store when they find him at home with four prostitutes. The distance doesn’t still ruin John and Ted’s relationship as John excuse himself from work to hangout with Ted, whose indiscilpline at work has earned him promotion. John’s escapades with Ted causes Lori to break up with him out of anger and John blames Ted greatly. Ted, who feels guilty decides to get Lori and Ted back together although Lori’s boss who loathes John is now involved with her. Ted with the help of his former lover, Nora Jones, gets John to sing in a concert where Lori and her boss are present. Although his performance is awful, Lori is touched. And Ted promises to leave them alone if she talks to John. This she does and they reconcile, soon after, Ted is kidnapped by Donnie, a grown man who has idolized Ted since his childhood and wants him for his destructive son. Lori and John decide to find Ted after he manages a call to John before he is recaptured again. John traces Donnie and takes him out but Ted is torn into two due to the chase. Lori feels guilty for what happened, and they try to patch up Ted, all to no avail. At night she sees a falling star and makes a wish. Next morning,Ted wakes up and encourages them to continue their relationship. John and Lori then get married. Donnie is arrested for plush toy kidnap, Lori’s boss quits his relationship with Lori. Ted’s gross indiscipline earns him promotion as manager and learns to live a life on his own.

REVIEW Ted. in a sentence, is an oversized obnoxious, wasteful, curseful sentient being. His jokes are akin to family guy. Notwithstanding, his curses and offensive jokes was all it took to get this movie going. Mark Wahlberg, the normal serious looking dude who contributes dryly a little bit to Ted’s jokes.His girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis) had an acceptable performance though not serious. To the plot, Ted didn’t provide us with gripping suspense as compared to its counterpart movies. This I blame greatly on the makers. I was so not surprised when I discovered the makers of Family guy was behind Ted.

Ted’s storyline could just be simply explained as ‘goodbye: time to grow up’ However, The character Ted himself is the star of the movie, a wonderful creature who seemed so real, his humour, appearance is enough to make you laugh. Such sights and behavious you’ll never expect from a teddy bear.

Ted himself personally saved the movie.…

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A boy’s snow-ski grinds to a halt on the mountainside. As he tries to get it going again, he sees an Indian running away from a nearby stand of trees. Going to investigate he discovers the bloodied body of a small blond girl (Ginny). News breaks of this discovery at Jerry Black’s retirement party – he’s retiring from the homicide squad to spend his leisure time fishing. The detective insists on taking the call, and ends up having to tell the child’s parents of their loss. Black promises the child’s mother that he will find Ginny’s killer.

Back at the station, a mentally impaired Indian has been coerced into confessing to the crime by Black’s colleague Stan. Black isn’t happy with the confession,and visits Ginny’s grandmother, and school friend. The friend tells him of a picture Ginny drew of a giant who leaves behind tiny porcupine gifts. Black makes the connection between Ginny’s death and two other child deaths in the area during the past decade. After picking the brains of a psychiatrist, Black decides that the murderer will strike again, but his former commanding officer refuses to re-open the case.

Whilst finally taking his holiday, Black purchases a run down gas station/store – this just happens to be in the general region of these murders. He befriends the waitress (Lori) at a local bar and her daughter Chrissy. One night Lori arrives at his home for refuge after being beaten by her ex-husband. Black takes them in and cares for them, especially Chrissy. He becomes suspicious of the attentions of a local preacher, until Chrissy tells him about ‘the wizard’, who gives her tiny chocolate porcupines. Black makes Chrissy keep this a secret with him, and sets a trap for the wizard in a forest clearing with a police team. The next bit bears a twist, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read any further in this section. The wizard doesn’t appear, so the police leave, and tell Lori what’s been going on. She storms up and retrieves Chrissy, who eventually loses his marbles. Unbeknownst to all parties, the wizard is killed in a motor accident en route to the trap.


One day Sean Penn is going to make an absolutely brilliant film. Sadly, this isn’t it. He is growing, both as an actor (witness: “Dead Man Walking”, “Carlito’s Way”, and in Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown”), and as a director. His last directorial effort: “The Crossing Guard”, brought together Jack Nicholson and erstwhile real life partner Anjelica Huston in a very low key drama, which had real merit.

Nicholson gives the central performance to this film too, and a very good performance it is too. For one thing, you are not constantly aware of the fact that ‘this is Jack Nicholson acting’ – something which has been a bane in his most recent work. Neither is he hammy, as he can sometimes be (most notably in “The Witches of Eastwick” and “Batman”). In fact there is a lot of excellent acting on display here. Many unexpectedly well known faces appear. On reading the cast list you expect an ensemble piece (like “The Big Chill”), but the cast really provide telling cameos here (much like Robert Altman’s “The Player”). Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Sam Shepard (showing distinct signs of age, sadly), Mickey Rourke (extra-ordinarily good here), Benicio Del Toro – all were wonderful. The weakest link in the acting stakes was Penn’s wife Robin (Lori), who was somewhat unconvincing.

The music accompanying the film was interesting, and not obtrusive; the cinematography was beautiful, some very pretty scenes were glimpsed (and one or two gory ones). The film is completed by its opening scene, thus closing the circle. Its all very clever, with plenty of attention to detail. (Mind you, Jack Nicholson is not a natural fly fisher – perhaps he should have studied with the Queen Mum for tips.) 

And yet. And yet, it just doesn’t work. Its difficult to point a finger and say exactly why this should be. The pace is a little slow, and about 20 minutes or so could be excised without losing anything from the plot. Many of the points made are heavily laboured too. Perhaps the screenplay is a tad pedestrian, or maybe the original story is the problem. The end result is that the sum of the parts provides more than the whole.…

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The Dark Knight

After leaving ‘Batman Begins’ with a cliff-hanger foreshadowing the rise of The Joker, Nolan was tasked with out-doing himself. ‘The Dark Knight’ has done exactly that. Christopher Nolan teamed up with brother Jonathan Nolan to write the screenplay and with an all-star cast in his control, Nolan has raised the bar for a superhero genre film.

‘The Dark Knight’ begins months after ‘Batman Begins’, with order seemingly being slowly restored to Gotham slowly by the Batman/ Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). Unknown to Gotham a new threat is rising and slowly taking charge from the mobs. The Joker (played to perfection by the late great Heath Ledger) seems to know how to counter act Batman’s sense of justice with his own sense of chaos. While Batman is ‘The Dark Knight’ of Gotham there seems to be a white knight presented in the form of District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Not only is Harvey Dent attracting the attention of the mob but has also attracting Rachael Dawes (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal).

‘The Dark Knight’ is not about the origin of The Joker but more about the arc of Harvey Dent and his turn to Two-Face. We also have the return of characters of Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine).

Christian Bale proves to be an amazing Bruce Wayne and Batman, able to create dual identities. The major buzz on this film was Heath Ledger’s performance as The Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker. I had been a huge Jack Nicholson fan in 1989’s Tim Burton’s Batman. Ledger did something unbelievable in ‘The Dark Knight’, he actually became The Joker. While The Joker is the main attraction in The Dark Knight he does not dominate the screen time. Harvey Dent is what the story is mainly concerned about. While Heath Ledger deserved the much praise for his role as The Joker, Aaron Eckhart should be commended for his portrayal as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Eckhart is able to show how the once good Harvey Dent was able to spiral down in to Two-Face.

One of my complaints on the original Batman series is how they did not play the relationship of Batman and Gordon. Gary Oldman is the true vision on how Lieutenant Gordon should be presented in a Batman film. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are brilliant as Lucius Fox and Alfred Pennyworth respectfully. Morgan Freeman being excellently cast as Bruce’s supplier for his latest gadgets and has a moment to shine near the end of the film. While Alfred continues to be the only true father figure in Bruce’s life. Maggie Gyllenhaal for me seemed like the only weak point in this film. I never understood why Bruce would like her if all she did was push him away.

What I loved about this film is the many memorable scenes. To start a film with a heist so ingenious like the one The Joker pulls just sets up the tempo of the film. The one scene stealing moment is the interrogation between Batman and The Joker. That one scene basically sums up their relationship from every comic book and TV show. That one scene was the true Batman/Joker which was lacking in 1989’s Batman. The Design for both The Joker and Two-Face were also something to behold.

As much talk of Nolan trying to ground Batman into reality it seemed that he would have trouble with The Joker’s pasty white skin and Harvey Dent’s deformed face into Two-face, yet he was able to ground these villains into reality. Two-Face was seemed the most realistic vision anyone can ever come close to. While The Joker was something that was untrue to the comics yet it worked. There was no doubt that this was The Joker, instead of having a permanent smile produced by drop of a chemical waste, it was changed to a Glasgow smile and wears make up to hide his real face. The Final scene with The Joker is one to behold though. I cannot stop enjoying his final lines and puts in perspective his view on Batman and why he won’t kill him.

There’s not that much to complain about ‘The Dark Knight’. Bale’s voice for Batman does get a little annoying after a while. There are some points where I can’t understand him, but that does not hurt the movie that much. The fact that there is no solid ending and begs for more is bit much. It leaves the story open waiting for the final chapter. The film is not truly perfect but it is the closest any film has come to date. ‘The Dark Knight’ comes highly recommended.…

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This film focuses on another visit to Narnia by the main characters; brother and sister Edmund and Lucy Pevensie. Upon their return, the children meet with Prince Caspian, who requests their presence on a long sea voyage. They embark upon this voyage in a coveted ship known as The Dawn Treader, bravely facing the dangers they know lie ahead. They are met with these dangers in the forms of dwarves, dragons, merpeople, warriors, and a number of other magical obstacles that must be defeated.

In addition to promising family fun and excitement, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader also offers a number of important life lessons and advice to developing viewers. This is one thing that makes this series so popular, because parents know that, in addition to being entertained, their children will be growing from their involvement in this epic fantasy literature.

While this film still holds much appeal for dedicated Narnia fans, many have been disappointed by this film when comparing it to the previous two. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third installment in the Narnia series, and many complain that it doesn’t provide the impressive graphics and visual effects of the first two. Additionally, it lacks the previous excitement provided by the introduction of multiple new characters. While past films have been full of odd entities and fantastical personalities, the latest plot doesn’t offer a lot of new character development. Though it does have some disadvantages when compared to its previous counterparts, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader still offers a lot of nostalgic value for those who grew up with the series, and a number of adventure sequences that promise good times for all.…

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I have just recently been through a stage where I wanted to see why it is that most of today’s horror films to 70’s and 80’s horror films. I have been very public in this forum about the vileness of films like The Haunting and Urban Legend and such. I feel that they (and others […]

I have just recently been through a stage where I wanted to see why it is that most of today’s horror films to 70’s and 80’s horror films. I have been very public in this forum about the vileness of films like The Haunting and Urban Legend and such. I feel that they (and others like them) don’t know what true horror is. And it bothered me to the point where it made me go to my local video store and rent some of the classic horror films. I already own all the Friday’s so I rented The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original Nightmare On Elm Street, Jaws, The Exorcist, Angel Heart, The Exorcist and Halloween. Now the other films are classics in their own right but it is here that I want to tell you about Halloween. Because what Halloween does is perhaps something no other film in the history of horror film can do, and that is it uses subtle techniques, techniques that don’t rely on blood and gore, and it uses these to scare the living daylights out of you. I was in a room by myself with the lights off and as silly as I knew it was, I wanted to look behind me to see if Michael Myers was there. No movie that I have seen in the last ten years has done that to me. No movie.

John Carpenter took a low budget film and he scared a generation of movie goers. He showed that you don’t need budgets in the 8 or 9 figures to evoke fear on an audience. Because sometimes the best element of fear is not what actually happens, but what is about to happen. What was that shadow? What was that noise upstairs? He knows that these are the ways to scare someone and he uses every element of textbook horror that I think you can use. I even think he made up some of his own ideas and these should be ideas that people use today. But they don’t. No one uses lighting and detail to provoke scares, they use special effects and rivers of blood. And it is just not the same. You can’t be scared by a giant special effect that makes loud noises and jumps out of a wall. It’s the moments when the killer is lurking, somewhere, you just don’t know where, that scare you. And Halloween succeeds like no other film in this endeavor.

In 1963 a young Michael Myers kills his sister with a large butcher knife and then spends the next 15 years of his life, silently locked up in an institute. As Loomis ( his doctor) says to Sheriff Brackett, ” I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven making sure that he never gets out, because what I saw behind those eyes was pure e-vil. ” That sets up the manic and relentless idea of a killer that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. And all he wants here is to kill Laurie. No one know why he wants to kill her, but he does.( Halloween II continues the story quite well )

What Carpenter has done here is taken a haunting score, mendacious lighting techniques and wrote and directed a tightly paced masterpiece of horror. There is one scene that has to be described. And that is the scene where Annie is on her way to pick up Paul. She goes to the car and tries to open it. Only then does she realize that she has left her keys in the house. She gets them, comes back out and inadvertently opens the car door without using the keys. The audience picks up on this but she doesn’t. She is too busy thinking about Paul. When she sits down, she notices that the windows are fogged up. She is puzzled and starts to wipe away the mist, and then Myers strikes, from the back seat. This is such a great scene because it pays attention to detail. We know what is happening and Annie doesn’t. But it’s astute observations that Carpenter made that scared the hell out of movie goers in 1978 and beyond.

Halloween uses blurry images of a killer standing in the background, it has shadows ominously gliding across a wall, dark rooms, creepy and haunting music, a sinister story told hauntingly by Donald Pleasance and a menacing, relentless killer. My advice to film makers in our day and age is to study Halloween. It should be the blue print for what scary movies are all about. After all, Carpenter followed in Hitchcock’s steps, maybe director’s should follow in his.

Halloween personifies everything that scares us. If you are tired of all the mindless horror films that don’t know the difference between evil and cuteness, then Halloween is a film that should be seen. It won’t let you down. I enjoy being scared, I don’t know why, but I do. But nothing has scared me in the 90’s, except maybe one film ( Wes Craven’s final Nightmare ). If you enjoy beings scared, then Halloween is one that you should see. And if you have already seen it a hundred times, go and watch it again, back to back with a film like Urban Legend. Urban Legend will have you enticed at all the pretty faces in the movie. Halloween will have you frozen with fear, stuck in your seat, not wanting to move. Now tell me, what horror film would you rather watch? 

And just to follow up after seeing Zombie’s version, it makes you appreciate this that much more. This is

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Think Like A Man (2012) Movie Review

Think like a man is an American comedy flick directed by Tim Story. It is based on the book ‘Act like a Lady,Think like a Man’ written by Steve Harvey in 2009. The movie was released on April 20, 2012 and distributed by Screen Gems.

360MR’s Rating – 5.8/10 Genre – Comedy, Romance Rating – PG-13 Directed by – Tim Story Produced by – William Parker Robb Hardy Rushion McDonald Starring – Kevin Hall Megan Good Taraji P. Henson Micheal Ealy Gabrielle Union Jerry Ferrera

SYPNOSIS Four friends take Steve Harvey’s relationship advice seriously against their men. However their Men conspire to turn things around on them.Which also later backfires on them.

REVIEW Think Like a Man contains sexual, drug use and some mild abusive words such as a**h***,Sh**. So may be inappropriate for some teens especially those who may be presently exploring their sexuality.

The movie had a exemplary cast. But I think the Male roles would have been played with more or interchanged. However, megan, Gail, Taraji were brilliant and couldn’t have been better.

The characters are sympathetic and expected. Except a caucasian friend of the blacks who seemingly is the only guy who has a stable relationship. Terrence jenkins as micheal the momma’s boy, the dreamer chef Dominic portrayed by Micheal Ealy, Kevin hall as a divorced Cedric who acts like he now enjoys his freedom but frustrated and lonely within.While Zeke portrayed by Malco is a smooth talker.

As for the ladies, Lauren (Taraji) starts a steaming relationship with Dominic who is a cook that is struggling to hold down his job, but she also wants a man with same status as hers. Kristen (Gabrielle union) a real Estate Agent who lives with Jeremy anxiously wants her boyfriend to be matured and probably propose. Candace is a single mom who is deeply in love with Micheal and is constantly frustrated with his overtly enthusiatic relationship with his mother. Mya (Megan good) is an enstranged girlfriend who is still nursing hurt over her last relationship. Thus frustrating Zeke intentions towards her.

Like every hollywood flick, Think Like A Man has its flaws, and a great part of it bothered on fact that the movie relayed a lot on Steve Harvey’s book ‘Act like a lady, think like a man. This premise was originally introduced to the audience as the motive behind the ladies behaviours and really did not need subsequent hammering and reiterations later on in the movie. Such needless introductions only represented the movie as an extended publicity medium for Steve Harvey’s book. Who is by far the movie’s ‘absent’ Star cast owing to the the incessant chants of his name in the movie.

Notwithstanding the dexterity of the Actors/Actresses in the movie. The cast lacked freedom as their roles were largely burdened and tied down to their equivalent book characters.

The way the Women addressed Men in this movie was quite offensive however, a relief was met when I noticed how the overgrown babies (Men) behaved. The humour wasn’t lacking as there are enough scenes sure to crank you. You might actually go into the cinema with low expectations on this movie. And although its below expectations,it isn’t all that distasteful.…