Meow…

This movie… It’s music… It’s images… It’s cast… Tastes like nostalgia…

It’s not the greatest movie ever made, but I love it. It taught me that horror could be cinematic, artsy, ambitious, rich in tone and symbolism, moody and sexy, sensual and erotic. There was also that David Bowie song (which again may not be considered his greatest, but with  the help of Giorgio Moroder, is my personal favourite). Also, probably most importantly, it had Nastassja Kinski in it – cue boyhood crush!

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

A former New York socialite, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. But don’t be fooled… She may look like a million bucks (and know it), but she ain’t bringing anything of value…

Blue_Jasmine_posterA funny thing happened. Initially I was not a huge fan of this movie, this is exactly how I started my first review of this website when I was blogging on another site.

I think it may have something to do with the fact that I have never been a fan of Cate Blanchett. However in this role she really does excel. She would go on to win an Academy Award for her performance here and it is an interesting one for me, because she was up against Sandra Bullock (cue High-School-and-Ever-After Crush admission) and Meryl Streep in August Osage County (a performance which actually left me slack-jawed the first time I watched it, and yes I know it’s Meryl Streep, but…). That said, she did win it (like she pretty much cleaned up the entire awards season), and she earned it… This is more of a performance piece than a movie, I found myself watching just to see the titular character brought to life – Jasmine/Jeannette really is a piece of work.

It should be noted that I am a Woody Allen fan, this is not my favourite movie of his, and it’s movies like this which make people scared of Woody Allen (well this and the child molestation claims), but the brilliance of Woody is his ability to extract powerful performances out of his actors.

The supporting cast is great (except for the always cringe-worthy Alec Baldwin as Jasmine’s philandering, cringe-worthy, crook of a husband – so perfectly suited). A special shout out to Oscar nominated Sally Hawkins in the role of Jasmine’s sister Ginger, but ultimately everything about this movie merely serves as a backdrop to the Character of Jasmine – you know when you meet people who are so self-involved, so self-delusional, so selfish, so rude, so snobbish, so pretentious, so… worthy of a slap – Cate Blanchett in this movie makes me want to slap her, and for that I can only really say – job well done.

I would not recommend this movie to just anyone, it ain’t no slice of fun, this is reserved for serious movie watchers, because you will not get the satisfaction unless you are appreciative of performance pieces. Cate Blanchett is a woman unravelling. On the brink. Again. Her perfect life swept out from under her feet, her anxiety levels pushed over the edge, self-destructive and teetering between the carefully constructed self she has been and most desires to be, and the reality of her reality and actual existence…

Ultimately, and ironically, I was surprised at just how disappointed I was when it ended… It’s the car crash syndrome, you just have to stop and look, I didn’t want to be torn away. I really could have watched some more, Cate Blanchett is just that good.

Blue Jasmine sarring Soz3

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Hitchcock (2013)…

To the likes of Ed Wood, The Aviator and Chaplin, comes Hitchcock…

That shower scene!

Psycho, shot completely in black and white. She stands there. Naked. Scarlett Majojo as Janet Leigh. The music rises. The shower curtain is drawn back by a silhouetted figure. Brandishing a knife. “Janet” screams. The knife comes at her.

“No, No. No!” the director yells.

He grabs the knife from the extra and viscously commences stabbing at (but not really of course) poor Janet with vigor – now she’s really screaming, Alfred Hitchock is coming at her with a knife. I do enjoy movies about movies – the making of, the inspiration behind the scenes, the process and personalities… I even admit to enjoying “making of” documentaries and audio commentaries.

So, to the likes of Ed Wood, The Aviator and Chaplin, comes Hitchcock.

Psycho is arguably Hitchcock’s finest work and this movie introduces us to a version of Alfred Hitchcock, or “Hitch”, as he commences the journey to make the film that would usher in a new age of cinema (and now a pretty impressive age in television with The Bates Motel).

Hitchcock Rating PosterThis biopic of sorts is a tongue in cheek characterization of the real life character we have come to know as the well caricatured portly, stern and gruff Alfred Hitchcock, a representation portrayed by the equally brilliant Sir Anthony Hopkins (Huh – A.H portraying/portrayed by A.H). But there’s a lot more to enjoy here than the brilliance of Hopkins, in this movie there is a stellar cast to match the lead actor:

  • Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, Hitch’s beloved and equally matched wife who grapples with his penchant for his blonde leading ladies.
  • Scarlett Majojo (Johansson) as Janet Leigh. Scarlett Majojo, yet again surprising me at just how good she actually is, not just as eye-candy, I am surprised that I am consistently surprised.
  • Jessica Biels as Vera Miles, contractually obliged to perform for Hitch, and living up to her have-to-casting by him, the thorn in his side.
  • Toni Colette as Peggy Robertson, Hitch’s secretary, a small role, but a role completely owned by Toni.
  • James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, and there his is on screen (if not enough), Anthony Perkins.
  • Kurtwood Smith (or is it Red Forman) as Geoffrey Shurlock.

Aside from Dame Helen Mirren’s character which is central to Hitch’s character development in this movie, the ying to his yang as it were; all others are slight characters who while playing in Hitch’s movie (and the movie within the movie) are all but aspects to the passion project and journey Hitch is on.

I love Psycho, so a movie about Psycho and Hitchcock is just entertaining for me, and the fact that the movie does not take itself too seriously, while absolutely honouring the subject, well that’s just good fun. It’s not the perfect movie, it definitely left me with a feeling of wanting more…

Hitchcock starring Soz

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the Life/Death of Carrie…

“What!?! You’ve never seen Carrie?!?”

Eish!

Where to begin…

Sometimes I have time to kill, and I like to kill that time with movies. But I don’t always have a lot of killing time available. So when I do decide to excercise the art of time-killage, I like to do it properly.

Enter the conversation about the remake, (and it’s gonna be brief) I am neither here nor there in this argument, a good remake is a good remake, and I can enjoy a good remake when the remake is good. Evidence in this regard, in my opinion of course, when we speak of the Horror genre, would include Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Grudge, The Amityville Horror, The Hills have Eyes…

But as for the piece of crap, travesty remake of one of my personal favourite Horror movies of all time, Carrie, all I can say to adequately encompass my feelings here is…

Carrie (2013)Eish!

Just so you know, to further contextualise and set the stage of my internal battle with Eish-ness as it relates to this topic, I am not allowed to watch Horror movies at just any given time. A former Horror movie junkie, who grew up on Freddy Krueger and lists the Alien anthology as his favourite movie of all time, it is a different state of movie loving I now engage in, for you see, my Mrs does not dig them. However, since my mother-in-law moved in, I have developed a Horror movie watching schedule for she’s game to watch these movies. So there we were, with time available, and a selection of movies to watch…

“What!?! You’ve never seen Carrie?!?” I asked in disbelief.

“I don’t think so,” she replied.

And so we put it on – but in a bad judgement call of note, I opted for the new version… I know, shame on me, I should have known better…

Where to begin?

Hit Girl ain’t no Sissy Spacek! Carrie White is not hot or pretty, she shouldn’t even have the potential to be hot or pretty, and Sissy Spacek has never been hot or pretty (in the conventional sense, and in Carrie specifically) as far as I know… Carrie-2013 almost felt like a less scary version of She’s All That…

Oh! Oh! and Sissy can act – Sissy done gone Kicked your Ass – Sissy Spacek was an Oscar Nominee for a Horror Movie I say!). Sorry Hit-Girl, looking down with furrowed brow and slightly parted pouted lips do not a Carrie make, never mind the awkward gesticulating of your brand of telekinesis.

The miscasting in this movie is astonishing… half way through the movie, the cringeing was unbearable.

Julianne Moore (and I am somewhat of a fan) just not camp enough (Piper Laurie who at this point was an out of work actress was now also an Oscar Nominee for her turn as Margaret White)

Nancy (of Robocop fame) Allen’s Chris in the original movie, That Byatch, well Nancy Allen was hot and mean in the hottest and meanest way… This new Chris, is so not (shame on you… Ummm… Let me Google… Portia Doubleday… shame on you)

Amy Irving, the all-american girl Sue Snell, now the hot-chick with a concsience… WHY??? Why I ask you? Why must Hollywood beauty pageant a small town horror tragedy of the most epic of proportions.

So Casting was a write-off… and I haven’t seen the original in a while let me just say… but the gravitas was diminished… the music was less than evoking… the De Palma touch was sadly absent… the gross desensitizing figurative explosion of telekinetic force by focusing on special effects… by the end I was just sad (not for Carrie White mind you)… just so, so, sad…

Only solution? Dig out the original and watch it immediately, the way it should have been, and the verdict? Hands down! 1976 Kicks 2013’s arse!!! (so declare Mother In Law, in not so many choice words). But seriously!

Carrie (1976)The original Carrie is one of the greatest Horror masterpieces of all time. Born from the mind of one of my favourite creative geniuses, Stephen King, the breath of movie magic into his masterpiece is sufficiently retro as to remain relevant in its original state. The Brian De Palma touch of magic, paired with the casting of Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, result in a movie is and that rests timelessly within its perfection because of its symptomatic existence as a product of its time and age. The plainness of Carrie and her arrival at the prom in her glowing plainness; this is never a Cinderella story. What this movie is about is not a a girl becomes a princess tale, it’s the creation of a villain among villains, a step-sister to match the evil step-sisters.

It is still one of my favourite movies of all time…

And if you say 2013 is superior, well then I just don’t know…

The way I feel, this remake will always be –

“Carrie 2013 – the attempted murder of the Ultimate Tragic Heroine of the High School Social Rejects”

soztheo.me stars in Carrie (1976)

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