I watched an awful lot of horror/thriller movies this week, which is unlike me. Give these movies a try…unless I gave them a horrible review, then don’t you dare bother.
January 8: The Satanic Rites of Dracula
There are a couple of things I love: vampires (I loved them long before the nonsensical vampire craze brought on by the idiotic Twilight series. I like the stalker-like, creepy, fantastically dressed vampires. Not the vegetarian vampires that care for your feelings. Absolutely ridiculous.) and Joanna Lumley. This film has both! This picture was wonderfully horrible. Horrible in that way that only bad horror can be. It wasn’t exactly a laugh every other frame, but the acting, sets, story, and interior decorating were all abominable. Still, this movie had some things going for it. The idea was intriguing–Dracula wanted to destroy all of humanity with a kind of plague so that he would eventually and finally die. Sweet in a way, but not really. I mean, it’d be wonderful for Dracula to finally have peace, but killing all the people on Earth seems a bit extreme. Couldn’t he just starve himself to death instead? I guess that isn’t the point and wouldn’t make that great of a picture. The ending was also one of the most beautiful Dracula deaths I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen more than a couple. He falls into a pile of hawthorn branches, scratches the Hell out of himself and is finally staked. Tragically beautiful. Another beautiful thing? Joanna Lumley. God that woman is perfect in everything she does. Absolutely fabulous (see what I did there?) and stole the picture. [My Rating: 5/10]
January 9: Burnt Offerings
I thought this movie was very irritating. Mainly because I didn’t get it. There were no answers at the end, they only posed more. I dislike films that just leave you hanging and call it art. I like to know the complete story and not have to make up the backstory and plot myself. Anyway, I’m ranting too soon, I haven’t even told you about this movie. It’s about a family (that includes Bette Davis) who rent a beautiful mansion in the country for the summer. The brother and sister that own the house are bizarre and the rent is laughably low, so after a bit of tedious hmmm-hawing they agree to move in. Immediately the husband acts suspicious of everything, the mother goes into some kind of possessed cleaning frenzy, the son wanders around doing stupid things and Bette, who plays the aunt, walks around acting her ass off. That woman is/was incredible. The way her face twitches, the way she modulates her voice, the way she holds herself–it’s awe inspiring. Anyway, everybody starts getting miserable and every time something particularly bad or violent happens, the house seems to rejuvenate itself. For example, the father was possessed by something or other (we never find out) and tries to drown his son. The house must have liked this negative energy because the entire pool area, which was decrepit, became pristine. It went on and on like this, the mother becoming more obsessed with the house and the father getting creepier and creepier. Near the end, Bette’s character died wearing horrid prosthetics and it wasn’t longer before everybody went insane. Everybody died. Boring. [My Rating: 3/10]
January 10: Stigmata
I’m odd, and I’m well aware of it. I’m also an irritating hypocrite. I shout nutrition facts from the rooftops, but gorge on chocolate. I refuse to eat meat, but I love taxidermy. I hate the regressive ways of religion, and yet I’m in love with Catholic culture. I’m not so crazy on their particular branch of religion…or any religion, which I find rude and hateful, but those bitches have taste. Have you ever been inside Saint Peter’s Basilica? Well, I have, and let me tell you something, that is one damn gorgeous place. I love the art and the architecture and the costumes and all the nonsensical things that get in the way of simply loving Jesus. I don’t subscribe to any religion, because I think they’d all throw me out, and I don’t have time to waste with other people telling me how to love God, a Lady I feel I’m already well acquainted with. Evita Perón (a woman I’m borderline obsessed with) once said, “I never wasted time warming seats of churches because I could understand God without any intermediaries.” Girl read my mind. Anyway, this has little to do with the film Stigmata. I watched this one because I have a fascination with the stigmata phenomenon. If you’re unfamiliar, this is when people display the wounds of Christ. For example, bleeding holes in the wrists, feet, whip marks on the back, marks where the crown of thorns would be, and finally a puncture in the side. All unpleasant stuff, but I’ve always been intrigued by this idea and wrote it into my (soon to be bestselling…please GOD, please!) novel, Terrible Miss Margo. Anyway, anyway, anyway, this picture is about a woman named Frankie played mediocrely for the first half by Patricia Arquette. Her mother sends her a crucifix and for some reason this leads to poor Frankie receiving the stigmata. She’s suddenly screaming and bleeding and in the hospital. Then she goes home. Then, she’s suddenly screaming and bleeding someplace new! It goes on and on until an investigator/priest/scientist from the Vatican (where they all speak English) arrives and realizes that something odd is happening. The middle of the film really drags on with lots of needless chases and wrecked cars. Finally, we discover that Frankie is really possessed by a recently deceased excommunicated priest from South America. Don’t try to follow that. Anyway, that priest was translating the original gospel of Jesus, which was silenced by the Church because it said that God could be found within you! So, the Church would lose its power and income if they let this translation loose on the public, and Lord knows they couldn’t do without their silk robes. So, now at the ending, the film gets good. The last twenty minutes are great, the bipolar acting skills displayed at the debut and middle are completely forgiven for the fantastic scene swaddled in flames. I wouldn’t mind watching it again. [My Rating: 7/10]
January 11: Coraline
I don’t really care for animated films, I don’t know why, I should, I like artsy things, but this is a genre that I’ve just never been particularly keen on. When I was a child, my favorite film was Bedknobs & Broomsticks, I love it to death, but the animated sequence bores me. I like when people are acting acting not just mouthing words. So, I wouldn’t normally watch a movie like this, but my beloved Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French were in it, so I couldn’t possibly say no. The plot revolves around a family who moves to Oregon to work on a garden catalog. Coraline, the daughter, is a whiny bitch. She moans about everything in the beginning, and she has a bit of reason to, her parents are busy with their catalog and don’t have time for her, but still…girl needs a chill pill. She lives in an apartment complex in a most beautiful pink, Victorian mansion. I died. I love Victorian anything. I now want a pink house. So chic. Anyway, the mansion has three apartments, one for Coraline’s family, one for this Russian circus man, and the third for two old actresses–played by Jennifer and Dawn. They’re all mildly amusing and I won’t deny that I was growing bored, but finally Coraline finds a tiny door in the wall that leads to an alternate reality that was the perfect mirror image of her own life…except she thought it was better. Her other family, who doesn’t have eyes, but buttons, live there and care for her and feed her delicious chicken. She’s easily swayed. Anyway, the more she visits her other family, the more she realizes that there is something sinister about them, especially the mother. Finally, it’s revealed that the “Other Mother” wants Coraline to stay forever with her so that she can sew buttons on her eyes and love her. Creepy. So Coraline runs away, but she has to save her parents, so she scurries back with her scrawny talking cat and plays a game with the “Other Mother” who is quickly transforming into a chic spider. Honestly, that was some beautiful animation, and I loathe arachnids. She succeeds in the end, of course, it is a children’s movie, after all. [My Rating: 6/10]
January 12: The Pink Panther
I have only ever heard horrible things about this movie, so I had no intention of ever watching it. Today, though, the children had a reward day at the Rec Center and I was in charge of the movie station and this was the film we were showing. As I have made this resolution for myself, I couldn’t have been happier to be paid to watch a movie. Anyway, the movie was beautifully shot with the most horrible French accents I have ever heard. Not from the actual French people (like Jean Reno–how the hell did he get wrapped into this thing?), who, of course, sound highly cultured and divine–I’m talking about Steve Martin. What the hell was that? Why did they make him do that awful voice? Aside from the voice, the movie wasn’t terrible. This is mainly because Beyoncé suddenly appeared. The kids were talking when she appeared, and I stood up and said, “QUIET! You do not speak when Beyoncé is on the screen!” They think I’m even more insane now. Oh well. I can’t help loving Bey. I think we’d be great friends. I can already imagine going out to lunch with her and little Blue Ivy. Jay can come if he wants, but I think Bey, Ivy, and I would have more fun sans lui. We’d talk about Hollywood, our next group vacation, the ridiculous amount of money we had, how talented and naturally beautiful we were, then we’d write little Ivy’s (who I’d call Evie) first single, and finally we’d laugh and laugh at how Willow Smith would look like Rebecca Black once we laid Ivy’s lyrics down… I’m way off track. The movie was about the murder of a soccer player and the theft of a rare diamond. Steve Martin’s character is called upon for the most ridiculous of reasons to solve the crime. It’s amusing, lots of physical comedy, and the shots of Paris are really beautiful. And Beyoncé sings and dances! What more could you want? I don’t know about you, but I don’t need anything else. The solution was unexpected…kind of, if you’re simpleminded, and I really enjoyed myself laughing at cheap jokes and slapstick. It’s not highbrow by any means, but a lot of fun. [My Rating: 7/10 (2 of these stars are solely for Beyoncé)]
January 13: The Daydreamer
I’m not going to say an awful lot about this picture, because I didn’t really enjoy it much. It was one of those horrible claymation things they used to make in the 60s, like those dreadful Christmas specials everybody but me seems to enjoy. The only reason I recorded this onto the DVR was because my darling Tallulah Bankhead was in it. Her marvelous voice–what I would do to have a distinctive, beautiful voice like that…I’d kill–was the only reason I finished it. It was about a poor boy who was the son of a shoemaker who drowns in a dream? I didn’t follow along as I was doing a bit of baking. It wasn’t that great. Don’t bother unless you love Tallulah as much as I do. [My Rating: 1/10]
January 14: Obsessed
I have watched an awful lot of Beyoncé movies these past two weeks. I haven’t even got to Dreamgirls, yet! So excited to sing along. Anyway, back to Obsessed. This movie starts off kind of slow, too much husband, too little Bey. Bey’s husband is a big shot in some kind of business where rich people get richer and the people who help the rich people get richer get richer, too. I was kind of bored, but then Lisa went psycho. She was a temporary secretary and she went crazy for Bey’s husband. She believed that they were having an affair, even though they were not! She even gave him date rape drugs! I shouted, “Uh Oh! Roofie!” Lisa kidnaps babies, writes graphic, smutty, imaginary journals, lies, cheats, and threatens Bey with a broken lightbulb–it’s great. Beyoncé is not going to take no more of Lisa’s shit…you know what this means…GIRL FIGHT! I don’t think a greater fight scene has ever been filmed. There is blood, kicking, fabulous shoes, lamps used as weapons, broken plaster and fingernails. Then, at the end, Lisa dies in the way I have always been sure would kill me if a shark doesn’t: a chandelier falls on her…splat. I’ve been convinced for a long time that a ceiling fan will eventually fall on me while I’m napping on the floor and will squish me. I don’t know why I have that fear, but I do not feel comfortable around ceiling fans. Anyway, the last 45 minutes of the movie were such fun! [My rating: 6/10]
Film of the Week: The Pink Panther Yes, I picked a Beyoncé movie again. Shut up. It was good. Well, it wasn’t good, it was funny, and that made it good.