Mel’s 10 Things About… Poltergeist

Poltergeist
(2015) Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris, Kyle Catlett, Jane Adams, Saxon Sharbino, Susan Heyward, Nicholas Braun

poltergiest-2015

 

{SPOILERS INCOMING}
1. The beginning was really slow, and really boring. *yawn*
2. There were one or two good scenes, but on the whole the acting was pretty terrible.
3. Are we meant to believe that a poor family, with neither parent working, can buy a house? Especially one of that size? “Bad neighbourhood” my ass! Film-makers seem to have no concept of what bad neighbourhoods really look like. Poor people don’t buy big houses, they get crappy little apartments. Why make them poor, anyways? It added nothing to the story.
4. The film got better as time went one, but really, that’s not saying much.
5. There was also nothing scary about the film. Every time they tried to scare, I found it funny.
6. The only part that was even a little scary was the toy clown scene. Cause yeah, I hate clowns.
7. Considering that almost everything else is identical, why change the family’s names? Oh, cause the kids had to have “cool” modern names like Madison and Griffin. Ugh.
8. The only thing remotely interesting in the film was the depiction of the “other side”, even though the bad CGI made it look like a video game.
9. Carrigan’s last moments and sacrifice were made meaningless by the fact that he didn’t stay dead, which they said many times during the film would happen should anyone living go to the light.
10. Now to compare it to the original for a bit. The story was all there, but it simply didn’t have the interest-holding power of the original. The family was so obnoxious that I really didn’t care what happened to them. Why did they turn Tangina into a dude?? I think this pissed me off the most, even though I generally do like Jared Harris. And making him a ghost hunter on tv just added to the level of obnoxiousness that was already pretty high. So… no, I didn’t like this film.

3/10

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Mel’s 10 Things About… The Calling

The Calling
(2014) Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Topher Grace, Christopher Heyerdahl, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Sutherland, Kristin Booth, Kevin Parent

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{SPOILERS AHEAD}
1. Acting ranges from mediocre to good.
2. The main character, Hazel, is thoroughly unlikable, so it’s hard to care when stuff happens to her.
3. Super intriguing story, unfortunately delivered poorly.
4. There were some really good scenes, but they were surrounded by ultra boring filler.
5. The ex-husband sub-plot was completely pointless, it does nothing but make us like Hazel even less.
6. The very last scene is eye-roll inducing. Are we supposed to believe that the spell actually worked, in a film that had nothing supernatural in it till that point?
7. Was hoping to see some change in Hazel at the end, after what she went through, but when presented with booze at the hospital she just quips about not having ice and glasses. Her plea for a second chance? Wasted 3 seconds later.
8. Was expecting a whole lot more from such a cast. Sarandon, Sutherland, Heyerdahl, even Topher Grace for heaven’s sake! Totally wasted on this film.
9. The killer was nice and creepy though. I’ll give the film that much.
10. A minor quibble, but the title seems wrong to me. Simon wasn’t following some “higher calling”, he was trying to work a religious spell. The Disciples would have been better, or… well anything but The Calling, really.

4.5/10

Mel’s 10 Things About… Penny Dreadful, season 2

Penny Dreadful (2014 – present)
(Season 2 Cast) Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Danny Sapani, Helen McCrory, Billie Piper, Simon Russell Beale, Sarah Greene, Douglas Hodge, Jonny Beauchamp, Hannah Tointon, Patti LuPone

Penny-Dreadful 2

{SPOILERS INCOMING}

1. Not quite as good as season 1, but still bloody excellent! This show is so good that for a while after watching it, I have trouble enjoying other stuff, cause not much is as good!
2. Kinda disappointed they started a new storyline instead of continuing the one they left off. I mean what, are the brothers politely taking turns trying to claim Vanessa?
3. Eva Green is hot. So is Josh Hartnett. Meow.
4. Mrs Poole’s dolls were creepy as hell… right up to the finale, where Vanessa was arguing with her doll. It was supposed to be tense and scary, but unfortunately came off a little silly. It’s really the only really bad thing I can say about the season, though.
5. Speaking of the finale, with each character ending up completely alone, I hope it doesn’t take half of season 3 to reunite them!
6. The whole Angelique sub-plot felt kinda tacked on for no other reason than to shock the audience. I liked her, I did, but it always felt superfluous to the rest of the story.
7. Lily’s big reveal was quite something, very unexpected. A little sad, cause the blossoming love story between her and Victor was super cute, but I suppose no one can stay happy for long in this world.
8. I’m a bit sad that Dorian, whose character I loved in season 1, went so bad so fast. I know he was never a good guy, but I dunno. I just really preferred him in season 1.
9. Loved all of Vanessa’s back story. The episode about her and her mentor was absolutely perfect, start to end.
10. Looking forward to see what Hecate will be up to next. Here’s hoping they don’t just skip to the next story again, and just leave her hanging. I need to find out if Ethan will really be turned bad. I certainly hope not.

If you haven’t seen this show and like all things macabre, then I suggest you put down whatever you’re doing and see it, now! It’s playing in several country’s Netflix, and is also playing on On Demand.

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets
(2004) Martin McDougall, Joanne McQuinn, Rad Lazar, Mark Dexter, Michelle Joseph, Mark Tandy, Hélène Mahieu, Lourdes Faberes, John Schwab, Colin Stinton, David Suchet (v.o.)

Space Odyssey Voyage to the Planets

1. The CGI was simply breathtaking.
2. Acting was good all round.
3. The the mix of film and faux-documentary style. Sometimes that can go horribly wrong, in this case it went very, very right.
4. The science, as far as I can tell, is really good. It lines up with other shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read on the subject. Some things are out-dated, but the film was made in 2004 after all.
5. There are some good, tense scenes here and there, and one really sad one that made me bawl like a baby the first time round.
6. This still falls into the realm of science fiction, but for how long, I wonder? I certainly hope I live long enough to see our explorations of other planets and moons.
7. Everything was mostly believable except maybe putting humans on Venus and Io. Would a titanium suit really protect us from the awesome pressures and heat from Venus?
8. I was really hoping, while hovering around Jupiter and Saturn that they’d land on, or at least mention, the moons Titan and Europa. The latter, with its under-ice ocean, is tremendously exciting. (Another very good film on the subject is Europa Report, about what might be swimming around in that deep, dark ocean.)
9. That one dude who was more interested in the science than in the safety of the astronauts really pissed me off, and I’d like to say that that would never happen in real life, but really now, who am I kidding?
10. I was kinda pissed that the “weak one” was a woman. Why not a man? Or, even better, why have a weak one at all? Having a full team of great astronauts isn’t that far a stretch.

Great little film by the BBC. I’d recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in space travel.

9.5/10

 

M.

Review Club #6 – Agora

agora_poster05

To switch things up a little, here’s my review first (I know, I’m a wild one!):

Mel’s 10 Things About: Agora (2009)
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom, Rupert Evans, Homayoun Ershadi, Michael Lonsdale, Sami Samir

agora

So this was a pretty hard movie to watch. It had a hard time finding distributors, and yeah, I can understand why. I’m having trouble completing full ideas today, so here’s a list of my thoughts about the film. {SPOILERS AHEAD}

1. I like Rachel Weisz. She’s hot.
2. The young slave is also hot. Who’s he, and where’s he been all my life?
3. The acting ranged from decent to good.
4. The sound mixing was AWFUL. The music would blare one second and then the talking was so low it was ridiculous. My tv volume went from 12 to 34 regularly. It’s annoying.
5. I don’t understand why Davus turned so fast and became a murderous dick. Did I miss something? And don’t say it’s because she called him an idiot in the heat of the battle. He’s smarter than that.
6. It made me angry and sad to see the Library of Alexandria get trashed. “We don’t need all this stupid science when we have God”. Ugh. So much knowledge, destroyed. How much more advanced would we be now if all of that needn’t of been relearned?
7. The film just fueled my disdain and, shall I dare say, hate?, of organized religion. All of them, not just Catholicism. “It’s written in a book, so it must be so”, right? In that vein of thought, vampires are real, we’re all pod people, and werewolves occupy positions in government offices. Ridiculous.
8. The film was shot beautifully, the sets and costumes absolutely gorgeous.
9. You’d think the most disgusting character would be the Bishop in black, but he’s not. He’s evil, yes, but always was. The worst character is Hypatia’s friend, the Bishop in white, who turns on her in the blink of an eye after hearing a quote from that damned book.
10. It’s a real shame Hypatia didn’t have a Davus to kill her peacefully at the end in real life. The poor woman was stripped, stoned, dragged around town behind a horse, her body being skinned and torn to bits, then she was burned. This lady didn’t have a good go of it.

8.5/10

M.

 

Up next is Eric, from over at The IPC.

Agora AKA One Million Angry Christians in the House

I had never heard of this movie before Mel assigned it to us but I saw that it had Rachel Weisz in it so I got a little excited – I think she’s super hot and can act well sometimes. My semi-chub was reduced to nothing pretty quickly as this movie started and NOTHING happened for any amount of time. The only thing I could think of was “fuck these Egyptians are awful white” and I couldn’t keep track of any of the male characters because they ALL had white skin, black hair and had a name that were five syllables long and ended in “ius”. Erictheopolius. Ericmeniopolius. Ericmomonius, etc. So there was that and the fact that this was REALLY boring so I didn’t care. The most interesting and bizaare thing to happen was when Weisz’ character brings one of her suitors a blood stained rag and says “this is the essence of my womb” or something which I guess was her way of saying “I don’t want to go out with you”

blood rag

Then the Alexandrian Whites got angry and started killing the Christians who got mad and then started killing the Alexandrians and destroying everything so the Alexandrians converted to Christianity and then they all started throwing rocks at Jews who threw rocks back and then the Jews were all killed or exiled and Weisz figures out that the earth revolves around the sun so they stone her to death. I have to admit that this movie looks really pretty but the dialogue is atrocious and silly and it was kind of embarrassing to see Weisz commanding her slave to “Grab the bag! Just grab the bag! Do as I say and grab the bag!” during the big siege scene. Oh well – I didn’t like this very much. Say – someone once told me that my first Gravatar image looked like a “period stain” – what do you think?

theipclogo5a

2 bloody rags out of 5

 

Up next we have my darling husband Francois, over at FrankishNet.

Agora – a short review

I have mixed feelings about Agora.

The first feeling is love. I loved it. The historical accuracy and setting, the costumes, the actors. It is also original in the sense that it is an “Historical religious move”, and yet not, since it’s about science. I position myself with our heroine: there is science, the rest is not really worth believing in, as it is a tool to serve a political agenda, or to justify hate and murder. On this account, this movie brilliantly demonstrated the relationship of hate and horrifying acts justified by religion, that we live in daily still today.
No wonder they had troubles distributing the movie…

The second feeling is hate. I hated it. Already charged with political, scientific and religious turmoil, the movie was already heavy for the regular watcher. Then add in the mixed opinions on slavery and possession. Our heroine is gentle and intelligent and respects the slaves. Yet, they are still slave and are meant to obey. And that is totally normal given her birthright, upbringing and era.

However, her acts of kindness toward a slave, who is very intelligent and kind as well, are twisted and transformed in his heart, making him fall in love with his mistress. How is this represented? He asks the gods to “own” her, and ultimately kills her himself, after betraying everything he had learned with her, because she had reminded him of his slavery when the library was being taken.
Yes this adds a lot of dimension to both the movie and the character. But with a movie that was already heavy with subject matter, this felt too much and out of place. They should have left the topic of “Slaves wanting to own their mistress so badly that only them are allowed to kill them, and that is fine” out of the movie and kept it as background noise. “There are slaves. Slaves are slaves. Its the era, its fine”, and let us cry horribly when she is stoned to death, as happened in history.

So here, a good mix of hate and love. It was a very heavy movie, that does not leave you feeling good with yourself, but it did a great job at making us reflect on just how much pain are we ready to take or inflict for our believes, and if those believes aren’t just in truth disguised lust for power, or survival.

I’ll give it a solid 8/10 in its “historic” category, and a mixed 5 in “I enjoyed watching it”.
(Except for her ass. Her ass is 10/10).

 

And finally, rounding things out is Rob, from over at MovieRob.

Before Mel chose this as the next Review Club entry, I had never even heard of this and upon reading the summary, it definitely seemed interesting.

This movie does a very interesting job of trying to discuss modern seemingly contradictions between religion and science set in an ancient world.

Many people nowadays still believe that these two subjects cannot coexist in society in the same way it was believed during the time that this movie takes place 1700 years ago.

Unfortunately, despite it revolving around a very interesting subject matter, the story itself is less interesting and I actually got tired of the soap opera-esk storyline.

I didn’t find any of the male characters compelling enough for a story like this and as great a job as star Rachel Weisz does here, her role isn’t ‘meaty’ enough and in some parts of the movie even seems like she is completely wasted.

As far as historically accurate movies go, I have no idea what really happened or not in real life. Personally, I don’t go to the movies for historically accurate depictions on the big screen, I go to be entertained by the stories. If I did, I’d be better off just watching ‘The History Channel’ all day. 😉

Some of the effects in the movies were done well, but the coolest effect is the use of ‘Google maps’ to zoom in and out of cities and magnifying things to minute details.

This could have been so much more interesting, but instead it was a wasted storyline that comes off quite mediocre.

5/10

And that’s it folks! Join us again in two weeks for when we review Chef!! 🙂

 

PS, what do you guys think of my new review format? I was having trouble making a coherent paragraph for Mel’s 5 Second Review, so I came up with Mel’s 10 Things About. Do you like it? Which format do you prefer? Let me know please! 🙂