Se7en – All He Wanted was One

Se7en

I never really saw Morgan Freeman or Brad Pitt as old-fashioned detective types. I mean, they’re probably two of the most adaptive actors I know, but even so, they feel a little out of place in Se7en. Unlike Kevin Spacey, whose acting as the serial killer John Doe is nothing short of beautifully morbid and morbidly beautiful. Maybe I’m just using sketchy mental references. After all, Freeman was in Dreamcatcher. That’s… that’s even more out of place. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, so I’ll get back on track with a little synopsis action.

Detective William Somerset (Freeman) works in an unnamed city plagued with crime and urban decay. A stoic man with a grim philosopy, Somerset wants to quit the force and leave the city as quickly as possible. He takes on Detective David Mills (Pitt), an emotional married man, as a partner while working a case involving the murder of a particularly obese guy. When a second murder pops up, centering around the word Greed and a dead lawyer, Somerset returns to the scene of the first murder and finds Gluttony written in grease behind the fat man’s fridge.
Se7enThat’s when Somerset realizes that the killings are connected, and postulates that the killer is going to kill five more people based around the seven deadly sins. Still on the list are Sloth, Lust, Pride, Envy, and Wrath. The progression of kills continues smoothly until they move past Lust, when Mills accidentally cues Somerset to try to link the killer to the library books he’s checked out.

Right on the money, they stumble onto John Doe’s apartment. After a close encounter, the killer passes up a chance to kill Mills and makes a successful escape. For his next kill, he carves the face of an esteemed model and glues a phone and sleeping pills to her hands. As she is his target for Pride, I’m pretty sure you know how this one goes.

That’s when things get funny (not haha funny, I can tell you), though. John Doe turns himself in, shocking both Mills and Somerset. He sets up an ultimatum: either they accompany him to the location of the remaining bodies, or he pleas insanity across the board. That’s when one of the greatest twists in murder mystery history hits, and Brad Pitt makes the best set of facial expressions I’ve ever seen. No spoilers, though. Sorry.

Se7enSe7en’s a morbid classic that you can always go back to. It binds curious interpretations of faith and morality into a darker, consolidated theme that makes the viewer ask questions after watching. Whether it comes off as thought-provoking or not is irrelevant in the long run; it’s one hell of a good movie. Great acting, great tone, satisfying finish. Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Kevin Spacey pull their roles off admirably, resulting in a story that keeps you intrigued until the end.

Nick Venable of CinemaBlend… Holy CRAP that was a lot of puns. This guy’s credible in my book. Seriously though. Se7en’s one of those murder mystery movies you don’t want to pass up. Regarding tone, I couldn’t agree more. The bleak, disillusioned city that the sin murders takes place in feels all too perfect for the scenario. Regarding the Blu-Ray content and extra features… you’ll have to check this one out:  http://www.cinemablend.com/dvds/Se7en-Blu-Ray-4872.html

Hellraiser: Inferno, the Burning Thorne

Hellraiser: InfernoYou know what? Each Hellraiser movie past the first (Hellraiser: Inferno included) has less and less to do with the Cenobites. They tend to focus more on the subjects, illustrating their slow descent into despair and insanity as a result of opening the Box. And how is it that EVERYONE knows how to open the box when they first see it? Rub the little golden circle on the top. If you were a detective doing cocaine and sleeping with a sleazy hooker, would you really do that? I suppose I don’t know if cocaine would make you do that, so… Whatever.

Joseph Thorne is a terrible person. He’s a detective, a married man with a daughter. He does cocaine and sleeps with hookers frequently, which he says is so he’ll keep coming back to his wife. Despite these lame excuses, he’s aloof, irritable, and generally very unpleasant. When the hooker he slept with is brutally murdered, he plants items from his partner to cover his ass. What a nice guy, huh?

Prior to this, Joseph made a terrible mistake during an investigation. A man he knew in high school is murdered brutally, with two major clues placed near his body: The Box, and a child’s finger. He begins to link things together, and discovers that an individual known as The Engineer has been organizing all the morbid crimes that Joseph encounters. Even worse, at each scene, a freshly severed child’s finger is left in plain sight; a taunt to Joseph from The Engineer himself.

Hellraiser: Inferno“If you hunt The Engineer, The Engineer will hunt you.” And oh, how he does. Joseph is quickly and thoroughly haunted by freaky looking Clive Barker demon chicks, torso imps, evil kung-fu cowboys… I guess… and a faceless creature that seems to be burning the child’s fingerprints with its black tongue. Is it The Engineer? Maybe. No. It’s one of The Engineer’s tools, and it consistently causes Joseph to freak out and attack people. It’s the stereotypical, “I’m not crazy!” movie bullshit, but this time around, it’s a little different. Nobody likes Joseph, and he neglects the only people who would.

I suppose you could call this a psychological thriller, but it’s really just Pinhead enjoying himself by screwing with an immoral cop. From the moment Joseph opens the Box, everything goes wrong. Pinhead starts showing him flashbacks of his childhood, how he was once innocent, and how he’s managed to kill every last bit of innocence left within him. Strangely enough, they’re from Joseph as a child. Each one cut represents another failure to stop the growing corruption within him, and eventually, his slowly withering goodness sends him to Hell.

Hellraiser: InfernoWhat that means, basically, is that he has to confront his demons over and over and over again until he finally understands what he’s done wrong. Since he’s a major disloyal, sneaky, conniving, obsessive asshole, he gets to stay in Hell forever until Pinhead grows bored of him and tears his soul apart. Knowing Pinhead, that won’t be for a very, very long time. After all, Hell isn’t some inferno. It’s just a repetition of his life, or rather, playing back the things he did wrong. He even shot himself in the head to escape it, but only to begin all over again.

So, overall, as the fifth Hellraiser movie… I give Inferno one “not bad.” My only issue is that it doesn’t pay so much attention to the Cenobites and demonic imagery as it does the life of Joseph Thorne and his gradually increasing insanity. It’s not one of the better Hellraisers, to say the least, but it’s good enough to be worth watching.

The Silence of the Lambs: Collect ‘er for Lecter

The Silence of the LambsSo what makes a movie? Excellent question. Let me list the superfluous things first, just to get them out of the way: Nudity, extreme gore and violence (providing it isn’t thematic), flash 3D, overdone special effects. You’re following me, right? Because my point is, The Silence of the Lambs didn’t need any of that. It’s a 1991 murder mystery thriller and all it had was complex, memorable characters, a successfully suspenseful and easy-to-follow plot, and no slow transitions. Point being, this movie is a classic. Quite lovely.

Let’s talk plot. Clarice Starling is a student with a major interest in the FBI. Her father was a police officer, and out of respect and love for him she followed his footsteps into law enforcement. Her superior, Jack Crawford, wants her to interview the serial killer Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in order to gather information on the infamous murderer, Buffalo Bill, who is currently at large. This so called “interview” with Hannibal Lecter results in a strange sort of friendship/partnership between him and Clarice due to the fact that she treats him notably more kindly than his captors and the rest of the FBI do.

The Silence of the LambsAs time progresses, we discover that Buffalo Bill has kidnapped the daughter of a senator, which draws much more attention to the case and more prestige to those who are working to solve it. Hannibal Lecter, at one point, begins trading information about Buffalo Bill for recollections of Clarice’s past. He discovers that she grew up on a ranch after her single father was killed by criminals who surprised him coming out the back of a convenience store. One night on the ranch, she woke up to the sound of lambs screaming as they were being slaughtered. She tried to save one as she ran away, but was picked up by the police and brought home. This memory still haunts her, and Lecter suggests that saving the senator’s daughter might make the “lambs stop screaming,” as Lecter puts it.

Buffalo Bill himself is a very interesting character. From Lecter, Clarice learns that he believes himself to be a transsexual because he hates his own identity. His first two murders consisted of a homeless woman, who Buffalo Bill skinned, and Bill’s old boyfriend, who he beheaded. Throughout the course of the movie, little snip-its of Billy’s home life are revealed to explain his character, though they mostly serve to weird the audience out a bit. As it turns out, and as Clarice Starling discovers much later into the movie, he is murdering various “plus size” girls in order to make himself a suit of human skin. While this seems mostly irrelevant to the case itself, a minor detail in the autopsy of one of the murdered girls correlates to another bit of discovered information in Bill’s hometown, drawing closer the suspenseful conclusion. That’s a secret, though, for obvious reasons.

The Silence of the LambsPersonally, I commend Silence of the Lambs for having some of the most realistic, down-to-Earth main characters I’ve seen in a police-ish movie. From my perspective, a lot of these types of characters tend to be overly dramatic or self-righteous to the point of blind conviction. Either that or they’re crooked, right? Clarice Starling is a legitimately admirable character for her motivations and decisions. Kudos to Jodie Foster for such a wonderful performance, wouldn’t you say? And while we’re naming actors, Anthony Hopkins, who plays Hannibal Lecter, may be a little more dramatic with his portrayal, but that only serves to better draw in his audience. If anything, I would highly recommend seeing this movie simply because of the relationship between these two characters. Or you could watch it for the plot. Whichever you prefer.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Now Mostly in English

The Girl with the Dragon TattooWho said the English version of a foreign movie was always going to be bad? I guess that was me. Crap. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sure as hell proved me wrong. Contrary to my past principle, it is now one of my favorite pieces of cinematic art. It’s the movie of a book and it’s still magnificent! I’ve never had the chance to say that before, save for The Shining. A warning to those with more… let’s say squeamish minds. There is nudity, there is sodomy, and there is blood, all of which are entirely accurate to the story itself. If you can’t stomach that sort of thing, even though it’s part of the original tale and not some shock value fling meant to create controversy, get out.

So what makes the movie so great? Lisbeth Salander is a quirky girl who appears fragile and withdrawn, but when crossed, may prove just how strong her spirit is, and how well she knows how to get what she wants. Her connections and her high level of skill with technology and computers make her a choice harvester of any kind of information. Mikael Blomkvist is an investigative journalist who recently lost his savings in a failed lawsuit against a corporate giant. Despite his recent disgrace, he is called to investigate the murder of the wealthy Henrik Vanger’s neice, Harriet. The murder is linked to a long and ancient chain of events that occurred forty years ago, yet the perpetrator is still showing signs of his accomplishment to this day. Harriet used to send Henrik pressed flowers on his birthday, and now her killer is doing the same. Mikael is specifically requested to bring about a resolution.

The Girl with the Dragon TattooLisbeth’s story is a bit more depressing. She is a ward of the state for reasons that aren’t explored until near the very end of the movie, and after her guardian suffers a stroke, she is put in the hands of the corrupt lawyer, Nils Bjurman. His occupation isn’t the source of his corruption though. The fact that he only gives Lisbeth money in exchange for sexual favors accounts for that. Lisbeth, clever as she is, attempts to use this to her advantage by planting a hidden camera during one of their exchanges. Things don’t go as well as she would have hoped, as instead of the usual fellatio, she is knocked unconscious, bound, and then sodomized. Not a pleasant scene. For those of you who like revenge, their next encounter is just the thing for you. She returns to his home, shocks him with a taser, ties him up, and tattoos “I am a rapist pig” in massive letters across his chest and stomach. After seeing that, you tend to feel pretty good.

The Girl with the Dragon TattooWhat makes the movie interesting is how the lives of Mikael and Lisbeth are strangers to one another throughout most of the first half, and how quickly they bond after Mikael ropes her into helping him with the Harriet case despite their staggering differences. Their collective investigative skills bring about one of the most satisfying conclusions I’ve ever seen done in a movie. But I’m not going to spoil anything further. To do so would ruin the experience of seeing this film. So go and see it.