Django Unchained, Tarantino’s Explosive Cameo

Django Unchained

Man, I love Tarantino movies. They’ve got action, adventure, thrills, sass, and hilarious amounts of blood and dismemberment; everything a good flick needs. That’s the short version of this Django Unchained review, to be sure, and it is bloody. That tends to happen when a freed slave turned bounty hunter gets to exact revenge on the sadistic slavers who took his wife from him. Paired with a charming German ex-dentist named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and armed with enough guns to change the air-to-lead ratio, Django (Jamie Foxx) sets out on a quest to buy his wife’s freedom from the nefarious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) of the Candie plantation.

Now, the first thing you should know about Django Unchained is that the story takes place in 1858 in the South. If gratuitous use of the N-word makes you uncomfortable or outright offends you, steer clear!

Django UnchainedThe story begins with a transaction gone foul: Masquerading as a dentist, Dr. Schultz approaches two slaveholders and their latest purchases in the night, wishing to acquire a particular slave that might harbor knowledge of his latest bounties. In truth, he is a bounty hunter employed by the United States government. When the slavers threaten to kill Schultz if he doesn’t depart immediately, one winds up with a hole in his head, and the other with his leg broken underneath a dead horse. Despite the bloodshed, or perhaps owing to it, Django agrees to help Schultz in his hunt, and the two depart for the Gatlinburg plantation where the Brittles are employed.

Over the course of their journey together, Django proves himself to be a competent bounty hunter, and so Schultz takes him on as a sort of partner/apprentice. They roam the land, exchanging the corpses of criminals for cash money, and getting themselves into particularly tight situations that are resolved only by Schultz’s immaculate charm. At a point, Django tells Schultz of his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was sold at an auction in Mississippi. Schultz realizes that he’s witnessing a real-life rendition of the German fable of Siegfried. He feels compelled to help Django, and so the movie shifts to its main attraction: Candyland!

Calvin Candie, the owner of Candyland, is a man that deals in mandingo fighting; a brutal form of one-on-one combat to the death with virtually no rules beyond winning at all costs. Schultz and Django – disguised as a novice mandingo aficionado and a talent evaluator, respectively – veil their desire to purchase Broomhilda with an outlandish offer of $12,000 for one of Candie’s top mandingos, Eskimo Joe. The head house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), doesn’t take too kindly to the fact that Django, a black man, isn’t treated like a slave. While Candie is seduced by the prospect of making money, Stephen sees right through the sham and lets his master know what’s what, forcing the two bounty hunters into a very dire situation indeed. And that’s the cliffhanger I’ll leave you with.

Django UnchainedOh, right. And that Quentin Tarantino himself appears as an Australian slaveholder and explodes within minutes. Horrible as it may be, that was the hardest I laughed throughout the entire movie.

This movie is two hours and forty five minutes long, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re touchy about racism or ultraviolence, you’re going to have a lot of both on your hands if you try to sit this one all the way through. If you’re sufficiently jaded as I am, you can laugh at the overdone violence, revel in the righteous vengeance Django and Schultz lay down on the sadistic slavers, and feel pretty good when the movie ends with a literal bang.

Anthony Quinn of Independent.co.uk thinks that Tarantino’s delicious Western spaghetti wasn’t cooked enough, and may have a bit too much sauce. In a single word, one might describe Django Unchained as tropey or campy, requiring viewers to take the film’s sporadically silly and dramatic content with a grain of salt. But as I said, I’ve got a blatant bias towards most every Tarantino film I see, so perhaps you’d best check out the Independent review here for more perspective before you watch.

Dead Silence, the Consequence of Living Noise

Dead Silence

There should be a name for the spooky phenomenon that occurs after staring at a doll’s face for several minutes. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? After a while, you half-expect the lifeless face to blink, twitch, or otherwise move. What say we call it Dead Silence since it’s so downright disturbing? Ah, no, that’s actually the title of a movie about staring at creepy ventriloquist dummies. Rather, the dummies in Dead Silence stare at you before making you die in a terrible, jaw-dropping way. James Wan, the director of the movie Saw, continues to express his passion for horror with this tale of a vengeful spirit and her creepy, doll-centric haunting.

“Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children; only dolls. And if you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream.” In Ravens Fair in the 1940s, there was an aged ventriloquist by the name of Mary Shaw, who supposedly went mad and kidnapped the boy who had called her a fraud during one of her performances. Enraged, the townsfolk cut her tongue out and killed her, burying her with each and every one of her dummies as per her will. Curiously, the families of those who had killed her began to suffer mysterious deaths in the years following…

Dead SilenceJamie (Ryan Kwanten) and Lisa (Laura Regan) Ashen are a happily newlywed couple, content save for the fact that Lisa dies and has her tongue ripped out in the opening scene. What an odd coincidence! One could assign the blame to Billy, the haunted ventriloquist dummy that Jamie received in a package not minutes earlier, but that would be a lot of superstitious nonsense. At least, that’s what Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) thinks, and lets Jamie know that he’s the top suspect in his wife’s murder investigation. Eager to be proven innocent (or to remove the spiritual executioner’s axe from his neck), Jamie-boy sets off for Ravens Fair.

Only, the closer he gets to his solution, the stronger the haunting becomes. Billy seems to follow him everywhere, and he can’t seem to enjoy alone time without some tongueless apparition appearing to him. Before long, the people who have helped him on his way suffer the same horrific deaths, and Jamie finds himself in a perilous struggle with the spirit of Mary Shaw. If only defeating her was as easy as not screaming; the long-dead ventriloquist’s got quite a few tricks up her sleeves.

Dead SilenceAs far as horror movies go, Dead Silence is above average in all fronts despite being particularly orthodox within the paradigm of the genre. Jump scares galore, of course, yet this is made more tolerable by remembering that little precautionary poem. You’ll even be pleased to notice that Jamie does not scream. At least, not until- Oh, I wouldn’t spoil it for you.

Josh Green of  FirstShowing thoroughly enjoyed Dead Silence’s gimmick, and I can see why. Building tension is a crucial aspect of the horror genre, and the one employed here is both creative and effective. Of course, as Mr. Green says in his review here, telling you any more about it would ruin the fun. So, happy watching, and remember not to scream!

Nine Dead Has No Protagonists

Nine Dead

It really doesn’t. The masked man is the closest thing to a good guy, but he kills people.

Nine Dead doesn’t really break any new ground in the well-treaded realm of horror, but it certainly provides enough intrigue to hold your interest until the end. The premise, nine people trapped in a room until they can discover why they’re there, allows the film to tantalize viewers with a slow but steady trickle of information that leads up to the dramatic conclusion. All you know is that they deserve to be there, and as they each begin spilling their personal stories, you’ll understand why.

Nine DeadNine Dead wastes no time in delivering its victims to the killroom. From the very start, you witness a chain of seemingly unrelated kidnappings that ends in nine people trapped in the heart of a vengeful scheme. Handcuffed to metal poles and placed before a timer, the supposedly guilty group must speak amongst themselves to find out just what they did to earn their imprisonment. Every ten minutes, the masked captor enters the room, asks if they’ve found the answer, and kills one of them when they have nothing to offer.

Since the entire film is essentially built around spoilers, there are only two things left for me to explain: the characters, and the somewhat dissatisfying conclusion. I’ll do a bullet list for the characters.

  • Kelley, the cutthroat attorney at law.
  • Jackson, the cop who’s not as clean as he thinks he is.
  • Eddie Vigoda, the timid and innocent type.
  • Father Francis, the devout Catholic priest.
  • Nhung Chan, the Chinese woman who sadly does not speak English.
  • Sully Fenton, the easily amused and short-fused head of a gang.
  • Leon, the gun running black guy. He doesn’t die first.
  • Coogan, the unabashed pedophile.
  • Christian, the barkeep and Hollywood actor.

Nine DeadInteresting lineup, huh? Makes you wonder how they could all possibly be connected.

My final note, aside from stating the opinion that Nine Dead is worth a watch if you like webs of intrigue and character driven stories, is that person X does NOT get away scot-free at the end. The masked man was filming them the entire time, so when the police find the recording devices, they will log the video as evidence. No evil goes unpunished in this’un.

Ben the Book beat Nine Dead upside its nine heads with a stop sign, saying the acting was vomitous and the plot was only being held together by the stubborn understains of its knickers. While I can promise you that the film isn’t that icky, it is certainly no more than a once-off horror film to satisfy an idle mind. Boredom, not stupidity. Whatever. It wasn’t like Saw at all, though. Read this collection of words: http://spitonyourtaste.blogspot.com/2011/07/nine-dead-review.html

American Mary, Living the Dream

American Mary

American Mary is a film that I don’t think really deserves to be stuffed in the horror genre. There are horror elements, of course, like extreme body modification and a climactic murder, but this film is largely character driven. If not for how desperate the director was to sexualize Mary to hell and back, I’d consider American Mary to be nearly flawless. I’ll get more into that later, but for now, the plot.

Mary is training to become a surgeon under a hardass yet encouraging teacher, and funds are tight. For lack of any better ideas, she decides to take up working in a strip club to make ends meet. The owner, having looked over her resume, offers her $5,000 in cash to perform surgery on one of his lackeys who was savagely beaten. Unable to turn down that kind of money, Mary stitches him up and sets the wheels in motion.

American MarySoon after, she begins to receive calls from a plastic surgery addict named Beatress Johnson who is apparently looking for some unorthodox surgery for a friend. Mary turns her down initially, but she caves once the Betty Boop lookin’ gal starts offering big bucks, as that’s basically her weak point. Hey, if you can do what you’re good at and make a shitload of cash off of it, why not, right? The surgery scene is tame compared to what you’d normally expect in slasher movies, though you might have sympathy pains during the nipple removal bit. Oop, did I say that out loud? Spoiler! Ooh hoo hoo.

After finding her footing financially, one of her teachers invites her to a surgeon party, which she decides to attend. Donning a tacky and skimpy dress, she finds herself drugged and raped by her old teacher. Who would have thought, huh? Apparently he thought she had become a prostitute to make money, which… explains why he rapes her? I don’t follow that logic at all, but it sets up a revenge scene that is pretty satisfying.

American MaryMary practices every extreme body modification she can on her rapist teacher after paying the strip club’s owner to have him “acquired” and beaten. After that, the remainder of the film focuses on her body modification, and some of its dire consequences. Er, not the consequences of having body modification, but of doing them. The conclusion of American Mary could not have been better. If you end up liking the movie, I guarantee the ending will score high. No hints aside from what I’ve already said.

As for the sexualization that I mentioned earlier, I feel as though it’s unnecessary and distracts from the story. The movie is too serious to be campy, so the sexy outfits during surgery and constant boobs and butts everywhere seem out of place. I suppose mixing sex and surgery can be considered avant-garde, but the way it’s done in this film makes it seem tacky. Like they believed they wouldn’t be able to sell Mary’s story without throwing in some blatant titillation, you know? It’s a damn shame, because Mary is a likeable character. You don’t need to see her ass to figure that out. If you do, then you’re a confusing person and you’ll probably glean a lot more from the film than I did.

American MaryMatt Glasby of TotalFilm found the rape revenge to be empowering. While I do enjoy a bit of justified retaliatory torture, it tends to draw focus from the fact that Mary’s shitsack teacher probably shouldn’t have played the rape game in the first place. It’s good that he got his dick chopped off. Right, well, here’s the alt review: http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/american-mary

Truth or Die, Shame or Vengeance

Truth or Die

I wish there was some secret system by which to tell whether a movie’s title actually betrayed the tone of the content itself. Truth or Die, to me, looked like some inane story about a bunch of kids that get together and play truth or dare, and those who are dared all subsequently die in ridiculously conceived ways. The actual plot set it several notches above the “B-movie tripe” mark, and since I liked it as much as I did, I now pass that opportunity down to you along with a little foreshadowing.

Truth or DieThere are seven main characters total:

  • Felix, the dorky boy from a rich family.
  • Gemma, Felix’s love interest, a kind but rather bland girly-type.
  • Chris, Gemma’s ex, a manly and aggressive party boy.
  • Luke, a party drug slinging guy.
  • Paul, just about the most level-headed guy in the film.
  • Eleanor, a “look I have tits” oversexed type.

And then Justin. We’ll get to him in a moment, but my god David Oakes has a magnificent voice. Just wait for him to start talking.

Anyway, in an end-of-school party, Felix decides to take a shot at asking out Gemma, and is promptly turned down. During a game of truth or dare, he chooses truth by Eleanor and is asked to choose the girl or guy in the room he’d most like to shag. Gemma is chosen. As Chris is her boyfriend at the time, he decides to bully Felix and then punch him in the nose.

Truth or DieA while later, Chris, Gemma, Luke, Paul, and Eleanor are invited to Felix’s birthday party at his parents’ mansion. When they arrive, they find the mansion to be closed, and that the party is to take place at the groundskeeper’s lodge out a good distance into the property.

When they arrive at the cabin, they find Felix’s elder brother Justin and no one else. He says that the party was cancelled due to Felix being stuck abroad in Chile, but as he soon reveals, Felix is dead. He hanged himself after receiving a postcard reading, “Truth or dare, bitch?” and Justin wants to know who sent it. He will do anything to avenge his family’s injured pride, including a game of truth or dare that could turn lethal at any given moment if no one confesses to sending the letter.

That’s about as much as I can say without revealing all the fun bits, sadly. There are two big reveals left to witness, both of which revolve around family pride and some nasty, under-the-table business. What are they, you might wonder. Watch the movie to find out, because I’m certainly not going to spoil this gem. You’ll love the ending.

Truth or DieAs James Mudge of BeyondHollywood would likely corroborate, it seems as though the general consensus is that Truth or Die is piss-poor unoriginal horror flick with dull characters and not enough shock value. This is strange, because I was under the impression that having believable characters and focusing more on the plot rather than the visual titillation was a positive. I guess it’s safe to say that some reviewers wouldn’t recognize a tasteful, suspenseful thriller if it came up and bit them in the ass. They’d probably ask, “Why could you bite my ass in a new way, or at least tear it off so I get to see some blood?” Anyway, here’s an incredibly negative review if you’re interested: http://www.beyondhollywood.com/truth-or-dare-aka-truth-or-die-2012-movie-review/


Swamp Devil, Mister Branches’ Day Out

Swamp Devil

Swamp Devil sounds like a derogatory term for someone who lives in a bayou. I may have to start using that term from now on. As I’m getting sidetracked before the review has even begun, let’s talk about the movie, shall we? Swamp Devil appeals to me because it does things rather differently from most monster horror movies, and these little factors actually contribute to the plot. I daresay it’s one of the few obscure horror movies that deserves a little more attention.

Melanie Blaime receives a telephone call from an “old friend” named Jimmy Fuller, informing her that her estranged father is dying and in need of her. She doesn’t recall Jimmy, nor does she want to see her father, but after some convincing, she agrees to head to Gibbington. When she arrives, Jimmy reveals that Howard Blaime is on the run from the law because he is suspected of murder. They go to Melanie’s old home and settle in, receiving some grief from the local authorities before everyone starts being cooperative.

Swamp DevilAs the story moves along, there are several very conspicuous hints that Jimmy keeps secrets and is a bad liar. Since no antagonist is named aside from Melanie’s father, one can only assume that he has something to do with all the bayou murders. After seeing someone murdered by a giant plant creature, and then seeing Jimmy come back from who knows where with dirt all over his hands, you begin to suspect him of shenanigans. It’s an obvious twist, so I’m not spilling too many beans by letting you know, okay?

One thing that I really like about Swamp Devil is Howard Blaime’s place in it all. He was blamed for the death of a young girl, and a few of the local men are hunting him down with loaded guns. His story detailing a swamp monster was quickly dismissed as delusional drivel, but he is proven right when said beastie rears his head in front of one of the vigilantes. Basically, the “I’m not crazy” line is tossed aside long before the film actually concludes. Sweet relief.

The second good thing Swamp Devil’s got going for it is that the monster isn’t a mindless killing machine. It actually has a reason behind its actions and is capable of critical thought. You don’t see a lot of that. Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, The Grudge, The Ring, all the antagonists in those movies kill because screw the protagonists that’s why. This time around, Mister Branches actually gives a reason for murdering so many people. In the end, it isn’t justified, but it’s still a nice change.
Swamp DevilKilling Mister Branches isn’t possible with guns or knives, which makes ending the movie on a good note rather difficult. Thus, for some reason, Tree Bro can’t step outside the city limits. If he does, I guess he explodes or something.

I was eating a banana during most of Howard Blaime’s scenes, and it was really tasty. Howard was by far my favorite character. He was the old, jaded, thinks-on-his-feet type guy who knows how to get stuff done. Thanks to him, I thoroughly enjoyed my banana.

Char of Horrorphilia likes Swamp Devil, though mentions that most everyone else hated it. After checking multiple review sites… yeah. A lot of people just hate it. So fuck those guys! You should listen to me, because I know my movies. Swamp Devil is a good watch. It might not be the “watch it over and over” type, but it’s a worthwhile once-off at the very least. Read another positive review so you don’t fall for the critical mass consensus: http://www.horrorphilia.com/2011/07/25/swamp-devil-2008-movie-review/

The Afflicted, Bible Thumping Bad

The Afflicted

I’ve never seen a movie about child abuse until now, and I don’t really see how it makes for good entertainment. The Afflicted is one of those “based on a true story” movies where they take the Hollywood approach and make everything as extreme and emotional as possible. I suppose the only draw is that you can use this movie to fuel your hatred of rednecks or child abusers, but that’s not exactly the healthiest thing to do.

The film starts off on a nice note with Carla’s 16th birthday, where she receives golden butterfly earrings from some televangelist called Cowboy Bishop. Things quickly sour as Maggie’s husband Hank leaves in the middle of the night to hook up with another woman. Maggie beats him over the head with a bat until he dies, then hides him in shed near their home. That’s when she starts drinking, reading the Bible like an angry nun, and torturing her children.

The AfflictedBill, Carla, Cathy, and Grace are the children to be abused. It begins on a rather tame note, with belting and slapping, then leads into force-feeding, paddling, and then shooting. Knifing is in there too. It’s quite possible that several of these events were just made up for the sake of shock value, but who can say? It’s “based on a true story.”

I suppose it would be proper to inform you that I’ve already forgotten the order of events, as I tend to look for meaning in plot, not just increasing levels of “oh my gosh did she actually just do that.” The only things I distinctly remember are when Maggie kills someone, or when someone dies. Or the arbitrary topless scene with someone not even involved with the film. I can tell you what happens, though. Cathy tries to get help from her school counselor, but Cowboy Bishop shows up to vouch for Maggie. Maggie responds to this by pulling her kids from school.

The first victim is Cathy, who is shot in the upper torso area and then handcuffed to the shower. Carla, the 16 year old, is ordered to become a prostitute by her mother, and then Maggie kills Cathy by “surgically” removing the bullet. Soon after, Carla is beaten to death by her siblings after she tries to escape and stumbles upon the corpse of her father. Bill drives her out into the middle of nowhere and burns her.

The AfflictedThen Cowboy Bishop discovers the body while driving back from the arbitrary stripclub and realizes that Maggie is a terrible person and goes to save the day. Such a shame, because Grace has already stabbed everyone and is putting a gun to her head. A little game of Russian roulette later, and Cowboy Bishop is the last remaining main character in the movie. Then it ends.

That about covers it, I think. Not surprising that the “based on a true story” ploy fails yet again to make a movie good. I do not advise anyone to see this movie, because even if you want to see it for comedic reasons, there are very many superior alternatives. Let’s get the alternate review in so I can stop talking about The Afflicted.

FisterRoboto (quite a name) of LefHandHorror says that The Afflicted is a risky case of horror movie alchemy, the formula being: Based on a true story plus religion plus mental illness. A dangerous combination indeed, because in this case the movie is absolutely terrible. Since my review was a little scatterbrained, perhaps you would prefer a more comprehensive take? Viola: http://lefthandhorror.com/2012/10/06/the-afflicted-2010-movie-review/

Kill Bill Volume 2, Love Among Murderers

Kill Bill Volume 2

We all know that REAL Tarantino fans would have watched Kill Bill Volume 2 before the first one. That way you get the full effect. And watch out, because this one’s got a pair of big old flashbacks stuck right in the middle. Volume 2’s considerably less violent than the first, focusing more around the Bride and Bill’s relationship. It’s an excellent conclusion, if not a bit cheesy, and bound to please those who enjoyed Volume 1.

After a quick recap of the last few chapters of her story, you find the Bride driving down the road to meet Bill for their final confrontation. Before that happens, it flashes back to the Two Pines Wedding Chapel, where the Bride is rehearsing a wedding with her friends and Tommy, her husband to be. To her surprise, Bill is on the scene. Worrying that he’ll start something up, she makes him promise to be nice. He declines, but says that he’ll be sweet. Enter four members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. They kill everyone in the chapel, save for Beatrice and Bill.

Flashing back to the present, Bill is talking to his brother Buck, warning him that the Bride is going to hunt him down and kill him with a Hattori Hanzo sword. Buck doesn’t seem to care that much, mentioning that he sold the Hattori Hanzo sword that bill gave him for $250.
Kill Bill Volume 2Then you see Buck go to work. Apparently, his job is shitty, he doesn’t like it, yet he does nothing about this because he’s a pushover. Upon returning home, he notices something amiss. Not soon after this, the Bride is shot full of rock salt and buried alive. With only a flashlight and a few inches of space, she must escape her grave of earth and wood.

Second flashback! You get to see a bit of the Bride and Bill before the shooting and scheme and revenge. They appear to be pretty normal for murderous assassins, and very much in love. Bill mentions a Chinese kung-fu master known as Pai Mei, a man who demands respect while giving none to his students until they absolutely earn it. The Bride decides to train under him. Time passes, and under Pai Mei’s cruel tutelage, she learns several combat techniques. In particular, she learns how to punch through a wood board not more than three inches away from her.

And that’s how she escapes. The one-eyed Elle gets a call from Buck, who wants to sell her the Bride’s Hanzo sword. She agrees to pay him one million dollars for it, on the condition that he makes sure the Bride, now revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo, suffers to her last breath. Beatrix manages to see Elle as she arrives at Buck’s trailer, and infiltrates as soon as Buck dies to the Black Mamba hidden in the briefcase full of money.

Kill Bill Volume 2Beatrix enters the trailer to find Elle wielding her katana, and a grand fight ensues. The cyclops reveals that she killed Pai Mei after he plucked her eye out for calling him a senile old fool. So, Beatrix plucks out her other eye and leaves her to die.

Then, finally, she follows a trail of names back to Bill’s final location, the place where she would complete her revenge. To her astonishment, Bill isn’t the only one there. Also present is her daughter, initially thought to be dead. End synopsis for spoilers.

Kill Bill Volume 2 doesn’t feel particularly long, though some of the scenes drag. The action is rather sporadic, as some of the characters change their tones on a dime when Beatrix makes too sudden a move. Exciting to a fault, I suppose. Overall, the conclusion is rather quiet and much more emotional than that of the prior volume. I personally enjoy it, but that may just be because I thoroughly enjoy Tarantino’s works. Maybe a second opinion will help.

Brian’s Film Review Blog can provide just that. The theme of humanity is given priority over the thrill and the gore, though the latter two each have a notable presence. As far as sequels go, Kill Bill Volume 2 seems to have taken a very minor hit in the realm of quality. But that tends to go without saying. Check out the micro-review by Brian here: http://www.bpdreview.com/2009/02/five-really-really-short-reviews-1.html

Let the Right One In: Come for the Blood, Stay for the Story

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In is deceptive in many ways. I don’t mean that at a negative. It’s kind of like a movie party that you aren’t looking forward to, but then it turns out to be awesome. The title suggests that it’ll be about a survivor and his/her vampire friend surviving some sort of Nosferatu holocaust. Then, you read the description. Wait, what? It’s about a bullied boy meeting a troubled vampire girl and falling in love with her? That sounds corny and not horror-ish at all. Then, out of sheer curiosity, you watch the movie and stumble through the sweetest, saddest emotional trip you’ve ever experienced, all the while taking the gratuitous bloody violence in stride. That’s right, this is a love story that’s better, much better than Twilight. Stephanie Meyer, you can kiss the broadside of my a-

As I was saying, it’s a sweet and sad tale about a boy who falls in love. This boy’s name is Oskar, and he’s your atypical oddball bully victim. He has a morbid interest in death and accidents, and is picked on by a control-freak of a classmate. His life is okay, though. He lives with his divorced parents, moving from house to house cyclically. He’s got a small knife, and is planning to use it to stab his bully. Good times.

Let the Right One InAnd then, Eli moves into the apartment just next to his. The audience isn’t kept unaware of her state for very long. The moment she settles, you see an older gentleman blocking the window with cardboard and posters. This older gentleman is also responsible for murdering people in secluded areas, slitting their throats, and draining their blood into a plastic container. It seems he’s stricken with the foulest of fortunes, because as you’ll see in the film, he is nearly found out each time he tries to harvest.

In the middle of all this, Oskar and Eli have a few exchanges. They meet in the snow courtyard in front of their homes, and talk a little. Eli expresses that she can’t be Oskar’s friend, but ends up accepting a Rubik’s cube from him and solving it. It becomes increasingly obvious that Oskar adores her, and after her ward suffers from a terrible accident, she begins to reciprocate.

The core of the antagonistic force in this movie lies with the bullies and the townsfolk. Bullies to Oskar, townsfolk to Eli, obviously. Eli can’t help herself when she needs to feed, so she is forced to pick off the townsfolk, bit by bit. Oskar, thanks to some encouragement from Eli, stands up to his bullies. He whacks the leader in he ear with a stick and causes his eardrum to burst. As such, they want revenge, just as the townsfolk want revenge on Eli for murdering their friends.

Let the Right One InIt isn’t the plot that makes the movie, in my opinion. It’s the curiosity. Oskar is so curious about Eli, and once he discovers that she’s a vampire, that curiosity skyrockets. He discovers the little nuances of being a vampire from her. He offers her candy, which makes her throw up. He asks her to come into his apartment without being invited, and she begins to bleed from every orifice. Even skin pores. There’s more, plot-wise and nuance-wise, but I’m cutting off here. Let the Right One In is too good a movie to spoil. The conclusion is perfect, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from you.

Let the Right One in addresses vampirism in a classic yet new way. Interview with a Vampire shows you what happens when a vampire is stuck as a child but wants to be an adult. Twilight shows you what happens if you write while you’re drunk and horny (zing). Let the Right One In shows what happens when a child vampire interacts with someone of their visual age. End result? You heard it in the intro; A deeply emotional, immersive movie that keeps you wondering until the very end, and maybe even after that. Fair warning, though. Things get bloody intense.

Brian’s Film Review Blog also has plenty of positive things to say about Let the Right One In. If you’re into vampire subculture, you need to see it. It’s too sweet a story to pass up. I will agree with Brian that the momentary flash of vampire groin is a bit much, but it’s not exactly human, so there’s no need to actually get your knickers in a knot about it. All the same, it can be offensive if interpreted as dirty instead of a curiosity. I’m not sure whether or not beheading is as offensive, so I’ll just let you know that there’s a beheading. Here’s the link: http://www.bpdreview.com/2009/03/three-short-reviews-of
films-that-are.html

Willard, I hate every movie but you.

WillardYou know, there aren’t a lot of movies out there with Crispin Glover that I don’t like. He’s just such a quirky, strange, yet likeable guy. You’ll find that the characters he portrays aren’t so far from the reality if you went out of your way to watch his interviews and commentaries. I had only heard about Willard from a few friends, but I was already positive that it was going to be a favorite movie of mine. I’ll explain just why.

Willard is a reclusive man living in a mansion with his oddball mother, Henrietta. He works for his own family company, dealing with an abusive and unpleasant boss who wants to fire him as quickly as humanly possible. Willard really doesn’t have a lot of money and isn’t suited to most work, so he really needs this job. His boss wants to claim the family business for his own selfish purposes, and he knows Willard wouldn’t be able to fight back… Or would he?

One fateful evening, Henrietta calls Willard into her room to tell him that she hears rats scrabbling around in the basement. So, he has to go to the store and pick out some rat traps. He chooses the sticky ones so he doesn’t have to see the poor ratties die, but winds up making friends with the brilliant little white rat he names Socrates. Since Socrates plays a leader role among his rat friends, Willard is put in command of an intimidating army of rats. He starts off slowly, teaching them how to climb across ropes and tear through tough materials…

WillardThen he encounters Big Ben, the most colossal rat he’s ever seen. Ben can chew through metal, the mighty little fiend. Well, one day at work, Willard’s boss gives him one of his cruelest lectures yet, and it isn’t received kindly at all. Flaunting his money and his brand new car, he tells Willard that he’s a useless employee and that he’ll never amount to anything. Thus, Willard goes home and teaches his rats how to chew through tires. You can see where I’m going with this.

The one thing that I love about this movie is the personification of Socrates and Ben, and Willard’s reaction to the both of them. Willard loves Socrates because he’s a strong, brave leader with conviction and rationality. Ben is seen as second best, simply because his brute force and menacing appearance doesn’t appeal to Willard so much. Ben starts to get jealous, and an entire emotional understory between the two rats begins to unfold. Mind you, this isn’t a Disney movie. The rats never talk. They don’t stand on their kind legs and move their little paws like people. They’re just rats. But the way Willard acts with them, you start to feel as if the little (not in Ben’s case obviously) rodents are actually people.

WillardWillard isn’t a very big movie. I mean that in regards to both length and plot. One hour and forty minutes, and all that really happens is that Willard goes into work, befriends a bunch of rats, then makes them eat his boss. Oops! Spoiler! But really, you’d see that coming a mile away even if I hadn’t said that.

Here’s the “overall” bit: I think you’ll like it. It’s quirky, fun, it gives you that sense of satisfying vengeance, and it’ll most definitely meet your cute quota. It was originally going to be an R rated movie for swearing and violence, but due to some last minute cuts, it’s fun for everyone! Yeah! That shouldn’t suggest that Willard is in any low quality, however. Go watch it and see.

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