A Royal Affair Impressions and Review
Another great movie from 2012. They just keep on coming. I’d been waiting until this flick hit Netflix Streaming and it is great. It is probably perfect for what it is. It is about 18th century mad king of Denmark and his physician who used his influence to instate progressive reforms.
If all that sounds like a stuffy costume drama, but don’t worry, the movie is really accessible and entertaining. Mads Mikkelson is so engaging as the king’s doctor and the adultery subplot keeps the tension up.
-From what I read, most of the movie is true.
-Mads Mikkelson is incredible.
-Photography is gorgeous.
- Great pacing for a costume drama.
If you ever watch just one costume drama, pick this one. Don’t be scared away by the trailers or genre. This movie is great. It also touches on the strong influence the Enlightenment writers had on all progressives of the time, not just American forefathers. A naive incite, but an important one.
Many of the writers discussed in the movie didn’t just deeply influence America’s formation, but many European leaders and revolutionaries.
Sightseers Movie Review and Impressions
Sightseers is kind of perfect on its own terms. It isn’t a big gore fest or a laugh-out-loud comedy and it really isn’t a horror movie either. It is something new. And new is great.
Ben Wheatley is finding ways to make great films with shoe-string budgets that are mash-ups of different genres. His movies are exciting because you have no fucking idea what is going to come next.
Alice Lowe and Steve Oram are incredible as a couple who go on a camping trip that takes a very strange turn. Go in fresh and don’t read anything about the movie. Wheatley’s movie benefit from surprise Lowe and Oram also wrote the movie and it shows with their chemistry and timing.
- Great mash-up of genres.
-Fresh and new. Not much like it.
- Great use of low-budget filmmaking.
- Funny and nuanced.
- Pacing is a bit (just a smidgen) off.
- The gore could have been more shocking.
This movie is really good. It isn’t an indie game changer or a movie of the year. But hell, you’ve probably never seen anything like it and the ending is definitely classic.
The Lords of Salem (2013) Movie Review and Impressions
Like Trance that I reviewed just before this one, my biggest (and in this case only) draw to see The Lords of Salem in theaters was director Rob Zombie. The Devil’s Rejects is one of my favorite movies and I think it’s a masterpiece. I really like House of 1000 Dead Corpses. I like Halloween, and I despise Halloween 2 (remakes of course.) Unlike those previous Rob Zombie efforts, I had literally no idea what to expect from this movie. And frankly, that’s probably the best way to see it.
Without giving too much away, I’ll say the movie centers around Heidi Hawthorne (Sherri Moon Zombie,) who is part of a three-person team on a Howard Stern like radio show in Salem. She eventually receives a mysterious record album in the mail, from a sender marked The Lords. Whenever she plays it, either on the air or in her home, all females who hear it fall into a strange trance and begin to have flashbacks to witches back in old Salem times. That’s about all I want to give away plot-wise, and I’d be lying if I said I could describe what happens in great detail anyway.
This is by far the least brutal of Rob Zombie’s movies. It doesn’t have the non-stop vulgarity or brutal scenes of violence. It does have an outrageous amount of full frontal female nudity, though some of it is of ugly 90-year-old women. It has a couple gruesome scenes, but this is not a movie I would describe as gory and violent. It also moves at a slower pace than Zombie’s previous movies, it is more of an 80’s horror movie pace, something more akin to a Ti West (House of The Devil, The Innkeepers) movie. The movie thrives on strangeness above all else. The last third in particular is largely up to interpretation. As I walked out of the theater, I was kind of disappointed. But by the next morning, my opinion had grown.
The movie stayed on my mind and I appreciate the weirdness of it. The imagery varies from plain weird to creative cool. There are some cool creatures that kind of reminded me of the creative effects in the first Hellrasier movie. I’m not entirely sure what happens, but I think I have the gist. And I am eager to see it again and probably again to see if I can understand it better. It falls into that weird, mysterious, creepy category of movies like Lost Highway, Don’t Look Now, Suspiria, and The Shining. Though I wish it had more horror violence in it, and possibly a tad bit clearer finale, I think it is a movie that will grow on me, and probably movie audiences in general, in time.
-A very fresh and different horror movie, though for some, it might prove too different.
-Some cool, twisted images and horror “creations.”
-I thought, an interesting performance from Sherri Moon Zombie. Like Milla Jovovich, she may not be the highest tier of acting but she brings something unique to the role. Though her role has been criticized, I much prefer her as the lead than a generic TV actress that normally gets cast in a horror movie.
-The plot leaves lots to think about, though again, some may see this as leaving too much unanswered.
-The music was cool.
-The movie runs at a pretty slow pace
-The movie is missing some of Zombie’s staple elements like humor, brutal violence, and vulgar characters.
-The movie has a couple awkward moments.
-Maybe some things could have been clearer, even for a trippy horror movie.
-A trio of modern day witches that live in Heidi’s apartment, and are kind of main villains I think (again this movie is strange,) aren’t intimidating or scary.
Verdict: Though The Lords of Salem is not the movie I necessarily wanted from Rob Zombie, it is a good original entry in the horror genre and I think it could become something of a cult classic that will always divide horror fans. Personally, I really like weird horror movies, and would take a movie like this over Paranormal Activity 5 or the latest exorcism movie any day.
What did you think of Salem?? Let us know in the comments below!
Trance (2013) Movie Review and Impressions
Trance is one of those movies I went to see solely based on the director’s (in this case Danny Boyle) previous movies. The trailers looked decent, and I like James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel, but none of that screamed rush right out and see it in theaters. But considering how much I love 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Slumdog Millionaire, I decided I’d go check it out. And I wasn’t disappointed, despite it ranking low on Boyle’s film resume. Sure enough, it was Boyle’s erratic, energetic, and unique filming style that made the movie so entertaining to watch. With a different director, the movie could have possibly gone the straight-to-DVD route.
Simon (McAvoy) and Franck (Cassel) go through with a plan to steal a painting worth millions in the beginning of this surreal quasi-headtrippy heist movie. Simon decides to deviate from the plan and hide the painting in a different place than agreed upon with his cohorts, and then unfortunately for him gets knocked out, only to wake up with no idea where the painting is. So Franck forces him to try hypnotherapy in order to extract the information and Simon ends up having hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Dawson) mess with his subconscious in order to find the painting.
That’s about all I want to reveal about this movie that has a lot of twists, perhaps too many. I really enjoyed watching it and felt it was very fast paced. It had me wondering what was real and what wasn’t, and who was plotting on whom. There’re some cool grisly scenes and a fully nude Rosario Dawson to boot. The movie’s biggest problem is that when it is all over, it’s not fully satisfying and the more I think about some developments, the sillier they seem. But I would be open to seeing it again. Another viewing could very well lead to more discoveries about what exactly happens and make the plot richer, but more than likely it will expose the plot as being even sillier.
-A very cool visual style that really elevates the movie above an average heist movie.
-Some very cool individual scenes of violence and sex that cement the movie as R-rated
-The plot is very interesting and keeps you wondering throughout the running time of the movie…
-…but, after the movie is over you may be disappointed with it. Plot developments are my only negative complaint about the movie, but it’s kind of a big one because it leaves a somewhat negative aftertaste.
Verdict: I enjoyed Trance and would gladly watch it again, but I wish some of the twists were a little more logical. If the script had been polished with the care Christopher Nolan put into his Inception script, I think Trance would have been excellent instead of just pretty good.
By: Devon Gilbert
The Company You Keep (2013) Review and Impressions
I’ll start off by saying I’m not a Robert Redford fan, though I have nothing against him. I just can’t really think of any good movies I’ve seen him in. I saw his last directorial effort, Lions for Lambs, when it came out six years ago. My impression of it was that it was passable due to the acting (except Andrew Garfield whom I hated in it,) but kind of silly and dull. And I guess, dull is what I think of when I think of a new Robert Redford movie.
The Company You Keep is actually an interesting and fairly entertaining movie. Basically, Redford plays a man who 30 years ago was a member of the Weather Underground, which seems to be a group of college activists that ultimately are part of a bank robbery that leaves someone dead. Now in the present, Redford and his estranged “friends” (played by Susan Surandon, Richard Jenkings, Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, to name a few) are on the verge of getting caught by the FBI (Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick.) Redford’s character must find evidence to clear his part in the robbery or else he will go to prison and lose his daughter. Meanwhile, Shia LaBeouf’s character (a pretty rude and arrogant young reporter) is trying to uncover the Weather Underground people’s identities before anyone else to further his career.
So the movie is really about Redford on the run, meeting old friends (some of which aren’t anymore,) and realizing how much they’ve all changed in the way they live and what they stood for. Some of these scenes work, some don’t. Unfortunately, the worst actor in the movie is Redford. I think he was a tad too old for the main role and didn’t seem to have the ommph the role needed. I would also have liked more insight into why all the characters did or didn’t give up on their beliefs. But, when the movie was over, I was satisfied and felt I saw a good movie with some to think about.
-Huge talented supporting cast that bring their skills to the movie
-An interesting and pretty original idea for a drama
-Some fairly interesting ideas into how/why people change from their youth
-I wish it had been a little deeper, more out to hit you in the gut
-Robert Redford was not ideal for the title role, which doesn’t derail the film, but next to the rest of the cast he does stand out and not in a good way.
-A little too long, maybe some of LaBeouf’s scenes could be shortened though I thought he was good in it.
The Company You Keep will not blow you away, but it is an above average drama that is worth your time, particularly if you’re into acting or character study movies.