The Shining: Horror Movies Explored

The Shining movie posterEliciting horror in film is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult tasks a director can take on. Meticulous planning in camera, lighting and pacing and so much more go into leaving an impression on the audience. As a huge fan of horror, I recently gave The Shining a watch, one of the undisputed champions of the horror genre.

Although it lived up to its reputation as being scary as hell, I was left scratching my head by the end of it. I couldn’t pinpoint why I found it so scary. There weren’t any jump scares or tense music cues to reveal an ugly monster or any other conventional horror means of scariness. Continue reading

Stan Lee Tribute: The People’s Hero

Stan Lee tributeWhen you think about your childhood, what do you remember? Going to school? Doing your homework? Doing your chores? Or, instead, do you remember having fun? Fun that seemed like it would never end; fun that was part of who you were and who you are now. That fun, that fundamental part of your being, was due partly to Mr Stan Lee.

A legend in his own right, Marvel comics creator, Stan Lee was born in 1922 in Manhattan, New York. In 1939, he started a pencil pusher job at Timely Comics – two years later, his name was penned under a Captain America comic entitled “The Traitor’s Revenge!”. Continue reading

MM Retro Review: Grease

Grease movie posterGrease is not a good movie. Grease is not a particularly good musical either. By any ostensible measure of quality Grease is average at best, and that’s being generous. It is poorly structured, poorly plotted, and poorly made… and yet there is something undeniably infectious about it.

Just look at the showstopping “Greased Lightning” to see what I mean. I use the word showstopping because it’s a wonderfully cheesy musical set-piece, akin to Gene Kelly singing in the rain in Singin’ in the Rain. I also use the word showstopping because it literally stops the movie dead in its tracks. There’s no reason for “Greased Lightning” to exist in the context of the movie. The song doesn’t progress the plot in any meaningful way and we don’t learn anything new about the characters either. Continue reading

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms review “Sour character development ruins a potentially sweet story”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms posterIt’s November in the US which means it is time to start celebrating Christmas, and along with The Grinch, Disney is kicking things off with their new Christmas film Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Based off the hit ballet, Nutcracker is taking a generally story-less tale and turning it into fantasy war epic similar to the 2010 Alice in Wonderland.

I generally dislike that reimagining from Tim Burton, as it tries to turn nonsense into a Lord of the Rings style action film. Now, another director who has made a superhero movie that I really enjoy has come in to do that exact thing with the Nutcracker, and now I ask you to allow me to explain why that did really did not work. Continue reading

No Country For Old Men review “What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?”

No Country for Old Men posterCritical praise rained on the Coen brothers in 2008 for their work in No Country for Old Men. From creating an unforgettable antagonist to redefining a genre, No Country for Old Men left its impression on audiences and critics alike. But I think one of the biggest impression the film left can also be considered a huge gamble. Many passable movies today have the tendency to spoon-feed exposition through either uninspired dialog (Star Wars: Episode I) or plot devices (action scenes in the Transformers series).

No Country for Old Men takes the gamble of being a smart movie. Not smart in the sense that you need an impressive IQ or understand quantum physics to appreciate the movie. But smart in the sense that the movie is layered and meaning is found through attention to detail. The Coen brothers find success with No Country for Old Men by whole heartily trusting the audience. Continue reading