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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

The Innocents [1961] * * * *

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[*Spoilers*]

The inevitable death of innocence.

One of the most acclaimed aspects of this '60s gothic classic, apart from the breathtaking photography, perfectionist direction and excellent performances, is the ambiguity with which the script is conducted until the final moment.

Real ghosts or hysteria caused by sexual repression?

Director Jack Clayton refuses to give a definite answer. Perhaps he wants you to use your imagination to interpret what is really happening without the need for him to guide you by the hand. Just like the uncle asks Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr in a performance for the ages) in the very first scene if she has imagination, because truth is rarely understood by those who don't.

In the end, it doesn't matter if the ghosts are real or not. What matters is that Giddens believes them, and doing so, she "gives them life", allowing these supposed evil entities to modify (and even destroy) all the lives around the mansion.

But if you want my opinion, obviously the horror here is inside Miss Giddens' head. By observing her, we can note the rigid religious and moral creation that she had, and consequently, the strong sexual repression that it brought.

With a hug, the uncle manages to convince her. With an innocent compliment, Miles manages to make her forget the problems he has caused in school.

And then she can't stop thinking about Quint, the dead servant with a handsome and obscene face, in her own words. The situation only worsens after she discovers that Quint had a torrid affair with the former housekeeper before they both died.

Giddens can't shake off the fact that the couple had sex in broad daylight, not caring if the children saw it. She is fascinated, excited and at the same time frightened by the impact this may have had on the children's innocence.

Her confused mind blends all those feelings and creates a surreal story. I love the scene where she says goodbye to Mrs. Grose and tells her to tell the truth to the uncle, and Grose turns around and asks if she really wants her to tell the truth, hinting that she has already realized that Miss Giddens has lost her mind.

By far the most shocking and creepy part of the film lies in the relationship between Miles and Giddens. That kiss caused a huge controversy at the time and today would be no different. It's simply a disgusting idea, but one that becomes the major symbol of the film's main theme: the loss of childhood innocence through the sexual corruption of the adult world.

It's possible to recognize a classic by the influence that it exerts on movies that came later. The extremely atmospheric scene where Giddens wanders through the dark hallways of the mansion with only a candle holder in hand was practically recreated by del Toro in his gothic romance "Crimson Peak" with Mia Wasikowska.

"The Others", horror classic of the 2000s with Nicole Kidman, also brings an atmosphere and scenarios quite inspired by this film.

Also, Lucio Fulci worked on a similar premise in one of his best films, "Don't Torture a Duckling", which also addresses the loss of childish innocence and a character's struggle to prevent it.

"The Innocents" is one of the great classics of the '60s and one of the best gothic horror movies of all time. An excellent study of character added to an atmosphere built with care and top-notch acting. Everyone involved with this movie was at the top of their abilities.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation [1994] *

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[*Spoilers*]

I really don't know what the hell I just saw. Is it a parody of the original movie? A failed attempt to re-create the comedy style of the second film? Both?

Madness and randomness by itself, without any kind of structure or hidden purpose, quickly tires and annoys the audience. And this movie is a huge example of that.

If they hadn't gone so far in the level of craziness and oddness, this could've been a decent sequel, especially considering how simple and boring the third film was.

The acting isn't bad, but the dialogue is painful. No one acts or talks like real humans here! Some moments you swear you're watching a parody, but the tone is completely off.

The scenes end up lost in a middle ground between comedy and horror, frustrating any expectation about the development of either of these two paths in the plot.

For example:

In the middle of the film, there's a great chase scene between Leatherface and Renée Zellweger's character that looks like an exaggerated version of the chase in the first film and ends in a similar way. But the next scene (in a drive thru) creates a ridiculous situation with the clear intention of making fun over the lack of luck of her character, which simply doesn't work because after all we've seen her suffer, you can't feel anything other than frustration with that situation.

And furthermore, this scene destroys all tension created by the horrible previous acts, because it throws away all credibility that the plot could have. The events of this scene are simply unbelievable. It's something we only see in a slapstick comedy.

This is just one example of the constant changes of tone and failed attempts at humor that occur until the final moment.

With all that said, what most shocked me in this fourth movie is how much I loved certain aspects of it.

Matthew McConaughey is completely free in the role of this psychopath, with "alright, alright, alright" and everything else.

It would've been a lot better if the script had better dosed his appearances. That would've given the character more impact, but it's still a lot of fun to watch him going completely insane on the role.

In addition, Renée knows how to run fast! Her chase scenes are very good. Almost as frantic as Sally's in the original.

Speaking of her, Marilyn Burns' great cameo at the end would've been the icing on the cake if the movie hadn't been a mess, up until there.

And the transvestite Leatherface is priceless! Ridiculous and nonsensical, but fun.

Watching "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" makes you appreciate much more what Tobe Hooper did in the second film. This balance between humor and horror is really difficult!

If you don't hit the right tone, you risk ending up with a big "jump the shark" moment in your franchise, just like this.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

Leatherface [2017] * * *

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There's no bigger and more powerful connection than that between a boy and his mother. Your mother will always be your "number one girl". That's why cursing someone's mother is one of the biggest insults you can make.

Here, a stupid character learns this lesson too late.

Personally, I've always seen Leatherface as a force of nature that has the mission to cleanse the Earth of stupid people. Here he continues his mission and dispatches some of the dumbest characters in the series.

There's only one movie left in the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" franchise for me to watch (the one with Alexandra Daddario), but even so, I can say that this new movie is an evolution from every sequel since the second film.

The performances are great, especially Lili Taylor who gives life to the matriarch of this version of the most disturbing family of all horror films.

The production is good, the practical effects are good, the direction is decent, but the plot is super cliché. At least the script runs fast and the movie never seems monotonous.

It has some great moments of exciting bloody revenge and a couple of surprises.

The violence is very graphic and constant as it should be in a film of this franchise. The same about the grotesque images, especially a menage a trois with a rotten corpse capable of making anyone sick.

Leatherface here isn't treated like a villain. He's a victim of the horrible circumstances surrounding him. I would've had problems with this approach if this wasn't, partly, a character trait since its creation. Since the original film (and especially in the sequel), it's clear that Leatherface has a kind soul that is manipulated and instigated to commit horrible crimes by the devilish members of his family.

It has some small Easter eggs from previous films such as a reference at the end to the transvestite Leatherface from "The Next Generation" and smoke coming from the mouth of a shooting victim just like in the 2003 remake.

"Leatherface" is much better than I expected. In fact, this is the best film in the franchise since the second. That doesn't say much, but it's a step forward after so many bad sequels.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Spring Breakers [2012] * * * * *

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Wow, wow, wow! So much good stuff I want to say about this movie!

While the characters and story are relatively weak and underdeveloped, to criticize those things is to miss the point of what this movie is. To me, it's more like a piece of visual music with all of the instruments playing against each other to create an effect -- but more of an electronic sample-filled track than an orchestral piece. It's the polyphony that has impact, not any individual voice.

Sticking with that metaphor, if there is a solo instrument to feature at all, it's most definitely James Franco. This is by far the most interesting performance I've seen by him.

And I love how the slo-mo footage of the beach-partying spring breakers returns throughout, like a chorus in a song, but each time informed by the progressing emotions of the piece as a whole. The same footage interpreted differently each and every time.

This kind of filmmaking feels fresh and exciting. A modern morality tale with a techno rhythm.


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jmunky [2018] FILM

 

Bram Stoker's Dracula [1992] * * * *

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Gary Oldman is Dracula. Keanu Reeves can't act.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

I Spit on Your Grave [2010] * * *

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When you're feeling shitty about life, nothing lifts you up better than watching people being raped and tortured. "At least my life isn't THAT bad."

The beginning plays out the same as the original, followed by a surprisingly effective middle section from the assailants' perspective as Jennifer Hills messes with their minds from offscreen. The final section is a bunch of poetic justice via Saw-like traps.

And this version actually had spitting! Still no graves though. Guess I have to watch the sequels for that.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

I Spit on Your Grave 2 [2013] * * *

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Spitting? Check!

Grave? ...

Still no goddamn grave. What the hell??? All I'm gonna say is they better be building to an entire fucking cemetery in the third one.

Another mood lifter, this time with a sprinkle of international Hostel vibes. Definitely interesting taking it out of the sticks and into the city. Gave it a kind of Death Wish feel. And that one torture scene was a real ball-buster.

Given these movies are totally depraved and exploitative, they are surprisingly well made. The color timing was all over the place, though. The lead had a yellow face for the whole first act, and the bad guys had purple lips in one scene.

Bring on #3...


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine [2015] * * *

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Still no motherfucking graves.

And no spitting this time either.

What is UP with this series???

Oh, and more purple lips and yellow faces.

I wish "Angela" and Marla had become murder buddies. I really want a murder buddy. Except instead of murdering, we'd play ping pong.

Best dick dissection I've ever seen. In a movie, that is.

Favorite quote:

"Give a woman a fish, and she makes dinner for her piece of shit husband. Teach the woman to kill the piece of shit husband, and she never has to make dinner again."


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

The Cloverfield Paradox [2018] *

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After an amazing marketing move, Netflix releases the third movie in the "Cloverfield" franchise. And it's a huge mess!

The film starts off quite promising, with quick editing and good CGI. The ideas begin to be presented and everything seems to move to an epic surprise. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, the audience is bombarded with one surprise after another without enough time to digest them.

And even if the pace was reduced, several events here require a lot of goodwill from the audience.

The ideas presented are great, the possibilities explode in your mind, but the film makes a point of reducing the grandiosity of events to create a safe story, with all the points tied.

The amount of coincidence is ridiculous. And the explanations are vague, full of scientific jargon that tries to give credibility to what is happening, but can only make it clear that the plot doesn't care about maintaining a pattern, much less maintain contact with reality. All scientific theories about dimensions and the particle of God are only vaguely quoted to try to support whatever madness the plot wants.

Every event serves a purpose and happens at the exact moment. Even if the explanation given (or its lack) is anchored in the random aspect with which they should happen.

The holes in the plot are so many that you end up discarding all the credibility that history could have with such an interesting premise.

It's as if over time the film was abandoning its ambition, always reducing possibilities, choosing the simpler options and becoming a banal story about choosing path A or B.

Some ideas are so ridiculous that for a moment you think you're watching a cheap slasher where the villains are the "laws of science".

The sequences on Earth are absolutely disposable and boring. And they seem to have been made on a very small budget. All scenarios are closed spaces and you are only told what is happening through the text messages a character receives.

[---BEGIN SPOILERS---]
The amount of clichés is far too much. From the mystery about a spy on the team, to the sacrifice of a character to save the team. Even death scenes are just slightly different versions of the ones we've seen in several other films in space.
[---END SPOILERS---]

I'm trying to make this review without spoilers because it would be so much easier to explain just how stupid this movie is by only transcribing some scenes.

The quality of the production oscillates between scenes. Some seem worthy of a direct-to-video release, others are top notch. The same happens with the performances. Gugu Mbatha-Raw does a great job as the protagonist, but the rest of the cast seems to act in automatic mode.

Also, there is an excess of jokes, which don't work mainly because of the serious situations, which the jokes would serve to break the tension, are extremely ridiculous by themselves (seriously, did anyone really think that arm was a good idea??).

In "The Cloverfield Paradox" universe, there is no difference between science and magic. A perfect case of "great ideas, terrible execution".


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Voyage of the Rock Aliens [1984] * * * *

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I don't normally enjoy watching bad movies but this one was a blast! If you like crazy alien 50s beach party West Side Story dance off chainsaw maniac Rocky Horror style musicals, check this out NOW.


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