by Joshua Fredette
As someone who doesn’t often watch horror films, (in fact after some recollection it was my first horror movie at a theatre), I was pleasantly surprised with Insidious. In this movie depicting the joining of two realities, we get a glimpse into the motives of spirits, demons, and why these entities haunt not only houses, but people. The story revolves around our world, and a spiritual realm called The Further; the plane where the departed reside before passing onto (hopefully) better realms.
Although the first movie appears to be a somewhat average horror film with a unique touch concerning The Further, the sequel goes far beyond the boundaries of normal. Even though I was pleased with the first chapter, I was pleasantly shocked by the second. Not only is chapter two more frightening, it twists and contorts your mind until you’re waiting to get through the scary parts just to see how the plot wraps up. In the theatre, I found myself cringing in my seat through the worst of the scenes, all the while trying to predict the inner workings of the film.
Going into the two realms a little deeper, I found the filmography fascinating. The regular world is shot, more or less, honestly. (Besides a few tints of darkness added to the normal color scheme). But in The Further, it is a dark realm where the characters can hardly see past their arm. Fog pervades the ground every step of the way, and there are horrific spirits constantly wandering the darkness. In the first chapter, The Further is shot in such a way that you don’t want to look at it. It makes you yearn for another moment in a scene set back on earth. What was delightful in the second chapter was a juxtaposition of these two realms. In the second chapter the worlds collide so well that, near the end of the film, the viewer actually feels more comfortable watching scenes set in The Further than those on earth. The monsters switch realms, and most of the humanity and moments of heroism are witnessed amongst the dead in The Further. I thought this effect to be completely purposeful, and simply brilliant.
The main characters range from children to adult, and all of which have some great progressions from victim to hero. The plot they all dance around is shaped with wonderful twists. I won’t spoil anything, but some elements of time travel are eventually involved. Of course, these are always a welcome sight in plot machinations.
As I said before, this is one of the first horror films I decided to watch. And I must say, I think it will be hard for any other series to top it.
Insidious Chapters 1 & 2 contain all the normal scares of a high-grade horror flick, and enough mind-boggling plot turns to make you question your own reality and interactions with time.
By Casey Shatraw
Being alone in the middle of the ocean with limited supplies, and no connection to civilization can really ruin your day. Want to top it? Throw in a hungry tiger and you have Pi Patel’s dilemma. After a powerful and devastating storm leaves Pi alone in the middle of the ocean, Pi has to not only survive to tell the story, but also keep a vicious tiger from making him dinner. This is our plot in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. An epic, tasteful, and beautiful story that really tests the limits of the human spirit.
One of the most notable qualities of this film is its cinematography. You don’t have to know much about lighting or postproduction color correction for this film to take your breath away. It is gorgeous. It’s like stepping into a thousand different paintings. It contains some of the most astonishing cinematography I have ever seen, and it greatly enhances not only the film’s mood, but overall impact. Suraj Sharma (Pi) puts on a pretty phenomenal performance in this film, and that goes for the entire cast as well. He is truly believable, and is very natural on screen. He is able to create a likable character, which is important if we’re going to be watching him on a boat for 90 minutes.
The story did trouble me a little as I was going in. I could never wrap my mind around how a 2-hour film was going to be able to capture the engaging characteristics that the novel had. Surprisingly, it does just that. The story is interesting, and doesn’t seem cheap, or artificial in any manner. The likability of the characters helps to flow everything together, keeping the pretty linear plot interesting and engaging. It does this really well, and by the time the film ends, you feel a sense of closure, instead of relief that it finally ended. Dialogue is also top notch, and it doesn’t hurt that you have a narration to guide you along the way. It feels as though you are being told this remarkable story, which because of the acting, really feels like it happened.
The relationship between the protagonist and the tiger is crucial in this film, and this is something I never feel they gripped well enough. The bond between humans and nature is existent, but it feels thin, and doesn’t bring about any emotional catharsis. There is physical triumph in this film, but not so much a triumph in relationship. The tiger is definitely an important character in this film, and although he is well present and active with Pi, I can’t help but wish we had a bit more of a connection between them.
Life of Pi still is a triumph in almost every way. It’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen, and it just feels so alive. Everything about it is high in quality, and nothing feels cheap or overplayed. It succeeds in what it was trying to do. Could it have succeeded even more? Sure. But it is undeniably impressive how Lee (Director) and Magee (Writer) are able to capture the novel, and put us on a small boat for over an hour. When films like this are able to accomplish that, it is worth pointing out.
By Casey Shatraw
The edgy and almost uncomfortable relationship that Gus has with Mickey serves as the primary relationship in the film. There are many others, such as Gus’ not only with himself, but also his job, and the romantic relationship with Mickey and Johnny is present as well. And while it is always nice to Eastwood on screen, his relationship in Adams is actually the weakest one. It’s not that Eastwood and Adams themselves have any problem with their screen time, but it’s the writing that doesn't allow for such a successful and natural relationship. Sure, Adams and Eastwood are undeniably charming and entertaining in their own way, but it doesn't feel natural. It is too stale and lacks that extra emotional feeling, primarily because it is not developed. Adams and Timberlake, and their characters, are actually the strongest on screen, due to their clever dialogue, and all-around natural presence.
Trouble with the Curve also falls short on occasion with its inability to engage with the audience. In pockets, the film isn't very interesting to say the least, and this is simply because the dialogue towards the beginning isn't interesting or clever enough to compensate for its bland plot structure. Luckily, the film does pick up as the relationships between the characters begin to surface, and the character development begins to solidify. Eastwood’s dialogue brings laughs, and it is nice to see a film that challenges a very realistic theme. Is technology truly the best way forward? Or do we need people like Gus to provide that irreplaceable human instinct?
Trouble with the Curve is a decent attempt to break in relationships with baseball, and for the most part does a fair job. Anyone looking for a reason to see a film about baseball, relationships, Eastwood on screen, or even Adams or Timberlake, will enjoy the heartwarming nostalgic feeling they all bring.
Trouble with the Curve: 6/10 “C+”
By Alex Sy
Martin Scorsese is one of the most renowned movie directors of his time, with having directed award winning classical movies; such as Raging Bull, The Departed, and Shutter Island; all of which are rated R movies. Now, Martin Scorsese steps out of his norm and introduces his very first family film, Hugo. Martin Scorsese demonstrated his flexibility to directing movies by creating another masterpiece that will go down as one of the greatest movies he has ever directed.
The movie is about a young boy named Hugo Cabret who takes residence in a train station in Paris, France. He lives in the interior of the train station, fixing and managing the clocks in order to hide his identity and avoid being sent to the orphanage by the station inspector. In his free time he works on fixing an automaton, which belonged to his father. Hugo believes that there is a message from his deceased father inside the automaton’s workings. While collecting parts for the automaton, Hugo encounters a toy shop owner who will change the direction of his life. Through that instance, he will eventually meet his adopted daughter, Isabelle, who will spark the adventure to discover the secrets within the automaton and uncover the history of movie making.
The actors’ performances in the film are outstanding. Asa Butterfield is an amazing child actor that best fits the role of Hugo Cabret. Chloe Mortez fits the fun and adventurer loving girl, Isabelle. Ben Kingsley’s acting is an amazing triumph over drama and his character evokes feelings of sympathy from the audience. Sacha Baron Cohen has shown another side to his acting. The former lead of Borat shows his British accent and his serious side as an actor.
The film MUST be seen in 3D. Martin Scorsese has integrated 3D to the film and it is not simply used as a gimmick. Scenes that contain objects or monuments like the Eiffel Tower pop out and is extremely enjoyable to look at. The scenes look and feel real. The soundtrack is beautiful and fits the film as it is enjoyable just to listen to alone.
Hugo was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 5. Hugo deserved all of its nominations and deserved more of its awards, especially Best Director and Best Film. This film thanks the creators of film making and Hugo is simply a film that loves films. I love this film and I know it is too soon to say that it is top 10 worthy but it has at least entered the conversation to be called “One of the Greatest Movies of All Time”. A
By Alex Sy
Mildred Pierce is one of the most realistic movies I have ever seen based on the reality of human interaction. In reality, people are out for the benefit of themselves and this film best describes that reality.
The film encompasses the themes of greed and love as Mildred, the mother of her greedy daughter Veda, works her way up the social class to garner up money to impress Veda and obtain her love. Mildred worked as a waiter and created a restaurant in order to feed Veda’s ever growing love for money. However, where is the line between kindness and insanity? Through her outstanding performance in Mildred Pierce, Joan Crawford displays the reason why she deserves the Academy Award for Best Actress. Mildred shows her love for her family as she takes action in bettering their lives after a horrible divorce.
The film is in black and white but it is still amazing and enjoyable to watch. The film has an amazing plot that is interesting throughout the movie. Although the film is old, it’s themes demonstrate the destructive power of human greed and the amazing power of human kindness and love that we see today. Those themes are prevalent throughout the movie and are integrated in the actions of the actors.
Mildred Pierce reminds me of how lucky I am living with such a wonderful mother and reminds me even more of how to be grateful and see past the greed of money. I must say that this film really speaks to me as my mother was a hard worker from the day I was born till now, and all she does is work for my brother’s and my benefit. This film is enough to make you hug your mother. The acting and story fit so well and in every scene that no scene can be considered boring. This film is catches the audience’s attention and keeps it to the final seconds. A
By Mitchell Reslock
The newest teen comedy comes to us in the form of Easy A, yet another witty film featuring up and coming actress Emma Stone (Zombieland, Superbad, The House Bunny). In the movie, she stars as Olive Penderghast, a typical teenager drifting through high school whose life is thrown into a whirlwind of social dilemmas after a false rumor about her intimate exploits at a party swarms through the campus.
After Olive lies about her weekend to end the incessant prodding of her best friend (played by Aly Michalka), the comment is overheard and spread amongst the students by her social rival (Amanda Bynes). The ailing status of Olive’s reputation is only worsened after she agrees to lie about sleeping with a gay friend (Dan Byrd) to fend off his bullies, eventually resulting in a rapidly growing business of fake services. As Olive rides her new negative attention to the highest tiers of high school popularity, identifying herself with The Scarlet Letter‘s Hester Prynne, her friendships and commitments gradually crumble until her entire system crashes down.
Though the film is, in its essence, yet another tale of a high schooler journeying towards self-discovery, there are enough small twists and memorable characters to hold your interest throughout the 92-minute duration. Easy A lacks somewhat in general humor, but there are a few gags that will get at least a chuckle. It’s a short, sweet-hearted flick, perfect for putting you and a date in a cheery mood. Just don’t bring the guys. B-