A Hole in my Heart – Film Review

A Hole in my Heart could have been something interesting, but instead fails to deliver any sort of social message, which, I believe was what director Lukas Moodysson had set out to do in this movie.

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Having watched Lilya 4-ever many years ago, I felt compelled to pick this up at my local secondhand commodity-store, and thought it would go down with a nice cup of tea. Instead, my eyes had to witness what can only be described as amateur pornography, in some rundown apartment, where a father and his close ‘guy-friend’ had sex with a woman. The twist in the story is a psychological one (but, to be frank, most of it was twisted). Sadly though, the backstory (primarily the father’s), whilst presented as a deep psychoanalytical exploration into these people’s lives, was wafer-thin, almost cardboard in its narrative. ‘What a shame’, I said to myself as I watched this. Lilya 4-ever this was not, because at least that film had some sort of impacting message (at least it did for me).

But thinking back to Lilya 4-ever, I can see Lukas Moodysson’s filmmaking style is in this film too. In Lilya, there was a few corny scenes that undermined the movie as a whole (the angels, a McDonald’s happy meal on the table), but at least they were memorable. (I watched that film perhaps ten years ago.) Having just watched A Hole in my Heart, I fail to recall much. The only interesting thing happened when the woman leaves the apartment, and entering the real world, we see that she cannot handle it, so she then retreats back to them. The film should have explored that idea more, I believe, and could have easily been done as she was the only one to leave the house! If they’d all have left at one point or another, we could have seen how they required the perversity of their secret world, inside the flat, in order to survive. It would have made for a deeper, more meaningful contrast. But no! instead, we have what I would term as post-dogma camera work, looped editing (e.g the film starts where it begins), and by the end of it I’m immediately left with the words ‘Is that it?’ on the tip of my tongue.

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I believe Lukas Moodysson is a talented filmmaker, but A Hole in my Heart is huge failure in my opinion, purely because it lacks a coherent message. Some films don’t require an explicit statement for the audience to receive, but in a film such as this, there is a moral obligation not to infect the viewer with bad ideas. Moodysson, by not being obvious in his message, signals to some viewers that this kind of behaviour is acceptable, when it is not. I don’t care what happened to a character such as the boy’s father – you don’t treat women like that! Having psychological issues such as what he had does not mean you should enact abuse on others. Moodysson fails to deliver a solution to this type of problem, which he could have easily have done, and in not doing so he leaves the film open to the interpretation of being a glorification of sexual abuse. Whilst I believe Moodysson did not intend for this to be perceived as such, it must be said that there are many, many damaged people out there who will see this film as so. It could be said this is purely that type of viewer’s fault for indulging in that psychological perversion of theirs, but this is exactly my point: Moodysson gives them the opportunity to self-medicate their own psychological issues in this arena. A misjudged film, by a filmmaker who is capable of so much more.

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Luther (S1 Ep2) – Bear TV Review

Rambling Hi!!!

In the second episode of Luther we see Alice (the innocent-until-proven-guilty-but-obviously-the-killer-or-her-parents—–and-dog) become more and more like Rose from Two and a Half Men, back in the days where Charlie Sheen was the uncompromising womaniser on screen. But unlike Rose, Alice is more of a threat – afterall, you never saw Rose break into the house of your estranged wife’s house like Alice does. Alice is the real deal. Rose is a wannabe. This is relevant I know, but the rest of this review is worth reading, so I’m sorry for this paragraph, but not sorry enough to delete it. Hater’s gonna hate regardless.

Anyways, enough of the subplot. Here’s the real meat for you to sink your teeth into (unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, then I wholeheartedly apologise from my caravore heart. Follow, like, comment y’all! X)

The Nitty Gritty

So we begin with a guy slumped by the side wall of an underpass, the train on the track above whizzing past as a police car comes by to expect what looks like either a homeless guy, a drunk, or both. It turns out it was none of these things I’ve just mentioned, but someone armed with a gun whom kills them both with expert precision. Who is this?

After seeing some CCTV footage back at the station of a guy near that very location and time of the shooting, from only the back of this person’s body can Luther discriminate what kind of background this murderer has, to some degree anyway. Luther declares that this man use to be in the army, and he can tell by the way he walks, and having been around many people such as this in his past.

His boss gives him a file of someone who fits the guy’s profile of killing only cops and the descriptions they have of him. The file is of a person whom cannot of done this as he is still inside behind bars for killing a previous copper, and looks too old to fit the bill. So instead Luther thinks – once shown the next file – that it could be this guy’s son, who also served in the forces but was recently released due to mental illness. To Luther, this is the killer, and you know something – he’s right again.

The next scene of crime regarding this case takes place at point blank range. He deliberately walks up to a passing female police woman and shoots her in the abdomen, with the intention of not killing her but leaving her as bait to attract more police to this location. It worked, and he starts sniping them all from the rooftops like he was playing a video game. But what kind of sick twisted mind wants to kill policemen, and what is his motivations? That’s what Luther wants to know. And the answer comes in the form of an online video.

The killer uploads a video to the web (it’s gotten a fair amount of hits already, so say one copper) and states the demands he wants in order to stop him killing anymore innocent police men and women. He wants for his father to be let out from prison as he doesn’t deserve to be in there, and did this country a great service. Luther now understands who is really behind these killings, and it isn’t the one on the screen.

The commander of the killings is the one locked away in prision: the father. He has a strangehold on his mentally unstable son and apparently use to beat him when he was younger, so much so that he made his son wet the bed constantly. The son wants to please his father and would do anything for him – joining the army, and even kill for his release. So Luther decides to pay him a little visit.

The veteran meets up with Luther in an empty prison hall and he tries to bargain with the detective that he will tell his son to stop killing if he is allowed to have his prison sentence reduced 5 years, as he believes what he did was manslaughter not murder. Luther laughs away his negotiations, telling him that this isn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, whilst they talk, this guy’s cell is being searched inside-out for clues in how he is able to communicate with his son in the outside world. It turns out that he had a mobile phone in there all along, but little do they know that this commander behind bars is still one step ahead of them. He knew that they would find the phone, and planted it there so that more policemen will be led to a building with a bomb inside. The bomb being detonated by a mobile phone call.

Luther goes back to the veteran and tries to blackmail him into giving him what he wants. And what does no prisoner want other prisoners around them to think they are? That’s right – a nonce. He slaps a brown envelope on the table between them, and the guy’s face twists in disgust at the picture he sees. He tells Luther that no-one will believe him, but Luther thinks they will as the story of how he controls his son to commit murders on behalf of himself says a lot about what their real relationship could really be like between them. The prisoner doesn’t give Luther an answer, or at least we do not see it. But it doesn’t take long for us to know what the outcome of that talk was.

In her office, the boss sees Luther on the BBC news, talking to a reporter about the gunman who is killing policemen. Everything he says is a lie, and is his way of painting himself as a target. Because he’s so smart, he also knows that the killer has been listening in to all of their police conversations, and so tells his boss over the walkie talkie where he is heading. This is a message for the killer, and he bites it hook, line, and sinker.

Outside a row of upper flats, we get the head-to-head of Luther and the gunman. Using his psychological wit to try and disarm the mentally unstable man doesn’t work and only winds him up enough to hit him in the face a few times with the butt of his gun. He still tries to use his father against him, telling him that he doesn’t have to live in his shadow anymore and that it’s him the police are after, not him, but the ex-soldier doesn’t buy it. Instead, he takes all the bullets out of his gun chamber bar one, and plays russian roulette with him. After the fifth one (empty load), Luther knows that there isn’t much time to act before the man finishes himself off, to prove he is nothing like his own father. Luther wrestles him to the ground, punching him in the face and disarms him. Job done! Of course his boss isn’t happy about him disobeying orders, but that’s what happens when you’ve got a maverick like Luther on your team. In the end, you’ve got to roll with it, like Oasis said.

So where will the next episode find us? If I was to guess I’d say the guy whom Luther decided to let fall from a great height at the beginning of episode one will come back into it, and join forces with Alice. This has already been suggested in this episode as we saw Alice playing psychological games with Luther from the guy’s bedside, telling us that he is indeed still alive. Ooo0o0o0o0o I can’t wait! Can you?

See you in a bit. Xxx

Lost In Translation (Bear Film Review)

Recently, I watched Lost In Translation, a little doozy of a film which isn’t usually the type of thing I would stick on my goggle-box on a Friday evening, but thought ‘What the hey – it’s been on my radar for a while now (radar being Netflix) so why not watch it. ‘It can’t be that bad’, I tempted myself further – it’s got Bill Murray on the logo. ‘Give it a go…’

And so I did.

It opens with a shot of the back of some girl named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), lying on her side on a hotel bed, her crack on show translucently seen through her bland shapeless lady briefs. I initially found this a mundane, albeit, a mildly titillating opening, but as the film progressed it was clear that this was to set the mood for the duration of my viewing.

The key component to this lonesome, offbeat love story (which I classify as that, even though the ending left the viewer with a ‘did they/didn’t they’ situation) is the amazing atmosphere that permeates throughout. This film connects with the viewer what the two main characters are feeling – loneliness – without uttering to the audience one word of it. The way the girl and the much older guy, a has-been actor scraping ad commercials in Japan, connect on such a profound level really resonated with me: I felt their sorrow, I noticed how both of them must have felt inside when dealing with their bored, listless marriages. This film is the best example in recent years of how you don’t need to let the characters speak or do all that much in order for the audience to get what they’re going through.

Millions of people have been in a foreign country and have experienced how everyone speaks a language they cannot understand, and for that they are literally lost in translation. Because of this disconnect from the city of Tokyo around them, they form an unspoken bond – a translation of their yearning to feel noticed; and in their own lives, they don’t get that: the girl’s husband is a music photographer and is too caught up in that world to take notice of her, and the older guy’s wife only interact with him over the phone to ask him basic things, mentioning the kids, and asking when he’ll be back. The way the older guy’s wife talks to him however is done in such a moody way, a loveless way. No wonder he’s taking jobs half way across the world – he’s stuck in a loveless marriage.

So how do these two people, who would never have spoken to each other under other circumstances come to form a romance/close friendship?

Well, it all began with the girl asking the waitress to pass over a bowl of nuts to the older man at the bar, and from there they hit it off. He found out that she is a rather intelligent person, studying philosophy, and getting paid per bono and later finds out other stuff such as that she listens to an audiobook regarding finding your own soul’s passion in life. Later, he tackles this head on (as she denied, in a way, that this was her tape) and asked her what she wants to do with her life. It’s here we, the viewer, realise she is stuck in the shadow of her lover. She’s only in Tokyo to follow around her husband and his pursuit in his dreams, and it seems to have had an impact on the directionlessness(nessness…) of her own dreams. I mean, she’s tried things such as Photography, and gave writing ago but said she didn’t like what came out when she did, so it’s pretty evident that she’s a lost soul. Bob tells her that she’ll land on her feet, and that she shouldn’t give up on the writing (which I saw as a subtext to the director’s own personal experience, as I believe some of the film was in relation to her past encounter with someone in a foreign city. Don’t quote me on that, unless you want to look potentially stupid, which you’re not – I love you).

Bob on the other hand has become this blasé, almost jaded ghost of his former self. He’s stuck not only in his loveless relationship, but also in his dwindling actor career. He’s embarrassed whenever someone actually notices who he is, and hates the production of the whisky drinking advert he had to do. I found this very funny to watch, and loved how they made him play Roger Moore as opposed to Sean Connery, whom he thought was better. Charlotte brought out of Bob this realisation that perhaps it’s okay to feel upbeat once in a while. (Saying that, I did get a kick out of the despond faces Bill Murray had throughout this film. Priceless.)

She brought out his youthful side as they interacted in bars and a karaoke booth that overlooked the city. This scene (in the booth) was a key scene to the movie for me as it showed that, though both obviously drunk, there was real affection between them, plus that Bob is a real gentleman afterwards when he carried her back to her hotel room and tucked her in bed).

More signs that Bob had fallen in love with Charlotte included him suddenly extending his trip so that he can go do a chat show (which he ended up hating). Yet things take a backslide when he wakes up with the red haired jazz singer from the hotel bar, and Charlotte knocks on the door to hear that he has ‘company’. When they go for lunch later that day, it’s apparent that Charlotte is jealous, and Bob reacts like a sulky kid. Both are hurt by what had happened, and both vehemently regret it.

The film ends with Bob saying goodbye to Charlotte in the hotel lobby, and it all seems a bit anti-climatic. The Japanese greeters are there to distract him with photo poses and their barrage of bye byes, and Charlotte resides herself with going back to the lift, and looking dejectedly up to the sky.

Bob gets in the taxi. It’s all over. But wait – he spots the back of in her the busy city crowd. Her body’s figure so distinct to him as it was to us (the viewer) in the first scene of the movie. Bob gets out of the taxi. Runs up to her and calls out her name. Hugs her. Kisses her…

But we do NOT hear what he whispers into her ear. Damn it! What did he say? And alas the movie is over.

It’s a wonderful display of unspoken bonds in unfamiliar land. A movie that really captures the feelings of loneliness and isolation, even in a place so densely packed as Tokyo, Japan. Like I said as I started off this review: I wasn’t expecting to like this film so much as I did. Sure, it’s a slow burner, but it sure packs an emotional punch by the end.

I blubbed a bit. No shame there.

9/10

Death Proof – Film Review

In this film review I will be tackling Death Proof – a film that had some wonderful, comedic moments, but was also tainted by overindulgent dialogue that seemed to go on… and on… and on…

And on…

I know it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie, and that’s one of the elements you’d to expect when watching one, but this film’s dialogue wasn’t that interesting if I’m being honest. Yes, it’s great listening to a group of girls talk about sex and shit (I use that word loosely – they didn’t once bring up scatology), but after a while it becomes an impotent affair.

The film is split into two acts. The first act follows a group of girls to a bar, who are soon to get killed by some weird stalker guy with a stunt car that he’s dubbed ‘death proof’. His name is Stuntman Mike (played by Kirk Russell). I wished his character was developed more: it was a bit too one-dimensional for my liking. We don’t even know why he’s stalking these girls and killing them! Sure, it hints at how he possibly gets a sexual kick out of it, but to me, the viewer, it just comes a cross as cowardly to the highest degree. I would have liked the film to have explored this avenue more, giving Stuntman Mike more depth to why he’s hell bent on killing people, using his car.

Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy parts of this film, such as when one of the girls gave Stuntman Mike a lap dance in the bar. I liked the fact she was wearing flip flops whilst she was doing it (the director apparently has a foot fetish). Come to think of it, there is a lot of exposed feet in this flick, which tells me that this Quentin isn’t afraid to indulge in his desires, which is fine – just don’t bore me (like you did with the dialogue). It’s a shame the film didn’t keep to the tone of the latter half of the movie, because if he’d kept the tone a 100% goofy violent comedy, then this could have been [possibly] my favourite movie by him, but instead it falls short of that mark by a long way. I don’t know a lot about the back story of this, but it comes off as a rushed project, or a project with no real focused identity or vision, which is strange considering what he’s done previously and after this film.

Another scene I enjoyed in this movie what when Mike gives a blonde girl a lift home, but then tells her directly that he has no intention of doing so. That bit of dialogue there was actually very good, very Tarantinoesque (i.e. he gets the character to explain to another character that they have no option but to do as they say). I was a bit shocked by the way the girl died inside the stunt car, but I should have seen it coming really – the fact that she didn’t have a proper seat, and that there was a divider between them in the car was a bad omen (plus the fact she got in the car with a guy who had photos of the girls pinned to his pull down mirror. Creep much?

And then he does a head-on collision with the group of girls, killing them but surviving because of his ‘death proof’ car. And 14 months later, he’s at it again, stalking another group of girls. And I’m thinking, doesn’t this guy have any healthy hobbies he could pursue instead of his insatiable lust of killing groups of women? Like scrabble, for instance?

But the bully gets his comeuppance this time around, as the second group of girls manage to flip his car, and pull him out of it. They form a circle and take turns plummeting punches into his pitiful face, until one of them roundhouse kicks him to the ground. ‘The end,’ it says on the screen abruptly. I thought this was a satisfying ending as that worm of a man, Stuntman Mike, didn’t deserve to be on this earth with that sick perverted attitude of his. He was scum in a scum bucket, and thankfully the girls prevailed in the end – hurrah!

In this car chase that came before his capturing, there was some epic stunts done by the character played by Zoe Bell, in which she climbs onto the bonnet of the Dodge Challenger, using two belts that have been pinched in the car doors for balance.

Just because this film has many flaws and bores packed in it, it did still have it’s moments, and when those came up on the screen, the viewing experience was a pleasurable one. But because this is a film that couldn’t make up what kind of film it wanted to be, and could have done with about 30 minutes less of dialogue taken out, I have to award this motion piccy a fairly low score of:

6/10

Kes – Film Review

Wowee! Never has a film totally swung my opinion of it from one extreme to another like this one. At first, I thought this film was a depressing clump of autobiographical drool, a way of showing how people a few decades ago in the lower working classes have no chance in hell of amounting to anything other than what their environment presented towards them. Just look at how that job advisor gave Billy – the young boy we follow throughout this film – only two options: manual work or office work. And it’s obvious this kid doesn’t want to do any of these things, especially to work down the mine shaft (he explodes in adolescent anxieties when this is ever mentioned).

Thankfully though, there is a small glint of a light beacon in Billy’s life to escape the downtrodden life paved already for him – his pet Kestrel, which he gives the name ‘Kes’. He looks after this bird, feeding it raw meat and training it to come back to him from gradually increasing distances. There’s a bond on that screen between them, and I found this really endearing and, if I’m being frank, it warmed the cockles of my heart, as I’m sure (if you’re anything like me), you have fond memories of escapism still lurking of your childhood in the rivers of your mind. But alas, Billy has many, many life struggles he has to deal with on a regular basis: he has to share a bed with his older, mean brother, and his father left them at an earlier age, leaving his mother angry and bitter. School isn’t any much better either: he gets picked on by some of the other kids, and gets into fisticuffs with a few. And the teachers aren’t caring towards him, most of all his PE teacher, whom after losing in a football match against the kids, trapped Billy in the showers and turned the water stone cold. In fact, Billy is surrounded by cold, cold, cold, and even though he’s so young (though his face looks like he’s never had a single good night’s sleep in his life) he’s wise enough to understand the sad situation he has been born into.

There is one teacher who takes an interest in Billy’s past time of kestrel training, after hearing Billy stand before his class and give a presentation on what he does. Everybody’s ears are listening intently to what Billy has to say; and even though he is perceived as a wrong un by most, the passion that comes through when he talk about  Kes is so genuine, so beautiful, that you forget all that. And looking from the outside, looking in, I can see that Billy is just a misunderstood kid to some degree, and prejudice has shrouded his life in a bad reputation. But on the flip side, he doesn’t help himself by stealing newpapers, milk bottles, and by stealing a book on Kestrels from a shop (after being told how he can’t take a book out of the library as he is too young to without someone 21 years of age to sign for him).

But to some extent, the fact Billy can’t use the library freely, and that nobody is there to encourage him to pursue his ambitions, or to give him self-belief and direction, tells me [based on the film] that society limits our desire, but breeds our miseries, depending on the environment we come from. It’s restrictive to free spirits, and Billy is an example of someone who is almost ashamed to tell the world that he wants to not work as a typical manual worker or office worker, but follow his desire and his love of kestrel training. He never does say this though, but it’s so god damn obvious to the viewer that he never has to.

And this is what changed my mind about Kes the film as I thought about more and more, as I lay in bed, thinking about what I’d just watched hours earlier. I’ll admit right now that I’d been a bit tired after having a long day doing nothing, so was drifting in and out of a state of half sleep as I watched the first 20 minutes of the film, but after that it really broke the spell and gained my complete attention. The realism of this story is what shocked me, and the whole film makes profound sense by the very last scene, where Billy finds his Kes had been killed by his older brother out of spite. He brings the Kestrel’s corpse into the house (finding it in the garbage bin), and swings it’s lifeless, limp body around the room, showing his brother and mother the damage done. The damage being his shattered dreams, and how his pessimistic background, environments, and the structured expectancy of society has closed Billy up like a clam who is unable to show the world the pearl he holds inside; and now that pearl, that glimmer of hope, has been eradicated by those closest to him.

At first, I just thought that this was a reflection on the director’s own pessimistic outlook, but then I did a teeny-weeny bit of research and found that the story had been adapted from a novel. Okay, so it’s possible for two people to share the same ideology, but then I found my father (he was watching the film with me) saying how this was exactly how his childhood was. And then it hit me, after putting together all the snippets of stories he’d told me of his own youth throughout the years, how he wasn’t lying. And if I take it a step further, I can see the correlations of this story in my own life, in my own generation of a lower class society, and how this effects the way we all approach life on a mental level. The old saying ‘crabs in a bucket’ comes in to play here – how nobody in your class necessarily want to see you climb out of the circumstances you’ve inherited, and this film demonstrates three levels of that: the class of family, the school class, and the work class. And everybody I know has a hobby/a ‘Kes’ they use to vacate their minds from the stresses of life, and how we all need a rope of hope to keep our positivity alive for greater things. I’m not saying hope is an illusion, no way – hope is a necessity, because without it, you’re doomed to the gloom around you. Yet it all just depends what lenses you view life through, because it’s all out there – a spectrum of good and evil –  and it’s all a matter of perception, how you see things. In a strange way, this film Kes is a rather hopeful story, even though on the surface it’s depressing as shit, because it can be used as the perfect allegory of how you should never let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with your life (or at least bow down to it). You’ve got to fight for what you want, and that mostly happens on a mental level, whereby you have to tough it out and proclaim to those around you, and the world, that this is who I am, and this is what I want to be and how I want to spend my life. Because after all, this is your life we are talking about here.

Part of me wants to watch his again, just in case I missed something. But I feel it’s save enough for me to reward this film what I’m about to award it, seeing as it transcends the experience of most films for me (it’s always a good sign when a film gets you thinking about it, long after you’ve watched it – all my favourite films do that to me).

I give this film (for the meantime): 9/10

Rasputin: The Mad Monk – Film Review

Yo Ho Ho! Want to know more about some freaky guy who stared his way out of poverty and into the realms of riches? Yes? Then read on biatch…

This Hammer Horror film stars Christopher Lee as (you guessed it!) Gregory Rasputin. It starts off at a quaint little pub, where the landlord’s wife is bedridden with the most horrendous fever, so much so that it has rendered her so weak to stay awake. Enter Rasputin: a giant-Russian-Lumberjack of a guy (if there is such a thing). He is brought into the bedroom where the wife so sleeps, and then proceeds in his healing process. It must be said that his hands are like SHOVELS!!! They’re so big that when he places his hands over her face, enclosing them slowly over her like a tomb, they completely conceal her. And that stare – it’s the most intense imaginable. It reminded me of that gopher creature on youtube who turns around and gives the camera a devilish stare (maybe Rasputin reincarnated?). Anyway, so he expels the fever from the landlord’s wife, and dunks his hands into a jug of water found on the windowstill, to rid the fever from his hands (he trapped it in there, you see). He’s then rewarded with lots of alcohol, and a song and dance. He dances with a young lady whom he quickly takes to a barn full of haystacks for some lovin’. But then the young lady’s fella spotted them at the pub, and followed them there – he tries to kill Rasputin with some kind of cutting tool (A hoe?) but is out fought by o’ Greggers. The end of this act concludes with Rasputin deciding he wants to go to the city, once told that “The city is no place for common folk like you” (I paraphrase, but you get the gist).


Hay now.

So now he’s made his way to the city, and he’s in another bar. A doctor is practically demanding that people go up against him in a drinking contest as he believes no-one could possibly outdrink him. It’s only when the mention of money is heard by Rasputin that he takes him up on his challenge, and drinks him under the table. Sure enough, the two of them become friends so after.

One more important thing happens at this bar – a lady in waiting to her majesty downs a heavy drink and starts laughing manically. Rasputin, who is dancing at the time, takes great offense by this and give her the stare of a thousand deaths, telling her that she will come to him and apology for laughing at him. The lady in waiting’s brother, sat with her, is appalled by such vile behaviour on Rassie’s side of things, but the bearded one doesn’t care any less, and goes back to his seat. Charming!

It was indeed hypnotism what Rasputin did, as the red haired lady at the bar manages to track him down. He is squatting at the ex-doctor’s abode whom he beat in the drinking challenge last night and apologies to him. He tells her to get on her knees and slaps her, then says that she will cook for them like a common peasant. Then she tells them that she will not as she is a lady-in-waiting to the queen. Rasputin changes tactics now, knowing that she is of some real use to her after hearing this, and hypnotises her again with his wide daemonic eyes, telling her that she will cause an “accident” whereby the son of Tzar will need his methods of healing to get better. And that so happens not long after he tells her to – she pushes the young lad off of a pillar, knocking him out cold on the ground.

After Rasputin heals the son and tells the queen that “He’ll be fully recovered by the morning,” he somehow worms he way into living at the majesty’s abode. He also (by hypnotizing the queen) got his ex-doctor friend reinstated as a doctor – ergo, she hires him as her doctor, and fires the other one.

After Rasputin heals the son and tells the queen that “He’ll be fully recovered by the morning,” he somehow worms he way into living at the majesty’s abode. He also (by hypnotizing the queen) got his ex-doctor friend reinstated as a doctor – ergo, she hires him as her doctor, and fires the other one.

After hypnotizing the queen, the red-haired lady is no more of use to Rasputin, but she gets to clingy to him. What does he do? Answer: he puts he in a trance, telling her to kill herself. And later, she does – her brother find her in her room, wrists slit and blood drawn. Bloody awful stuff.

He is a very fickle man

But all Rasputin’s good fortune can’t go on for much longer, if the lady-in-waiting’s brother and his scheming officer have anything to do with it. They devise a plan whereby they invite Rasputin to meet up with the officer’s sister – the other lady-in-waiting (whom he earlier described as “The prettier one”). He falls for the set up and comes to the place he is told to, and is left to wait in a room whilst she gets ready. On one table is a decanter full of sweet sweet alcohol, just how he likes it. He drinks a couple of glasses of this. He sits down. Next to him now are a box crammed full of marvellously presented chocolate bites (well, I thought they looked good). He takes one, two… about eight of them, and chucks them into his mouth like a gluttonous pig. He then suddenly gets stomach pains and falls to the floor in agonising pain. This is because the drink was laced with poison and the chocolates were injected with… poison! He’s been poisoned!! But like the super-freak he is, he manages to get up. The brother is shocked by this (he’s been spying on him the whole time) as Rasputin tries to kill him. Eventually, it takes both the officer and the brother to end Rasputin’s life. Rasputin gets thrown out of a window, and the brother gets stabbed in the back with a flying dagger.

I’ve got to take into consideration that this is a Hammer Horror film, so the accuracy of such a story is most likely a mixture of facts and OTT fictions. But who knows. I certainly don’t – I only just watched the film about ten minutes ago and know nought about the Rassmeister, apart from what this film has shown my brain.

Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get… perhaps, poison?

But, as a viewing experience, I would like to award Rasputin: The Mad Monk a….

Wanted – Film Review (By BEAR)

Aloha film fans and freaks alike! Today I will be reviewing Wanted (2009), sinking my claws into it, and letting y’all know what BEAR thinks of this fairly recent action film. So if you care to indulge me in my musings on life and film (but mostly, film), lets continue…

From the get go, I knew I was going to like this film. I’m a sucker for well done action sequences, and the intro of this film has just that. ‘Wanted’ starts off with a mystery guy who is being sniped by a small group of people disguised in health-and-safety-gone-mad work clothing. I should clear this up and say that these are blatantly not builders or engineers, but if they were, they should be fired on the spot for not doing their job properly. Instead, these are a clan of professional assassins who have tracked down this guy and are in the process of tearing him a new poohole. The guy then takes a run up and smashes through the window, shooting all the assassins… dead. He lands on top of the building opposite to where he just was, smiles, then realises he’s stood on an ‘X’ on the floor. ‘Oh no’, he thinks; and then a bullet from an apartment miles away, bursts through the back of his head, making its way all the way through, like how one may decide to de-core an apple if one was hungry. That’s right: the queen, ‘one’, sometimes eats apples. (DISCLAIMER: I must state that BEAR cannot guarantee that the queen does/does not eat apples.) Here’s a picture to sum up the opening of Wanted:


(Zack Dela Rocha: “A bullet in yer fookin’ head!!!”
BEAR: Actually Zach, the bullet has passed through the head.
Zack Dela Rocha: Oh. Well that’s ruined it for me.)

Working in a boring office, living his boring dull life, thinking his boring dull thoughts–and just resigning himself to boredom in general – is Wesley, the protagonist, played by James McAvoy. (Protaganist is just another word for ‘main star of the film’. Yes, BEAR lives to serve.) So, this guy is riddled with problems such as constant anxiety attacks brought on by his red-haired blob of a boss, and his workmate saying “how’s yer father” to his girlfriend when he’s not around. What makes the latter more pathetic is that he knows it but is too much of a wet girl’s blouse to do anything about it. But all this mundanity is about to end in a very short while for Wesley. Up until this moment, he has compromised himself so much that he is living every moment of his life like a one-man-band zombie nation. All because of the dough, the money, the blinging wonga! I could digress into some social commentary on the state of the times with live in, but my name’s Noam Chomsky – my name is BEAR.

(Boss gives Wesley his ritual morning panic attack)

(The ATM doesn’t seem to like Wesley)

Wesley’s life changes forever when we see him enter his local shop, where all he wants is to pick up some tablets from the pharmacy in there. But then this woman named Fox, who looks a helluva lot like Angelina Jolie*, walks up beside him and introduces herself with her nonchalant allure. It quickly becomes apparent that the two of them are under attack by a man, whom Fox says killed his father (this is a lie! A slanderous, movie script LIE!! BEAR will explain later). But with Fox’s awesome use of a gun that can see around corners, plus Wesley’s beautiful freak outs, the two of them manage to escape unscathed. It’s a shame they cut out the stream of yellow trail that followed them out of the building though (BEAR just made a wee little joke).

(Fox seriously wants to protect Wesley)

Fox takes Wesley – whose mind must be orbiting the library of his consciousness in order to figure out what the F is going on about now – to a secret HQ which is home to a group of deadly assassins, all of whom kill for a living (hence why they are called ‘assassins’. It’s not like you’re going to find them working at McDonald’s and spitting on yer onion rings… unless they’re in disguise!). He leaves that place, with the understanding that he is one of them – a born assassin. He’s told that his anxiety attacks are in fact a secret power which he is yet to have mastered, and that with diligent training, he can gain the strength of a Hulk, the ability to slow-mo time like in that film The Matrix, and the reflexes of a ninja cat. Initially, Wesley thinks “F that shiz. I can’t deal with that malarkey, you dig it, brother?” But then he checks his bank balance, and what use to be next-to-nothing is now over 3.5 million dollars. You can buy a lot of sheds with that (ie that’s a shed loada money). From there he tells his boss at work to shove it, and joins the super-fly assassins, AKA The Fraternity. He even gets his own back on his workmate by smacking him in the face with an ergonomic keyboard as he leaves the office. Oh! and later, he gets his own back on his girlfriend (now presumed ‘ex’), by making out with that lady who looks an awful lot like Angelina Jolie, in front of her. If there was a moment to get anxious and use your slow-mo mojo, it would have been right then. The boi sure has insane powers, but that doesn’t stop him being an idiot sometimes.


(The qwerty keyboard has been used more violently).

Next time Fox brings Wesley back to the assassin HQ, it looks nothing like it did before, and now resembles a textile factory, full of workers and machinery and looms to make fabric. He seems a bit peeved, until Sloan, the top dog at this joint (played by someone who looks like Morgan Freeman**) shows him why all is what it seems there. He tells Wesley that if you look closely at the fabric, there is a unique stitching pattern to it all, which can be deciphered by using each variant of stitch pattern to figure out a binary code. And all those ones and zeros can then be translated into letters, which gives you some poor sod’s name. That name straight away declares then a dead man walking. This turns out to be some guy who is in a boardroom meeting presentation. The first time Wesley stands on the moving train and tries to assassinate him, he chickens out. But after being explained that there is a reason for this, and having been explained that one time they didn’t kill someone, that person killed a lot more people, it made sense for him to shoot da bugger. And so… he does. Initiation complete!

(Sloan: I admit it – I have strange reading habits)

For some reason they kept putting Wesley in a bath of dried wax. Actually no – it was a bath full of some chemical that was meant to stimulate rapid white cell growth. This was during the rigorous training regime he’s being put through by Sloan. It’s also so that he can become the hardcore assassin superfreak that he really is. The things Sloan has got him doing – like the sadistic Mr Miyagi he is – include: bending bullets around hanging pig carcasses, racing Fox to grab some flag thingy whilst running on top of a speeding train; fighting a butcher guy who leaves him with loads of gashes all over his body, and a quite peculiar task of trying to grab a fast moving bit of mechanism from inside a textile machine. Another day in the office for Wesley then? Eventually, he gets the gist of these painful tasks, and masters each of these situations. He can no longer be called a “pussy,” like all the assassins there previously liked to mockingly call him.

(Eraserhead 2)

So, he’s killed one guy, now what? It’s up to the loom of fate, as I like to determine more assassinations. As we know already, the code spells out the guy’s name who killed his father… or so they make him believe. In the meantime, The Exterminator, Wesley’s only true friend at The Fraternity (you know – the guy who’s always wearing that blue beanie hat) as something for him to see. The Exterminator, in a shady looking alley, shows him his… (wait for it…) pet project rat. The rat has a bomb strapped to it. The guy’s well chuffed with this idea, as it can be successfully used to demolish a building, without your person needing to enter it. Wesley, like a Shia Labeouf plagiarist, steals this idea and uses it to his own advantage later on in the movie.

(The Exterminator)

The train scene is where Wesley comes into battle with the guy who’s name was plucked outta the universally immoral loom machine (depending on your outlook on paid murderers, or just murderers in general). By now he is no longer a whimpering “pussy” but a behemoth of a sabre tooth tiger – I’m talking metaphorically here, you bloggin’ biatches (please leave comments!) The train comes off the rails on a suspension bridge, located between two cliffsides the train tunnels through; and Wesley, Fox, and the guy Wesley’s trying to assassinate are now dangling on the brink of a potentially undesired drop. Their bullets collide into each other like a gun trick joust Penn and Teller would have applauded (I dunno, maybe they did at the cinema. You knows?). The twist in this scene is that Wesley was about to slide out of the carriage to his free-falling death, but for some reason, the guy he’s trying to kill has grabbed his hand just in the nic[olas cage] of time. He tells him straight up that he is Wesley’s father, but not before Wesley, like a birdbrain, decides to pull the trigger on him anyways. BEAR is utterly confused: the guy just saved your life, and… you decide to shoot him?! Moron much? Anywho, Fox confirms that this is true – that Wesley was indeed brainwashed into killing his father because he would be the only person who his dad would never kill. Makes sense, dunnit? Then Fox shoots the window that the two of them are on and they fall into the river below.

(Alton Towers has seen better days)

Wesley survived the fall into the splash (I’m amazed – that was some height! It gave me vertigo just watching it from my cave), and has been brought back to his father’s flat by an agent working outside of The Fraternity. This agent is Pekwarsky. This guy is like a mad scientist, in that he has invented a bullet that is undetectable after doing the fatal deed, and can travel from very long distances. This seems logical to the viewer, because if you don’t have the memory span of a goldfish, you will recall the opening action sequence to the movie, where Wesley’s dad shoots the guy on top of a skyscraper, using a sniper rifle tied to a telescope to shoot the target (the enemy even had to stand on a ‘X’ on the fall). The way the bullet travelled through the air reminded me of THIS. I wonder if that idea was inspired by this music vid? Just some food for thought. It makes BEAR wonder if anything can be 100% original these days.

Now that Wesley knows what the F is going on – how he got F’d over by The Fraternity – he wants payback. He wants revenge.

My favourite scene has got to be when Wesley unloads a dumpster truck carrying an army of exploding rats, right outside the HQ. It was so good it plagued my mind with its awesomeness ever since watching it last night, up ’till this moment as I type out this junkyard of words. A close second is the scene where Fox kills almost the whole Fraternity by bending a bullet in a perfect circle; but I found the army of rats being unleashed to their peril more original. This scene happens in quick succession of each other. Also, the scene where Fox stands in front of the hung up pig, and had Wesley bend a bullet around her head is quite cool too. Actually, this movie does have some epic scenes, doesn’t it? I wonder how many hits of acid it took to make this story. Or perhaps it’s a true story? Either way – I likes it I’s do!

(DIE YOU VERMIN!!/Headshot! Headshot! Headshot…)

I couldn’t really be too critical with this film, because I was having too much fun enjoying the high-octane action. But there was one mistake I picked up on: the toilet cistern in Wesley’s flat is empty when he initially puts his handgun in there, but later in the film when it’s taken out, the cistern is full of water. Yes, I’m being extremely critical here, but you can’t fault a BEAR for tryin’.

My least favourite bit was that the main character, Wesley, was definitely, in BEAR’s honest opinion, outperformed by the actress who played Fox. She stole that movie for me, that Angelina Jolie looky likey. And I don’t like how Wesley didn’t have the foresight to transfer all that 3.6 million dollars into a savings account of some kind. That’s what happens when you put too much trust in The Fraternity, and then decide to take them on WITHOUT transferring your money safely – you get owned, financially, beyond the grave. Next time Wesley, let me look after it. Oh wait! There ain’t going to be a next time, is there?

Well, I think I’ve said all I wanna say about this film. I’ve most likely missed out something important, haven’t I? Perhaps I’ve left the oven on too long? Oh well – C’est la vie.

I award this film an 8/10!

(Fox: “Thank god this took only one take.”)

*I obviously knows this is really Angelina Jolie.
** Yes, this is also the real Morgan Freeman in the film. BEAR’s knot stewpad ore samting.

The House at the End of the Street – Film review (by BEAR)

In this blog entry I will be reviewing The House at the End of the Street. Have you watched it? No? Well even so, read on, and you will discover what BEAR has to say about this “Horror film”.

This film opens with Elissa and her mother moving into a new neighbourhood, getting to know the place, meeting the locals, ya’know – settling in ‘n’ that.. It seems like the picture perfect, all-american small town, until Elissa is told that the house an the end of the street has some bad history: two people living there were killed by their young daughter, brutally (note: “brutally” isn’t the daughter’s name, merely an adjective).


(Elissa, and her mother, Sarah. Elissa is much taller than Sarah, according to this picture)

Curiosity gets the better of this young teenager (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and soon enough she befriends the young lad who lives in this house, all alone. His name is Ryan. He seems kinda normal; I mean, nothing you would immediately be concerned about if you brought her over to your mothers for dinner. This is actually what happens, but the mother was the one who invited him over, as an excuse to lay the ground rules (basically “Don’t you dare be in my house or your house with no one else about, bucko!”) And of course, the two teens disobey this only rule, with Elissa making it okay by finding a lame ass loophole to it.


(Elissa, with Ryan, the loveable weirdo)

So they go to the house at the end of the street where the guy lives, and almost immediately, he kicks her out of the property. Not because she was unpleasant company or because she burped heartily at the table without saying sorry, but because the boy has spotted his “sister” dash around the corner, taking a kitchen knife with her. Now, the absent-minded viewer of this film may now be thinking, “This looks like the guy is doing a heroic deed on quite a few levels: he’s trying to protect Elissa by showing her the door, and he’s trying to hide his ‘sister’ from the world”. Wrong, sir! Very wrong. What you should be doing is questioning why his ‘sister’ is being portrayed as a psycho knife-weilding maniac. “Well, earlier, he told Elissa that she was the one who killed his parents. This adds up to the rumours of the house which Elissa had heard earlier,” you say. Wrong, sir! Wrong again. It’ll all become apparent soon, my dear child.

The insanity known as Ryan’s sis runs out of the house and into the woods, where eventually the guy catches her, covering her mouth so that the frisky couple nearby don’t hear her screams for help. I’ll spill the beans now (because BEAR can’t take this burden any longer): this is not her sister. It is someone whom he has captured and locked in his dungeon basement. Kinky. But kinky no more – he snaps her neck like a chicken, by… accident? He seems quite distraught when it happens, like he had the intention to do it, but afterwards he becomes a different person and doesn’t understand why he did it.


(The first “Sister”)

But the twist is about to come!  He enters Rene’s Corner – a small little cafe on the outskirts. In there he is mopping about on his bar stool in front of the counter, and the girl behind it happened to notice. She seems to take a shine to him, trying to snap him out of his despondency with comments like, “Your Rebel Without a Cause attitude isn’t fooling anyone,” or something like that. And she’s wearing this distinguished hoodie jumper. Take note of that, because the director will be soon insulting your intelligence in a few minutes…

Yes, the guy has a new prisoner in his dungeon, and would you believe it – it’s the girl from the cafe! The waitress! And if you’re still confused to whether or not this is that waitress from Rene’s Corner, the camera lingers on the hoodie that is found on the chair nearby. Well. I. Never. Who da funk it? And if you aren’t Sherlock Holmes (like BEAR is) then here it is: the guy is the killer!!!

So the weirdo misfit that hardly no-one likes except from the cute hot gal (makes sense, dunnit?) is the lunatic killer. Okie Dokie – we’ve established that thus far. But SHHHhh! Elissa doesn’t know this yet. Lets keep going. (I almost gave away what I thought of the film then didn’t I. Just kidding.)

Outside, on the school grounds. we find him breaking a jock’s leg by twisting it 180 degrees. Sure the jerk started on him first, and he was outnumbered, but that was some freaky manuever he just pulled off there. Bruce Lee would have been taking notes on that, for sure.

The house at the End of the Street(Ryan beating up jock guy)

So where does this whole horror film all add up towards. Can you guess? Correct – the guy tries to replace the waitress with Elissa. Whilst the guy fled the scene on foot, Elissa takes his car and drives to his house. He’s not there (what a surprise). And it gives her time to do some snooping around his haunt. She stumbles upon the floor entrance to the secret dungeon, after initially hearing a sound which turned out to be a tumble dryer spinning loudly. Then she sees it – the “sister” that is – strapped to the bed, and drugged with sedatives. And the guy find her there, and orders her away, explaining that it’s for her own good. And whilst he tends to her, Elissa is upstairs in the kitchen, and happens to look at her hand, finding a contact lenses stuck to it. Remembering what she saw in the bin earlier in the kitchen, she empties the contents of it into the sink, and finds what she’s looking for: the outer packaging of a box of contact lenses. The lenses are designed to make someone’s eyes go blue in colour. Before she left the dungeon, she looked at the peculiarity of the girl’s eyes; how one was blue, and one wasn’t. Before, she might have pasted it over as one of David Bowie’s unknown love-childs floating around the many states of the US of A, but now all the pieces fit perfectly into place (and if it didn’t, the wallet with the girl’s photo ID surely did the trick). But she’s caught red handed with the evidence by the guy, who knocks her out using the front door as she makes some whimsical excuse to leave. She’s taken away, and her mobile phone is left unnoticed by the front door.

(“Aha! That dungeon gal’s eyes didn’t match colour, did they? I think I sussed it – this cannot be a red herring,” Thinks Elissa, in her fictitious mind, which is not voiced over in the movie for some strange reason)


(“Told ya.”)

A policeman comes around, under the orders of Elissa’s mother as she’s realises that her daughter had been forwarding all the house calls to her mobile (the clever trevor). He leaves, after the guy tells him she’s not there, but then gets the feeling he should try ringing Elissa’s mobile. He does, and realises he can hear it coming from the inside of the house (it’s by the front door, as BEAR mentioned just a second ago). He inspects inside the house, but because he was too much of a dopey doughnut, gets pushed down the stairs, and then shot by the guy. Meanwhile, in the dungeon, Elissa is using the intense heat of the incandescent towerlamp to burn the ropes that tie her to a chair. She burns her arm in the process, making BEAR think, “There must of been an easier way to do that.”


(It’s behind you [the lamp!!!])

And so begins the cat and mouse finale between the both of them as Elissa can’t find a way out of the house. She’s trapped, but doing her best to stay away from him. Eventually her mum comes to the rescue, only to get stabbed. But in the face of adversity, the good prevails the bad, and Elissa finds the policeman’s gun and shoots him several times. And miraculously, he tries again to kill her, to make her his sister (because if you hadn’t of noticed by this point – he’s completely barking bonkers), but the mother runs up and plummets him in the head with a hammer, putting the final nail in the coffin for this psycho killer chap.

(Take that, psycho-boi!)

The storyline of the film is quite generic, if you ask BEAR, and full of many mistakes. The policeman would never have entered the house alone – he would have called for backup. How did the first captive we see know that the key was on the top of the door, and to barge into it, and slide a piece of card to get the key? Why? Why? WHHHYYYYY!!!??

But it’s not awful, don’t get me wrong – it ain’t that bad. It could definitely do with a bit of polishing up – because the story’s there, it’s just the execution of it wasn’t. It’s meant to be a horror movie but BEAR did not jump of fright at all. Not once! There wasn’t even a chance of it. What gives? A horror movie without the element of scare defeats the purpose of making it a horror movie. Am I missing something here? I can’t be the only one tired of rehashed, regurgitated storyline bile.

So in conclusion, BEAR found this film to be quite lacklustre, but it was mildly entertaining and had it’s moments (The leg breaker scene and the cafe “twist” were it’s noteworthy moments).

Overall, BEAR rewards The House at the End of the Street… 5/10

Magic – A film review by BEAR!!!

Magic is directed by Richard Attenbough and stars that guy who played Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins. That’s all I knew about this psychological horror movie before my eyes did the watching. Let’s see what BEAR’s brain thinks of this film, in the form of another meandering review.

The movie opens with Corky, a magician who bombs in front of an audience at some club. He gets stressed-the-F-out ’cause no-one pays attention to his amazing card act. They all just act like he wasn’t there. I, a BEAR, understand that the audience doesn’t have to watch you if they’re not interested – you’re meant to be entertaining to them, so the blame could be that you’re act’s a bit shit, mate. Anyway… so he flips out like one of his cards in the magic tricks he performs does (if they were looking) and goes home to his manager, Ben, who is asking lots of questions about the gig, and can tell that the guy is blatantly bullshitting him, saying it went well when it obliviously didn’t. I think Ben even uses the word “bullshit” when halting the guy’s feeble papering over the cracks, at one point.

The next time he performed there his act is a complete success! He’s being scouted in the crowd by someone who gets him to bring his act to the TV screen. And you the reader may be asking, “How’s the audience loving his card tricks all of a sudden?” Well, it’s not just card tricks he’s doing now – he’s also got a ventriloquist act going on. And the star of the show isn’t him, but Fats, the rude-but-loveable dummy, whom sits upon his lap. They ate that shit up, y’all!

(Corky and Fats. N.B Corky is on the right. I thought I should just say that because they look so eerily similar, it’s like the maker of the dummy had seen Anthony Hopkins some place before, or perhaps channelled him [through a TV screen].)

Corky is happy (obviously) to accept the deal to be performing his act in a TV studio, but runs away when he’s told he has to take a test to see if he is mentally okay before they put him live on the air. “He must be hiding something,” I think to myself when watching at this point in the movie (in fact, I’d predicted the ending by now – I’m smarter than the average bear. Take that in the beehive and smoke it, Yogi!)

“He’s the villain! never forget that!” says Fats to Ben (Manager)
“Well, Ben did play The Penguin in the old Batman TV series.” Says I, a BEAR

Where does he runway to? Another country? To squat in some abandoned hostel? To hideout at bear’s cave accommodation? No. No. No. He goes to the place where he grew up in when he was a little sprout. The first thing bear noticed was the idyllic surroundings. I mean, I’m not even there, but I sure as hell would like to go fishing there (BEAR likes tranquillity, and could tell you that there are about enough fish for me to munch on in that big lake, for me to never go hungry again. Teach a BEAR to fish with his BEAR paws, and so doe thy bear never starve – a parable from the BEARble? Ok so why would he go back to this place, apart from the fact he grew up there, and that it’s got a placidity and beauty encapsulate within it? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because his childhood-unrequited-love is still there. Her name is Peggy Ann, and they went to school together way back when. He thinks he has a chance doesn’t he? Wrong! He’s immediately cockblocked by her husband, Duke. Duke went to school with Corky as well, which adds salt to the wound/gets on his goat, etc. But he puts on the brave face and interacts with them, and entertains them a whole lot with that wooden-faced person he shoves his hand up of – Fats, the dummy.

Magic(Peggy Ann)

magic45
(Unrequited love?)

Corky just can’t hold it together by this point, and this is when his manager (Ben, AKA The Penguin in Batman, AKA Mickey, Rocky Balboa’s boxing trainer) tracks him down and finds him in his cabin. He makes a deal with him: if he could go five minutes not being Fats’ voice, then he won’t have to see a psychiatrist. He tries to, but admits to him, “I can’t make it,” when only half way through the time. His manager leaves. Then the voice of Fats comes back into play, all guns blazing. Fats convinces Corky that he has to kill Ben, or else the game is up. And like an obedient little dog Ivan Pavlov would have been ecstatic by, he does; and throws Ben’s cadaver into the lake (weighing it down with something BEAR can’t remember). Later, Peggy Ann’s lover, Duke, is in a boat with Corky, and they fish on the lake. Duke reels in something heavy, and Corky starts to panic, making excuses to head back to the cabin. Luckily, it was just a boot; but then Duke spots a body on the bank. It’s Corky’s manager, Ben. Duke gets Corky to run back and call for help, thinking that he might still be alive. Duke then goes back to Corky’s room, where Corky stabs him through the curtains (he was hiding the whole time).

I’d like to mention that I found the finding of Ben’s body on the bank an unconvincing scene, in a film which I would still rate rather higher, regardless. When Duke checks to see if Corky’s manager is still alive by checking his breathing and pulse, I can’t believe he thought that he may still be alive. All you have to do is look at the empty shell – he’s dead, Duke! Dead as the Dodo. Dead as a doorknob. Dead as…dead! I digress…

magic 1(Ben)

What could possibly happen after Ben has been killed by Corky, as well as the love obstacle to his sweetheart, Duke? Well, dur – he tries to get with her. Pretty logical when you think about it really. And at this point, she’s already made her mind up to be with Corky, which prompts him to ask her to leave the lake and live with him, some place else. The problem though is that she wants to say goodbye to Duke before going, which means she’s willing to wait around for Duke to come back from his ‘little fishing trip’. “I don’t think Duke’s gonna be coming back any time soon, dear – he dead,” BEAR snipes at the screen which moves like an unstable painting possessed by the underworld (TV?) Of course, they have to argue over this as Corky is anxious over the whole situation (well, he did throw his body in the lake, so…). She doesn’t want to see him any more, and retreats to her cabin, locking herself in her bedroom so Corky can’t get to her.

Corky, back in his own cabin, gets lectured by Fats the dummy, and this evolves into the definitive outcome that Corky must kill Peggy Ann. Fats persuades him it’s for his own good, but Corky, though a servant to Fats’ will, is fighting this voice with all the mental strength he can muster. Even so, it gets to the point where he returns to her cabin, and he is waiting outside her bedroom with a flick blade in his hand. Can you guess what’s happening here? If you haven’t noticed thus far, this film is messed up, but BEAR can’t help but be intrigued by such movies – I don’t know what it is exactly, but possibly it’s ’cause I can see that Corky is a broken soul from the get go, and so feel pity for him. Also, because I could see it all from the start, it becomes like a weird in-joke to myself. A joke with no laughter, nonetheless.

He tricks her into believing that he’s left her cabin, and she opens the door. As she does, he remains hidden behind the corner, as we see her pick up a carved wooden heart from the floor. The heart, is  a representative of his own heart. Corky is metaphorically giving her his heart, and he feels there is a victory as she has accepted his heart.

He returns back to the cabin, and tells Fats that he couldn’t kill her–because, she accepted his heart–and instead, as he is aware how distorted his reality has become and how dangerous he is, he instead has stabbed himself. The interesting thing with this scene is that Fats thinks he’s dying too. Yes, Corky has an understanding that Fats is just a voice in his head he cannot control, but at the same time, Fats has a mind of his own. It’s like Corky has compartmentalised himself to the point they are two people, but he can still see they are one and the same – both parts of him. And so they wonder to each other who will slip away first, and the film ends there.

This film is an insightful look on the fragility of the human mind. How one person, because things don’t go their way, may react in varying degrees of aggressive behaviour, as exemplified in the first open mic scene in Magic, and with the killings of Corky’s manager, and Duke. All Corky really wants is to be accepted, to be loved, and he tries to achieve this by trying to entertain… because he knows if he shows his true self–the insanity behind the mask of the dummy–no-one would want to stay around. In a way, we are all like Corky: insecure, human. Yes, he’s a psycho, granted, but he essentially needs what everyone else wants: love, and acceptance. I’m over simplifying things here, but it’s apparent to me that Corky represents a broken individual so fixated on fame and adoration, that he doesn’t realises he’s on a downward spiral until it’s too late. I’m not saying his desperation for fame gave him his illness, he already had it – his pursuit for fame just exacerbated it and magnified it x1000. Corky’s self-defeating attitude towards rejection (or perceived rejection) from others is the unravelling of his illness .

In conclusion, Magic is a film I would definitely watch again, for it has moments of brilliance in it, and a gripping, engaging story to boot (even though BEAR sussed the end twist fairly early on. No, I’m not bragging, just stating the mere fact).

I reward Magic 8/10

BEAR Reviews… Badlands

Badlands sees Kit, a young man in the outback of America, in a relationship with Holly, a girl whom looks up to him as some kind of cool, James Dean character. The narrator of the film is done by Holly, who has this sweet, naive perspective of someone delusional enough to stay with a mad psycho killer, all the way through the odyssey of slaughter this film becomes. I mean, the moment Kit shoots Holly’s dad in her own home, you would have thought she’d of snapped out of her romantic fantasy of ‘happy-ever-afters’ but she doesn’t – instead she justifies his actions in her narration to us.

They burn Holly’s house down to the ground, with her dad’s cadaver still inside, then embark on their bloody adventure. I say bloody, not because this o’ BEAR is mildly annoyed in the confines of his/her cave, but because from the moment Kit killed Holly’s father, they were on the run, and it becomes apparent that Kit is out of control. Even when just the sniff of danger enters his madcap mind, he loses it and just blasts everyone and anyone away, every time! BEAR did find it amusing how the vinyl Kit recorded a message on–intended for the cops to think he and Holly were dead–got consumed by the house fire as well. Oops. 

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(yes, Martin Sheen (KIT) is a firestarter!

The most iconic moment in the whole movie has to be the moment Holly ponders and questions her own life. She wonders what would have happened if Kit didn’t kill her dad (among other things) and how it suddenly hit her how life is short. BEAR loves her musings in this scene so much, he has included it here (see below). BEAR is nice, isn’t he/she/it/Ro0aAAR!?!!:

What’s so beautiful about this scene is that it simply makes you… feel. It amazed me when I first saw that scene – the simple introspection it induces within you, the sincerity of it… that’s a hard thing to do in cinema; and director/writer, Terrence Malick, achieved here what many people have spent a lifetime doing, but failing to do, in this particular scene, BEAR thinks.

Eventually, the game is up for Kit and the police finally capture him. But Kit doesn’t seem to bothered by this, and instead of becoming defeated, he revels in it. The police lap it up as well: they enjoy it when Kit throws them all the possessions in his pockets, and can’t stop asking him questions. It’s almost like Kit thinks he’s become a celebrity of sorts (well, he did go by the name ‘James’ when on the run – a reference to James Dean. Also, he’s been in all the newspapers, so perhaps he has a point. And the officer who arrested him says when they capture him:

Deputy: You like people?
Kit: They’re OK.
Deputy: Then why’d you do it?
Kit: I don’t know. I always wanted to be a criminal, I guess. Just not this big a one. Takes all kinds, though.
Deputy: [to Sheriff] You know who that son-of-a-bitch looks like? You know, don’t you?
Sheriff: No.
Deputy: I’ll kiss your ass if he don’t look like James Dean.

BEAR loves the world these two main character’s adventure on throughout this film. The brutality of Kit and the cute innocence of Holly is a dichotomy of complexity, a strange and fascinating viewing experience.

This is a bloody great film. 9/10