Tucker and Dale are my new favourite allies to take on horror film evil

100 movies of 2013

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Tucker & Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.

It feels like it’s taken me forever to sit down to watch this film. Well, nearly three years according to the original release date which was back in 2010. Was it really that long ago?

A quiet Sunday afternoon seemed like a good time to sit and watch Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, with the family. After all, my dad had been saying he’d been wanting to watch a comedy for a while. Meanwhile my mum is a little sensitive to onscreen violence.

Well, we all laughed our guts out. Even my mum. Though, her laughter was definitely more of the “This is hilarious! But I shouldn’t be laughing at other people’s pain!”. I reassured her – those kids deserved it. I have never seen my mum hide her laughter as much as she did while watching this film.

A little bit like how The Cabin in the Woods disassembles the typical horror film, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil reverses it. With a bit of a sweet message behind it. Or was that just me seeing that?

The humor is perfect. Every single comedic moment had me either nearly busting a gut laughing, or actually busting a gut laughing. Hysterical laughter. Not seen a film that’s had that effect on me in a long time. A lot of that has to do with the hapless hillbilles – Tucker and Dale. Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk are the perfect pairing. I’ve always been a fan of Tudyk’s comedy roles. (Yes, even in A Knight’s Tale.) And yes, Wash from Firefly was a favourite of mine. He’s got great comedy timing and never misses a moment here. The chainsaw scene was probably my favourite – HILARIOUS! Oh and the college kids attempt at storming the cabin. Actual laugh out loud moments right there.

As horror comedies/parodies go, this is up there with Shaun of the Dead and The Cabin in the Woods. Hoping it’ll be the indie classic it deserves to be.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Viewed: 27/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)

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Django Unchained, you had my curiosity now you have my attention

100 movies of 2013

Django Unchained

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Quentin Tarantino films don’t come around all that often. There’s always a whole lot of fuss when they do come around. The fuss is about the same old stuff that Tarantino’s been faced with whenever any of his films come out. Violence and language. It’s not surprising that Tarantino threw a giant fit when faced with the question on doing the PR rounds for Django.

Who the fuck cares? For decades we’ve seen Tarantino’s films splattered with blood. Django’s probably one of the tamer ones. And yet, people still want to wag their finger and worry about ‘the children’.

I like my Tarantino films. Reservoir Dogs is probably my favourite. Kill Bill’s up there too. Along with Pulp Fiction. From Dusk Till Dawn is one of my favourite vampire films. To the sadness of many, I don’t see the wow in Inglorious Basterds (Due for a rewatch on that one to probably change my mind.). Far from a Tarantino fan. Merely, a film fan who appreciates his films.

Django Unchained is one step to making me a QT fan. It’s got Tarantino’s finger prints all over it, but at the same time, it feels like a different Tarantino film. To me. It felt a whole lot more mature. More heart and more fun. Totally entertaining. Fantastically paced. Don’t think I can knock this one.

Christoph Waltz – where do I start? For whatever reason, he didn’t really make an impact on me in Inglorious. But everything changed here. His Dr. King Schultz was a brilliant character. Charming. Gracious. Despite being a somewhat cold-hearted killer, he was a very warm and kind character. Quite possibly my favourite character and performance in the film.

Not seen a performance quite like this from Leonardo DiCaprio before. Excellent. At times, maybe a little over the top. But, isn’t that what was needed out of him here? Now I understand the outcry over his lack of an Academy Award nomination.

I’m itching to see Django Unchained again. I think I might class Django as one of the most fun Tarantino films I’ve seen in a good long while.

Oh and Calvin Candie is taken out by a dentist? HA!

Django Unchained (Viewed: 25/01/13 | Rating: 5/5)

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Crying my way through Les Miserables

100 movies of 2013

Les Miserables

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

Shoot me. I’ve lived in London for my whole life and seen a fair few musicals and plays and what nots in the West End. Yet have I seen Les Miserables? No. I’ve even seen a handful of musicals a good few times. But still no Les Mis for me.

Saying that, it’s not as if I was unfamiliar with the music from the show. I knew of I dreamed a dream, Suddenly, On my own and One day more. The story? Not totally familiar. Just it was something French. Revolution-y. Ish.

Les Miserables is a powerful film. Powerful, emotional and, sorry if I sound terribly film poster-y, but it is a triumph. As the title of this post suggest, yes, I spent 90% of my time crying while watching this film. Nearly every song hits you right in the gut. Knocks the wind, and the tears, right out of you. Though, much like everyone else who’s seen it, it’s Anne Hathaway’s performance and songs that really hit me where it hurt. Never thought Anne Hathaway would have such an amazing and strong singing voice. Backed up by an absolutely heartbreaking performance. Yes, Hugh Jackman’s was fantastic too. But, I expected greatness from him. And he delivered. Like Anne, amazing voice and stellar performance too.

I know there’s been a big deal made of Russell Crowe’s vocal performance. From my point of view, I saw nothing wrong with it. Yes, he’s got a very different singing voice to everyone else. But, to my untrained ears, I didn’t hear anything out of tune. Very powerful. Very authoritative. Much like his character.

Having all the actors sing while performing, rather than have songs recorded in a studio, gave the film much more of a real feeling. Am I right? None of this dubbed over and lip syncing.

The film itself is beautiful. Think the barricade scene made me think I was watching a musical onstage. The set felt very like a theatrical set, rather than film set. Yet to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing.

You could do a lot worse than cry your way through Les Miserables. In fact, if you don’t, I worry for your soul. And now, I’m on the hunt for some tickets to the West End musical. Ahhh… there are tickets available near May/June time!

Les Miserables (Viewed: 23/01/13 | Rating: 5/5)

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What’s your racket? Yes, I do want to speak like they do in Gangster Squad

100 movies of 2013

Gangster Squad

Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city.

I’m just going to come out and say it. Yes. I enjoyed Gangster Squad. There. Done. Happy? Confused? Does it feel like I’ve let you down?

You know, the thing with Gangster Squad is that, like a few other past films that have disappointed film fans, there was a lot of hype behind it. The cast. The whole look and feel of the trailers that were getting pumped out. It looked effortlessly cool and a film to be looked forward to.

I didn’t let my expectations get the better of me. And it worked. Sure, Gangster Squad is laden with gangster and crime drama clichés. Everything from the dialog to the characters to the story. It’s all very predictable. But damnit I didn’t give a crap.

The characters are perfectly clichéd. The gruff police sergeant, the smooth talker, sharp shooter, the dame, etc. All expertly played by the impressive cast members. None of the characters are a stretch for any of the actors to play. But this gal sure didn’t care. The action is perhaps a little over-stylised. I’ve never been a huge fan of computer generated blood splatters, but director Ruben Fleischer seems to love them. But, the action sequences were still fun to watch.

Of course, this increased enjoyment factor could all be down to the fact that I saw Gangster Squad in a stunning little cinema. I wonder if I’d have thought the same if I’d have seen the film at my usual multiplex.

Gangster Squad (Viewed: 15/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)

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Beast it! Beasts of the Southern Wild – Not quite so beastly

100 movies of 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Every ounce of me wanted to love this film. Wanted to get taken away with it. Wanted it to give me that warm and fuzzy feeling it’s been giving all you people who’ve seen it. This should be hint enough that it didn’t quite hit the mark with me.

Beasts of the Southern Wild lost me. I’m trying to pinpoint where exactly it lost me, but failing. Maybe about half an hour into the film I lost track of what exactly it was I was watching. Lost my grasp of where the film was going.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully appreciate the look and feeling of the film. Which I did enjoy. Beasts of the Southern Wild looks beautiful. The score and music matches the tone of the film perfectly. Little Quvenzhané Wallis made for a very endearing young heroine. But it was the lack of a more tangible plot that made me lose my grip on the film.

Maybe Beasts of the Southern Wild will be that film I revisit in a few years and I’ll see something else in it. For now, it’s just that okay film I wished I enjoyed that little bit more.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Viewed: 09/01/13 | Rating: 3/5)

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