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Netflix Exclusive - Creep (2014)

Creep (2014) Poster

In a previous post I exclaimed my excitement for this to hit Netflix and today I finally found the time to be able to sit down and give it the attention, I feel, it richly deserves. What I was hoping for was a dark, taut thrill ride full of suspense and uncomfortable weirdness. Did I get it? Read on and find out...

Released exclusively for Netflix on July 14th Creep is billed as a found footage horror film and is the brain child of Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass who between them wrote, directed and starred in it. It seems to follow a simple plot and tags quite nicely onto the queue of films within the found footage genre but (and here's the good part) it has one massive thing going for it that I feel helps it stand alone.

Brice plays videographer Aaron who answers an advert on craigslist to do a days work for Duplass's character Josef. He drives out to a remote location without much information about the job at hand, meets up with his new 'boss' and the story follows from there.

That really is it, it's all very simple, and for me this is where the film's pros start coming. There is no mass set up or drawn out introduction process in order to give either character a back story; instead the film jumps straight in and continues to tick along at a solid pace. I loved this because it kept my interest and started the run on that massive thing this film has (that I talked about earlier).. piles and piles of tension. The tension gets to build right off the bat because like Aaron the viewer is stepping into complete unknown territory. The found footage element allows us to see the plot through his eyes and the characters develop right in front of ours.

Both Duplass's acting and the characterisation of Josef is brilliant. Through the first act of the film I felt real sympathy for him. Don't get me wrong there was always that wisp of weird hanging in the air but if I hadn't read the synopsis first, I would've thought this film was going in a whole different direction. There are elements of dark comedy in Creep too and most of that comes from Duplass. It wasn't laugh out loud funny but then I don't believe it's meant to be. Instead it left me feeling uncomfortable and quite heavily so. There were moments when I caught myself trying to get my head around this paradoxical character Duplass was playing. He really confused me in a bad way that became good as I felt a lump in my throat more than once. I thought back to another of Duplass's writing credits Cyrus and realised that I was becoming wrapped in the same shroud of odd I was the first time I saw that and as Cyrus still makes me shudder that has to be testament to Duplass.

Brice is great too. Alex is played more straight than Josef but if you think that this film is a simple case of good vs bad you'll be mistaken. There's something definitely not quite right about this character either and Brice plays it with such conviction that it's almost too late before you realise. I love little things like this films, the bits that make your head swim and question what you have just been watching. The second act is quite twisty but as that tension is always an under current none of it is in your face, instead it's subtle mirroring Brice's depiction of Alex. Fab!

The plot itself burns slow making parts of it almost unwatchable. Not because it's bad mind you, it's the intensity of it all. That tension I keep mentioning is there right to the very end and is in absolutely everything. It's in the acting, the direction and the plot and at times it's completely overbearing. It's been a while since a film has been able to do that to me and I absolutely loved it. More please!  
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Looking Forward - Zoolander 2 (2016)

If I had to write a definitive list of films I could watch over and over again then Zoolander would so be on it. As a film that doesn't take itself too seriously I loved the childish elements of it as a whole and Ben Stiller in the title role is both goofy and fun. When the news broke that Stiller was returning play that role in a second film however I was apprehensive. I am one of those people who is against sequels being made for the sake of it. When something is new, pure and pretty magical the first time, I just don't see the point in ruining it with a second rate version in order to cash in or whatever.

That said I am always prepared to be proved wrong and since the first film was released in 2001 maybe enough time has passed for the new film to stand by itself and be as brilliant as the first. There's a new writer for this script in the form of Justin Theroux to give it a fresh perspective and Stiller is firmly in the directing chair again so I'm sure he will take care of his baby.

I don't know much about the plot and the new teaser trailer doesn't give very much away but that goofiness I love so much seems to be still there. The film is said to set ten years after the first in Europe and follows Derek Zoolander and Hansel Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) who are modelling again. Will Ferrell is reprising his role as evil Mugatu so I'm sure they'll be some delicious high jinx afoot and Christine Taylor (Dodgeball) is also back as Matilda who was married to Zoolander (and Stiller in real life) at the end of the first film.

Also signed up and starring are Penelope Cruz (Blow), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) and Fred Armisan (Anchorman) which are quite an interesting bunch. I look on with interpretation to how they will all fit in but more so the weird choices of Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Bieber (who I presume are doing cameos) that I see in all the write ups.

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DVD Review - We Own The Night (2007)

We Own the Night

I found this DVD in a local shop's bargain bin for the ridiculous price of 75p. For that price, my thinking was that I had nothing to lose so I bought it blind as it were. I didn't even bother reading the synopsis, I just saw that it starred Joaquin Phoenix (Walk The Line) and reasoned with myself that that was enough to give it a bash.

I am not a fan of the gangster genre but although We Own The Night fits that at first glance I wouldn't describe it as such. It isn't as 'in your face' violent as the past gangster films I have witnessed although it definitely has all the ingredients within it's premise to be one.

The story centres around a nightclub with drugs, cops and gangland mentality all thrown in for good measure. Phoenix plays Bobby Green, a night club manager, who comes from a family of highly reputable police officers. Bobby keeps his business and family separate but the two intertwine over the course of the film leaving him to face dilemmas and ultimately decide which is more important.

It sounds like a 'paint by numbers' crime film doesn't it? And I suppose it is really but what emerges is a neat story line that doesn't flounder in anyway by sticking to a tried and tested route within it's genre. The pace is steady and didn't feel slow at any point. There was enough action to compliment the building up of each character but, for me at least, never too much to take over. Directed by James Gray whole scenes in slow motion sat alongside those that were staggered and quick in action. It's probably nothing new in all fairness but if something isn't broke then why fix it? The overall feel of the film is one done very well.

What actually made this film for me was the acting talent of both Phoenix and Robert Duvall (Godfather), who plays Bobby's father. Again, one could argue that Duvall is comfortable in this form of film and that well may be true. However the chemistry between the two actors is unmissable and incredibly emotional to watch.

Phoenix is stand out, his character is well developed and the moral and emotional roller coaster Bobby Green rides is gripping (and sometimes heartbreaking). I don't think I'm spoiling too much by saying that they are side changes within the gangland/cop dynamic which put morals into question and pull at the heartstrings. Phoenix's acting is testament to the way some of these scenes made me feel and he was able to project real torment through the screen. There is a funeral scene that is particulary tragic as well as some tense (and touching moments) with his on screen girlfriend Amada, played by Eva Mendes (Hitch).

The third act and comes with a twist in the tail, and we all know how much I love one of those. This one however I didn't figure out because for once I was engrossed in a story that I was simply enjoying. With a plot of revenge the film makes you wait for it's conclusion but pleasantly (and probably why it isn't overtly gangster in my opinion) there is no huge shoot out or torture gore. Instead the focus remains on Phoenix's character and made justice an intimate affair.. much better for me.

All in all, I would go far as to say I loved this film and sometimes a bargain really is just that. The 75p DVD now sits proudly on my shelves ready to be watched again and again.

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I Saw It On TV - We Were The Mulvaneys (2002)

We Were the Mulvaneys (2002) Poster

I don't know how it works for everyone else, since I live in the U.K, but we have certain TV channels that show 'made for television' films on loop. Sometimes, usually late at night when I can't sleep, I find myself watching such channels so I thought I would add some of those film into my usual loop of reviews.

I watched We Were The Mulvaneys the other night and until then had never heard of either it or the novel it is based on. The Mulvaneys (in the title) are a wholesome American family who live on a farm and are grateful for what life has bestowed on them and each other. Comprising of parents, three sons and an only daughter they live together quite content until the daughter is attacked at her school dance. The aftermath pulls everything apart and the plot follows this turmoil.

The film starts (as is pushed along throughout) with a voice over narrative from the youngest son Judd played by Tom Guiry (The Sandlot Kids). It's something done time and time again with book to film adaptations and although nothing new it does work.

The first act of the film is an introduction to the family and if I am totally honest, comes across a little twee and very 'Little House on the Prairie'. As the film progressed I understood why the family were portrayed this way but as for believability, I'm not so sure. That said,  Blythe Danner (Meet The Parents) and Beau Bridges (The Descendants) star as the God fearing parents and are both wonderful in their roles. In the early stages Danner's Corinne is soft, gentle and devoted to her husband; something that demands a whole load of emotion later on. There is one particular scene between her and her and Tammy Blanchard (Moneyball), who plays daughter Marianne which is simply heart breaking and made me cry.

It is easily Bridges and Blanchard that steal the show particularly after Marianne's attack. Its here, towards the middle of the film when the earlier righteousness of the family makes sense. Some bad choices are made, some horrible things happen and the whole unit falls apart with consequence. Blanchard becomes frail and caught up by her earlier faith and I have never wanted to reach into a TV screen and hug a character more. When this film flips it's switch, so to speak, and comes into it's own it emerges as a solid piece of drama with more than a handful of tragedy thrown in for good measure.

This is apparent in Marianne's character and Blanchard's acting but I would say it was even more so there because of Bridges. It's crazy but I didn't even feel like he was acting half the time, instead I just watched a man break apart in front of my eyes with raw emotion and almost chilling precision. I went from hate to sympathetic over the space of about a hour and by the time the credits rolled I was wrecked. This film is worth a look just for Bridges talent alone.

There is an absolute seriousness with the film of course and the subject matter is dealt with in a thought provoking way. I found parts of it intense and sometimes wished for a break in the despair, if only to catch my breathe, but in reality the pace of the film is good. There was a couple of times when I raised an eyebrow and thought 'that wouldn't happen' but it wasn't enough to ruin it for me and even the ending (which was surprisingly optimistic seemed to fit. I'm now on the hunt for the novel, I hope that doesn't disappoint.

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Looking Forward - Pan (2015)

Last week brought with it a look at this movie poster for the upcoming movie Pan and boy it looks good. It features for main characters but let's be honest here and state from the off that all the focus is really on Hugh Jackman. There again, why wouldn't it be? He is stood in the foreground and menacingly great. I didn't want to forget what the film was all about though so I thought I would dig a little and the the opportunity to talk about the low down so far.
Pan is due for UK release in October and is a live action telling of the story of the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan. What makes it a little different is this film is set to lift the lid on the origin of the story that everyone loves and to provide a back story to not only Peter but Captain Hook as well.
With Warner Brothers at the helm I foretell a Harry Potteresque epic sweeping into cinemas and although I am usually an indie girl at heart, I am excited to see what is in store. Even more exciting to me is the directorial talents of Joe Wright who has huge period dramas Pride and Prejudice and Atonement under his belt. For me, origin films should take on elements of a historical film so of course I am hoping for big sweeping scenes to offset the action. I am not worried about the dramatic aspects either because Wright also directed The Soloist which I wrote about at University (if you haven't seen it and like a gritty biopic, put it on your list).

So, that's the feel, look and flow of the film in good hands. What about the actors? Who is playing who?
Levi Miller
Levi Miller is stepping into the magical role of Peter Pan. I'm afraid I can't tell you very much about him because he is relatively unknown. I love it when major films do this with casting young actors as it keeps the role fresh and new. Remember when Freddie Highmore was announced as the new Charlie Bucket? I hope Levi can inject that same untainted feel into Peter Pan.

Rooney Mara (2012) 5 (cropped).jpg
When Rooney Mara was cast as Tiger Lily people were not happy deeming her 'too white' and demanding the role go to a Native American. I say shush up and let the casting directors do their job eh. Most people will know her from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but I absolutely loved her in Side Effects. Although little is known about what role Tiger Lily is going to play in this particular adaptation, I always saw her as a comforter to Peter and implacable in his journey. I have no doubt that Mara is right for this and look forward to seeing her (her costumes alone are marvellous).

Garrett Hedlund Picture

Most exciting for me is Captain Hook. I never found him scary as a youngster and this film offers to tell us a lot more about him. I love a good back story and for me Hook has always been a bit elusive, like the Joker in Batman. I look forward to finding out more about Captain James and bringing him to life is Garrett Hedlund. I'm thrilled at this choice. With only a handful of films behind him he is fresh enough to BE Hook and as an actor he isn't shy to action.. I expect some mega cool swashbuckling!

So there we are some faces to remember and some characters to love dearly. Pan looks immense and I will be queueing for a ticket. Don't believe me? Look at the trailer...

Rooney Mara (2012) 5 (cropped).jpg
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Screen Kisses I Crave - A List 10-6

Everybody wants to feel loved and I am no different in that respect. Believable love scenes and tender kisses are some of my favourite things to watch on screen for various reasons. Below are my first five favourite kisses. I wonder what yours are..

10. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

I have included this one purely because of the cutesy factor. Drew Barrymore was absolutely adorable in her role as Gertie and well, you'd have to have a heart of stone if you didn't fall in love with E.T itself. This kiss is a 'goodbye' kiss (and the first of a few in my list) between the child and alien and it's more than touching enough to belong here.... awwwwww! ps: it ALWAYS reduces me to tears.

Gertie gives E.T. a goodbye kiss.

9. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (2007) 

What isn't there to love about a kiss during a wedding that is in the midst of a crazy sword fight? This kiss between Will and Elizabeth in the third Pirates film is a culmination of of their love affair played out over the three films and has all the passion that you would expect. Add some stormy weather, a rushed together wedding (so romantic) and a battle of all battles and this kiss truly left me breathless. Knowing that Will dies moments later makes my stony heart melt and makes this, for me, the most poignant of kisses across the Pirate's franchise!

8.Spider-man (2002)

Of course I was going to include the infamous upside down kiss between Mary Jane and Spidey in the 2002 film! I remember seeing this particular kiss for the first time and thinking how utterly romantic and yet unpractical it was. Nevertheless it is such a beautiful moment that it deserves it's place in my list. It takes place in the rain (again) and is meant as a thank you from MJ as Spider-man has just saved her from possible rape. It's one of my favourites because it's female lead and the intensity of the kiss mirrors the fact that Spidey's identity may be fully revealed at any moment.


7. Ghost (1990)

No, I am not talking about the kiss at the potter's wheel as unchained melody is blaring. Instead I have chosen Molly and Sam's final goodbye as he makes his way up to, I presume, heaven. This one is personal to me because I recently lost my mam and would of given anything for a final goodbye. The kiss happens as Molly finally believes that Sam has still been around to protect her and even though she is kissing an apparition, it's totally beautiful. 

 ghost kiss

6. Don't Look Now (1973)

Oh my, this kiss starts as licking toothpaste from a face and ends in one of the strangest sex scenes I have ever witnessed on screen. The reason it's made my list however is the sentiment behind it, it's all about reconnection after loss and guilt, and for that reason alone it's so loving. For me, there's something really special about absolute love and for me it's never been more believable than between Laura and John Baxter in Don't Look Now. The film itself is so tragic that this kiss means even more.

So there it is, the first five on screen kisses I crave in a list of ten. Can you guess what made my top five?
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Be Our Guest (Or Let Me Be Yours) - Guest Bloggers Required


What Do You Need To Know - I am looking for the opportunity to guest blog on someone elses little bit of web space. Not only that but I am looking for people to come and have a little bit of mine!

What Can I Offer? - I can offer a guest post on your blog either on something I have covered her in more detail or something completely fresh, within the realms of movies of course. I am willing to discuss topics and genres with yourself so I fit in with your blog style.

Who Can Help Me? - Anyone who has a film or media based blog who has the space to allow me to guest post as a one off (at least to start with). Also anyone who has a more generalised or lifestyle blog and would like maybe a DVD or cinema review from myself to add to their mix.

What Can You Offer Me? - I am interested in allowing some guest posts to take place here. Maybe you have a fave film that you want to talk about or you've comprised a list of your favourite fight scenes? Anything with a film angle goes really, I would love to hear your ideas.

How Do You Get In Touch? - You can leave a comment below or contact me any of these other ways.

I look forward to hearing from you

L x
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