Category Archives: movies

Horror Movie Double Feature: Foreign Movie Edition

It fills me with sadness to say it’s Halloween weekend and my spooky movie viewing has been minimal, aside from American Horror Story. Usually, I look to Tim Burton’s dark lush movies, which are synonymous with Halloween. However it’s been over a year since he dropped the bombshell basically stating that he thinks the inclusion of poc in his movies is pandering. Being told by someone you genuinely enjoy that your existence is pc culture is upsetting at best. It also means I’m not supporting or watching his films anymore. I’m not a fan of gory horror films and prefer the moody goth aesthetic which leaves me with few options. Enter the Silenced and the House at the end of Time.

The first film I watched was The Silenced, set in 1930’s South Korea, follows Ju-ran (rename Shizuko) as she is sent to a sanitorium. While she receives her treatments for sickness she notices changes in herself and her fellow classmates gradually disappearing. There are scenes of blood and mild gore but they are brief and never gratuitous. These 13-16 year old girls are never sexualized or framed by the male gaze, not even in the sole dressing scene where they’re all in bloomers and chemises. I admit I don’t know much about this era so it was an interesting and insightful look.

The second film I watched was Venezuelan The House at the end of Time. After a woman is released from jail for murdering her husband and son the truth about that night starts to come to light. The movie switches between present day and the 80’s, slowly building up to the aforementioned night.t drags at some points but the plot is fantastic and the ending is well done. Usually I don’t stick around for films that drag on but this one is worth it for the ending alone.

I highly recommend both if you prefer buildup, atmosphere, and great cinematography to standard shock gore. Both are currently streaming on Netlifx.

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Harry Potter or how I Should Have Kept my Rose-Tinted Glasses on

Today is a very special day for the Harry Potter fandom. Today Harry’s son Scorpius is sent off to Hogwarts for his first year. Like most people my age, I love this series. This series was a huge part of my childhood; dressing up and going to the book releases, seeing the movies with friends, and talking about theories. It got me back into reading and sparked my creativity. It also helped me through some difficult times and gave me lots of good memories. With the release of the new movie, screenplay, and Pottermore website part of me wishes I could send a warning to 10 year old me and tell her she doesn’t want these.

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SIFF roundup 2017

It’s that time of year where SIFF is in town! Unlike last year I was pleased to find films I was interested in. Unfortunately, I have a heavy workload this quarter and I won’t have the time to attend these films. (alas, cruel fate!) Here are the ones I want to look at at a future time:

  • Maurice: Released in 1987 and set in pre-WWI, England it tells the story of two college lads and their attraction to each other. When a friend is arrested for being gay they have to deal with hiding their affection and marrying wives. Pre-2000 period films of old tend to be lush and ornate, which is how they should be.
  • Lady Macbeth: Based on the Russian novel it is about a young Kathrine who is given away to a wealthy man, bundled with land. Her marriage is miserable and unfulfilling, forced to stay indoors at all times. When her husband goes away on business she starts an affair with a handsome stranger. I first heard about this film because it is very diverse, which is unheard of in Victorian period pieces. The scenery is drab and bleak, so don’t expect any gilding or pomp here.
  • The Suffering of Ninko: Fantasy story about, Ninko, a dedicated novice Buddist monk. There is only one problem: ladies find him irresistible. He struggles with his newfound desires and erotic hallucinations. It combines live action with animated scenes done is ukiyo-e style.

Overall the selection of fantasy and period films were small. It looks like public tastes have settled on gritty and hard hitting than the melodramatic. While I can see the annoyance with ostentatious extravagance it provides a good escape. Then again with the current political climate and housing market woes in the area, I can understand why people don’t want to see that.

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SIFF 2016 roundup

It’s that time of year again where SIFF is playing and I meticulously plan and budget which movies to see. Usually. Recent years’ selections have left me uninspired. This year is no different.

Overwhelmingly the period dramas are gritty or WWII-era with little in between. Aside from Love & Friendship there aren’t any pre-20th century films. Either public tastes have strayed away from over the top fare or the curators for SIFF passed over films like that. I’m assuming the latter, since many films I was looking forward to never showed up in past years (ex. La Belle et la Bête).

Of course, the one movie that is set in 1930’s Hollywood is a Woody Allen film (an automatic pass). I wish someone else was producing movies from that era because he is the last person I want to support. Overall the selection of period pieces this year is lack luster. None of the films from the other sections really grabbed my attention either, which is a shame since I look forward to SIFF every year. Fingers crossed that TV will fill in that gap.

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SIFF 2015 Roundup

Mid-terms are over and I can say I am properly beat! I am enjoying my Gothic Lit class very much, although the workload can be heavy at times. I dropped my Italian Sculpture class, however. I wanted to enjoy it but I just couldn’t get into it. The teacher sounded like she was reading from a script which made the whole thing awful. Instead I am taking an Intro to Architecture class where we are currently studying ancient Roman and Byzantine buildings.

SIFF is starting soon, which is a popular film fest that shows films from all around the world. There is a decent amount of period pieces, although I get the impression they only put dramas in that category this year. This has made it harder to find anything, even things set in recent decades or comedies. Of all the films I saw only Liza the Fox Fairy caught my eye.

It is set in the 70’s, and about a girl who is obsessed with Japanese culture who takes care of the widowed wife of a Japanese consulate. She’s also very unlucky in love, with all of her dates ending horribly due to the fact she might be possessed by a demon. I was going to say it was messed up that a film with a heavy Japanese influence had only one Japanese actor. However, the movie in Hungarian and I can’t even find ethnicity demographics that mention non-European ethnicities, so the point it moot. Its looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.

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Spring break is nearly over and I haven’t worked on a single review. Whoops! My next quarter is looking good, with a class on Italian Sculpture and another on 1700-1900 Gothic Lit. I’m hoping they go well. In the meantime a list of historical movies coming out in the next two months:

  • Woman in Gold- Based on a true story about Maria Altmann’s battle to reclaim a portrait of her aunt taken by the Nazis. Not sure when it is suppose to take place (40’s or 2000’s?) but I imagine there might be flashbacks.
  • Little Boy- A little boy wants to end WWII so his dad will come home.
  • Far from the Madding Crowd – A woman attracts three vastly different suitors in Victorian England, based off the 1847 novel.

If it wasn’t apparent, it is very slim pickings for the spring season. The only other movie I can think out thats come out this season is Cinderella. Looks like I have to turn to tv and lit to get my historical fix, or find an older series.

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Winter 2014 movie roundup

I had planned on venturing out and seeing the Book of Life today, for it looks beautiful and needs as much support as it can get. Instead I am bundled up drinking tea, trying to stay warm in this awful 40 degree weather. In lieu of that I will be making a list of all the upcoming movies that are coming out this season! Lots of period dramas come out around this time so I am interested to see what Hollywood has brewing.

Disney’s Through the Woods: A+ cast, detailed costumes, charming writing, and songs. Looks like lots of fun and hopefully it’ll be enough to look past the tired depictions of the characters. (another blonde Rapunzel? how original)

Exodus: Gods and Kings: A biblical story which I have a feeling its going to be along the vein of Noah, which doesn’t leave me with much hope.

Big Eyes: Biographical film about the lovely Margaret Keane. Its going to be set in the 1950’s and possibly into the 70’s, where the big climax took place. Its going to be directed by Tim Burton which makes me think this will be more along the lines of Big Fish than Sweeney Todd. Amy Adams does period films well too so I am looking forward to this.

The Hobbit: Need I explain? 😛 A fantasy set in a European-inspired mythological land that defined the fantasy genre, its not to hard to imagine what to expect in terms of architecture and fashion.

Selma: Set in the 50’s about the Selma-to-Montgomery march, which included MLK Jr. Probably going to be a difficult and hard-hitting film to watch with some unpleasant scenes. Will be nominated for several Oscars probably win a hug portion.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb: Third film in the series, a fun family comedy about a guy who works at a museum where the exhibitions come to life. There is a mishmash of cultures and time periods, all which look fairly accurate. This movie also seems to do a slightly better job at ethnic casting than some other movies *coughexodeuschough*, which is nice. It also stars the late Robin Williams.

Unbroken: About WWII hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini. Unsure of the time period but it seems to be between the 40’s and 50’s. Not my cup of tea but sounds though-provoking and emotional.

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