Posts Tagged ‘thriller’

If you haven’t spent the last five years in a coma, you will probably be familiar with the urban legend of the Slender Man. There is much debate about where the myth actually comes from… Trolls spend hours upon hours trying to convince the internet of their theory – but the general premise is that there is a man, with no face who sort of looks like the Silence from Doctor Who – except you remember them – and well, you get the gist; he’s terrifying.

Not TODAY slenderman!

However, contrary to what is suggested by the misleading trailer, and the Snakes on a Plane-esque title, The Tall Man has absolutely nothing to do with Slenderman. Not a pickle. Those sneaky people over at the production company surely saw all those over superstitious teens coming. So if you going into The Tall Man, expecting a Slenderman movie, move along. This is not that film (although, I hear they are working on that).

Source: examiner.com

The Tall Man isn’t even really a horror movie, as much as the trailer tries to convince you otherwise. It is so much more than that. In truth, it is really a story of two halves, and two genres. The first half of the movie is your typical horror/thriller story with the strong female protagonist in the form of Jessica Biel. What follows in the latter half, is much more in the mystery genre. Everything we thought was true in the first half of the movie is turned on its head, and what we are left with is a smart film that even leaves you pondering a moral dilemma.

That is why The Tall Man is unlike all your average popcorn fright films. It has a conscience as much as the characters do, and Pascal Laugier has managed to craft a concept that could have been predictable and uninteresting on its own, into one of intrigue. To boot, there is a few jumpy moments on the way, and Jessica Biel gives possibly the best performance I’ve seen from her. Especially considering the undulating moral viewpoints we see of her throughout the film. But it is Jodelle Ferland who steels the show as the mute neighbourhood kid who seems lost in plain sight. Still in her teens, Ferland is already a pretty large acting force, and I forsee a bright Oscar coloured career in her future.

Overall, the Tall Man will have you asking questions hours after, and it impresses in how much it delivers itself as a solid little thriller. My only down points are that the plot was a little slow towards the end, meaning the end climax wasn’t really a climax at all. But other than that, a good solid mystery thriller.

A respectable 6/10.

 

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One of life’s great mystery’s is how Nicolas Cage has a job. Now don’t get me wrong here, I think he can sort of act – at times. He does the psycho person pretty well. But what I just can’t get past is that he is a leading man. And constantly keeps getting cast as the leading man. Especially in action films. Now the guy didn’t exactly age well. He may have looked attractive to some in his early years, but now he looks like my old physics teacher, wearing a wig. <— That, is not a compliment. But from the off, the guy was never the action star kind of guy. He didn’t have the charisma of Bruce Willis. He wasn’t strangely (and perversely) sexy like Tom Cruise. He had some muscles, once – in the nineties, but those have long faded. Now he just frowns constantly to the point that I’m pretty sure he’s had a few ‘Trip’s to the Dentist’ to sort out those head wrinkles. I’m not saying he hasn’t made some good films. But he was never as big an action star in his youth to take him through to still being one now. Bruce had Die Hard.  Stallone had Rocky and Rambo. Even Segal had Under Siege. Nick Cage had… um… 8mm? Yeah, its not exactly a great record. I suppose he did make Face/Off, which is actually a pretty good 90’s action flick, but like I said he plays the crazy guy well. In fact, I liked him a lot better when he was the crazy guy then when he became John Travolta… If you have not seen that movie, you probably think I am insane right now. Point is, he somehow became the good guy. The leading man in movies where we were supposed to root for him. The only decent film I have seen him in in recent years was Kick Ass – and that film was basically just awesome thanks to Chloe Moretz. Anyway, I guess I should really stop bashing him now, and get on with reviewing the movie. And silently contemplating how we managed to put Curiosity on Mars, found the Higgs particle, and made Nick Cage an action star.

Trespass, as a premise, is a movie that we don’t make very often anymore. The early 2000s and the 90s were littered with smart little thrillers about home invasions and crazy people coming into your house, or kidnapping you. It seemed to be in fashion. Recently, they have stopped making these kind of films. Or at least, they’ve stopped making them well.

Trespass tells the story of couple Kyle and Sarah Miller (played by Nick Cage and Nicole Kidman). Kyle is rich. Which is probably how he hooked a gal like Sarah. Because he looks like my boyfriends knee. Anyway, the couple have one child – Avery – played by Liana Liberato and a pretty strained marriage. Well obviously. She’s married to Nick Cage. One day, the couple are at home when they’re house is invaded by four armed individuals. I say individuals as one of them is a woman. A so very annoying woman. I want to kill her myself. They want something – in these films they always do – except for the Strangers and Funny Games, those are just creepy. Kyle doesn’t want to give them it. Because he’s an ass who would rather protect his fortune than his family. Chaos ensues. 

So is it worth a watch? Hmmm… well it does have Cam Gigandet in it. Which, in my eyes, is always a plus. What a pretty boy. But the performances from the cast are pretty poor all round. I do think Liana Leberato is going to be a really huge name one day, one that she will no doubt deserve because at just 16, she really has the acting chops. But for the pro’s, the whole thing felt flat. The performances were shoddy all round, the script was nothing new and there wasn’t enough action to compensate for the rest of its failures.

That’s right… Hug it out.

I honestly think we don’t make these thrillers as well as we used to. Obviously, pretty much nothing is going to top the Dial M for Murder’s and the Rear Window’s of this world. But in the 90’s we sort of had these movie’s down. They were exciting, well written, and the cast was always nailed. Trespass ultimately feels tired, and something I could have watched in your average episode of prime time action TV. Maybe that there is the problem. With the ante upped in the small screen, movies have to try so much harder to cut it these days. You have to be original, have a great script, be flashy or give some great performances. Otherwise, it doesn’t compare to some of the high quality television beamed to us on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, TV is far from flawless either. But when you have the Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead of the world, movies need to step it up a notch. Trespass didn’t do that at any point. And what materialized was a predictable yawning yarn.

Overall, a pretty poor thriller.

3.5/10

When I saw the trailer for Amanda Seyfried’s new kidnapping thriller, my first thoughts were a) this is a bog standard throw away thriller and b) how bad has the script got to be when someone uses the word ‘sis’ to refer to their sister, just in case all of us idiots watching didn’t realise – seriously, I have two sisters, I have never in my life referred to them as ‘sis’. What garbage! That aside, Amanda Seyfried is a pretty talented actress who can turn her hand to most of the genre’s so why not this? And so I gave it a chance.

Seyfried plays Jill… Or is it Gill…? I never understand why people spell it with a ‘G’. Gill is something a fish uses to breathe… not a bloody woman’s name! Is it me? Anyway… Jill is a woman who lives with her sister (I thought I’d point that one out early in case you missed it…), and who has a pretty traumatic past. Both of her parents are dead and – oh yeah, she was once kidnapped by a serial killer. Its a story we can all relate to… This particular nasty, kidnapped Jill in the middle of the night, threw her down a hole in the woods and then left her there for hours on end. Then when he came back to kill her, she managed to escape and ran for freedom. Here’s the catch – when the police came to look for this mysterious hole and the perp it belonged to, they couldn’t find it. And so, the whole world thought Jill made it up, much to her annoyance, and her sanity. Then, when Jill’s sister, Molly, goes missing in the same manner – Jill obviously becomes determined to find her, and she does so all on her own as the police thinks she’s one nut short of a squirrel house…

I won’t ruin the story as I do think this film is worth a watch. What I will tell you as the story twists and weaves enough to keep you watching. Eventually, you the viewer can’t help but wonder if Jill really is cuckoo… which I guess was the intention of the writers. But to be honest, unusually, it wasn’t the thought that Jill would catch the guy and save Molly that kept me watching till the end – which is unusual for a movie like this. Instead, I was waiting and hoping to see the look on those detectives faces when she proved them wrong. Maybe that says more about me then it does about the script… *ahem* but that was an interesting notion that made Gone a little superior to similar Hollywood movies.

Overall I’d say that Gone is definitely worth a watch as a popcorn flick. It has a solid plot, and its actually really well thought out for a movie like this. Amanda Seyfried gave a believable performance as usual, and the suspense was well placed throughout the movie. If I was going to have one bad word to say – well I felt there should have been a bit more action in the final showdown. Especially given the fact the whole movie is funnelling to that point. It felt a little bit of a let down.

But other than that, a solid thriller. Check out the trailer below.

7/10

NB. The word ‘sis’ isn’t even in the movie! They just put it in the trailer to be glaringly obvious! I honestly think that would have put people off. The fact it is even in the trailer means they dragged the actress who plays Molly into the sound studio, in order to get her to say, “Hey Sis…!” – ridiculous behaviour! …Stupid trailer people.

I’m sticking to what I think would be an ideal Freudian list of movies again today. And today’s movie is a classic example of exploring the deepest darkest depths of the human psyche. Now, I’m not sure if I’ve ever revealed this to you fine handsome people – but I love Alfred Hitchcock. I’m not exactly his target audience, and trying to get any of my friends to enjoy any of his masterpieces is like being in chess club and asking the hottest guy in the school to prom. But that being said, at the tender age of 21 – there are few of his movies I haven’t seen or don’t own, and I see his ground breaking originality being cloned in practically every thriller I watch. And so, if you are a fan of thrillers, and you don’t mind a movie being older than a good bottle of Chardonnay, then I insist you check out some of his films. His most famous movie is probably ‘Psycho’ which I definitely consider to be the first psychological thriller ever made. That’s my Hitch – actually inventing a genre… But in terms of enjoyment, I would recommend any of his Jimmy Stewart or Grace Kelly partnerships – or hell the film they made together – Rear Window. Or if it’s adventure that you want, check out North by Northwest. Carry Grant climbing down Mount Rushmore… It doesn’t really get any better than that.

And so, now to the movie at hand. Introducing Marnie, a twisted psychological drama that was really the last of Hitch’s greats. Starring Tippi Hendren (of The Birds fame – check that one out, it’s brill!) and the extremely handsome Sean Connery, Marnie tells the tale of a female thief with pretty obvious deep rooted issues.  Connery plays the rather dark and sinister man who decides to take this woman on as his ‘pet project’ if you will. Trying to burrow into this woman’s mind, with the intention of trying to get her to trust him. 

Marnie is a movie for people who think they know how to interpret the workings of the inner mind, but not necessarily for ones who actually can. Those individuals may find the plot and unsubtly of Marnie’s psychological downfall to be cheesy and dated. That being said, Marnie was made in 1964 and movies of this kind were not often made and so our initial predisposition to ‘psychological thrillers’ and their associated clichés have to be set to one side. Hendren’s character Marnie begins the movie as a strong, independent and quick witted criminal. And so it is hard not to make associations to Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew when you see by the end of the movie that she is totally and utterly submissive, and above all a broken woman thanks to Mark’s (played by Connery) aggressive whittling. It would be a mistake to assume that it was the trauma she suffered as a child that broke her. Granted Marnie was disturbed, and would have eventually needed to face those demons she had hidden for so long. However Mark didn’t expose those demons with the intention of helping her – that can be said for certain. Getting to the root of Marnie’s darkest and deepest fears was all just another means to an end for Mark, who coincidently indicated – more than once – that he was someone fascinated with both behaviour, animalistic traits and trying to make animals trust him. It is this fact that totally outlines the movie. At first glance you could be fooled into believing Marnie is a love story about a strong man enabling the woman he loves to regain control of her life by facing a traumatic event from her childhood. But you would be wrong. Marnie is so much darker and twisted than that. Mark told Marnie that he had gotten a leopard called Sophie to trust him. She belittled his achievement – which in itself is a sign of her independent and strong manner. He responded by saying how great an achievement it was when the leopard is a wild animal. In this movie – Marnie is the wild animal.

You have to ask yourself, why would Mark show such a great interest in Marnie. And why would he go out of his way to protect her from her own criminal deeds. The answer is simple really – Marnie was Marks new project. He indicated that women were the biggest predators of all – again a reference back to animals, and so he was challenging himself. He reckoned if he could get her to trust him, that would be his biggest achievement. Much more so than the leopard. Some would argue that he was trying to help her. But you have to remember that he recognised her instantly when she applied for a job at his firm. He knew she was a thief and made that decision then to tame her, if you will. This occurred long before he knew how disturbed she was, nor that she had a traumatic past. When you realise that was his intent all along, it makes every action after that much more sinister. Yes he did help her bring to light a hidden traumatic event which ultimately led to her facing her demons and helping her neuroticism. But that was just a means in order to break her. Which he succeeded in doing…

Was she broken?

Ask yourself – if we all had to face our deepest, darkest insecurities and the price of that was to be wholly and totally dependent on another human being, would you want to? We all have secrets and moments from our past that we would like to forget. In Marnie’s case she had forgotten them, so that her mind could cope. She wasn’t necessarily better off not knowing, she suffered day to day with painful reminders of this unspoken event which often left her acting out of sorts. However, Mark wasn’t unburying those secrets so he could help his wife, but so that she would finally open herself up and accept him – trust him with every fibre. Had Marnie discovered her past in a doctor’s office as opposed to it being thrust upon her in an unsafe environment by a man with twisted intentions, then this would be a very different film. But she unburdens herself finally, and who does she see? Still, the loveless mother who is icy cold, and then the kind faced, strong armed handsome man who has been with her throughout this perilous journey. Marnie just wanted to be loved all along. She constantly asked her mother why she didn’t love her. So to then have this contrasted with Mark who made her feel safe and protected as he endeavoured to clean up every mess she’d ever made, blind sided Marnie and so she fell in love with him. And more than that – she trusted him. 

Dear God Sean Connery was a handsome devil! Even in this rather sinister picture...!

Still think he was just trying to help her? Well there is one last damning piece of evidence. The final nail in the coffin. The book. Throughout the movie Mark reads books about animals, behaviour, zoology – he often referred to it as his field, on top of his usual work. But the only book of real significance is totally framed by Hitchcock, entitled: Psycho-sexual Behavior in the Criminal Mind.

Pretty strange bedtime reading don’t you think? Mark admitted himself that he was interested in that field. But he was reading that book not to help Marnie, but again to gain control of her. To unroot her insecurities in order to gain her trust. And the sick thing about this movie is that it works. By the final scene, she is very much a broken woman. She tells him she wants to stay with him, and doesn’t want to go to prison. When just a few short months ago she couldn’t stand him even touching her. But like all Hitchcock films, Hitch leaves a lot to interpretation and a lot of guessing work is done throughout the movie. I can’t help thinking that Marnie would quickly become like the leopard in the picture – just a trophy of his triumphs. Meaning he’d quickly tire of her now he had fulfilled his accomplishment. Mark so coldly tells Marnie his first wife is dead. Perhaps he tired of her too… Marks desire to tame a woman was also echoed by the supporting character – Lil. She is totally infatuated with Mark, but she is also already willing to do anything Mark pleases. There is no challenge in that. And so I doubt Mark would ever have found her attractive.

Anyway, to conclude, Marnie is most definitely a puzzling, solid thriller that will see you reading into every word and every scene. I will leave you with two little gems – firstly, this picture of Hitch in Marnie – once again he inserted himself into his movie… And also this charming quote from the production of the film.

After rehearsing just a few scenes with co-star Sean Connery,  Tippi Hendren asked Alfred Hitchcock, “Marnie is supposed to be frigid – have you seen him?” referring to the young Connery. Hitchcock’s reply was reportedly, “Yes, my dear, it’s called acting.”

It's like spotting 'Where's Wally!'

Overall, a tantalizing watch and a psychologist’s wet dream… A solid 8/10.