Movies – The Boy Review (or ‘At Least I Get To Use My Krusty The Clown Meme Again’)

March 23, 2016

I don’t really ‘get’ horror movies.

Most of the time they are pretty poorly written, rely heavily on sudden sharp stings of incidental music to make people in the audience jump and just aren’t scary.

I remember going to see The Descent – which in fairness is a pretty good film because of its plot rather than its genre – with a group of friends and was stunned by some of the reactions. For one thing, one of my theboyfriends – and I know he’ll read this and will inevitably comment on it on Facebook – actually let out a loud scream. Incredible. Meanwhile, another one turned to my brother and said “Aww man, this is the scariest film I’ve ever seen”.

I don’t get it. What you’re seeing on-screen cannot hurt you, so why do people get scared?

There’s only ever been one example of a movie making me jump and raising my heart rate and that was Rear Window. The direction in that film is so good that it makes you feel like you are the one watching Raymond Burr from across the street, and when he finally realises he’s being watched, it’s like he’s looking directly at you. That’s class.

But yeah, generally horror movies don’t achieve what they set out to as far as I’m concerned.

Still though, I’m always up for a well written movie and for giving things a chance, so I went along to see The Boy last night.

Alas, the one thing this wasn’t was well written.

What’s It About?

The synopsis for The Boy reads like this…

“A young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta learns that the child of her new employers is a life-size doll. They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their own son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to life, leading her to believe that the doll is alive.”

What’s It Really About?

If I was writing an honest synopsis I would say…

“A mentally unstable American woman takes a job nannying for a ceramic puppet in England. Despite obvious alarm bells – such as how the aged, weary ‘parents’ of the ceramic boy are obviously insane and on edge and how it’s…you know…a highly complicated and suspiciously well paid nannying job for a fucking puppet in a house cut off from society in a foreign country – she doesn’t cut her losses and leave. Indeed, even as the mother of the puppet whispers to her “I’m so sorry” as they leave the house forever, she still has no issues with sticking around.

While she initially ignores the long list of daily chores based on keeping the puppet happy, she becomes slightly disturbed by the way it seems to have changed positions and slightly moved while she’s out of the room. Then something appears to move her dress and lock her in the attic. At this point, rather than locking the puppet in a cupboard, destroying the puppet or just leaving, she decides to stick around while petrified. That makes no sense.

Then when faced with conclusive proof that the puppet does seem to be moving, instead of once again destroying the puppet or just leaving (after all, how much harm can a puppet do even if it is

What the hell was that?!

My reaction to watching The Boy (It’s always good to be able to use this image)

sentient?) she sees that as a sign to stick around and parent it. O…..kay then.

After all of that, the last 15 minutes are the result of the writer seemingly lacking a proper ending and thinking “Fuck it, this’ll do” . I won’t spoil it, but it’s just ridiculous.

So I’d have phrased that synopsis slightly differently.

Really, this is just a stupid film that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There are so many times when common sense decision-making would have seen the film end in a rational and sensible manner after 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 minutes, but alas, there was no common sense on display from Greta.

And therefore it couldn’t be taken seriously. Even if we allow for the suspension of disbelief to make the concept work, there are limits. I ended up laughing at rather than with it, which wasn’t the intention I’m sure.

So yeah, I’d say it was crap.

Not crap in a ‘This was excruciating to watch‘ type way, because it moved along at a reasonable enough pace to never be boring and was actually acted quite well, but crap in a ‘This is ludicrous’ way.

Still, one or two people were suckered in to yelping in fear when there were the obvious sharp stings of music.

And if that floats their boat then good for them.

But I expect better when I go to the cinema, and so should you.


Movies – 10 Cloverfield Lane Review (or ‘A Palate Cleansing Thrill’)

March 19, 2016

To discuss 10 Cloverfield Lane in too much detail would be to ruin the experience for those who haven’t seen it yet.

So I’m not going to go into specifics.cloverfield

Before I went, all I knew about it was that it involved Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman (along with The Newsroom’s John Gallagher Jr.) trapped in some sort of bunker and that as part of the Cloverfield brand – and incidentally if you haven’t seen the original Cloverfield, do so immediately – it’ll have some kind of monster element. But as the poster says, monsters come in many forms.

That’s all you should know about it before you go too.

And make no mistake, you should absolutely go to see 10 Cloverfield Lane because it’s brilliant.

With such a confined setting and including so few characters, this would have to be well directed, well played and well paced for it to work, and it is. In fact, it’s played over three acts and just at the point where you could possibly accuse things of slowing down, something game-changing happens to perk you back up again.

Everything that happens matters, there’s a genuine air of mystery about it and at times it’s downright thrilling. What also helps is the use of incidental music, the likes of which hasn’t really been used since The Shining (or for the Dr Who fans reading, The Web of Fear). It ramps up the tension and – as all good incidental music should – adds to the atmosphere.

And while I have no intention of spoiling the ending for you, I’ll simply say that I was most satisfied.

Having been so disappointed by Hail, Caesar! a couple of days ago, I’m delighted to have gone to see such a good movie so soon afterwards. It has certainly cleansed my cinema-going palate.

Put simply, this is a great movie and you’ll enjoy it, so get along to the cinema as soon as you can.


Movies – Hail, Caesar! Review (or ‘I Felt Like I Was In Purgatory’)

March 19, 2016

The mistake I made was going to see Hail, Caesar! based on the recommendation of someone who hadn’t actually watched it himself.

When you think about it, that’s not really a recommendation at all.

But I went, and I didn’t enjoy it.casuer

And the thing is, I really felt like I should have.

It’s got a strong cast, an interesting premise – it’s a story about a day in the life of a 1950s Hollywood Studio boss and how his work is full of farcical challenges created by his problematic contract stars – and it looks great with all the period costume and design.

But the script lets it down.

Not only are the different set pieces full of misfiring humour, but the pacing and amount of time given to some characters over others is also way off.

And most of all it was just dull.

Despite going to an 8pm showing, I actually lost interest to the point where I started to fall asleep after about an hour. But because the  seats in the cinema aren’t particularly comfortable and it’s obviously quite loud in there, I kept waking up every couple of minutes.

It felt like I was trapped in some kind of cinematic purgatory watching a crap movie that just never seemed to end.

Really, the only enjoyment I got out of the whole thing was sitting there asking myself “Who is that guy? I recognise him”. It turned out to be someone who appeared in an episode of Jonathan Creek.

And when that’s the only positive, then the experience was one to be forgotten.

Avoid.