Let’s Do This Hitchcock Thing!

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Hello everybody!

Today marks the day the Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon that Rob over at Movie Rob and I are hosting officially commences! For the next month your news feeds will be inundated with all sorts of Hitchcock reviews, from the silent films all the way through to colour and sound. To everyone who has been watching films for this and submitting reviews, we thank you very much for them, and for helping to make this project possible!

To participants, you are welcome to use the above banner for your site should you so choose to.

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Reviews will be posted weekly from Sundays through to Thursdays, so keep your eyes open! :)


Review: Dracula – Bram Stoker

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Solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula, a gentleman who has purchased property in London and wishes to discuss his affairs with his solicitor. Seeing as Jonathan’s boss is ill, he goes in his stead, leaving his fiancée Mina Murray behind. While in Transylvania, Jonathan notices that the locals are rather peculiar, and all seem to dread him going to Dracula’s castle. Upon arrival, all seems well, though Jonathan notices strange things about the Count, such as the way he smells, the way he never eats, the lack of servants for the castle and so forth. It soon becomes evident that the Count is no mortal man, and Jonathan fears for his life, and rightly so. In a panic, he tries to escape and flee home, but is horrified to learn that he is, in actual fact, Dracula’s prisoner.

Back in England, Mina Murray spends time with her best friend, Lucy Westenra in Whitby, with Mrs Westenra, too. Lucy is much coveted by a trio of friends, but ultimately chooses Lord Arthur Godalming, the man she loves, turning down both his friends, Dr John Seward and Mr Quincey Morris, an American. Lucy soon starts sleepwalking, something she has not done in years, and progressively looks more and more ill. Mina receives news from Mrs Westenra that she is very sick, and probably won’t make it very long, but will not have Lucy told of the news. Mina is also extremely worried about Jonathan, whom she has not heard from in weeks. In Whitby, things get stranger and stranger, and it seems that on a sleepwalking expedition, Lucy came across a foreign man, who was gone by the time that Mina reached her. Mina receives word from overseas that Jonathan has been admitted to hospital, and is suffering from brain fever. Mina immediately leaves to go tend to the love of her life.

In Mina’s absence, Lucy grows sick enough that Arthur eventually calls John away from the lunatic asylum that he runs to look over Lucy. John is shocked at what he sees, and immediately reaches out to his mentor, Dr Abraham Van Helsing, to come and make his examination of her, which he promptly does. Van Helsing seems to be thinking along a line of thought he is not willing to share with John, who is worried about Lucy. Numerous blood transfusions have been done, though it is evident that she is not improving. Also, she has ragged little holes in her neck which John cannot explain, though Van Helsing has a theory on how to account for them, though he does not wish to share it so soon. Their struggle to save Lucy ultimately turns out to be in vain. Mina, meanwhile, marries Jonathan overseas, and returns home to receive the shocking news that Lucy is no longer with them. Van Helsing has shared his theory that Lucy had been preyed on by a vampire, and that she, too, has turned into the undead, and that they alone can stop her. Scepticism soon gives way to fear when Quincey, John, Arthur, and Van Helsing come together to right the wrongs. Getting in touch with Mina proves to hold some of the missing pieces, and her and Jonathan join in the hunt for the Count. The Harkers are adored by the group that avenges Lucy, and soon they become like a family.

Will the group come to terms with what the Count is? Can he be defeated? Will anyone else fall prey to him while he is in London? Will Arthur ever deal with the loss of Lucy, as well as the defilement that she suffered? Will they be able to figure out how the Count works, as well as his weaknesses, his strengths, and come up with a plan to end it all? How did the Count come to be?

GRADE 8.5This book is definitely a classic, and for good reason, too. I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which it was presented, as various diary entries, news clippings, letters, etc. It gave a sense of seeing the story from each and every one of their perspective. It was interesting, and it was old school English, which was so lovely to read, everything was so proper. The characters, too, were interesting. Sometimes I was unsure if the times have changed or if people truly made friends that quickly and became so loyal, effortlessly almost? It’s like rash decisions all over the show as to who they would trust, and why. Then point two, I laughed because it clarifies more of the time it was written in, which is still not right, how they said Mina had a “man brain” because she was smart. Way to go history, so chauvinistic at the best of times. None of the women were ever written about in a degrading sense, it was just that it was made clear in the book that women are precious, but not the intelligent species. Such as when Mina was being preyed on by the Count… it was never considered (though they were right next door and all saw what happened to Lucy) that the Count could be responsible, it was just accepted that she was severely stressed out trying to be strong for them, or getting a little hysterical as women do. I mean seriously guys? I thought you were supposed to be the smart lot. Dracula really showcases the original vampire story commercially, and is well worth the read.


Sporadic Scene: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – Quaaludes – Cerebral Palsy Phase

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).


Movie Bloggers Roundtable

Zoë:

I was honoured to be able to participate in Keith’s Movie Bloggers Roundtable, where we were asked which was the best decade for movies. Head on over to see the responses!

Originally posted on Keith & the Movies:

BANNERThe Movie Bloggers Roundtable is a feature where I join up with four esteemed movie bloggers and we share our thoughts on a certain subject. Everyone on the panel will share their thoughts and feelings on the topic of the day and then we share them with you. The panel may change from post to post and hopefully we will get a wide range and interesting mix of opinions and perspectives.

Today’s roundtable discussion is inspired by my pal Ruth over at FlixChatter (one of the absolute best movie blogs around). It’s a question that I found incredibly intriguing and it had me thinking on it for several days afterwards. It deals with the different decades and the movies that defined them. Joining me for this roundtable is Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger, Michael from It Rains…You Get Wet, Cindy from CindyBruchman.com, and…

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Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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“If we go to war, we could lose all we’ve built.”
- Caesar

A decade after the ALZ-113 virus, now known as the Simian Flu, spread across the world, it caused the end of human civilisation as we know it. The world is crushed. Caesar (Andy Serkis) lives with his family in the Muir Woods, where he rules over a new generation of apes,who are genetically smarter due to teh ALZ-113 virus which wiped out the people. Caeser’s son, Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston), and his friend Ash (Doc Shaw) encounter a group of humans while out fishing one day, this after the conclusion was drawn that all human life has been extinguished. Ash is shot by Carver (Kirk Acevedo), and Caesar and his people are called to the scene, where they chase the people from the forests, furious. Malcolm (Jason Clarke) returns to San Francisco, where they are followed by the apes. Malcolm consults with Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), his confidante who helped him establish the city for survivors of the ALZ-113 virus. He confides in him that Caesar is remarkable. They need to go back into the Muir Woods as there is a dam there that they need to work on to generate power for the city.

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“Fear makes others turn.” – Blue Eyes

Back at Caesar, Koba (Tony Kebbell) argues that they must strike on the humans and eradicate them completely. Caesar is not of the opinion, but rides forth with an army of apes to the gates of the humans to make it clear that although the apes do not want war, they will fight if they need to. Malcolm returns to the woods with his wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and some other people, all wishing to talk to Caesar about their needs. Dreyfus, meanwhile, has given Malcolm three days to broker a deal with the apes before they flood the woods with weapons and take the dam by force. Caesar decides to work with Malcolm, and they begin to fix up the dam’s generator. A good relationship develops slowly between the apes and the humans. An incident infuriates Caesar, however, and has him banish the humans once and for all, although Malcolm will not hear about it. He insists on finding a way to make it work, and the gap is bridged when Ellie helps Caesar’s wife, Cornelia (Judy Greer), who is very ill after having given birth to Caesar’s second son.

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“From humans, Koba only learned hate. Nothing else.” – Caesar

Koba is furious that Caesar is so forgiving of humans, as he cannot let go of the atrocities that they put him through. He takes a few apes and goes to San Francisco, where he learns that the humans have enough weaponry to kill all the apes. He returns to tell Caesar of his discovery, and instead the two have a massive fight. Koba is embittered, and starts to manipulate Blue Eyes into believing that the humans are a threat, and that they will harm Caesar, and that Caesar is too blind to see it. Koba convinces the other apes, after Caesar is “killed”, that the humans must pay for their atrocities, and Blue Eyes follows Koba into battle. Dreyfus and his people respond violently, naturally, and the war begins. Malcolm and his family managed to escape the wrath of the apes after Koba declared war, and they find Caesar, barely alive. They desperately need to operate on him.

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“Caesar loves humans more than apes!” – Koba

Will Caesar survive an operation? Where is his family? Will the other apes truly follow Koba? Will Malcolm be able to get Dreyfus to let go of what has been happening? Can a peace be brokered between both sides? Can an alliance be formed? Will the world ever go back to how it used to be?

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“It was a virus created by scientists in a lab. You can’t honestly blame the apes?” – Ellie

GRADE 8.5finally got to see this movie, and I have been excited about it for the longest time. Ironically, I know, I was über sceptical about its predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but after seeing it I was transformed into a fan, no to ways about it. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen since Caesar led the apes away from imprisonment, into freedom. I wanted to know what would happen after that ALZ-113 spread, that virus that makes the apes exceptionally smart but kills off the people. Let me tell you, the watch was well worth the wait. The effects were simply amazing for this film, the CGI was something else. It was just gorgeous. The portrayals, too, were phenomenal, and Andy Serkis again simply owned the show in his role of Caesar. Again, the friendship between him and Maurice is so cool, they are such great friends. Caesar and the apes truly did build their little piece of happiness, their own home, settling into regular roles, very humanlike. Koba was a brilliant character, and his hatred and motivations are completely understandable, even though they are totally opposite from Caesar, whom we can also understand on the other end. It shows that each and every experience is subjective. Jason Clarke was great as Malcolm, though I must admit I was disappointed by how small a role Gary Oldman actually helmed at the end of the day. The emotions that were put forth were complex, delving into many different aspects, from the humans side as well as the apes, and you can identify with both sides, though there is no doubt that the perception is almost skewed more in favour of the apes. Koba’s character was extensively used, and properly so. The movie was shot well and beautiful to look at. The scenes were the apes go to war, ultimately, captured the essence of confusion and fear perfectly. This movie was excellent, and well worth the praise it receives, it came together wonderfully.


Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

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“Caesar shows cognitive skills that far exceed that of a human counterpart. The drug in his system has radically boosted healthy brain functions.”
- Will Rodman

Dr William “Will” Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist working on finding a way to cure Alzheimer’s, though he is working for his own personal reasons. His brilliant father Charles (John Lithgow) is slipping away from Will more and more, and soon it will be irreversible.  Will’s company, Gen-Sys, is testing ALZ-112, a viral-based drug, on chimpanzees. The trial seems to be going very well, but a complication arises. The chimpanzee may be far more intelligent, but she is also far more dangerous, and rampages after getting loose, ultimately being shot down. Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) realises that Bright Eyes, the chimpanzee that went ballistic, was actually only protecting her baby that they were unaware she had birthed. Begging Will to take the baby home just for a while until he finds an alternative solution, Will is roped into taking the baby home.

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“You want me to take him? I can’t take care of a monkey.” – Will Rodman

At home, he soon learns that it would seem that ALZ-112 that was used on Bright Eyes was genetically passed to her son, whom Charles seems crazy about and immediately names Caesar (Andty Serkis). Caesar displays extraordinary intelligence, and learns things rapidly. Soon Caesar becomes a permanent fixture in their home and a member of their family. The moment that Will learns that the ALZ-112 works, he gives it to his father seeing as his boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) shut down their research and refuses to open it up again, especially not for human trials. The ALZ-112 works miracles on Charles, whose brain recovers, his mind is fresh and whole, and father and son are both ecstatic.

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“We gave him a gene therapy that allows the brain to create it own cells in order to repair itself. We call it the Cure to Alzheimer’s.” – Will Rodman

 Caesar, however, is desperate to learn of the outside world, to have friends, and the need for this is exacerbated when Will starts seeing Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto), a primatologist who is also very close to Caesar after spending much time with the family. The neighbourhood rebels about Caesar living with the Rodmans. Charles’s dementia starts to return, and Will realises that he needs to find a way to make a stronger drug to help his father. He starts his research, honing and perfecting another virus that is better. An unfortunate event in which Charles’s dementia lands him in a spot of trouble has Caesar save him, but gets him locked up in an ape sanctuary, headed up by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his son Dodge (Tom Felton), both cruel and inhumane. Caesar struggles to understand what is happening, and is thrown in with his own kind, who are nothing like him. Caesar will have to find a way to fit in, and is angered to see how the apes are treated, and with his better-than-original cognitive ability, sets out to change the way things are done around the facility. Will, meanwhile, is desperately seeking a way to bring Caesar home.

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“Careful. Humans don’t like smart ape.” – Maurice

Will Caesar make a stand at the facility? Will he ever fit in with the other apes? Will Will find an alternate medication to save his father’s mind, or is the battle ultimately lost? Will Will succeed in finding a way to bring Caesar home? Will anyone ever bring the facility to heel about the absolutely despicable way in which they treat the apes?

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“Ape alone… weak. Apes together… strong.” – Caesar

GRADE 8This was something I was dead set against watching. Hell, my other half damn near strapped me to the couch to force me to watch it, and my entire opinion of the Planet of the Apes franchise was changed… well, not the franchise maybe, but certainly the new direction and reboot. I regret not seeing it in cinema because this is something worth seeing on the big screen, and the years have passed with me getting progressively more excited for the sequel. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the cast, the concept, the CGI, Caesar (that goes without say), and the story. It was well paced, never leaving you confused or wondering what the hell had happened. Seeing how Caesar came to live with Will was great, he was adorable, and it was amazing how much he helped Charles become more stable. The psychology behind Caesar’s intelligence and desire to make new connections and all was also completely believable and understandable. The ties between Will, Charles and Caesar is very sweet, they bond together in the closest for of family. Andy Serkis delivered another grand role in his motion capture forte. Tom Felton seems destined to play the jackass forever more since his stint as Draco Malfoy, and he was really so reprehensible in here. Brian Cox returns once again as a villainous character, also very unlikable. It was terribly sad, getting the testing portrayal from the chimpanzee’s side, and was well crafted. The score worked wonders, too. Caesar being separated from caring family and thrown to the wolves, so to speak, it difficult, but it is fantastic to see the ape grow, to create ties with his own kind, to see his similarities with them as well as where they differ. I really liked the friendship he and Maurice had with one another, it was sweet. This is one of those films that really needs to be seen, it is exceptionally well done, and will draw in just about any viewer.


Iconic Book Scene: Dracula – Mina Will Not Go Alone

Zoë:

I submitted yet another Iconic Book Scene to Natasha, one that I thoroughly enjoy. So beautiful! Check it out.

Originally posted on Life of this city girl:

Guest insert by the Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

So I am behind on every single thing in my life right now, and that includes blog posts. When Zoë mentioned last night she had a Scene up her sleeve, I was like HELL YEAH. Send this to me! Enjoy! (It goes without saying, but if you are not already following her legendary blog, I strongly recommend you go be awesome and press the follow button on her site)

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I absolutely love this scene. When I read it I knew that it was perfect for Natasha’s Iconic Book Scene feature, because it is just a stunning piece of prose. In this single piece alone you can tell how much Jonathan loves Mina, and that even though he undeniably despises Count Dracula and all that he is, he can completely understand why the Count does the things that he does, and…

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