Review: Swiss Army Man (2016)

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“If my best friend hides his farts from me then what else is he hiding from me, and why does that make me feel so alone?”
– Manny

SYNOPSIS: A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8I heard so much about this movie when it came out. Heck, everyone did. It was all over the internet. There was a lot of talk. I was interested in checking this out because, well, I quite enjoy Radcliffe. He’s really good. The trailers did not look like my cup of tea (fart jokes, etc. are just not me), so I sort of discarded it. The reviews came back with  mad love for it, which I did not expect. It seemed like the type of movie you either loved or hated. Now I just had to watch it, to see where I would fall on the spectrum. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it, totally unexpectedly.

It opened with a fart joke. Seriously. It did. I rolled my eyes. Goodness, how on Earth was I going to make it through this whole thing? My husband looked at me curiously – me, watching something like this? What’s happening? But then the movie starts building, and against my better judgment, I was roped in. There was so much going on. I thought Hank had lost his marbles. What was with Radcliffe? Good Lord, the corpse is mumbling!

Before I knew it, I was actually having quite a few good laughs, and I was genuinely being engaged by the story. Surprisingly, Swiss Army Man actually has heart at the core of the story, and it works. The movie is quirky and is accompanied by a great score and absolutely awesome performances from both Radcliffe and Dano (the movie was essentially carried by just the two of them). The two worked together and came across as the greatest friends. I was impressed. Who knew? I certainly didn’t expect it from this movie. It contains a lot of themes, and they are executed rather beautifully. The movie is also shot really well, and looks really good. The scenes flow together seamlessly, and the pacing works, too. Never bland, never boring.

There was plenty awkward humour, humour that I normally absolutely cannot stand, but for some absurd reason, it suited the film. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely more fart/penis jokes than absolutely necessary, but there is actually more to this than that, and something you need to overlook to get to the rest of it. Swiss Army Man is, without a doubt, a bizarre watching experience, but one I certainly enjoyed more than I expected. It had heart, it had humour, it had depth, it made you laugh and it made you sad. I think it balanced a lot of themes incredibly well. I don’t know, this one just worked, in all its weirdness, and I thought it well worth my time.

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Rapid Review: Horns (2013)

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“You killed that poor girl, and now the devil has claimed you.”
– Father Mould

SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7The  level of excitement I had been building for this is madness. I absolutely adored Hill’s book, and I was excited to see Daniel Radcliffe helm the role of Ig, it is something I was sure he was going to rock, and let me just tell you he did! I know I have said it before and I will say it again, but I never, ever liked Radcliffe in Potter. Always found him so wooden and boring. Yet the minute you take him out of that he is just amazing, no two ways about it. He was just perfect to play Ig, and he did a fantastic job embodying everything about the character. It’s like he climbed into the skin of Ig and it was just mesmerising to watch – probably my favourite role of his ever! I think if you have not read the book, you will miss out a lot of the finer things in the film, which is unfortunate. But lucky for me, I read the book, so I really, really enjoyed it and felt that it was well worth the wait. What I do wish, though, is that there was more of Ig’s past shown, especially featuring Lee, so that you could get a more solid feel for his character and the psychology behind him, it would have lent more credence to how everything went down. As someone who read the book, all the little things in between were filled up for me, but I am sure you might have a lot of questions if you haven’t read it. My other half was lost at a few places but righted when I explained it to him, so the film could surely have focused on that some more. There were times that I was annoyed by the changes made, but this is not a simple story to bring to screen. I must say, I had a good few laughs throughout, which is something I didn’t really expect. The acting all round was pretty good, and naturally I was thrilled to see David Morse in here, though he didn’t have a huge role. The character were decently cast. The film was shot beautifully, and I loved the colours and effects thoughout. I adored the soundtrack, too. Just an example: I got goosebumps at the usage of Marilyn Manson’s Personal Jesus in here. I thought that was absolutely perfectly done. Ig getting out that car, to the bar, all that ensues prior to entering – that song just worked. And then, as you think it’s over, Ig leaves, and lo and behold, Personal Jesus just pops up and closes that whole scene out. WOW. That’s all I have to say about that. Alright, so from all of this I am sure that you are able to tell that I loved it and will definitely be watching it again and adding it to my collection. At the end of it all, what I am trying to say, is definitely watch it!

Review: The Woman In Black (2012)

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“I believe the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark.”
– Samuel Daily

So in my extreme movie run that I had, I had The Woman In Black on the list. I have been waiting for my boyfriend to have a few free minutes to watch this with me as he expressed the desire to see it, but he has been so damn busy! This weekend, though, I made sure that we were going to watch this, once and for all.

London lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) lost his wife during childbirth years ago, and is considered sad and angry by his son, Joseph (Misha Handley). Arthur is sent to a remote little countryside town to obtain paperwork for the sale of the dreaded Eel Marsh House when the owner passes away. Arthur is not keen on going so far away and leaving his son alone, but is threatened by his boss as to losing his job should he not be able to perform the duties.

Arthur leaves his son with the Nanny (Jessica Raine), and takes the next train out to the countryside, where he will be joined over the weekend by his son and his Nanny. On the train he meets and makes a new friend, Samuel Daily (Ciarán Hinds), a local who seems friendly enough. Arthur soon realizes that that in itself is terribly strange for the locals, as they all treat him extremely coldly and as though he is a criminal. Arthur is perplexed by how his treatment, and how desperate everyone seems to be to get him to leave town as soon as is humanly possible, going as far as to claim there was no room for him at the inn, as well as the deceased mother’s son basically chasing him clean out.

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Arthur Kipps

This serves no purpose other than to pique Arthur’s interest, as well as his resolve, and he gets a lift in to Eel Marsh House, intent on beginning his paperwork so as to be done by Friday. Upon arrival at the manor on the island, it becomes evident that when the tide comes up, there is no getting on to or off of the island, and that he will in essence be stranded. Never fear, Arthur has work to do, and so it shall be done. Staying at the house, however, seems absurd, and he sees a veiled woman in black (Liz White) observing him from just before the cemetery, yet she is gone when he goes to see her. Returning inland to report the woman to the local police station, a little girl is brought in, who lies dying in his arms. The locals become more hostile and brusque towards him, and Arthur almost feels as though it should be his fault.

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When the paranormal leans in for a closer look…

He learns at dinner with Daily and his wife, Elisabeth (Janet McTeer), that they lost their son, Nicholas, a few years back. An awful lot of children seem to be dying off in the area, yet still Arthur knows nothing or is not really connecting and buying into the superstitions of the people in town, and returns to the house. The weird and the supernatural start occurring, and he cannot fathom nor explain the way he is convinced he sees people, or that he hears them, and that furniture moves in the house and candles die. Not one that believed in superstition prior to his wife’s death, he is unsure of how to handle it all. Just before his mind melts away, Daily returns to collect him to take him inland, where more havoc is being wreaked, and the locals have given up completely with him, and are ready to bring on the fire and pitchforks to banish him from their little seaside town.

Arthur’s menial little visit has finally escalated into full scale drama when Elisabeth reveals to him the secret of the Woman in Black, and how she terrorizes the townsfolk’s children for the loss that she suffered. Arthur has a plan, and recruits the help of Daily. Is it possible that they can put an end to the slayings once and for all?

I would score The Woman In Black 7/10. The film might have you wondering more often than not how Arthur can be so cut off and not freaked out by what is going on around him, but the show was orchestrated well. Not a million cheap jump moments packed into every available moment, but truly chilling scenes that pop up from time to time. It is not the world’s most solid or terrifying plot, but it was put together in a way that made sense. Daniel Radcliffe provided a solid performance as Arthur Kipps, and I truly feel that it highlights his acting abilities a little more effectively. There were many moments where I sat thinking he might be a little young for the role he was playing, but then one only needs to remember the era in which the movie was set, and it seems that much more believable. Not a bad watch by a long shot, I would recommend it.