Tag Archives: killer

Now Playing: Jackson Rattles ‘The Lovely Bones’

15 Jan

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The Lovely Bones (PG-13) 120 min. Directed by: Peter Jackson Written by: Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie Original Score: Brian Eno

2 marias

 

Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones is a decidedly creepy and insubstantial adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel. Recounting the after-life of young Susie Salmon, a 14-yr old Pennsylvania girl who is raped and murdered by a neighbor, Bones is being sold as a kind of bittersweet fantasy with an eye on family tragedy. Beautifully photographed, with a haunting wistful score by Brian Eno, Jackson and company bring all of their technical expertise to bear on the film and attend to its tricky narrative taboos with a  delicate hand. The acting is mostly very good, with the centerpiece being a thoughtful and sweet performance by Saoirse Ronan, who seems to have a bright cinematic future ahead of her. And yet, for all of this, The Lovely Bones falls flat on its face. Hard. Continue reading

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AMAD-Horror Edition: Mute Witness

18 Oct

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cinemagrade b+What is it that makes a film ‘scary’?  I don’t mean simple jump thrills or a little bit of goose-pimples. What I’m talking about is that tight-chest,  metallic taste in the mouth, primal fear that gets a hold of you and doesn’t let go. It’s the kind of anxiety one starts to feel when the car breaks down late at night on the side of the highway, or that tension that mounts when you realize your child is no longer next to you in the grocery store. It’s based off a moment of panic, and let’s face it, film as a medium isn’t always capable of evoking the feelings it shows on screen. We can enjoy a romantic comedy but there aren’t many that can elicit a feeling at all similar to actually being in love. The same goes for fear and terror. They are hard to quantify and characterize on film in such a way that their essence is echoed in an audience’s reaction. Over the years, maybe a handful of horror pics have done that for me. Mute Witness is one of them. Continue reading

AMAD-Horror Edition: Eyes Without A Face

5 Oct

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Oct 4th,2009–

cinemagrade A-I’m a little surprised that I never saw Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face before this. With its French art-house sensibilities and Universal horror movie tropes all jammed together into a crusty old shell of pulp contrivance, the movie is a monster mash gone wild. Rejected by the snobby French critics of the time and dumped over here in the U.S. to double-bill with The Manster, this psychological thriller was far ahead of its time. My wife and I were legitimately shocked by how graphic the surgery sequences are and how stately and poetic the rest of the film is. The movie hides its madness underneath  a high-class painterly veneer but make no mistake–it delivers a wicked jolt. Continue reading

AMAD-Horror Edition: Dark Country

1 Oct

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October 1st,2009–

Wow. October’s already here! From this point forward I’m gonna set a genre for AMAD and stick to it for the entire month. This time, it will be horror films–surprise, surprise!–and every day from here to October 31st I’ll be highlighting a different one, preferably something I haven’t seen before. Below, I’ll throw up the lineup for the next five days so you can keep track. So, let’s get started today with the Thomas Jane directed thriller Dark Country that mixes 3/4 noir with 1/4 Twilight Zone and produces an interesting modern riff on the ‘killer on the deserted highway’ motif.

cinemagrade b-I have alot of respect for Thomas Jane as an actor. He’s consistently taking roles and projects that aren’t a ‘sure’ thing and even if they don’t always pan out (Mutant Chronicles) he gets the credit for mixing it up and taking risks. He’s also quite talented and more than capable of elevating a movie with his performance. He’s easily the best thing about The Punisher 2004 and hits all the right notes in The Mist. He also seems relatively grounded and in-touch with his work and his fanbase. Jane and David Arquette brought the entertaining and silly The Tripper to The Senator Theater’ in ’07 and had alot of fun screening it for the audience that showed.  You can see from the clip below that they really got into the event and were not concerned with  holding themselves at a distance from the audience. Top that all off with the fact he’s a native son of Baltimore. Continue reading

Trailer for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lovely Bones’ finally arrives

5 Aug

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August 5th, 2009–

I read Alice Sebold’s odd and oddly touching novel The Lovely Bones a few years ago, while making daily trips on the Light Rail. It was an interesting and at times haunting read; simple, elegant prose and compelling imagery layered onto a human story. I enjoyed it very much but never quite understood the desire to make it a film. Peter Jackson is a great filmmaker and can bring some amazing visuals to the big screen (I even love King Kong) but he seemed like a far too literal minded director for this material.

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The trailer here suggests that I was wrong and that Jackson has found a way to take Sebold’s words and visualize them in his own way. Check out the otherworldly splendor and earthly heartache deep down in The Lovely Bones.