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Aesthetix' Movie Journal: 2014 (25 items)
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Recent reviews

A Samurai Always Carries Two Swords

Posted : 3 months, 1 week ago on 14 January 2014 03:30 (A review of 47 Ronin)

In the beginning of the 18th century, a group of samurai were left leaderless (thus becoming ronin) after their daimyo was ordered to commit seppuku for assaulting a court official. They swore to avenge him and restore his honor by killing the court official, which they did, though it took them two years of waiting and planning. They were then forced to commit seppuku themselves, to answer for the murder that the way of bushido demanded of them.

This is one of the greatest legends in Japanese culture and has been celebrated in festivals and plays for many years.

47 Ronin incorporates other aspects of Asian myth and legend into the classic tale (namely demons, magic and mysticism) for a new, fantastic twist. The project is the directorial debut for Carl Erik Rinsch, as far as feature-length films are concerned, and I found it quite impressive. Attire, weaponry, sets and so forth all seemed quite accurate for the time period, as well.

While I realize that Keanu Reeves isn't exactly a golden-boy among movie fans and gets knocked quite a bit for a presumed lack of acting ability, I am not among that group and have been a fan of his for many years. I've enjoyed most of his films and this one is no exception.

Here he plays a half-breed outcast barely tolerated by Japanese society but is protected by the daimyo whose death triggers the events which unfold. Yet his character, Kai, is much more than that and, as his own origins come to light, he becomes indispensable to the Ronin in carrying out their vengeance.

The cast is filled with many notable faces of Asian cinema and the acting superb. Hiroyuki Sanada as Oishi and Rinko Kikuchi as The Witch deliver outstanding performances and their characters were the most notable for me, other than Keanu's own. The epic battle near the film's end was quite a treat, especially when Kai faces The Witch.

Sadly, this film has yet to recoup it's financial costs, which were hefty; this is even more despairing considering the creativity and effort put into making such a fine film. Perhaps this is due to Reeves in the starring role and the fact that he hasn't exactly hit the box-office motherload since The Matrix. In his defense, he delivers a solid performance here; with regards to the film itself, and all those who had a hand in it's making, all I can say is that those who choose not to see it are missing out.

47 Ronin isn't Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai but it doesn't pretend to be either. It is a fictionalization of history, a fantastical take on legend and a feast for the senses that should not be spurned by anyone who has a love for the period and subject matter. It's quite good, people.

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When Poetic License Remains...Poetic

Posted : 3 months, 1 week ago on 12 January 2014 05:08 (A review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

The genre of fantasy fiction has always been and will forever remain my favorite among all of literature's offerings. No other genre offers such an endless vista for the exploration of imagination as there are, literally, no boundaries whatsoever. The only limits are those of the imagination of the writer. Many view the creation of Middle-Earth and the tales of J. R. R. Tolkien among the finest ever written and his epics of high-fantasy have been emulated time and again by others.

It's been years since I read The Hobbit last; yet it is a treasured, if dusty, memory which is afforded a grand place among the many adventures I was privileged to take throughout my life and, especially, my childhood. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, regarding how long it's been since reading it, because age and memory don't always walk the same paths. I found myself, time and again, while watching The Desolation of Smaug, raising an eyebrow and remarking, to myself, "I don't recall that being in the book."

Now, it's a given, with the decision to make a trilogy of movies out of a book that was shorter than any one of the three LOTR's books, there were going to be parts of the book drawn out and a multitude of things added in that weren't there at all. There had to be. When I found out that they were doing this I immediately rolled my eyes and muttered something nasty about the collective greed of the Hollywood Machine. At the same time, I couldn't wait to see the movies.

What really gets me is the conceit of a filmmaker that they would know better than a celebrated author of an unarguable classic how the story should go. The immortal words of Yul Brynner, as he stands overlooking the sands of Egypt, echo in my mind, "So let it be written - so let it be done." Yet such is not the case within the realm of cinema for the ego of the filmmaker is an unrivaled beast.

Now, I love Peter Jackson, I really do; he's one of my favorite directors. Tolkien's works are among my favorites, too. So, I'm divided here. It's a perfect movie, just as the LOTR's trilogy was, and couldn't have been done in an earlier era of filmmaking and come close to doing the product justice. Such is the case with a number of films these days, with CGI; it opens up all sorts of avenues and options.

The Hobbit is a grand adventure and this trilogy, along with it's predecessor, will forever be among my favorites. Yet I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if those involved in it's creation would simply have stuck to the source material, shown the proper respect and not felt the need to add to it, or worse, take away from it. The excuse of not having Tom Bombadil in LOTR because of constraints upon length of film is a poor one because there wouldn't have been such if numerous scenes weren't (needlessly) drawn out. The same holds true for The Hobbit.

It was thrilling to see Legolas and Tauriel, and Evangeline Lilly makes for a beautiful elfmaiden, but neither were actually in the story. Radagast was only ever mentioned in passing in the book yet, here he is again, too. I'll admit that he's a humorous character but, ultimately, one must ask, "What's the point?" If the recipe is already perfect, and has stood the test of time, you don't tamper with it and then offer it up as the original. Ego and greed....ego and greed.

Still, complaints aside, this is a wonderful movie and an enjoyment to see. The humor that is present in this trilogy is welcome after the grimness of LOTR. The creatures, action and majesty that are present here could never have been made possible without the advent of CGI. In truth, Smaug is one of the greatest and most believable depictions of a dragon onscreen that I've seen since the unjustly-panned Reign of Fire.

Will most everyone love The Hobbit? Yes. Will purists, like myself, take offense (however slight) with the poetic license of the creators? Absolutely, but we'll still love it, too. It's hard to guess who might enjoy it more; those who have never read the book or those who have. The joy of having a treasured memory finally appearing onscreen weighed with the tampering of memory or a completely new experience which isn't tarnished by knowing how much it is different from what it really should be.

You be the judge; either way, it's a great movie.

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This ain't your daddy's Evil Dead

Posted : 3 months, 2 weeks ago on 4 January 2014 05:39 (A review of Evil Dead)

The revamped, polished and gore-soaked remake of the cult classic is a worthy successor to the name The Evil Dead. The future of horror is now! This marks the third impressive horror film that I've watched, produced in the last five years. Along with Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale and Cabin in the Woods, The Evil Dead serves as a balm to concerns that truly awesome and entertaining horror films were a thing of the past. Granted I haven't watched that many of late but I'm both a bit relieved and hungry for more.

Where the original trilogy was laced with campy humor, this leaves the comedy behind, pulling out all the stops for an edge-of-your-seat, spine-tingling, shock-fest. (Was that enough hyphens for ya?) I have no idea if this is 'The most terrifying film I will ever experience', as the film was touted but it was terrifying. I haven't jumped while watching a horror film in years and I did a couple of times during this.

I will admit that some of the gorier scenes had me wincing; it's not really my thing. Yet the film was very well done with an excellent script and dialogue. The actors were all outstanding and it was a personal pleasure to see the beautiful Jessica Lucas again...even if she met her fate far too soon for me. As well, the direction of Fede Alvarez, who I'm not at all familiar with, was quite impressive. This was an all-around, damned fine horror film.

Truly, there were only two things which disappointed me and, while I can understand both, they still had me shaking my head. The first was the excessive use of gore but this was an Evil Dead film, so it's to be expected. The difference here is that the Bruce Campbell trilogy was camp and this sooooo was not. The second was the fact that with each violent act they seemed to be trying to imitate what had come before.

The tree-rape scene, locking the possessed Mia in the cellar, the hand-bite/amputation, the shotgun, the duct-tape, the chainsaw (and another hand-capitation), etc... I felt as if this new crew of film-makers had come upon the abandoned playroom of those gone before and simply scooped up their toys instead of bringing their own.

Still, it was a small discredit, in my estimation, and I'm still tempted to give this a higher rating than 8 out of 10 stars. Food for thought... I'll certainly watch this again in the future. Maybe then.

I highly recommend!

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Pacific Rim review

Posted : 3 months, 2 weeks ago on 4 January 2014 04:04 (A review of Pacific Rim)

Pacific Rim freaking rocks!!! Guillermo del Toro does it once again and in grand style. This brought back childhood memories of the Shogun Warriors for me but they were never this cool. Everything about this film was impressive and my only regret was not watching it in theatres. If ever a film deserves a sequel, it's this one!

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The Devil Wore Black Leather

Posted : 3 months, 2 weeks ago on 3 January 2014 04:02 (A review of Hellraiser)

There are certain people whose names are synonymous with horror; along with Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, John Carpenter and George Romero invariably Clive Barker's name will be found as well. That's not at all bad company to keep. Barker, a prolific writer of horror and dark fantasy, made his directorial debut with Hellraiser and, to this day, it's still my favorite work.

The film was released in '87 to mixed reviews. The UK press fairly championed the film (Barker is a native son, after all) and Stephen King remarked "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker." Lauded film critic Roger Ebert was much less enthusiastic though saying "This is a movie without wit, style or reason, and the true horror is that actors were made to portray, and technicians to realize, its bankruptcy of imagination. Maybe Stephen King was thinking of a different Clive Barker."

Ebert's comment, and it's effete snobbery, is just one of the reasons I've never liked the man. Perhaps he (Ebert) saw a different Hellraiser. The film is one of the most imaginative products of the 80's (in particular) and the history of film (in general); it is an iconic masterpiece in every sense of the phrase and it's safe to say that , while Ebert may have made his living as a film critic, Stephen King is a far more knowledgeable judge of horror than he.

But I digress...

In a decade that overshadows all others for it's output of horror films, Hellraiser rises to the top like sinfully-rich cream and Doug Bradley's Pinhead instantly became one of the most iconic horror characters of all time. It is a study in sin, religion, the thin, blurring line between pleasure and pain and, ultimately, the cost one can pay for seeking to push such boundaries as overlay these things.

Hell is in the details, waiting patiently in the cracks and corners of existence, for the curious, naked eye to focus upon it. Barker's unique puzzle-box is the key that unlocks the untold horrors of Hell and the Cenobites are the keepers of the labyrinth that awaits beyond the threshold. When Kirsty finds herself faced by them and asks who they are, she is answered thusly, "Explorers... in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, angels to others."

Hellraiser is a labour of love and vindication for Barker, who had written screenplays before which were directed by others culminating in unsatisfactory results for the author. Perhaps this is part of the reason the film is so damned good. Yet it has it's shortcomings, as well.

Filled with a cast of unfamiliar faces, save for Andrew Robinson who played the father, Larry, Hellraiser follows in the footsteps of most horror movies. Still, while the acting isn't the greatest, it is better than most offerings of the genre. The early scenes involving the family are the weakest of the lot; the introductions of those characters, the arrival at the old, family home and the dinner. They seem to be barely-tolerated set pieces, standards which must be tossed into the mix, their existence endured for the tale to come into it's own.

Yet interwoven among them are scenes that carry you through and keep you interested until the hook is firmly set and there is no escape. Flashback sequences into the past showing Frank's searches for visceral experience, the purchase of the puzzle-box in Morocco, Julia's remembrance of her illicit affair with Frank as she stands in the attic room which culminates in orgasmic pleasure perfectly timed with Larry's hand being ripped open by the nail as he helps the movers with a mattress on the staircase... By the time the Cenobites take the stage to face the horrified and bewildered Kirsty there is no escape and no thought of it.

The film has one of the lowest body-counts of any horror I've seen and it's only apparent as an afterthought; Hellraiser rises above the plethora of slasher-flicks that the 80's were rife with and sets itself firmly apart and above them. The final result? A movie that is more an experience that just a few hours entertainment that will fade in memory; a journey taken at the behest of it's creator that will be indelibly imprinted upon the mind and never forgotten.

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Occupational Therapy

Posted : 4 months ago on 19 December 2013 04:02 (A review of Red Dawn)

Unwarranted criticisms abound for this remake of the 80's cheese-fest which starred a host of up-and-coming, young B-listers such as Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell. In contrast, this updated version has it's own troop of young Hollywood talent including Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki and Alyssa Diaz; the aforementioned contrast being that this time the cast can actually act.

Hollywood loves remakes for the same reason that it loves sequels - money. Professional (and amateur) critics, on the other hand, tend not to; instead they seem to love to trash them. Granted, quite often the criticism is justified but not always. Every once in a great while the new version surpasses the original; such is the case with Red Dawn.

I'll be the first to admit that some films should be held sacrosanct - inviolable. A fine example is Hitchcock's Psycho. Red Dawn though...c'mon, who are we kidding here? It's developed something of a cult following but it's no classic. The original was chock-full of holes and inconsistencies, bad special effects and even worse acting. It was completely unbelievable...and so cheesy that they should have sold crackers and wine at the theater instead of popcorn...yet it was the 80's and the action film reigned supreme; besides, it was fun.

Even with the problems that the remake faced, being shelved because of MGM's financial woes and the decision to change the protagonists from Chinese to North Korean (for fear of alienating China and losing access to it's box office), this film is still superior to the original in almost every way. It's single deficiency is the choice of North Korea as the invading/occupying force; I found it a bit hard to swallow that a successful operation of this magnitude could be launched by them. Yet the movie is so well-done in every other aspect that it just didn't matter.

I like that they left the original main characters and merely shook up the dynamic a bit. After all, there was no reason to completely change those characters; they were what made the first movie good, in it's own way. From the opening sequence, this new (and improved) version blows it's predecessor away.

Hemsworth and Palicki were fine here (no surprise for me); Hutcherson, Peck and Diaz impressed me (as I had seen little of them up till now) and it was nice seeing Brett Cullen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in their supporting roles. As I said before, the caliber of the actors here was simply better and so was the script. The actions of the characters, the dialogue, the emotion...all of it was much more believable.

Finally, as movies go, there are set-in-stone classics (such as Casablanca and Rear Window ) and there are memorable action flicks; if the original is remembered as being one of the latter, then 2012's Red Dawn very much so belongs in the second category.

Honestly, I don't get why people are so down on this film. It's damned good! So if you want some cheese with your whine then, by all means, opt for Swayze & company; for myself, I'd much rather see Hemsworth drop the hammer on the North Koreans.

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Hugo Triumphant

Posted : 4 months, 1 week ago on 15 December 2013 03:17 (A review of Hugo)

Hugo is pure enchantment that recalls to mind (at least for me) such films as Pan's Labyrinth, Time Bandits and Stardust; each, though very different, all possess a magical aspect to them that transcends the averaged movie. There is also an infusion of Dickens here that one would have to be blind to miss. I truly wish that I'd had the chance to see this film in theatres instead of at home and I fear that because of that I have missed some of it's grandeur. Should it ever again return to the big screen I shall make a point not to miss it again.

This was a film filled with surprises for me, though not the usual kind. Hugo's aspect is grand, equally both bright and dark, and mesmerizing; I truly felt as if under a spell the entire time. Yet the surprises I speak of are something else entirely.

A better cast of actors could not have been chosen for this film and they execute the steps of their dance before the cameras flawlessly. Kingsley, Butterfield and Moretz may have garnered more screen-time than the remainder of the cast but each and everyone made the most of their allotted time and all of their characters are vital components of the spell.

Cohen's station inspector was a delight for me, as was the brief cameo of Jude Law as Hugo's father. The automaton and Christopher Lee both brought smiles to my face in their turns. In truth, I smiled quite a lot while watching this film. :)

Yet the most pleasant surprise of all was the fact that Martin Scorsese himself directed this most incredible enchantment. A man whose name is synonymous with films that plum the depths of the darkness in the human soul; a man whose name brings to mind mobsters, bullets and blood; and finally, a man who I never thought in a million years would even be interested in helming such a delightful enchanting tale such as this. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Scorsese yet his films have a tendency not to leave one filled with warm and fuzzy feelings, indeed quite the opposite.

Paris, Dickens, clockworks, the hunchback of Notre Dame, the fledgling birth of the film industry...all woven together into the perfect magic spell. Hugo is well worth the wait (and the watching) and the world seen through the eyes of a lonely orphan boy is a truly awesome place...even when that world is the confines of a busy Paris train station in the 1930's.

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The Lady or the Tiger

Posted : 4 months, 1 week ago on 15 December 2013 03:50 (A review of The Hunter)

The old adage "Don't judge a book by it's cover" finds in the film The Hunter a perfect representative. Indeed, what is one to expect when a film holds the labels 'adventure', 'thriller' and 'drama'; or when the plot summary speaks of a mercenary sent into the Tasmanian wilderness to hunt the last Tasmanian tiger in existence? In truth, I had no expectations going into this viewing; I was driven by curiosity more than anything and a fondness for Willem Dafoe's acting.

For some time now I have intended to watch The Hunter but just never seemed to find the right time. That time was this evening and I'm glad that I did; for what I discovered on this particular cinematic journey was so much more than what this film was touted to be.

I have long known that Willem Dafoe was an actor of the calibre to carry a film solely on his shoulders. My respect for him knows no bounds. For certain, in mere supporting roles over the years, he has improved movies with his very presence and unique character. It's safe to say that were it not for his inclusion in some casts, I might not have enjoyed certain movies at all.

While, as I said, I had no real expectations, in truth I did think that this would be a certain type of film. Yet though it is labeled as an adventure (and it is) and as a thriller (I won't deny that one either), what it truly is - at it's core - is a drama. The Hunter has a feel to it that I've found common among many 'indy' films. It's nothing tangible but a definite...something. Perhaps it's simply that the characters and actions aren't overdone as is so often the case with Hollywood blockbusters.

There is vital realism here and characters that have depth without beating you over the head with it. This is a movie to be experienced...not just watched. If you want something that requires no thought, a purely gratuitous squandering of two hours, then (by all means) make your way down the aisle with a tub of popcorn and catch the next Terminator or Fast and the Furious movie. You won't have to think and, honestly, your emotions won't get much of a workout either but it will be enjoyable.

While Dafoe's character of Martin makes his way to the Tasmanian wilderness to track down, if possible, the last remaining tiger; he finds much more than he bargained for. As his base of operations, he has a room rented from a widow with two young children whose husband (a researcher and zoologist) disappeared in the very wilds in which he must himself go. Tensions between loggers and the 'greenies' run high and Martin finds himself the object of animosity from the beginning from many.

As time passes between his hunts Martin finds himself enticed into the lives of his renters; the children who begin to look upon him as a surrogate father and their mother, who Martin frees from her grief-induced, drug-addled haze. Their eccentricities and persistence endear them to him and he finds reasons to spend more time with them. Ultimately, The Hunter is a journey of self-discovery and while I could say so much more, I have no wish to clutter this review with spoilers. Suffice to say that the payoff is well worth the ride.

This isn't your average movie and that is a very good thing indeed.

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Soldiers, Shepherds and Sacrifice

Posted : 4 months, 1 week ago on 13 December 2013 04:17 (A review of Tears of the Sun)

I find it surprising (though I suppose that I should not) that this film has received such a low rating among Listal and IMDB users. It's not the first time that a truly great film has not received it's due or, for that matter, an average-or-worse one has had undeserved praise lavishly heaped upon it. Indeed, it happens all too often and, ofttimes, time itself is the only cure.

Tears of the Sun does not center upon more grandiose conflicts as other lauded films of the genre have done; it is not a tale of WWII or the Vietnam Conflict but of a rescue mission in Nigeria, a country torn asunder by civil war, unrest and the atrocities that, inevitably, accompany such actions. Neither does it boast an all-star ensemble cast of heavies. Yet there are familiar faces aplenty here in a cast headed up by the likes of Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci. Cole Hauser, Nick Chinlund, Eamonn Walker and Johnny Messner all play soldiers under the command of Willis; Tom Skerritt and Fionnula Flanagan both appear in relatively brief cameos, as well.

Lt. Waters (Willis) and his squad, though fresh in from the field, are informed by their commanding officer, Capt. Rhodes (Skerritt), that they will be inserted into the Nigerian jungle on a rescue op. Their primary mission, to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks (Bellucci) and, of secondary import, a priest and two nuns, should they so wish. A limited timetable is afforded them as a force of Nigerian rebels are enroute towards the mission.

Complications immediately arise as the headstrong Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave the refugees in her care, many of which are children. Lt. Waters finally agrees to let the refugees come to the rally point, though only those who can travel under their own power; the grievously injured will have to remain. She agrees yet the priest and nuns choose to stay.

When those assembled reach the extraction point, Dr. Kendricks is outraged to discover that she has been lied to and that the refugees are to be left behind as there is no room for them. Yet as the choppers fly out and, inevitably, over the recently evacuated mission, Waters sees the devastation wrought by the rebel soldiers upon those left there (all of whom are now dead) and has an attack of conscience.

He directs the pilot to turn around and they return to the refugees that were left in the jungle. The children and a few others are placed aboard the choppers as Waters and his squad begin a trek through the jungle to lead the remaining refugees towards the border. Yet they find this to be no easy task as they are relentlessly pursued by rebel forces intent upon reaching the last living survivor of the current regime...who just happens to hide in their midst.

Tears of the Sun is, without a doubt, one of the best war films ever made and one of Willis' best to-date. It is also, however loosely, based upon a real-life mission.

The grim demeanor exhibited by the Seal team is a stark counterpoint to the fear and despair of the refugees; the very-real threat of the rebel soldiers and the atrocities they commit offers a third, however dissident one. The finished product is not unlike a musical score; all finely balanced and executed with interwoven drama and action to provide a truly awesome film.

Director Antoine Fuqua and the production team do an admirable job here depicting the realism of a country in upheaval. Likewise, Willis and the other actors portraying the squad, evince a stoic demeanor of soldiers worn by duty and violence. Yet the enormity of their task, the ensuing complications and the atrocities themselves begin to take a toll on them. It is interesting to observe the gradual shift in the squad's demeanor from soldiers-under-orders to righteous guardians of those in their care.

This is one of Willis' finest hours and the absence of his trademark wit, that seems so commonplace in other of his roles, is not missed here; indeed, it would be irreverently out-of-place. There is nothing to joke about and, though there is emotion aplenty to be had here, comedy has no place.

I find it hard to believe that anyone can watch this and not be affected or drawn in by the portrayals of the actors. The tale presented is masterfully blended with just the right amount of action, drama and stark realism, all of which is captured just so by the cameras.

There's a reason why I never tire of seeing this film; it's just that good.

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Purged Ambitions

Posted : 4 months, 2 weeks ago on 6 December 2013 04:39 (A review of The Purge)

Let me begin by saying that The Purge's box office success reveals far more of the bloodthirsty anarchism that lies barely dormant in today's society than establishing it's viability as a well-crafted film. Now this assessment might seem a bit harsh to some, especially if this film was well-received by you but let me state my case and you be the judge.

The film's premise is more than sound; in fact, it denotes a tertiary alternative that stands equally apart, and between, dystopian and utopian societies. Yet the seed of promise is bereft of all it needs to find fruition.

Now, it could be said that one must suspend belief, to a certain extent, when watching a film to fully enjoy it but the counterpoint to that is that the tale should be woven with enough skill and magic that it isn't even a conscious decision on our part. Indeed, we should believe yet I found that I simply could not.

I just did not buy what they were selling; I'm not even sure that the actors believed.

That the government, to entice the public to walk the straight and narrow the other 364 days of each year in exchange for one night of unbridled chaos with complete immunity from prosecution, is...interesting. In fact, it's a concept I wouldn't be at all surprised to find in a sci-fi novel but, as far as the screen, I think it would have been more promising as an episode of The Twilight Zone than a feature film.

For all Ethan Hawke's popularity, I've never found him appealing or impressive, especially as a leading man, but I found this to be the most stilted performance of his career. Lena Headey, on the other hand, I have always enjoyed whether it was in The Cave, 300, The Sarah Connor Chronicles or Game of Thrones. Yet here I just had the feeling that she wanted it to be over. As a wealthy couple who hold themselves above the 'lesser fortunate', particularly on the night of 'The Purge', then descend alternately into murderous intent and then turnabout to express heroism the two just phone it in.

The kids, both within and without the fortress-of-a-home, are equally ludicrous in behavior. Most of all the son who actually opens their home to the man fleeing certain death at the hands of a young mob who watched far too many screenings of A Clockwork Orange while silver spoons dangled from their mouths.

In fact, the only believable person in the entire cast is the man who seeks refuge with them and he, surprisingly, only plays a minor role in the whole affair.

Yet it seems that the premise of the film (if not the poor script and watered-down performances) appealed to more than a few of our fellow humans, hence the big payday for the studio. So even if the self-indulgent, bloodlusting spectatorship of Ancient Greece is dead and gone, it seems that the rather dark appeal of wanton violence and murder is far from slumbering but simmering to a threatening boil in today's culture.

Not only is disco dead but it seems remorse is as well.

Harsh criticism? Heavy-handed? Perhaps. Fitting in my opinion though.

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About me

"Let me take you to the movies. Can I take you to the show
Let me be yours ever truly. Can I make your garden grow

From the houses of the holy, we can watch the white doves go
From the door comes Satan's daughter, and it only goes to show. You know.

There's an angel on my shoulder, In my hand a sword of gold
Let me wander in your garden. And the seeds of love I'll sow. You know.

So the world is spinning faster. Are you dizzy when you're stoned
Let the music be your master. Will you heed the master's call ..."

Cynical dreamer and quasi-fatalist. Pragmatic agnostic. Ardent lover of movies, music and books alike. When it comes to books, I prefer fantasy (urban fantasy & steampunk most of all) and horror (classic and Lovecraftian). As for movies, I watch most genres though I do not care for mafia flicks and I'm extremely picky when it comes to comedy. As for music, my tastes lean mostly towards rock but I enjoy other styles; the only exceptions are rap, hip-hop and country, which I hate.

"I thumb my nose at reality in favor of a never-ending dance with imagination."

In advance, thank you for any votes my lists or reviews might receive and please know that no thank-you's are necessary for any votes of my own. Instead, take a look at some of my stuff as I will certainly do the same for yours. ;)

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SHOULD IT HAVE WON? 2013... POLL (16 movies items)

"I don't have any opinions for 2013 yet. I have yet to see any of the Oscar nominated movies yet and (frankly) there are only three that I even want to see. Captain Phillips, Gravity and 12 Years a Sla"

1 month ago
AesthetiX voted for list
1 month ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
Aesthetix' Movie Journal: 2014 (25 movies items)

"@Gary: Dante's Peak is definitely worth another watch; especially since it's been so long for you. Brosnan made the movie for me though and I don't think I would have liked it as well if it had been s"

1 month ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
2013 in Cinema: From Best to Worst (123 movies items)

"Gods, I'm so far behind on my movie viewing. I've only seen 16 out of the 120 you've listed here. It's a good thing that I don't try to see everything that comes out. Still, there are numerous films h"

1 month ago
AesthetiX voted for list
1 month ago
AesthetiX voted for 3 images

1 month ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
Aesthetix' Movie Journal: 2014 (25 movies items)

"@HollowPrince: While the story was predictive (and with few surprises or plot twists) I found the giant robots vs aliens aspect pretty cool and enjoyed the cast all around. I just found the movie high"

1 month ago
AesthetiX voted for list
Watched In Jan 2014 (17 movies items)
1 month, 1 week ago
1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for an image

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for list
50 from Onion Jack (50 music items)
1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
Aesthetix' Movie Journal: 2014 (25 movies items)

"@Gary: I agree that Neeson would have made a good Bond in earlier years - especially seeing Daniel Craig's more badassed approach to the character and how well it comes over. Neeson could certainly ha"

1 month, 1 week ago
Inglourious Basterds
Synopsis: In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.
It's no secret that I'm not a great fan of QT, who I find vastly overrated; the fact that it's taken me almost 5 years to get around to watching this should tell you that. Yet I found myself liking this movie in spite of the fact that it's a QT vehicle but my feelings are certainly mixed. This is very much a QT film and even were someone to go into viewing this picture without knowledge of who made it, it would become readily apparent and in very short order. People always seem to view Tarentino as some avante garde god of cinema but that couldn't be further from the truth; there is no groundbreaking and very little original thought involved in his works. QT is a reactionary filmmaker - he gets all his ideas from somebody else and tweaks them perversely. If you've seen one of his films, you've seen them all and here is no exception to that rule. QT is, once again, ripping off the movies that he loved most in his youth and writing excruciatingly-overlong dialogue pieces, for all involved, which are liberally peppered with profanity. (You can never have enough profanity, right?) Parts of this film are very overlong and I found myself just wanting the story to get on with it. Yet others were well done and I enjoyed them. I loved Mélanie Laurent and Diane Kruger here; Laurent was the best part of the movie actually. I found it amusing to see Pitt trying to channel Clark Gable and I was impressed with Christoph Waltz' portrayal of Landa. So my feelings are quite mixed over this one. The Basterds of the title only appear in roughly half of the movie and it wasn't at all the action-fest that I thought it would be (from the previews). I should have known better because QT loves for his characters to prattle on incessantly. Yet it turns out that the other players in the film were my favorites and I didn't miss the Basterds so much. The final result? It's a good film and were I ranking QT's projects, I would place this one squarely in second place behind Reservoir Dogs. Will I watch it again? Probably not...but I won't forget it either.
1 month, 1 week ago
1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for an image

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX added 2 items to their collection
Safe House


The Grey

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
Artists That People Hate For Dumb Reasons (10 person items)

"Can't say that I hate anyone on this list; there are few, if any, 'celebrities' that I do. Generally I just dislike or (in certain cases) downright despise. I do have serious dislike for Miley and fi"

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for list
1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
Favorite American Female Singers (39 person items)

"So much talent on this list. Nice choices all around, Kathy!"

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for list
1 month, 1 week ago
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1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX commented on a list
AesthetiX Choice: Top 20 Van Halen Songs (20 music items)

"@Mass.Patriot: Damn, that sucks! I've heard of concerts getting cancelled at the last minute because of accidents or too much booze but it's never happened to me. Of course I never went to all that ma"

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for list
1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for list
My Top 100 Favourite Movies (101 movies items)
1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX added 2 items to their collection


Jagged Little Pill


1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for an image

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX posted a comment on this image

"Preaching to the choir, Ice!"

1 month, 1 week ago
AesthetiX voted for 2 images

1 month, 1 week ago

« Prev12 3 4 5 6 7 » 17 » 167 Next »


Posted: 4 days, 8 hours ago at Apr 19 12:21 Delete
Happy Easter!
Posted: 3 weeks, 4 days ago at Mar 29 15:12 Delete
Posted: 1 month ago at Mar 23 11:34 Delete
Check it out in your spare time:
I think you'll like it :)
Posted: 1 month ago at Mar 18 2:52 Delete
Hey, just letting a few friends know I've made a new SHOULD IT HAVE WON? list, check it out when you get the chance, K?;D

Posted: 1 month, 1 week ago at Mar 15 13:47 Delete
Thanks for the list vote and comment! Have a lovely weekend. :)
Posted: 1 month, 1 week ago at Mar 14 18:41 Delete
Thank you for the vote :)
Posted: 1 month, 1 week ago at Mar 14 17:25 Delete
Hi, thanks for the vote on my movie posters list :)
Posted: 1 month, 1 week ago at Mar 12 19:46 Delete
Thanks for the Nancy Callahan (Sin City) list vote!!
Posted: 1 month, 2 weeks ago at Mar 10 11:27 Delete
Thanks for the list vote! Have a great week. :)
Posted: 1 month, 2 weeks ago at Mar 9 6:31 Delete
Hi M, thanks, If you want to check out the whole album. This is a new band and their first album, I'm thrilled, maybe you will enjoy it too.
Posted: 1 month, 2 weeks ago at Mar 8 23:40 Delete
thanks for the vote!

check out my new list:
[Link removed - login to see]
Posted: 1 month, 2 weeks ago at Mar 8 13:14 Delete
Hi M! Thanks for all suggestion on my '83 and '84 list. I add them all after weekend. Have a great day !
Posted: 1 month, 2 weeks ago at Mar 7 22:49 Delete
Posted: 1 month, 2 weeks ago at Mar 7 19:01 Delete
Thank you for your votes.
Posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago at Mar 3 13:59 Delete
Thanks for the Piper Perabo picture vote!
Posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago at Mar 3 8:52 Delete
Hi M. Thanks for your part in my music lists again :) all the songs are great and all have been added :)
Posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago at Feb 28 17:21 Delete
Thank you very much for your vote!
Posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago at Feb 27 20:20 Delete
Thanks for all Your suggestion on my music list, have been added :) great songs :)
Posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago at Feb 27 1:47 Delete
I was going to have a top twenty five Beatles countdown, but I just couldn't do it, every time I thought I had it set I remembered another song and think I can't leave that one out - so I expanded it to thirty - now that I live in the rainy Northwest, I have an even greater appreciation for Here Comes The Sun, Ha - it really is amazing how much great music The Beatles crammed into ten short years - thanks for the votes on my other music lists, it was a lot of fun putting the Labor Day countdown together, I think between that, my Beatles list, Live Aid and my music artist lists I have about all of my favorite songs on Listal somewhere and from the look of them, sounds like I'll be spending this weekend going over them to replace the ones those record company meanies took off youtube - I will be looking forward to your future favorite song lists :)
Posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago at Feb 26 10:15 Delete
Thanks for the list and image votes and for your comment and Friend request!