Tag Archives: Cinema

Mini-Movie Review: ‘You’re Next’

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On the surface, ‘You’re Next’ appears to be a formulaic slasher film akin to 2008’s ‘The Strangers’.

Directed and edited by Adam Wingard (most notably known for his 2012 surprisingly creepy and original ‘V/H/S’) the film first premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. The trailer for the film is misleading in conveying both the tone and what to expect. The Perfect Weekend and The Perfect Family fade across the screen to images of a beautiful country home and boisterous dinner. I was pleasantly surprised that the film was entirely not what I was expecting having seen the trailer.


At the risk of spoiling too much, I’ll say very little about any of the characters backstory. ‘You’re Next’ is categorized as a Dark Comedy, which won’t make sense until you see it. If you’ve seen ‘Cabin in the Woods’ you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. It’s a spoof without being gimmicky or over the top, and I can only think of one word to describe it: cathartic.

I believe Adam Wingard set out to make a horror film unburdened by those irritating tendencies of characters and movies past: the hero/heroine surviving by pure luck; villains immune to harm or mistakes; and worse still a characters inability to walk, instead crawling away in terror though they have no injuries. This movie has none of those pitfalls. The acting, cinematography, editing and story are all top notch.

‘You’re Next’ is a clever, brutal, cathartic horror film that will leave you feeling empowered, not underwhelmed.




Mini-Movie Review: ‘Skyfall’

From the very beginning you know this is Bond, pure and unrestrained.

After a reboot comparable to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, 007 found himself the #1 spy once more with Daniel Craig at the helm. However, an unrefined film with a plot as convoluted as it’s title, Quantum of Solace left many movie-goers feeling rather dissatisfied. In an effort to come back strong, director Sam Mendes and his talented team chose to go back to basics while still retaining that 21st century sense of style and relevance.

It was the right decision on many levels. The headlining single “Skyfall” by Adele serves well to the symbolic, dramatic, and haunting opening title sequence, while Javier Bardem brought his reliable sense of unease and creepiness to a villan who, in the wrong hands, would’ve instead been ridiculous.

In an effort not to spoil anything, I won’t delve too deeply into the plot points which so characterize and callback the Sean Connery days of James Bond. The script here is a polished, engrossing work of cinematic set-pieces and calculated coolness. The exotic locations, a staple of the series, are varied and utilized as more than mere scenery, and Bond himself by the end is a far more interesting person and character for the revelations found across his journey.

This is Bond at his best.


The Master of Suspense

“The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them”
~Sir Alfred Hitchcock – August 1899 – April 1980

From a very early age I found myself drawn to scary movies. What is it that keeps us, as audience members, coming back to the horror genre?

“Give them pleasure – the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” ~Alfred Hitchcock

After taking a few film classes in college, I began seeing a certain pattern of influence. One class in particular, The Great Film Directors, highlighted upon such masters as Kurosaki, Truffaut, Scorsese, and Wes Anderson. We also studied The Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

I started to realize how influential in every way he was and certainly still is to modern filmmaking. Take for instance his work in the 1958 film Vertigo. At the tail end, we experience a shot of descending stairs in such an effect that they seem to stretch. This has come to be known as many things: “Dolly Zoom”, “Vertigo Effect”, and “Hitchcock Zoom”. Never before had a shot induced both a sense of unease and dizziness.

More impressive perhaps were his incredibly long “takes”. In an industry where the average length of a shot is 4-6 seconds, Hitchcock’s Rope is an unfathomable 10 shots ranging somewhere between 4.5 & 10 minutes each! The margin of error is deadly small, and requires not only great patience but also great foresight.

“If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.”
~Alfred Hitchcock

There are few directors whose work has such a direct impact on film, let alone an entire genre. Any horror film buff who is serious in their studies will, inevitably, come across a few Hitchcock films.

I hope that my own writing somehow honors his memory and the work he accomplished in his time, and that you all had a safe, spooky, and happy Halloween!

What’s your favorite Hitchcock film?