Crimson Peak (2015) – movie review

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Crimson Peak (2015)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

starring:
Mia Wasikowska
Tom Hiddleston 
Jessica Chastain
Charlie Hunnam
Jim Beaver

 

Crimson Peak is an adult fairy tale. It is populated with an innocent dreamer, an evil sister-in-law, a castle, a romance/love affair, and a hero. Oh, and it has a few ghosts. If you’re expecting a straight up horror film you will most likely be disappointed. It has aspects of horror, a mystery and a psychological thriller, but if you think of it as anything different than a fairy tale, you will crimson peak - posterprobably not enjoy the film.

The first 40 minutes is a high drama and a murder mystery. It sets up the second half of the film. It successfully captures the upper echelon society of NY in the early 1900’s in mood and atmosphere. I suppose some viewers will find this boring. However, I, having firmly grasped the notion that I have been born in the wrong time period, love the atmosphere of other eras and I find the film’s dramatic events endearing to my sensibilities. The three main actors, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain, turn out genuinely striking performances and it was just fun to watch them adapt to the people they portrayed.

The plot points are somewhat predictable as all gothic stories follow a similar pattern. The film is beautifully dark with deep, rich colors and slow languid camera movement, creating an appealing visual palette. Although the ghosts are CG enhanced, they work well in the lush and vibrant colors of the film. The impeccable costume of the period also sells the story and adds to the visual splendor of the film. Rounding out the high production values was a powerful classical soundtrack by composer Fernando Velázquez. I liked this film and felt heartache for the tragedy that the film presents. Like all fairy tales the calamities mirror real life and I felt the weight of missteps a person can take in life.

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A gothic fairy tale of high quality with adult themes and a suspenseful ending.

I give it a solid 4.0 ghastly, ghostly, nasties out of 5 on the haunted horrors of the fairy tale castle scale.

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fun facts:
(from IMdB)

Jessica Chastain learned the piano for the movie and performed all songs in the movie by herself. She had previously learned the bass guitar for Mama (2013), where Guillermo del Toro was the producer.

Visually, Guillermo del Toro wanted the film to look like a Mario Bava Technicolor movie.

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parlor of horror – movie reviews

Pacific Rim (2013) – movie review

Gipsy_vs_Knifehead

Pacific Rim (2013)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Pacific_Rim_FilmPoster_jpegAlthough this film falls into the trappings and pitfalls of a summer blockbuster style film, it is much better than most other US made giant monster films in recent years. Lots of action, lots of monster & robot brawls in the middle of the city – smashing things, breaking things – what more could you ask for? It was modeled after Kaiju films but was ultimately Americanized – perhaps a bit too much. Nevertheless, the action scenes are stunning. Rich colors and BIG scope make Pacific Rim a visually amazing film.

All the Top-Gun stuff has become standard in many of the later Godzilla movies and even that one female pilot on a personal vendetta because her parents/ brother/ grandparents were killed by Big-G has become a familiar storyline. The monster attacks at night were a homage to early Kaiju films. Godzilla only attacked at night and the same with Gamera. The rain masks some of the digital quality of the CG and I didn’t mind that. I did think the scientists were a bit much, I didn’t find their scenes all that amusing but many Kaiju films often have silly sub-characters. The pacific rim mako mori pic 2scientist’s scenes were hokey but kept to a minimum.

We watch giant monster movies mainly to see all-out monster brawls and monster destruction. I think further character depth would have just slowed down the action. If you want character depth watch a Scorsese film. You want Monster & Robot battles, watch Pacific Rim. The characters of Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam), Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) and Stacker (Idris Elba) were inspiring in a ‘Independence Day’ way. Every time a Jaeger beat a Kaiju, the audience in the theater cheered. What part of the action would you cut out to add more dialogue and character pacific rim stacker pic 2development? I’m glad Stacker’s big speech was short and I’m glad the film wasn’t three hours.

The scene of Mako as a child, running through the empty streets calling for her mom and dad, with the crab-clawed Kaiju hunting her down was awesome. It was the highlight of the non-battle parts of the film. The little girl basically stole the show.

One thought about the monsters and robots. You can either accept CGI as the modern special-fx method and embrace it with the knowledge that some directors and filmmakers are going to be better at delivering it than others – OR – you can dismiss it pacific rim raleighand not see any new movies. If you choose the later, you’ll be missing out on some fun monster films. The choice is yours. After seeing Jurassic Park, can we really go back to a guy-in-a-suit, stop-animation/claymation, or clunky puppetronics?

So, the big question is, do I like Pacific Rim enough to purchase the blu-ray or dvd. The answer is yes. I will most likely purchase it, but it will have to be on sale or at a discount price. I will put it in my newer giant monster film section which includes; Monsters, Tremors, Host, The Troll Hunter, Cloverfeild and Q-The Winged Serpent. I will watch it from time-to-time, but not as often as I would watch King Kong, Godzilla or Harryhausen films.  Of course, I am a monster film fan. Those of you that are lesser fans of monster-mania would probably be better off just waiting until this is shown on TV, cable or Netflix.

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related articles:

Robots in Film – a complete pictorial history

My Top 10 Robots in film and TV

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