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All reviews - Movies (206) - TV Shows (1) - Music (24)

Spy Kids review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 2 February 2013 09:38 (A review of Spy Kids)

Spy Kids is to little kids what James Bond is to hormone-filled young adults and what Jason Bourne is to serious one-minded teenagers. In compared to other directors, Robert Rodriguez falls a little short; stand-alone, and he takes the center stage. Rodriquez has always been influential, being at his peak in El Mariachi and Sin City. This film is just like the director; if compared to his other films, say Sin City, it doesn't amount to much, but as a stand-alone film, it is arguably one of the best children / family films ever. It has a goofy, quite-contrived, quite-implausible plot, crazy, colourful characters and promising new talents that has, sadly, gone to waste now.

Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega were two of the most promising talents ever to grace the silver-screen. They play Juni Cortez and Carmen Cortez, respectively, and shared an almost impeccable chemistry. Performance-wise, both were great, likable, relatable, dedicated, and downright simple in their characters. No exaggeration, no nothing. Although there could be better candidates, I think we should just declare Carmen and Juni as the Tom & Jerry of the movie-sibling-world. Antonio Banderas is always a welcome in most cases and over here he is no exception. He managed to bring a certain serio-comic edge to his character that I last noted displayed by Robert Donat in The 39 Steps. Carla Gugino has always been one of my favourites, although mostly looks-wise than performance-wise, but she was good all the same. Tony Shalhoub was equally impressive, quite chameleon like, a surprising achievement seeing as he was sharing screen-time with Alan Cumming, a master of disguise himself. I personally believe that Alan should play Willy Wonka, with Tony at his side, because I enjoyed their duo. Robert Patrick and Danny Trejo, although different in their respective careers and status, belong in the "pack" of seriously cool actors who are damn underrated. Great performances or not, these actors are a welcome onscreen presence and they put the entertainment in entertainment.

In conclusion, Spy Kids is definitely going in my greatest movies list, a rather strange inclusion yes, but I like this flick that much. Give it a try, and try to avoid the sequels as much as you can, especially 3 and 4.


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The Rescuers (1977) review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 2 February 2013 09:27 (A review of The Rescuers (1977))

It may not seem much, but The Rescuers is one of Disney's most haunting and depressing cartoons with a violent atmosphere. Little kids may laugh at the silly antics of the mice (such as when Bernard's tail gets stuck in the book, etc...) and may find the crocodiles "cool", but we, the adults, get to see much more than that. Although not in the strictest sense, The Rescuers is a scary cartoon. It opens up memorably with the song, Journey, which is sung by Shelby Flint in her effectively haunting, and angelic, voice. The tragic song + the violent sea montage sums up in 3 minutes the tone and nature of the film. The story is that Penny is taken in by Medusa and Scoops, two very terrible people, and make Penny retrieve a diamond from a difficult place. I don't know about you but to me it played out like a demented, even more darker version of Wind in the Willows and Mathilda, with all the sweetness taken out.

Upon getting Penny's cry for help, Bianca and Bernard set off to rescue her. These two very likable characters, although given enough time to display their likability, are not given enough time to develop personalities. Not to say I'm complaining or anything, just something they could've worked on. Medusa is one of Disney's most under-rated villains. I do believe she was modeled after Cruella De Ville because she bears many similarities to her; Quick-temper, one-minded behavior, low tolerance etc....

In conclusion, The Rescuers is arguably one of Disney's greatest efforts to date and one of their most (oddly) charming and beautiful. The story is simple, although quite r-rated, and the songs sung by Shelby Flint are one of the most haunting, yet so angelic.


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Armageddon review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 27 January 2013 01:02 (A review of Armageddon)

The correct, honest title should've been Armageddon: Forrest Gump in Space; why? Because it felt like that. Disaster movies are by-and-large very much the same, but they all always manage to insert unnecessary funny moments that do little to no justice, and are rarely comforting. Then, when the disaster has been dealt with - which almost includes a death of a protagonist or someone - they end the film in a peaceful manner, or with a message of hope. This may increase sales of Kleenex and make viewers go all misty-eyed, but what I don't understand is why do they - the directors - continue to destroy the world once they have saved it? Michael Bay has since directed films I couldn't care less about, and has come up with sequels to all of them - thus negating what Eminem said something about not wanting to destroy what he helped build.

By the time the crew reach to outer space that you realize the first 30-40 minutes just did not belong to the film at all. In all senses, it feels like as if someone fused a rom-com over a disaster movie. Unconvincing moments, stiff directing, rapid-fire editing and weak dialogues are the ingredients of the first quarter. Implausibility aside, the space scenes were quite impressive, but nowhere near Apollo 13. The latter worked as majestically as poetry on page and as smoothly as ink flowing all over the floor. The former, however, worked like a group of doctors having a competition on who can come up with the most unintelligible hand-writing - needless to say, they all do. The asteroid looked like a reject from a comic-world, or something that Galactus would hurl at us should he get really angry. Once Freedom and Independence "safely" land on the asteroid, everyone - and by that I mean everyone - relaxes and totally devoid themselves of all emotion. Was it me or was Billy Bob Thornton for the whole film trying to force up an expression? I guess either he was still reeling from the even bigger disaster that was Alan Smithee or had read the script of Monster's Ball a bit too early. Not once did he feel like a man under tremendous pressure or someone who knows a very terrible secret. In fact, he acted as if his wife found out his collection of porn and now must decide on how to explain to her.

Bruce Willis - main guy and the "my-worst-fears-came-true" sacrificial hero - seems to be stuck in one gear. Even though he is a great actor, I have a 50/50 hate-love relationship with him because of his acute one-dimensional characters - and expressions. His expressions are akin to a nail-head; no matter how hard the external force it, it will remain that way, just a little dented, bent and rusty. Harry Stamper (his character) has little to no depth, no emotional value, no nothing, just a lamb for slaughter. Steve Buscemi also seems to be stuck in the same gear, albeit a little different one; always the supporting character who never shuts up. People do tend to act sarcastic and funny in tight or doomed situations, but when you already have one - Bruce Willis - why do you need another for? Steve, although his performance was fine, was more annoying than amusing. All the others in the male department were fine, although none of their characters were well-written, just cliche stock characters. Who else knew the fat guy would get blown up? Liv Tyler managed to make her character even less emotionless than both of Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart combined. Her line delivery was akin to someone placing an order at the McDonald's drive-thru. She did, however, provide a good distraction, though!

Also, it has a bland - or is it honest - portrayal of the arrogant American thinking. The rest of the world blows up while USA is left unscathed? Yea right... I guess you get my meaning!

In all, Armageddon is very good for children, ages 9 and below. It is however a quite-fascinating film, but still weak in many layers. Wanna see better explosions? Pop a bubblegum!


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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 25 January 2013 06:22 (A review of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003))

No, I did not check this film out of curiosity. No, not because of the ensemble cast either. The by-and-large hate it receives wasn't the case as well. It was purely out of nostalgia. You see the film came out when I was 10 years old. For at-least two years it was my number one favourite film. Viewing it again for the first time yesterday I never realized just how lazy it is. Apart from V for Vendetta, none of the silver-screen adaptations of Alan Moore's works have been worth their weight in gold. LxG is no different. It had the potential of becoming the best, but its laziness and blunt fashion of story-telling made it a very comical, self-parody feature, rather than a cool steam-punk classic as it should've become. I haven't read any of the the LxG comic books so I cannot be sure just how much they followed the original work or tweaked their own. But what I saw, I didn't like. Or rather 50-50. What I didn't like was its story-telling; what I enjoyed was the cast.

The cast was quite-well chosen and everyone played their part quite-convincingly - especially Peta Wilson as Mina Harker. She was delicious in her role, but due to the lazy script, the character, as well as the performance, felt slightly one-dimensional. Shane West as Tom Sawyer was a good surprise. Being the youngest, he handled himself in a good fashion and managed to make his character more interesting and less annoying. Jason Flemyng, although not always in my top 10, is an actor I like to watch onscreen because he reminds me of a strong character-actor, or how Peter Greene would've been like had he been a more mainstream actor. He plays Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and was the standout performance from the film. Compared to others he gets a relatively short screen-time but he makes the most of it. Tony Curran, Naseeruddin Shah, Stuart Townshed and Richard Roxburgh were equally better. Due to setbacks, many characters don't rise above one-dimensional. Sean Connery, on the other hand, was too comical to be taken seriously. It was as if he was internally laughing at the whole set-up, which he probably wash... er, I mean was! He was just passable in his role as Allen Quartermain, although he did have the built for it. Honestly, another actor would've been better.

In conclusion, LxG is a decent, fun flick, but is too funny to be taken seriously, and too stupid, too!


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Manhunter (1986) review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 19 January 2013 12:52 (A review of Manhunter (1986))

Since I haven't read the book - I've read its sequel and have seen the film adaptation, though - I cannot truly say just how much did Michael Mann and the crew followed the book or improvised of their own. But by what I saw, my feelings on this film is mixed. Very mixed. At times it is clunky, at times boring, at times too offish and, surprisingly, at times energetic, although in a flawed sense. This is, in a way, probably the only film I've had difficulty to write a review on. I like the film but I cannot bring myself to appreciate the film beyond a certain level because of its unnaturalistic and lazy approach to the building of the characters and the thrill behind the scenes. I have come to understand these flaws because it was only Mann's third film, meaning he was still new to the art of directing, which he perfected in his later films like Heat, The Last of the Mohicans and my personal two favourites, Collateral and Public Enemies. This film as a whole is quite-satisfying but doesn't exactly quench your thirst. It leaves you with that uncomfortable feeling of wanting just one more sip to fully satisfy it - something it doesn't give.

The pacing of the film was kinda disappointing but surprisingly on the spot in the scenes concerning Hannibal Lektor - The name was misspelled for the film. The above line is small comfort because Lektor's scenes don't amount to more than 10 minutes. Hannibal Lektor - or Lecter - has been bought to public consciousness by Anthony Hopkins in the sequel, Silence of the Lambs, a performance lasting only 16 minutes. A legendary performance, Hopkins's portrayal of "The Cannibal" has, to many, rendered Brian Cox's take almost useless - a viewpoint I don't fully appreciate. Brian Cox's performance was chilly, haunting and totally mesmerizing. It was his voice that gave his character a different edge, a unique feeling - like a butcher honing his knife, or a finger sliding over the shiny surface of a razor. His incredibly short screen-time had me impressed, and although not to the level of Hopkins, is a memorable, almost iconic new character in itself.

Story-wise the film is quite smooth, although it is tortuously filled with potholes here and there. Not only it seriously affected the pace and the atmosphere of the film, but also affected the characters, and many did not rise to the bar they were supposed to. Tom Noonan, who plays the actual villain of the film, Tooth Fairy Killer, felt underused in a rather promising role. Due to the clunkiness, he never becomes the iconic character he should've, but settles down for a memorable one. He did, however, feel right at home during the last 5 minutes with all the shooting and everything. But nevertheless, Tom Noonan was very intimidating in his role, and his one quote "Well, here I am" has now become one of my favourites, because of the seriously awesome delivery. William Petersen, who plays Will Graham, the main protagonist, although was convincing in his role, did not win me 100% over. In many scenes he felt like as if he was regretting his decision. It was indeed a good performance, but quite unhinged. I guess I'll have to see it again to make up my mind. All the others, in my opinion, were just OK. Even though she's now painfully associated with that idiotic quote from Death Race among us teenagers, Joan Allen was quite cute in her role, and was a total surprise.

In all, Manhunter is not what I would call a disappointing film, but it does tread in those waters I'm afraid!


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Control (2007) review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 18 January 2013 04:07 (A review of Control (2007))

"Ian was walking pain", went a line describing the late Joy Division's singer. "His whole short life was black & white", went another. So it should be appropriate that Control was filmed in stark black & white, all the while giving us a pain-and-depression filled atmosphere and a superb performance by up-and-comer Sam Riley that was haunting and sublime. Taking the title from Joy Division's most iconic song, She's Lost Control, this film chronicles the very short life of Ian Curtis, - He suicided at the age of 23 - his drug addiction, his short-lived marriage, the forming of the band, the success, the inspiration, and finally, the death - All done in a hypnotizing fashion that, by the time the film ends, will have you become a fan of the band, or will make the already fans go back to their original albums, namely Unknown Pleasures. I found myself whisking straight to that album when it ended. Felt like listening to a voice of an old friend through a long-forgotten recorded tape / video.

The film opens memorably; It shows Ian just a few short seconds before his death, lamenting about his life. Then it flashbacks to 1973, starting the story proper and, in a way, a documentary of punk rock. We get a shot of his bedroom and are reminded of the fact that even iconic rock-stars (lame term but whatever) started out as nothing more than most of us are now; Posters of Bowie and Reed on the wall, a small plaque of sorts honoring Morrison and various other tidbits. This in a way was satisfying to watch. This created a Frodo scenario of sorts. A normal person starting his extraordinary adventure and becoming the well-known figure as we know him today. Sam Riley, from the word GO, had his role in complete check. It was a highly detailed performance with impressive attention to the subtlest of the movements. And I think he nailed the dead-fly dance. Every time he stood behind the mic, it was always a hypnotizing effect.

Story-wise and directing-wise the film is absolutely top-notch. Anton Cobijn has some seriously cool directing skills and he should direct more music-biographies, especially on 80's Rock bands, if can manage that.

Performance-wise, all of the main cast were amazing, with Sam Riley being the ultimate. Samantha Morton as Deborah Curtis, Ian's wife, was awesome in her role. Since she was the only "big name" among the relatively unknown cast, she bought a lot of professionalism and integrity in her role. I also enjoyed Tony Krebbel as Rob Gretton, their manager. It was a great performance and fun to watch. Craig Parkinson as Tony Wilson wasn't bad either. It's too bad he wasn't given more screen-time as he definitely had me impressed by his short screen-time performance. All of the cast were top-notch in their respective roles from start to finish.

In all, Control is a cool film and should not be missed. Fan or no fan, you must watch it!


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Adaptation review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 6 January 2013 09:36 (A review of Adaptation)

Late 80's to the mid-2000's. That's when Nicolas Cage was at his best. Not to say he has dwindled, but he now appears in unlikable mainstream movies and not the likable arthouse films like he used to. Adaptation is his third-to-last best contribution. To date it is his most likable, straight from the soul performance yet. He felt right at home and everything he did was right on the money. Regarding the film, I absolutely love narrative-driven movies with a-lot of focus on the character and his/her day-to-day routine. It gives off a nice touch, a nice reeling feeling. The film memorably opens up with Nic Cage narrating about himself. The film has barely progressed past the credits stage and you already have jumped into the mind of Charlie Kaufman - the character's name AND the screenwriter's name (Adaptation is a semi-biographical meta-film). This is different from other films as in you get to see the whole creation of the story. You actually get to see the legos being stacked up, and in my opinion, was better executed than Shadow of the Vampire, an almost similar film in the same vein but of a different genre.

Charlie Kaufman - the real one - has some really sharp writing skills and once again gave a film that is witty, humorous, intelligent and brilliantly, but not ostentatiously, presented. It is a quirky, sometimes sad, film with likable personalities and amazing pairings. Who could've thunk that Nic Cage could perform better alongside himself? Although not polar opposites, one was optimistic, soft, and the other was aggressive, insecure. Nic Cage and, er, Nice Cage pt. 2 ruled all the present tense moments, whereas Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper were the show-stealers in the past tense.

Story-wise, it was the tops. Every little twitch is perfectly detailed and every last wilting flower in the bogs felt right at home. Performance-wise, it was even better. Nic Cage attracts criticism just like a flower attracts a bee. This is one of the performances that even the most ardent of the haters softens down a little just enough to write a breezing compliment. Since I'm one of the few people who actually likes Nic Cage, I'm in total awe of his superb tackling. Meryl Streep not at all felt like a 50+ out in search for a "ghost". She reminded me of a 17 yr. old finding the true meaning behind love and/or experiencing it for the first time, because of her smooth gliding in her character. I believe her script was written on roller-skates. Chris Cooper was impressive in role as Laroche. His Award-winning performance kept you transfixed. At-least me if not you. Tilda Swinton, on the other hand, was absolute dynamite! Boy, she was so delicious in her short screen-time. Brian Cox is a prime example of an on/off relationship: Impressive in some, weak in some. Over here he is the former. I especially like characters who act as mentors, teachers, or otherwise disciplinary or academic personas. Brian Cox's portrayal of Robert McKee has now become one of my favourite on-screen "shouters."

In all, Adaptation is a fun, if slightly long, film that speaks more than it really should. Script-wise, this is Kaufman's second-best - first is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind!


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A Dangerous Method review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 5 January 2013 11:19 (A review of A Dangerous Method)

If there's one thing I've never enjoyed in my life is reading film-celebrity-music-game-gossip magazines. Not only I detest them but see them as a huge waste of paper and time. Go on, read a novel, an autobiography or Reader's Digest but don't read these. How I wish someone had stopped me while I was buying Total Film magazines. I couldn't help it, the old lady was giving them for 100 Bz, or in other words, for free; I bought 5 of them. I got familiar with their pattern after just 2 magazines and got wised to their sense of humour and style of writing. After noticing this particular film in one of the magazines, the very next day I downloaded the film, very enthusiastically, but I must say, I was left a teensy-weensy disappointed by the end result.

Cronenberg has over the years evolved like Charmander; He started out with small, but powerful, B-movies that polarized everyone but remained anonymous to a vast majority, namely his non-fans. From mid 2000's onwards, not only he created one of the best pairings with Viggo but became an everyday household name and now has fans, non-fans and curious pedestrians running back to his old films while catching up with his new ones. A History of Violence and Eastern Promises showed Cronenberg's quite unmatched skills of directing and bought Viggo Mortensen to higher heights. But third times a charm doesn't always work, as Sam Raimi has proven with his 2 franchises. Unfortunately, Cronenberg has too fallen in that hole of disappointing thirds.

His first two outings with Viggo were awesome. The third outing, however, was lead by a comfortable-in-the-fame-game Viggo and a tired, droopy Cronenberg. Well below my expectations I must say. I hope their 4th outing, if there's to be one, turns out better. Anyway, that aside, we also get Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley in pivotal roles. The former is someone who I've heard of a million times but have actually never seen him in a film. There exists a rule of thumb that anyone, or anything, that is getting extensive media coverage, or is the latest word around town, never lives up to your expectations, not even close, and this is why I've avoided checking something out out of curiosity. But this was a good surprise. Michael Fassbender - who was featured in every magazine - can be said an exception. Not only was he stoic and convincing in his role but it was a performance that can be said as name-strengthening. Not actor bullshits in any of Cronenberg's films and Fassbender made sure he wasn't the first guy to do so. Keira Knightley is one of those actresses who never really cut the mustard with me by her precious performances and starring in films I wouldn't normally care about. But over here, however, she was so different, so un-Keira that you could swore it was someone else. 20 seconds into her introduction and you know you're in for a real, and rare, treat. Boy, she owned the first 20-25 minutes. Vincent Cassel was almost equally as great as the others and was totally top-notch in his scenes with Fassbender.

In all, this is a great, but if compared to Cronenberg's other films, hollow, film that really puts us in the life and mind of two of the greatest brains of the 20th Century. And one more thing, beard-stroking and gentlemen suits have never looked this awesome! They should now pit Fassbender and Mortensen in a steampunk film because they really have all the qualities of a steampunk-hero!


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1 Litre of Tears review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 4 January 2013 09:10 (A review of 1 Litre of Tears)

My heart's broken. Throughout the film I had to fight back tears, no easy task. Even though the film finished 3 hours ago (time of writing this review), I'm still choking back tears and pulling myself together. It is based on true events. Aya Kito was diagnosed with spinocerebellar axatia at the age of 15. She lived, and fought, this incurable disease for 10 years, before finally succumbing to it at the age of 25. In that 10 years of suffering, she wrote a diary named 1 Litre no Namida, or 1 Litre of Tears, which was filled with all of her thoughts, emotions and day-to-day life happenings. Aya Kito's suffering, on paper, may seem painful but this film manages to make it excruciating, and preserves her memory in a very wonderful way. The tagline "Based on true events" is something we've all come to hate. No matter which decade the film was released, many of us, me included, avoid it like the plague because they are nothing more than marketing ploys and/or shams. This film, however, is none of that. It is a genuine film of undaunted courage and genuine free-flowing-tears sadness.

The film, within a two minutes, sums up the whole story for us. The pacing of the film is quite an issue. Some might say unconventional, some slow, but I say it honestly felt like a very long TV episode. But you know what? I'm glad they stuck with that slow pace because it breathed life in every minute. Remember, this is not a Hollywood film which pretends they are preserving a memory but in reality are thinking about the bling! bling! bling! Everything is beautifully laid out, and nondescript this film may be in front of other Asian films, the fact that it is full of heart and bravery cannot be denied.

1 Litre of Tears may not altogether make you throw your arms in the air and shout out that it is the greatest film ever made, but it might definitely make an impression on you, mostly by Asae Onishi's fearless, courageous performance that is bound to win hearts of viewers. Asae Onishi - who plays the lead role of Aya Kito - was the 3 D's: Delicate,Dedicated and Downright courageous. She so wonderfully, and flawlessly, glided to and fro in her role, almost like a ballerina on an expansive ice ring. Her beautiful looks and dimply smile, topped with an impressive A+ performance, is something I wouldn't mind seeing again. She bought heart, charisma, soul and realism to her character and made Aya Kito a person you once knew but lost track somewhere down the line. Innocently played, but ferociously delivered.

From the forty-five minute mark onward, the film kinda doubles on the tears and the inclusion of more disabled characters really gives you a big, and sympathetic, view on the disabled. Pity them, you don't. Admire them, you should. I noticed a pattern; The more the disease takes a toll, the more better Asae Onishi's performance gets. In the last 30-or-so minutes, her performance can be described as unbeatable in her own right. I mean, I have nothing but praise for her performance. The others were not bad, either. Unfortunately I cannot get a listing of the cast and the roles they played so I cannot mention them here, lest I mix them up. But they were all equally great, and likable, in their respective roles. Chemistry-wise, too, they were all superb.

In conclusion, 1 Litre of Tears is a film solely for the Kleenex audience. It is a courageous film that tugs at your heart-strings, and only the hardest of the the hearts can fail to be moved. Aya Kito may have cried a litre's worth of tears, but I must've cried a gallon's worth... or at-least my heart did, if not my eyes!


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Childish Games review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 2 January 2013 05:33 (A review of Childish Games)

It is easy to get lost on YouTube. You at one point either land on a cat video, a very bizarre, disturbing video or a trailer for a movie you never knew existed. Last year I went through all three at once. I saw a cute little munchkin cat, a video on how to take a pregnancy test (the thumbnail was misleading. So was the title), and then I landed on the trailers for this film and Heartless. I have reviewed the latter, you can check that out. The trailer was uncompromising. Almost next to nothing was shown but it had me intrigued. The little girl particularly had me interested, and had me searching for this film for almost a year. The thing about these buried films - you know, underrated - is that not only they're elusive but they're as mysterious and attractive as the X marked on the map. Even if you find absolutely nothing, the trip can either be described as memorable or a waste. Let's say you found an empty chest, or nothing at all, but you met interesting people along the way, saw interesting sights, is it wasn't a total waste, was it? Same case with Childish Games - a.k.a Dictado or Dictation. It is a minimalistic psychological film that puts the characters first and the story second. Hell, we get to know the actual story at the 1 hour mark, and then there's only 30 minutes movie-time left.

It is a story of Daniel - played by the devilishly handsome Juan Diego Botto - and his wife, Laura - played by the stunningly beautiful Barbara Lennie - both school teachers, getting a visit from Mario - played in a brooding fashion by Marc Rodriquez - a childhood friend of Daniel, demanding that he sees his daughter. Daniel refuses and Mario suicides the very next way in the tub by slicing his stomach - right in front of his daughter, Julia. From the suicide onward expectation and reality meet at the crossroads. People were expecting a lot of jump-scares and ultra-violent or scary moments. Instead they got nothing but an even pace with a heavy emphasis on psychology-horror and surreal dreams with the main spotlight not being on the environment, but on the characters. They said they felt cheated because the film started them off on a wrong promise. Actually speaking, Childish Games makes no such promise. People got the wrong assumption. This is a psychological film, meaning a thinking film. The main horror lies not on what you see but on what you make out of it. I loved the slow pace and the time it took to reach to the main point. It played out in such a tantalizing manner that every progressing minute heightened my curiosity.

Daniel and Mario were briefly friends with each other as kids. The latter's sister, Clara, was a victim of the boys' prank gone wrong and ended up dead. From that moment on the boys parted, never to see each other again, except for one last time before Mario's suicide. One thing leads to another and Julia ends up in possession of Daniel and Laura, who then proceed to act as surrogate parents. At this point everything seems like as if all the puzzles of the jigsaw are in place. The young couple - who cannot produce a baby due to complications - get a child and the child got parents. Happy family, right?

From the point where Julia comes into the family, the film plays like Silent Hill away from home. A watered-down, even less minimalistic version of it. It plays on the theme on how your past catches up with you. If it was good, it makes your current life better. If it was bad, it can drive you crazy, make you even badder. Because of that one disastrous incident which involved the death of Clara, Daniel views Julia - who remarkably does and says the same things Clara used to do - as Red Pyramid disguised in a child's body. It also plays on how we compress these disastrous, or shameful if it may, incidents in the back of our minds, and count ourselves lucky that we went unpunished. But at one point or another, you have to confront it, get rid of it once and for all. Silent Hill lures people in and traps them. Daniel bought the horror home. A series of disturbing dreams, misunderstood intentions and psychological-weirdness erupts, with the shadow of Daniel's hidden monster becoming more and more pronounced on his face.

Antonio Chavarrias has some great directing skills. I wouldn't mind seeing another film by him, provided it is horror, too. He was careful of his stepping and did not let the film slip into senseless macabre or untasty gore. He kept things simple and, in a way, delightful, while also making a nod to the famous last scene of Carrie. It was eerily well done I must say. It only lasts a second but the effect is achieved.

The couple then go to the country-side to get away from it all. Once there, more light is shed on that fatal incident, bringing us full circle on what exactly happened. This is not a matter of whether it did or did not happen. It is a matter of who is Julia and how must Daniel confront it. The tone of the film increasingly gets darker and broodier, the pace goes from slow to sprinting and the last 10 minutes really hits some fast turns. Daniel knocks his wife out and begs for mercy at Julia, who tearfully forgives him. He then proceeds to bury her alive to get rid of this insanity once and for all but his wife intervenes. What I liked about this part is that Daniel doesn't fully become the monster, just someone who is scared and afraid to the point of being numb. In short, how most of us act in real-life, tight situations. Laura takes the child and demands that he clears the path so they can leave. Daniel refuses and lunges forward to kill the child but gets thrown over the cliff to his demise. He guilted, he suffered, he found redemption, and now he's dead. The circle is complete.

If there's anyone out there who can explain to me the significance of the shooting star that's reflected in Daniel's eye it will be very much appreciated.

Performance-wise, both the lead actors were great and convincing in their roles. Frankly speaking I was distracted by the attractive looks of Barbara Lennie and I didn't focus on her performance much. But from what I saw, I really did enjoy her performance, and Juan Diego Botto's performance, too. Magica Perez as Julia was quite-mesmerizing in her role. Her looks showed an innocent child but her eyes, man, were acutely haunting. She had the potential of achieving what Isabella Furhmann greatly achieved in Orphan, but sadly could not. Nevertheless, it really was a captivating performance and she made full use of her screen-time. Chemistry-wise, all 3 were immaculate. It felt so real, so perfect, so in sync. That is something not fully abundant in other movies!

In conclusion, if you're expecting a fast-paced horror film with jump-scares then this film is not for you. All in all, try it. Childish Games is now one of my favourite horror movies, and I will be re-visiting it again... soon!


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