Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What’s Your Favourite Scary Movie?! - Scream 4: A Review

Guess who’s back? We’ve been slacking in the post department as of late and we sincerely apologize, but we’re back! And we aren’t the only ones making a comeback, either. In the age of sequels and remakes, it was only a matter of time before the 90’s slasher flick Scream (and its various sequels) picked back up again and the infamous killer Ghostface made his (or her?) own comeback.

To be completely honest, we went to see Scream 4 mostly due to Ashley’s girl crush on Kristen Bell. Sequels rarely live up to their potential and more often than not, fall flat on their face. Not to say that they lack the entertainment value in which we hope to get out of a movie going experience but sometimes, we want to come away with something more than just a tired, stick to the rules sequel, even if the tagline claims “new decade, new rules”.

Scream 4 brings us back to Woodsboro, the scene of the previous three movies, with Sydney (Neve Campbell) on the last stop of her top selling self help book tour. With her return, Ghostface resurfaces and a series of gory, albeit formulaic, slayings once again begins. Sydney is front and centre in these killings and even becomes a suspect herself. Courtney Cox reprises her role as Gail, now married to Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette).

Rule #1: Cast hot, young, up and coming twenty-somethings

No slasher film is complete without a series of hip, young, beautiful people that get hacked and slashed for the benefit of the viewer. Scream 4 boasts an impressive cast of somewhat recognizable pretty faces from various CW-eque shows including: Alison Brie, Rory Culkin, Shenae Grimes, Lucy Hale, Marielle Jaffe, Erik Knudsen, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Brittany Robertson, Aimee Teegarden and Nico Tortorella. Not to mention a few weathered favourites like Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell (!!!), Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell and Anna Paquin.

We have to give credit though for getting all the hot, young starlets to do brief cameos in the “Stab” movies (based on Gail’s bestselling books about her experience in Woodsboro). Surprisingly, the acting wasn’t that horrible and these little cameos were, ironically, the best and most amusing part.

Rule #2: Go over the top with ridiculous killings

Blood, blood and more blood. While the film itself has a 14A rating, the murders do try to push the envelope best they can as you watch in feigned suspense as each character is slowly picked off one by one.

What baffles us, though, is that after all this time, why have none of the residents picked up a gun? The killer has a knife, GET A GUN. It’s America. And for those who have guns (we’re looking at you, Dewey) how can you be such a bad shot? You’re the town Sheriff, we expected better from you!

Rule #3: Don't take yourself too seriously

At times, we were confused if this was truly a horror film or merely a comedy interspersed with horror. As its predecessors, Scream 4 doesn’t hesitate to poke fun at itself, which should have made it infinitely more interesting but all it served in doing was poke itself to death (see what we did there?).

Now we don’t want to downplay the movie because we both enjoyed it at face value, but it lacked something in many places and seemed to just want to ram scene after gory scene down our throats. But hey, if you’re into watching pretty people being slashed to death over and over again, you won’t be disappointed.

images from google images

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Little Girl that Could: Hanna, A Movie Review

We are always on the lookout for movies that celebrate female empowerment, emphasize girl power through kickassery and/or displays intelligence as the basis of a character instead of the tired Hollywood standard of a vacuous femme with a pretty face. So after seeing the trailer for Hanna, the first thought we had was, “We must see this”. As luck would have it, Veronica scored us a prescreen pass for the advance viewing last night at Scotiabank Theatre.

Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement), 16 year old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones, Atonement) was raised in the forest by her widowed father Erik (Eric Bana, Hulk, Star Trek). But her upbringing isn’t that simple. Erik has trained her to be the perfect soldier. Her killer instincts, strength and ability to think on her feet have made her into the perfect little assassin. Award winning actress Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)is Marissa, a CIA agent who, for reasons of her own, wants Erik and Hanna dead and will stop at nothing to make it so.

This latest role for Ronan is a far cry from her previous projects but she has hit her stride in this. Not just with the fact that as Hanna, Ronan was required to run for the majority of the film, but also in her ability to look at the world with curious eyes all the while projecting extreme intelligence, resourcefulness and full use of her physical abilities. Having been raised in isolation her entire life, Hanna’s abrupt immersion into the real world was a sensory overload. She’s innocent, guileless and deadly. Not only was it entertaining to see her assimilate and blend in but her straight and to the point answers to even the mundane questions were hilarious.

The soundtrack was composed entirely by the Chemical Brothers and perfectly reflects the ever changing mood of the movie with hard, driven electronic forces that mirror Hanna’s dangerous journey. The shift to this new trend of using just one group or artist for a movie, a la Daft Punk for Tron: Legacy or Trent Reznor for The Social Network, is a brilliant idea and one that we applaud.

While clearly laid out motives and back stories may be missing, Hanna was definitely refreshing and reaffirmed our love of the cinema. Reminiscent of a Bourne-esque movie, with the ruthless battles and seemingly endless chase through Europe, this tale of a killer child is a joyous, adrenaline fueled ride that we didn’t want to end. And the fact that someone out there can make a movie with a female heroine that does not rely on female wiles to get her way hit us right in the heart.

images from google images