I’m still on the journey of watching one film a day, which equates to 365 films in a year. Here are reviews for ten that I’ve recently watched.
DAY 164- THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)
A powerful, moving, brutal look at the devastating tsunamis that ravaged Thailand in December 2004, and the story of a family who will stop at nothing to find each other, no matter the cost. Wonderfully directed by JA Bayona and starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland, The Impossible is a film that grips your heart and refuses to let go, even after the credits roll. A must-watch (unless you’re squeamish) piece of cinema.
DAY 165- A MONSTER CALLS (2016)
Another gripping, heart-wrenching film from JA Bayona, A Monster Calls is based off of the book by Patrick Ness (which itself was an idea from Siobhan Dowd), which examines the life of Conor (Lewis MacDougall), whose mother (Felicity Jones) is battling cancer. He’s also being bullied at school, and has to deal with his “horrendous” grandmother (Sigourney Weaver). Oh, and he’s being visited by a giant, sentient yew tree (voiced by Liam Neeson) at 12:07 AM, where the yew tree tells him a tale that is never as black or white as it initially seems.
The visual effect work is outstanding, and the cast is spectacular. The impact of the film was somewhat dulled by my having read the novel beforehand, but this is still a moving, powerful examination of grief, family, and love. This is definitely a movie that will leave you both sobbing into a box of tissues and hugging your loved ones even tighter.
DAY 166- A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005)
David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name, A History of Violence stars Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a family man who owns a diner and lives a simple, happy life. He has a loving wife (Maria Bello), and two beautiful children. Everything’s peachy keen, until two men decide to hold up his diner. After killing both men in an act of self-defense, he makes the national news, where he’s hailed as a hero… except by the mysterious Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris). He swears Tom is actually a man named Joey who blinded him in one eye back in Philadelphia. The rest of the film is a twisty, dark thrill ride, posing the question of “Is everyone as they appear to be?”.
This is definitely a Cronenberg film. Even though there isn’t an exorbitant amount of violence, what is shown is brutal, bloody, and shocking. The twists and turns of the narrative also suit his directorial style, and the film benefits magnificently from his eye. The cast are superb, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat, second-guessing every assumption I made. This definitely isn’t a film for everyone, but if you love thrillers that make you think, A History of Violence is right up your alley.
DAY 167- ABATTOIR (2016)
This movie is awful. Extremely slow-paced, not in the least bit scary, and poorly acted, I can’t recommend this horror film to anyone. There are some great visual effects, but other than that, this was a dull, boring experience.
DAY 168- THE DRILLER KILLER (1979)
My own expectations of The Driller Killer left me loathing this film, and wishing it would end. I had heard it was controversial, gory, and left a lasting impression. Personally, it was none of these aspects to me. I was bored to tears, and even the kills did nothing for my gore-hound heart. There are definitely some fucking weird sequences, but even those couldn’t save this film from entering the cinematic furnace located in the darkest recesses of my heart.
DAY 169- MACHETE (2010)
“Machete don’t text“
After two days of terrible horror films, Machete was a much-needed palate cleanser of fun, thrilling, balls to the wall action. Starring Danny Trejo as the titular character, this film is actually based off of a faux-trailer that was inserted in the beginning of Planet Terror. Am I glad that Robert Rodriguez decided to make this a feature-length film. Is it outlandish and ridiculous? Yes, but you can’t deny that the campy nature of Machete adds to its charm. Plus, the kills in this movie are FUCKING AMAZING (I mean, Machete slices a guy’s stomach open, pulls out his intestines, and uses them to rappel down a building). Trejo is on the top of his game, and the various celebrities add extra fun to this amusement-park ride of a film.
DAY 170- FORREST GUMP (1994)
Don’t ask me why it took me so long to see this; I can’t give you a viable answer. Forrest Gump isn’t just a film; it’s a transformative experience. It preaches love, endurance, and belief in yourself, and is one of Tom Hanks’ best performances. A must-watch film (just have tissues on hand).
DAY 171- MACHETE KILLS (2013)
The sequel to Machete, this film continues the story of Machete as he fights for vengeance. The follow-up film packs in plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor, gorgeous women, celebrity cameos, and amazingly gory kills. A worthwhile second outing for the man who doesn’t text or tweet.
DAY 172- THE RED TURTLE (2016)
The stunning debut film from Michael Dudok de Wit (and produced by Studio Ghibli) follows a man who washes up on shore on a deserted island. He has to learn how to survive in this harsh new world, while also trying to discover a way off the island. The titular red turtle ends up changing his life in ways he could never have imagined, and the film suddenly becomes a parable about the cycle of life. What’s even more powerful about this film is the fact that it is almost completely dialogue-free. A beautiful, meditative, thought-provoking cinematic experience.
DAY 173- CABIN FEVER (2003)
Check out my review of Eli Roth’s film about a group of young adults trying to fight off a flesh-eating virus!
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