Archive for Doug Jones

John Dies at the End

Posted in Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

It’s a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t

What people are saying:

“Some will find the darkly funny, genre-bending incoherence of John Dies at the End charming; some will feel its zany antics and gore lead to an unsatisfying payoff” 3 1/2 stars

“The saving grace of John Dies at the End is undoubtedly its manic storytelling: the energy and pacing of scenes give the movie the impression of being told on the spot (which is of course what the framing device intends).” 4 stars

“I stopped taking notes when the woman disintegrated into a ball of writhing snakes.” 2 1/2 stars

“If you’re familiar with the book, you’ll know how bonkers this story was going to be. They did a good job of cutting out the unnecessary parts of the book to write the screenplay. I think if they would have had a bigger budget, certain things would have looked better. That was my main gripe.” 4 stars

“I really wanted to like this movie. It is that kind of movie that almost forces you to like it but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The beginning of this movie was quite exciting as it reflected the true spirit of the book and some of that felt a bit lost by the end. Nevertheless this movie stands alone among all the other modern cookie cutter movies that sink to the bowels of Netflix (if they’re lucky), this film takes it’s genre bending, zany antics, original storyline and impending doom of B-movie constraints and uses them all to it’s advantage. I hope the sequel “This Book is Full of Spiders” is made into a film adaptation as well with Williamson and Mayes back on the bill.” 3 1/2 stars

Advertisements

Pan’s Labyrinth

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on February 23, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a fairy tale, Princess Moanna, whose father is the king of the underworld, becomes curious about the world above, the human world. When she goes to the surface, the sunlight blinds her and erases her memory. She becomes very ill and eventually dies. However, the king believes that her spirit will come back to the underworld someday.

In post–Civil War Spain in 1944 (after Francisco Franco has come into power) Ophelia, a young girl who loves fairy tales, travels with her pregnant mother Carmen to meet Captain Vidal, her new stepfather and father of Carmen’s unborn child. Vidal, the son of a famed commander who died in Morocco, believes strongly in falangism and was assigned to root out any anti-Franco rebels.

Ophelia discovers a large insect resembling a stick insect which she believes to be a fairy. It follows her to the mill where Vidal is stationed and leads Ophelia into an ancient labyrinth nearby. Before Ophelia can enter, she is stopped by Mercedes, one of Vidal’s maids who is spying for the rebels. That night, the insect appears in Ophelia’s bedroom, where it changes into a fairy and leads her through the labyrinth. There, she meets the faun, who believes her to be Princess Moanna and gives her three tasks to complete before the full moon to ensure that her “essence is intact”. Meanwhile, Vidal’s cruel and sociopathic nature is revealed when he brutally murders two individuals who had been detained on suspicion of being rebel allies and who may merely have been farmers.

Ophelia completes the first task of retrieving a key from the belly of a giant toad, but she becomes worried about her mother whose condition is worsening. The faun gives Ophelia a mandrake root, which instantly begins to cure her mother’s illness.

Accompanied by three fairy guides, Ophelia then completes the second task of retrieving an ornate dagger from the lair of the Pale Man, a child-eating monster who sits silently in front of a large feast. Although she was gravely warned not to consume anything, she eats two grapes, awakening him. He eats two of the fairies and chases her, but she manages to escape. Infuriated at her disobedience, the faun refuses to give her the third task.

Meanwhile, Vidal becomes increasingly vicious, torturing a captured rebel and then killing the doctor — also a rebel sympathizer — who euthanized the tortured prisoner to stop his pain. Vidal catches Ophelia tending to the mandrake root, and Carmen throws it into the fireplace, where it then begins to writhe and scream in agony. Instantly, Carmen develops painful contractions and dies giving birth to a son. Vidal discovers that Mercedes is a spy, and he captures her and Ophelia as they attempt to escape. Ophelia is locked in her bedroom, and Mercedes is taken to be tortured; however, she frees herself, badly injures Vidal and flees into the woods, where the rebels rescue her.

The faun returns to Ophelia and gives her one more chance to prove herself. He tells her to take her baby brother into the labyrinth. Ophelia steals the baby after sedating Vidal; although disoriented, Vidal continues to chase her through the labyrinth while the rebels attack the mill. The faun tells Ophelia that the portal to the underworld will open only with an innocent’s blood, so he needs a drop of her brother’s blood. Ophelia refuses to harm her brother, and eventually Vidal finds her, seemingly talking to herself as the faun is not visible through his eyes. The faun leaves Ophelia to her choice, and Vidal takes the baby away from her, shooting her immediately after.

When he leaves the labyrinth, the rebels and Mercedes are waiting for him. Knowing that he will die, he calmly hands Mercedes the baby. Vidal takes out his watch and tells Mercedes to tell his son the exact time of his father’s death. Mercedes interrupts, telling him that his son will never even know his name. Pedro, one of the rebels and Mercedes’ brother, draws his pistol and shoots Vidal in the face, killing him.

As Mercedes enters the labyrinth and comforts the dying girl, drops of Ophelia’s blood spill onto the altar that is supposed to lead her into the underworld. Ophelia is reunited with the king and queen of the underworld. The faun is present too, and the king reveals to her that, by shedding her own blood instead of the blood of an innocent, she has completed the final task and proven herself to be Princess Moanna. In the mortal world, Ophelia dies and Mercedes mourns her death. In an epilogue, a narration dictates that Princess Moanna ruled the underworld with a just and kind heart, but left behind “small traces of her time on earth, visible only to those who know where to look”.

REVIEW:

From the creative genius of Guillermo del Toro, we get Pan’s Labyrinth, a film that tells a great story which straddles the line between the innocence of the real world and the dark realism of the “adult world” during wartime.

What is this about?

Living with her tyrannical stepfather and pregnant mother, 10-year-old Ofelia retreats to a labyrinth where she meets a mythical faun. He claims she is destined to become princess of the Underworld, but first she must carry out three perilous tasks

What did I like?

Visuals. A film like this is nothing without strong visuals, and that is exactly what we get. From the giant frog, to the faun, to the mysterious pale man who sees with is hands, the beauty of these visuals is sure to impress even the most jaded of viewer. My only complaint is that there wasn’t more because I couldn’t get enough. de Toro knows how to use imagination much in a way that Rey Herryhausen did with stop-motion animation back in the day.

Contrast. This film has a dark tone throughout its entirety, but it is split into two separate factions, for lack of a better term. Part of the film is set in post Spanish Civil War Spain, with a sadistic captain running some kind of outpost, hell-bent on destroying the French influence from Spain. The other half is the fantasy side of things that is quite the break from the serious, violent side of things, even though it isn’t exactly happy-go-lucky.

Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. The young lead actress, Ivana Boquero, really impressed me with her talent and composure. Not many 10 yr olds can handle a tremendous role like this, but she does it with the grace of someone much older. Here’s hoping that this young Spanish actress goes on to bigger and better things, and maybe makes it big over here in the states.

What didn’t I like?

Language. First off, I understand that this is a foreign film, and I respect that, but I admit that I had a hard time keeping up with what was going on while I was reading the English. This is more of a personal issue, but it is still something that kept this film from being even better than what I thought it was.

Mon capitan. I was not a fan of the captain and the way he handled his daughter (or stepdaughter), but he goes through hell and highwater to save his son, even commiting unspeakable murder to do so. What is it about a male heir that was so important, especially when you have a duaghter already. I guess he is one of those guys that think he’s less of a man without producing a boy child.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a film that speaks for itself and has an ending that will leave you talking. One the one hand, it can be depressing, but on the other it can be very fairy tale-ish. It all is a matter of perspective. With that in mind, check this out and see which side of things you fall on. Once you get past the language barrier, I just about guarntee you’ll enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars