Review: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

hansel & gretel posterHansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

R / 88 min.

Action / Fantasy / Horror

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare

Director: Tommy Wirkola


It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard or seen the classic story of Hansel & Gretel by the Brothers Grimm.  It’s the tale of two children, Hansel & Gretel, who wander off deep into the forest and stumble upon a cottage built entirely of candy and other sweets.  They decide to go in and start eating whatever they could see.  Then the witch appears, the witch that successfully lured the children into her abode.  She captures the two, but in the end, they escape and defeat the witch by outwitting her.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is basically the same story, but at the same time very different.  The 2013 film, directed by Tommy Wirkola, is a grittier, darker reboot of the story that follows Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) on their Witch Hunting escapades.  But how do they become Witch Hunters?

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Well, the first couple of scenes in the movie are familiar to most.  Hansel and Gretel find the candy cottage in the woods, get captured, and defeat the witch, just as the story goes.  However, the story doesn’t stop there.  Because of these events, they decide to hunt witches for a living, to rescue the children that they capture and abuse.  It’s a twisted spin on the familiar tale that we knew as kids.  Does the reboot provide an interesting story though?  Unfortunately the answer is a no.

The story, most of the time, is predictable.  Hansel and Gretel are now famous witch hunters that are summoned to a small village by the mayor  to investigate the disappearance of eleven children.  After some investigation, it turns out that the two witch hunters are up against the powerful dark witch Muriel (Famke Janssen).  The two aren’t alone though because along the way, they enlist the help of Mina (Pihla Viitala), a women they rescued who was being accused of witchery, and Jackson (Bjorn Sundquist), a wannabe witch hunter.

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Half of the time it was easy to see where the story was going.  There are some strategically placed flashbacks in the beginning of the movie that pretty much reveal what the story is going to evolve into.  As disappointing as this is, the story didn’t seem to be the main focus of the movie.  Perhaps attention was placed elsewhere, like the ridiculous action that takes place in between.

The movie is an all-out blood and guts fest with the f-bomb sprinkled over it for good measure.  The action sequences are borderline unbelievable and absolutely insane.  People get crushed, blown-up, split into a million pieces, hit by trees, and basically everything else you can imagine.  Hansel and Gretel are ruthless hunters, who seem to have matured a ton from the characters that most of us are familiar with.  These two aren’t innocent children anymore.

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In fact, there is nothing innocent about this movie.  It’s a dark story, with a lot of dark action that takes place.  The child abuse and the elements of rape that are introduced in the story might put a lot of people off.  The witches are pretty brutal as well.  However, the make-up department did a great job at making all of the witches awful to look at.  They’re disgusting to say the least.

Hansel & Gretel: The Witch Hunters is a laughably ridiculous and dumb movie.  It’s far from being good but it manages to keep you the slightest bit entertained by its crazy and relentless action.  It’s a story that you just kinda have to go with in order to enjoy.  But honestly, don’t see this movie is you  are interested in a thoughtful story twist on the original fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel.  All your getting is a movie about killing witches in the craziest ways possible.

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Drake’s 6 God Impressions

00 - Drake_6_God-front-largeDrake has been busy the past couple of days.  It has been rumored numerous times that he has been hard at work on his new studio album titled Views from the 6.  He also recently released a trio of songs that are off the new album to take aim at a couple of hackers who got a hold of the songs.  The songs include “6 God”, “How Bout Now”, and “Heat of the Moment”.

The three tracks are all standouts.  “6 God” is probably the standout of the trio, with some intense lyrics from the Toronto-based rapper like “Got me feeling like a ball hog / I don’t pass it when I get it / I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it.”  There is a ton of energy in the tracks and it sounds like Drake is on his A-game.

Then, on Monday, a mysterious mixtape was put on Datpiff.  Titled, 6 God, it was released by TrackkMasterz as the “new Drake mixtape.”  I couldn’t figure out if it was released by Drake himself, but all the evidence points to a yes.  The mixtape features all three songs from above, plus some others.

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The mixtape starts out with “Views from the 6” which I am assuming will be the title track for his new album.  If not, it just gives us a tease at what the album will be about.  We also hear songs like “Draft Day” and “The Catch Up” which both offer that familiar Drake sound.

However, there are some tracks that already have been released as well.  The song “Tuesday” featuring iLoveMakonnen is on the mixtape, as well as the more popular song “Grindin”, which features fellow Young Money member Lil Wayne.  The mixtape also ends with Lil Wayne’s song “Believe Me”.

The mixtape features a mix of old and new, but it only leaves me more excited for what Drake is working on when it comes to View from the 6.  I recommend giving 6 God a listen, especially since it includes the three songs that Drake released all in one place, as well as some new cuts from the artist.  I also just can’t help but appreciate the bootleg feel that the mixtape has.

You can listen to it here…

 

Review: Archer (Season 4)

archer s4 posterArcher Season 4 (2013)

TVMA / FX

Animation / Action / Comedy

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Creator: Adam Reed


The stage was set for the fourth season of Archer, one of FX’s hottest shows.  The previous three seasons, which followed the crazy antics of Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), and the ISIS crew, built off of each other and were getting better as the seasons went on.  The fourth season is where the show tripped over itself.

I guess I could have seen this coming.  A show can only stay on-par for so long before it dips into the pool of mediocrity.  I should say here that I am not saying that the fourth season is awful by any means.  I still laughed and it still had it’s great moments.  When I look back though, nothing was a major standout.  Nothing made the season stand out from the rest.

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There were only about two episodes that were standouts.  One of which was the first episode, which followed Sterling Archer and his brief experience with amnesia.  The season starts off with Archer working at Bob’s Burgers (which is an obvious tie-in to the hit comedy show Bob’s Burgers).  He still has all of his skills from ISIS and he happens to have random people coming after him.  Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) sends Lana (Aisha Tyler) after Archer to help him cure his bout with amnesia.  This episode had it’s moments and was probably my favorite episode.

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We then fast forward to the end of the season where we have a two-part episode which takes the ISIS crew underseas to an underwater sea laboratory run by a insane leader.  The team arrives to the site with the help of Cheryl’s (Judy Greer) brother who is dead-set on proving the Cheryl is crazy.  The team has to stop the captain before his crazed plan becomes a reality.  The episode also ended with (**SPOILERS**) Lana figuring out that she was pregnant with a baby, thus the reason why she was not drinking and such.  We will obviously see this carried over into next season.  It was revealed that Cyril (Chris Parnell) was not the father, so we will just have to wait and see who the father is. (**END SPOILERS**)

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During the course of the season, there was still witty banter and their was still a bunch of situational comedy.  One of the things that stuck out to me the most during this season was Dr. Krieger’s character (Lucky Yates).  He was constantly popping up in episodes with weirder and weirder situations.

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Season four was a bit of a let down for me, but I can only hope that this season was more of a minor misstep.  It’s obvious that Adam Reed and the team behind Archer noticed the waning freshness of the show, which is evidenced by the next season of the show.  The next season, which is dubbed “Archer Vice” will follow the ISIS team selling cocaine to make up for their agency’s loss of authentication.  You can tell that this will be a new direction for the show.  Hopefully it is a direction that will revitalize the show and give it a second wind.

 

Review: Dust: An Elysian Tail

dust cover artDust: An Elysian Tail (2012)

PS4

Action / RPG / Brawler

Developer: Humble Hearts

Publisher: Humble Hearts


 

There is a lot to like about Dust: An Elysian Tail.  The game was originally released back in 2012 and it was regarded as a great game when it came out.  It offered awe-inspiring visuals and a very fluid combat system along with some light rpg elements.  Recently, the game was remastered for the PS4.  Now, the game looks even better.

The story follows a character named Dust who wakes up in a field dust 6which no memory as to who he is and how he got there.   He discovers a mysterious talking sword named The Blade of Ahrah.  He also stumbles upon this “bat-squirrel” looking thing named Fidget who also decides to help Dust figure out who he is and what he was doing prior to his memory loss.

The first thing you notice is the amazing art-style that accompanies the game.  The game takes place in a heavily inspired world full of furry creatures.  The game features a hand drawn art style, which makes the levels that you traverse look amazing.  I often found myself getting lost in the beautiful environments.

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There are also some very spiffy looking animated cut scenes that appeared later in the game as the story started to get more serious.  These looked really nice, and it was a shame that they were only present for the latter parts of the game.  I wanted to see them throughout the whole entire story.

The voice acting is also really great.  All of the voice performances were spot on and they offered humor to the characters, as well as charm.  Fidget’s character was the comic relief in the story, but she started to get a little annoying after a while.  It was probably here high-pitched squeal voice that she used throughout the game.

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The game can probably be related to a “Metroidvania”.  The levels are all 2D and they have a heavy emphasis on exploration and backtracking, much like the Metroid style.

This brings me to the combat, which was probably the best part of the game for me.  It’s simple to learn but it gets more complex as you go.  The combat consists of button combos, as well as button mashing.  You can lay waste to all of the characters on the screen with ease and you can pummel them into the air with elegance.  You can also use Fidget to throw projectiles which you can then manipulate with your sword.  You end up all over the place when you are fighting hordes of enemies.  The best part about all of it is that it feels great and fluid.

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The boss battles were probably the most disappointing aspect of the game.  The game is short in length, which means there are not that much opportunities for boss battles.  This is why I expected them to be cinematic and intense encounters.  However, they were actually pretty easy to defeat and they all offered little to no challenge to defeat. They also weren’t as climatic as I would have hoped, since most of them were the same size as Dust.

As you go along in the game, you also unlock more abilities and powers, which enable you to do more in combat and explore more areas.  These abilities add more depth to the gameplay, making it more satisfying as you continue to level up.  The leveling system is where the rpg elements come in.  When you level up by gaining experience from defeating enemies, you can add skill points to your various skills like health, attack, defense, and Fidget abilities.  You can also upgrade your armor with stronger items.  You can also craft items using some materials that you can collect from the different enemies.  This system offered some more depth that the game really benefited from.

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You can also collect items, as well as friends (which offer nods to other indie games), throughout the levels.  These collectibles encourage exploration, and some of them even warrant you to use your abilities and ways you haven’t thought before.   The game also offers challenge areas around the map that really test your abilities that you have learned and perfected throughout the game.  These areas probably offered the most challenge, as they were a race against the clock to get through an obstacle course of sorts.

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Dust: An Elysian Tail was probably the most charming game I have played all year.  The story is dramatic and engaging and the combat is even more engaging.  Not to mention the exploration and sense of discovery was high in this game.  Plus, the game just looks damn great.  Despite some of it’s minor problems, the game is probably one of the more unique games I have played this year.

Review: Paperwork

ti paperwork album coverPaperwork (2014)

T.I.

Hip-Hop

Columbia / Grand Hustle


The heavy lyricist of the South is back on the hustle again with his ninth studio album entitled Paperwork.  T.I., who has built up a pretty rich career up to this point, is slowly cementing himself as a rapping legend.  Paperwork, which features Pharrell Williams as one of the producers, is a brilliant example of the success of T.I.

The most exciting part about this project is that there will be more.  The name Paperwork is derived from T.I.’s 2006 release of Paper Trail.  It was revealed by the rapper that Paperwork is going to be the first of a trilogy of albums that he will put out on his new label Columbia.  T.I. explained that he and Pharrell recorded around 250 tracks.  They said that if they would have released the project on a single album, it would have been fifty tracks and all over the place conceptually.  That is why they divided the project into three parts.  The first, having it’s own sound and concepts that sonically go together.

A common theme that you hear throughout T.I.’s lyrics is his dedication to the hustle.  I mean, he literally created the “Hustle Gang.”  He’s pretty much the living embodiment of the hustle.  The first song of the album, “King”, literally sets the stage for the project as a whole, which will be trap based, but will have some soulful elements inserted as well.

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Tracks like “G’ Shit” and “No Mediocre”, which features a great verse from one of T.I.’s mentee’s Iggy Azalea, give off the trap vibes that T.I. is most known for.  We also hear some of the soulful elements of the project in songs like “Oh Yeah” and “Stay.”

It’s clear that Pharrell, who is the executive producer on the project, has a lot of influence on the project.  There is so much soul and southern style rap on the album.  It almost reminded me of T.I. back in is younger days.  There is a lot to like.

The title track, “Paperwork”, is probably by far the best part of the album.  T.I. raps about his childhood in the south while Pharrell delivers an eloquent hook throughout the track.  It’s a great piece of work, and it gets me excited thinking about what the second and third album will have from the two.  T.I. and Pharrell really work well together and any song that featured the two were standouts.

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The only thing that might be a little concerning about the album is it’s “pop-esque” sound in certain parts, most notably “No Mediocre” and “New National Anthem”, which features Skylar Grey on the hook.  Not to say that these songs were bad, but they were a little on the mediocre side, and it was apparent that they were trying to sell out.  I hope that the trend doesn’t continue in the future of the project.

Paperwork is a super strong piece of work by T.I., especially with Pharrell taking the producer role on the project as well.  The two, make this album something special.  Now, I am just going to have to sit back and patiently wait for the next parts of the trilogy.

And in the meantime I will be listening to “Paperwork” on repeat…

 

 

 

Review: Archer (Season 3)

archer s3 posterArcher Season 3 (2011-2012)

TVMA / FX

Animation / Comedy / Action

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Creator: Adam Reed


Archer is slowly starting to become one of my favorite comedy television shows of all time. There is just so much to like about the show.  First off, it’s protagonist, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), is probably the worst human being of all time, yet the funniest character on the show.  Secondly, the writers continue to nail the dialogue every single episode.  The witty banter between the characters is probably the thing that keeps most people coming back.

Season three features another mixed bag of adventures by Archer and the gang at ISIS.  The season starts out with a bang with a three-part plot-line entitled “The Heart of Archness.”  It features Archer, still reeling from the death of his fiancee going into hiding in the Pacific.  Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) wants him back, so she sends noted adventurer Rip Riley (Patrick Warburton) in pursuit to find him.  This just ends with Archer and Riley getting captured by Somalian Pirates and taken to their stronghold in the middle of the Pacific, where Archer is declared their new pirate king.

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Malory has to instead, send Lana (Aisha Tyler) and Ray (Adam Reed) to go save them and bring them back.  These were three back-to-back episodes that offered some of the best moments of the season.

The season also features an episode about Archer’s childhood idol, Burt Reynolds, who plays himself.  It turns out that Burt is dating Malory, and this sickens Archer.  It’s a great cameo and it’s surprising the amount of calm wisdom that Burt gives Archer during this episode.

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During the season, we also get to see Ray’s hometown in West Virginia where Archer and the gang proceed to help save Ray’s brother’s drug crop from being sabotaged by a crooked cop.  The final two episodes of the season also feature the ISIS gang going to space to help the international space station from being taken over by space pirates.  These episodes provided for some great moments too.

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The relationship between Archer and Pam (Amber Nash) also takes a turn for the weird after a drunken night.  Archer discovers that Pam, as much as he doesn’t want to admit, actually gives him the best sex he has ever had.  These two continue to build the sexual tension as the episodes go on.

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There is a lot of crazy antics that the ISIS gang gets themselves into once again.  Each season seems to get better and better as they go on, which is a good sign for the future of Archer and the gang.

Plus, I’ve already watched the season four premiere and it seems like the next season is going to be even crazier and more hilarious.  I will just have to see.

 

The Flash Pilot Impressions

the flash posterWhen it comes to superpowers, the power of speed is one that is probably the most practical.  When you are faced with adversity, you can just use your ability of speed to just run away from it, leaving it all in your past.  Now that I think about it, it also might be one of the most self-serving powers as well.  How does running away from the problem solve the issue for others?

Nevertheless, the power of speed is special.  However, how does this superpower transfer to a TV show.  How does such a simple power as running keep a long-running (hopefully) TV show interesting?  CW’s The Flash, starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen (also known more commonly as The Flash), has this obstacle that it has to overcome.

If the pilot was any indication of the show’s future, it looks like they might overcome the obstacle after all.

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The show premiered with a look into the past of Barry Allen.  He was bullied as a kid, and a rough childhood to go along.  One night, he came down stairs to witness his mother surrounded by what seemed like a lightning storm.  He was told by his father to run away.  And run away he did.  It’s later revealed that Barry’s father is put in jail for the murder of his mother, who didn’t make it through the storm.

Flash (no pun intended) forward to when Barry is older.  He is working as an assistant for the crime scene investigation unit of the Central City Police Department.  He’s fascinated with technology and science, and he finds himself at S.T.A.R. Labs, marveling at their latest invention of a particle accelerator.

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During a freak accident later that night, a strike of lighting, created by an explosion from the particle accelerator, hits Barry and sends him into a nine-month coma; a coma in which he wakes up bearing the power of lighting speed.

A lot has changed during these nine months.  He has been under testing at S.T.A.R. Labs, or at least what remains of it after the explosion.  When he wakes up, Barry finally meets his idol, Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), as well as his assistants Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes).

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The story instantly started to give me vibes of Spider-Man, another young superhero who stumbles upon his powers by accident.  It also seems that the characters of Peter Parker and Barry Allen are similar in nature.  I can’t help but think that The Flash is just DC’s version of Spider-Man.

Another thing I noticed, which kind of surprised me, was the inclusion of humor in the story.  The show seems like it is going to have a lot of charm and wittiness about it.  They tackle the character of Flash with a lighthearted nature, which I believe is a good thing.  With a superhero who’s only ability is to run fast, I feel like you have to have some lighthearted humor.

Later on in the episode, Barry Allen, now donning his superhero suit that can withstand his high speeds, decides to go after his first villain, Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook), who has the power to manipulate the weather around him.  He, as identified by Dr. Wells, is another “meta-human”, just like Barry.  The explosion caused by the particle accelerator seemed to have created a bunch of meta-humans around the perimeter of the explosion, all of which have different abnormal abilities that separate them from normal beings.

Pilot

With this plot-point, the direction that the show will be taking seems clear.  We will most likely see Flash going around trying to right the wrongs that Dr. Wells created with his failed accelerator.  With that being said, I hope that we will get to see more interesting villains than Clyde Mardon.  He was rather forgettable, and didn’t pose to much of a challenge to the Flash.

I am also hungry to see how much The Arrow, CW’s other, more grittier superhero series, will tie into the plotlines of The Flash.  Towards the end of the pilot, we see Barry getting some guidance from the Arrow, who makes an appearance among the city rooftops.  He encourages the Flash to be a vigilante, helping the citizens of the city in distress.  (Can’t you see why I compare the Flash to Spider-Man so much?)

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The show seems to have a good cast of characters on hand, as well as some good writing.  I am excited to see where the series goes.  I think they are going to have a tough time pulling the character of the Flash off, but if they succeed, they will have a great and entertaining show on their hands.

 

Review: Sweet Talker

sweet talker coverSweet Talker (2014)

Jessie J

R&B / Pop / Soul

Label: Lava / Rebublic


Jessie J’s music career has always been intriguing to me.  It just seems like not that much people are talking about her.  She has the ability to make pretty big hits.  Her single’s “Domino” and “Price Tag” did very well and she even wrote Miley Cyrus’s hit “Party in the USA.”  So like I said, the ability is there, but where is her star power?

With the British singer’s recent release of Sweet Talker, Jessie J’s third studio album, it seems as if her star power will reach a maximum.

The album starts out with a bang (no pun intended) with four of my favorite songs off her release.  She starts off with the energetic “Ain’t Been Done” and then moves to the even faster “Burnin’ Up” with 2 Chainz.  We then have the title track “Sweet Talker”, in which Jessie J gives a strong performance.  Lastly, “Bang Bang” is probably my favorite track off the album.  When it was released as a single, it was a bona fide summer hit, featuring the likes of Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.  The track also warranted a VMA performance that was truly something else.

However, the rest of the album did not stand out as much as the first four hits.  Jessie J started to slow it down with sweet sounding melodies, which started to run together towards the end.  There wasn’t too much variety as the album started to come to a close, but Jessie J still managed to make them entertaining to listen to, with her powerful and melodic voice.

She almost reminds me of a hybrid between Beyonce and P!nk.  She has a wide vocal range and a booming voice, with some pop, hip-hop, and r&b influences.  She doesn’t have the name recognition of those two artists, but she still has a voice that can be singled out of a crowd.

Sweet Talker could be considered A+ material if there was only some variety towards the latter part of the album.  However, Sweet Talker is still a strong release from the brit. Her single “Bang Bang” propelled her into the US spotlight, now it’s up to her what she does with it.

Hopefully she provides us with more impressive chart-topping hits.

 

Review: Carrie (1976)

carrie 1976 movie posterCarrie (1976)

R / 98 min

Horror

Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta

Director: Brian De Palma


Recently, I decided to get my horror fix and watch Carrie, a remake of the classic movie that involves a shy girl who discovers she has a unique power, and gets pushed too far by her friends.  I thought that the remake, despite some of its flaws, was a pretty solid experience. I thought Chloe Grace Moretz did a great job with the role of Carrie, and the rest of the cast was strong too.

The remake however, got me interested in the original screen adaptation of Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek in the title role.  I am unlike most people.  Most people would watch the original first, and then watch the newer version.  However, in this case, I worked in the opposite direction.  I encourage you to read about my thoughts on remake, because I reference the newer version a couple of times in the remaining review.

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I will first start with the story.  The remake is super similar to the original Carrie‘s plot.  So much so that there are even lines from the original that are borrowed in the new version.  We still have the character of Carrie, who is emotionally abused by her teammates at school.  Sue Snell (Amy Irving) and Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) are the two girls that are primarily featured.  Sue is the one we side with and Chris is the girl that we hate.

Their gym teacher,  Miss Collins (Betty Buckley), reprimands the team for throwing tampons at Carrie when she gets her first period in the locker room.  Chris is the girl that doesn’t want the team to accept the punishment, but instead gets left in the dust as the rest of the team goes through with the punishment.  In return, Chris is then suspended from going to the prom.  We then see Chris and her boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta) plot to get their revenge on Carrie at prom.  On the other hand, Sue decides to make it up to Carrie by making her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) ask Carrie out to the prom.

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The one place where the original falls short is the characters.  Unlike the new Carrie, which focuses a lot on it’s character building, I don’t really feel connected to the characters in the original.  The movie focuses more on Carrie, and her path to her breakdown, but not so much on the characters around her.  I also noticed that there were some plot holes in the original as well, the biggest being Miss Collins at the end, during the prom.  For the better part of the movie, she sides with Carrie and almost acts as a mentor towards her, but at the end she alienates her and laughs at her when the dirty deed is done by Chris and Billy.  It just didn’t make sense to me.

The original also gets the relationship between Carrie and her mother done right in my opinion.  Piper Laurie,  who plays Margaret White, delivers a chilling performance as Carrie’s overly religious and insane mother.  The scenes that involved Carrie and Margaret were creepy just by themselves.

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This leads me to the overall third act of the movie, the prom scene.  Unlike the remake, the original is defined more as a horror movie.  The remake focused on the characters, while the original focused on Carrie and the horrifying powers that she has.  The prom scene in the original is just as creepy as the newer version, but not as long as I wanted it to be.  It felt short and not as bloody as the newer version.  The image of the gymnasium going up in flames though is still as sickening as it was in the remake.  It’s a disturbing scene.

carrie 1976 1

The last scenes, in which Carrie and her mother meet after the prom incident is probably the highlight of the original Carrie.  It wraps up the movie perfectly.  The final scene however, in which Sue visits the grave of Carrie in her dreams, was probably the only part that made me jump.  It was an unexpected scare that worked pretty well, and concluded the movie in the best way possible.

 

Both versions of the classic Stephen King novel have their triumphs, as well as their shortcomings.  It’s a story that never gets old.  However, I would probably have to give the 2013 version of Carrie the edge over the original though.  I just felt more attached to the characters in the newer version, which made the prom scene more significant for me.  I also thought that Chloe Grace Moretz did a better job as Carrie than Sissy Spacek.  However, if you want a tried-and-true old horror movie, the original Carrie is still deserving of a watch, especially during this time of season.

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Review: Carrie

carrie posterCarrie (2013)

R / 100 min

Drama / Horror

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde

Director: Kimberly Peirce


Carrie, a novel by Stephen King, is a book that I am not too familiar with.  When it comes to Stephen King novels, Carrie is not one that comes to my mind.  However, it is considered by some to be one of King’s more chilling pieces of work.  It tells the story of a troubled and shy girl named Carrie White, who discovers that she has a terrible power.  Kids at her school begin to push her a little too far and things start to go south.

This remake is not the first time Carrie has been on the big screen.  There have been numerous adaptations of the story in different mediums including TV and the theater.  There is a big reverence for the original Carrie, which came to theaters in 1976 starring Sissy Spacek as the lead role of Carrie.

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In this 2013 adaptation, directed by Kimberly Peirce, Carrie is played by Chloe Grace Moretz, who did a pretty good job with the role.  Carrie is a troubled and sheltered girl, and Chloe did a fantastic job at portraying this personality.  The reason why Carrie is so sheltered, and considered weird by many, is probably because of her mom, Margaret White (Julianne Moore).  The move starts out with a pretty messed up scene involving Margaret giving birth to Carrie in her bedroom.  It was a little unsettling, but it establishes the relationship that Margaret has with her religion.  She is a very religious woman, and this becomes apparent as time goes on.  Her relationship with Carrie is actually quite disturbing, and hard to watch at times.

Carrie, being brought up in a modest way by her mother has a hard time in school, especially given the friends (I use that term lightly) that she is around.  She is on the swim team at the high school and the locker room is where Carrie starts to get pushed emotionally.  She has an incident involving her period and her teammates find this amusing, especially since this is Carrie’s first period.  They start to throw tampons at her, yelling “plug it up” as they laugh and gawk at Carrie’s misfortune.  It’s in this scene that we meet two girls, one that we will soon hate and the other in which we will side with.

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The first girl, Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), thinks it would be hilarious to take a video of the whole affair and then upload it to YouTube.  It’s here that we really see how awful a person she is.  If Kimberly Peirce’s goal was to get the audience to hate Chris, then she accomplished her goal.  We also see Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) who seems to side with Carrie by stopping her tampon throwing prematurely.  It’s obvious that she sympathizes with Carrie.

We also get introduced to the compassionate gym instructor Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer), who in my opinion, had one of the stronger acting performances in the movie.  She plays the part perfectly, and in this scene, she comes to Carrie’s rescue, stopping the madness and reprimanding the team for what they did.

The most confusing part of the movie is Sue Snell’s solution for making it up to Carrie.  She decides to make her boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) ask Carrie out to the prom.  This is where things started to get a little weird for me.  I couldn’t rationalize why this would be the right solution.  To me, it just opens up Carrie for more emotional abuse from her friends (again, I use this term lightly) who will be attending the prom as well.  Carrie’s mom doesn’t like this idea either, saying that boys are boys and they will hurt her in the end.

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It’s no surprise that Carrie flips by the end of the movie.  The locker room scene is only the start of the bullying that she receives.  It’s one of those things where we know what is going to happen in the end, and we can only just sit back and watch as things go downhill.

She soon starts to discover that she has the power of telekinesis.  Her realization of this ability starts out small, and then she harnesses the power as time goes on.  She perfects it and truly controls it by the end of the movie.

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The third act of the movie, in which Carrie snaps at prom, can literally be considered the only part of the movie that constitutes it’s horror moniker.  The rest of the movie focuses on the teen drama that surrounds prom.  Don’t get me wrong, Carrie and Tommy’s chemistry that we see brewing is fun to watch, but I would have liked to see more of Carrie’s downfall, as bad as that sounds.  It’s what makes the movie a horror movie, which is what I signed up for.

However given that most of the action takes place towards the end, the last act of the movie is thrilling nonetheless.  It’s a bloodbath of destruction and death as Carrie finally snaps.  It’s an intense part of the movie, that wrap up the events of the movie in a satisfying, and terrifying, way.  The image of a blood-covered Carrie is frightening…and a lasting image for me.

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I enjoyed my experience with Carrie.  She is an interesting girl, in which I wish I could have seen more of.  The movie definitely earned it’s R rating towards the end but the entire movie wasn’t really that haunting.  For a time I thought I was watching Twilight, until the blood started to spill.  As frustrating as that was, I still thought Carrie did a lot of good things.

But seriously, if only they knew her power…