Mini-Reviews: “The Others” & “The Orphanage”

Although there are six years separating the movies and they have distinct plots, “The Others” and “The Orphanage” have things in common, such as a Spanish production and a near-perfect execution.

The Others PosterThe Others (2001)

The Others” is a ghost horror movie directed by Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar, and becoming the first film in history to receive the very prestigious Spanish Goya Award in the Best Picture category for a film where not a line was spoken in Spanish (IMDB).“The Others” tells of a single mother Grace (Nicole Kidman) who, together with her two small children, Anne and Nicolas, lives in a remote house in Jersey just after the WWII. The household has changed a number of servants, and welcomed the arrival of the three new ones: Mrs Mills, a housekeeper, Edmund Tuttle, a gardener and Lydia, a mute girl servant. After the servants’ arrival, the mother and her children start to detect intruders in their home, who sometimes leave very surprising traces.

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“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016): Five Reasons for Harry Potter Fans to be Concerned

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A new film based on a short booklet titled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J.K. Rowling is scheduled to come out later this year, but is it a good idea to re-visit the Harry Potter world once again on screen? Read more of this post

“Gone Girl” Mini-Review

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Gone Girl (2014)

**SPOILER ALERT**

David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, starts off with a day of a couple’s fifth wedding anniversary when a husband, Nick (Ben Affleck) discovers the missing of his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike). As the investigation gets underway, Nick begins to admit more surprising facts about his marriage/private life to the point where his self-incrimination becomes inevitable.

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“The Secret in their Eyes” Review

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El Secreto de sus Ojos (2009)

       ‘¿Te das cuenta, Benjamín? El tipo puede cambiar de todo: de cara, de casa, de familia, de novia, de religión, de Dios…pero hay una cosa que no puede cambiar, Benjamín… no puede cambiar…de pasión’. (Pablo Sandoval)

Praised by critics and audiences across the globe, ‘El Secreto de sus Ojos’ is a gripping mystery crime thriller that won an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category in 2010. This Argentina/Spain co-produced film ticks all the boxes when it comes to a great mystery crime thriller, and can even be regarded as coming as close to perfection as any (especially budget) film can get.

The film starts with a retired state court criminal investigator, Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darín), writing his first novel, using the old unsolved Morales case as his starting point. The Morales case, which involved a brutal murder of a young girl in Buenos Aires, has had a deep impact on him years previously. The details of the Morales case, including strong feelings of love and devotion of the murdered girl’s husband, run in parallel to Benjamin’s own unexpressed passion for his beautiful and intelligent co-worker, Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil). As Benjamin writes, he remembers all the details of how, 25 years ago, equipped with only an old photograph and the loyalty of his imperfect co-worker Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), he started the investigation into a case, which would later turn his whole life around. As Benjamin reflects and reminisces, the clues that he missed 25 years ago start to emerge unexpectedly.

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“All Good Things” Review

All Good Things (2010)

Directed by Andrew Jarecki and starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, ‘All Good Things’ is a mystery crime drama which was criticised fiercely by some critics, and which currently holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but, probably, quite unjustly. The film begins as it is so ‘in fashion’ nowadays – the main character, David Marks (Ryan Gosling), the heir of a grand real estate, tells his tale of woe. Beginning with his traumatic childhood, and then the conflict with his father and ending with the loss of a girl (Kirsten Dunst) he so dearly loved, the audience is taken through an emotionally intense account of his life events.

Some say that if you haven’t heard of a film before and that film has been around for awhile, it cannot possibly be good. Sometimes this is true, but there are exceptions. The main appeal of ‘All Good Things’ is that it is based on a real story, which, on the face of it, is really fascinating. The eerie disappearance of young and beautiful Kathleen Durst in 1982 shook local community, and her husband Robert Durst’s statements to the police were sometimes contradictory.

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“Devil” Review

 

Devil (2010)

‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ Peter 5:8

In ‘Devil’ five strangers, all with dark secrets to hide, are trapped in an elevator of an inner-city office building. As they await their rescue, they start to die one by one in a mysterious way. ‘Devil’ belongs to the genre of films which is my favourite –  so-called ‘confined spaces’ films. From screen adaptations of ‘And Then There Were None’ (1945), (1974) to ‘Cube’ (1997), ‘Identity’ (2003), ‘Fermat’s Room’ (2007) and ‘Exam’ (2009), these type of films are often intriguing and engaging, and sometimes solely due to the strength of personalities portrayed and fascinating interactions among movie characters. For my list of highly intelligent, complex and thought-provoking films, see here.

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“The Quiet American” Review

The Quiet American (2002)

Directed by Phillip Noyce (‘Patriot Games’ (1992)), ‘The Quiet American’ (2002) is a marvellous adaptation of Graham Greene’s classic novel of the same name. This book-to-film adaptation is so good, it arguably suppresses the majority of previous Graham Greene novel adaptations, and the film is certainly better than the latest Green novel adaptation ‘Brighton Rock’ (2010). ‘Quiet American’ truly captures the spirit of the book, and even at times goes beyond the boundaries of the book’s captivating narrative.  

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