Archive for Guillermo del Toro

The Tooth Fairies are NOT what you think!

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by urbannight

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a 2010 film starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pierce, written by Guillermo del Toro.

This was under horror movies, but is more like a horror movie for a younger audience.  Only what violence there is puts it out of the running for a kids film.

Sally’s mother has sent her to live with her father.  It wasn’t clear why but that could be because I tend to multi-task when watching a film.  I don’t sit still well. I’m suspecting that Sally might have been somewhat difficult because in the course of the film, you find out that she had been seeing a shrink when she was living with her mom.  Dad has just purchased a historic ruin of a home to restore and resell.  All his money is tied up into it. 

Sally, while exploring the garden, finds the basement skylight.  This leads to her dad and his girlfriend tracking down the entrance and discovering a rather interesting workroom.  Sally beginning to hear the voices of critters in the ash pit under the fireplace.  At first they sympathize with her and play into her fears that no one wants her.  But it isn’t long before their vicious nature is exposed and then they attack an adult.

Like most young kids, she isn’t thrilled with her dad’s girlfriend, Kim.  This changes in fairly short order as Kim is the only one to recognize that Sally is actually terrified of something.  So she goes to find out about the history of the place and doesn’t like what she finds. 

Of course, Dad, played by Guy Peirce, isn’t buying it.  He refuses to listen because it sounds so far-fetched and like a fairy tale.  As a result, the shit hits the fan during his special dinner party to show off the renovated house. 

This is not the fairies from this movie. I’m not sure what these are from, I do know I watched the film or t.v. show that they were on.

It is not really scary.  Just a little creepy.  I figured out they were twisted tooth fairies REALLY early on.  Little tiny creatures that crave teeth, oh yeah, Tooth Fairies.  It clicked about 5 to 10 minutes after the opening credits.  Shortly after Sally find the basement.  That was when I realized it wasn’t one creature but lots of little creatures. 

Guy Pierce did an adequate job portraying a father that is a bit more concerned about work than his child.  After all, he isn’t all that used to having her around yet.  He understands she is going though some abandonment issues because she feels her mom just gave her away.  He is a realist and believes what he sees.  To his credit, as soon as he sees it, he doesn’t try to rationalize and he totally believes her.

Katie Holmes does a much better performance as his girlfriend, Kim, who getting a bit of the ‘you’re not my mom’ treatment from Sally.  But when they think Sally shredded her dresses with her dad’s missing razor, she recognizes that Sally isn’t angry, but very much afraid.  Kim doesn’t want to over step her bounds but when Sally’s dad seems to busy to really see how Sally is feeling, her maternal instinct seems to kick in and she becomes more of a parent than the Dad.

Sally really steal the show.  At first, you don’t get a good feel for her.  But once Sally finds the basement, this young actress starts to really steal the show.  I think she could be one of those young actresses to watch and see if she grows in to her acting skills.  There seems to be a lot of potential there.  Even if she didn’t actually have to do a whole terribly lot on this film.  The use of children always seems to up the creepy factor.

Visually, the movie is stunning.  The sets are amazing.  The house it fantastic.  You can tell the creepy basement was once stunning.  The basement extends from the house with a large round alcove that has a domed sunroof in the garden.  The fairies, when you see them, are CGI and well done. 

This little guy was one of the fairies from the movie. He looked a rather like the last person the fairies took before the basement was boarded up.

On the whole, while it was an entertaining little movie, it wasn’t horror.  It wasn’t terribly scary.  The end was more sad that horrifying.  But the very very last bit, where you only hear the voices, may be the most creepy part of the entire film. It isn’t del Toro’s best work.  But he only wrote.  Then someone else did the screen play for it.  And another person directed it.  That could be why it felt like a del Toro film but seemed subpar for something with his name attached to it.

Thoughts on Random Movies Randomly Selected by a Movie Poster Randomizer. Randomly.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by urbannight

I have a couple of movie reviewers I follow. I like reviewers that, for the most part, like the same types of movies I like and yet have some differences of opinion or tend to focus on different aspects of those movies.  Not a perfect match, but maybe a 85% match in tastes.  Because that leaves room to be challenged with different ideas and opinions and to rethink where I stand on a movie.

Today I want to mention Fog because his review has a string of movie posters at the top of the page. I really want to mention those movies. By the way, the movie’s at the top change out every time you go to the page so if you go look you will see different posters. I have no idea how this randomized selection of images is generated, but I like it.  I saw this selection all at one time one day and had a visceral reaction to it.  So I figured I would share this list of films and a few thoughts on them.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidd w/ Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I haven’t seen it in ages. It has been over a decade for sure and possibly two. I remember watching it a lot whenever it was on T.V. For something I watched a number of times, I barely remember it. I remember that I really liked it a lot. This probably means it is more than time to re-watch it. I remember it as a comedy. It sort of bridged both comedy and western action genres.

Walt Disney’s the Jungle Book. I never could get into this movie. Everything about it seems ‘off’ to me. It seems like they didn’t have a good idea of what India was like so substituted it with the ‘deep south’. It never clicked for me. Although I remember reading the non-Disney version of the story and liking that. This was always a Disney ‘Fail’ in my book.

Animal House. This is one of those dim memory movies. Despite the fact I think I watched it not so very long ago. But then, the more I think about it, it could have been about 2 years ago. I always liked Peter Riegert. I think it was his thick, wavy hair and piercing expression. It always amused me that Donald Sutherland thought the movie was so bad and was certain that it would fail that, when offered a pay deal with 15% of the gross, he opted out and said he wanted a flat, one time payment. He was wrong. Despite being the highest paid cast member with little screen time, he lost out on millions. Not a great movie. Good concept. I liked the plot. And some really good acting here and there. It launched a few careers. But it decided that ‘gross’ was in and I hate that. Gross is what ruined it for me. I only re-watched it to refresh my memory after watching a documentary on the movie. As a big part of American pop culture, I figured I needed a refresher on it.

Airplane. A fun and funny movie totally making fun of comedies and disaster films all in one go. It is actually a remake of a 1950’s movie. The flight crew gets sick, with food poisoning. A former pilot who, is afraid to fly after the war, is on the plane chasing after an ex-girlfriend who wants to move on. His former military commander has to talk him down as he tries to land the unfamiliar plan. It was an all-star cast for the day. It was a huge success. If you haven’t seen it, why not and how old are you?

Pan’s Labyrinth. I love Guillermo del Toro’s films. This is one of the most haunting and beautiful and tragic (maybe) movies I have ever seen. This is the type of movie one never forgets, can list as a favorite, but may never watch again. The question always remains, was it a fantasy and she was really experiencing these things and did go to live in this magical world forever or was it just her very rich fantasy life making an unbearable situation tolerable and it ended with a horrible tragedy? That is what makes it so hard to watch more than once.

Goldfinger. This is the movie that makes the name Pussy Galore a pop-culture, iconical reference. If I can make up a word? Can I do that? (Can May, May Can, May can do the can can. 3 hrs of sleep, an exhausted mind, and I’m a little silly now.) I think I will. I think it is a word and this system just doesn’t recognize it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This movie introduces us to Oddjob, who may have shown up in another movie or is just so famous that we keep thinking he had a repeat performance. Of course, if it wasn’t for his hat that can cut through stonework, we might not have remembered him. This movie taught us all that if you cover yourself in gold paint, you have to leave a patch open so your skin can breathe or you suffered epidermal suffocation. I’m not even sure if this is true or not be we all believed it back then.

Going back to the name Pussy Galore and the use of double entendres for bond girls, I noticed an interesting trend in some research I was doing on Hammer Films. As European censors were growing more concerned with violence in movies and films watched the amount of violence but sex was okay, the reverse was happening in the U.S. and American censors were limiting sexual references and visuals but violence was a-okay. Just an interesting thing to see in the evolution of the film industry in Europe vs America. I never did get around to writing an article about that one phenomenon and now can’t remember all I wanted to discuss on the topic so I thought I would mention it here as a side note.

Young Frankenstein. I think is my favorite Mel Brooks movie. A true tribute to 1930’s Frankenstein movies, the black and while filming, the use of period transitions, and the use of period style music make this movie superior in every way to other tribute movies. I can’t imagine anyone not having seen this. Unless they are 10, in which case, their parents ought to be showing it to them.