Happy Death Day (2017)

Another repetitive film, this time as a horror, or so the trailer assumes. In fact, this isn’t much of a horror to me, and trust me I scare easily. There are moments of horror, obviously, because that’s what we see in the trailer, however that’s about it. Because of the other elements of the film, I would say this is more of a mystery, discovering who is trying to kill her, rather than the kills themselves. Just because I’m saying it’s not the genre it advertises in doesn’t mean it’s not good, because it’s far from that! It was a great film, thrilling in moments and I was definitely warped into trying to find out who was killing this girl over and over again.

Happy Death Day - killer

So the main character, Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up on her birthday, hanging from a heavy night out. But she doesn’t wake up in her own bed, instead in a dorm room, Carter’s (Israel Broussard). Her day continues with small occurrences, a woman petitioning to save global woman, a car alarm going off, sprinklers spraying students, a student falling to the ground and finally Tree bumping into a previous date. Once at her own sorority home, after a confrontation with one of her ‘sisters’, Danielle (Rachel Matthews), she finally ends in her own room where her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) is quick to mention her rolling in at this early hour. Her day still continues and towards the end of the day a masked hooded figure stalks and kills her. Only then, she wakes up back in the dorm room with Carter on her birthday once again. On her death day.

Happy Death Day - killer and Tree

Tree is great in this film, Jessica Rothe plays her amazingly. She is realistic in how she reacts, for example, she presumes the second time it’s her birthday is just deva-vu. On the first day we get a feel for what sort of person she is, one to say the least is not the nicest… But as the days pass she slowly becomes a character more understood. She even becomes a source of slight comedy in a section of the film, surprising in a film that’s supposed to be a horror right? Just want to clarify, she’s not a source of comedy through her dying, it’s more how she reacts to it all. She definitely goes through all the emotions. And it’s played really well.

Happy Death Day - Tree

I would definitely recommend this film, it’s not a frightening film. But there are of course some thrilling moments, which are brilliantly executed and definitely creates suspense. Throughout you are always wary of where the killer is going to turn up next, behind the shower curtain, in a car? There’s some great songs that represent the dramatic suspense or the confidence Tree has recovered. You become warped into Tree’s suspect list trying to figure out why someone is doing this to her. It is really a good film. Also, one of the greatest things, it’s a repetitive film that doesn’t actually get repetitive, because even though all days end in death, they are all different. I would definitely watch it again. Aren’t you a little curious?

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Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

Agatha Christie brought to life in another light, new actors and a new director, and in a film. From the 1934 novel to a new 2017 film. As a fan of the television programme Agatha Christie’s Poirot, it was hard for me to come to grips with a new Poirot as David Suchet is such a brilliant detective and amazing to watch in this show. When announced that director and star Kenneth Branagh (personally most famous as Gilderoy Lockhart in ‘The Chamber of Secrets’) would be the new Poirot, I wasn’t sure how to take it, it didn’t seem quite right as, to me, David Suchet will always be the best Poirot, and after watching the film I will still stand by that. Nevertheless, he was not a bad Poirot and in fact did play it well.

Agatha Christie is famous for the brilliance in her crime novels and her renowned detectives of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. One of her most well-known novels was ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ in which this film is based on. So as you can probably guess, a murder happens on the orient express, a steam train for those who don’t know. It just so happens that one of the best detectives in the world happens to be on that train, Hercule Poirot, so therefore becomes detective on the case. Easily done, everyone not in first class is immediately excluded from the suspect list. Here then comes the amazing cast and the brilliant characters we learn about. Firstly, the victim, which I surprised to be killed off, was the one and only Johnny Depp playing Ratchett. This leaves as the trailer so dominantly advertises: The Professor, The Butler, The Count, The Assistant, The Governess, The Missionary, The Widow, The Salesman, The Maid, The Doctor, The Princess. The brilliance of the cast lies in (and recognisable for me): Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench. Of course, everyone in this film is amazing though, they all play their characters to perfection.

Murder On the Orient Express - 1

The mystery of the film was excellent, I was warped into the film, dying to know who was the murderer, excuse the pun… And one of the greatest things of the film was that I couldn’t guess, I could not guess the ending, I was sucked into the film until the very end, until Poirot did what he always did, reveal the killer in his own spectacular way, in front of the whole crowd, the audience included.

One thing that does have to be mentioned is the brilliance of the camera work in this film. Forget the normal shot reverse shots or the standard profile camera shot, this film had shots from the ceiling, or crane shots from bottom to top of the screen, or even camera shots through blurred windows which seemed like the audience is sneaking up in the mystery of the film. Of course there were the normal shots as well, but the interesting change in camera angles really did add to the whole essence of the film. We had the potential to see from all angles, but we were restricted in so many ways.

I really enjoyed this film, there is no needs to compare it to others, because as it stands alone it’s a great film. For those who have never experienced Hercule Poirot you get all the information and background of his character from this film, so if you’re a newbie don’t worry. It’s an enjoyable mystery film and I would recommend it.

Exam (2009)

Well this was a mystery thriller quite different to ones I’ve seen before. But something so basic, yet I was warped into it and did enjoy it. First thing I have to admit though, is that the trailer does assume more of a thriller than it actually is; the film is much slower than the trailer suggests. So don’t be thinking this is a film of quick pace thrilling moments, it’s more psychological than that, a film to get you thinking, questioning everything, even if you don’t actually find out much at all.

So if you’ve never heard of this film (because I definitely hadn’t), here’s the plot. There are eight candidates, an invigilator and a guard. The candidates are given 80 minutes to find the answer, yet they are unsure to what the question is. There are given a set of rules and if you break one then you are at risk of being disqualified. The worst in people starts to come out when truths are exposed and the candidates start to realise how desperate they are at passing this exam and being chosen for the job at hand. A job we are not even certain what is, soon to learn that not many of them actually do. The candidates are all ones chosen, all of them different, all of them bringing something different to the exam, so is it a test in which to work together? Or do they pick each other off, they turn against each other, survival of the fittest, as it were? All the different personalities are desperate for the job in some way or another.

Exam 1

The film is definitely one of mystery. I was confused at what the question was, but absorbed into the film, desperate to understand. As the candidates argue and discover more about each other, they struggle to find any answer to anything. Something quite different to the film, which adds to the mystery of the film, is that we never discover any names. One candidate chooses physical features in which to nickname the others, but no real names are ever told to us. Although, because of the type of mystery this film is, I feel like it’s probably just a film you watch once. During the film, revelations in flashbacks are shown to us, it’s not a film you watch again to understand it more. Once you’ve witnessed the ending, then that is the end of it. Saying this, I would recommend the film, I really enjoyed it, but wouldn’t say it’s a film you watch on repeat. There is also an element of sci-fi in the film, perhaps a world we’re not used to.

Exam 2

Overall, like I’ve already stated, I would recommend the film. I was trapped in the film, begging to find out the answer and discover what was actually happening. There is so much we aren’t actually told in the film, but that makes the ending even better in my opinion. It’s a film to get you thinking and questioning everything you witness. To say the least, when I watched it with my flatmates we definitely discussed what actually just happened, it is a film to get you talking at the end. So why not give it a go? If you think it’s a film for you of course.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

So I understand the new rave over the Netflix original programme on ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, but in my opinion, the film outshines it. Obviously, the books are the best, having the film and programme being sourced from them, and maybe it’s because I watched the film first, but the film will always be one of my favourites. If you’re unaware of the books, film or even the programme, then this review will focus on the film, but I’ll start from the plot, just in case you are unfamiliar with them all.

The film is based on the first three books, whereas the programme will go through all the books, there are 13; so maybe if you want to know all the adventures, the books and the programme might be better. However, this doesn’t make a difference to the film personally, yes there is a different ending and some parts are slightly different, but the film is the interpretation of the books and a film that is always going to be one film needs an ending, and this one does.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - kids and Po

So what is ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ even about? The film revolves around the Baudelaire orphans, Violet (Emily Browning), a 14 year old inventor who believes “there’s always something”, Klaus (Liam Aiken), the only boy who memorises every book he reads, and finally the youngest, the toddler, Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman), a biter who can bite anything with her “four sharp teeth”. Straight away we are informed by Mr Poe (Timothy Spall – recognisable as Peter Pettigrew in ‘Harry Potter’), that the children’s parents have died in a fire and ultimately this opens up to many secrets that the children didn’t know about their parents and the series of unfortunate events begin. The children then jump from guardian to guardian, starting with the villain of the film. Count Olaf. Now Count Olaf is played by Jim Carrey, compared to the programme where Olaf is played by Neil Patrick Harris, they are both very different personalities despite being the same character. Harris’ Olaf is very much a villain, and more accurate to the books, more serious; although, Carrey’s Olaf is more comical in a way, over-exaggerated in the brilliant way Carrey plays his characters. I think it does work in the film, and I suppose this is what makes the film so different to the books or the programme, but again I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing at all! The audience are quick to recognise that Olaf doesn’t actually want to look after the children but in fact his interest lies in their rich inheritance instead.

Film Title: Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Similar in all three mediums of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, there is a narrator in the film. The narrator talks to the audience directly in the background. Straight away the first thing he mentions is that the story is not a happy one, that we should leave the film, turn it off and never come back to it. Of course this draws the audience in more closely, a clever aspect you don’t see in many films. The narrator is Lemony Snicket, played by Jude Law. Lemony Snicket is a character in which prevents scary aspects for children as this is a film for younger ages, but obviously enjoyable for all. Although, there are some tense scenes where Olaf goes to extremes for the orphan’s fortune, but it is cleverly done to want to be watched all the way through. There is also a mystery element all the way through the film, the secrets that never fully become unwrapped. Who were their parents? Why was there a fire? What is this spyglass?

There are many recognisable actors in this film and they are all played so excellently. Other than the ones I’ve already mentioned, there is Billy Connolly as the snake-obsessed Uncle, Meryl Streep who plays a woman petrified of irrational things, and Catherine O’Hara as Justice Strauss. Additionally, Violet, Klaus and Sunny are played well. So the actors is not something to be looked down upon, they make the film that much better.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Olaf's Car

Ultimately, the film is a very different children’s film to many others but shouldn’t be disregarded. I find it a brilliant film, with all the elements of the film perfectly executed. Like I’ve mentioned before, Jim Carrey is fantastic, but he always makes his characters his own and they are all great, this one is no different. I would recommend this film, it is different to the programme and books, but personally so much better. It is a brilliant film and should be watched.

The Third Man (1949)

Ok, so first things first, I don’t want people to be put off because this film is an old one and yes it is in black and white. But this film is a classic film-noir. And you shouldn’t be put off by the differences from modern films, because as I said, this is a classic! Sad to say, it has taken me this long to watch it anyway, but nevertheless I got there and saw this great film and I was not disappointed.

The film revolves around the main protagonist, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), who visits Vienna in hope to get a job from his friend. However, on arriving to Vienna, he finds out that his friend, Harry Lime, has died. Martins absorbs the detective role as he tries to discover what actually happened to him after a woman suggests perhaps it wasn’t an accident. This woman is Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), someone who becomes a main part of the film, her love for Harry dragging her along to discover what happened, warped in Martins’ leads. Also on another angle is Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), police officer in Vienna who himself wants to discover what has happened meanwhile knowing more than Martins does the whole way. Although, we only know what Martins knows, so we are dragged into this mystery and sucked in to wanting to know the truth, uncover what has happened, when there are many characters telling a different story. I found myself not knowing who to trust, unknown to who was telling the truth. For example, when Harry’s porter, Karl (Paul Hörbiger) reveals that there was a third man involved, yet no one else seems to know about this…

The Third Man - Martins

‘The Third Man’ constantly has something happening. There were no moments in the one hour and forty minutes that I was bored. There are moments of tension, the audience is gripped, intense. Even, among this, some small comical moments, and I mean small among the mystery of the case. It’s obviously not a comedy and you wouldn’t watch it for this, but there are moments of silly chuckle comments, just snarky, witty comments. An example I remember clearly, would be the balloon man at a tense part of the film. But most of all, this film resembles a mystery drama in which the audience has no clue in how to guess what will occur.

The film is set after the war in Vienna. Explained at the beginning of the film, where Vienna is split into four-powers; a Russian sector, a French one, a British and an American. The historical setting at the beginning of the film is context relatable to when it was released in 1949, but obviously this is very different to Austria now. Again, stressing that this is an old film, but shouldn’t be treated any differently to others we’ve seen recently. Also, there are parts of the film that are in a different language, for example, I think many parts are in German, however this doesn’t affect the English viewer as things are explained with an English audience in mind.

The Third Man - mystery

Overall, I was warped into this film, and really enjoyed it. I would happily watch it again, and stress that if you like mystery films to give this one a go. It really does throw ideas about to get you thinking on one course to realise that one isn’t true. Perhaps, Holly Martins should have gone home the moment he arrived in Vienna like everyone told him too, but instead he is caught into something he is determined to solve, even if he is just a novelist.

Rear Window (1954)

An Alfred Hitchcock film, and in my opinion you have to watch one of his, being one of the most well-known Hollywood directors ever! Whether it be his most famous horror ‘Psycho’, or ‘Vertigo’, or even ‘The Birds’; there’s too many to name. Personally, I can’t say I’ve actually seen a lot of his films, but after watching this, I’ve realised I need to watch many more, and at least I’ve seen one!

‘Rear Window’ is such a clever film. It has such a simple plot and it is so easy to follow, but there is so much depth within this simple plot. It is based around one apartment, actually everything is around this one apartment. The apartment of L.B. Jefferies, or Jeff (James Stewart), our main protagonist. Even though we are based in one apartment and all we witness is inside this apartment and the courtyard from Jeff’s window; we are told so much more. The film cleverly brings in other characters who come into the apartment and fill in the gaps of the outer world. For example, Lisa Carol Fremont (played by the famous Grace Kelly!), also there’s Stella (Thelma Ritter) and finally, Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey). All of these characters are of course played excellently and all bring a different aspect into the film for the audience to enjoy.

rear-window-jeff-and-lisa

As the title says, there’s a hint that there might be a focus on windows, and I cannot express how true this is. The whole film is delving into the lives of others, of Jeff’s neighbours, as he watches we watch. The audience might find it a bit invasive, spying on people’s private lives. However, I feel it reflects how windows are always both ways, and perhaps we expose too much. The whole film is Jeff invading people’s privacy being a “peeping Tom” as Stella states. So many lives take place in this one film; we witness a ballet dancer, a newly-wed couple, a couple who own a cute little dog, a woman known as ‘Miss Lonely Hearts’, a piano man, a couple going through issues, and others. In this one courtyard there is a variety of lives happening, but as the film progresses Jeff becomes focused on one apartment in particular, and this is where a mystery begins… A very clever plot.

This film is definitely clever in bringing in the audience into an intriguing set-up atmosphere. You just want to know what has happened, you need to know. Especially as Jeff becomes more desperate and crazed in his ideas, we understand what he means, however we doubt as the audience is shown more than what Jeff knows in some parts. This makes you question your own ideas and definitely question Jeff’s. What happened to that man’s wife?

rear-window-windows

I can’t fully explain how brilliant this film is, I really did enjoy it. I was tense in some parts, significantly the end, but so intrigued into the whole film. It’s obvious that this film is going to be excellently directed, it’s a Hitchcock film! And he stands out for what he is known for and is definitely great at doing it. This mystery film is one I would recommend over and over again. It’s so different, delving into other people’s lives, watching as a couples’ arguments may have turned into something else. The whole idea of only seeing Jeff’s apartment and through windows is so clever; even though it is limited space you can be told so much! A blind closing assumes something, someone behind a wall makes the audience intrigued and hides away little details, however we can guess what is happening, or some details are exposed right in front of the window, where everything is out in the open, where we can see. So as I said I would recommend this film. Besides, aren’t you a little curious at what has happened?

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)

Happily, this film is not a disappointing sequel to the first Scooby-Doo movie; it is still up to the standard of the classic Mystery Inc. ‘Scooby-Doo 2’ is by the same director as the first movie, Raja Gosnell, and also has the same actors, thankfully, as they were all so great in the first movie.

Mystery Inc are back and full of fame, fans copying them and screaming their names. Or so it seems that way at the beginning… Things take a turn pretty quickly. The mystery? Someone is creating real monsters out of costumes of the unmasked villains in Mystery Inc’s past. This film is hilarious and full of parts to get children laughing. Although, I’m not restricting it to children, I still find it hilarious, I laugh at parts I used to when I was younger. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy are the best! Matthew Lillard plays Shaggy perfectly, I can’t imagine anyone else that could have portrayed his character so excellently. He is hilarious, but also he is heart-warming for the audience, that he just wants to be seen as a hero and help the gang on purpose instead of making mistakes all the time. Both Shaggy and Scooby spend this movie feeling like they’re “screw ups” and that they are not needed in the gang; with the way that things turn out, it gives a nice moral to the film for children to understand.

Scooby Doo 2 - Shaggy and Scooby

From Shaggy having a crush in the first movie, ‘Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed’ portrays that it is Velma’s turn to have a crush. This being Patrick Wisely (Seth Green). Velma (Linda Cardellini) feels she is not good enough for Patrick and hesitates to go on a date with him as she feels he doesn’t like her. It’s a classic relationship plot, which is obvious where it heads, however one that tells the younger audience to have faith in themselves. To say the least, Velma makes me feel dumb, I know she’s supposed to be the smart one, but sometimes in this movie, I have no idea what she’s saying… Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are of course back as well, both in their relationship even if it’s never stated. I like how Daphne’s character links from the first movie as she is much more active in fighting the monsters and isn’t taken as the damsel in distress anymore.

Scooby-Doo 2 - Velma, Fred, Daphne

I would recommend watching this film, it’s another great Scooby-Doo film which doesn’t let the audience down. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby face a dilemma none like any others, one that puts their city in severe danger. There is a large range of monsters to enjoy, some of them are even comical for the audience. The music is great, really fits in well with all the scenes at the right moments. Watch this film for a good laugh and a mystery for you to try and solve yourself. It’s a brilliant family film that the whole household will love. But I advise for you to watch the first movie first if you haven’t already. So join the gang and search for clues, alike to all Scooby-Doo’s.