HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: RED RIDING HOOD

CAST

Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Billy Burke (Twilight)
Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead 2013)
Max Irons (The Host)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Julie Christie (Finding Neverland)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
Shauna Kain (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Christine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Michael Adamthwaite (Supergirl)

Red Riding Hood Movie Review
Catherine Hardwike’s film is much closer to the 1984 movie “Company of wolves” (based on Angela Carter short stories) than to the original Charles Perrault tale – and like the former, it is definitely not for children.


The cast. Amanda Seyfried is excellent as Valerie, a young girl who reached the time to be married and gets from her grandmother a red cape as wedding gift. The name Red Riding Hood is never used in the movie, everybody calls her just Valerie – but we of course know better… Amanda Seyfried wears this red cape with a great grace and the effect (especially for the male public) is quite pleasant. It is even more pronounced when the snow falls. Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons give a good performance as two young village men, wild, bold and violent Peter and shy, peaceful and more sophisticated Henry, who both want to marry Valerie. Those two rivals and sworn enemies both have their good and bad points and with the time Valerie will have more and more trouble to choose between them.

Virginia Madsen plays Valerie’s mother – her character, although secondary, is quite important for the plot so pay good attention to everything she says. Julie Christie is Valerie’s grandmother, who lives in a house deep in the forest, away from the village – and she is (obviously) even more important to the story.  Michael Hogan (who is well remembered for his role in “Battlestar Galactica”) plays village’s reeve, a fearless no-nonsense man, who trusts his faithful silver dagger and is not afraid of the wolf. Gary Oldman plays an inquisitor, Father Solomon, whose body and soul were once so terribly hurt by a werewolf, that he devoted his life to destroy those monsters. As usual for Gary Oldman’s characters, Father Solomon is barking mad and definitely not a good person but he is clever and quite consequent and credible in his fanatism.
A special mention goes to Billy Burke, who plays the small role of Valerie’s father, a burned out, heavily drinking wood cutter, used and worn out by the hardships of life and constant struggle with poverty. And finally there are Shauna Kain, Carmen Lavigne and Kacey Rohl as Roxanne, Rose and Prudence, Valerie’s best friends and young Cole Heppel, as Claude (Roxanne’s brother), a retarded village boy. Those characters, although minor in the beginning of the movie, also have some important role to play. The views of the mountains and the forest in this film are amazing. The village is extremely well designed, as are the costumes of the villagers and the soldiers who came with Father Solomon. This movie is visually very pleasant. The third good point is the plot, which is not stupid at all. The main mystery is very skilfully kept until the end. And the ending itself is a very good one – especially for anybody who knows Angela Carter’s short stories about wolves, werewolves and Red Riding Hood.
But the best thing in this movie is the general atmosphere, which is frequently quite erotic, when in the same time there is absolutely no sex and no nudity. Somehow, the simple presence of a flock of nubile girls and young men who court them and the always present menace of a half human Beast which enjoys preying on young females is enough to generate the very special mood of this Red Riding Hood. Amanda Seyfried, her blond hair and her red cape contrasting with the virginal white snow certainly contribute a lot to this atmosphere. There are some violent moments in this film, but here also it is much less brutal than “Company of wolves”.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DORIAN GRAY

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CAST

Ben Barnes (Westworld)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Ben Chaplin (Cinderella)
Rachel Hurd-Wood (Solomon Kane)
Johnny Harris (Monsters: Dark Continent)
Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3)
Emilia Fox (The Pianist)
Fiona Shaw (The Black Dahlia)
Maryam d’Abo (The Living Daylights)
Caroline Goodall (the Princess Diaries)
Michael Culkin (Candyman)
Max Irons (Condor)

When a naïve young Dorian Gray arrives in late Victorian London, by train, to inherit an estate left to him by his abusive grandfather, he is swept into a social whirlwind by the charismatic Lord Henry Wotton, who introduces Gray to the hedonistic pleasures of the city. Lord Henry’s friend, society artist Basil Hallward, paints a portrait of Gray to capture the full power of his youthful beauty. When the portrait is unveiled, Gray makes a flippant pledge: he would give anything to stay as he is in the picture—even his soul.Gray meets and falls in love with budding young actress, Sibyl Vane. After a few weeks, he proposes marriage to her. Lord Henry tells Gray that having children is “the beginning of the end”, and after the two men visit a brothel, Gray leaves Sibyl. Heartbroken, the young woman drowns herself. Gray learns of her death the following day from her brother, James (“Jim”), who also reveals that Sybil was pregnant with Gray’s child. Enraged, Jim tries to kill Gray before being restrained and carried off by the authorities. Gray’s initial grief soon disappears as Lord Henry persuades him that all events are mere experiences and without consequence. His hedonistic lifestyle worsens, distancing him from a concerned Hallward.Gray returns home one evening to find that Hallward’s portrait of him has become warped and twisted, and he soon realises that his off-hand pledge has come true; while the portrait ages, its owner’s sins manifest as physical defects on the canvas. Before long, the curse imbued within Gray’s portrait begins in earnest, resulting in Hallward’s brutal murder after the artist reveals his secret. Gray dismembers and dumps Hallward’s body in the River Thames, although the remains are soon recovered and buried.Gray then leaves London to travel for many years, inviting Lord Henry to come with him although Lord Henry declines because of his wife’s pregnancy. Gray returns to London and during the welcome back party the guests are surprised to see that he has not aged at all during his 18-year absence. He becomes close to Lord Henry’s daughter, Emily, a member of the UK suffragette movement, despite Lord Henry’s distaste for such a relationship because of Gray’s lifestyle and unnatural appearance, Emily having provided Lord Henry with a greater moral focus and having changed him for the better. Although Gray appears genuinely interested in changing his ways as he spends time with Emily, matters are complicated when he is confronted by Jim, still seeking revenge for his sister’s death. Despite Gray’s attempts to pretend to be someone else by pointing out his apparent age, Jim nevertheless deduces Gray’s true identity, only to be killed by a train while pursuing Gray in the London Underground. As Gray makes arrangements to leave London with Emily, Lord Henry’s study of old photographs makes him remember the time when he teased Gray to deal with the devil for eternal youth and beauty at the cost of his soul.Breaking into Gray’s house as Gray and Emily are making plans to leave together, Lord Henry discovers the concealed portrait, but is interrupted by Gray before he can uncover it. Although Gray attempts to convince Lord Henry that he still cherishes his friendship and genuinely loves his daughter, Lord Henry discovers the stained scarf of Basil in a box, prompting Gray to declare angrily that he is what Lord Henry has made him, the personification of the life Lord Henry preached but never dared practise. Full of anger and grief, Gray attempts to strangle Lord Henry but is distracted by Emily’s call long enough for Lord Henry to knock him aside and expose the portrait.Disgusted and horrified at the twisted sight on the canvas, Lord Henry throws a lit lamp at the portrait, causing it to catch fire, and then locks the gate of the attic to ensure that Gray and the painting are destroyed. Emily pleads with her father for the key. After seeing her and realising that he really loves her, he turns his back. As Lord Henry drags his daughter out of the house, Gray’s last words are to assure Emily that she has his whole heart. Resolving to end it all, Gray stabs the painting with a poker, causing his body to age the years that it has never suffered, Gray charging at the portrait to impale it as his years catch up to him before the attic is consumed by an explosion.dorian-gray-pics-hd-ben-barnes-8952311-1200-8003A few months later, scarred from the explosion and after a futile attempt to reconcile with Emily over the phone, Lord Henry heads to his attic where he keeps the now-youthful portrait of Gray, grimly noting that nobody will look at it now. As Lord Henry leaves, the portrait’s eyes glow, suggesting that Gray’s soul may still be within the portrait even after his death.The story has seen many adaptations down the years, and i’m certain will see many more in the times to come, however, in my opinion this is far and away the best to date. This is an excellent film, it would be a crime in my view to miss it.

REVIEW: THE WHITE QUEEN

CAST

Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible 5)
Max Irons (Red riding Hood)
Faye Marsay (Game of Thrones)
Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk)
James Frain (Gotham)
Janet McTeer (Insurgent)
David Oakes (Victoria)
Eleanor Tomlinson (Jack The Giant Slayer)
Juliet Aubrey (Primeval)
Caroline Goodall (Hook)
Freya Mavor (Skins)
Elinor Crawley (Ordinary Lies)
Amanda Hale (Catastrophe)
Veerle Baetens (The Verdict)
Michael Marcus (Lucan)
Michael Maloney (The Young Victoria)
Hugh Mitchell (Nicholas Nickleby)
Rupert Young (Island at War)
Robert Pugh (Love Bite)
Rupert Graves (Fast Girls)
Andrew Gower (Outlander)
Shaun Dooley (Cuffs)
Arthur Darvill (Legends of Tomorrow)
Emily Berrington (Humans)
Joey Batey (The Witcher)

As a history buff I was sceptical about this series but I was also interested to see the story of these historical women who helped shape history as we know it today.  The series is based on the Cousins War series written by Phillipa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl. The Cousins War consists of five books, each focusing on a different woman who has a hand in the battle for the crown of England. The first book is The White Queen focusing on Elizabeth Woodville; the second book is The Red Queen looking at the mother of Henry Tudor, Margaret Beaufort as she looks to secure her son’s position as a future king. The Lady of the Rivers looks at the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Jaquetta Woodville, a Burgundian Duchess who marries out of duty before marrying a lowly squire for love. The Kingmaker’s Daughter follows the daughter of Lord Warwick, Anne Neville, and her journey as she is sold as a pawn in her father’s bid for power before finally becoming the Queen of England, wife of Richard III.The series follows the story of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville; three women who are largely forgotten in history. With its debut it has received mixed reviews; the daily mail found the inconsistencies laughable – the drainpipes in the background; the telegraph believed it left much to be desired on all fronts; however Harry Vennings reviews that “somehow the show succeeds as a historical drama” despite being “unashamedly romantic in it’s approach”.I myself was sceptical but have since jumped on the bandwagon and was hooked. It is the women who are the focus of the show as they plot to stay in power or gain power, or simply to just stay alive, and they are interesting in their own right. The one who stands out from the beginning is Jaquetta Woodville, former confidante of Margaret D’Anjou, who made her first appearance in episode 4. Jaquetta is a very shrewd woman who knows how to take care of herself; the best example is her trial in which Warwick accuses the Lady Rivers of witchcraft and she leaves the kingmaker speechless – I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it is a great scene.The character who grew on me is Anne Neville who was a sweet but naive young girl forced to grow up fast as she is married off to the Lancastrian Prince Edward and heads off to battle in the train of Margaret D’Anjou, even gaining respect from the self proclaimed “Queen Militant” who I found fascinating too. A woman in a man’s world with a husband incapable of remembering what day it is never mind ruling a kingdom; so she takes a stand to secure her son’s crown. When you think about it, would you stand back as someone steals what you believe rightfully belongs to your child? Wouldn’t you at least try to fight for their inheritance? By the end of episode five I had a great respect for the vilified “she wolf” and the kingmaker’s daughter.My least favourite is Margaret Beaufort who seems as if she has some kind of mental disorder the way she walks around talking to God. She is not very likable, but you can understand that she hasn’t had a happy life – she was only twelve when she was married and pregnant with her only child Henry. She was then forced to give him up and marry another man, but her life is devoted to her son and God and she believes that her son is the next King of England, so she becomes determined to see it come true.The series has received a lot of negative reviews, but personally I enjoyed the show. It’s not The Tudors but it isn’t meant to be and I like that it brings the women to the foreground.

REVIEW: THE HOST (2013)

CAST

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna)
Jake Abel (I Am Number Four)
Max Irons (Red Riding Hood)
Frances Fisher (The Roommate)
Chandler Canterbury (Knowing)
Diane Kruger (Troy)
William Hurt (A.I.)
Rachel Roberts (Simone)
Stephen Rider (Safe House)
Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall)
Emily Browning (Sucker Punch)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)
Boyd Holbrook (Logan)
Scott Lawrence (Avatar)

The Host 11 still (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

The human race has been taken over by small parasitic aliens called “Souls”. They travel to planets inserting themselves into a host body of that planet’s dominant species while suppressing the host’s consciousness. They access the host’s memories, and occupied hosts are identifiable by silver rings in the hosts’ eyes. A human on the run, Melanie Stryder, is captured and infused with a soul called “Wanderer.” Wanderer is asked by Seeker to access Melanie’s memories in order to discover the location of a pocket of unassimilated humans. Melanie’s consciousness, however, has not been completely eliminated, and it struggles to regain control of her body. Melanie and Wanderer carry out an internal conversation and debate with each other, forming a friendship.
The Host 05 still (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Wanderer shares with Seeker that Melanie was traveling with her brother, Jamie, and her boyfriend, Jared Howe, to find Melanie’s uncle Jeb in the desert. Wanderer admits that Melanie is still present, so Seeker decides to be transferred into Melanie’s body to get the information herself. With the help of Melanie, Wanderer escapes and makes her way to the desert, where she is found by Jeb, who takes her to a series of caves hidden inside a mountain where the humans (including Jared and Jamie) are hiding.
The Host 06 still (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Wanderer’s presence is met with hostility by all but Jeb and Jamie. Melanie instructs Wanderer not to tell anyone she is still alive, since it would provoke them, though she later allows her to tell Jamie. Wanderer begins interacting with the humans and slowly begins to gain their trust, forming a bond with Ian O’Shea. Seeker leads a search party into the desert to find Wanderer. They intercept one of the shelter’s supply teams, and in the ensuing chase, Aaron and Brandt commit suicide to avoid capture. During the chase, Seeker accidentally kills another Soul, leading her superiors to call off the search.
The Host 09 still (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Returning to the caves, Jared and Kyle move to kill Wanderer, causing Jamie to reveal that Melanie’s consciousness is alive. Jeb and Ian accept this, but Jared refuses to believe it until he attempts to determine the truth by kissing Wanderer, provoking Melanie to take back control and slap him. Kyle tries to kill Wanderer but endangers his own life and ends up being saved by Wanderer. Ian believes that Kyle attacked Wanderer and tells her that he loves her. Wanderer admits that, while occupying Melanie’s body, she must love Jared, but she has feelings of her own, and the two kiss. Wanderer enters the community’s medical facility and discovers that Doc has been experimenting with ways to remove Souls and allow the host’s mind to regain control, resulting in the deaths of many Souls and Hosts from his failed experiments. After isolating herself for several days, Wanderer learns that Jamie is critically ill with an infection in his leg. She infiltrates a Soul medical facility to steal some of their alien medicine, saving Jamie’s life.
The Host 10 still (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Seeker has continued looking for Wanderer on her own, but Jeb captures her and imprisons her in the caves. Wanderer offers to show Doc the proper method of removing Souls, on the condition that he remove her from Melanie’s body and let her die. Doc uses the technique to remove Seeker from her host, with both Host and Soul surviving. Wanderer takes the Seeker alien to a Soul space-travel site, where she sends it far enough from Earth that it can not return for numerous generations. Wanderer makes Doc promise to let her die when she is removed and not tell anyone. Their friends intervene with Doc, who then inserts Wanderer into Pet, a human who was .

The Host 18 still (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

This film caught me by surprise. It’s rare to see such a well-done SF film with good ideas where everything else also comes together – plot development, characters and action. It’s a sign of a good film to have many good characters, and this film does, but Saoirse Ronan stands out in what could be a difficult role to pull off without confusing (essentially playing 2 x characters in one). There are points where there is true humour when the characters in her head are at odds with each other.  an Excellent Film.