REVIEW: THE OTHERS

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Stoker)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes man)
Christopher Eccleston (Elizabeth)
Alakina Mann (Girl With a PEarl Earring)
James Bentley (Imperium: Nero)
Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)

Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) is a devout Roman Catholic mother who lives with her two young children in a remote country house in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), have an uncommon disease, characterized by photosensitivity, so their lives are structured around a series of complex rules to protect them from inadvertent exposure to sunlight. The arrival of three servants at the house — aging Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), elderly gardener Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), and a mute girl named Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) — coincides with a number of odd events, and Grace begins to fear there are unknown others in the house.

Anne draws pictures of four people she has seen in the house numerous times: a man, woman, a boy called Victor, and an old woman. Grace finds a 19th-century “book of the dead”, an album of mourning portrait photos of deceased family members from a previous generation, with some missing pages. She hears noises in the house. With the servants, she tries hunting down the intruders but cannot find them. She does not believe her daughter has seen the others until she hears the ghosts herself. Convinced that something unholy is in the house, she runs out in the fog in search of the local priest to bless the house. Meanwhile, Mr. Tuttle is covering gravestones under autumn leaves.

Outside, Grace discovers her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston), whom she thought had been killed in the war, and brings him back to the house. Charles is distant during the short time he spends there, and Mrs. Mills says, “I do not think he knows where he is.” During this time, Grace attacks someone dressed up like her daughter; she is frightened by the face she sees underneath Anne’s First Communion veil. However, she finds that she has actually attacked her daughter. Mrs. Mills tells a distraught Anne that she too has seen the unknown people in the house and that big changes are coming. Charles says he must leave for the front and Grace wakes to find him gone again.

One morning, Grace hears the children’s screams: all of the curtains in the house have disappeared or have been taken down by the intruders, as Anne had said they might. When Grace sees the servants are not alarmed by this, she accuses them of being involved and banishes them from the house. That night, Anne and Nicholas sneak outside to find their father. Anne discovers the graveyard, which the servants have uncovered, and realizes that these are the servants’ graves. At the same time, Grace finds a photograph from the book of the dead and is horrified to see it is of the three servants. The servants appear and follow the children back to the house. Grace has the children hide upstairs, while Mrs. Mills reveals that the three servants died of tuberculosis more than 50 years before. Hearing the children scream, she tells Grace to go upstairs and talk to the intruders. Grace walks upstairs to the bedroom with her rosary beads. There, she discovers that the old woman whom Anne had described is acting as a medium in a séance with Victor’s parents, talking to Anne. The medium asks the children questions about how they died. The children begin to scream that they are not dead. In a frenzy of denial, Grace shakes the séance table, and rips the papers on which the medium has been writing. Victor’s family sees only the table shaking and the paper being ripped. In using this supernatural incident as proof that they are not welcome in the house and should leave, Victor’s mother reveals that Grace had smothered her children then shot herself.
As Grace and the children huddle together in shock in the darkened school room, her memories return to her: stricken with grief for her missing husband, isolated by the children’s condition and the servants leaving her, Grace lost her mind and smothered her children with a pillow. Realizing what she had done, she shot herself. When she then “awoke” and heard her children’s laughter, she assumed God had granted her family a second chance at life. Anne asks if they are in Limbo; Grace is no longer sure of her Catholic teachings. Mrs. Mills tells Grace that they will learn to get along with the intruders who periodically come to the house, that sometimes they will notice them and sometimes they will not. The children find they are no longer photosensitive (as they are no longer living), and for the first time, they can enjoy playing in the sunlight. Victor’s family, unable to rid the house of its former occupants’ spirits, drive away as Grace and the children watch. Although the property is again put up for sale, Grace and the children are firm that “this house is ours,” and “no one can make us leave.”This wonderful and highly atmospheric ghost story is one that is sure to delight those appreciative of this genre of film. Intelligent and finely crafted, it reveals an eerie story borne of psychological despair and horror. Beautifully directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it succeeds where others have failed. Relying on well nuanced moments, rather than grotesque special effects, this is a film that is sure to withstand the test of time and emerge as a classic.

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REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST
Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Black Hawk Down)
Michelle Fairley (Chatroom)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator Genysis)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)
Kit Harington (Seventh Son)
Charles Dance (Underworld 3)
Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers)
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Alfie Allen (The Other Boleyn Girl)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
Rory McCann (Solomon Kane)
Natalie Dormer (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Stephen Dillane (The Hours)
Carice Van Houten (Black Book)
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
Conleth Hill (Suits)
Sibel Kekilli (Tatort)
NOTABLE RECURRING/GUEST STARS
Jason Momoa (Stargate: Atlantis)
Rose Leslie (Honeymoon)
Hannah Murray (Dark Shadows)
Mark Stanley (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Ben Crompton (Ideal)
Julian Glover (Indiana Jones 3)
Roy Dotrice (Beauty and the Beast 1989)
Eugene Simon (House of Anubis)
Esme Bianco (the Scorpion King 4)
Donald Sumpter (K-19)
Ron Donachie (Titanic)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Kristian Nairn (Ripper Street)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Ian Beattie (Vikings)
Daniel Portman  (River City)
Gemma Whelan (The Wolfman)
Patrick Malahide (Fortress 2)
Nonso Anozie (Dracula)
Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5)
Amrita Acharia (I Am Yours)
Elyes Gabel (World War Z)
Oona Chaplin (What If…)
Finn Jones (Wrong Turn  5)
Michael McElhatton (Blow Dry)
Gethin Anthony (Aquarius)
Gwendoline Christie (Doctor Parnassus)
Ian Whyte (Alien Vs Predator)
Joe Dempsie (Monsters 2)
Having won three victories, Robb Stark offers the Lannisters peace in exchange for the North’s independence, sending Theon Greyjoy to gain Balon Greyjoy’s support and Catelyn Stark to seek Renly Baratheon’s. Cersei Lannister rejects Robb’s terms. Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister exiles Janos Slynt, head of the Gold Cloaks, to the Wall, promoting Bronn to commander of the watch.
Catelyn arrives at King Renly’s camp to negotiate an alliance, and Brienne of Tarth wins the right to join Renly’s guard. Catelyn and Brienne witness Renly’s murder at the hands of dark magic sent by the ‘Red Lady’ Melisandre, an emissary of Renly’s brother and rival claimant to the Iron Throne Stannis Baratheon. Catelyn and Brienne flee Renly’s camp and rejoin Robb’s army as Renly’s supporters switch their allegiance to Stannis. Meanwhile, Theon betrays the Starks by siding with his father and seizing Winterfell by force. Robb receives news of Theon’s plans and sends men to retake Winterfell, while inside the city the Starks’ allies form plans to sneak Bran and Rickon Stark out.
Robb learns that his mother Catelyn has secretly freed Jaime Lannister, now escorted by Brienne of Tarth, in order to ransom her daughters Sansa and Arya; he also enters into a romantic relationship with Volantene healer Talisa Maegyr. Yara Greyjoy arrives at Winterfell to bring Theon back to the Iron Islands, after his botched attempt to recapture the Stark boys.
Tywin Lannister leaves Harrenhal, which allows Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie to make an escape with the help of the enigmatic Jaqen H’ghar. In King’s Landing, Cersei attempts to blackmail Tyrion by abducting the prostitute, Ros, whom Cersei believes to be his secret lover. Leading the defense against Stannis’ attack on King’s Landing, Tyrion destroys many of the attacking craft with an exploding ship full of wildfire, and is forced to lead a counterattack as King Joffrey Baratheon and his bodyguard Sandor Clegane each desert the battlefield. Stannis’s forces make it inside the castle, but Tyrion leads his men behind the Baratheon forces via underground tunnels and attacks. Baratheon is defeated when Tywin’s forces arrive at King’s Landing shortly after.
Following Khal Drogo’s death, Daenerys and the remnants of her khalasar find refuge in the city of Qarth, where they are taken in by the merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos. However, Xaro conspires with the warlock Pyat Pree to kill most of Daenerys’ servants, kidnap her dragons and assume control of Qarth. Daenerys is lured into a showdown with Pyat Pree at the House of the Undying, where her dragons kill Pyat Pree. Daenerys seals Xaro in his own vault as punishment for his treachery and leaves Qarth with Jorah and her remaining servants.
Whilst on a ranging beyond the Wall, Jon Snow captures a Wildling, Ygritte, who soon leads him into a trap where he himself is captured by Ygritte’s fellow wildlings. Amongst the wildlings’ prisoners is fellow ranger Qhorin Halfhand, who convinces Jon to kill him in order to gain the wildlings’ trust so he can get close to their leader, King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder. The rest of the rangers set up camp at an ancient fortification, the Fist of the First Men, where they come under attack from an ancient enemy, the White Walkers.
Season 2 is superior to Season 1. This show is quite extraordinary and just gets better and better as it progresses. Although the climax of each episode means the end, it’s not without some amazing cliffhanger which makes you crave for more.

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 1

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MAIN CAST

Sean Bean (Lord of The Rings)
Mark Addy (The Full Monty)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Oblivion)
Michelle Fairley (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Lena Headey (Dredd)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator Genisys)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Kit Harringron (Pompeii)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Alfie Allen (John Wick)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)
Isaac Hempstead Wright (The Awakening)
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Peter Dinklage (Elf)
Jason Momoa (Conan The Barbarian)
Harry Lloyd (The Theory of Everything)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Peter Vaughn (Brazil)
Brian Fortune (Savage)
Joseph Mawle (Ripper Street)
Francis Magee (Layer Cake)
Owen Teale (The Last Legion)
John Bradley (Borgia)
Josef Altin (Les Miserables)
Mark Stanley (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Bronson Webb (The Dark Knight)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Clive Mantle (Alien 3)
Donald Sumpter (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Ronald Donachie (Titanic)
Jamie Sives (Rush)
Susdan Brown (The Iron Lady)
Kristian Nairn (The Four Warriors)
Natalie Tena (Harry Potter)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Lino Facioli (Get Him to The Greek)
David Bradley (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Katie Dickie (Prometheus)
Ian Gelder (Pope Joan)
Conan Stevens (The Hobbit)
Jerome Flynn (Loving Vincent)
Sibel Kekilli (When We Leave)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Gethin Anthony (Aquarius)
Conleth Hill (Whatever Works)
Joe Dempsie (Monsters: Dark Continent)
Esme Bianco (The Scorpion King 4)
Finn Jones (The Last Showing)
Ben Hawkey (Ra.One)
Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5)
Elys Gabel (Warld War Z)

If you have read the books then you will have the added advantage of going into this series with some serious background knowledge, which, given the expanse of Martin’s literature, can only be a good thing. It is good to see the characters portrayed on screen by, what can only be described as, an excellent cast. My personal favourites are Sean Bean  who plays Lord Eddard Stark, the proud, strong and brave Lord of Winterfell, the icy kingdom of the north. And, Peter Dinklage, who gives, as ever, a wonderful performance as Tyrion of House Lannister, a noble-born dwarf cursed by the hatred of his proud father but blessed with an unmatchable wit and intelligence.

Martin’s fantasy literature is about believability and realism; it is completely unlike Tolkien in that way. Whereas Tolkien favoured Orcs, Goblins, castles and wizards, Martin prefers the medieval touch, dealing with knights, lords and priests. One good thing is that Martin had a very close hand in the production of this series which means very little tinkering has been done. If you compare it to The Pillars of the Earth for example, parts of the tv series didn’t even come close to representing what happened in the book leaving hardcore fans a little bewildered, and not a little irritated. Martin’s books though are so jam-packed with plot and character building that there really isn’t much room for artistic license for the directors. They have a lot of story to get through, and only 10 episodes to do it in!!

If you have never read Martin before then, what can you expect? Well, it is fantasy first and foremost . Without spoiling or giving anything away the main plot is basically this: the continent of Westeros, ruled by king Robert Baratheon, falls into turmoil amidst a hungry power struggle between the realms nobles and knights. Expect a lot of plot twists and cliffhangers at the end of each episode. I would highly recommend people to take the time to see this series and get into the number 1 fantasy series of the modern era.

REVIEW: CHATROOM

 

CAST

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla)
Imogen Poots (V For Vendetta)
Matthew Beard (An Education)
Hannah Murray (Game of Thrones)
Daniel Kaluuya (Kick-Ass 2)
Meagan Dodds (Ever After)
Michaelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)
Opheila Lovibond (Gurdians of The Galaxy)
Richard Madden (Cinderella)

Hideo Nakata takes a very simple idea, that of online interaction between people and turns it into something sinister with this film and targeting the angst-ridden, emotionally-charged teens of London he manages to put together a well thought-out and compelling film which whilst not perfect was still an effective British thriller with plenty going for it. A Film 4  the small cast of 5 lead characters each have their own reasons for seeking solace online and we are given an insight into their lives whilst at the same time are witness to the Machiavellian behind-the-scenes manipulation by William brilliantly portrayed by Aaron Johnson.


Johnson is excellent in Chatroom it has to be said, he puts in a believable performance as William and commands your attention in the scenes he features. A sociopathic character seemingly without conscience he has his own reasons for being the way he is and time is spent getting to know him and his back-story. Whilst not a sympathetic character by any stretch of the imagination his offline persona and personal life do give an insight into why he acts the way he does and provides an explanation for how intelligent and manipulative he is to be able to wield such power over other people.

it’s an excellent and the film is well worth watching, the acting is terrific at times and I did like the concept and premise of the story.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE LIZZIE BORDEN CHRONICLES

MAIN CAST
Christina Ricci (The Addams Family)
Clea DuVall (The Faculty)
Cole Hauser (2 Fast 2 Furiuous)
GUEST / RECURRING CAST
John Heard (Prison Break)
Andrew Howard (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Olivia Llewellyn (Penny Dreadful)
Jeff Wincott (S.W.A.T.)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Ralston (Bitten)
Bradley Stryker (Izombie)
Jessy Schram (Veronica Mars)
Jonathan Banks (Highlander: The Series)
Rhys Coiro (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)

What happens after Lizzie Borden takes an ax to her father and stepmother? Lifetime follows up its popular television movie from 2014 about the notorious accused murderess with an eight-episode miniseries sequel that becomes a guilty pleasure


Lizzie (Christina Ricci) has been cleared of all wrongdoing in those earlier killings, though the townspeople of Fall River, Mass. suspect that she’s gotten away with murder. Lizzie delights in her new infamy, taking all the shade-throwing stares in stride and scaring the local children as opportunity permits. Trouble comes quickly, however, when her father’s former business partner, William Almy (John Heard), makes claims on the Borden estate.  Suddenly, Lizzie and her sister, Emma (Clea DuVall), find themselves threatened with bankruptcy, which doesn’t please their deadbeat half brother, William (Andrew Howard), who has appeared out of the blue looking for a handout. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also the matter of the dogged Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo (Cole Hauser), who has come to town with the express aim of proving Lizzie’s criminality. Even Better Call Saul’s Jonathan Banks shows up as a scarily temperamental gangster who does his best to intimidate Lizzie. What’s a girl to do in the face of all this threatening machismo but strengthen her resolve and sharpen ye ole hatchet? It’s not long into the first episode before Lizzie’s back to her murderous ways, bleeding men out with the well-placed stab of a hairpin or getting them drunk enough that they can more easily be pushed from high places with nooses around their necks.


The Lizzie Borden Chronicles best talent comes exclusively from Ricci and DuVall, who have a delectable rapport not too far removed from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford at their hag-horror peak in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Ricci’s porcelain-doll features make her seem even more alluringly alien now than she did as a child actress. There’s a winking self-consciousness to her portrayal of Lizzie that works to the character’s advantage; she’s like an out-of-time avenging angel, a feminist icon (before there were words to describe it) lashing out at patriarchy the only way she knows how. By contrast, DuVall is all plain-faced earnestness and the loving voice of reason that complements Lizzie’s lunacy, at least for now. It’s often tough to play the straight man to a more flashy companion, but DuVall does it exceptionally well.


The sisters’ relationship intrigues because it constantly seems on the point of implosion, and does come to a head by the end of the miniseries.