Movie Reviews: Four Weddings & a Funeral + Shame

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Can you believe I never saw this movie? It’s been on television countless times, yet it never interested me enough to actually give it a go. Enter one lazy summer afternoon, et voila: Hugh Grant time!

First of all, though the movie screams nineties, it has aged quite well. There are few references made to contemporary stuff, and lets face it, weddings haven’t really changed that much in the last few decades. Society’s obsession with pairing people off in marriage is still as strong as ever, and the plights of the main characters have not lost their relevance in 2016. The acting in Four Weddings is great, the plot structure a breath of fresh air, and the humour lends itself to a few chuckles. Overall I am still not a fan of romantic comedy, but for what it’s worth, I actually managed to finish this one without rolling my eyes and/or becoming bored.

Shame (2011)

Whatever I say about Shame, I probably won’t do it justice. It’s the sort of movie I don’t feel like I’m qualified for to critique, as I (A) barely watch movies and (B) probably only grasp the merest of surfaces what the director tries to convey. These caveats in place, behold my uneducated opinion.

Brandon suffers from an addiction to sex, which becomes increasingly hard to hide and satisfy as his sister, Sissy, comes to live with him. There were many elements in Shame that reminded me of American Psycho – though the movies are oppositional in tone. American Psycho revels in hyperbole, descending into gore and spiralling out of control. Shame is understated, the tension bubbling away underneath the surface. Yet, the main characters have an obsession in common, which they hide from their co-workers. They are socially isolated, engaging only in superficial contact. Visually, Brandon’s starkly minimalist apartment reminded me of Patrick’s – as did their love for music.

Shame is at its strongest when no one speaks. Luckily, in my opinion, there is very little dialogue. When characters do speak, I found it rather lacking. I can’t discern whether the banality and coarseness of the dialogue was intentional or not. In any case, it is the scenes where the actors speak without words are those which are more striking.

Ultimately, Shame didn’t succeed fully in engaging my sympathy for the main characters, and the emotional punch that the movie builds up to narrowly missed its intended mark.

Have you seen Four Weddings and a Funeral or Shame? What did you think?

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Nyx at Night: The Amityville Horror

Nyx at Night is a Halloween event hosted by me over at my book blog, Nyx Book Reviews. To see all of the Nyx at Night posts so far, go here.

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1Title: The Amityville Horror
Year: 2005
Director: Andrew Douglas
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George

When you’re looking for horror movies to watch, it’s hard to miss the Amityville franchise. Apparently there have been made twelve (!) movies featuring this “real” haunted house. The Amityville Horror from 2005 is a remake of the original Amityville Horror, made in 1979. It features a family of five, that move into the house where unspeakable things have happened.

The thing this movie completely lacks is tension. Instead of the slow creepy built-up movies like Paranormal Activity excel in, The Amityville Horror just kind of plunks it right into your face. Boom, creepy kid. Here, have some corpse standing next to you in the bathroom. Instead of going for the long-term scares, The Amityville Horror prefers jump-scares and a bit of gore here and there. Although the result is a Hollywood-esque type of horror, that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. The special effect are very well done, and some moments were positively haunting.

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The Amityville Horror is the horror equivalent of a hamburger – it’s good, and you will feel satisfied when it’s over, but it’s not memorable. Especially when the plot began to unfold, I got a very strong The Shining vibe that I couldn’t shake while watching. As my boyfriend said after finishing: “Hm, a small 6,5 out of 10.”

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Nyx at Night: Maniac

Nyx at Night is a Halloween event hosted by me over at my book blog, Nyx Book Reviews. To see all of the Nyx at Night posts so far, go here.

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1Title: Maniac
Year: 2012
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Starring: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder

So I found this movie on a list of Nexflix movies, and the premise sounded too good to pass up. Cuddly Frodo Baggins playing a crazy mannequin man turned serial killer? I have to see that.

Apparently this movie is a remake of a 1980 movie. I haven’t seen the older Maniac, so I don’t know how the two compare, but I do know that this edition is frigging disturbing. It goes much further than the usual hack and slash movies go. Where a regular horror movie blacks out or changes the shot, Maniac keeps the killing right in your face. It’s extremely uncomfortable watching, having scenes where the victims of Frodo’s killing tendencies are hunted and graphically killed without a shot of his face to break up the intensity.

Maniac

Almost eighty percent of this movie is shot in first-person view, and I have to say that it has the best first person shots I’ve ever seen. Generally we only see Frodo’s Elijah’s face when he looks into mirrors or reflecting objects, and the camerawork was seamlessly done. It definitely added to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the movie.

I’m not sure if I would ever say I liked this movie, since saying that kind of resembles saying “Jack the Ripper was an upstanding lad!”. It’s meant to make you uncomfortable and freaked out, and that’s exactly what it does. Especially if mannequins scare you.

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