MovieMeditation’s Diary Reviews // “Come and meditate with me!”

→ in
Tools    





Consider me more confused

Also if you click on my favourites list. This film is not in my too ten. Soooooooo......
Exactly, e.g. as I said I'm not sh*tting on your favorite movie. Therefore I don't understand why it has to go that far. That said, I have the impression that you really like this film, so whether a top ten film on your profile shouldn't neccessarily exclude it from being a potential overall favorite, am I right?

Anyways, I think we have been running around in this endless loop of part agreement and part confusion, that enough is enough.

But to try and end it on a very simple conclusive note, I think this is a solid film, I like the film, I think it has flaws, therefore I don't love the film. That's basically what I wanted to say all along. I gues it somehow became much harder to understand than it should have.

Please don't hold back posting another time, even though this discussion was a little more messy than needed be.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
249 .......................... 275

__________________________


August 14th

—— 2005 ——

—— animation ——
EXTENDED REVIEW

REWATCH
Tim Burton and his accomplished animation corps ride the audience straight through
the underworld and above the groundbreaking evolution of stop-motion animation!


The hauntingly humorous uncrowned ruler of darkness stands behind this bride story from hell, which is essentially a barebones romantic story about a young man named Victor, who is pushed into an arranged marriage by his parents and the parents of his coming bride, Victoria, for the sake of raising social class and restoring wealth, respectively. The story takes place in the Victorian-era, ironically enough, but that is also the last thing being a victim of traditions and tales of formality. Burton breaks free from the banality of boring animation and creates a continued vision of his craft for crude humor combined with bright cleverness. You can feel the spirit of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ with the same skin and bone character designs, which is escorted elegantly by Burton’s familiar blend of fearsome fun and chilling warmth – together with the brilliance of stop-motion animation the dead characters are resurrected and make this movie come to life in a way that demands both skill and skull…

‘Corpse Bride’ starts by inviting us into the dying lands of the living, which seems bleak and bare from any kind of real heart or humanitarian response. This is a dark place, completely drained of color and character, where people go about their routine rudiments without interrelating or interfering with each other’s daily doings. The opening credits are simple and mysterious, moved flawlessly forward by a daunting dream-like score by Burton’s favored baton, Danny Elfman, who successfully captures the canny atmosphere of the film by delivering a grand gesture to the melancholy and yet moving story of undying love. Elfman’s score embraces the ambiance of the film and elevates what is already an astonishing accomplishment in its own right. Scoring a soaring piece of artistic beauty is one thing, but Elfman also wrote and composed each and every song, which happens to be some of my favorite musical makings ever in an already constantly creative film. Starting from the creative cross-cutting intro piece that…

describes the plot while our guests reach the spot; not giving anything away but just enough to clearly say – it’s a beautiful and terrible day for a wedding. We see them crossing the street in a carriage, but only so to ensure the marriage. When one family leaves another one grieves; one is broke beyond belief the other in social mischief – but both make profit from this glorious wedding. Soon they set feet in a place where they rehearse for days, but the groom somehow cannot get it. He walks for hours to practice his vowels, but he seems to be completely out of luck. But all of a sudden there’s change, he stumbles slightly but finds his pace; his words come fluent and he starts to dance, he bows down faintly and put the ring on a branch. He did it all well, no more need to rehearse, but little did he know he just lifted a curse. While Victor was in trance he proposed to a branch, but I can tell you it was worse than you think; with some vowels and a dance, there was a change of plans and his bride became a corpse in a blink. Once a bride now a corpse, left for dead but of course; now she walks in the land of the living. The groom turned practice to mistake, left the dead wide awake – this is a terrible day for a wedding.



Hey now, wait a minute, what just happened there? I’m sorry everybody, I got a little carried away I guess… moving on… Our dear Victor appears to be in grave danger as he arrives in the land of the dead, which is placed below the grounds, where everything is upside down and everything seems to be going down hill for our doubtful hero. Victor has a bone to pick with someone, and he really wants one particular bone with one specific ring on it, in order to return to the land above and marry his loved one – because even if the marriage was arranged, Victor and Victoria have more in common than their given names. The underworld may be full of dead people, but never has a place felt so alive, which Victor quickly finds out as yet another brilliant song begins to play. It is called ‘Remains of the Day’ and plays out as a soulful composition sung by soulless corpses, who sings and shows us the story of corpse bride, and how she ended up under ground and overrun by the saturated soil of the forest. Danny Elfman once again opens his creative cranium and cracks out another catchy tune, which shows us that dead men do tale tales and do it tremendous well. This jazzy juncture in the movie simultaneously shows off the skills behind and in front of the camera, with superb storytelling and brilliant characters, who moves fluently along to the music with a magnificent sense of humor. There are plenty of creative gags and witty visuals in the land of the dead, which is all vividly brought to life in a stream of powerful colors and cool set designs.

The film continues to move up and down in altitude, between our world and the underworld, but it never moves up and down in quality. It is charming and enchanting entertainment, which has Tim Burton’s signature blend of dark humor and weird wittiness all over it, which is being presented both in direct and indirect manners. ‘Corpse Bride’ has definitely drawn its inspiration from Burton’s previous works, but that doesn’t mean it should be compared to anything in my opinion. A film that holds both rotten corpses and rotten personalities feels as fresh as anything to me, with a simple story that keeps making surprising twists and turns throughout. You would think that these worlds would remain separated, but that is only until Victor comes up with a smart way to victory, by fooling the dead into having the wedding between him and the corpse bride on the “top floor” – also known as the land of the living. Meanwhile, things are already looking pretty dead up there, even before the dead has arrived, since the wedding above is still going ahead after a new groom showed up to marry Victoria – a man named Lord Barkis, who certainly has a few skeletons in his closet. Unfortunately for him, the wedding plans turn sour once the rotting corpses and skeletons show up to ruin the “party” upstairs. This film doesn’t stay behind closed caskets at this point either, especially not in this wild third act that happens to be both fun, fearsome, exciting and frightening all at the same time. It is even a little touching and sweet in way, though it certainly ends on a typical Burtonesque note – which is a good thing.

Who knew that a plot guided by the cold hands of the dead would end up feeling so warm and full of heart. Who knew that being dead could be so cool and colorful and have you almost die of laughter at times. Okay, maybe you won’t exactly die of laughter, but this is definitely a fun little film full of everything you could ask for and more. Maybe it wouldn’t be right to say Burton has never been as lively and darkly witty as he is here, but it is damn sure one of his finest and most twistingly amusing tales of terror from his web-infested mind. ‘Corpse Bride’ is absolute genius and the non-stop entertainment escorted by stop-motion animation is just a joy like no other… It may be an obvious pun, but I have to say it anyways – this film is just to die for, simple as that!




+

__________________________



Really enjoy reading your reviews tonight! A few of the movies you've watched in the past week are ones that I loved as a kid and held up over the years- E.T. (my favorite review you've written so far) and The Shawshank Redemption (I also look at Oscars nominations from that year and scratch my head that Forrest Gump won). Tim Burton is still one of my favorite directors and seeing any love for him and his movies makes me happy- have you seen Frankenweenie? I'm curious to know what you think.



Anyone who reads my reviews have my eternal gratitude! And I thank you for taking you time to do so, while also leaving rep and more importantly a comment - especially when I get to hear stuff like "my favorite review you've written so far". Thank you, Funny Face!

And yes, I have seen Frankenweenie. I liked it, but I wasn't that much of a fan... I do owe it a rewatch though.



thats cool



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
249 .......................... 275

__________________________


August 15th

—— 2014 ——
BACKCOUNTRY
—— thriller ——



In the backcountry there is only one rule to live by...
Survive.


Personally, I really love watching survival flicks and witness people who are currently living out their worst case scenario, where they have to push themselves to survive their present situation and get out on the other side while still breathing. There is just one problem and that is the quantity of quality survival flicks out there, even though I mostly just end up stuck in some random forest anyways, sitting on the other side of the fence yelling at their stupidity. I tend to travel the cinematic wasteland quite a lot because I enjoy these types of films, but I get annoyed a lot when they aren’t that good. Obviously, characters are rarely the strong point in these films, since they are mostly the main reason for why we have a movie in the first place. Their stupidity and superficial decisions are what sets the purported plot in motion and move the story forward into a deadly chaos. 'Backcountry' is no different, but I chose to watch it mainly because I love those survival flicks, which deals directly with man versus nature and the barebones backcountry they see themselves trapped in… and unable to escape from…

This film is one of the few that benefits from getting lost in its own mess, simply because that is the whole point of the plot. In terms of great character development, interesting storytelling and impressive camerawork this is far from a worthy contestant, but at least these aspects are all something I can bear over with it, until the story arrives at the titular backcountry, where the dark side of picnic and casual tenting shows its teeth. Although the plot and everything attached to it is in desperate need of enough bite to latch itself onto my memory and stay there, there is gratefully a sharp outline around the centerpiece of this story – the life and death survival aspect. This film may not convince me in terms of characters, but it certainly catches my attention when they are in the midst of their own defined idiocy. When things begin to get grisly, I must admit the movie did a much better job than before. Generally, the directing was without personality, the writing was pretty much passable and the acting was just about acceptable. But the more intense scenes seemed to up every one of these things to much greater highs, where the cinematic elements started to expand.

The directing in this film was full of weird angles, close-ups and framing, but once things started to happen every filmmaking level seemed to raise the bar for the grizzly bear violence. You felt trapped, hopeless and helpless in these situations and much of it felt very authentic. That is mainly because of how the director chose to approach animals and their threating appearance. One of the most important parts of a survival story, is to drag the audience into the film and make them stand up to the same fears as the main characters do. But if the director doesn't deliver a convincing cut-out of authentic situations, we won't buy into anything we see and it won't effect us like it should. This is a big problem with many man versus beast survivor films, since these rarely use real animals in convincing ways or sometimes they even use CGI and laughable practical effects as well. But this one was a little different. This one had a real bear in it and it doesn't cross-cut between the danger and the endangered. When we see the bear, it is often in the same shot as the characters, which creates the much needed realism and convincing atmosphere.

And when the director needs the animal to attack, he obviously can’t use the real thing, because that would be too dangerous. But he doesn’t bow under to crappy computer effects, but instead uses piercing practical effects in a very minimalistic way, which brings the audience directly into the mouth of the beast. There are many close-ups and unsteady camerawork, but it works because the director doesn’t shake the scenes around for nothing. There is a purpose to it and he has found a way that works to the favor of the film he wants to make. When combined with shots of the actual bear and the actual actors, we buy into the scenario and we are frightened by it. But unfortunately ‘Backcountry’ holds back throughout most of the movie, which makes it worth checking out for its highlights but not in its entirety. When the bear is not present in physical or atmospheric appearance, then we have plenty of time to focus on all that doesn’t work and all of which feels like any other survival flick. I wish there was more of the bear and more of those intense and intimidating scenes, which the film pulls of rather well actually.




+

__________________________



Master of My Domain
The greatest about Corpse Bride for me is the relationship between the female and male protagonist being quite lovely and plausible. Normally because of a weak script and my own cynicism it doesn't work for me. Good review.



Thank for your comment, Gats!

Personally, I don't find the script to be weak nor is it the main reason to why I love watching this film. It's the stop-motion, the look of the movie and the songs. The script may not be the greatest part of this film, but I think it's a good fundament for what the film wants to accomplish. Anyways, I'm glad you liked the review!



Master of My Domain
Thank for your comment, Gats!

Personally, I don't find the script to be weak nor is it the main reason to why I love watching this film. It's the stop-motion, the look of the movie and the songs. The script may not be the greatest part of this film, but I think it's a good fundament for what the film wants to accomplish. Anyways, I'm glad you liked the review!
Read the post again.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
great review on Corpses, I remember seeing this when it first came out and blew it off thinking it as nothing more than an attempt to repeat all that worked beautifully for Nightmare Before Christmas and didn't give it a chance.
Thankfully, I re-watched it a year or two later and really enjoyed it and have come to love it with each and every re-watch since.

Sorry to hear you didn't care too much for Freaks. I've heard about the darker original that was cut up and I'm sure that was why a lot of the film meanders for you.
But yes, the ending is pretty incredible and I can only imagine what was contained on those disposed scenes.



*answer to comment* Yeah, it's such a shame.

Oh, and thanks once again for the kind comments. I'm also glad you liked my Corpse review. I'm happy with the way it turned out myself.



Nice review on Backcountry I liked it and felt like they did the best they could with limited resources. The attack was truly horrific.
Indeed it was! That's also what I refer to as a true highpoint and the biggest reason for watching it. And yes, it was executed greatly with what they had to work with, I also indicated that throughout. It's just one of those movies you wish was even better!

Thanks for checking in, cricket, as always.



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
255 .......................... 280

__________________________


August 16th

—— 1983 ——
NATIONAL LAMPOON'S
VACATION

—— comedy ——



Every summer Chevy Chase takes his family on a little trip
This year he went too far


Based upon the side gag short story dubbed ‘Vacation ‘58’ from the National Lampoon's magazine, I wasn't surprised that this film felt like a feature length sketch show, which had been turned into a crazy supercut of insanity mixed with far-fetched characters and short-fused situations. I was, however, surprised at how well the hilarity translated to the screen without feeling too fragmented or frustrating. I’m not trying to make a pitch perfect parallel here, but this movie felt familiar to the approach in The Blues Brothers, as well as having the same kind of clear cut concept and caricatures. It does make sense since National Lampoon actually developed a sketch show based on their insane ideas, which also happened to start the career of John Belushi, who would later rise to fame with SNL and his role in The Blues Brothers – a movie that was also build around sketch comedy and based upon prior material…

Without getting sidetracked too much, I better make my way down the right path and talk about the right road movie, that is ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’. Hold on to your hats, because I actually don’t think I have ever seen this film in full. I might not even have seen it at all, but I do know about the comedy sensation that became of this vacation and what kind of legacy it has to its name. With that said, I don’t think I was sure what to expect with this one, but at least the director knows how to introduce his audience and make them feel at home in the humor and alone with a sane personality. The characters are not nearly as artificially amplified as many of the comedies of today, since they have a robust humane base to them, which creates a strong bond between the viewer and the characters. We may be loosely skipping from one skit to other, but the director did a great job at keeping things fluent, as well as free from pointless puns tacked to an irrational incoherent structure. There seemed to be a meaning to all the madness, where pretty much every joke jumped into the next one or build from the previous one.

As I mentioned earlier, the director understood the importance of inserting both the amusements and atmospheric vibe during the beginning, so that the audience would know what kind of movie they were dealing with – instead of being tricked into a story that would depart drastically from its structure later on. ‘Vacation’ succeeds in giving you a warm and welcoming family comedy, which does dare to step over the line and deliver something a little riskier and discreetly raunchier than you would think. I know this is an R-rated film, but honestly it doesn’t feel that way. It has a great balance to it, which leaves you wanting more instead of feeling worn out by the presence of jokes and characters circulating themselves for the entire runtime. I did feel like the last few minutes went on for a little too long, but that is only minor complains. This is fun and fearsome comedy with a great selection of gags and some seriously funny situations – most of that thanks to Chevy Chase’s comedic presence, John Hughes’ sharp script and Harold Ramis’ loose and liberating approach combined with a cool dead-on direction… oh, and of course, with the catchy “Holiday Road” playing in the background securing this racing vacation as a prominent part of comedy culture, influence and legacy!






__________________________



MovieMeditation presents...
HIS FILM DIARY 2015
total movie count ........... current day count
255 .......................... 280

__________________________


August 19th

—— 2007 ——
[·REC]
—— horror ——
REWATCH


I don’t share the general excitement or enthusiasm about this flick, though it seems
to be a well respected and even genre defining piece of work according to some people


Some of you know that I prefer the American remake over the original Spanish production, but I will save that discussion for later and simply review this film as I would any other. So please wait with the bashing and complaining until you have read my review of ‘Quarantine’. I haven’t watched this or the remake in forever, so the good thing is that I will be able to dive into the story and the set-up, without having the other film clouding my memory. That also means I will be watching these films in the right order, whereas that wasn’t the case with my first watch, since I happened to see the remake before the original. That caused my opinion to be shaken around and turned upside down, which means I couldn’t see ‘[REC]’ for what it might have been when I already knew everything from the close-to-shot-for-shot remake…

Now, I don’t know why I just can’t seem to spot much new or revolutionary about this feature, but to me this is a found footage horror that looks and feels mostly like any other out there – and that has nothing to do with me seeing the remake first – it just feels predictable and boring. But maybe it is because I didn’t watch the film when it came out or maybe it was simply overhyped by the masses. ‘[REC]’ does have some scary scenery done with tense techniques of shaky cam and fewer cuts, all taking place inside a single building with a naturally evolving story. So when being closed off from society because of a current spreading disease, we really get to spend time with all the characters in the film, who have to hold the film above waters when stuff isn’t going down. But unfortunately, this movie merely consists of mind-numbing one-dimensional characters with paper thin personalities and a stereotypical presence. When you don’t connect with the characters you don’t care about them either, so whether they end up infected or not is unimportant to me – apart from the fact that I rather want them infected so we can get more zombies.

Maybe I can live with the fact that the secondary characters are awful, but I have a hard time surviving that squeaky little bitch, who is the central character of it all, played by reporter turned actress, Manuela Velasco. I just can’t stand her as an actress and the stupidity of her character makes it even harder to endure. There is a scene where her cameraman peeks through a window and she keeps asking the same question over and over again about what is going on – how the hell can she not understand she might ruin everything with her squeaky complaining? Why can’t she just shut the hell up? She gets plenty of time to scream and shout when zombies invade the building, but the only problem is that happens way too late in the movie, and without any decent characters the movie can’t keep me entertained for the rest of the runtime.

Generally, there are still a few exciting moments here and there and the infected people looks pretty great, but I don’t think the concept and story is developed enough. It seems to have better potential than what is ultimately fulfilled and the it ends up as a forgettable experience for me. The movie does hit a high point though, when they reach the top floor and walk around in the dark with night vision on. That scene is one of the creepiest and most unsettling things I have ever experienced. But once again, it is too god damn late in the movie and most of what happens before and after, during those last fifteen to twenty minutes, just aren’t worth waiting for…


-

__________________________



What, exactly, makes the lead character a "bitch"?
Guess it's mostly slang, but it can be used to "describe the act of whining excessively"...

But whatever, I just don't like her and her acting, that's the point.