In The City Of Sylvia (DVD pick of the week)
Movie review by guest writer Seema Misra who blogs at La La Land and Reel Life & Seema’s Art Corner
“Others will dream that I am mad,
and I of the Zahir.
When all men on earth think day and night of the Zahir,
which one will be a dream and which a reality, the earth or the Zahir?”
-Jorge Luis Borges
José Luis Guerin, a Spanish filmmaker and educator, is amongst the most innovative European filmmakers. In ‘In the City of Sylvia’ he portrays a young man in search of a woman, Sylvia, whom he met years ago, a dreamlike memory of his, almost frozen in time.
The protagonist referred simply as ‘He’ waits in a hotel and sketches the people there. His sketch pad is a myriad of frenzied capturing of expressions, hand movements, lips, napes, jaw lines, face cuts, body movements, almost making the people faceless. Snippets of conversations and fleeting images of people, through his gaze, an artist’s gaze — one that lingers a little longer than necessary, makes up most of the movie.
And in this possessed search for his Zahir, a woman in red ‘Pilar López de Ayala’ appears in his view, refracted by a mirror…and thus begins a chase through the winding city streets of Strasberg. “Laure Je T’aime”—a bit of graffiti keeps anchoring the viewer and reminding us of the circularity of the search. Also, he keeps running into the same people … giving us a very small town feel. He calls out to her once, and she just moves on faster, keeping us guessing till there is a confrontation in the train, that runs through the city and had earlier threatened to separate the two.
Devoid of any language this movie is haunting and appealing on a very sensory level, at the same time an intelligent portrayal of the human condition. One example would be the old lady sitting by the road side in dirty tatters and the beer can rolling out of her hand – the sound of its rolling motion continuing long after the can was out of view. It is such detailed attention to the city sounds and other visual nuances that appeal on a subliminal way to the viewer. This movie is like a painting, which flows beautifully into many colors, many emotions … it’s an artist’s perusal of his muse; it’s the unforgettable fragrance of love…
As an interesting companion to the movie José Luis Guerin has created a photo exhibition called Unas fotos en la ciudad de Sylvia in which beautiful black and white digital cinematography alternates between moving and still images, stitching together a cinematic sketchbook for In the City of Sylvia.
J. Hoberman aptly says “In the City of Sylvia is pure pleasure and pure cinema.”
Being John Malkovich – A comical review
The flight had turned out to be uneventful. Good! I had caught up on my sleep while the man on right finished watching a movie on his laptop – as I gathered seeing him shutdown his lappie. He seemed pleased at something as he turned towards me and started this conversation.
Man on right- yes! I got it.
MoR- Hello I am one of the bhai of Ram-chee brothers. I am sure you have heard of us?
Me- Uhh… the horror movie producers?
MoR- well not exactly but coincidentally we are movie producers too and we are planning for an ORIGINAL experimental piece which will be a horror plus romance mix. And guess what? I found just the thing in Hollywood on which my ORIGINAL will be based.
Me- eh? Ok. And which is that great inspirational movie?
MoR – Being John Malkovich!
Me- (shocked) but that isn’t a horror movie. You can call it Drama, Fantasy, comedy even, but horror?!! I don’t think so. I have seen the movie and it has no horror element at all.
MoR- (agitatedly) there you are! The typical Bourgeois with no imagination at all.Its a horror movie all right but you don’t have the insight and creativity to realize it. (Bloody educated logical person)
Me- I heard that… and anyways it isn’t horror if you are speaking of the Spike Jonze directed, John Cussack, Cameron Diaz , Catherine Keetcher and John Malkovich starred movie.
MoR- yeah Yeah same movie. I know even more about it. 3 oscar nominations and 45 awards in total. See? Just the right movie to base my experimentation! Sigh I might even get an Oscar like Slum Dog Millionaire.
Me- (or a razzie. Huh! Moron! Horror indeed!
MoR – I heard that. So you still disagree. Ok fine. Lets recap the story together. You first tell me what it is and I will explain the symbolisms after all horror movies are all about symbolisms like Ring, Reaping, Signs…
Me- ok ok… The story is a bit meta physical and tells about the struggling Pupeteer played by John Cussack who is out of job and his wife Cameron Diaz who share a dry and insipid marriage and finally he takes up a filing job in a very Harry Potterish office at the 7 3/4th floor of a building. There he develops a strong emotion for his co worker Maxine that is Catherine Keener who is not that much into him and…
MoR- wait a min! Are you a writer by any chance, especially do you write reviews?
Me- slightly astonished- Yes! How did you guess? I mean I do attempt reviews now and then.
MoR- you were so boring in your narrative…no offence please he he ! Anyways yeah, please continue and get it over with fast! We will be landing soon
Me- And while on an errand he comes across a secret port, a small door which – ha ha! This one is a laugh, yeah a portal that leads to the mind of John Malkovich a successful actor played by Malkovich himself, and whoever enters that portal can be Malkovich by being in his body and mind for whole 15 mins before being ejected out through a turnpike. Now don’t ask me the logic behind this whole thing. In fact after this, the movie becomes weirder with almost all the characters on sight clamoring to experience this phenomenon after Maxine collaborates with Cussack to commercialize it. Diaz too uses the portal to be in Malkovich’s mind just at the same moment Maxine happens to be there in Malkovich’s company and they i.e. Maxine and Diaz in Malkovich’s body develop a kind of Oh My God! Attraction? Chemistry? Because Diaz inside Malkovich’s body is a different Diaz itself He he he!! You can say Diaz and Maxine fall in love. After this the movie turns complex with Cussack entering Malkovich’s mind and figuring out how not to be ejected thus capturing Malkovich ‘s mind body and soul and making use his puppeteer skills to use Malkovich’s resources to his advantage and also gets married to Maxine after removing Diaz, now his rival in love. After that what happens is weirder.
MoR- wait a min! wait a min! So what did you say? Capturing Malkovich’s mind body and soul-! Bingo! Do you know what it is known in Horror Movie Parle- Possession! Ultimately it is a movie about possession.! A man possessed by another.. Black Magic! Veerana! Raaz. Can’t you see?
Me- you are crazy! You have completely confused the underlying message?
MoR – oh is it? Well let me hear you out then?
Me- of course it raises serious ethical issues of …
MoR- Ah! Fancy terms! Typical writers! Making mountain out of mole hill. Is it necessary that a movie or for that matter a book should have some kind of message always? Why can’t you all educated folks accept a movie by just what you get to see? Why do you search for an under lying message?
Me- But It does have a message, about the voyeuristic instincts of man. Of the Psychological play! Of manipulation etc Of Identity issues. (Stop after I see him literally ROFL) oK then what is your take?
MoR- It is a simple horror story of a Possession and a love triangle and a social cause movie on the cause for Homo Sexuals that ultimately it is the soul inside and not the body . There is no male or female soul. See? Its simple. This is what the aam aadmi will see if they watch this. If I can rope in Aamir , Kareena and Sharukh and make them act even half like Cussack, Cameron and Malkovich It will surely add some more awards for acting.
I almost choked on the drink and felt thankful that we were about to land or I might have ended throwing up or throwing him down from the Plane.
But was this guy totally wrong? He did have a point at times to be honest. The movie was critically acclaimed but the aam admi? Were they impressed?
The Ghost Writer – review
cast: Ewan McGregor (The ghost writer), Pierce Brosnan(Prime Minister Adam Lang), Olivia Williams(The PM’s wife, Ruth), Kim Katrall (The PM’s secretary, Amelia)
Director: Roman Polanski
Based on the Novel “The Ghost” by Robert Harris
Running time: 128 minutes (R)
A body washes up on the shores of Massachusetts. The body of a successful, former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang’s aide. When he was found dead and washed up in what was construed as an apparent accident, he was working the memoirs of the Prime Minister Adam Lang.
Due to his untimely death, he is replaced by the unnamed protagonist of the movie, the ghost writer, played by Ewan McGregor. As the ghost writer starts to redact the manuscript left by the now departed aide, he finds that Adam Lang has been treading in murky waters and seemed to have dark connections with the CIA when in power and had presumably commissioned the torture of suspect terrorists.
To expedite his work, as the ghost writer stays with the Prime Minister in his idyllic Massachusetts abode by the sea side along with the Prime Minister’s neglected wife, Ruth and his secretary (and mistress) Amelia, it transpires that the Prime Minister didn’t really have a political agenda during his formative years in college and nor did he identify himself with any political group or ideology. So why in the world would a happy go lucky Cambridge student without a care in the world go on to become the Prime Minister of a country?
Deeper digging reveals that there is certainly something sinister stewing between Ruth, Adam Lang and Amelia. As he gets closer to uncovering the truth about Adam Lang’s involvement with the CIA, Adam Lang is assassinated and the truth apparently dies with him.
However, the manuscript left by the previous ghost writer, the Prime Minister’s aide, reveals that it wasn’t Adam who was directly involved with the sanction of torture but surprisingly, his wife Ruth who was a CIA agent for much of her life. But before he announces this startling denouement to the world, the ghost writer is killed in a “freak” traffic collision.
The overall cold and gloomy atmosphere of the film lends to the overall murkiness of the characters involved. This is quite a good movie for a lazy sunday afternoon. Although not necessarily an Oscar contender by any means, this does throw some light, albeit fictional, on the unpleasant underbelly of world politics.
The Road – review
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce
Director: John Hillcoat
Based on the Novel “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
Running time: 111 minutes (R)
“The Road” is a post-apocalyptic drama centered around the trials and tribulations of a father son duo.
The world has come to a grinding halt as a result of “apocalypse”, which is never explained in the film but generally everything is falling apart, literally and figuratively. The man and the son, whose names are never revealed throughout the movie, are making their way towards warmer climes to escape the seemingly sordid situation of a nuclear winter.
Along the way they scavenge the earth they walk on for food, shelter and clothing. Along the way they also meet a few people, half of whom have sunk into the depths of moral depravity and have resorted to a life of cannibalism for lack of other options.
The film generally isn’t gruesome or bloody but it is poignant. The man is a father who is flawed and carries a gun around with two bullets: one for his son and one for him when the time is right.
The man does die in the end, presumably from a debilitating bout of tuberculosis compounded by exhaustion, desperation and complete hopelessness. In his death he leaves the boy to fend for himself.
The complete bleakness of the film was accentuated by the dreary atmosphere and maudlin background score. This film isn’t for the faint of heart, such as myself, who would prefer comedies or generally films in a lighter vein.
Perhaps, “the stranger”, played by the generally vivacious Guy Pearce, at the end of the movie, who takes the boy in after the death of “the man” was the deus ex machina designed for people like myself who would be incited into jerking tears.
All in all, an underrated but good movie and a powerful performance by Viggo Mortensen and the youngster, Kodi Smit-McPhee, who played “the man”‘s precocious son excellently.
Changeling – review
Here I am back again with my DVD pick and its Rosemary’s … wait no not Rosemary. I CHANGED my mind. It is Changeling the Clint Eastwood directed movie based on the real life events in Los Angeles in the year 1928 famous as Winevile Chicken coop murders.
I could never visualize Eastwood as a competent director but I CHANGED my opinion after watching this movie.
I had always thought that Oscar nominated movies and award winning movies needed high level of concentration to be understood, but I CHANGED my opinion after watching this movie as the flow in this movie is quite smooth and narration so gripping that I understood the meaning of the words “gripping tale” in the real sense, for the first time. You really don’t feel stressed trying to absorb it or to feel involved in it.
I had always believed that LAPD was very efficient and corruption free to an extent, but I CHANGED my opinion after watching the way they had functioned back then in 1928 where the movie is set.. They were none better than our own Indian police force.. Rife with corruption and wholesomely inefficient, they are shown in the movie as making a mess of the case of kidnapping of… Ok let me explain it to you properly before you CHANGE your mind of reading this.
If you thought only Ekta Kapoor incorporated incredible twists in her story line, you will CHANGE your stand halfway through this movie.
The story begins when Christine a single mother returns from her job to find her little boy Walter missing from home. She reports it to the LAPD and after months of negative results and after incessant pursuing by Christine played by Jolie and hounding by the Local Pastor Revd Gustav, who supports Christine in her search for her little boy, the police force declares one day, that they had found her boy and arranges a public reunion between the mother and the boy as a face saving act. When Christine meets the boy she realizes that he is not her son, but the little boy insists he is indeed her Walter and the police chief too psyches her into believing that he might be her son.- Now isn’t that incredible? Reluctantly she brings him home, but gradually she starts finding physical evidences of him being an imposter. Then follows a deadlock with Christine refusing to accept him as her son and , the little boy insisting her to be his mother and the police force trying to prove that Christine is insane . So what is the truth? Is he an imposter? Is it a conspiracy? Is this a psychological thriller ? is Christine insane? What happens when Jolie decides to fight it out against the LAPD? Is it an easy fight? Well , I kept on CHANGING my inferences quite a number of times during the process.A parallel story unfolds to intersect in the main story line later- as a detective is shown visiting a Wineville Ranch in connection with a missing child report., where some horrifying discoveries are made about a Gordon Northcott, who it turns out is involved in the kidnapping and killing of many children. Is there a connection bewen Walter’s disappearance and Gordon? This was just part of the plot and a mere chit of a review can hardly do justice to the movie. But if you think this to be a thriller, then please CHANGE your stream of thought, because it is not a thriller, rather it portrays a mother’s angst of losing her son and a fight against a huge corrupt system to know the truth and have her son back. It’s about faith, courage and about hope.
Jolie –Ah Angelina Jolie. Well I CHANGED my opinion of her being not that a great actress after seeing her portray a character totally different from the Lara Crofts .
Rest of the supporting cast does a decent job though they may not linger on in your mind. Pace is just as it should be, the drama subtle but intense (credit mostly to Jolie) and of course Harner as Gordon Northcott is very impressive.
If you had decided to get this movie, don’t change your mind please even if you don’t like this review.
Bark – review
Once in a while you come across a movie which elicits the following response-“What the …hell! What was that?” spoken maybe with utter disgust or with wonder and amazement. Well Bark our DVD pick today qualifies as one such movie. Oh no Please don’t assume the first option and leave and even if you leave, at least hear this out. - Imagine this scenario- The ultimate male fantasy- His wife and girlfriend living under the same roof happily with no conflicts at all!!! Well, Bark lets you have a glimpse of this. Now you will be doggoned. Isn’t it? Let’s do one thing, why don’t we settle comfortably and get on with it rather than standing in the threshold wondering whether This Dog deserves a good bone or not? All right! Here we go!
Pedigree- This Kasia Adamik directed movie, won a special mention in the Warsaw International Movie festival and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for best direction in the Sundance Film Festival- this despite, the movie being a low budget one starring Lee Tergeson, Lisa Kudrow and Heather Morgan who is incidentally the writer too. (Yes! No Big Shots here.) Just shows that Every Dog has its day. The movie has been promoted as a comedy but yes, a big BUT the movie is not a comedy. It just has a comical theme and expecting a comedy will be like Barking up the wrong tree.
Dogmas- As I said the movie has a comical theme or story and the plot is about a very much in love with couple Peter and Lucy, where one fine day the wife starts barking like a dog never to stop!!! And behaving like one too for no apparent reason. But this is not about animal instincts, nor the retrospection of why she suddenly turned into one. That is quite possible in this Dog eat Dog world. But rather it questions the ethics of the treatment of the borderline psychiatric cases. In one line it can be simply summarized as the movie trying to project that Barking Dogs seldom bite. Lucy or the wife though behaving like a dog is otherwise harmless. Everything about her behavior turns dog like, but is that reason enough to commit her to a mental asylum? Is it necessary to do so if she is not grievously injuring anybody and if her husband has no issues in accepting her the way she has become? Is it necessary to drug her heavily just to make her seem human, when all you are doing is turning her to a zombie , without getting to the core of her problem? There are other misfits who come together at Peter’s hour of so called need and bond in a strange way. The weird vet played by Lisa Kudrow who becomes involved with Peter., the kleptomaniac best friend, the reluctant shrink coming together and bonding well to show that misfits can fit in too. So rather than this being a comedy movie it is an exploration of the ethical issues of Psychiatry.
Leashed unleashed- The pace is slow. Tagline not powerful enough – it’s “Who is walking whom”. And it has been promoted as a comedy confusing the audience in the process. Not at all a commercially viable movie. Script is just acceptable. But again as they say –A reasonable amount of fleas is good for a dog, it keeps him from brooding over being a dog.
Dog-eared- Theme is unique and well projected. The actors seem credible. Heather Morgan Looks convincing as the dog wife and if you keep your expectations to a minimum you might find it quite a pet.
Dogged pursuit of this movie- is not recommended. As I am not sure of your psyche I will therefore not advise you to purchase the DVD or rent it, but borrow it, if you come across the DVD for its unique projection. You will enjoy it if you are a Psychology buff. Otherwise take a dose of Antirabies vaccine after reading this.
But again -”An honest man is not the worse because a dog barks at him.
Sweeny Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street – review
Well come to your exclusive customized DVD show. Please make yourself comfortable while I prepare the right ambiance for your today’s show which is… Uh but let me ask you one thing, Have you heard of Roman Polanski? If you have and have also watched his movies hen I must say, you do have a good taste. If you are keying in the name in Google Search, then also I must say, you do have good enough taste to take my advice seriously. And to prove my point I will be giving you a taste of his brilliance in my next DVD pick Rosemary’s Baby.
Alright! John CussacK starred in that much successful and hyped movie 2012. Would you like to watch another of his? A sweet poignant movie with lots of “feel good factor”? Well l I have lined one of his Martian Child in the coming days…
Confused on what’s going on? Well these were just teasers that you see before a movie starts… Yes we are trying to give you a total wholesome movie viewing experience but enough of teasing and before you switch windows and Audis, let me take you straight to our current show… which is Sweeny Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet street. – A unique movie with a smashing tag line- Never forget. Never forgive. (a tagline of a movie speaks volumes, isn’t it?). With a stats that will simply blow your mind away: You don’t believe? I am quite willing to testify under oath and I will not waste a moment longer to testify it and about it.
I, Long Island Iced Tea of Ginger Chai hereby testify
That – this movie is a Tim Burton directed movie with Johnny Depp in the lead, a very successful combination. Precedents? Edward Scissorhands. Charlie and the chocolate factory.
That -It’s a musical. But you will need an ear for that kind of music. More exactly a thriller horror musical drama whose DVD if you are getting in India will be a censored one to save us from the gore…probably. (Well hah! Kill Bill is gorier than this)
That -The script is simply engrossing with memorable quotes that will make you want to tweet or update in Facebook, an example of which is
There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit/ and it’s filled with people who are filled with shit/ and the vermin of the world inhabit it- but not for long! They all deserve to die! Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why: because in all of the whole human race, Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men and only two. There’s the one staying put in his proper place and the one with his foot in the other one’s face- Look at me, Mrs. Lovett, look at you! No, we all deserve to die! Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why: Because the lives of the wicked should be- Made brief! For the rest of us, death will be a relief- We all deserve to die.
(Please don’t attempt to update it in FB. Exceeds the max character limits! I tried last night)
That- The movie is a dark revenge story set in the desolate and gloomy backdrop of 19th century London as aptly quoted in the movie by the following lines
There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit/ And the vermin of the world inhabit it/ And its morals aren’t worth what a pig could spit/ And it goes by the name of London
That- The movie is based on the famous broadway musical of the same name ,about the tragic tale of a Honest simple Barber- Benjamin Barker who turns into Sweeny Todd the demon barber of Fleet Street
Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. His skin was pale and his eye was odd. He shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again. He trod a path that few have trod, Did Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (again from the movie)
And with these lines the movie begins on a somber note- which also ends in an ironical and a tragic note.
That- Barber Benjamin Barker played by Johnny Depp, was a happy man living a simple and contented life with his pretty wife Lucy and daughter Joanna, but his world falls apart after Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman. Remember Prof Snape of Harry Potter) steps in and banishes him for a crime he hadn’t done so that no one comes in his way of possessing Lucy. The pathos of Barker’s life can be felt in the lines
There was a barber and his wife, and she was beautiful. A foolish barber and his wife. She was his reason and his life, And she was beautiful. And she was virtuous. And he was – Naive. There was another man who saw that she was beautiful, a pious vulture of the law, who, with a gesture of his claw removed the barber from his plate. Then there was nothing but to wait and she would fall, so soft, so young, so lost, and oh, so beautiful!
That – Barker returns from his exile only to be informed that his wife had poisoned herself with arsenic and that his daughter is in the possession of the Evil Judge Turpin. Consumed by rage and fueled by the insatiable desire for revenge he assumes the name of Sweeny Todd and collaborates with Mrs Lovett played by Helena Bonham Carter, a meat pie shop owner, to go on a carnage among the people of London, and the flesh of the dead ending in Mrs Lovett’s meatpies, The casual black humor of which, spills over in the following musical conversation between Mr Todd and Mrs. Lovett about the flavor of a meat pie.
Sweeney Todd: What is that?
Nellie Lovett: It’s priest. Have a little priest.
Sweeney Todd: Is it really good?
Nellie Lovett: Sir, it’s too good, at least. Then again, they don’t commit sins of the flesh, so it’s pretty fresh.
Sweeney Todd: Awful lot of fat.
Nellie Lovett: Only where it sat.
Sweeney Todd: Haven’t you got… poet or something like that?
Nellie Lovett: No, you see the trouble with poet is how you know its deceased… try the priest!
That- whole of the cast has done a superb job and one which I feel is difficult, as other than being an intense drama , it is also a musical where they cannot afford to miss a beat at any point literally. Each of the cast have given perfect musical renditions under the able direction of Tim Burton.( The songs begin to grow into you after watching the movie a couple of times and I was quite surprised to see, almost my whole family humming –there was a barber and his wife- eeps! God help me!)
That- It has won many awards and been nominated for Oscar in the Best actor category, not to mention winning the Golden Globe award for the same.
That- Depp Looks absolutely maniacally handsome in a filthy and dangerous way as Sweeny Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet street.
That -Helena Bonham Carter Has proved time and again that she is an actress of high caliber. You can add this one in her growing list of fine performances which includes Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter etc.
That this movie is highly recommended to Johnny Depp fans and especially who loved his combos with Tim Burton
That this movie is not recommended for those who swear by chocolate romances and are averse to watching gross macabre thrillers.
That the above contents are true to my best of knowledge and capabilities and that I have not been subjected under any duress or threats to write this.
Signed under oath on this day of eleventh of June, 2010,
Chief Brewer of Ginger Chai
Case 39 – review
Ok Its Friday again. No notable Bollywood releases. Chief is busy at desk as always especially with BPL these days. So what do I do now? Can I try a review on my own? – A movie review. I have never tried it really. I am seriously handicapped at it because anything that moves in a big screen with the Dolby digital works and stuff fascinates me, no matter what trash it might be, barring aside of course Ram Gopal Verma’s aag. But what if I watch a DVD, then? How about it? Yeah I might churn out something that is unbiased. Well yes! Let me do so. Ok here I go and the DVD is aha! Case 39 – starring René Zelleweiger and movie of the genre horror. With the tag line – some cases should not be opened (err do they mean the DVD case?)Ok… ok I know I should be doing this seriously especially with the genre, but it’s my first time.
Ok here I go.
1 hr 40 minutes later.
Play- Emily Jenkins (Rene Zelleweiger) is from the child social service who deals with neglected and abused children. Then comes, the case no 39 of a ten year old Lillith Sullivan(Jodelle Ferland). There is something mysterious about the family of that particular child and in a bizarre development Emily rescues lillith, in the nick of time from her parents who were just about to roast her alive in the oven. Emily offers her home as a sanctuary till they can find an adoptive family for Lillith and it seems everything might turn out fine but of course this isn’t a melodrama of sisterly tale rather it’s a horror movie and the terror starts unfolding from here. The terror that is the child called lillith who has some inborn evil in her, some thing supernatural… something demonic which survives on the Goodness of a person ( like Emily) before moving onto the next victim. A demon which kills by playing on the fear of her victims, Emily realizes it late when her close friends start dying one after another in illogical manner. (No it is not one of those slasher movies either with high body count) but will it turn out to be too late or will she survive her worst fears or will her worst fears be confirmed?
Rewinds – There is a sophisticated air of terror throughout the movie without the regular gore. The kid has done a very good job, the transformation of the sweet helpless little gal lillith into a cold menacing evil projected through the scene – where she is sitting on the swivel chair and rotating. The scene where she is being interviewed by the psychiatrist Doug where instead of lillith being analysed , she ends up analyzing him and scaring him in the process, His answer to Emily’s query of “what do you feel?”- “Threatened” is a high point of the movie. The swarm of bee scene- well they have rewind value.
Fast Forward- Some of the scenes are clichéd. The endless dead stares.The chases. The sudden appearances from behind. Being chased by a ghoul or ghost and protagonist trying to open a door desperately to escape which opens at the last moment. Yes these are there, so is the scene where a person is killed by a dog- can be fast forwarded.
Slow motion- the climax which had lots of potential, though good, could have been better if they had not wrapped it too fast.
Pace of the movie – fast paced. It does not drag on.
Credits- Rene Zelleweiger as expected is superb as the terrorized Emily. But the little girl (Jodelle Ferland) has done fantastic job as the evil. Sometimes sweet sometimes helpless switching over to a menacing cold evil… Rest of the star cast pitches on too.
Pauses- like umpteenth holly wood horror movies it stars an angelic kid and a female protagonist. E.g. Ring, Silent hill, Grudge, The reaping and the list goes on. What’s with the Hollywood’s fascination for woman and children and horror movies? What’s the association, I could not understand till date.
Another pause – I was just wondering if it had played with my fear then how would it kill me (oh these days my greatest fear is wardrobe malfunction)
Chill factor- The sound effects and the visual effects together may give you some spine chilling moments. But it will not linger on later for the simple reason that you will not identify yourself with Emily or with the fact that the next kid you see might have come from the depths of hell. Well that’s it.
Verdict- DVD worth renting. I did not say buying.
Direction: Christian Alvart
Running time: 115 minutes