‘Excision’ is a teen horror-comedy gone very wrong but in a good way. AnnaLynne McCord, from the recent 90210 reboot, is unrecognisable as Pauline, a teenager who revels in deviating from the norm. Seemingly untroubled by the the bullies both at home and in school, Pauline is totally content in her own skin and demands life on her own terms. The only positive relationship in Pauline’s life, the one with her terminally ill sister, gives the audience the hope of a redemptive arc but the films overall nightmarish tone points to a different outcome. In any other film Pauline would start as the ugly duckling and then slowly flower into a beautiful swan, getting her revenge on the ‘beautiful people’ along the way. ‘Excision’ decides to tread a far murkier path and Pauline’s dark, surgically erotic, dreams point to a horrifying and devastating climax that, if your stomach can handle it, will blow you away. You have been warned.
Sam Mendes’s elegiac gangster movie may not be to everyone’s tastes but it’s his clear love of the genre that raises it above most other modern attempts. The acting is top-notch with a cast-against-type Tom Hanks giving his most sour performance to date, ably assisted by Daniel Craig, a truly creepy Jude Law and the peerless Paul Newman in his last film role as a troubled patriarch stuck between the son he has and the son he wishes he had. The film hits all of the expected beats with tommy guns, Fedora hats, silhouetted men and religious iconography all present and correct, but it’s in a climactic scene where it manages to both subvert and reinforce genre stereotypes at the same time that the film truly soars and demands your attention.
Toby Jones portrays Hitchcock, in this made for TV film, focusing on his love, then obsession with his leading lady, Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) during the filming of The Birds and Marnie. While the acting is of brilliance in some areas, this film was let down by the awkwardness while watching it, leaving open questions and trying to shift through fact and fiction. This story is from the memories of Tippi Hedren, giving us a one sided portrayal and the unfortunate circumstance of not being able to see a balanced retrospect of the events suggested.
We are being re-introduced to Hitchock’s films with the release of the Blu Ray collection. Also another side of the great director will be portrayed as ‘Hitchcock‘ (Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson) film is due for release later this month (UK) – A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.
Based on the New York Times Bestseller of the same name, this movie tells the tale of the black maids of Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights era. Emma Stone is superb as the young wannabe journalist who ultimately tells the story of these oppressed and put down women but the show is well and truly stolen by Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis; The Help. The film’s not without it’s troubles, it uses a young white woman as the agent for civil rights change and at times falls back on stereotypes, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that this film is beautifully shot and well written with a strong and powerful message that is as important now as it was back then.
There is plenty here to suggest that the accused isn’t guilty but the Lumet’s film is a classic because there is doubt. Technically, the film is perfect with every camera move, line and actor precisely aligned and it succeeds in it’s intention by refusing to resort to sentiment. A lesser film would have justice being done by arriving at the correct verdict, 12 Angry Men has the conviction to arrive at the one the law demands.
Both sequel to and spoof of the 1984 comedy horror classic, Gremlins 2 is a wildly inventive movie with a massive grin on it’s face and clawed hand behind it’s back. Okay, so it’s not the original but it stretches the mischief so far that it even breaks the film (a situation rectified only by the intervention of the Hulkster himself)… but amidst all the fun and japes I’m sure there is an essay to be written on why 100% of Gizmo’s offspring are psychopathic.
Here is the latest 24 Lies Per Second Podcast: Episode 18 – Ho Ho Ho Bit
In the final review podcast of the year the 24LPS team check out new cinema releases ‘The Hobbit’ (00:39) and ‘End of Watch’ (11:38), while on DVD they review ‘Magic Mike’ (21:15) and ‘The Expendables 2’ (28:42). They also caught up with Murnau’s ‘The Last Laugh’ (18:04) and the Guernsey made ‘The Diary of Alice Applebe’ (34:18).