Review: Rebecca

“Rebecca” could be ripe for a modern interpretation. For the uninitiated, the title takes its name from Rebecca de Winter, the late wife of aristocrat Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier in the Hitchcock version). Rebecca dies before the novel opens; yet she’s a strong presence throughout the book. She’s as much a character as Manderley, the manor where Maxim brings his new bride (Joan Fontaine in the Hitchcock film) after a whirlwind romance. The new Mrs. de Winter is gawky where Rebecca was glamorous and refined and feels herself paling by comparison, especially under the withering gaze and comments of the head housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. Continue reading Review: Rebecca

Review: Mulan

“Mulan,” Disney’s latest live-action update of an animated film, is a disappointment. Part of that is beyond the film’s control. Streaming exclusively on Disney+ because of the global COVID-19 pandemic (and costing an additional $30 fee), “Mulan” is a grand-scale adventure with sumptuous costumes and set design, sweeping vistas, and elaborately choreographed action and martial arts clearly meant to be seen on a big screen. Continue reading Review: Mulan

Review: The Invisible Man

The question I am you all have on your minds is: what’s the point? Why bother attempting to remake a classic film, based on a century-old novel? I scratched my head the moment I heard Leigh Whannell (screenwriter of “Saw” and Insidious”) was attached to pen the screenplay and direct. Given the recent trend of ‘woke’ films bombing–and the decision to shift the focus away from the invisible man himself–I couldn’t help but be baffled by how anyone thought this project was a worthwhile idea.

Now that I’ve seen it, I am horrified about just how current it feels. Universal clearly wasn’t interested in re-hashing old scare tactics and merely re-presenting an old tale with updated CGI. This iteration is one designed to deliberately carve out a new domain of horror on screen; it has brought to screen a reality that has existed for many people throughout time—a reality that has never been accessed on film before, especially with this much tangibility. Continue reading Review: The Invisible Man

Review: The Grudge

I was not looking forward to 2020’s “The Grudge”. In the interest of transparency, I will admit that I have seen Takashi Shimizu’s original 2002 film, and I utterly hated it. It was a sluggish, overlong piece of work that, I feel, was incapable of overcoming its low-budget roots. There was very little that co-writer (Jeff Buhgler) and director Nicolas Pesce brought to my excitement. The only hope to be had had come from the fact that I recall loving Pesce’s previous film, the ultra-dark, black and white exercise in bleak cinematic macabre, “The Eyes of my Mother”.

And for the first 20 or so minutes of this, I was worried. In the year 2004 (the year that the American remake of “The Grudge” was released, also directed by Shimizu–I wish he could say be pulled a Micahel Haneke; but nothing in both the remake or the original deserve that compliment), Fiona, a live-in nurse is seen visibly disturbed by events she had witnessed in a house she has just left. Continue reading Review: The Grudge

Review: Black Christmas (2019)

To say that “Black Christmas” is the movie society needs to take note of is a massive understatement. Directed by Sopia Takal and written by herself and April Wolfe, “Black Christmas” is a modern updating of the 1974 classic. Whereas most remakes and reboots take the safe and give us what we as an audience expect, this 2019 update is at once a loving tribute to the original but also pushes it into scary and very real directions.

Lead by a standout performance by Imogen Poots as Riley Stone, “Black Christmas” has themes that are sure to resonate with young women. Riley, herself a victim of a sexual assault, is forced throughout to constantly face her abuser and the ramifications of her speaking out against him. Continue reading Review: Black Christmas (2019)