The Conjuring

July 24, 2013

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I rarely find horror movies scary, and though that’s a really terrible way of opening a review of a horror film, it’s relevant to what follows.  When I find one scary, it is usually down to the ideas that are expressed (and, obviously, in the way they are expressed).  As someone who does not believe in the Christian God, the notion of a purely Christianity-centric “demons vs. God” scenario carries absolutely no weight with my subconscious.  As such, I can appreciate The Exorcist but can’t really connect with the many who deem it to be terrifying.  Outside of that granddaddy of horror, the only exorcism-based film I didn’t find completely tedious was Requiem, a German film from 2006 that is a lot more of an investigation into a person’s psychological condition than a straight-up crosses-to-flesh horror.  So with the massive caveat that I didn’t find The Conjuring scary, I did find it very enjoyable due solely to the craftsmanship on display.  It is something of an old-school haunted house film incredibly well executed. Read the rest of this entry »

Only God Forgives

July 23, 2013

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Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival only to be greeted by a chorus of boos is not unusual, nor is it necessarily any real indicator of quality.  Still, the reviews from the less throaty audience members – in this case, critics – have tended to be pretty savage ever since May.  Now that it has been released properly, this has eased a little bit, with a small corner of defenders and a healthy number of “s’alright” shrugs.  Savage outcries about ultra-gory pomposity are understandable, and I imagine on a different day and in a different mood, I’d be somewhere closer to them.  As it stands, I think Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives is just successful enough in certain areas to overcome its many shortfalls.  So help me, I really enjoyed watching it.

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