Movie of the week: Princess Mononoke

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I found this film by Hayao Miyazaki (1997) rather confusing, or I might have been too stupid or tired for keeping up with the plot. I’ll watch it again in the near future, hoping to get more out of it. Like in many Miyazaki films, the gods and demons are playing a big role in Princess Mononoke. The film begins with the main character Ashitaka being chased by a spaghetti monster, aka demon god. The demon god dies in the battle, but Ashitaka is left with a curse that slowly will kill him. Seeking healing for the curse, Ashitaka travels to a forest, full of little ghosts, or spirits, as well as animal gods, including giant wolves that have adopted a girl who people call Princess Mononoke.

The rest of the film involves a lot of fighting and shooting and at the end, the Forest Spirit, aka Deer God turns everything green and heals everyone. The environmental aspect seems to be an important part of the film and especially now, it should be relevant for all of us. In that sense, the film is very timely and I definitely would recommend it for everyone.

I started writing these on my blog, as I wanted to learn how to better formulate my opinions; argue why I liked a film or didn’t. This one was difficult, I liked it, but don’t think I fully understood it, but a least I admit this.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: Hereditary

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Finally, I had the courage to watch this! And it wasn’t actually as scary as I  thought it would be. I appreciate horror films that are different from the typical American ones, where people are beautiful, it’s dark all the time and someone is chasing you and trying to kill you. Hereditary had a little bit similar vibe to the VVitch, or Rosemary’s baby and I really enjoyed watching it.

Toni Collette plays Annie, a mother of two, who’s life is stressful because of an upcoming art exhibition,  and her mother passing away. Her family has a history in mental illness and at the beginning it seems like she’s going insane, especially after her daughter dies in an accident, after which, very strong things start to happen. Collette does an excellent job in the leading role, at times, screaming better than Wendy in the Shining. Surprisingly, the end of the film didn’t feel scary anymore, rather peaceful. Everyone was dead, except for the son, Peter, who then becomes possessed so the heredity can pass on.

Although a great deal of the scenes were dark and some standard elements within the horror genre were present in Hereditary, such as possession, an old book and symbols, Hereditary succeeded in being unique. Also, I can’t remember seeing nudity in an American horror film since the Shining.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: Grave of the Fireflies

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Long time since I had time for movies, but I’m trying to get this back on track now. Based on an autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Directed by Isao Takahata (1988), Grave of the Fireflies is based on a true story in Japan during the late WW II. Although it’s animated and most animated movies have children as their target audience, I’m not quite sure if that was the case with Grave of the Fireflies. It was hard for a grown-up to watch and if I had children, I don’t think I’d want them to see this, although the story sadly is still reality in too many places.

The film begins from the end where the teenage boy Seita starves to death at a train station and then surrounded by fireflies unites with his little sister Setsuko. It tells the story of two children from the city of Kobe that are left homeless by bombings, their mother dies and their father is serving in the navy. They move in with their aunt for a while, but end up living in a cave, where surviving is hard.

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Though the film isn’t particularly violent, the imagery of burned bodies and orphaned children was definitely uncomfortable to watch. It also served as a reminder of how it is possible to find hope and moments of happiness even in the most awful circumstances. And shows how fire and fireflies connected in a sad, yet beautiful way.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: RAW

This was on my watchlist ever since I read about it the first time, before it was released like two years ago. French people are good at making disturbing films and as I’m a horror fan, whenever there’s a new one out, I must see it. I love the lack of action and amount of daylight French movies have compared to the American ones. However, I’m also kind of sensitive and don’t watch films that seem too disturbing by myself. I knew a French guy who had seen this, but didn’t want to watch it again (not because he didn’t like it), so I had to wait until I found someone who’d agree watching this with me.

And a couple of days ago it finally happened. I have to admit, I read the plot beforehand, whenever it seems that I might lose sleep. And I did so with this one too, just so I could prepare myself. Watching the film wasn’t as shocking as I thought it would be, there weren’t  many intense scenes and not that much blood either. It’s a story of a young girl who’s beginning her studies at a veterinary school, where her older sister is already studying. She’s been a vegetarian all of her life and during the first week she’s made to eat a kidney of a rabbit. She then develops a taste for meat and it then turns out her sister has it too…

I really enjoyed watching RAW, a modern story about cannibalism and different compared to Cannibal Holocaust, Green Inferno, or Hannibal. And a great addition to the French horror genre.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

Bad Horror Films Top 5

I’ve always loved horror movies. Although I watch pretty much anything, horror has been my favorite genre since I was about 10. However, most horror films are crap and most of this crap comes from the US. No offense, but I’ve never seen a bad horror film from France, for instance. I watch a lot of bad horror films anyway, it’s relaxing when the film doesn’t evoke too much emotions and you don’t have to think how talented and intelligent some filmmakers are. And to me, choosing the movies to watch based on their IMDB rating (watching only the ones with high rating) is like eating the same food everyday, it gets boring after a while. Here are the five worst films that came to my mind when I thought of it.

One Missed Call ⭐️/5

A J-horror remake, the poster looked promising though. People (college students) receive phone calls where they hear themselves being murdered and try to solve the mystery.

Insidious ⭐️⭐️/5

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Very typical American horror. A family moving into a new house and starting to hear noises, then demonologists (some kind of scientists) try to solve the situation. Towards the end the film becomes rather amusing, not sure if it’s like that on purpose though.

Green Inferno ⭐️⭐️/5

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A modern (bad) version of Cannibal Holocaust.

House of Wax ⭐️/5

I think I’ve seen the original in my early teenage years. Kind of typical American style with college kids getting killed. Starring Paris Hilton.

Philosophy of a Knife 0/5

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Can’t really say that I’ve seen this, as I stopped watching after an hour of so and fast-forwarded the rest of the film. It was all about bad torture scenes, it was difficult to follow and overall didn’t make any sense. At least not for myself. But if you’re into artistic stuff you might like it. I’m planning to watch some other productions of Andrey Iskanov soon, maybe they make more sense.

My TOP 7 Horror Films

I love movies. I named this blog after two of my favorite things: pink stuff and horror films. My love for horror started when I was about 10 years old. I watched a lot of horror until I was about 15, saw Poltergeist and got nightmares. I had enough and stopped watching horror until I was 19 and worked at a video rental. One night a man walked in and asked if we had Cannibal Holocaust and some other old horror films. I checked on the computer, but we had none of the films he had asked for. He then said he had seen some new horror film on our website but couldn’t recall the name. So we checked the website and found the film he was looking for. I asked if the movie was something similar to the ones he had first asked for and the answer was “Yes.” So I became curious and took another copy of it home. It was a French film called Frontier(s). I tried to watch it alone but couldn’t, I had never seen anything like it before. It was sick in my opinion, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre^100. Despite shocking me it made me curious, what else had I missed during the years I hadn’t seen any horror films?

So I started watching horror again. I listed my favorite ones here in a random order.

1. It

I think this was one of the first horror films I saw. I’ve never been afraid of clowns, but for many, Pennywise might have given nightmares.

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2. Braindead

This is splatter and not scary, but hilarious, one of my favorite comedies as well.

BRAINDEAD FOR THE TICKET FEES APPLY!!! film movie September 2000 Timothy Balme

3. Martyrs

The French one, not the remake. Martyrs really shocked me. I had read a review on it when it was running on theaters and really wanted to see it. I moved to the US soon after and forgot about it, until a year later when I returned to Finland and started working at the video rental again. Martyrs was on DVD. I made my sister watch it with me and couldn’t believe how sick the whole idea was. It took me about two weeks to be able to sleep and eat properly again. Extremely well done movie though, and very different from the typical American horror films, where it’s dark and someone around the corner is trying to kill you.

4. The Conjuring

Very much a typical American horror film, but still really good. I like supernatural stuff and this one had it!960

5. Ils

French people know how to make good stuff. Although it was really dark and kind of resembled the “Americal style” to scare people, it really worked. I also appreciate that despite the lack of gore the film maintained its intensity from beginning till the end.

6. Låt den rätte komma in 

Not sure if this counts as horror, but a great film based on a great book. I saw the American version first by coincidence, thought it was good and googled it. Of course the original wasn’t American and I liked it even more.

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7. The Shining

This is actually where it all started from. My parents used to have a lot of VCR cassettes with movies recorded from TV. The Shining was on the same cassette with Indiana Jones. I think I was 10 years old, home alone and wanted to watch Indiana Jones. I was going back and forth on the cassette, trying to find the beginning of the film. I hit play at a random spot and it was the elevator scene… I thought: “this must be a really good movie”. And it was, probably the best.

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