Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Guest List: Gone With The Movies

This week we have Charlie from Gone With The Movies contributing his top 10 to The Guest List! Now, this is a very special edition, seeing as I contribute to the website quite frequently. So not just for Charlie, but for me as well, please, for the love of god, go over to the site right now and follow/subscribe, read our posts, and comment! The site is fantastic! It has reviews, news, articles, interviews, etc…

If you’d like to contribute your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish

I will pass things over to Charlie now, enjoy!

Top 10 James Bond Films: By Charlie

Firstly a big thank you to Joseph for the opportunity to share my love for James Bond with your viewers. This top 10 as I had briefly mentioned is about James Bond, I have detailed the top 10 films released so far, based to a comparison to each other, thus judging the best in this list, and the worst – which would definitely include the recent Quantum of Solace and everyone’s ‘most popular worst’ Die Another Day. Please feel free to tear my list apart in the comment section below, or you can even agree with it and post your favourites below too! … Onto the list:

10: Dr. No. (1962)

Although Goldfinger may have been the movie that started the Bond phenomenon, Dr No. first made the exciting debut of Bond in the early 1962. Introducing not only Bond, or the babes, and definitely not the gadgets, we are shown the recurring evil organisation SPECTRE.

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9: Live and Let Die (1973)

Many Die-hard Bond fans, dislike Roger Moore as James Bond, mainly because ‘he does not play Bond, he plays Roger Moore’. But I like Roger Moore, this adaptation of one of the best novels shows Bond as both a detective and a comedian and with real world problems! – *Raises left eyebrow*.

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8: Skyfall (2012)

Scooping over one billion dollars at the Box-Office last year means that I am not the only one who enjoyed this film… Skyfall goes back to the classic, Goldfinger-eqsue Bond (I just made that word up), it shows that even after 50 years Bond is one of the best franchises, which statistically it is.

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7: From Russia With Love (1963)

Classic Bond brought straight from novel to screen. With almost no humour and lacking everything that future Bond films would hold and re-use, From Russia With Love ups the standard and make creates a new class for Spy Thrillers. Oh, and the final fight sequence is probably one of the best in cinema.

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6: Goldeneye (1995)

When I started my top ten list I did not plan it to have a different Bond actor in each of the first entries, it is complete coincidence I tell you! Goldeneye sends Bond back to Cold-War espionage, proper spy-stuff. With Sean Bean as the villain Bond finally meets his match.

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5: Casino Royale (2006)

After the disastrous Die Another Day, the future of Bond almost lost completely, but after a long six year delay we are have one of the most classic Bond features yet. Bringing back all of the elements that created Bond, new face Daniel Craig establishes himself as the epitome of Bond. James Bond.

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4: The Living Daylights (1987)

After seeing Granddad’ Bond in A View to a Kill, Bond was left on a low, what better thing to do than introduce a new Bond face! Introducing Timothy Dalton into the role he brings Bond back to reality, with a darker, more sophisticated killer personality. Just as creator Ian Fleming first imagined.

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3: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

By his third outing as James Bond, Roger Moore had comfortably settled into the role of Bond – bringing us one of the biggest and best Bond adventures yet. With all of the key Bond cast and crew still living long and prosperous this is the most entertaining – (and bitey).

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2: On Her Majesty’s Service (1969)

Taking over on anything that Sean Connery has already moulded, and then having to make it better or equally as good is almost impossible! Almost … On Her Majesty’s Secret Service proves that Bond cannot be controlled by one man as George Lazenby successfully takes on the role.

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1: Goldfinger (1964)

The quintessential Bond movie! With its ingenious blend of humour, action, gadgets, sex, sophistication and exotic locations – Goldfinger defined what audiences would come to expect from a Bond film – creating its own special formula.

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A big thank you to Charlie for contributing this stellar list! Again, go over to the site and subscribe/follow. Hope you all enjoyed this edition of The Guest List. Have a great weekend!

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Sharknado (2013)

Here’s my entry for Shitfest! Fall, in case you missed it…

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Despite all the hoopla and urging from friends and fellow critics, I swore I wouldn’t be caught dead watching “Sharknado.” Then, one night during shark week, my family decided on watching this very flick and I was forced to go along. And while the film offered little to no positives, I did gain more evidence to always trust my gut as “Sharknado” is easily one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I won’t be wasting much time on this write-up, because it simply isn’t worth the effort. I just want to discourage anyone from watching this pile of flaming garbage.

In cinema there’s this saying, “so bad it’s good,” which typically only applies to intentionally god-awful films. Well, if you’re one of those people who don’t fully appreciate this premise, you’re in luck. This turn a phrase has no bearing here seeing as “Sharknado” is downright atrocious and will never be associated with the mildly flattering word “good.” Although this simple, four-lettered word has become so tragically overused that it has essentially lost all meaning, the remnants of its definition are still too favourable to be linked in any way to a film like this. It is nothing more than the recipient of diluted hype created by an endless stream of social-networking platforms. It’s the fortunate beneficiary of residual favour that comes to anything carrying a spliced title of two things the human race can’t get enough of…that being sharks and tornadoes, more specifically destruction. “Sharknado” is a horrible way to kill two hours and will leave you clamouring for a death at the hands of these airborne, poorly animated, and inaccurately portrayed monsters of the deep.

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A freak hurricane stikes Los Angeles, causing  man-eating sharks to be picked up in water spouts and dropped upon shocked citizens. A local bar owner and a couple of his friends head to higher ground and to rescue their loved ones. Little do they realize that the hurricane has caused severe flooding and forced the sharks into common neighbourhoods.

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I understand the idea of a mockbuster and I enjoy brainless, fun for the sake of fun flicks just as much as the next. Nonetheless, “Sharknado” is just awful. I don’t care how low-budget, satirical, or intentional it is. In all honesty, is “Sharknado” serious? I can move past idiotic premises and plot holes, but inconsistency and illogicality is unacceptable. Every aspect of the settings is laughable, changing from stormy, sunny, to apocalyptic in a matter of seconds. Let alone the several different bodies of water used to concoct a singular ocean. One minute the audience is staring at calm seas, then subjected to tsunami sized waves without any indication or reason. To make matters worse, the CGI is as blatantly inauthentic as the sharks. Which, for the record, are poorly animated and are apparently a lot more savage and smaller than scientifically proven.

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Now, to sum up the abysmal, idiotically amateur performances which look and feel a lot like an unwanted gag reflex or a stinging sunburn. This unwanted eyesore features performances from Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, and Cassie Scerbo, amongst others, not that it really matters. All in all, there is nothing here of merit and essentially, nothing you’ve never seen before. Predictably, when you hire actors of this caliber, you get what you pay for. As for the camera work, I’m sure you all can guess. Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, whom I might add does his best to aid this sinking ship, yet sadly winds up being weighed down, does his best with what he is given. That being said, his lack of experience really starts to show and ultimately, the weakness of his material makes his bright spots seem all the more dim.

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It appears that no matter how hard I wish “Sharknado” didn’t exist and that I hadn’t witnessed it, this filth just won’t seem to die. That being said, everyone needs a film to write about for Shitfest…so,  here you are. Aren’t you lucky, you’ve subscribed to The Cinema Monster and you are knocked over the head with this drivel. Sorry I had to subject you to this…I will do my best to never watch something like this again.

Sharknado: 0 out of 10.

TIFF 2013: Joe (2013)

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The “coming-of-age” sub-genre is one of the most thematically diverse and abundantly rewarding. Its films provoke vast emotional reactions, they make us laugh, allow us to remember what it was like to be young, and offer limitless insight into living, humanity, and love. Yet, despite all this positivity and relevance, these films remain on the periphery of mainstream cinema, but I digress. So far this year, two of the best films released, “Mud” and “The Way, Way Back,” fall into this category. And while at TIFF 2013, I was fortunate enough to catch another hidden coming-of-age gem, David Gordon Green’s “Joe.” Although it has yet to receive an official release, I’m more than content to deem “Joe” a sublime finale to what I’ve dubbed as 2013’s “coming-of-age” trilogy…”Mud” and “The Way Way Back” being the other two entries. While not as obviously strong structurally and story-wise, “Joe” rivals it’s brethren in nearly every other aspect.

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Now, If we dig a bit deeper, the “coming-of-age” sub-genre can be broken down into more specific tangents. For example “Joe,” much like its trilogy partners, fits into the “finding-yourself-a-mentor” class. In which the adolescent protagonist finds a rough, off-beat, anti-heroic kindred spirit to ease the very trying transition into adulthood. All three flicks have this plot point in common. Additionally, each protagonist, in one way or another, comes from a broken home. The list of commonalities goes on and on, but that’s besides the point. What I’m driving at is that although each film has some labelled similarities, each brings their own uniqueness to the fold and differ significantly. “The Way, Way Back” shares a lot of DNA with the romantic comedy, while “Mud” offers more of a veritable, serious, realistic gaze into the loss of innocence and growing up. “Joe” is much darker and focuses equal parts on the protagonist and anti-hero.

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Out of all three, I’d say that Green’s film is the one that most plays out like a movie, if that makes any sense? I mean, “coming-of-age” films arguably relate most to real life and are the most receptive to a connection with the audience. With “Joe,” it might be more difficult to relate due to its violent, depressing nature. I guess what I’m saying is that out of the three films released this year, while not overly cinematic as to hamper the film, “Joe” is the most dramatic and far-fetched, which I am not claiming to be a bad thing.

Its progression of events is nothing that you haven’t heard or seen before, but this is also not necessarily a bad thing. While none of the three films present any tactic or vantage point that hasn’t been utilized before. The “coming-of-age” sub-genre has a fairly basic list of criteria that needs to be met, so it’s all essentially been done before and this is no filmmakers fault. That being said, the story, characters, and circumstances are all subjected to change, which is what separates each film…but what sends the superior over the top is the investment of the personnel. And much like “The Way, Way Back” and “Mud,” “Joe” has a dedicated, veteran, youthful ensemble, both on and off screen.

Much like the other genre films released this year. David Gordon Green’s “Joe” is a highly-visual piece. Using the lovely states of Texas and California as a contrasting backdrop to the upsetting, violent elements of the film. Additionally, David Wingo, who composed the original score for “Joe,” compliments the immensity and atmosphere of the scenery impeccably. On occasion however, the sheer uncomfortableness, violence, and stomach-churning family drama is too much to handle, let alone subdue.

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Even though “Joe” is a return to form for director David Gordon Green. This dark, southern drama is as much a showcase for its three leads: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, and the late Gary Poulter. Sheridan continues to prove that he’s the next big thing with another heartfelt, courageous performance, much like that of his in “Mud.” Mark my words, if this boy continues making films of this caliber, there’s not doubt in my mind he will skyrocket to stardom. As for Cage, truthfully, he hasn’t been this stellar in a good long while. Parading around with his usual confidence and flair, Cage is funny, passionate, and ruthless. Yet, as impressive as Cage, Sheridan, and Green are, the incredible story and performance of Gary Poulter steals the show. Poulter, prior to being cast in the film was homeless. Initially intended to be cast in a supporting role, Poulter stunned Green and eventually landed a significant part. Sadly, he passed away shortly after the film wrapped and Green dedicated the film to his memory. Poulter’s portrayal alone is worth checking out this flick.

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Incredibly performed, visually mesmerizing, and presenting a story that’s hard to ignore. David Gordon Green’s “Joe” is an impressive outing for all involved.

Joe: 8.5 out of 10.

The Guest List: Screenkicker!

This week I am very excited to have Mikey from Screenkicker contributing his top 10 to The Guest List! If you haven’t already followed/subscribed to his site, head on over and do so! Check out all the amazing content including lists, reviews, and a terrific classics section.

If you’d like to contribute your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish.

I’m going to hand things over to Mikey now, enjoy!

Top 10 Coolest Movie Weapons: by Mikey

Movies are full of guns, swords, knives, bombs, lasers, and other weapons so it takes something special to stand out from this destructive crowd. Real life death tools are too serious and boring but ones from films can be spectacular devices for kicking all kinds of ass. Here’s my list of the ten best weapons in movie history.

10: Blade’s Sword: “Blade”

Apparently it has an acid edge because a normal sword isn’t sharp enough. Blade’s sword slices and dices any bloodsuckers it comes into contact with. But the best feature is it’s defence mechanism to stop any thieves from swiping it. Hands off!

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9: Mjolnir: “Thor”

Otherwise known as Thor’s hammer. Mjolnir is so heavy even The Hulk couldn’t lift it. Its so powerful it makes you wonder what the hell kind of nails they use in Asgard. Almost harder to spell than it is to wield.

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8: Nunchaku: “Enter the Dragon”

Nunchucks are officially bad-ass as demonstrated by Michaelangelo the turtle. Also Bruce Lee uses these to stunning effect in Enter the Dragon to take out a squad of kung fu experts. This scene was cut from the UK release due to a ban on nunchucks in Britain presumably because they look too cool.

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7: District 9 Gun: “District 9”

Ever been stranded on an alien planet where the populace treats you like crap. Try out this beast of a firearm that can only be used by the prawns. This ridiculously overpowered piece of equipment can explode a man in a split second. Perfect for shortening your wait in any queue.

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6: Sick Stick: “Minority Report”

Imagine having the ability to cause that annoying guy on the bus blow chunks? Why don’t they have these in real life? The sick stick is a stun rod that makes the recipient puke. It’s basically the weaponised equivalent of seeing me naked.

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5: Exploding Pen: “Goldeneye”

Click it three times to arm it and it becomes a bomb. This James Bond gadget is a must have for any globetrotting spy. In this case the pen is really mightier than the sword. Try not to twirl it around in your hand if you’re an annoying Russian computer hacker.

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4: Proton Gun: “Ghostbusters”

The perfect tool for catching spirits, the proton gun fits handily into a massive back pack meaning stealth is out of the question. You should only cross the streams if you need to bring down an ancient Sumerian god attacking your city.

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3: Old Painless: “Predator”

Its loud, scary, deadly, and good for cutting down trees. Old painless is actually a chaingun which would normally be mounted on a fighter jet. But if you’re complaining about realism you shouldn’t be watching Predator.

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2: Lawgiver: “Dredd”

The Lawgiver is the swiss army knife of guns. It fires explosive rounds, incendiary rounds, and it can probably even shoot out skittles for those times when Dredd’s blood sugar drops. Compact, powerful, and stylish, it’s the thinking Judge’s choice of weapon.

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1: Double Lightsaber: “Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace”

You’ve always wanted one of these. Its deadly and looks cool to twirl around. In real life you would probably cut off your own arms and legs but I think we all agree it would be worth it. Features in the greatest lightsaber fight in all of the movies.

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Have I left any out? What’s your favourite? Is it a science fiction future weapon or an old-school medieval head chopping device? Let me know in the comments!

Okay all, that’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Guest List. A big thank you to Mikey for adding his list to the archive. Hope you all enjoyed it! Remember to e mail me about contributing if you feel so inclined. Have a great weekend!

TIFF 2013: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

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As far back as I can remember, Nelson Mandela has always been a figure that drew great intrigue and reverence from me. So you can imagine my excitement as a cinephile when I had tickets to the world premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” securely in my palm. Everything from his legendary history and illustrious career, to his lengthy jail stint and personal relationships captivated my attention…even his unique voice and mannerisms. All this and so much more make the hallowed Nelson Mandela one of the most interesting, controversial, and significant soles living today. Now, most respect and recognize him for his role in abolishing apartheid in South Africa, and with good reason. This achievement alone is one of the most important milestones of our lifetime. While I can honestly say that it was this very event that originally lured me to Mandela, his courage, love, and insight is what kept me glued long after.

Surprisingly, for someone whose life that’s been as watched, recorded, and collated as Mandela’s has. There are many different opinions and takes in articles, books, videos, etc…on the events and circumstances of his personal life and surrounding his political existence. For the majority, the outlook is positive and reassuring, but by no means am I claiming that my view is the only correct vantage point, nor am I discrediting the conclusions of others. One should always research and evaluate the  material available for the topic at hand and form their own assessments. That being said, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is based on a autobiography, so I think it is safe to say that this account of Mandela’s life is fairly accurate. Especially when considering that this retelling isn’t always portraying the man himself in the britest light. He is a man and he has flaws, this is made abundantly clear in the film, which is probably why the film is so grounded and gripping.

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Chronicling Mandela’s life, beginning as a child growing up in a rural village, through his adolescent years and receiving his education, all the way up to his revolution, imprisonment, and political aspirations. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is a taut, well-paced biopic that clocks in at a daunting two hours and thirty-two minutes. Yet, in all honesty, it is a retelling of one of the most epic, influential, and imperative lives to have graced the Earth. So a lengthy runtime is almost a necessity in order to do it justice, not to mention right. Directed by Justin Chadwick, Mandela’s walk to freedom might have been long and arduous, but this cinematic adaptation of his autobiography appears to be on a short path to the Oscars. With a pair of unprecedented performances from Idris Elba and Naomi Harris, a compelling, historically salient story, and visuals that always astound and provoke a reaction. This biopic should garner several nominations come award season.

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In the first few moments, the vast landscape encompasses the screen’s outlining and the theatre surrounding you begins to fall away until the striking, resplendent scenery completely immerses you. This engulfment is constant throughout the film and forces you to fully invest. That being said, what you’re visually absorbing isn’t always easy to look at. There is some unsettling imagery and severe violence. At a few points during the film, the viewer sitting in the seat directly beside me found the visuals so upsetting that she got teary-eyed and had to turn away. For the most part however, I think that any strong-willed viewer or veteran cinephile can handle the content. For example, I found the violence and imagery fairly tame, but I’ve seen quite possibly the most horrid films known to man. Nonetheless, watching a relationship fall apart, unnecessary slaughter, and fellow people in distress is never easy to watch. Especially when it’s so well done.

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The soundtrack is another of the film’s high-points. The original score is composed by Alex Heffes, who’s resume includes work used on several Oscar-winning films. So, if his track record and reputation hold up, it looks as if another one of the films he has touched will be heading to awards season. However, while there is so much to like, respect, and enjoy about this film, it doesn’t look like it will be the universally acknowledged biopic masterpiece that some had hoped for. Judging by the critical reception of the film thus far, it appears that “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” will divide audiences. There is grounds for negativity regarding the film, just not in my opinion. Although not perfect, there certainly is far more upside to the film than any fault one can find or imply exists. It might err one the side of safety and respect occasionally, but nothing severe enough to hamper the film.

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Some may find inconsistencies and faults in the film’s skeletal structural, length, even it’s historical accuracy. But one thing everyone will agree on is that the flaws, if any, in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” are trumped by the performances belted out by the magnificent Idris Elba and the lovely Naomi Harris. The two are truly nothing short of perfection in there portrayals of Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela respectively. Harris, who’s best known for her supporting role in “Skyfall” and as the leading lady in “28 Days Later” seems to have finally broken through to elite status. I’d be very surprised if she doesn’t earn an Oscar nomination come award season. As for Elba, what can one say about his transformation other than that he became the man himself. The voice, accent, physical appearance, everything down to the tiniest detail. Not to mention the incredible emotional stamina and dramatic diversity. If his portrayal of Nelson Mandela isn’t Oscar-worthy, I don’t know what is.

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Performed with admirable reverence and investment of the highest caliber. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is an enthralling biopic that will surely garner consideration award season. Although it might be a little too safe and overly long for some.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: 8 out of 10.

TIFF 2013: Under the Skin (2013)

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It’s essentially a foregone conclusion that everyone on this planet has a fear of something or someone. Anyone who tells you different or that they are fearless is down-right idiotic, lying, or inhuman. To fear is to live. Now, you’ve got your typical fears of sensible, common, physical things, for example: spiders, ghosts, storms, clowns, etc… Then, there are psychological trepidations such as: social anxiety, heights, being alone…things that are a little bit harder to understand and empathize with. Regardless however, for the most part, the things that draw the ire of our dread can be avoided, accepted, tolerated. And for the most part we can continue living day-to-day without our fears ruling over our existence. That being said, the majority of us have a fear that exceeds all bounds of comprehension, rationality, and common sense. They leave us inconsolable, paralyzed…just a complete wreck. Not everyone has despair this extreme, but the ones who do know what a nightmare it can be.

Now, you’re all probably wondering to yourselves, “what does this have to do with the review?” Well, it just so happens that my unbearable fear, I’d even go as far as to call it a phobia, happens to be aliens. You know, the kind that travel amongst the stars, searching for habitable planets or resources and settle into Earth to begin exterminating us. It’s quite ironic actually, I’m an avid stargazer and enjoy being an amateur astronomer, cosmologist if you will. So I’m rather knowledgable when it comes to the cosmos, therefore completely convinced that extraterrestrial life exists and have come to peace with it. I am aware that the way these foreign creatures are depicted in films, novels, and media is inaccurate and for the most part is just science fiction being science fiction. Yet somehow, it still manages to make my skin crawl. So you can imagine how conflicted I was being a cinephile aching to see “Under the Skin.” While the film doesn’t portray alien life to the same negative extreme as sci-fi epics such as “War of the Worlds.” It still consists of a foreign life form consuming and ending human lives…so I was a little weary.

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Nonetheless, we are here. I watched the film at TIFF and survived the experience. To be honest, it wasn’t even as bad as I originally anticipated. I concluded it to be because the alien was cloaked in Scarlett Johansson’s skin. And if I was to be murdered, then digested by an extraterrestrial, I’d prefer it to be at the hands of one who looks exactly like Scarlett Johansson. Not to mention, I’d manage to find a way to come to peace with the fact that the last thing I saw was Mrs. Johansson completely naked…but that’s besides the point. The film is, in my opinion, quite remarkable. It’s a highly visual, highly artistic exploration into this typically high-budgeted, explosion-filled science-fiction trope. It is, without question the most unique film I experienced at this years festivities and I officially dub it my sleeper hit of the festival…if that means anything to anyone at all.

Based on the novel of the same title by Michel Faber, “Under the Skin” tells the tale of an alien sent by a massive corporation from her home planet to capture unimportant, family-less, lonely hitchhikers. She is then to return them for fattening and sale as human meat is a delicacy on her planet. But believe me, it offers so much more than this disturbing premise in the sense of underlying themes and content. The story is one of the more intriguing, intelligible aspects of the film. Touching upon several significant, socio-political, and controversial topics: humanity, mercy, farming, sex, and business morals being the most prominent. Although, in my opinion, the film could have better explored and expanded these themes, much the same as Faber’s novel did. Jonathan Glazer, the director of “Under the Skin” does a sublime job packing in all the lyricism, relevance, and symbolism from its source into the hour and forty minute runtime.

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Set in the Scottish countryside, “Under the Skin” has no shortage of serene, stunning scenery. It is immaculately captured by Glazer, who superlatively masks the vibrancy and naturally enthralling element of northern Scotland and drenches it with the dreary, shadowed nature of the film. Visually, it might appear all doom and gloom, but there is something uplifting, chilling about its epic atmosphere. Alongside, Glazer accompanies his complex, hypnotic story and dark setting with an entrancing, terrifying score composed by Mica Levi. The soundtrack really completes the film’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” feel with its ominous tones and horrifyingly abrupt shifts. No doubt, if you prefer the lack of emotion and drama in  “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it’s subtle intellect and deceptiveness. “Under the Skin” will serve as an excellent update to a sub-genre that’s recently lost its way.

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For the most part “Under the Skin” relies on the beauty and seductiveness of its female lead, played by the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson. Who, I forgot to mention is unfathomably stunning here, both physically and in her portrayal. She elegantly captures the dark, at times satirical humour of the film drawn on by awkward encounters and familiarizing herself with our planet’s customs, not to mention her own body. However, as impressive and memorable as her physical and socially inept performance may be. Watching her stoic, cold-blooded alien transform into an emotionally conscious and understanding being is the highlight of the film without question. Apart from Johansson, “Under the Skin” is practically void of a cast, which makes her portrayal all the more amazing. Nevertheless, the supporting ensemble, despite not being on screen for more than 5 minutes individual, do a fantastic job selling the premise and evoking strong reactions.

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Deeply intelligent, highly visual, and featuring an outstanding performance from Scarlett Johansson. Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin” is one of the films to watch out for in 2014 and is sure to be a cult smash. I recommend it be infused into the science fiction canon.

Under the Skin: 9 out of 10.