World Without End – Wonderful and Terrible in Equal Measure

pillarsposter

Pillars of the Earth was a bestselling novel by Ken Follett, published in 1989. I read it a few years ago, and it was a truly epic undertaking; probably close to a thousand pages. It bucked convention, killing main characters (before George R.R. Martin made it cool) and allowing horrible things to happen to good people. I was simultaneously infuriated and impressed, recognizing that the author was making a point about the lawlessness and injustice of medieval England.

I finished it just in time for the 2007 miniseries, which featured a few now-familiar faces: Hayley Atwell (Captain America), Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables), and Rufus Sewell (Knight’s Tale). I had a hard time appreciating the adaptation as I’d just spent several weeks with these characters; in particular I remember my annoyance at our introduction to Atwell’s character, who comically brains her unwanted suitor with a candelabra (they’re missing the whole point of the character!!! Growth! Development! Transformation!! ARGGHH) BUT I digress.

I love Mandy Lane too!

Amber Heard All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane Amber Heard

For the past few months, I have been pondering the question: Why do I watch so many horror movies? I can’t attribute my interest to any of the explanations Piece of Cape offers up: the thrill rush, the gore, the “sport.” In reviewing The Descent I expressed an appreciation for the survivability aspect, my admiration for and aspiration to emulate those who rise to every occasion and manage to survive. But on a more fundamental level, I think it boils down to this:

More than any other genre, horror movies will always keep you guessing.

“Mama” feels like a cheap Del Toro knock-off

Mama Guillermo Del Toro
The latest offering from Spanish filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro follows two feral little girls, abandoned in the woods with none but the mysterious “Mama” to watch over them for five years. When they are finally recovered by their uncle and his reluctant girlfriend, the two sisters bring Mama back with them.

War in Movies: World War I

Since I’ve pretty much exhausted all the mythology-related movies I’m familiar with (or at least the ones worth talking about), Courtney and I will now embark on a new blog series: WAR IN MOVIES! Which is a tough category to narrow down, considering the number of incredible films centering on war. But we’ll do our best.

To start things off, we have The War to End All Wars, The Great War, also known as… World War I.

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Les Miz

Les Miserables is an overwhelming spectacle. It is ambitious in its loyalty to the source material, the use of recitative and the mixture of established Broadway professionals with Hollywood amateurs. Unfortunately, in attempting to please both theater fans and regular moviegoers, the filmmakers have muddied the waters.

The Descent: Survival of the Fittest

The Descent Sarah blood

I love horror movies. I’m fairly certain that some day I will be caught in the middle of some horrible disaster, and I need to be prepared to survive it. This is why I regularly quote “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why” in casual conversation (fun fact: did you know that most plane crashes are survivable? And that the people who survive are usually the ones who paid attention during the security briefing and read that brochure?).

I think that’s the root of my fascination with horror movies – imagining every possible situation I could be placed in, and figuring out how to survive. The Descent fits perfectly into this self-education.
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Taken 2 is the mindless action movie we’ve been waiting for

Taken 2 Liam Neeson

Often when I criticize a movie like Skyfall for half-baked plots and shallow characterization, what I hear in response is, “Whatever, it’s just a mindless action movie.” But I don’t believe that’s true. A movie decides what it’s going to be – Daniel Craig’s Bond was a deviation from previous movies in that it wanted to be thoughtful and have more depth than its predecessors. It aspired to something that it didn’t quite achieve.

Taken 2, however, has no pretensions. It knows exactly what it is – car chases, explosions, and gravelly-voiced Liam Neeson. Everything else is just the glue that gets us from one fight scene to the next.
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Mythology in Movies: King Arthur

Lady of Shalott painting king arthur lancelot legend

The legend of King Arthur has enough drama to launch a thousand soap operas: extramarital affairs, an orphan destined for great things, wizards, magic, dragons, incest, and a holy quest. It’s no surprise that the story has been told dozens of times in modern cinema. There’s no way I can cover them all, but here are some of the stand-out adaptations:

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