My quick reviews of these four films.
ORPHAN (2009)Director: Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Unknown)
Starring: Isabelle Fuhrman, Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Aryana Engineer, Jimmy Bennett
Taglines: "There's something wrong with Esther"
"You'll never guess her secret" (UK)
Orphan is a psychological thriller that centers around a family whose life turns upside down after they have adopted a mysterious, smart-beyond-her-9 years, Russian kid. Things get weirder when Kate (Vera Farmiga) discovers that Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) comes from Estonia, despite her documents saying she's from Russia.
The movie runs for two hours, had a lagging first 30 minutes, with an okay mid act, and a thrilling climax. What made me stay and watch the movie despite it's lackluster storyline is the cast. They gave great and believable performances that it made the film worth watching, for that one reason only. Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard of course are effective as the parents, no surprise on that part. Who actually caught my attention is Max (Aryana Engineer), Kate's deaf and mute daughter, and of course, Isabelle Fuhrman. Aryana Engineer was so adorable that I had to finish the movie just to see what happens to her. Every tear or eye expressions she did was so effective. Isabelle Fuhrman, surprised me with her transformations, esp. the climax I can't believe she's just 12 when she did that movie. Her portrayal was so sinister, that it felt good seeing her get bitch-slapped by Kate.
My Rating: 3/5 - If this movie had an average cast, the plot would fail miserably, esp with the surprise twist in the end.
ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968)Director: Roman Polanski (The Ninth Gate, The Pianist, Chinatown)
Starring: Mia Farrow (Rosemary Woodhouse), John Cassavetes (Guy)
Tagline: "Pray for Rosemary's Baby"
Farrow plays a pregnant woman who fears that her husband may have made a pact with their eccentric neighbors, believing he may have promised them the child to be used as a human sacrifice in their occult rituals in exchange for success in his acting career. -Wikipedia
This is Roman Polanski's first Hollywood movie. This movie also established Mia Farrow as a leading actress, although it cost her a short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra.
This movie is more than two hours of suspenseful build up, intriguing characters, and a solid performance from Mia Farrow.
I expected a horror devil child plot that will make me scream or have nightmares about, so I was disappointed, not because the movie was crappy, but because I didn't read first. If I did I would have seen "psychological thriller", not "ghost/monster horror movie". And this is indeed a psychological thriller - all throughout. Script, pacing, acting, cast, musical score - all wonderfully put together.
My Ratings: 4/5 - I still think it's too long for a movie with two hours of build up and an anti-climactic ending like that, but that's just my initial disappointment because I expected another genre, I give it 4 (even more) because it is well-directed & well-acted and it is indeed a PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER.
HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013)Director: Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow)
Starring: Jeremy Renner (Hansel), Gemma Arterton (Gretel), Famke Janssen (Muriel)
Taglines: "Revenge is sweeter than candy"
"Classic Tale, New Twist"
The movie revolves around two siblings - an insulin-dependent Hansel with big guns, and a foul-mouthed cleavage-showing Gretel armed with a crossbow - abandoned by their parents when they were kids and lured by a house made of candy only to be imprisoned, enslaved, and fattened by an ugly witch.
The idea of the classic fairy tale characters as bounty hunters is interesting (as fairy tales nowadays are being turned into something darker or modern, whether in tv or movies), but the movie itself is sloppily made to the point of being irrelevant and forgettable. It has its rare funny moments, and the action and gore, while it is not fantastic, are enough to keep you tuned in (but only because of the movements, which your eyes are forced to follow), and Gemma Arterton as snarky bitch Gretel is fun to watch. But this is one hot mess of a movie with little or thin plot and cartoonish villains with no backstories other than that they are bad, ugly witches who abducts children, and two protagonists that are as developed as a rock, and I wouldn't watch it again even if I see it on cable.
My Rating: 2/5 - oh and yeah there's butt exposure which is totally irrelevant and out of the blue, which made this movie cheaper than it already is.
BAD TEACHER (2011)Director: Jake Kasdan (Zero Effect, The TV Set)
Starring: Cameron Diaz (Elizabeth), Justin Timberlake (Scott), Jason Segel (Russell), Lucy Punch (Amy Squirrel)
Taglines: "She doesn't give an "F""
I don't give an F as well.
Despite its powerhouse leads, this movie surprisingly lived up to its title, with emphasis on the BAD.
Yes it has its funny moments, and Cameron Diaz as usual is charming even when she's portraying a social climbing, drug using teacher who treats everyone around her as pawns to her own agendas. The things Elizabeth had done just to support her boobjob needs are amusing. Amy Squirrel and Lynn Davies are fun to watch.
But overall, the jokes fell flat, and when the movie ended, I was like really? Lives were ruined around her and she gets away with it? I know it's a comedy and most get away with ludicrous plots, but I just expected better writing, or better whatever..
My Rating: 2.5/5 - This is another example that big Hollywood names doesn't necessarily mean "good movie", but I recommend this one exactly for that reason, coz other than that, I have no other reason why I should - unless you enjoy poorly-executed lewd humor and shallow characters and a weak script.
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