Tears For Fears

As I've recently mentioned, the race is on to cram in a bunch of movies before the year ends. To that end, one of the afternoons this weekend was devoted to chicken strips and a double feature at a friend's house. Now there's an enjoyable combo!

The first movie was one the few horror films I've allowed myself to see lately. I allowed myself to be seduced by The Babadook for several reasons. One: All the critical reviewers I often read and trust were talking it up as being much more than just an everyday screamer. Two: I had been assured that except for brief flashes, the gore level wouldn't be anything I couldn't handle. Three: It stars Essie Davis, an actress I'm doing cartwheels over these days. After making sure I had a handy blanket to hide my face when necessary, we dove in.

It's a fascinating movie, in more ways than one. The reviewers were right: This isn't just a jump-scare movie where monsters leap out and yell "Boo!". It's a lot deeper than that. Davis stars as a single mother with a young, troubled son. Her husband was killed in a car accident that occurred when he was driving her to the delivery room, so of course, her feelings about her kid are all wrapped up in the grief and loss surrounding her husband. It doesn't help that he's a real handful, so her situation is worsened by the complicated feelings of not really liking him.

When she reads a pop-up book ostensibly written for children to her son, they discover that it describes a presence known as Mr. Babadook, who will consume their entire lives if they allow him in. It doesn't take long for the household to devolve into hysteria, but is Mr. Babadook real, or are the events that seem supernatural just a manifestation of loneliness, unhappiness, and sleep deprivation? It's a tense, exciting movie, and one of the rare thrillers that offers a good scare without having to resort to disgusting shock effects.

As soon as the end credits rolled, we jumped straight into Wes Anderson's latest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's gotten stellar reviews, but as with the stellar reviews for Birdman, I find the gushing praise a little overdone. That's not to say I disliked it, though; as with a lot of Anderson's movies, I found it gorgeous in its visuals, and pretty charming to boot.

The story charts the history of the titular hotel and its most devoted concierge, as told by his protege, a young refugee serving as lobby boy. Ralph Fiennes is the one aspect that has not been over-praised; he is absolutely incredible as the concierge whose devotion to service and professionalism earns him valuable friendships worldwide. A battle over a dowager's bequeathment and the threat of world war sends them on a series of adventures. It's a clever movie, and for those who don't enjoy the usual twee nature of Anderson's movies, this one is a lot more straightforward. It didn't quite reach the heights that last year's Moonrise Kingdom did for me, but I will admit that it was very fun and very pretty.

The Babadook: B+
The Grand Budapest Hotel: B


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime