My Ranking for 2014 Movies Caught in Theatres

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday

Hello there everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve made any other post apart from an update.

Today I’ll be going through the movies that I’ve watched in theatres for 2014 and will be ranking them from best to worst.

Take note that these are the movies that I’ve only watched up till now. So this means it may not contain your favourites and may miss out some great movies because I never watched them yet (since they are coming out in December). Also, take note that even though a movie may be at the bottom, it doesn’t mean that I regard them as the worse movies ever – after all I did take the time to actually go see them instead of a handful of others. And the ones that are at the bottom of my list are usually ones that I was dragged along to watch.

So, without much ado, here is the gallery of the movies watched (sorted in the order I watched them in) and a ranking of them. Enjoy.

  1. Big Hero 6 ♥ 
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy 
  3. Edge of Tomorrow 
  4. The Lego Movie ♥  
  5. How to Train Your Dragon 2 
  6. The Fault in Our Stars
  7. Mockingjay – Part 1 
  8. The Maze Runner
  9. The One-Hundred Foot Journey 
  10. The Wolf of Wall Street 
  11. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 
  12. The Book of Life
  13. Mr. Peabody and Sherman 
  14. X-Men Days of Future Past 
  15. Penguins of Madagascar
  16. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
  17. Annabelle
  18. Non-Stop
  19. Divergent 
  20. Dracula Untold
 ♥ Movies I watched in theatres twice

So, are there any movies you caught in 2014 that you think I should catch and deserve to be at the top of the list?

The next list I’ll be ranking are movies I managed to catch this year that weren’t in theatres. 🙂

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

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Annabelle Movie Review

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday

Annabelle-Movie-Poster

Credits go to thereelword.net

The movie, Annabelle, is loosely based – or more like inspired – by the true story of the Raggedy Ann Doll, Annabelle.

The true story can be seen here: a mother gave her daughter, a nursing student, Donna, a doll (the initial story given in The Conjuring) that kept shifting positions in her tiny apartment and this happened for around a year before paranormal researchers, Ed and Lorraine Warren encased it in their Occult Museum.

In the beginning of Annabelle, we return to the scene (which was initially seen in The Conjuring) telling the tale of how the doll moved about.

Having watched The Conjuring, I went into the cinema expecting pretty much the same amount of innovative cinematically creepy moments from Annabelle. The first few establishing shots did not disappoint, providing a backstory of how dolls are often iconic of demonic possession. The tone of the movie definitely gave the impression that we, as audience members, would be taken on a wild ride.

The film itself largely revolves around the fictional origins of Annabelle. It centres on a married couple, John and Mia (the actress of Mia looks so much like Dianna Argon and – shockingly – is coincidentally named Annabelle). Mia is pregnant and expecting a little girl. Her penchants include sewing machines and collecting porcelain dolls.

I will just proceed to share the premise of the story – minimal to no spoilers revealed.

John, out of good intention, gets Mia a new doll, which she is delighted to include in her collection. However, that night, a surprise cult attack takes place at their house and the house next to them. A man and his daughter, Annabelle, commit murder to their neighbours and proceeds to enter John and Mia’s house. The man stabs Mia in her pregnant belly.

Annabelle

Credits go to moviefone.com

The couple luckily survive when the police intervene and shoot the man. Unfortunately, the daughter, Annabelle, commits suicide in Mia’s baby’s room. There she leaves a demonic symbol and bleeds upon Mia’s new doll, which she hugs close to her body.

After that, the hauntings begin.

Personally I found the initial few scares alright. The juxtaposition of the sound of the sewing machine and the old television screen were perfect tense moments. However as the movie progressed, I found the bigger scares lacklustre. Compared to its older counterpart, The ConjuringAnnabelle disappoints and leaves a lot to be desired. Many scenes appear more laughable than terrifying and the climaxes were often times anti-climatic.

The tension falls faster than it rises, while The Conjuring moves like a succession of well-mastered and on-point horror, Annabelle had too many scenes left to breathe and often times scenes that led up to nothing. It fell back on many cliches.

The film worked best when the writers tapped on the “child-like” play horror of the doll, e.g. a crayon rolling on the ground, children drawings and laughter. But the moment when evil manifested itself as a tangible being, any imaginable fear plateaued.

Final verdict? 6/10. Would not watch in cinema on opening night. Would probably rent for Halloween. Couple Halloween outfit idea: Chucky and Annabelle on a play date. That would freak people out.

Till next time!

Cumuloq ❤

30 Things Wrong with The Giver trailer

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday


After finishing off The Giver (the book) today I realised, with absolute indignation, how different the new Hollywood movie trailer is from it. And how I would so much more prefer if they stayed true to the book. ‘Cause the book has a lot of beauty in its simplicity. And no one needs another comparison to The Hunger Games. So I decided to list off all the things wrong with it:

  1. Jonas is supposed to be twelve. This is the most obvious thing about it. Can Hollywood not take a movie and put in pretty looking teenagers and call it a day?
  2. His eyes are supposed to be blue. If you’re going to get an actor that looks like he can barely act, at least make his eye colour right.
  3. The Giver’s eyes are supposed to be blue. Again, same thing.
  4. The houses, the bikes and the society as a whole aren’t meant to look modern.
  5. The film really shouldn’t have so much colour in it.
  6. There was never a “morning injection”.
  7. Jonas was never rebellious, even after getting all the memories.
  8. They always knew that their family unit consisted of “parents” who never gave birth to them, but they were always okay with this.
  9. Hence, Jonas and Asher has no reason to be stunned by this.
  10. Jonas never talks to Asher about rebelling against society.
  11. Jonas never asked to go fly a plane to the edge of the community.
  12. Jonas never spoke to Fiona about the morning injections (about skipping them), or anything against societal rules.
  13. He wasn’t even very close to Fiona.
  14. Therefore he definitely did not end up kissing her.
  15. Fiona is an important character – but nowhere near as important as the trailer suggests.
  16. Jonas never even had to subtly pretend that he did not take injections – his rules gave him the ability to.
  17. Asher does not end up a pilot.
  18. He definitely does not get asked by the Chief Elder to hunt down Jonas.
  19. The “edge of the world” is not supposed to be a thing – there’s only supposed to be a river at the end of their community and then other communities.
  20. The Giver does not live in a random house at the edge of the community – he stays at the annex near the house for the Old.
  21. Jonas is supposed to be lying face down when he receives the memories.
  22. The Giver should definitely look older.
  23. The Giver never gives Jonas the memory of music.
  24. The Chief Elder was never a “resistant” figure or enemy to Jonas.
  25. We never even hear much from her or the elders about the society.
  26. If anything the entire community and the elders are supposed to be oblivious and ignorant, not purposefully hiding the rest of the community from how it is ordered.
  27. Fiona will never get “released”.
  28. There is technically no sign of hostility in the community in the book at all.
  29. Jonas does not get “beamed up” into a plane.
  30. He definitely does not fall down a waterfall.

And, to add on to all these things that are incongruent to the novel, I need to also say that I absolutely hate trailers that basically summarise the entire movie in it – including parts that are supposed to be spoilers. So if you came here and read this list and thought I spoilt it for you, no I really really did not. Everything I mentioned here is in the trailer itself.

Still, at the end of the day I’m going to watch it, to see whether this adaptation is a worthy story in itself.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DMC Day 30: Your favourite movie

Welcome back everyone and this is it; the last post of the 30 Day Movie Challenge. And I am so glad to have once again gotten through it with Rhey of Sunshine. Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

My favourite movie of all time is …

El Laberinto Del Fauno or Pan’s Labyrinth

Pans-LabyrinthThis dark fantasy film is directed and written by another one of my favourite writers, Guillermo del Toro, and tells the tale of Ofelia during the Spanish Civil War. Her pregnant mother and her move in with their stepfather, the Captain Vidal, a stern and imposing man to Ofelia.

The film interweaves this harsh, cold reality with the strange fairytale world Ofelia begins to interact with. Her quest in the mystical world leads her into a labyrinth where she meets a faun who addresses her as Princess Moanna and makes her complete three tasks before the full moon to test her mettle as a princess.

I personally adore this film because of its narrative first and foremost. I personally love the themes that surround it – a darker world which I child must cope with and the terrifying yet absolutely fascinating world she creates in its place. Ofelia, to me, is the perfect protagonist with so many flaws in her character, yet an admirable determination to be brave and do something good. Ivana Baquero plays her so beautifully.

For those who love such movies as Spirited Away, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia or CoralinePan’s Labyrinth is a more mature version of these films with darker undertones with the creatures Ofelia interacts with.

Pan’s Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.” – Rotten Tomatoes

Pans-Labyrinth2Which is another reason why I love this film: the bone-chilling yet absolutely gorgeous creatures designed in this film. It is no wonder it won an Academy Award for Best Makeup. One of the most terrifying scenes in the film comes in the lair of the Pale Man, a monster that feasts on children, whose eyes are situated in the palm of his hands. Ofelia is meant to retrieve a dagger from his lair and is told not to eat anything from his lair.

Of course, not to spoil anything, but you can imagine how frustrating Ofelia is in this situation – but without her obstinance there would be no morals set upon the audience, i.e. never eat anything around a creepy dude with saggy skin (not really, but the usual moral is too boring for me to spell it out).

Pans-Labyrinth3Another reason why I love the film is the music by Javier Navarrete, which was also nominated for an Academy Award. The score is entirely structured around a lullaby which Mercedes, Vidal’s housekeeper, sung in the film. The lullaby itself is haunting – a piece that is both soothing and ominous (mirroring the film’s atmosphere itself). To me, it sort of parodies the typical lullabies for children, ones that we find comforting when young, but which we often see in a different light as adults, in the dark, hummed by a stranger. Personally I hum this every now and then ’cause it is just that wonderful.

Personally, I also love the movie ’cause the ending is perfect for me. Often times you watch a film and the set-up is amazing, heck the climax is great, but the ending sort of leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Pan’s Labyrinth proves itself as my favourite because of the way it ends, both tragically and triumphantly, and with so much significant meaning.

I have watched this film maybe three or four times with different audiences just to garner their reactions towards it, especially during the scene of the Pale Man, as many horrific reactions are garnered from just that one scene. Plus, the entire world is filled with beautiful imagery, enough to just keep one staring at it. But, at the end of the day, I love this film the most because, above all things, it is about the storytelling (that del Toro is so brilliant at):

Pan: A long time ago, in the underground realm, where there are no lies or pain, there lived a Princess who dreamed of the human world. She dreamed of blue skies, soft breeze, and sunshine. One day, eluding her keepers, the Princess escaped. Once outside, the brightness blinded her and erased every trace of the past from her memory. She forgot who she was and where she came from. Her body suffered cold, sickness, and pain. Eventually, she died. However, her father, the King, always knew that the Princess’ soul would return, perhaps in another body, in another place, at another time. And he would wait for her, until he drew his last breath, until the world stopped turning…

And, there it is, the last post of the 30 Day Movie Challenge. Stay tuned for a recap of it like I did for the 30 Day Book Challenge. Most likely for those that I picked more than one, I’ll just mention the one that stood out the most for me. But for now, my blog will continue as usual with the occasional posts until a new challenge arises. 🙂

Till then!

cumuloq ❤

30DMC Day 29: Your least favourite movie

Hello there everyone,

I can’t actually fully comprehend that this is the second last post for this 30 Day Movie Challenge. Unlike the 30 Day Book Challenge, which I was able to more closely monitor ’cause it was normal working days, the 30DMC was a lot more difficult for me to keep track of – June holidays going on, odd waking up hours, other movies to watch and things to do. I’m personally very thankful that my worry wart nature has me scheduling posts a day ahead in case I miss one. (My internet was done all yesterday.)

Any who, let’s get on to my least favourite movie …

Epic Movie 

Epic-MovieOh. Wow. Another parody movie. And this time they try to squeeze in as many references as possible from “epic” styled (is that even a style?) films and this includes The Da Vinci Code, Nacho Libre, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Snakes on a Plane, The Chronicles of Narnia, Superman Returns, X-Men, Click, Harold and Kumar, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Casino Royale, The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift, Harry Potter, Rocky, Punk’d, American Pie, Talladega Nights and Mission Impossible. 

Frankly, it is stupid to even try to summarise the film – ’cause it is a whole load of plots put together that ultimately make no sense. I shall just quote Radio Times:

“There’s very little that’s epic about this senseless parody, but then there’s very little that’s funny about it, either… It’s mind-numbingly, tediously unamusing and is so devoid of imagination it even parodies self-mocking films.”

The reason why this movie gets me exceptionally sore is that I went in to the cinema with my brother to watch this (since there was nothing else to watch and at least some of those parody movies were bearable and decent enough) and I believe it was the first movie I’ve ever been to that I’d wanted my money back – just ’cause of the movie itself. And probably the first movie I thought of walking out from except that it cost my money to watch it.

Worst of all (I have a feeling I’ve written this post before, probably in my other blog) there were children in there. A whole lot of families! ‘Cause I think it was Children’s Day and there really wasn’t anything else to watch in the cinema.

Epic-Movie2Now, if you don’t know, let me inform you here, this film is filled with innuendos and, while it is a parody, it is just stuffed with incredibly terrible influences on young minds – women getting bitch slapped and taking off their clothes for no reason, grown men acting like absolute imbeciles and just foul-mouthing everywhere. So I was so surprised how parents could just bring their kids into that cinema – what did they expect besides crude humour? And what were the staff thinking even handing the tickets over to the parents? “Enjoy the show! You’re kids are going to be scarred for life!”

Furthermore, (and yes I’m not done with this rant), it debuted number one at the box office! Like, how? This practically gives these terrible writers a green light to make more of these kinds of movies ’cause they’re making money from it (and you can bet that they definitely did, ’cause a lot more other crappy movies came out from this, including Vampires Suck – which was my runner-up to this category).

All of this is money that can be better spent through charity or legitimate humanitarian efforts for lesser developed countries – you know, actually making the lesser fortunate smile and laugh. ‘Cause trust me, throughout this movie, the only reason why you’ll laugh is ’cause you feel sorry for the jokes and actors in it. For a comedy, the audience was incredibly silent. I wanted to like the movie (’cause I spent money on it) but there was literally nothing tickling about the “jokes” told.

Others will agree with my choice here, Rotten Tomatoes has this movie ranked as the 21st in the 100 worst reviewed films of 2000s with a rating of 2%. And at the 28th Golden Raspberry (Razzies) Awards, the writers were nominated for the “Worst Screenplay”.

Well, I think I’m done here. Once again, check out Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog for her take on this challenge. Tomorrow will be our last day of it, our favourite movie!

Till then!

cumuloq ❤

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Review

Ocean-At-The-End-Of-The-Lane

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Hardcover: 181 pages

GoodReads rating: 4.01
Personal rating: 4 out of 5 stars

On Wednesday, what I first intended to be me returning a book (The Death Cure by James Dashner) to the library, ended up with me, like the unnamed (I only realised this after googling the book – I hadn’t realised it throughout the book that the narrator was not named) narrator of Gaiman’s novel, unknowingly yet almost deliberately hovering towards the adult section to pick up the only (shameful) Neil Gaiman novel that stood on the lower rungs of the shelf, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

I’ll frankly admit here that this is the first Gaiman novel I’ve picked up. The only exposure I (knowingly) have had before reading this novel was watching the films Stardust and Coraline – and that’s almost like picking second-hand scraps from an author’s writings.

That day, I had time to kill, so I went up to the second floor of the library, where a quiet reading section lay behind walls of glass, as though readers here were extinct animals put up on exhibition, and chose a seat that looked over at the trees and grass that sat behind the library. Honestly, I chose it ’cause the sun was nicely warming that area and I knew I would get cold after a while of reading. I then started, like every other reader does, on the first sentence.

I really did not know what to expect, having both never read Gaiman’s books and having read from the young adult section rather than the adult section for a long time. And I almost felt sheepish at having expected a “grown-up” book. Actually, these lines in the book suited my sentiments while reading it exactly (most likely purposefully so):

“I wondered if that was true: if they were all really children wrapped up in adult bodies, like children’s books hidden in the middle of dull, long adult books, the kind with no pictures or conversations.”

If anything, the novel (expectedly so) had the same stylistics and plot devices as Coraline did – a blur between the lines of imagination and reality, a display of how a child’s world is both real and unreal and how stories traverse the boundaries between the two.

Summarising the plot, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about an unnamed narrator who revisits his childhood neighbourhood. He decides to pay a visit to a particular lane where, at the end of it, is a pond, a pond which a childhood friend named Lettie used to call an “ocean”. There, he recalls memories of himself as a seven-year-old boy, memories he had not previously remembered and a story which I found more fascinating than haunting, though there are undertones of suicide, attempted homicides, and sexual affairs mingled among the magic.

When it came out, the book debuted at number one on The New York Times best seller list and last year was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. It was also GoodReads’ Choice 2013 Winner.

Personally, I loved this story, otherwise I probably would not be writing a review of it. I usually only write reviews of books that I am inspired by. If I had read it during the time of the 30 Day Book Challenge, I probably would have chosen the unnamed narrator as my most relatable character, who buried himself in books of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland, who tried to understand the world around him through the books he read:

“Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.”

and

“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”

I really never expected a seven-year-old boy to speak so many truths about how I see the world. But Gaiman captured perfectly in words how I felt about myself as an individual and how I also saw other human beings:

“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

I relate so much to this quote ’cause I’ve understood for a long time that I will always be that nine-year-old self I was – as if that part of me is the smooth pebble stone and, accumulated over the years, is a thick layer of debris – the debris being culturally-imposed ideals and expectations and burdens – but underneath all that debris, I’m still a small smooth pebble.

So, what did I overall think of the novel? Let’s say I loved the first half of it thoroughly. I loved when Lettie took the narrator out into the fields and woods and the entire “worm hole” part. I loved (and hated) the moment when Ursula turned up to take care of the narrator and his sister – it felt like Matilda trapped in the house of Miss Trunchball.

However, I can’t really say that I liked Ursula’s true form, of the fabric with torn eyes, or her hovering in the sky – I felt less terrified than the seven-year-old narrator during those confrontational scenes. Maybe it’s because Gaiman does not give me enough palpable descriptions of her, or my imagination for horror is not as it used to be.

Also, the entire novel creates a lot of suspense and mystery towards what the “varmint”s were – and I kind of found myself less than terrified of them than I was of Ursula. So, because of these reasons I suppose, I preferred the first half of the novel to the second half. The ending however, was quite perfect. It tied the book together in a nice little string bow. It was especially perfect ’cause I turned to the next page, where the acknowledgment section lay, and read this line: “This book is the book you have just read. It’s done. Now we’re in the acknowledgments. This is not really part of the book. You do not have to read it. It’s mostly just names.” Actually, this line made me smile like a goofy idiot in the middle of the library.

At the end of the day, I say definitely give the novel a shot, especially if you’ve watched Coraline and found the narrative of that film captivating. And especially if you need some form of escapism. This book gave me a journey in the four hours I spent reading it. The writing is gorgeous and Gaiman understands a child’s mind so well – how things that cannot be understood are given different forms and names, and how sometimes a parent’s disapproval is more terrifying than the monsters a child creates in his or her own imagination.

Otherwise, if you are not a book person, I’m sure you’ll only have to wait a year or two for it to be made into a film, as it is currently in development in becoming one thanks to Focus Features, which bought the rights to the novel earlier last year. Personally, I can’t wait to see how Ursula and the varmint translate on screen. I personally hope they are more terrifying.

Also, let me know what Gaiman novels you suggest I read next! Or if there are any novels that are similar that are worth reading. For now, I’ve picked up Ann Leckie’s Ancilliary Justice from the library and that is my current novel.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DMC Companion: Survival Horror Video Games

Hi guys!

So this is a companion to today’s 30 Day Movie Challenge. ‘Cause I feel it necessary to say this: to me, horror films are in no comparison to a good scary video game. And I would much rather watch a gameplay of a horror video game than a horror movie – or more like I’m more terrified to watch a horror video game than a movie.

Amnesia-The-Dark-Descent

Amnesia tests players stealth abilities … and Daniel, the protagonist’s, sanity

Video games like Resident Evil, Dead SpaceSilent Hill, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Slender and Outlast have moments in them that are far more chilling than some of the best movies I’ve watched.

I’m currently watching the Game Grumps play DreadOut (an Indonesian survival horror video game) at the moment. It follows a student, Linda who is locked in an abandoned school building, she must explore the building, taking photos of ghosts and uncover the story behind the building. This game hits close to home, ’cause of the Indonesian mythology behind it. Somehow it felt like I was in on the joke when I could read the Indonesian markings on the wall.

I think what makes horror survival video games more terrifying is that, unlike in films where you’re passively watching, where your fatality is not at risk (unless a jump scare gives you a heart attack), video games is the opposite.

Outlast

Outlast is set in a dilapidated psychiatric hospital

Putting yourself in first or third person position puts you in charge of a protagonist whom you stand responsible for for the duration of the game. They also often put you in the position of vulnerability – you cannot attack, you must run and hide and avoid. The lack of agency lends to the realism of the situation – the monster, the ghost, the predator will always be stronger than you, and the video game is not shy in letting you know this. You’re often dead within the first two hits, unlike shooter games that sometimes unrealistically give you five or six tries at shooting back before you’re dead.

Resident-Evil

The classic Resident Evil zombie

Also, one thing I’ve grown to love about video game horror as opposed to some cliched horror, slasher films, is the elaborate and detailed plots, the intricate details to the storyline. And I became of this growing awareness while I was watching my brother play Resident Evil 6 – agreed, not one of the best in the series (some may argue the worst) but still laden with metaphors and symbolisms in terms of the mutations in the storyline. In fact, I wrote and analysed this in my own final year paper in university, so yes, I was a lot more than just fascinated.

So, at the end of the day, I would say go check out the game plays, if you’d rather not play one yourself. Or, I would suggest going on Steam and trying out one of them. Especially if sales are on and its going for an extremely low price (summer sale on now *hint hint*):

  1. Dead Space
  2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  3. Slender: The Arrival
  4. Outlast

Maybe I can convert some of you guys from horror movie fans to horror video game fans.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤