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Movie Review: Hereafter (2010) February 14, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews, Paranormal, Reviews.
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4 comments

Sure, Invictus was just okay, but it seems to me old Clint Eastwood can do no wrong these days.  There is a quiet confidence in his approach, a lovely subtlety in his pacing and pauses.  And no matter what, he manages to evoke powerful, genuine emotional responses from his audiences (I mean, come on — Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, Changeling, Gran Torino…).

Eastwood’s latest effort, Hereafter, is no different.  It’s a dangerous project because, as the title suggests, the film is about death and what comes after, which makes it prone to soppy melodrama and manipulation.  And of course, the afterlife is a topic often subject to ridicule and parody, so there’s the additional hurdle of keeping the film serious without tipping it over the edge.

Somehow, some way, Eastwood delivers.  Pound-for-pound, Hereafter is perhaps not one of Eastwood’s greatest films, but it’s certainly one of his better ones — and it holds great potential to be one of his most popular films.

It tells three separate stories about three different characters — Marie (Cecile de France), a well-known French television journalist; George (Matt Damon), an American factory worker who just gave up on his old job; and Marcus (Frankie McLaren), a British boy with an older twin brother and a crackhead mother.  I won’t say much more than that except that each of their lives is touched by death and what lies beyond.

Perhaps it’s just my fascination with the film’s themes and/or my appreciation for Eastwood’s direction, but I was totally engrossed by Hereafter from start to finish.  Sceptics might have a natural bias against the film because it lays quite a lot out on the table (similar to say atheists towards The Passion of the Christ or fundamentalist Christians towards The Da Vinci Code — even though it’s fiction), but those who keep an open mind will find it hard not to be moved by at least one of the three stories in the film.  It’s a shame that many people will simply scoff at this film because of its subject matter and try to discredit it on other grounds.  I’m just glad religion played an almost non-existent role in all of this.

Anyway, I loved it.  Eastwood butchered the ending in my opinion with a pointless sequence but apart from that I found it beautiful, absorbing, poignant, and ultimately very satisfying.

4.5 stars out of 5

The Haunting in Connecticut – Fact or Fiction? April 10, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews, Paranormal.
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15 comments
haunting_in_connecticut_ver22

Just how much of it is true?

Yesterday I watched the ‘based on the true story’ film The Haunting in Connecticut.

First, a short review

To be honest, despite the poor reviews the film was received, it wasn’t all that bad.  It was just average, and for a supernatural horror film, ‘average’ is pretty good these days.  In my opinion, it was one of those rare horror films that actually got better as it progressed.  In the first half or so, the attempted scares were your stock standard ‘boo’ moments and the bloody, visceral shocks you’d expect to see in any regular PG-13 horror.  I don’t know why, but for some reason I found myself actually frightened a few times in the second half, and that’s a rarity for me nowadays.  I even forgot how insanely and ridiculously stupid and non-sensical (even within the confines of the film’s own logic) everything was.  And for that,  3 out of 5 stars!

Fact or Fiction?

After I got home, I started wondering just how much of the film was really ‘based’ on the true story?  Was it even a true story to begin with?  Which characters existed and what parts of the film actually happened in real life?

And so I turned to the trusty old Internets for some answers.  The results were…interesting.

(Read the rest of the true story by clicking on ‘More…’!)

(more…)

Seven Degrees…thing… March 2, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Uncategorized.
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Just a quick one.  It’s been a while since I was tagged by Digital Dame for this Seven Degrees of Separation thing.  I’m ashamed to admit I still don’t know enough bloggers to pass the baton to, but nevertheless, here are 7 random facts about me.

1. I have a deep fascination in the supernatural and things we can’t explain, like ghosts, the afterlife, and UFOs.  Despite not having any personal experience with any of them (though I have read extensively and know people who have had experiences), I believe all three exist, especially the first two.  I have been struggling with religion for years (still am) and I consider myself an agnostic theist.  At least for now.

2. I am a huge, massive, enormous movie buff.  I watch around 3-4 movies a week per week during my studies, and averaged at least 1-2 even when I was working crazy hours.  I try not to discriminate between genres – I just like to enjoy good movies and even the occasional guilty pleasure.

3. I don’t drink alcohol.  Don’t mind a tiny sip at formal functions but if I had a choice I wouldn’t drink at all.  The reason: I simply don’t like the taste, and frankly I don’t understand all the fuss.

4. I can speak and read four languages at varying levels of fluency (the threshold being that I can carry on a normal conversation with it).

5. I write, eat and play racquet sports (and bowling) with my right hand but in all other sports I favour my left.  This could be the result of me being born left-handed but taught how to do most things with my right.

6. I’ve learnt various musical instruments throughout my childhood and a small part of my adult life – piano, recorder, violin and guitar.  I can’t play any of them.  In fact, I was so bad at the violin that I was encouraged to quit.

7. I love Japan – in particular the food, the cool technology and the wacky culture.  I’ve been there at least six times (I think) and I’ve even lived there for six months (where I met my wife, who was also on exchange over there at the time).

And there you have it.

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