A deathly perspective.

So I started writing this particular review about two months ago when I actually went and saw the film but for whatever reason, (let’s call it “self imposed creative stuck-in-the-mud syndrome”) I didn’t publish it. It’s only a short one but here goes anyway.

I have a confession to make: I haven’t read the book. Usually I’m one of those people that will refuse to see the film adaptation of a book until I’ve finished reading it but I really couldn’t stop myself this time. I saw Brian Percival’s rendition of Australian novelist Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (2014) about two weeks ago (now two months) and am still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it. The film itself is, in my humble opinion, Oscar worthy for a hundred different reasons – the performances given by the actors were captivating, the cinematography was expertly executed and the costuming was superbly put together. Geoffrey Rush, as always, gave a performance that was nothing short of perfection and I wasn’t able to tear my eyes away from newcomer Sophie Nelisse, who plays the film’s protagonist Liesel. There was just something so innocent yet slightly haunting about the character as well as in the performance given by Nelisse.

Now not having read the book prior to seeing the film, I didn’t know much about the story aside from what I could glean from the trailers but I was totally engrossed. The entire film is narrated by Death and there’s just something so eloquent and interesting in what Death has to say. Like God, Death is omniscient and so has a greater perspective on death and indeed, on life. I think that the opening lines to the film really say it all. Death says “Here is a small fact: You are going to die.” Simple and to the point but alas, I’ve become distracted.

The Book Thief (2014) as a film has been brilliantly and expertly put together to create something that is both intensely emotional but also educational. Being one who hasn’t done a whole lot of study on a period of time that has so epically changed the modern world, I discovered a new side to Nazi-Germany and those who suffered through it. I have a new and deep respect for those German families who risked their lives to hide those who were being persecuted. I think that the film’s tagline “Courage beyond words” is supremely apt in the telling of this story so if you haven’t already, please go and see this film and read the book. You’ll be surprised by it.


Another reason why vampire’s suck.


So it’s been an age since I last published a post and seeing as I went to the movies last night, this review is as good as any to post. WARNING: There may or may not being some harsh and potentially foul language from here on in. Just saying.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!! Now I love a good vampire movie as much as the next girl (*sigh* Edward) but what I witnessed last night was possibly the most ridiculous, horrendous and atrocious perversion of the genre that I’ve ever come across. The film, Vampire Academy (2014), is based on a series of bestselling novels written by Richelle Mead and is what I can only begin to describe as an almost incoherent retelling of forbidden love, treachery, danger and blood-sucking teenagers. Sure the locale (a private “vampire” school called St. Vladimir’s Academy), characters (Rose, Lissa, Dimitri and Christian) and categories of vampire (dhamphir, moroi and strigoi), are all new but the film is just plain pathetic and if I were Richelle Mead, I’d be pissed. I haven’t even read the books but I can assume that they’re better written and put together than this entire film. The film’s director, Mark Waters, hacked, shredded and tore the throat out of an otherwise good narrative with a new take on teenage vampire stories. I mean sure, Waters tried but despite what I’m sure were good intentions, the whole thing is just a fucking mess.

I must admit, I didn’t have high hopes when going into the movie theatre but then Vampire Academy (2014) began and I thought “You know what, this might not be so bad.” I don’t think I’ve ever been so hugely, incredibly and massively wrong in my life. The film leaps, bounds and jumps from one genre to another without even flinching and without an ounce of subtlety or grace. One minute it’s a fast-paced action film with explosions and acrobatic, well-rehearsed fight scenes, the next a D grade attempt at witty one-liners and dry American romantic humour and just when you think that you’re brain is about to explode into a pink spray on the back of your chair, elements of a horror film encroach on your viewing “pleasure”. It’s like the director, producers, writers, actors and pretty much anyone else involved all had different ideas about the kind of film this should be and none of them achieved synergy. Not even a little bit. Seriously. I find it absolutely incomprehensible that at some point during the editing process Waters or one of his executive producers didn’t take a moment, look at what they’ve produced and say to themselves, “Let’s just take it back a notch and re-focus because this is a piece of shit.”

Now not all the blame should fall on Waters’ shoulders. He needs to own about 96% of the blame, 2% needs to go to the executive producers and the remaining 2% needs to be hoisted onto the shoulders of pretty much every actor and actress involved. Overall, the epitome of the cringe-worthy and tear-my-hair-out performances goes to the character of Dimitri, played by Danila Kozlovsky (a Russian-born hottie), simply because he’s a complete and utter creeper. There really is no better descriptor. I mean, the man-actor is a good enough looking guy under normal circumstances but for some unknown and bizarre reason, the film turns him into a short, Russian-30-something-year-old gymnast with creepy, sweaty mid-length hair that makes my stomach squirm and me want to hide under my bed and pray to god that he doesn’t find me. Sure he probably isn’t the worst Russian-fighter-mentor-protector-type guy, but man, he’s up there with the best of them. Mills and Boon writers would be so proud.

At this point, I’d also like to just give an honourable mention to Lucy Fry. She plays Lissa Dragomir, an obsessive-revengy-power hungry-princess-vampire-orphan, who, in the final moments of the film, gives an Oscar worthy performance and speech that triumphs over those who have pitted against her. I mean the attempt at crying alone was enough to make me want to gouge my own eyes out and eat them with a side of bacon. Would it have killed them to give her some water to splash on her face or something so she looks even a little bit credible? Jesus fucking christ.

All in all, I really don’t recommend that you see this film but I suppose that if you feel like you must, be warned – you will encounter weird, girlish laughing because with this film, all you can do is laugh. There really aren’t any words that can truly capture my personal horror. However much like in the conclusion of the film, I’ll leave you with this threat: If you think this one was bad, just wait… Vampire Academy 2 is coming to a movie theatre near you.