Hello everyone, and welcome to another post on the movies I watched for the first time in the last month. Every month, I will be compiling a mini-review on each of the movies and compare my thoughts with the consensus of the critics, using the movie website Rotten Tomatoes. Easter has come and gone in a flash, and Spring is most definitely here, which means it is time for the April 2022 movie summary.
If you have any recommendations on films you think I will enjoy, or have any feedback for the site in general, please leave a comment in the section at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, the site has recently set up a mailbox, so please feel free to drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I take on board feedback to better the quality of the content that gets put out and the site itself, and any recommendations can help to shape future content and is always greatly appreciated.
Without further ado, here are the films seen for the first time in April 2022 and my thoughts on each:
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins
Runtime: 1h 59m
My Review: This film completely deserves the acclaim from the many who consider it one of the greatest thrillers of all time. Every element plays its part and some completely excel. Sir Anthony Hopkins’ performance as one of the most iconic villains in cinema is nothing short of a triumph, and that Jodie Foster is able to make a huge impression opposite Hopkins as trainee FBI agent Clarice Starling speaks volumes on the strength of her performance. The camerawork has some inspired shots, particularly those from a first-person viewpoint – the best examples of these are in the overwhelmingly tense final showdown and in the scenes which tackle how Clarice is viewed by other officers of the law in this male-dominated world. The focus on small details in place and character compliments the camerawork and gives the whole viewing experience a tense and claustrophobic feel. Thirty years have passed since its release, and I know that this film will continue to unnerve and terrify audiences for many years to come.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Critics Consensus (Rotten Tomatoes): Director Jonathan Demme’s smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Tomatometer (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (Fresh)
Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard
Runtime: 1h 31m
My Review: This film, a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, is an easy and mostly enjoyable viewing experience, that manages to breeze through its 90 minute runtime. The production design team behind the movie has done a brilliant job with both the stunningly detailed glass house, that the majority of the film takes place in, and the titular ghosts themselves, who each have a unique yet terrifying presence. I love how much detail the writers put into the backstories of each ghost, even dedicating an entire section of the DVD’s special features to them, and it is these ghosts which have had the most staying power and memorability as the years have gone on. There are problems with the film, most notably that the human characters fall flat next to the level of detail put into the characterisation of the ghosts, that the middle third is essentially characters getting lost and walking along similar looking corridors, and that parts of the script are, despite the best efforts of the likes of Matthew Lillard and Rah Digga, mediocre and ham-fisted. However, if you are looking for an easy to watch horror movie with plenty of background lore and visual delights, this is definitely one to watch.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐½
Critics Consensus (Rotten Tomatoes): The production design is first-rate, but 13 Ghosts is distinctly lacking in scares.
Tomatometer (Rotten Tomatoes): 17% (Rotten)
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Zhang Ziyi, Lou Taylor Pucci
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Runtime: 1h 30m
My Review: The premise alone had great potential, with a series of bodies and body parts being discovered across a city, each one surrounded on four sides by the words “come and see”, and revealed to be offering from those who believe themselves to be the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. However, the filmmakers try to cram in as many elements in a ninety minute movie, including the impact of grief on a broken family unit and references to a mysterious web forum that links thousands around the world. No one direction is prioritised, so the family scenes feel like filler, the biblical element to the murders is barely scratched upon, crime scene evidence is mentioned but does not lead to anything, and the climax leaves you with far more questions than answers. Even with the intriguing premise, this film feels like an average and pale imitation of crime thrillers that manage to both emotionally engage and provide a well considered and written mystery.
My Rating: ⭐⭐½
Top Critic Summary (Rotten Tomatoes): Riding in on the four ponies currently plaguing the Hollywood horror-thriller — overstylized torture, whiplash editing, compulsive script reversals and crude neon lighting — Horsemen brings its herd home to pasture in strictly predictable fashion.
Tomatometer (Rotten Tomatoes): 33% (Rotten)
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I wish you a great rest of your day.