All posts by James

I wish it had been a nightmare

I promised Armand I’d post a review of a Nightmare on Elm Street movie while he was away, and even though he’s now back, I know he’d be upset if I didn’t follow through, so here goes.

I’m a big fan of horror films. I like the actually scary ones (The Shining, The Exorcist, Ringu…) and the gory ones (Hostel, Saw, Braindead…). Recently I decided to watch some horror franchises in order – god only knows why, but I started with Final Destination (1 ok, 2 better, 3 terrible, if anyone’s interested), and then moved on to the Nightmare on Elm Street series. This is my review of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge.

I have a bit of a problem with Freddy Krueger as a character. He’s just not scary. He wears a ridiculous jumper and looks a bit funny more than anything else. I’d only ever seen him in Freddy vs Jason before and in that he is quite clearly a figure of fun, but it turns out that he’s a bit rubbish in his early days too.

This is a terrible film. The first one at least tried to tell a coherent story and explain that Freddy could only hurt people while they were asleep; Freddy’s Revenge seems to completely change Freddy’s powers and doesn’t make the whole dream thing clear at all. The main character is seen taking some tablets to keep him awake, but no effort is made to explain how or why he thinks he should take them.

There’s a half decent bit where Freddy breaks out of the main kid’s body and his fingers split open, but apart from that, avoid.

Sadly, I am going to continue watching all the way up to New Nightmare, and then I might give the Friday the 13th films a go. Wish me luck.

The Oscars

The Academy Awards were two weeks ago. There were absolutely no surprises in the major categories, which is always a little disappointing.

Here’s my take on it, and just to be difficult I’m not going to agree with any of the official winners. Obviously, there are an absolute boat-load of films I haven’t seen, so take it all with a pinch of salt.

I may follow this up with my take on the Razzies, but I have seen Basic Instinct 2 so it might be a little repetitive.

Best Picture

Actual winner: The Departed
My winner: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best picture of the decade so far? Probably.

Best Director

Actual winner: Martin Scorsese for The Departed
My winner: Paul Greengrass for United 93

United 93 is an astonishing film in many ways, but it really is down to Paul Greengrass that it is the film it is. Scorsese should have won years ago, but he doesn’t get it for this one.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Actual winner: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland
My winner: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Departed

An absolutely revelatory performance from the sprout-faced boy. To go from making me want to pour acid into my eyes and ears just to make him go away during Gangs of New York to this certainly deserves some kind of award. I’ve heard Forest does a passable impression of Idi Amin, but I haven’t seen it, so there you go.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Actual winner: Helen Mirren for The Queen
My winner: Ivano Baquero for Pan’s Labyrinth

This one is kind of difficult for me for two reasons – I don’t particularly like actresses generally and I haven’t seen the Queen, Notes on a Scandal, Volver, Little Children or any of the other ‘strong’ female performances of the last twelve months. Pan’s Labyrinth was the only film from the last year I could think of with a major female character, so I went for a child.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Actual winner: Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine
My winner: Mark Wahlberg for The Departed

Another great performance from an actor who has never previously shown any ability to act (remember Planet of the Apes?). The accent is a little odd but apparently it’s meant to be like that.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Actual winner: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls
My winner: Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine

I’ve picked another child. I know I’m not going to be allowed to forget it.