Friday, October 23, 2015

crimson peak: gothic, romance, creepy, lush, wonderful ...

Film is a visual medium. Not every movie takes that feature to the absolute, ultimate limit, but Guillermo del Toro's latest, Crimson Peak, does. And then some. Del Toro loves movies and pop culture, and there are film and literary references galore: Hammer horror, Vincent Price and Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe-based films, Alfred Hitchcock's version of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, Henry James and The Turn of the Screw, and even earlier del Toro films like Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy.

Crimson Peak is a gothic romance, with a whisper-thin plot and twists that even the most unobservant viewer should spot coming a long way away. But none of that matters. The movie is a feast for the eyes — from gorgeous set design to costumes to actors to effects. Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the film is that for a ghost movie, the spirits are maybe the least impactful aspect of the story. They may try to guide the heroine Edith to discover hidden secrets and horrors, but it is her own bravery, intelligence, and capacity to love that carries her through.

A quick word about the gore. I'm no fan of excess blood and violence and how it seems to be de riguer for our best films and television of late, but that is a topic for another time. I steeled myself to wade through buckets of blood in Crimson Peak, and I was surprised by how the violence was depicted. I won't lie — the blood definitely flows — but the violence is rapid, brutal, and serves the story. I didn't enjoy it, and have to admit to covering my eyes and looking away a few times, but it was, considering the rest of the film's visual excess, fairly contained. And more horrific when it happened. Del Toro has said in interviews that he wanted to serve up not a horror film, but a gothic romance, for adults. He did. And a creepy, beautiful one.

You can't blame aspiring author Edith (Mia Wasikowska). Who wouldn't fall for the charming Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston)?

Oh darling, did I forget to mention I live in one of the spookiest homes in England?

And have you met my sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain)?

Friday, October 02, 2015

waking up at the nursing home ...

When I arrived, Mom was sleeping soundly.


Victor Mature and Betty Grable were the feature item, in "I Wake Up Screaming."



It's film noir, so Elisha Cook, Jr. was on hand too, of course.


Happily, Mom woke up smiling : )


And it was smiles all around.