Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Written by Laeta Kalogridis, Steven Knight, Dennis Lehane

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Synopsis: U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) travel to an island prison to investigate a prisoner who has escaped and is presumed to be hiding on the island.

Shutter Island- She said

There isn’t much I can say about Shutter Island. That’s mainly because I don’t want to spoiler the movie, so this review is going to be really difficult. All the praise and problems I had with the movie will cause me to go into spoiler territory. However, the movie will lose its magic and awesomeness if I do that. So, alas, I am at a crossroads. I will say that the previews for Shutter Island are kind of misleading. Yes, it is a thriller, but the previews paint it more as a horror movie, and it’s more suspenseful if anything.

Everyone in this movie is in fine form. Obviously DiCaprio, Ruffalo, Kingsley are all amazing, but I was more intrigued with all the other mental patients on the island. All of these actors were so engrossed in their roles that it added to the eerie ambiance of the mystery. You never knew if these patients were telling the truth when they were talking to DiCaprio’s character or if their “mental state” was getting the way and they were lying. This adds so much depth to the mystery…who’s telling the truth and what should I believe and am I crazy?? The mood in the movie is so tense you’re expecting some new twist around every corner. Everyone on the island brings a sense of dysfunction and uncertainty, even the doctors and orderlies. They subtle nuances about them that make you wonder what their motives are.

I also loved the fact that everything in this movie is connected. Everything comes full circle by the end. The movie is so well made that it never had to have flashbacks of “clues” because you remembered all the clues. There were some parts during the midpoint of the movie that dragged. I wasn’t sure where the story was going or why some things were happening. Also, there were some very convenient thematic devices throughout the movie that, when looking back once the mystery is solved, seemed almost too convenient. For the most part though, you can overlook those things. Overall the story is effective in keeping you interested and engaged. Some may even solve the case before the ending. If you do, I’m impressed.

This movie has the remnants of Cuckoo’s Nest, with a splash of Memento, vision of The Departed, and the suspense of The Sixth Sense. Scorsese is a master storyteller, and he doesn’t disappoint. There are more problems that I really want to talk about, but I don’t want to spoiler the movie. Everything depends on not be spoiled. That’s the way the movie works. I wish this movie would have been released when it was scheduled back in October. I believe it would have been a contender for a Best Picture nomination (now with the 10 nominees). Lots of discussions will happen when people walk out of this movie, and you’ll question what you saw and what you believe…and that’s always fantastic.

Shutter Island- He said

Once again we have two great names of cinema together, Scorsese and DiCaprio. Last time they made the fantastic The Departed, a movie that just didn’t give two craps about conventional plot lines or the safety of the characters you get to know. In this new movie, they manage to keep you on your toes as to what exactly is going on the whole time and it succeeds in a very unique way without feeling like an M. Night Shamalayan movie. This movie, more important than others, relies on you knowing as little as possible. Even the trailer is cut in a way that the scenes are taken out of context and thus are rendered harmless.

Given this I’m thinking this will be a short review. I will say that all of the actors are in fine form. Leo plays Teddy Daniels, who seems to be the ancestor of his paranoid undercover cop Billy Costigan. Gandhi (please tell me you get the reference) plays a fascinatingly ambiguous doctor, and along with horribly underrated Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Alule they complete a great set of characters. We start out the story as U.S. Marshall Daniels and his new partner, Alule, going to a mental institution trying to figure out the mystery of a missing patient. From the very beginning, you see that things are obviously not what they seem, given that this is an island in a movie, it can’t be normal much like Isla Sonar and Skull Island. And that’s all you need to know to get you going through this trip. The biggest thing that this movie has going on for it is its atmosphere. Scorcese has to be given credit here, his expertly placed shots make you feel so dreadfully through the facility that Teddy’s paranoia feels your own.

The movie does have its problems though. One big glaring one is the almost Saw-type of convenience and coincidence that happens in order for the ending to make sense. There are some times when the movie drags its feet a lot, especially towards the middle of the film. I think this stems from the fact than they spend so much time setting up the creepy vibe of the island that they forget to move the plot along. Given the nature of the movie there are some inconsistencies that can be explained with a stretch of the imagination. This can help you make more sense of the movie if you found it a bit off. But this is left up to the individual, seeing as how my counterpart Jonesy and I got into an unusually heated discussion with radically different points of views.

In the end this movie will benefit from repeated viewings. Given that the Oscars became so saturated with so many movies it was possibly a good thing that it was pushed back; echoes of Silence of the Lambs have been said over at certain movie websites. Not sure if it will win many awards, but it is an elegant form of thriller that you will not find very often. Shutter Island will leave you pretty disturbed after everything becomes revealed, and will make you question what you think about the power of the mind.

Crazy Heart

Directed and Written by Scott Cooper

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell

Synopsis: An outdated country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life while on the road trying to regain his fame and trying to make love work.

Crazy Heart- She said

I can’t imagine the life of a washed up musician. Someone who had the world at their feet for years, then in the blink of an eye, everything is gone. Maybe they wasted away their money, lost their edge, got into drugs, alcohol and sex, or maybe all of the above. Whatever the reason, they lose their star power and are reduced to a has been that use to have a famous song at one point. Sure, they still have some loyal fans, but they’re forced to play at local bars or bowling alleys where the locals come out because there’s nothing to do. I wonder how many musicians nowadays will have this life in the future?

In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges’s character, Bad Blake, is this musician. He loves music. I mean really, really loves music. But he’s broke. He lives from gig to gig, hotel to hotel, making enough to buy the next bottle of booze. He had talent at one point. He still has loyal fans in these local towns that love his songs. The local backup bands are more than honored to play with him for the shows. Bad Blake is at the bottom of the barrel. He’s a washed up and expired and drinking himself to death. The closest relationship he has is with his agent over the phone. He does find company in the towns he plays in, but he always sneaks out in the morning.

Then he meets Maggie Gyllenhaal’s, Jean. She’s a struggling reporter for a local paper wanting to break into music biz as a writer. Through their encounter, Blake becomes intrigued with her, and she with him. I never really understood their relationship. She seems stable, for the most part, and we find out later about her past. Maybe this is the girl that always got away for Blake, and now it’s a second chance thing for him. For Jean, she sees Blake as this music persona bad-boy that she shouldn’t want, but she does. He’s her weakness. Everything about him is wrong, but maybe he’ll be the exception. They’re both broken people looking for stability and a better future, and they believe they may have found it in each other. Their relationship blooms but there are problems. To keep this spoiler free, I’ll stop here.

The biggest lesson that Blake refuses to learn is when to quit. He acts like he is 20 years younger than what he is. His lifestyle has become too much for his body to keep up. He has the chance to slow down when his old protégée, Colin Ferrall, offers him a chance to be a songwriter again. Blake refuses because Blake wouldn’t be singing the songs, Ferrall’s character would. Blake, like most of us, doesn’t want to admit his career is over. He’ll never headline a big arena again; he will have to settle to being the opener. The world has moved on, and he didn’t follow.

Now, obviously, the stand out performance is Jeff Bridges. He is fantastic as Bad Blake and will no doubt win the Oscar. Now, I enjoyed the movie, but there were problems with it. The ending is a little too idyllic for my taste and parts of the story were slow. This story also felt like The Wrestler but with the background of country music instead of wrestling. But like The Wrestler, this isn’t a movie about plot, it’s about the characters. Without a strong lead, the movie will fail. Thankfully, Bridges carries the movie, and it’s worth a watch just to see him.

Crazy Heart- He said

I love me some music, and I love me some films, but if you combine the two, I might just be in visual and aural heaven. That’s not to say I dig musicals; I’m talking more about movies that show musicians doing their thing and documenting it. Some of my favorite movies contain this combination such as Spinal Tap, Walk the Line, Walk Hard, Once, even that atrocious Song and Lyrics song is barely passable thanks to the songwriting aspect. Show me a musicians story and I will probably dig it more than the average film except for Ray. Given this bias, take my thoughts on Crazy Heart with this in mind.

The story itself is nothing new; a washed up former legend, this case the ever-cool Bad Blake, played expertly by Jeff “The Dude” Bridges, trying to regain his place in the music world. You see him driving around shirtless with his pants barely on and constantly drunk. And yet everywhere he goes, fugly old chicks are sleeping with him, people buy him whiskey, and they put up with his ridiculous antics. Things change for him when he meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a reporter who makes a strong connection with him. The other storyline is his relationship with Tommy Sweet (Collin Farrell) and Tommy’s bigger fame. This part of the movie feels more real to me than anything else. Any time you teach someone anything, in some way, you want them to be better than you. But the way the relationship is depicted here, you get that Bad Blake is jealous and being immature about it, but in a way you feel for him. I would’ve really liked the movie to have been more about Bad Blake and Tommy, rather than Jean and Blake.

The fact is that the enjoyment I derived from this movie was more from the aspect of songwriting and playing concerts and all the other music related things in the movie. The movie is definitely worth watching, but it does feel a bit cliché in its story arc. As a side note, I do long to live in a world where children are used as plot devices, it’s kind of degrading for children! The soundtrack and Jeff Bridges are the things that carry this movie. I am not a fan of country whatsoever, but darn tootin’ I was tapping my foot ever so politely in the theater while the movie was going on. Once again, it is important to note that Jeff Bridges does a fantastic job here, in a very subtle but moving role. The balance he strikes between an asshole and a walking tragedy is astounding. So basically, go see this movie if you want to see The Dude show off his considerable acting skills. Oh and buy the soundtrack it’s great

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Battlestar Galactica- She said

Thoughts on Battlestar Galactica-Beware this will be a spoilerific discussion.
The following two essays will be talking about Battlestar Galacticas entire run but in order to do so properly we have to talk about spoilers, so unless you don’t care about spoilers or have seen the show, please proceed with caution. Last thing we want to do is to ruin this amazing show for people.

I am not one to start a TV series after it has ended. If I happen to catch it in syndication and it seems interesting, I’ll watch a few episodes. I like to be with a series from the very beginning. However, Battlestar Galactica changed my perception. Battlestar was one of those series that flew under the radar for a long time. I think it had a stigma because it was on the Syfy channel. For some reason, people stay away from that channel so as to not be considered “nerdy”. Whatever. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. The only aspect that makes this series Sci-Fi is the fact it’s in space and machines that look like humans. There’s not even a green-four-eyed-slimy-egghead looking alien during the whole series.

I’m getting sidetracked now…I had heard many wonderful things about this series from many, many sources. So, I gave it a shot, and I’m glad I did. This is one of the best series I’ve ever watched. Yes, it has its problems. There’s a lull in the first part of season 3 (but that seems to happen with a lot of shows). But despite all that, the show has more heart and truth to it than I’ve seen in a long time. The characters on the show are so dynamic and developed and flawed. You love them, hate them, agree and disagree with all of them at some point in the series. I found myself switching favorites through each season. Throughout their journeys, even if I didn’t agree with the decision a certain character made, I understood their motivations and reasoning behind it (however flawed those decisions were at times). They’re, oh my god, human! Just like these characters, we all make mistakes in our lives, but more often than not, most people are inherently good. Yes, there’s the occasional bad apple who succumbs and lets power/greed/money/status take hold of them, but that happens throughout every culture and society.

I’m going to brag on my favorite, Helo. Helo started as a side story during the miniseries, but soon became a real player once he returned to the Battlestar at the end of season one. Helo falls in love with a cylon but still fulfills his duty as an officer aboard Galactica. What I loved most about Helo is he always, always stood up for what was right, even when no one (literally) believed him. I wish I could say that I had the strength and moral character to do that, but it takes some balls to be that sure of something.

Okay that was my fan girl gush for this article.

One of the most interesting aspects of the series was the blending of religion and politics. Now, we live in a society with the freedom of religion. People are free to worship whatever. It’s also safe to say that all of our Presidents have been Christian in some form or fashion. However, no President has ever used religion as the basis of their presidency. After the genocide of the human race, Laura Roslin is thrust into the role as President. She has one mission: to find a home, namely Earth. Earth is mentioned in their scriptures as the home of one of the 12 tribes of their ancestors. In Roslin’s mind, Earth is salvation and peace that will end the conflict. She uses her position as President to push her religious beliefs and agenda on the survivors. And they let her! Now, if this were to happen in America tomorrow, there would be an uproar from many, many people…namely the blue half of the country. But in the series, the survivors have nothing. They’re at the end of their rope. Everything they knew and loved was gone within minutes. When someone has been through that traumatic of a situation, they will cling to something that seems strong. In many cases, faith. Even if they weren’t religious at home, faith, in some form or fashion, has always been a constant in their society. I would be safe to bet that if something of that magnitude happened in the present day, the people would turn to church. When 9/11 happened, I remember vividly how busy my church was that weekend. We want an answer; we need an answer. Fortunately, religion can provide those answers. Now, whether or not those answers are interpreted correctly is another discussion. It works, and Roslin and crew use it. Now, it may seem that I am bashing this tactic, but trust me, I’m not. A society needs common ground and a purpose to survive. They need a reason to live. When everything is taken from you, what stops you from taking your life?

When the survival of the human race is in your hands, how can one person even begin to make decisions? As the military leader of the fleet, William Adama has to make these impossible decisions. Now, most of the time, the choices seem obvious. Yes, we need to go down on this planet to find food. Yes, we need to fix this ship so we can have tilium for fuel. When it starts getting fuzzy is when these choices become personal. There are many points in the season when choices have to be made by Adama that either puts the fleet at risk or someone he loves at risk. Do we go back for Starbuck, his adoptive daughter? Do we go after Athena and Helo’s daughter because she’s the first cylon-human? That’s where Adama’s flaws come out. He tends to put the fleet at risk when it will effect him personally. Even though this is reckless, this makes Adama one of the most complex characters in the series. He has to lead, protect, and ensure the survival of the human race; that pressure is unimaginable. I wouldn’t want that kind of leadership or power. However, Adama takes the charge head on. He cares, I mean really cares about finding home and starting a new life for everyone. Yes, he makes reckless decisions for personal reasons, but it’s because he has a heart. If he didn’t make those decisions, he would be an icy, cold leader. He’s the best man for the job. I believe the reason this race survives is because of Adama’s compassion.

This show has so many layers; people will be talking about this series for a long time. The arc of the characters are so well drawn, almost everyone has a nice payoff by the end of the series. Also, another aspect I loved about Battlestar is all the main characters that we’re introduced to within the first season are there at the end. There are only a few people introduced in later seasons that have any relevance. Many shows introduce characters later as afterthoughts for the series, and honestly, it’s kinda annoying. I love seeing a character from the beginning of a series and watching them grow and change. I hope people will give this series a chance. Yes, it’s a science fiction show, but you actually forget that. It’s a show about survival, tough decisions, love, hate, politics, religion, forgiveness, and redemption…it just happens to be set in space.

Battlestar Galactica- He said

Battlestar Galactica has become one of the most talked about modern TV shows of our times. It is still one of the most complex and heartfelt dramas with truthful observations of human nature…when hope is taken to its bare minimum, how we as people can and would react. Battlestar Galactica, has been hailed as political, religious, and social commentary but what struck the biggest chord with me was the “human drama element” of it, as well as the philosophical part of the show. If it says anything, it makes the concept of faith, destiny, and freewill seem more logical than how most people explain it. The show is really good about showing the both sides of everything. It almost feels that in life you can’t ever take one extreme approach or the other. Very much like the freakish fusion of Anders as the hybrid for Galactica at the end, most of the conflicting and opposing themes of the show diverge and converge into each other in harmony.

The series starts with the worst genocide that has occurred in mankind’s history with the initial destruction of the 12 colonies. The colonies are based on the God of Kobol, which is their polytheistic religion dominates this world. The most important worlds in the series are Caprica and Tauron where most of the protagonists are from. The concept of religion, differing ideologies and how we use them to help us get through is one of the biggest themes in the show. I find it interesting that time and time again, using false hope and religion in order to manipulate people into having hope is seen as a good and justifiable thing. This is mostly what Bill Adama and President Rosalyn do for the better part of the series. First Adama tells people that Earth is what they are looking for in order to create a new home. It is truly one of the most moving scenes of the whole series, where you see thousands of terrified humans feel hope and purpose in this obviously dangerous situation. It is interesting that the show is fantastic at letting you see the two sides of an argument, even when you don’t realize it. While Adama and Rosalyn were okay with letting people believe that they knew where Earth was, by the end of season 2 where Rosalyn rigs the election against Gaius Baltar she caves in to morality, and as a result thousands of people die in the ensuing New Caprica fiasco. The question is where do you justify it? On one hand you had people that die for the moral piece of one person, and in the other people probably found the will to live because a person found the hard thing to do, possibly as a detriment to their own well being.

The religious conflict between the Cylons and Humans has always been the most interesting one in the show. The Cylons believe that the Judeo-Christian doctrine of one all knowing and all-powerful god, where destiny is one of the overlying concepts. The humans believe in the aforementioned polytheistic religion; the heads of those are the Lords of Kobol, which are based on Roman/Greek gods and mythology. Religion was indeed used as a way to keep people get through this rather huge pickle they seem to be in. I almost feel that as an atheist I might almost see faith as a useful thing. Same thing with the Cylons; they are essentially super smart machines. They became aware and, very much like our ancestors, felt like they needed a purpose higher than the confusing existence that is being a freaky weird machine. And for whatever reason, they chose to have a one single God to help and give the purpose in their life. (The reason for this seems to be unknown although the new Caprica show will probably answer this). One of the coolest things that were found in the middle of season 2 was Kobol, which ideally is where their ancestors and gods were from. What they find instead is a ruined planet full of what appeared where human sacrifices. The cynic in me was overjoyed at the fact that they were proven their gods were false idols, but even then, Rosalyn’s or anyone else faith seemed to suffer little from that. It actually took finding a radioactive Earth to finally break people’s spirit. People started to revolt; Dualla committed suicide, and, in a particularly moving scene, Rosalyn burned her bible. It seems that faith can only take you so far, but in this pivotal scene it also shows that no matter how bad things get there is a little thing called human spirit that can get you through. The strength that some of these characters had been amazing when you think of the stuff they’ve gone through.

The most obvious allegory that applies in the real world to me is that of the “war of terror” the 360 degree war zone that many soldiers experience in the Middle East. There are obvious references and similarities of the “insurgents” hiding as every day civilians and the “skinjob” cylons that are the main antagonists of the series. More striking is the really messed up scene where # 2 blows himself up in a corridor of Galactica while the humans still haven’t figured out who all is one of the skin jobs. This is a good metaphor and also shows there is no clear cut way of determining the good guys and the bad. Considering how the black market still functions in the fleet, and a doctor was willing to let a certain religious sect die off out of sheer prejudice, shows humans can be horrible in their darkest hour. And all at the same time, you have Caprica Six, who was the model Cylon that helped with the destruction of Caprica; she feels complete remorse and guilt for her actions and even wants to try to make amends with the humans in a sincere if not horribly misguided way. So are the humans the good guys because they truly have been wronged or is it just because we follow their side of the stor?. In The Plan mini-movie, we see that, yea, there are bad Cylons such as Cavil, but even the copy of #4, who had a wife and adopted child, commited suicide because he could not bear to harm them. The point is that, there is to much of a grey line to decide on the morality of these factions without some bias.

Now as a slightly convoluted point, I want to bring up the concept of destiny and free will. Now my diminutive counterpart completely disagrees with me on this but at the same time I feel like I need to discuss it. Kara freaking Thrace, Starbuck, the harbinger of Doom, super drunk-hot-shot-pilot-extraordinaire, is what I would usually call a nihilist. She also in so many ways was told that she had a greater destiny and purpose, which is why her mother abused her. During their quest to find earth, Kara began to have visions and premonitions about trying to find it. During the season 3 finale, she goes into a cloud searching for a version of Leoben in which she tells Lee, “Let me go,” and promptly explodes. As a twist, she comes back to life now filled with more visions involving her childhood and for coordinates of Earth. At the end of the final battle, thanks to her visions of a song her father taught her, she input the coordinates on the FTL drive that took them straight to earth. After they arrived down on what ended up being “our” Earth, she once again talks to Lee and then disappears saying that her work is done. Let’s go with the fact that I interpret that Kara as being a celestial, dare I say angelic, being. The way I see her return is a way of “God” giving us enough free will, but at the same time has enough of a hand in our affairs to see someone’s destiny come to pass. Here, Kara needed to be the one that brought everyone to earth, but since she died, God brought her back to fulfill it. Going along with the theme of this essay, it goes to show that in a way destiny and free will could feasibly go hand in and hand, at least in the universe of the show.

In the end this is a show that will inspire a ton of discussion if only because like most great works of art and film it will stay relevant and exciting. The show has so many universal themes that it is guaranteed to be just as famous as Star Wars and Star Trek in the world of sci-fi. So say we all!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Written and Directed by Adam Green

Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell, and Kevin Zegers
Three friends spend a weekend skiing.  On the final day of their vacation, they ride the ski lift for one last run down the hill.  Suddenly, the lift stops and the mountain lights are turned off.  Now they're stranded, and no one knows that they're stuck, and their fight for survival begins. 

Frozen- He said

There are movies and then there are experiences in cinematic form. Frozen is a movie like this, much like Antichrist and Avatar. This movie epitomizes movies as an experience and art form. First of all there will be zero spoilers, or anything that is discussed plot wise has already been given away in the trailers and press junkets. In this movie, director Adam Green manages to create a movie that grips your emotions and captivates you in a way that few have done recently. I feel that this movie has been one of the best ones I’ve seen all year because once again, the experience of seeing it envelops you so much that any flaws that might be present don’t matter. I haven’t read much about this movie except that everyone that saw it at Ain’t It Cool’s Butt-Numb-A-Thon this year loved it and, along with Matthew Vaughn’s Kick Ass, it was one of the outstanding movies of the show.

One of the most striking things about this movie is the title credit with a very striking and bold font over a black background. To me, it is very reminiscent of Antichrist in that abrupt way that it shows the title. The story follows Dan and Joe and Dan’s girlfriend Parker, during an impromptu weekend ski trip. The relationship and connections that are made by these characters are the important factor after everything goes to hell. It’s the details and nuances of the trio’s performance that make this movie. I will say that the conflict between Parker and Joe over Dan is pretty spot on given that I’ve had this argument with my best friend and vice versa. The choice of music at the beginning of the movie was a bit off putting mostly because the great credits give you a feeling you’re about to watch an almost House of the Devil style 80’s horror throwback movie, instead you get straight up dude bro rock. I know it’s a minor complaint but honestly, that it is the only bad thing I have to say about this movie. On the other hand, composer Andrew Garfield does a great atmospheric score that invokes the, dare I say, chilling mood in the latter part of the movie.

As far as the movie it self, it does a fantastic job of portraying nature as the villain in the story. You see takes of the dark night, and you see the moon’s face looking over our protagonists in the most evil way possible. Even the snow covered trees end up looking more like demonic hands coming from the ground, in a way that I’m not sure was intended originally, but ends up adding a nice bit of touch of ambiance to the movie. Antichrist comparison #2: A lot of the lingering nature scenes reminded me of the creepy forest scenes in Antichrist. The calm silence contrasting with the horror in the ski lift. The unforgiving nature of the snow was reminiscent of the acorns falling on Eden, and Her calling nature “Satan’s Church”. With both of these movies I believe nature can be Satan‘s Church, and I’ll be worshipping a mother earth spirit just in case. Both of these movies truly show the unforgiving side of nature, which in my mind is freaking scarier than Freddy or any horror monster. After setting up these characters in a realistic manner, Adam Green puts them through some of the most horrific experiences shown on film, and in between they try to deal with it as best as they can. They have fear, anger, guilt, remorse and even nostalgia, these are all coping methods that you could easily imagine yourself doing. Maybe that’s the appeal of these characters? That you can see yourself in someone of them in a small ways and it makes this all the more intense.

When it is all said and done I felt completely drained after watching this movie. It’s a tiring experience in the best of ways, because you feel like you went along with them for this ride from hell. This is not a bad thing whatsoever, considering that it is the point of the movie to almost feel like you went through what the main trio went through. Once again it reminded me of a Antichrist as a movie that felt like a beautifully shot experience, where the end product is worth more than the sum of its parts. Basically what I’m saying is freaking go see this movie now. You need to experience it in a theater with a crowd, watch it with some fellow genre film buddies, or horror movie types, even people easily freaked out. You won’t be disappointed.

Frozen- She said

There really has only been a few movies that are so intense, I feel emotionally weaker after I leave the theatre. Frozen is now on that list. Frozen does for the skiing industry as Open Water did for diving, and Blair Witch did for camping.

Frozen could have easily fit into the really cliché young-good looking-college kid thriller, but thankfully, the movie takes a more meaningful and heartfelt route. We’re introduced to Parker, Lynch, and Dan during their weekend trip and within the first five minutes of dialogue, we know the dynamics of their not-so-perfect relationships. During one last trip up the lift on their last night, they get stranded. At first, they believe it’s just a technical glitch, but then the “oh shit” moment happens: the lift lights are turned off. And the fight for survival begins...

The biggest surprise I got from the movie was I actually cared, I mean REALLY cared, about the three main characters. I felt their pain and anguish and frustration as they fight for their survival. The movie does an amazing job of taking you through this journey with them. There’s the initial realization of panic of being stranded. Then, the optimism of “surely someone will know and come get us…right? Right?”. Finally, the gut-wrenching panic that you’re stuck and you have two choices: survive or die. Yes, there’s some action in the movie when characters take their survival in their own hands, but what I found most intriguing is the conversations they had to pass the time. Nostalgic things: favorite breakfast cereal; pets; past relationships. Then, out of frustration, fear, hunger, fatigue, and shear numbness conversations turn to blame and anger…and finally back to sorrow and despair. These characters are taken through the wide range of human emotions on the brink of their possible deaths. I can’t even imagine how anyone could keep any kind of hope in a situation like this. It would be easy to write off the characters a hopeless cases, but I found myself really cheering for them and thinking of how they can get of the lift and make it back. I wish I could go into more detail about certain aspects and conversations in the movie that I really found amazing and heartfelt, but that would be too spoilery.

Also, the setting of the movie plays such a vital role. In the beginning, the ski lift and snow covered mountain is so inviting and fun. Tons of people are there having a great time. However, it’s amazing how quickly turns as soon as the lights go out on the mountain. It becomes the antagonist of the movie. With modern conveniences, it’s easy for us to forget how dangerous it is to be outside. Nature is relentless and it doesn’t care. It will kill you without a second thought and keep right on going. That’s a scarier villain than any slasher/serial killer/terrorist that’s out there.

Obviously, I loved this movie. I felt myself not breathing during certain parts because the action was so tense. I felt emotionally drained after leaving the movie, like the director, Adam Green, pulled me through the gutter and spit me out on the other side. I would recommend this movie to any and everyone. This is how you make a thriller. You don’t need insane amount of special effects or explosions or car chases. Something as simple and beautiful as a snow covered mountain can scare the living crap out of you. Go see it with your friends, in a pact theatre, and get freaked out. Trust me, it’s worth it.