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With the weather not being up to much and my wife being almost 7 months pregnant, we decided to relax at home over the weekend and enjoy some films.
It is always difficult deciding what film to watch in our house - I am what you might describe as a film-hound and will watch pretty much anything once just to experience it. My wife on the other hand, is very picky. So it was quite a suprise that she suggested we watch Paranormal Activity. Now I have been trying to get her to watch it for almost a year and then lo and behold - just after the marketing for the sequel has started being thrust at us from all angles - she wants to watch the original.
Now, I'm a big fan of horror films. I tend to completely ignore people who try and give me movie advice (like I said, I will pretty much try any film once) and a lot of people who have watched Paranormal Activity try and warn others to steer clear. Well as I was the one in our office who introduced everyone to the film and watched it way before they all knew it even existed - I feel I can turn around and say shut up!
Paranormal Activity is a fantasticly simple film. You take the premise of someone being haunted/disturbed by a spirit/demon, add a homevideo camera and watch as the resulting lo-budget chaos scares the shit out of the viewer. Paranormal works on so many levels, not least because it is credible due to the excellent script and brilliantly played characters. A film like this always runs the risk of having characters played well over the top but Micah Sloat and Katie Featherstone succeed in bringing real-life charm and believability to their characters, and we really feel for their plight. The film is well paced with adequate number of jumpy moments, littered in between some really good dialogue and the escalation in occurrences in the final third of the film is very good. A lot of people have been (unfairly) comparing this to The Blair Witch Project and in some ways the films are similar (homevideo camera perspective, lo-budget) but in others this film is so different. Blair Witch cleverly used the dark as a mask to hide what was occurring. Paranormal Activity uses the darkness to increase the fear of something-lying-in-wait but showed just enough to remain credible.
I still greatly prefer the original cut and ending as I feel the "Hollywood" style ending tagged on did not quite fit with the flow of the film. But nevertheless, Paranormal Activity definitely deserves a place in my horror faves.
Secondly we decided to change the pace and watch some comedy. Enter - Grown Ups. Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock and Salma Hayek - this hilarious story of a group of men who get together for the weekend to commemorate the death of their high school basketball team coach is a brilliant comedy romp. Adam Sandler has always annoyed the hell out of me. He has a voice that quite literally makes me want to rip his vocal chords out. Yet at the same time he has this likeability that is annoying but impossible to get rid off. Grown Ups is the perfect platform for his comedy timing. The guys and their families enjoy a weekend cabin retreat where the spoilt kids moan about having no videogames or phones - much to the annoyance of Sandler who takes it upon himself to try and get the kids in touch with their youth again - skipping stones, playing ball etc.
The guys manage to get into some side-splittingly funny escapades - Rob Schneider's character who has three daughters (two beautiful thin models and one that looks like an inbred) is one of the funniest characters - his relationship with his daughters and new lover (who is in her 60's) is frightfully funny.
All in all a brilliant yarn that will leave you laughing well into the night.
Finally - Inception.
For the uneducated - Inception is a brilliant but complex story about a thief who can tap into your dreamstate, find where your sub-conscious stores your secrets and steal them leaving you with no idea of what has happened. The premise sounds simple but then throw into the mix the plotline of the best of these thieves - Dom Cobb (Di Caprio) who is challenged to perform an Inception (plant an idea into someones dream) in exchange for his criminal slate being wiped clean and you have a complicated but thrilling ride. Ellen Page excellently plays an Architect - one who is able to create sub-conscious layouts for the dreamworld and she has moved away from the indie comedy genre to great acclaim. The special effects are mind-blowing, the sound is booming and as long as you keep up with the storyline you will thoroughly enjoy this fantastic action/scifi extravanganza.
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