Jumaat, 8 November 2013

The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

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The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

One twisted mother


Julianne Moore put her maternal instincts into overdrive to get into character while filming Carrie.

ACTORS often get pigeonholed into certain film and TV genres. Not Julianne Moore.

On TV, she's gone from portraying the real Sarah Palin in the political drama Game Changer to the fictional Nancy Donovan on 30 Rock. Her film roles include a porn star (Boogie Nights), FBI agent (Hannibal), dinosaur hunter (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and computer voice (Eagle Eye). Her career is full of a broad range of characters.

You can see the breadth of her work currently, as she plays an easygoing, sexually liberated college student in Don Jon and a merciless mother who thinks sex is the root of all evil in Carrie.

The roles have one thing in common.

"Anytime you do something, you think 'Maybe I'll suck and everyone will hate it'," Moore says during an interview for Carrie.

She does everything she can to make sure the work doesn't, uh, "suck". She does research, which in the case of Carrie meant going back to the original Stephen King novel. She also tries to find the elements that will make the audience react to the character.

In Carrie that meant playing the mother as a woman who does evil things, but in some strange way is basing all her actions on a deep love for her daughter.

Although the bloody prom scene is the most recognisable image from the film versions of the Stephen King novel, the key to both the book and movies – including the new remake – is the twisted mother / daughter relationship. It's a mixture of love, hate, fear, respect, disrespect, disappointment and atonement.

Moore found playing the motherly role a lot easier because of co-star Chloe Grace Moretz.

"She's so professional and was always so prepared," Moore says. "I think the thing I love the most about her is that she's a mama's girl. And, she'll tell you that. She loves her mother. She loves her brothers ... that made it easy for me to get close to her.

"I wanted her, more than anything else, to feel super safe with me. I wanted her to feel if she had a question, she could come to me. If she had any kind of need or desire, she should come to me."

Moore's convinced the bond they formed helped them through the physical and emotional demands of the movie.

As for the maternal part of the performance, all Moore had to do was think of her own two children.

Those instincts went into overdrive in the opening scene where Moore's character believes she's dying of cancer but is actually giving birth. In the scenes, where a real infant was used, Moore found herself more concerned about the welfare of the baby than the film production. Once she was confident the child was safe and secure, she would switch to her actor side. – The Fresno Bee / McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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Slash and burn

The rise of the horror remakes


The trend of remaking or 're-imagining' classic horror movies is not slowing down.

CARRIE is the latest attempt to remake a classic horror movie and the trend shows no signs of slowing.

There are plans to remake everything from the classic Rosemary's Baby to the campy Little Shop Of Horrors.

Remaking horror films has been going on for years, which means when you decide to pick up a DVD to watch for Halloween you'll need to be careful. In many cases, the original and remake don't have the same quality.

Here's a look at 13 horror films and their remakes to help you make a DVD pick that's more of a treat than trick.

House Of Wax

1953: Vincent Price turned this 3-D film into a horror film classic.

2005: Paris Hilton made this remake very plastic.

The Fly

1958: Audiences screamed at the sight of a man's head on a fly's body.

1986: Audiences groaned at seeing Jeff Goldblum's body parts fall off.

The Blob

1958: Showed us a huge blob of goo could be quite scary.

1988: Showed us a film could be a huge glob of goofiness.

House On Haunted Hill

1959: Vincent Price produced rushes of adrenaline with the scares in a creepy mansion.

1999: Geoffrey Rush caused ticket buyers to fear they wouldn't get their money back at the box office.


1960: Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece made us afraid of showers.

1998: Director Gus Van Sant's step-by-step remake made us feel like we needed a shower.

Night Of The Living Dead

1968: George A. Romero's tale of zombies attacking a farmhouse defined the walking dead genre.

1990: Tom Savini's tale of zombies was dead on arrival.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

1974: Director Tobe Hooper created a classic horror character with the chainsaw-welding Leatherface.

2013: Director John Luessenhop created another reason to hate 3D.

The Shining

1980: Jack Nicholson gave this creepy tale of a haunted hotel a chilling edge.

1997: Steven Weber gave the TV tale of a haunted hotel a dull edge.

Friday The 13th

1980: Betsy Palmer film that created blueprint for genre about teens being systematically killed.

2009: Danielle Panabaker film that created blueprint for how to kill the genre about teens being systematically killed.

My Bloody Valentine

1981: Love means having to say "I'm sorry I didn't see that killer behind you."

2009: Love means having to say "I'm sorry but this film is better because the violence reaches an absurd level."

The Evil Dead

1981: Director Sam Raimi's tale of teens being killed in the woods gets a million scares from a few bucks.

2013: Director Fede Alvarez's tale of teens being killed in the woods gets a few scares from millions of bucks.

The House On Sorority Row

1983: College girls end up pledging De Cappa Tation.

2009: College girls end up pledging the original is better.

Fright Night

1985: Roddy McDowall makes this tale of a neighbourhood vampire campy fun.

2011: Colin Farrell makes this tale of a neighbourhood vampire scary fun.

– The Fresno Bee / McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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One twisted mother

Loki's bad boy appeal


It is hard not to be moved by Tom Hiddleston who plays the baddie Loki in Thor: The Dark World as he scores the best quips and steals some of the scenes.

Tom Hiddleston is an unlikely pin-up.

His visage is pale as porcelain. Laugh lines cloak his too-young 32-year-old eyes. His ears are oddly unbalanced organic forms triangulating into a smooth chin on the quirkier side of slender.

His lips are too thin and his screen hair as the villain Loki in Thor: The Dark World - that back-combed, forehead-exposing cascade of Brylcreemed dark waves - has maximum badass effect on film.

Luckily for him, not all of the hair is real.

"This one was an extension… I had a lot of help," the British actor says, speaking in an one-on-one interview in London. "The only time it was my own hair was in the first Thor film, when it was grown out and dyed."

So how did this young antagonist turn the tables on the blond-haired, blue-eyed hunk of an Australian leading man Chris Hemsworth in not one but three movies, including Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012)?

As the latest instalment of Norse mythology-inspired adventure The Dark World, Hiddleston smiles benignly at having scored the best quips and scene-stealing moments as the not-your-usual-baddie.

"There's a vulnerability to Loki's deviousness, he's a cocktail of different things," Hiddleston explains.

"We go through two hours of hair and make-up. After I come out of the other side, the mask of Loki - the black hair, the costume - changes my features so severely I think my own playfulness is distorted.

"If I'm just playing mischievous, I look more wicked because of the shape I'm in. But also, he is the god of mischief. If you look up the dictionary, it says: an inclination to be playful, to tease. Or it says: destruction or damage, and it sums him up in lots of ways."

(From left) Hiddleston with co-stars Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth at the Berlin premiere of Thor: The Dark World.

(From left) Hiddleston with co-stars Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth at the Berlin premiere of Thor: The Dark World.

Up close and clean-cropped, you realise that Hiddleston, like Hemsworth, is actually also tall (1.87m), blond-haired and blue-eyed. He wears a white tailored shirt with rolled-up sleeves under a grey waistcoat cut ridiculously close to a lean frame.

"I certainly had to stay fit to play the part because of Loki's particularly prickly martial arrogance, and he can hold his own in a combat situation," he says.

"It's different from Thor but it's lethal. I do a lot of running and circuit training and suspension training. In a way, it's not that different from anything else I do. 

"Acting is such a physical endeavour in any capacity. It's so rare that you do something that doesn't demand a physical commitment and your body has to be able to have the stamina to bounce back again the next day."

Around the world, women wait for him at airports bearing placards of "Loki's Army", embracing his antihero's cult value over Australian co-star Hemsworth's good-guy appeal.

But Hiddleston, who had starred in the acclaimed British series Wallander before his 2011 Hollywood break with Thor, will have you know that the two actors are the best of buddies, having undergone the initiation ritual of forging lead roles together as relatively untested actors in the same major Hollywood deal.

Hiddleston as bad boy Loki in the movie.

"We had the same enthusiasm and fears over this huge thing we were about to embark on," he says in a group interview with Hemsworth.

"One of our first conversations started with the films we loved. We're from opposite ends of the planet but we obviously loved the same things."

Hemsworth reveals what these are: "Gladiator, Braveheart, The GooniesPrincess Bride."

Hiddleston agrees: "Yeah, Princess Bride. Superman. All that cool stuff."

It is Hemsworth who reveals more of Hiddleston, as you try to scratch below the perfect, polished sheen of the supervillain who is really an elusively polite and charming public schoolboy with an undisputed pedigree: Eton College, double first in Classics from Cambridge, training at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

The second of three children born to a scientist father and arts administrator mother, he speaks French but will not show it off in your face.

He knows his Shakespeare by heart, only subtly hinting at it in reference to Othello's Iago and King Lear's Edmund sharing the same psychological space as Loki. The bachelor gives away little of himself while at the same time sending out suave vibes of magnanimity and confidence.

You have to do your homework to find out that he spends his free time hanging out with fellow posh actor Benedict Cumberbatch in Hampstead's trendier cafes, vetting scripts and talking clever things while keeping an eye out for paparazzi and parking inspectors.

Or he would be gracing the best seats around Centre Court with mysterious blondes during the Wimbledon tennis season.

The man himself will regale you with all sorts of knowledge and ideas about other people and other things, all the while reinforcing his words with a trademark unflinching and quizzical stare.

"All acting is an act of imagination. You are simply conjuring up imaginary circumstances in your mind and responding truthfully to them," he begins, reeling off a string of effortless, lovely words.

"In films involving a lot of green screen work, you are staring into an expansive nothing, having to imagine what's to be a spaceship or an explosion or a particular vista.

"That's no different from being on stage. But of course, the difference is that on stage, you get to do the whole thing night after night of a run. On film, it's much more of a jigsaw puzzle - your moments of truthful imagination are broken up piece by piece. In your mind, you have to have the sense of the whole in order to keep yourself on the straight and narrow."

So this is why fans are all a-flutter when he turns on his thespian English charm: Indeed, talk has it that it was his sheer persuasiveness which convinced studio heads to rework a storyline in the latest Thor movie, resulting in a radical change in his character's intentions.

"I wanted to find something new to do. We all did. We'd seen Thor and Loki against each other in two films," he says. "Wouldn't it be amazing if, for some reason, they had to get together? Because that would be a dynamic, it would be interesting and complex and fun and offer lots of opportunities for both drama and comedy.

"When you're coming back to do a sequel, you have to keep it fresh for yourself and your audience. Nobody wants to see the same team again."

Hiddleston is a busy working actor the past couple of years. Woody Allen watchers will recognise his striking features as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight In Paris (2011), while Spielberg appreciators would have seen him as Captain Nicholls in War Horse (2011).

His turn as a vampire in cult indie director Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), opposite Tilda Swinton, has opened to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.

He says: "The vampire thing for Jim is a way of getting into questions of acceptance of love, because if you have two characters who live forever, what does love mean?

"It is a conceit, a conduit into an exploration on immortality and this question of if you had forever to live, how would you spend your time, how would you read, play music, how would you engage with the world?"

What is his personal answer to those questions?

True to form, he quotes somebody else — beautifully — again: "Tilda's character, Eve, says something quite magical: Life is about appreciating nature, nurturing kindness and friendship.

"And plenty of dancing." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

  • Thor: The Dark World is currently playing in cinemas nationwide.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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