American Horror Story – Season 6 Review – NO SPOILERS

When I had watched Season 5 of American Horror Story last year,I was hardly impressed to say the least.

However, looking at Season 6 this autumn, I guess I’ll just have to eat my words.

Gone is the fake gratuitous soft porn thrown in simply to shock viewers into cheap thrills. Gone is the unneeded violence and lackadaisical plot. Instead of unexplained murders and ghouls, AHS takes us back to the mysterious plot lines, interesting characters, and dramatic acting so much admired during the first season. Entitled Murder House, Season 1 had focused on a haunted mansion and its historic violent past. Season 6, Roanoke, tackles not so much a haunted house, but an actual haunted piece of land, illustrating one of America’s oldest mysteries.

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The Season in fact makes reference to the historic mystery of the Roanoke colony, also known as the Lost Colony – a group of Americans who were sent to Roanoke Island in the New World (North America) in the 16th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, in an attempt to colonise it and establish a base camp. The 115 members of the colony all disappeared without a trace. The only remaining clue was the word ‘Croatoan’ scratched on the bark of a tree.

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This season is, in a way, totally different from the previous ones, as all the episodes are presented in the format of a documentary. The narrative focuses on a married couple, who are telling us the story in a studio, while at the same time, people we know to be re-enactors play their parts in order for the viewers to understand what actually happened. Each character is therefore seen twice and portrayed by two different people. The ‘real’ character is interviewed in the filming studio, while the ‘re-enactors’ are the ones playing out the actual events.

The main plot line follows an interracial couple, Matt and Shelby. After being attacked by a street gang, they decide to leave the city and its perils, and relocate to an abandoned colonial farmhouse in North Carolina.

To read the rest of the article, which was published on EVE magazine follow the direct link: http://www.eve.com.mt/2016/11/05/american-horror-story-season-6/

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Movie Review – Birdman – SPOILERS

Personal rating – 1 Star

I was really looking forward to watching this movie, not only because it’s the movie which won the bigger number of Oscars this year (4 in all), but because I like Michael Keaton as an actor, and I simply salivate over Edward Norton’s talent -he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the way.

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So there I was on a Saturday evening, home-made salami and mushroom pizza in one hand, glass of wine in the other, breathlessly waiting for it to start. Then after a while, waiting for it to actually kick in… then after an hour, waiting for SOMETHING to happen, and then after more than an hour and a half, just waiting for it to end. Which it finally did.

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Disappointment as a word, barely describes my feelings.

Basically the film recounts the last week in the life of a sixty-year old something actor who had been famous in the 90s for his ‘Birdman’ role as the Superhero du jour… reference to Batman much? Riggan Thomson (aka Keaton) played Birdman in 3 movies and then after turning down Birdman 4, receded into semi-anonymity and cheesy roles, until finally he tried to break out as a success in the theatre instead of the big screen. Keaton, who, like Riggan, last starred in his last Batman movie in 1992 (he had the role for only 2 of the movies), afterwards DID kind of spiral into more mediocre roles. So, one obviously asks, is Birdman the film a parody of Keaton’s life?

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Riggan directs and stars in a play in Broadway, apart from his tired and washed up life, we also meet up with the interlocking stories of his co-actors, their problems, their licentious sexual lives, and their general emotional and psychological confusion. Many of the reviews I read lauded Birdman saying that it gave the audience an insight into actors’ actual struggles… so, basically this film won 5 Oscars for showing non-actors that actors were as fucked up and decadent as everybody else? Wow, big deal!

Norton was kind of okayish – given that the part he had to play was totally pointless and colorless, but still almost every movie I’ve watched him in showcased his talent better than this one.

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In the end, fed up of hearing the voice of his past superhero alter-ego berating him for being such a looser (and being right) and asking him to leave the theater and invest in a Birdman remake, Riggan tries to commit suicide… during his play’s premier. He botches it, as he botches everything else, and ends up in hospital. Everyone knows it was a suicide attempt, yet they seem to ignore that, leaving Riggan alone in a vast and unsupervised hospital bedroom in a sky-high building. Needless to be said, Riggan, believing himself to be able to fly as Birdman did, opens his enormous hospital window and jumps off. Riggan’s druggie daughter comes into the room, and not finding him, looks out. We are not shown what she sees, however we see her looking up and smiling.

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THE END

So, what? Was Riggan really flying?

Wow, we didn’t see that coming at all did we?

And THIS movie won 5 Oscars, while a gem like The Imitation Game won only one?!

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Say it with me – W…T….F !!

Movie Review – The Woman in Black 2 – Spoilers Alert

Personal Rating – 1 star

I had been looking forward to this sequel for quite some time. I had hoped that unlike most sequels, it would be exciting, titillating and emotionally disturbing – most of all, I had hoped that it would shed more light on the background story of Jennet Humpfrye, that is the ghost that became the ‘Woman in Black’ herself.

I am sorry to say, that I was VERY disappointed.

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The movie, subtitled ‘Angel of Death’, fast-forwards us from the Victorian era, which had set the stage for the first Woman in Black film, to the Second World War, when the now semi-renovated haunted house in question,started to be used as an impromptu orphanage. You’d think the ghost would have a field day… hmm…

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The main character (Phoebe Fox), of bland appearance, gives us an equally bland performance as a woman who has, in the past, experienced the loss of a child. This could have been a good idea for the focus to be not just on the main character as a grieving mother, but also on the ghost herself, since the child-carer here could empathize with the dead woman’s similar plight. That is the way I would have played it, while giving more background and detailed info on the ‘ghost’ herself. Instead, the film portrays the feelings which inexplicably grow between bland young woman, and a bland young pilot, in an ever-boring slow movie where nothing happens, and where semi-horror background music is used to try and built up a sense of suspense which simply DOES NOT HAPPEN.

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The ghost, instead of seeing Eve, the main character, as a representation of herself, since her baby was taken from her, wants to punish her for ‘letting him go’. This attitude could have spurred a showdown between the two women, one alive and one dead. Needless to say, it didn’t. Ever. The movie plodded its way on through half-finished dreams and mediocre attempts at giving the audience some thrills, which failed miserably. Veiled women shrieking in corners and screaming silently in one’s face are not my thing. Give me a well-rounded plot with believable emotional characters and an interesting background story, or a psychological effort at least, and you’ve got me. Unfortunately this film had all the wanna-be cheesiness of a gore movie, without the gore.

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The worst part (yes even worse than a wasted hour and a half where nothing happens) was the ending. The pilot semi-love interest is killed, and the Woman in Black just stops haunting the child she had ‘chosen’ as well as Eve. Without explanation or reason. Totally pointless. On the other hand, she continues to haunt the house. We do not know why and there is no explanation. Another attempt at creating ‘mystery’ = FAILED.

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