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365Flicks (235 KP) rated The Ritual in Books

Nov 5, 2019  
The Ritual
The Ritual
Adam Nevill | 2012 | Fiction & Poetry, Horror
7.9 (11 Ratings)
Book Rating
Rafe Spall (0 more)
Two words... Rafe Spall
I thought this flick was ingenious. It tackled a fairly weak and failing Genre in a very new, very fresh and super original manner.

Was it messed up, he’ll yes it was but in a really awesome way
Black Mirror  - Season 2
Black Mirror - Season 2
2013 | Sci-Fi
This is by far the strongest and best series so far of Black Mirror. As always, each episode is a dark and intriguing tale of technology, social media and pop culture. The Waldo episode is probably the weakest out of the 4, but even that is still good. There's a fantastic cast with Domhall Gleeson, Hayley Atwell, Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall and some brilliant storylines. The Christmas episode is by far my favourite, and a welcome change to the usual sickeningly sweet Christmas shows.
The Ritual  (2017)
The Ritual (2017)
2017 | Horror
OK, this film isn't trying to do anything new. A bunch of friends decide to head off hiking and take a wrong turn/short cut into the woods. Luckily for us, they don't meet James Corden singing, instead they start to feel like they're being followed, have weird dreams and are eventually stalked by a strange giant monster (which is gradually revealed over time).
This does have a feel of the blair witch but benefits from not having that annoying "found footage" aspect where people running for their lives insist on filming the event.
The film builds tension brilliantly, has some particularly creepy moments and doesn't fall down for trying to explain what is happening too much. Rafe Spall is excellent and none of the characters make any stupid illogical decisions that cause you to shout at the screen.
Show all 6 comments.

Ross (3280 KP) Apr 25, 2018

yes it was on amazon prime, sorry


Sarah (7793 KP) Apr 25, 2018

Argh thanks I was hoping it'd be Netflix! Never mind

Black Mirror  - Season 2
Black Mirror - Season 2
2013 | Sci-Fi
More frightening insight into the near-future world (0 more)
Waldo (0 more)
Series 2 includes 4 more episodes (three plus a Christmas special) of the cult Charlie Brooker series exploring the use of technology and extrapolating it to show where society could be headed.
We explore the use of our online personalities to recreate ourselves after we die (though this quickly became more about robots than the differences in our personalities between online and the real world so for me a trick missed to an extent).
We see a post-apocalyptic world where one woman wakes up to be haunted by people filming her on mobile phones while she runs from psychopaths trying to kill her. This is a look at how obsessed the world is with filming and documenting everything, even unpleasant events happening to other people, and voyeurism as a whole. There is a massive twist at the end which makes what was a jarring, inconsistent episode (as in doesn't fit in with the rest of the series) into an exceptional look at an aspect of the world (spoiler avoided).
I found the Waldo episode to be incredibly irritating. As if a rude, cartoonish character with tiny hands could ever really be taken seriously in the world of politics?! Waldo shows an echo of Ali G's rise to fame but takes it to the next level. While I don't think we are meant to actually find Waldo funny, I found him very annoying and a step too far. Weirdly he reminded me of the banter comedy in Nathan Barley (it turns out this story was originally written for Nathan Barley).
The Christmas special was possibly my favourite of the episodes, Rafe Spall and Jon Hamm (Don Draper) living in awkward circumstances in a cabin. We are led to believe they are working at a remote mining operation or some such and finally start to bond over Christmas dinner and open up. They share stories about their lives before they moved, all three showing the benefits and perils of the technology whereby people can stream their lives to others (and get real-time dating advice) but can also block others from their lives (whereby they are pixelated to you and vice versa). Parts of this story were truly harrowing, how a happy relationship could quickly turn sour and the technology mean years of upset that could be avoided.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
2018 | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
I don't really think that you can go wrong with dinosaurs and action mixed together in a movie. They roar a lot, and if you're lucky they eat people. Spoiler incoming... with this movie, you're very lucky.

One a scale of all the movies this is probably third place for me behind Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Which is quite fitting as it is basically the two movies squished together. Despite it being in third place I think it had one of the best scenes from the franchise... The end of the island... I can't even... 😢

There were a lot of little nods to things from previous films, and some blanks filled in to make the story. Everything was nice, and familiar, and the baby raptor footage in the training videos... well they're just the cutest!

There are some articles online about the trailers and while personally I didn't find any of them particularly gave away anything important I was struck by one of the points that was brought up. During the film it did actually leave me wondering too. You actually see the end of the film in the trailer. After you see the opening and see our scaly friend escape, you wait for the scene from the trailer to happen. It has a big impact on the screen, the danger, the consequences. So to find out that you don't see that until the very end of the movie... well, it was a bit odd.

I really felt like there were a few issues though in the rest of the movie. So much so that it probably shouldn't have four stars. But I'll watch it again and again despite that. If I'm being picky though... Rafe Spall, that accent was really causing me problems, but it's entirely possible that the billion or so viewings of Hot Fuzz have skewed my perspective on that one. Maisie would be my other major quibble, unless they're working up to something in the next film I'm not really sure why she was there, yes she was there to connect the dots but after that *shrug*. And why did she have such a bizarre obsession with Owen. Don't get me wrong, if I'd been in that film I'd have been hugging him at any random opportunity too, but it still seemed odd. My last and most troubling issue isn't about this current movie technically, it's about the next one. Where on Earth does this leave the future story line? Or maybe that's it. Maybe the next film is set on another planet, when the human race has had to relocate because of the dangerous outbreak of dinosaurs from all corners of the world and some billionaire has an idea to start up a new theme park. Maybe they could call it Jurassic Off World.
The Ritual  (2017)
The Ritual (2017)
2017 | Horror
Contains spoilers, click to show
If you’re browsing Netflix for a horror movie, The Ritual is definitely one worth checking out. Set in a foreboding, heavily wooded landscape of the Swedish mountains, this horror film reminds viewers that maybe, just maybe you should think twice about taking that shortcut – because you know, clearly that horror movie trope hasn’t been done enough.

Nevermind that, though. Starting off with a group of friends discussing their next vacation, we soon learn which character is the biggest coward of the troupe – Luke, The Ritual‘s first bloodletting comes fairly early on. Unintentionally, Luke and Robert (Rafe Spall and Paul Reid, respectively) stumble upon a robbery whilst they are inside a liquor store. Luke, in a cowardly manner, retreats and in his endeavor to do so, hits a few bottles and makes a noise, alerting the robbers to Robert’s presence and thus resulting directly in Robert’s murder. The guilt eats at him later on, but during the entire fiasco, Luke makes no attempt to come to Robert’s aid; he only watches as his friend is brutally slaughtered. (Okay, that one might be a bit of a hyperbole compared to later scenes, but I digress.)

As a direct result of this incident, the remaining quartet, which consists of Hutch (Robert James-Collier), Phil (Arsher Ali), and Dom (Sam Troughton) in addition to Luke, decide to go hiking in memory of Robert – a trip they’d originally ridiculed him about in the earlier bar scene. And thus, we have the set up of The Ritual.

Plotwise, I felt The Ritual was fairly solid as far as cult movies go – if a bit overplayed. Group of guys goes on a trip. Someone gets injured. They try to take a shortcut back. Things go badly. Of course, there’s a bit more of an occult flavor to it, one that’s a bit more haunting in quality which is nice, but overall it’s nothing new. The difference here is it is something that is done well as opposed to half-assed.

When we get to characters though, the only one that’s even remotely likable in my opinion is Phil. The others are all self-centered assholes or, in Luke’s case, cowards. Dom’s got the luck of a bag of rocks tossed into a lake and told to float, and Hutch… we’ll leave it at that. Luke’s character, on the other hand, experiences major growth. Earlier in the film, we watch him suffer from the inability to act; by the end of the film he is forced into action: either he redeems himself, or he dies.

Another aspect of this film that I love is its absolutely breathtaking shots. I hate using adverbs that I’ve already used earlier in a review, but haunting is such an apt description of the shots taken of the Swedish forests and mountains that we see in The Ritual. Those scenes, coupled with the disturbing echoes of Luke’s guilt really have a way of balancing out the movie.
Black Mirror  - Season 2
Black Mirror - Season 2
2013 | Sci-Fi
Be Right Back - 8

Hayley Atwell, best known as Captain America’s squeeze in the MCU, Carries the emotional weight of this episode in beguiling style. Not for the last time Black Mirror enters the territory of death, grief, loneliness and questions of a tech-aided afterlife. If it were possible to bring a loved one back in physical form, even though we knew it wasn’t really them, would we be tempted to do it? Entirely believable as a concept, considering the amount of data we are storing about ourselves on social media and in other digital ways. Although any kind of clone as good as Domhnall Gleason is a bit far fetched for now. What works here is realising that no matter how good a facsimile is, it is the myriad of tiny details that make a person that we miss the most, even the imperfections. Genuinely moving in its best moments, and a strong start to season 2 in 2013.

White Bear - 7.5

White Bear, the first of the “blind” episodes, where we as viewer are thrown into a situation with no explanation or context, was the first Black Mirror episode I ever watched. I remember being blown away by the dark concept, compelling nature of the minimal narrative, the cunning twist, and the boldness of the statement seemingly being made. So many themes are going on at the same time here: true crime as voyeuristic entertainment; the moral idea of an eye for an eye, brainwashing, and whether torture under any circumstance can be justified, for starters. Looking back, it isn’t the most rounded tale in the canon, or the best acted, but it is certainly very memorable. It also saw the birth of the White Bear symbol, which pops up in other episodes regularly, if paying attention. What is its meaning? The jury is still out!

The Waldo Moment - 6

The political apathy of a nation, and hatred of the personality flaws of our politicians could lead to a figurehead without real policies being elected and revered – it isn’t a very strange idea in 2020 at all. Many younger voters have been incited to demand change, without any idea of what that change should entail. So, in concept, this episode is right on the money. Trouble is it isn’t well written enough to sustain the drama or intrigue in the way the best of the canon do. The shock value is low, and therefore the reaction is “meh, fair enough”. For me, the first real blip in quality control for the series.

White Christmas - 8.5

This was the transition episode that saw Black Mirror make the big money move from Channel 4 to Netflix. Although now bundled into series two, it was a 21 month wait after The Waldo Moment before over 2 million of us settled down to this Christmas gift in 2014. It comes over as an anthology within an anthology, with John Hamm and Rafe Spall telling tales in front of the fire whilst on a “job” together in the cold wilderness of an unknown location. It is laden with ideas of technology back-firing, and is very satisfying in how quickly it moves through the plot points. The chemistry of the two lead men is great; the arrogance of one and the nervousness of the other allowing for some beautiful twists and turns. Essentially, the whole thing is either a re-working of ideas already used, or a precursor to future ideas that will be more fleshed out. Not that it really matters. This is the highest rated individual episode on IMDb, and the reason for that has to be its accessibility. The balance between being creeped out and entertained is just about perfect.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
2018 | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Greedy men + Dinosaurs = Lunch!
I’ve really had a rollercoaster of emotions on this one. As a general fan of dinosaurs running riot, since I saw the brilliant original in 1993, I was pretty disillusioned by the teaser trailer for this one: all over-the-top CGI. But as the lights dimmed and the Universal logo faded to ominous sonar sounds, the hairs stood up again and I thought J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls“) *might* deliver something really special here. Ultimately though, I left the theatre disappointed… but only slightly so.

With extreme topicality given what is happening on one of the Hawaiian islands at the moment, Isla Nublar – home to the now derelict Jurassic World theme park – is in serious trouble due to a volcanic eruption. Swayed by chaos theory expert Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a US senate committee decides to do…. absolutely nothing, letting the dinosaurs face re-extinction. This is much to the fury of our heroine from the first film, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas-Howard), who now runs a “Save the Dinosaurs” group. When all seems lost, help comes from the wallet of philanthropist Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell, “Babe”, “LA Confidential”) and his ops manager Eli Mills (Rafe Spall, “The Big Short“) who propose to fund a private rescue mission: a mission that requires the involvement of Velociraptor-wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy“, “Passengers“). But are their motives truly honourable?

The film has its moments, with some well-executed action scenes, some nice munching of bad people and a few scenes that are truly touching: shots of a brachiosauruses’ last moments is a memorable piece of cinema. But that said, the film is extremely patchy. An exciting (but not particularly logical) pre-title sequence seques into a very wordy and action-free first reel, headed up by Goldblum (always seated: did he have his legs chewed off by a raptor?) droning on (blah blah blah), no doubt for a huge fee but not for much purpose. The early part of the movie is good however at introducing new characters: specifically the geeky Franklin (Justice Smith) and the pre-requisite 2018 ‘Times Up” kick-ass female character Zia ( Daniella Pineda), who is actually very good. As a whole though it’s not terribly engaging, leading to even the reveal of the derelict theme park – which should have been a high point – falling somewhat flat.

The much trailered volcano scenes that follow are impressive but should have been left to impress in the film.

Things ratchet up again though when the action moves to the more confining environment of Lockwood’s estate, bringing in arch-villain Gunnar Eversol played by Toby Jones (“The Snowman“, “Atomic Blonde“), who really should have taken the stairs, and Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie ( Isabella Sermon) who is excellent as the ‘child in peril’. Some of the character’s actions don’t make a lot of sense (laser-targeting Owen? Why?) but they do generate some memorable scenes, supported by Michael Giacchino’s stirring soundtrack.

So, it pretty much works as an action film, but in terms of character development it doesn’t go anywhere in particular: Claire and Owen come out in about the same condition as they came in. I was expecting something deeper from Bayona (with his “A Monster Calls” being my personal No. 2 film of last year) than just a ‘running and screaming’ film.

It’s also difficult to avoid the fact that after five of these films there’s nothing much new under the Isla Nublar sun. Some of the plot here is a retread of the genetic shenanigans of the last film, mixed with the ‘off-island’ antics of “The Lost World”. And most of the action scenes are just stripped and re-painted from the earlier films. For example, the “about to get eaten but saved by another dinosaur” trope so expertly done by Spielberg in the finale of JP1 is re-hashed not once but THREE times in this movie: leading to more yawning that excitement if I’m honest.

Overall though, it’s an effective summer blockbuster that mostly delivers on the thrills and should be a good crowd-pleaser. By the way, staying through the endless credits is worth it not just for getting the full force of Giacchino and Williams’ majestic themes: there is quite a nice “monkey” at the end, illustrating that gambling might involve more than just money in the future!

Emma @ The Movies (1742 KP) rated Men in Black International (2019) in Movies

Jun 22, 2019 (Updated Sep 25, 2019)  
Men in Black International (2019)
Men in Black International (2019)
2019 | Action, Sci-Fi
When Men In Black 3 came out 7 years ago I wasn't convinced they'd be able to follow the first two films, but it's probably become my favourite of the franchise for that ending alone. Seeing the trailers for International I was a little dubious but knowing how I felt the last time I was slightly optimistic about it.

*Eyes closed. Pinch bridge of nose. Slow, pained exhale.*

I hate it when the internet is right, it sets a very bad precedent. This film was not good, and it was fairly evident early on. Considering that at the beginning of the film we're seeing a kid discovering aliens for the first time I can't fathom how there is so little wonder and excitement in it. I found myself thinking it was cute, but cute isn't enough to kickstart a film.

I hoped for a while that it was just a slow burner, but after a third of the film had passed it was difficult to hold on to that hope. There was almost nothing that was exciting in it to make you want to ever see it again.

Somehow the effects have got both better and worse at the same time. The aliens in general look a little shoddy, apart from the main evil duo. There are some moments where they turn into a gaseous entity, their appearance changes to a galaxy like blur, and it's actually pretty beautiful to see... but then they turn back.

Tessa Thompson plays our obsessed wannabe woman in black. Relatively speaking her performance was quite good. I've only seen her in things from the last couple of years, and apart from Ragnarok I haven't been overly impressed with the roles she's played but Molly was a nice addition to her roster.

Chris Hemsworth... oh my dear boy... I'm not convinced that he should do comedy. Thor is great in Ragnarok but outside of that I'm not overly fond. There's only so far handsome and a little dumb can get you, and I think Thor and Kevin really used all of that up. When he's so good at drama I'm not sure why he keeps picking the same type of comedic pieces, as a dramatic actor in 12 Strong and Bad Times At The El Royale he was great and I really want to go back and see more of his serious roles. H in this is basically just Kevin from Ghostbusters in a black suit with a few more brain cells. It's a terribly scripted role and a massively disappointing lead in a series that has so much possibility behind it.

The standout performance for me is from Kumail Nanjiani as Pawny. Pawny is fantastically scripted, to the point that I wondered if someone else had written his part. The wonderful thing about it was that I could feel Nanjiani in everything that Pawny was doing, if you'd had him as a real-life character it would have been (almost) exactly the same performance. The only times I laughed were Pawny moments and I was genuinely annoyed when they were interrupted by the rest of the film.

Our four main supporting actors are a bit of a mix. Emma Thompson gives a repeat performance as O and ooooo is she glorious as always. Liam Neeson plays High T, the head of the London branch of MIB, it's fairly non-descript, sadly he's no Rip Torn. Rafe Spall plays Agent C who's a bit of a snitch. He has a rather slow start and when we meet him it's not a great scene for anyone involved, I found him to be terribly boring but thankfully his part does improve as we get deeper into it. Lastly we've got the surprise inclusion of Rebecca Ferguson as H's ex-girlfriend, Riza... I just... what was the point of her character?

"But the bad guy fights must have been good?"... am I the only one that felt like there wasn't really a bad guy in this? Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of options but we don't see enough of any of them to be really invested in the fact that they're bad. And when it comes to action scenes... were there really any of them either? I just... I can't even... ugh...

Considering I wasn't buzzing about this before I went in I'm amazed that I felt so disappointed by it. There was very little to enjoy beyond Nanjiani's Pawny, and hardly anything to workout as you watched because the trailers made it fairly obvious what was going to happen. You always hope that new instalments of series are going to stand up to its predecessors or at least not be so shit that they make you regret spending time watching it... yeah...

I want to like this more and I may give it a second chance after the slight success of Aladdin's second viewing, but no matter what happens, this is still going to be ranked fourth in the series.

What you should do

I really wouldn't bother watching this, spend your time rewatching the previous three instalments.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

I would like the only amazing thing from this film, one Pawny, please.

Movie Metropolis (308 KP) rated Life Of Pi (2012) in Movies

Jun 10, 2019 (Updated Jun 10, 2019)  
Life Of Pi (2012)
Life Of Pi (2012)
2012 | Adventure, Drama
Ang Lee has directed some very artistic and emotionally charged films in his career and his new movie, Life of Pi is certainly no exception. But can his take on Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name live up to his usual high standards?

In short, the answer is a resounding yes. From the stunning special effects and beautiful acting to the heart-warming story, it captivates from beginning to end like no other film released this year.

The film begins with a pet hate of mine, the credits. I always think a movie that starts with its credits is usually a huge let-down but something was different here, as soon as the brilliantly filmed names flash across the screen, I knew this film was going to be spectacular, just how spectacular however, I was not prepared for.

The story is, essentially what the title says it is, the life of a boy called Pi and his extraordinary journey from childhood, through adolescence and finally into adulthood. It seems quite simple and perhaps nothing too innovative or different, but the way Lee has captured the magic of the novel really does shine through on screen.

In the present day, Rafe Spall plays a budding writer searching for inspiration for his next big book. He comes across Irrfan Khan who plays the adult Pi and has an unbelievable story to tell. So, as he begins to narrate this incredible journey, the viewer is transported to when Pi was a boy.

It’s true that the film takes a while to get going and the scenes in Pi’s native India are perhaps the most testing of the entire film. The momentum is built up slowly as the boy travels through school life whilst his family run a small zoo in their hometown. Alas, the perfection of his childhood is ruined when his entire family decide to relocate to Canada due to an economic crisis. They are packed onto a tanker with the zoo animals on-board and begin the journey to their new life.

Whilst on the last leg of their journey, their ship is ravaged by a severe storm and Pi’s family is lost, along with most of the zoo animals and, in a scene that even betters the emotionally charged sinking in Titanic and the CGI packed sinking in Poseidon, their tanker is lost to the ocean.

Thankfully he survives, along with an injured zebra, a naughty hyena and a motherly orangutan in a small life-boat. It’s safe to say that the zebra and ape don’t last too long on-board a ship with a hyena and they are picked off as lunch. However, also sailing with them is Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger and he forms the basis of the film, along with Pi. At first, after Richard Parker makes light work of the hyena, the relationship between Pi and his new shipmate is somewhat strained, a constant battle between who is going to eat who and the only sensible option is for Pi to live on separate raft tied to the life-boat.

However, a few days pass and finally they can share a boat, albeit after a couple of amusing scenes involving urine and some flying fish.

Richard Parker is a beautiful animal to say the least, a mixture of live action tigers, CGI animation and animatronics really brings him to life, which is good considering he is the only other character in the film. This is where Ang Lee’s brilliance as a director shines, bringing warmth and heart to a character that is not only not real, but an animal, without the ability to talk and share feelings. Credit must also be given to newcomer Suraj Sharma who plays Pi Patel absolutely brilliantly. I simply could not believe this was his first big acting role; his performance is nothing short of stunning.

Then there are the special effects and 3D. Everything is a wonder to behold and the 3D is a help in enjoying the film, rather than a hindrance which it continues to be in other movies. There are two scenes in particular which really stand out, including a lot of jellyfish and a few thousand meerkats. I won’t say anything else, as they need to be seen to be believed.

Moreover, in the depths of this film lies a huge emotional core, the story of a boy and his ‘pet’ and the perils they face, the togetherness they bring to one another is touching to say the least and let’s just say there were more than a few sniffles coming from the rows behind me in the cinema. However, it is more than just a story of companionship; there is a deep religious message about believing in god even if he seems to not be there 100% of the time. Whether or not you choose to read into this is your decision, but it’s there throughout.

Life of Pi is something really special, a magical journey that needs to be seen to be believed. Very rarely, a film comes along that touches your heart, your soul and your head and this is one of those films. Everything from the performances of all the actors, the beautiful recreation of Richard Parker and stunning special effects make this film as revolutionary as Avatar was in 2009. It is not only the best film of 2012; it is one of the best films ever made. Please, I urge all of you who read this, go see it, and witness history in the making.