Guillermo del Toro: Mr. Fantastico

During the earlier days of movie watching, I was just another common movie watcher, and never really cared about who was acting, directing or spending money for the movie. But in the last few years, I have been looking at each minute detail about the movies, and I have come up with my favourites. I have them among the actors, but among the directors, my favourites one has been Guillermo del Toro, and I would call him Mr. Fantastico, and his movies are consistently fantastic!

I have always found it easier to connect with the movies from him, and each movie which he directed and I have watched, has given me different and yet special feelings. He has also written novels, and The Strain Trilogy about vampires is a well-known one. It was made into a television series and receieved positive opinions. I am looking forward to reading the novels or watching that series some day. So along with being director, screenwriter and producer, being a novelist also comes as one extra skill for Mr. Fantastico.

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The movie that made me certain about his skills was Pan’s Labyrinth indeed. Originally titled El Laberinto del Fauno, this Spanish Dark Fantasy movie gave me a feeling that I could never really express in the right way, because it was that special. I often refer to this movie as the grand fantastico of all movies belonging to the same genre. If there is a dark fairy-tale that could rise above everything else, it is this movie, and this serves as your opportunity to fall in love with Princess Moanna, heir to the magical underworld.

I have recommended Pan’s Labyrinth to everyone without second thoughts, and it is a movie which brings you the idea about how Mr. Fantastico uses the themes and imagery to perfection. Getting 4/4 from Roger Ebert, 95% at the Rotten Tomatoes and 98% at the Metacritic – I would consider this as one of the greatest movies of all-time, and del Toro is the master of the fantastic, the truth that a lot of people fail to know because they haven’t watched this movie, and it is not right!

It has been about ten years after Pan’s Labyrinth had released, but you never really get out of that magical effect which the movie had created on the audience. I see Ivana Baquero, the girl who acted as the protagonist of the movie, and then I realize that it was so long ago. There are not many directors who have left such an effect on me with one movie; del Toro has actually continued the fantastic work in the later movies. Actually, there are a lot of his earlier movies which I really wanted to watch, but couldn’t as they were not available.

Then there was Hellboy from the same director – I love this one and its sequel, and I have never felt that a director could do Hellboy better than him. Del Toro is at his best with the creatures, he is at the highest level of fantastico with them and you might have realized that from the creature design in the Hellboy movies. These two also have heavy ratings from critics – do you remember the Angel of Death in the second movie? That was one dark fantastic creature, one of its kind.

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His last two movies, Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak also remain my big favourites. Both these movies did better outside North America, and one thing about these two movies were that they were intellectually a long way ahead, and unless you manage to get there with the idea, it won’t work. The former was one of the best entertainers with monsters and robots while the latter was one of the best Gothic Romance Horror stories in the last few years. Well, if you are going to watch a movie from the master of visual beauty, Mr. Fantastico Guillermo del Toro, you need to get more fantastic!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Crimson Peak.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

We are Still Waiting

As we await the release of movies like Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Peanuts Movie, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and The Martian, my wait for a few of the other movies continue. The fact remains that I don’t expect at least half of the movies in this list to release here, or find enough screens here. But there is no limit to waiting, and we will watch some of them at Star Movies or HBO if the theatres don’t shower enough blessings to the lesser known ones. The need for the same actually begins with Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak for me.

1. Crimson Peak: My most awaited movie of the year, Guillermo del Toro’s new adventure which is to be combination of many things, continues to make me wait. With Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska around, we know that there is the best possible cast for such a Gothic environment of mystery and horror. The trailer was really interesting and it promises a different kind of Gothic horror, the kind which we have dreamt about a lot – I believe that a lot of literature students would have wanted true Gothic horror, and may be this one will deliver the best of them all on the big screen. After all, we know what Guillermo del Toro is capable of.

2. Sinister 2, Maggie and Dark Places: This sequel to Sinister was expected to be another big horror movie of this year, but it never really impressed the critics and haven’t released here yet either. Another horror movie, Dark Places also seems to have faced the same fate. Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer Maggie is the third movie to face that fate, but with better critical reception which stands as mixed. These three movies make the three horror flicks which never came here despite promising to be there through the multiplexes – I would guess that they did release at some other cities of India, or may be they will come here much later with another release date?

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3. Rings: The star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t bring Maggie here and the name Charlize Theron couldn’t bring Dark Places to our theatres yet. So the question would remain about this movie releasing here even though the name has its own power. Insidious: Chapter 3 made much less impact here just like Insidious: Chapter 2 and lets hope that this third film in the Hollywood horror based on the Japanese horror flick Ringu, and the third after The Ring and The Ring Two can create enough impact in the United States to release here. It is surely not good times for horror. But Crimson Peak can change that before the release of this one, but that would still depend on many factors.

4. The Last Witch Hunter and Victor Frankenstein: While the Keanu Reeves starrer Knock Knock should be an interesting watch, it might not get a chance to release here, but for these two movies, there is chance for big collection here. The Last Witch Hunter has Vin Diesel as the immortal witch hunter looking forward to save the world with the help of another witch, played by Rose Leslie – she was there in Game of Thrones for so less time, and needs to be there for us on the big screen. The latter, which is another adaptation of the classic horror story with James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe leading the way. Both can use the star power to get to victory with ease.

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5. Hotel Transylvania 2 and The Good Dinosaur: The good monsters lead by the vampires return here to bring the fun back. This year had animated movies having big box-office collections, even with Minions which was not considered that good as Despicable Me and its sequel, there is a big chance for this movie. The first one never released here, and I hope that the second one do because this is good time for that. It was rather too predictable too, and lets see what the second movie brings with Dracula’s father being a character too. Meanwhile, The Good Dinosaur is expected to be simpler and to appeal more to the kids. But it should also be fun anyway.

6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: With The Hobbit finished and out of the way, one franchise looks to finish well like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and another one looks to do the second job. Both of them are surely to attract enough of the audience. The would expect the second part of the book’s third part to do better than its predecessor, and the second movie of the other franchise also to do better than the first. Both are sure to have some very nice moments which can leave some lasting impression on the audience. The combination of science-fiction, dystopia and adventure can never really fail to work completely.

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***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies mentioned here.

TeNy

The Upcoming Horror

With The Woman in Black: Angel of Death failing to make an impact and The Lazarus Effect along with its companion negative reviews never really making it to the theatres here, we haven’t had the best of horror for sometime. With even Annabelle not living up-to its predecessor last year, people might think that horror has suddenly lost the charm it had gained with the movies like Insidious, Sinister and The Conjuring, but no – horror will live on, for there are four big movies coming this year to make sure that horror stays alive, and I am also mentioning a few others in the end. But don’t forget that the next big movie is not horror, but action – Mad Max: Fury Road and there are Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys to follow.

1. Crimson Peak: Guillermo del Toro’s new adventure won’t just be horror, because it will be a combination of many things with horror having the most significant role to play. The trailer begins with the words “Ghosts and real; this much I know”, and then we are taken into a Gothic world which resembles those which we have read about in Wuthering Heights and Northanger Abbey rather than what we have been encountering with the usual ghost tales of this century. The team of horror consists of Tom Hiddleston or the Loki of The Avengers/Thor and Mia Wasikowska of Stoker/Alice in Wonderland. Here is the certainty of performance when these two are together – if this comes anywhere close to the mysterious quality of the trailer, there will be masterpiece waiting for us.

2. Sinister 2: Three years ago, Sinister wanted us to take it seriously and we did, as the demon there gave us no choice. This year, it will once again try to take over innocence and bring out brutal evil. Sinister will not be just the horror right out of evil, for it has the potential to be pure evil, and there is scope to make its idea even better. There are many kinds of horror, and Sinister 2 have all the potential to be better than all of them. Let’s hope that it makes the best use of its resources. There is the need to know more about the origins of the demon, and about the sould that he take. I watched this one along with Insidious some years ago, and I guess that this year will have these two contributing to the big horror year.

3. Insidious: Chapter 3: Lead by Stefanie Scott, the supernatural returns to scare us in the third movie of a franchise which couldn’t improve much on its very first movie. Well, the theme music surely has managed to gain my attention, and it replaces the “Let it Go” song from Frozen which should be a relief to many around me. The movie actually goes back to explore this horror, and hopes to make use of the horror’s origin powers to make a better impact than the second movie for sure. I do believe that the third episode can surely do better than its predecessor, and can go on to become the first big horror of the year depending on how Poltergeist performs and when it comes to India.

4. Poltergeist: Here is the first horror movie which plans to attack you, and it will precede the monsoons, having a go at you in 3D. I have always wondered why the Hollywood horror movies never came here in 3D, except for the dumb horror – may be some of them did in some other parts of India? Poltergeist gets to make amends for the weakness of horror movies this year as it will come to the theatres here too as it seems. The next season or the bigger season of horror will begin with this movie, as it hopes to take over the fear. From the producers of Evil Dead and The Grudge, comes the first big horror title of the year, sorry The Woman in Black: Angel of Death. It is certainly not good when the spirits know what scares you the most. Feel free to ask the Vampire Bat.

Among the rest of the horror movies, the one big name should be RINGS. It comes as the third movie in the American made trilogy based on the Japanese works after The Ring and The Ring Two. It comes to us on November 13, 2015, having Guillermo del Toro’s name associated with it too. You might have missed The Ring for too long and here is the movie to say you from the long waiting. Yes, it comes in 3D too, as it seems. THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM with Kate Beckinsale in the lead will be another movie to look out for, with some extra psychological stuff added. Even though less is known about this movie, we can be afraid of the attic after watching this one. It arrives on September 25.

On the same day, BEFORE I WAKE also tries to make an impact, with a special orphan child at the centre of everything – no, this is no sequel to the 2009 movie Orphan, and this will have the supernatural elements. But as two horror movies might never hit our theatres here together, we will surely have to choose between the two or wait for one of them for an eternity. Another movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin is also there, but this movie titled MAGGIE which has received good opinions won’t make it to our theatres because it is an independent horror film. It is supposed to release in the United States this weekend, so lets keep the hopes somewhat alive for some random supernatural reason.

TeNy

The Bright Future

As this year’s movie watching adventures come to a close, there are a number of movies which I am looking forward to in the next year, not including the sequels. As far as the quality and the variety of movies which released in 2014 are concerned, I would consider the year far behind 2013, whether we are considering Hollywood, Bollywood or even the Malayalam movie industry. There are only a few movies that are left for release in 2014, which can change that, but there is hope for the next year. It might be too early now, but these are the five non-sequel movies which I am looking forward to in 2015.

The Last Witch Hunter: Even as it kind of brings some doubt into our minds with sounding like The Last Airbender, I would trust Vin Diesel on this one, and joining him is Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones, this time with a hero who knows a lot, and this should keep the standards. As witches seek to unleash a plague, it is this hunter who stands between them. I would have like The Rock to do such a role, but it seems that Vin Diesel would do nicely – he hunts witches this time, and not aliens or humans, works perfectly well for me. May this one not be the last witch hunter you will ever want to see, hoping that this will do only good to the genre – meanwhile look at this poster’s similarities to the creature in Mama.

This should be a fascinating story (Pic from movie's FB Page)

This should be a fascinating story (Pic from movie’s FB Page)

Victor Frankenstein: As James McAvoy plays Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe is Igor in this different adaptation of the original classic from Mary Shelley, there is the certainty of some beauty in variety here. We have had the perspectives of the monster as well as the scientist, and it is time we get the viewpoint of the scientist’s assistant. Coming up on Gandhi Jayanthi next year, lets hope that this one is not lost and not shown here due to some random stupid Bollywood movie with any superstar releasing in India, like Besharam in 2013 and Bang Bang! in 2014.

Hitman: Agent 47: As this movie which needs no introduction comes to the big screen as a reboot, this adaptation of the game franchise should do even better than the other one which released earlier. Hitman is that kind of a character with immense possibilities and a lot less chance to go wrong. Lets hope that this movie twists the wrong idea about video game adaptations and turn it into something better. Paul Walker would have been an amazing Hitman, and it is saddening that he had to be replaced with the accident. We should give this assassin a chance, because video games can certainly make good movies without getting the critical appreciation, and it is a proven fact.

Hitman was never just another game for us (Pic from movie's FB Page)

Hitman was never just another game for us (Pic from movie’s FB Page)

Crimson Peak: Its been sometimes since we saw something from Guillermo del Toro, and I have to say that whenever his name is involved, I consider the movie a must watch, and that feeling has never failed me. It has Mia Wasikowska in the lead role. If you have seen her in Stoker, you would know how good she would be in a movie like this. The nineteen century setting in a Gothic mansion far away from the city, sounds too good to go wrong. As it is supposed to be not just a ghost story, but also a Gothic romance, there is going to be mysterious feel about this one which is going to be special. Our own Loki, Tom Hiddleston is going to be there – something big is surely coming here!

Jupiter Ascending: This one has been making us wait rather too much. Along with having Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis together, this movie provides us with a huge universe extending through different planets and solar systems and if what we see in the trailer keeps happening a lot, we can be sure that there will be some incredibly powerful action and magnificent visual effects which will rule the screen. This should be an amazing new world if it can rightly deliver what it seems to possess. Check the posters and the trailer and you will know. Lets trust The Wachowskis once again to bring that awesome science fiction movie of the year to us.

Such awesome visuals and action (Pic from movie's FB Page)

Such awesome visuals and action (Pic from movie’s FB Page)

Among the sequels, my best bet would be on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7 – no surprises there. I also have high hopes for Insidious: Chapter 3, Sinister 2, Jurrasic World, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, The Transporter Legacy, Terminator: Genisys, Taken 3, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Kung Fu Panda 3, Mission: Impossible 5 and London has Fallen. There are also the upcoming James Bond and Star Wars movies, plus Fifty Shades of Grey. It is a long list of movies yet again, and my guess is that it will surely be a better year than 2014.

TeNy