4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Guillermo Del Toro Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: Guillermo Del Toro!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Devil’s Backbone (2001, dir. by Guillermo Del Toro)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, dir. by Guillermo Del Toro)

Crimson Peak (2015, dir by Guillermo Del Toro)

The Shape of Water (2017, dir by Guillermo Del Toro)

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Belatedly, Here Are The First Trailers for Pacific Rim: Uprising and Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water


Belatedly (because it dropped on July 19th but, at the time, I was busy writing about reality television for another site), here’s the first trailer for Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that we’re big Del Toro fans here at the Shattered Lens.  Arleigh loved Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim.  I thought Crimson Peak was incredibly underrated.  So, you better believe that we’re all really looking forward to seeing The Shape of Water.

Especially after watching this trailer!

And, since I mentioned Pacific Rim, here is the first teaser for the sequel to that beloved film, Pacific Rim: Uprising!

4 Shots From Horror History: Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer, Candyman, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Cronos


This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we start the 90s!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990, dir by John McNaughton)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990, dir by John McNaughton)

Candyman (1992, dir by Bernard Rose)

Candyman (1992, dir by Bernard Rose)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992, dir by Fran Rubel Kuzui)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992, dir by Fran Rubel Kuzui)

Cronos (1993, dir by Guillermo del Toro)

Cronos (1993, dir by Guillermo del Toro)

Horror Film Review: Crimson Peak (dir by Guillermo Del Toro)


CrimsonPeak

The fact that Crimson Peak, Guillermo Del Toro’s wonderful new film, is only getting mixed or grudgingly positive reviews tells you everything that you need to know about the sorry state of modern film criticism.

Taking place at the turn of the 19th Century, Crimson Peak tells the story of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska).  The daughter of industrialist Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver), Edith is haunted by a childhood memory, in which her mother’s ghost appeared to her and told her to never go to Crimson Peak.  Edith grows up to be an aspiring writer.  She writes stories about ghosts, though she is always quick to point out that the ghosts are just meant to be a “metaphor for the past.”  Her publishers tell her that no one wants to read a ghost story written by a woman and they recommend that she concentrate on writing a nice romance.

Following the violent death of her father, Edith marries the charming inventor Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and moves to his family home in England.  Still in shock over the death of her father, Edith struggles to make things work in England.  Tom is nearly penniless and seems to be more interested in his inventions than with her.  (Not only did they not consummate the marriage during the honeymoon but Tom sleeps in a separate bedroom.)  Meanwhile, Tom’s older sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), does little to hide the disdain that she feels towards her new sister-in-law.

As for the house itself, it is on the verge of collapsing.  At one point, Tom mentions that, because of the red clay that sits underneath the mansion, their new home is sometimes called Crimson Peak.  If that wasn’t enough to panic Edith, she keeps seeing mysterious figures wandering through the halls.  Edith swears that she is seeing ghosts and that they are trying to tell her something.  Tom and Lucille tells her that she’s imagining things and continue to insist that she drink a special tea.  Could that tea be the reason why Edith finds herself coughing up blood?

(Actually, there’s a lot of blood spilled over the course of Crimson Peak.  It’s not just the clay that makes the ground red.  If Edith Wharton had written a horror movie, the end result would probably be a lot like Crimson Peak.)

And let’s just get this out of the way right now — Crimson Peak is an absolutely brilliant movie.  Those critics who have complained that Crimson Peak doesn’t have any of the expected “shock” scares are totally missing the point.  Crimson Peak is not about cheap scares.  Del Toro is not looking to make you jump by having a cat jump out of a closet.  Instead, Crimson Peak is all about atmosphere.  Del Toro maintains an atmosphere of consistent unease throughout the entire film.  The scares come less from what is shown and more from what is implied.  In that way, Crimson Peak pays homage to the great gothic horror films of the past.

And remember when I complained about how terrible Jessica Chastain was in The Martian?  Well, she absolutely brilliant in Crimson Peak.  The role of Lucille is not one that demands a lot of subtlety and Chastain appears to be having a great time getting to play such a menacing character.  If anything, this is one of Chastain’s best performances.  (One need only consider how overly mannered Meryl Streep would have been in the role to realize just how great an actress Jessica Chastain truly is.)  Mia Wasikowska is the epitome of fragile loveliness as Edith and Tom Hiddleston is perfectly cast as a handsome, slightly decadent aristocrat with a secret.  In fact, all three of them are perfectly cast.  Taking their roles too seriously would have been a mistake but so would have not taking the movie seriously enough.  The entire cast strikes a perfect balance, embracing the melodrama without going too far over the top.

So, why are so many film critics having such a hard time embracing Crimson Peak?  It’s pretty much for the same reason that a lot of them had a hard time with Pacific Rim.  Guillermo Del Toro’s films are masterpieces of the pulp imagination.  As such, he exposes the condescending attitude that most contemporary critics take towards “genre” films.  When mainstream critics dismiss Crimson Peak as just being “a horror film that isn’t scary enough,” all they’re really doing is revealing how ignorant they are of the horror genre.

So, in other words, don’t listen to those mainstream critics.  They are not worth your trouble.  Crimson Peak is a wonderfully acted and visually gorgeous gothic romance and it needs to be seen on the big screen.

Reportedly, Crimson Peak struggled at the box office this weekend.

Well, you know what?

If you haven’t seen Crimson Peak, you need to go out and see it this week.  It’s a great film and what good are we if we let the great ones go unseen?

4 Shots From 4 Films: Guillermo del Toro Edition


Happy Birthday to the Master of Dark Fantasy.

Guillermo del Toro ranks high in my eyes as one of the best filmmakers working today. His films have ranged from an inventive take on the vampire genre, the mutant monster film, an evocative ghost story and right up to a dark fable. Guillermo del Toro has worked on both smaller, personal projects and the big, blockbuster action. He’s comfortable in living in both worlds.

No matter which side he happens to land at any particular time he always brings his own brand of visual style and storytelling to each and every film that tells the world that they’re watching a Guillermo del Toro production.

4 Shot From 4 Films

Cronos (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

Cronos (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

Mimic (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

Mimic (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

The Devil's Backbone (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

The Devil’s Backbone (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

Pan's Labyrinth (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. by Guillermo del Toro)

Crimson Peak’s Visually Stunning Gothic Horror


CrimsonPeak

Guillermo Del Toro has become the one filmmaker who seems to excite both the elitist cinephiles and the geek community whenever he comes out with a new film. He’s done both pop-friendly extravaganzas (Pacific Rim, Hellboy) to critically-acllaimed arthouse fares (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone). His name has been attached to so many projects of all stripe that one wonders if he ever gets time to rest.

Most of these projects never get past the concept stage, but when one does and he goes all out in directing such projects we get something that excites the fanbase like his upcoming gothic horror film Crimson Peak. It looks to be Del Toro’s love letter to gothic horror of the past with his own visual flair for the morbid and the beautiful in one package.

The film stars a who’s who of powerful performers from Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston to Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam.

Crimson Peak is set to haunt the public this coming October 16, 2015

Lisa’s Too Early Oscar Predictions for May!


oscar trailer kitties

Well, here we are!  The year is nearly halfway over and the Oscar picture … well, it’s really not that clear yet.  The Cannes Film Festival just opened and maybe that will help clear up the picture a bit.  Or maybe not.

Anyway, here are my early Oscar for predictions for May.  (In previous months, my Oscar predictions were “way too early.”  But now that we’re 5 months into 2015, the “way” can be dropped.  They’re just “too early” now.)  As is usual for any predictions made at this time of the year, these are mostly guesses, some random and some educated.  Be sure to check my predictions for January, February, March, and April as well!

(I know that rumor has it that the Academy is going to go back to only nominating five films this year.  However, I’m going to continue to make ten predictions because that’s more fun for an obsessive list maker like me.)

Last Dinosaur

Best Picture

Black Mass

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Carol

Crimson Peak

The Danish Girl

The Good Dinosaur

Icon

In the Heart of the Sea

The Sea of Trees

Ben Foster in Icon

Best Actor

Johnny Depp in Black Mass

Michael Fassebender in Steve Jobs

Ben Foster in Icon

Eddie Redmanye in The Danish Girl

Jason Segel in The End of the Tour

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Carol

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash

Lilly Tomlin in Grandma

idris-elba-beasts-of-no-nation1

Best Supporting Actor

Jim Broadbent in Brooklyn

Albert Brooks in Concussion

Joel Edgerton in Black Mass

Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation

Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight

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Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak

Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight

Seinna Miller in Black Mass

Parker Posey in Irrational Man

Meryl Streep in Suffragette

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Best Director

Guillermo Del Toro for Crimson Peak

Stephen Fears for Icon

Todd Haynes for Carol

Ron Howard for In The Heart of the Sea

Gus Van Sant for The Sea of Trees

Oscars