REVIEW: Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak 5

Crimson Peak
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam

Warning: Spoilers throughout

Don’t worry, it’s just clay.  Red clay.  Seeping up through the ground.  They’re trying to mine it for some reason, this tall, pale, handsome man and his quiet, pale, sharp sister.  Almost as quickly as Edith (Mia Wasikowska) arrives at their English estate, before she can grow accustomed to their decaying mansion and its many time-frozen rooms, winter comes.  All of the sudden there is snow everywhere, outside and coming in through a hole in the ceiling and collecting by the main staircase. The red clay keeps seeping and mixing with it.  There’s a morbid sight outside now, probably the best way imaginable to keep kids off your lawn.

Edith goes there out of love and desperation. She’s whisked away from America by Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) almost immediately after her father’s murder.  She gets upset when a doctor friend (Charlie Hunnam) tries to examine her dad’s caved in skull for signs of foul play.  She’ll be thankful for his inquisitiveness later, but during her father’s funeral she all but ignores him, staring into the distance with her head pressed into Sharpe’s chest.  His sister is already back in England, waiting for them.

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REVIEW: The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
Written by: Pedro Almodóvar & Agustín Almodóvar (screenplay), Thierry Jonquet (novel)
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes and Jan Cornet

The art of the surprise twist is something you just don’t see a lot of in modern movies, but Pedro Almodóvar sure as hell pulls one off in The Skin I Live In (assuming that like me you haven’t read the source novel beforehand).  Almodóvar makes his horror debut with this film, though his aesthetic touches from recent films like Broken Embraces and Volver remain well in tact.

Beautifully art directed sets and the lusciously costumed stars combine quite well with the truly deranged story.  Antonio Banderas stars as the demented plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard, who is keeping a woman named Vera (Elena Anaya) hostage in his home to do synthetic skin experiments on.  After the tragic death of his wife, who committed suicide after seeing what she looked like after being burnt in a car crash. Ledgard becomes obsessed with recreating Vera in her image.

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