Monster


Viewed – 13 August 2022 Blu-ray

I can’t believe I never watched this movie until now. Telling the true story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, this follows Aileen (Charlie Theron) during the period in her life where she worked as a prostitute and befriended a girl at a bar (Christina Ricci) who she develops a relationship with. However as they struggle to get by, Aileen descends into serial murder after life kicks her down one too many times.

Hooker with a heart of…

A fascinating story is brought to life by Patty Jenkins’ gritty, authentic direction and especially an amazing performance by an unrecognisable Theron, who makes Aileen sympathetic, sad and chilling. How she portrays a likeable if rather trouble woman who becomes incredibly unhinged is powerhouse acting. She every bit deserved the Oscar. Christina Ricci is also layered and interesting, in one of her finest roles.

The story of Aileen Wuornos is a unique one, as she was not a typically ‘evil’ killer, more a victim of society, upbringing and likely mental illness. This captures all that, along with a powerfully tragic love story. Although I never condoned Aileen’s actions, especially as the murders progressed, I did come away feeling sorry for her. A must see.

The newly released collector’s edition from Second Sight is something to behold. Packaged in a hard back case, it comes with a nicely detailed booklet with essays by Anton Bitel, Hannah Strong & Shelagh Rowan-Legg. You also get 6 art cards. On the Blu-ray the movie is presented in fine shape. It’s often a dark, grainy movie but detail is very good throughout. The soundtrack is in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio and although a mostly tally movie, dialogue is very clear. The occasional music cues also sound decent. Extras consist of several featurettes and documentaries exploring the making of and the real life person. There’s also a (very enjoyable) commentary from Director Patty Jenkins, Charlize Theron and producer Clark Peterson. An essential purchase for fans of the movie.

Verdict:

(the movie) Essential

(the Blu-ray) Essential

A Monster In Paris


Viewed – 01 September 2012  Blu-ray

I’ve not been that aware of animated movies originating from France.  Although I had heard some good stuff about them, this is my first dip in the French animation waters – and I must say I have come away pleasantly surprised.  Set in Paris in 1910, a trio of characters; a love-lorn theatre projectionist, a weeling-dealing inventor and a feisty cabaret singer are flung together when an accident at a laboratory transforms a flea into a giant monster.  However, when the cabaret singer discovers there’s more to the creature than people believe, a friendship blossoms.

Directed by Bibo Bergeron (Shark Tale), this is a bizarre story to say the least, but is done with panache and quite beautiful animation, showing off a european art style that sets it apart from the likes of Pixar.  The main protagonists are well written and interesting, and the monster bares more than a passing resemblance to The Phantom Of The Opera, which I’m guessing was a big influence.  For an animated movie there are a few musical numbers that really got my foot tapping, and with French model / singer Vanessa Paradis (Depp’s ex) supplying her voice to the cabaret singer – this was a fun, if undemanding experience.

Granted, the villain is utterly contrived, the story takes a bit of time to get going and it all seems to end about three times … but the action, comedy, music and visuals all came together well, which makes this one to check out regardless.

Verdict:  3 /5