I was cleaning out my drafts and found this old meme! Way back when I was tagged by the lovely @lyrangalia
List 6 movies that you can watch anytime and tag 6 people!
The Fall This movie is one that I can watch over and over again. The world is rich and beautiful, the changes in the story from the perception of Alexandria are seamlessly incorporated, and the depth of emotion is flooring every time. Also Lee Pace in eyeliner.
Howl’s Moving Castle This is the movie I go to when I’m overwhelmed in any way. The costumes, the characters, Sophie learning to love herself, all of it helps soothe me. Plus I relate to Howl on many levels.
Pan’s Labyrinth I’m a sucker for fairy tales that have dark twists. Guillermo del Toro is one of my favorite directors and I could probably fill half of this lift with his movies. Pan’s Labyrinth strikes a special chord with me because of the color usage throughout the movie and the emotions that they evoke.
Stardust Gosh, where do I even start? A story by one of my favorite authors, that challenges masculinity, that takes the hero’s journey and involves a cast of powerful women, and a bunch of zany deaths? Sign me right the fuck up. Also the love story is pretty great, too.
Princess Arete This is the princess movie I wish I would have had growing up. This young woman deals with a barrage of suitors, a curse, and an evil wizard! Outside of Arete’s harrowing journey there is another woman who spends the movie working to subvert the wizard’s rule over her people.
Delicatessen Marco Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are one of my favorite pairs in filmmaking, and Delicatessen is a film I could watch endlessly and never get bored with. The way the world is constructed and the stories revolving around the tenants, even those who aren’t the main focus, make for an immersive film that never fails to delight me.
“In a gothic romance you get a great love story, you get supernatural elements, you get really spooky scenes…all those things combined make a beautiful, gorgeous-looking movie. It can have the trappings of a horror film” but intricately seeded is a classical love story in which a central “virginal character who is discovering a secret, a treasure, a dark past…emerges somewhat transformed.”
- Guillermo Del Toro
To all of my followers who like Crimson Peak even half as much as I do; please hunt down and watch this. Seriously. If only for a young, beautiful little Vincent Price and classic American gothic clothing/architecture. Also Guillermo del Toro confirmed that it was part of his inspiration for his film.
A small sampling of images from the tumblr by Miguel that allows us to see in all their glory some amazing stills of the movies we love. In the dark, inside the movie theater, when you are lost in the fantasy of a movie, you might not realize the beautiful images that are gone before the flicker of an eye. You remember the scene but only in these stills can you appreciate some of them fully.
Mad Max: Fury Road | George Miller | 2015
Blade Runner | Ridley Scott | 1982
Pacific Rim | Guillermo del Toro | 2013
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 | David Yates | 2010
2001: A Space Odyssey | Stanley Kubrick | 1968
The Matrix | The Wachowskis | 1999
Inception | Christopher Nolan | 2010
Birdman | Alejandro González Iñárritu | 2014
Under the Skin | Jonathan Glazer | 2014
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back | Irvin Kershner | 1980
I’m the mysterious stranger: Tom Hiddleston is the outsider in Crimson Peak, an enigmatic and charming man who lives in a giant, creepy mansion. In real life, actually, he is a British man, lean and confident, who tells us the secrets of Guillermo del Toro’s new movie, based on forbidden desires and death’s fear.
A waltz so natural that the light in the dancer’s hand doesn’t turn off. A butterflies’ cloud. A ball thrown to a dog rolling in the wrong direction. For Guillermo del Toro, tension is a matter of details and elegance, with the horror slowly released. Technically a gothic-romance, Crimson Peak promises chills telling the story of Edith, a young writer - played by Mia Wasikowska - attracted by a mysterious man, Sir Thomas Sharpe. A charming stranger, who takes her from a childhood friend and led to a house able to breathe, bleed, remember. “But beware - warns Tom Hiddleston, who plays Sharpe - this is not a movie about a haunted house. It goes much further.”
In person, the actor born in London in 1981, paradoxically became a star with the role of an American
villain (Loki, who else?), is tall, slender and elegant in a very blatantly British way, as if the class is a habit and a point of honor. He is also much blonder than we are used to imagine after the various MarveI Movies. Being part of a group of journalists scruffy and sweaty, in a hangar at Universal Studios on a hot summer day in Los Angeles, creates a particularly alienating contrast in front of him.
This is your first horror movie, right?
Yes it is. It’s very exciting and I’m realizing that there is a great enthusiasm for ghost stories because - strange to say - they make you feel alive.
In fact, we’re always “more alive” than a ghost …
It’s not just that. There is a sense of mystery and danger in this kind of story, and my experience, looking horror stories at the cinema, is that the fear - the jump on the chairs of all the audience at the same time, the scream and then the liberating laughter - connect you with others, makes it a collective experience.
It seems a good way to describe cinema.
I think cinema is just like this: it seems an individual experience, but it really is not.
You said Crimson Peak is not a movie about a haunted house, and even Del Toro has recommended “don’t write that’s a movie about a haunted house”. But then what is it?
Del Toro was inspired by the novels of Ann Radcliffe, Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Bronte, writers who he loves and admires. The gothic romance with
shades is his favorite genre. There is always a very strong, independent female character, a hero with an open mind and a fervent curiosity, and in this case she’s Edith, played with great sincerity by Mia Wasikowska.
And who are you?
I’m the outsider. A stranger who lives in a big house. Gothic romance structure is very pure and it allows to explore different thematic: love, passion, darkness. There’s a particular sensuality in this movie and in the beginning is so light that is difficult to notice, but then it’s revealed. A very charming sense of forbidden. I mean, there’s more than you think behind that door at the end of the corridor….
In few words, pleasure and death.
This kind of literature focuses on men primary instincts: sex, source of life, and fear for the end of life itself. Powerful, inevitable forces, contradictory and present everywhere. The tension between these two elements is very high in Crimson Peak. A young woman is pushed towards a mysterious future by her heart and her sexuality, but also by her independence and self-consciousness.
There a spectacular dance scene in the movie. Do you know well classical dances?
I’ve learned, and you know what? Waltz should be back in fashion. Everyone should be able to dance it: it’s beautiful, so fluid. We did that scene in two, three days and it was a pleasure, because, when you play in a movie so dark, you need some lightness. When you dance waltz, you move on your tiptoes all the time, you never rest your feet completely, and this makes you feel almost ethereal, is a good feeling.
Is it true that del Toro wrote your character’s biography?
Yes, he send me a ten pages bio, a sort of summary, a story apart. There’s all what happened to Thomas before the beginning of our story, and what happened to his parents too. There are a lot of very useful details. After reading it and wearing his clothes, I became him. I knew who he was, why he behaved like that, when he wanted that life. Then I looked Mia in her eyes and she did the rest.
You’ve already worked with Mia in “Only Lovers Left Alive”: it was easier the second time?
It’s much easier when you know a person. Mia is one of the most natural and pure actresses I’ve ever worked with, and this is a movie of disarming sincerity.
What do you mean?
There is no authoritarian
comment, no morals. Guillermo tells this story with truth. It’s an uncommon attitude, very stimulating on the set. We were there all together, working to create something seriously honest. It does not happen often with the movies.
Let’s step back: today you are a big star, you owe it mostly to Marvel movies.
Loki has changed my life. I am still amazed by all this attention…. and think that I’ve never been a fan of comics. I used to read Tolkien and Mary Poppins as a child.
Michael Douglas has recently expressed a theory about why British actors in Hollywood have so much success. He says they are doing better than the American counterparts because they are more “manly”. What do you think?
I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer this question (he laughs). I don’t know, for real. I believe that the success of the British, rather than depend on being “manly”, depends on the cultural background. In this we Brits are very lucky, we have a tradition of preparation to the scenes that others haven’t. The English theater is a great starting point: being on stage for a text by Shakespeare, Chekhov and Miller is a gym that the makes the difference. I don’t know, I’d love to have a chat with Michael Douglas… you know, a thing like that said by someone like him! Yes, it would be intriguing to exchange a few words with him.
Director: Guillermo Del Toro Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska
STORY AND CAST
In what may be an echo of one of Del Toro’s earlier works, Crimson Peak is a ghost story incarnate. The floors of an old, decrepit house literally ooze red mush from the earth underneath the foundation. The gothic architecture with its sharp edges and encroaching dread that creep their way into your mood. Candlelit hallways, dark manifestations in the basement, wisps of mist that may in fact hold something far more sinister than the air. This is a film that positively oozes atmosphere, which is one of the very fine skills in director Guillermo Del Toro’s repertoire. Let’s get this out of the way: Del Toro knows how to show a good story, those vast and foreboding sequences of terror and dread, but here with Crimson Peak, he does not know how to tell a good story.
As referenced earlier, Crimson Peak seems to be a quasi companion piece, a furlong echo, to one of Del Toro’s earlier films: The Devil’s Backbone. In Backbone, Del Toro also told a ghost story. A ghost story set in a children’s orphanage far away from civilization during the Spanish Civil War. But whereas there was a director’s sentimentality with his story in Backbone, there seems to be none of it, or barely any of it, here in Del Toro’s latest.
Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, an aspiring author who wishes to follow in the same steps as Mary Shelley, as she so eloquently declares to a group of older aristocratic women who do nothing but constantly berate and dissuade her from what otherwise, in this day and age, only be a man’s duty. Her first novel-to-be is a ghost story, handwritten, and given to publishers only for them to shun her work for she is a woman. Unsightly that a woman would write a ghost story, much less leave out a romance, so her publishers tell her. Her capitalist father oversees business investments, and his next likely investment may be to a young, English baronet seeking funding for his newly designed mining machine. Sir Thomas Sharpe is his name, and he is played rather wonderfully by Tom Hiddleston. But in the shadow of Thomas is his sister, Lady Lucille, played by Jessica Chastain in what may be the best performance of the film. There is something off putting about Lady Lucille, this aura of disquiet and alarm. The film also stars Charlie Hunnam as a doctor who has long sought the hand of Edith in what sadly is a forgettable performance and character. Hunnam can, indeed, act, but there seems to be little effort in him in his roles as of late. But it is not wholly to blame on him, much less the other players of the film. The cast is of great quality and skill with a few players being of a rather dull affair. Hiddleston and Chastain are of true skill here, and it shows.
The story is maddeningly simple and cliche. With a plot that has been seen many times before, more over in television dramas as well, and with a reveal that can be seen from miles away, Crimson Peak does not excel in storytelling from a narrative standpoint, but what it does excel at is mood, sound and atmosphere - all of the things that Del Toro does extraordinarily well.
IMAGES AND SOUND
This is a beautiful film to look at. With horror films of late retreating to incompetent tropes and direction, stories riddled with inept scares and with but a bit of creative zeal, it is a wonder to see a horror film that bleeds dread and a mood most stark. And it is no small claim to say it is of thanks to the eye and imagination of Guillermo Del Toro. His past movies include the aforementioned The Devil’s Backbone, the masterful and sublimely exquisite Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy franchise, among many other of his films that revel in suspense and horror. But what makes these films stand apart from most others is in how they look and in how they are made. Del Toro loves gothic imagery, his own house is riddled with gothic and morose designs, figurines and sculptures. His love for the macabre is increasingly evident and it seeps through into his movies creating a layer of anxiety and strain. What also is unique about his work is in his makeup and creature design. Pan’s Labyrinth had the pale and deathly skinny man who hungers for the flesh of children, not to mention the titular fawn. The Hellboy franchise depicted a wonderfully grotesque angel of death. His feature film debut, Cronos, showed his early ventures into this realm depicting vampires most deadly. In short, Crimson Peak carries on the imagery that we come to expect from Del Toro. He is a man known for his set and creature design, and most definitely goes unnoticed over the years.
The ghost themselves are, indeed, people in makeup and prosthetics, albeit enhanced by computer imagery. It seems there has been a lot of criticism with Del Toro’s use of computer imagery when creating the ghosts of Crimson Peak, but fret not, forlorn fans, for these are most certainly real ghosts. Never once does it seem this is a misstep in direction for Del Toro, as some may see it as, but is does not seem a such, and should not be seen as such.
There is a wonderful, teeth-grinding moment in the film when Jessica Chastain’s character is spoon feeding Mia Wasikowska’s character porridge from a bowl. Chastain scoops up a bit of porridge then drags the spoon’s underside slowly against the edge of the bowl’s lip, removing any excess that may otherwise plop off. It creates this awful screeching sound. Something so small, and perhaps something that may not have been given attention to in any other film of this kind, is given so much thought into it. This screeching of the metal spoon against the bowl. Does it hold an unseen malevolence just as much as the house itself?
Which brings me to the wonderful set design and costume design. As said before, Del Toro knows not only how to produce great creatures and grim atmosphere, he also knows how to produce amazing sets and costumes. I do not often think of the costume design in movies. A mostly overlooked affair, perhaps so in the eyes of other film enthusiasts, but here they are wonderful and maybe a character unto themselves, extending to the ghastly veils and dress of the ghosts themselves. And whereas the costumes are great, so too is the sets themselves, particularly the titular mansion itself.
A lone mansion in a lone field, the countryside sapped and dried from the oncoming winter. A large mansion whose roof is open to the elements, letting down snow and flaky debris all the way down through the main foyer. The hallways lined with spiked archways. The floor and the walls cracking in response to the wind, the foundation settling. It is simply awe inspiring just how effective the surroundings of the film are.
With the look of dark and dreary architecture, and the creak and moans of a large estate, Crimson Peak almost surpasses the mundane plot solely on how the film looks and sounds. But it regrettably does not. This is not necessarily a ‘scary’ movie, but it reeks of the very creepy and atmospheric, something director Guillermo Del Toro knows all too well how to depict. This is one of those films that has a lot of style with little substance, and it’s hard to see when so much of Del Toro’s past work have that narrative creativity, but sadly, there’s little of that here in his latest work with Crimson Peak.
Writing - 3.5
Riddled with cliche, the plot is paper thin and often seen in many other television shows and films.
Directing - 8
Del Toro is wonderful as always in the look of a film, but doesn’t give as much thought to the story as he does to the imagery and sound.
Acting - 5
The only real great talent is shown from Chastain and Hiddleston. The others are either standard or forgettable.
Cinematography - 9
This is where the film truly shines. It’s been said time and again, but that mood and eeriness is greatly assisted by the camera work.
Production Design - 9.5
Score - 6
I can’t say it was either memorable or effective, but it did the job sufficiently.
Editing - 6.5
Perhaps this is where the film could have used some work, especially in the first act.
Effects - 9
Great ghost designs (makeup and prosthetics). With the helping hand of computer imaging adding that extra layer of the surreal and ghostly.
Costumes - 8
One of merit and mention. Designer Kate Hawley does great work here.
Personal Score: 6
Although the film is a technical marvel, it can’t be overlooked that the story is routine.
Watched Crimson Peak last night, the movie was absolutely gorgeous in every single scene, as one would expect from Guillermo del Toro. Spot on set designs, costumes, hair and color scheme. Mia Wasikowska delivered the pure-of-heart yet strong willed heroine, Tom Hiddleston dripped affection and sadness at the same time in every stare. It was so nice to watch him and not think of him as Loki… for the most part. Lol But Jessica Chastain brought viewers to the grave and beyond with her amazingly bewitching performance. She had me mesmerised in her beauty yet hating her all the same. Although the plot and “supposed twist” were sooooooo predictable and nothing mind blowing, this movie was still worth watching on a huge screen. It was just so damn beautiful, Gothic Romance is coming back.
Did you watch it/ liked it?
Mexican director was in playful mood as he introduced his new gothic romance and its star Tom Hiddleston to the San Diego fan convention
Crimson Peak director Guillermo del Toro began the Legendary Studios panel at Comic Con by requesting the impossible. “Can I ask a favor?” the filmmaker said to the audience on Saturday afternoon. “When Tom Hiddleston comes out, ignore him.”
He then went on to detail his latest film, Crimon Peak. Del Toro said he was inspired by his two children to write a more progressive story, but that the film was still a Gothic romance, the genre he’s closely associated with. “Don’t expect a reinvention where the house turns out to be a spaceship or it’s all a TV show”, he told the audience. “It’s a straight gothic romance. But some of the gender roles are a little more liberated.”
“I have two daughters”, he said, “and there is a secret gender war.”
Del Toro told the crowd that “you don’t have to agree, but I think [Crimson Peak] is the most beautiful movie I have ever made” just before the lights went down for the film’s atmospheric trailer.
Hiddleston, who plays Mia Wasikowska’s enigmatic love interest, played the straight man to Del Toro on the panel: asked about his favourite part of the film’s elaborate set, he said there had plenty of attention to detail. “When you trod on the floorboards, the clay underneath would seep”, Hiddleston recalled. “I was actually very sad when they had to tear it down.”
“I like the bathroom”, Del Toro replied.
The actors on the panel, including Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain, said Del Toro (who co-wrote the script, as well) had provided them all with elaborate biographies. “It was a 10-page life story with my star sign and my date of birth and the secrets that I don’t want to tell anyone and a horrible time I had with my aunt when I was 13”, Hiddleston said. “And that kind of detail is what you should have with every character, every time you play.
“I’ve never been teased by a director so much before in my life”, he added.