Movie Reviews, Uncategorized

‘Keeping Faith’ Season One Review

When it comes to English crime shows, I’m pretty much always in. If there’s anything that ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Luther’ taught us, it’s that the British sure as hell know how to make a damn good crime show. So, as soon as this show called ‘Keeping Faith’ popped up on ‘ABC iView’, I brought out the popcorn. But, just how faithful is ‘Keeping Faith’ (Get it? Faith… ‘Keeping Faith’… never mind…) to England’s brilliant crime show record?

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‘Keeping Faith’ is an English thriller staring Eva Myles as Faith, a lawyer and mother of three who’s life gets thrown upside down as her husband fails to return home from a seemingly normal day’s work at their shared law firm. It’s soon discovered there’s more to this disappearance than it seems, and Faith becomes determined to discover her husband’s whereabouts. However, with a rag-tag band of clients and a police officer hot on her back, finding her husband becomes harder than she’d ever thought.

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Overall, I was actually a little disappointed with ‘Keeping Faith’. The acting was excellent, especially from the gorgeous and equally as talented Eva Miles, and the plot did drag me in enough to watch an entire season, but in the end, it just didn’t feel like it paid off. The characters were relatively shallow, the dialogue was pretty average and the plot was all over the place to say the least. At times, it looks like its about to go somewhere and in the next scene, it’s forgotten all together. Overall (spoiler alert), we end up with more questions than we do answers.

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And before you say anything: yes, I am aware there’s a second season. It hasn’t turned up on Australian shores yet – we’ve actually just finished the first season over here – but I’m sure we’ll be getting it sooner or later. The problem is, I just don’t know how invested in a second season I really am. From what I got in the first season, this show is one of those types of shows that’s essentially designed to keep going season after season until it ends up getting canned. If it had’ve just ended with some kind of resolution to the whole mystery, maybe I’d be interested in a second season, but it seems like all shows these days are terrified of loosing their audience if the mystery isn’t still dangling in front of them. All it takes is a quick look to shows like ‘Broadchurch’ to see how viewership still rallies for finalised shows if they’re still done well, but ‘Keeping Faith’ seems far more interested in dragging it’s viewers along by the hairs in some slight hope of a conclusion than it does in making a great show.

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Overall, ‘Keeping Faith’ is by no means a bad show. It’s got excellent acting, good cinematography and a story interesting enough to keep you watching each episode, but in the end, I was left disappointed. Whether or not the second season picks up the plot, I’ll have to wait and see.

Find Season One of ‘Keeping Faith’ at:
https://iview.abc.net.au/show/keeping-faith

Uncategorized

Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’: An Underrated Horror

With the immense popularity of 2017’s ‘IT’, it seems like every Stephen King novel is getting the thumbs-up for TV and movie adaptions, and rightfully so. Earning 700.4 million dollars at the box office, IT smashed records, becoming the highest grossing horror film of all time. However, ‘Pennywise the Dancing Clown’ isn’t the only infamous character to have come out of Stephen King’s novels. Characters such as Cujo (Cujo), Annie Wilkes (Misery), Kurt Barlow (‘Salem’s Lot), Jack Torrance (The Shining) and the unfortunate Carrie White (Carrie) have terrified adults and children alike for generations. It’s not exactly surprising that the adorable and yet horrifyingly evil Gage Creed seems to have caught Hollywood’s eye.

To anyone who hasn’t read the books, this new movie probably appears to be your average 21st century horror movie. Eerie music? Check! Creepy kids? Check! Creepy masks? Check! Anybody who’s read the book knows there’s a whole lot more to this story than you’re average horror, but does the trailer really do the book justice? Can any of these Pet Sematary movies really to the original novel justice?

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Pet Sematary, a novel written by Stephen King in 1983, tells the story of the Creed family; a seemingly perfect couple – Louis and Rachel – with two beautiful young children – Gage and Ellie. After moving to Maine, the Creeds try their best to settle into their new homes before coming across their Maine-native neighbour Jud Crandall who introduces them to the rural pathway which leads to – you guessed it – the Pet Sematary. Spoiler alert, it turns out to be home to an ancient Native American burial ground, cursed to bring anything that’s buried in it’s soil back to life. However, when Louis’ youngest son Gage is hit in a terrible road accident, Louis faces a dilemma: either bring back his son or lose him forever.

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Sure, it has blood and gore. What kind of Stephen King book would it be if it didn’t? But this novel is, surprisingly enough, one of the few true psychological horrors. Instead of playing around with the idea of the carnage an army of the dead could inflict on the living, Stephen King chooses to keep the novel’s focus purely on the Creed family, showing us the inner working’s of the Creed family father-figure, Louis Creed. Instead of revelling in the gore, we’re exposed to the power of grief and it’s horrifying manipulation of the human mind.

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The classic 1989 Pet Sematary adaption, directed by Mary Lambert, did admittedly make some attempt to catch the psychological trauma Stephen King’s original novel depicts. However, there’s an overwhelming ‘horror movie’ cliche theme to just about every scene that, although these same scenes were depicted in the novel, weren’t adjusted to the silver screen in quite the same way. Instead of a slow, spooky ambiance, the film is too predictable. Instead of taking the time to show Louis’ extreme grief in the loss of his son, the film instantly jumps to Louis choosing to bury Gage in the Pet Sematary… right after being told that everything that’s buried in the Pet Sematary turns bad and seeing those consequences for himself after reviving Church the cat.

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Stephen King’s novels are notoriously long for a reason. They’re long because King himself puts a great amount of effort into assuring that his characters are well fleshed out, flawed, and usually well motivated (in terms of the heroes, of course). Louis Creed is told, after being introduced to the Pet Sematary for the very first time, that not all things that are buried in the Pet Sematary are revived as ‘bad’. Many of the revived actually went on to live their lives just as they had before they’d died, lacking in any or all negative side effects such as a ‘dead’ smell and aggressive-natured behaviour. This way, the actions of the grief-struck Louis don’t seem quite as ridiculous – there’s a high chance his son will come back to life completely normal. It makes readers think to themselves: would I do something like that if I were in that situation? Would I be willing to take that risk?

And how about the new Pet Sematary coming out this year? Well, after seeing this trailer a few times, I’m honestly a little disappointed. With the infamy of films such as ‘Searching’, ‘Hush’, ‘Get Out’ and ‘The Babadook’, it seems that experimental films are becoming more and more well-received. We’re coming to a time where the film industry has become heavily over-saturated with similar stories of heroes and action, and it’s only natural for audiences to want something a little bit different. But 2019’s Pet Sematary, a film which could’ve made an excellent experimental psychological horror, appears yet again to have taken the lazy way out. With creepy kids in animal masks (where-ever that idea came from) and the typical ‘evil little girl’ twist that a majority of horror movies take (The Grudge, The Ring, Insidious, The exorcist ect), it just comes across as your average horror flick.

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Although, I guess we can’t judge it too hard just yet. With more sneak-peaks to come and the movie still to be released, we may just be in for a surprise.

 

 

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper – A Review

I’m going to be honest about this one: I never really wanted to read this book. Marketed as more of a piece about the Australian landscape than a book with a story line, I was always hesitant to read it. Sure, I find Australia interesting (I do live in Australia, after all)… but a book that’s main theme focuses around how beautiful the Australian outback is? Yeah, not so much.

But a few months ago my mother told me she’d booked tickets to see Miss Harper in person promoting her newest novel The Lost Man, and I knew I’d have to read it. I mean, you can’t just go to an author’s book release without reading any of the books they’ve written, right? With a sigh of defeat, I opened the first page and let me just say… Jane Harper truly surprised me.

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The Plot: When a young couple and their son are found dead on their property in the rural Australian town of Kiewarra, it’s originally passed off as a murder-suicide. However, former Kiewarra inhabitant and police investigator Aaron Falk begins to suspect there’s more than meets the eye to this tragic case.

Verdict: Jane Harper’s debut novel The Dry is nothing short of magnificent. With it’s fast-paced narration, it’s beautiful characterisation and actively intriguing storyline, it’s nearly impossible to put down.
From the very first chapter to the very last, Harper’s experience with writing and editing process (working previously as a journalist) shines through. With short and snappy narration and realistic dialogue – cutting out that long-winded description a lot of debut authors fall into the trap of writing – The Dry was nothing short of a breeze to read.
Sure, this book isn’t exactly the ‘game changer’ of all crime novels. It’s probably not going to go down as the ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ of our generation and it certainly does have its faults (especially in terms of a particular typography and style choice, which is quickly changed for the rest of Harper’s series) but it’s a fun, solid and creative crime novel set in a time where unique and readable crime novels can be few and far between.

Overall, yeah, Jane Harper’s The Dry was a great read! For anyone who’s a fan of a good crime story, pick it up. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Purchase Harper’s novel here: https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781925481372/

Or visit Jane Harper’s site at: http://janeharper.com.au/Books/The-Dry