HEATH LEDGER RIP #HeathLedgerRIP

This article was originally published the day after Heath Ledger died. It was my way of coping with a celebrity death that genuinely shook me. Fourteen years later, I repost it. Read the original editorial note below to understand what I was trying to do here. Enjoy.

Editorial note: A slightly surrealistic spoof of a tabloid article in the style of The Sun or somesuch. The paper is temporarily called The Fun.

–       Bryan A J Parry (23/1/08)

HEATH LEDGEND

ACTING HYPERSTAR HEATH LEDGER, HEREAFTER KNOWN VARIOUSLY AS HEATH LEDGER, HEATH, HEATH LEDGEND, OR “THE LEDGE”, HAS DIED. However, unlike in Heath’s blockbuster smash “The Brothers Grimm”, this isn’t all just a scam set up by conmen wiggling some duvet covers from the rafters and going “woo” a bit. He really is dead.

His brief but glamorous career saw him play such diverse roles as a knight in shining armour in the to be posthumously renamed “Heath Ledger’s A Knight’s Tale”. Whereas “Brokeback Cowboy” saw The Ledge playing the part of a gay cowboy who became crippled in a freak riding accident. And his last ever film, “The Dark Knight” (starring Batman, not Trevor McDonald as stated in yesterday’s The Fun), in an ironic twist of fate, has Ledgend play the part of the affable joker, a far cry from yesterday’s events, as nothing is less funny than dying. Life imitating art? No.

“The Dark Knight” will be on general release on pirate in the Spring. Turn to page 8 for your first six, free Heath Ledgend-shaped Bat-tokens.

The world of celebritydom was devastated.

Deranged racist Mel Gibson took a moment to reflect amid his hectic schedule of evangelising to say something decent for a change.

“As an Australian [and white], it is painful to hear of the death of a brother [and fellow milk-skin]. My thoughts and prayers, and the thoughts and prayers of my wife, my children, my church, and my fans are with him”.

Gibson, 52, went on to say how he is considering the viability of a bioflick based loosely around Heath Ledgend’s life.

“It will probably have him [ = Heath “The Legend” Ledgend] reprising his role as William Thatcher from ‘A Knight’s Tale’, but twisted and enraged by the death of his brother in my civil war masterpiece ‘The Patriot’. It’s probably gonna be necessary to computer animate it, and I’ve been talking to Dreamworks about this”. When asked if having a dead man star in his own production was even possible, Gibson shrugged his shoulders. “Tupac manages it”, he said.

“Why has God taken one of our finest actors from us? The Jews!!” Gibson added, in a moment of rare, frothy-mouthed passion, it has been alleged. Gibson was unfortunately unable to confirm or deny the rumoured outburst of rabidity as he was on a rally at the time, we assume.

Bruce Wallaby, producer of Home and Away in the 80s, recalls his memory of the late Heath: “I remember seeing this scrawny, blonde, mop-haired kid on the set one day. Thought it was some local kid trying to catch a glimpse of his idols. So I called security”. Only later on that evening, when Ledger had been released from jail, did Wallaby realise he’d seen actor legend-in-the-making, Heath Ledgend.  

“I’m deeply saddened. In Leith Hedger Britain has lost one of her finest daughters”, said Secretary for State, Jacqui Smith MP.

The PM was equally moved, saying: “Little Larry was only three years old. My deepest thoughts go out to his family at this time”.

The Fun newspaper urges all readers to fill in the coupon below with your name and address to support our “Legends Never Die” campaign where we petition the PM to put his money where his mouth is – not literally – and officially change Heath Ledger’s name by Deed Poll to “Heath Ledgend”. It’s what Heath would have wanted.

In other news, Heath Ledgend’s “Brothers Grimm” co-star Matt Damon was fined for speeding. He has accrued three Hollywood points.

© 2008, 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://wallpapersdsc.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Heath-Ledger-4K.jpg

Film Review “A Classic Horror Story” (2021) #NetflixReview #150WordReview

Should be called A Classic Horror Story Medley

Strangers carpooling together across Italy get stranded in the woods and stalked by an evil presence and must fight tooth and nail to get out in one piece. As one of our characters remarks, “It’s like the set-up of a classic horror movie.”

A Classic Horror Movie, ironically, won’t go down as a classic horror movie. Indeed, it doesn’t even have the storyline of a classic horror movie. It does feel eerily familiar, however, with hints of Evil Dead, Saw, and Cabin in the Woods thrown in. The spooky house in the woods (another classic horror trope) was well-designed and very unsettling. What the movie sometimes lacks in acting it makes up for in atmos.

A suspenseful and gruesome flick with a wonderful post-credits sequence which is just perfect. However, it thinks it’s a bit cleverer than it actually is. Should be called A Classic Horror Story Medley.

3/5

© 2021-2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.themoviedb.org/t/p/original/xERFvMxDCWtcxgo3oJ1BXaEjvs4.jpg

Film Review “Haunt” (2019) #NetflixReview #Haunt

you are in for a treat

A group of friends out on Hallowe’en stumble upon an “extreme” haunted house which promises a real life nightmare. However, it soon becomes apparent that something is very wrong in this haunted house, this is one nightmare they won’t wake up from.

A kind of Halloween-cum-Saw-cum-Escape Room, this movie is in no way derivative or exploitative. It’s thrilling, disturbing and tense. I have to say, I haven’t enjoyed a horror this much for a while. From co-writer-director duo Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the minds behind the wonderful A Quiet Place, you are in for a treat.

This kind of movie usually ends with a stapled-on plot twist which “explains” the motivations of the baddies, even though this ending never follows on logically from the movie itself. Ya know the kind of ending: “It turns out the baddie done it because (s)he’s mad with grief after his son killed himself with drugs as a result of depression caused by failing a single physics class paper set by his teacher — the mother of the protagonist!” On one hand, it was a relief not to have to deal with this kind of movie-ruining ending; on the other hand, the total lack of rhyme and reason for how, why, when the baddie did all of this stops the movie being five stars. There just is no reason or sense to why the baddies do what they do, how they were able to set up their elaborate trap, where our baddies came from, and why nobody have rumbled them before.

Having said that, a wonderful movie!

4/5

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://horrornews.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Haunt-2019-movie-Scott-Beck-Bryan-Woods-1.jpg

Film Review “The Lodge” (2019) #NetflixReview #TheLodge

Everything is believable, which is itself quite incredible … phenomenal writing, acting, set design, and direction

At a remote cabin in the woods, two mourning children and their soon-to-be step mum get snowed in together and cut off from the rest of the world. But as their frosty relationship starts to thaw, strange events begin to imperil our not-quite-family as their cabin reaches the boiling point of a fever dream.*

The Lodge features standard horror tropes. Cabin in the woods, weird stuff happens. A step-mum who is awkwardly replacing a mother who recently died in traumatic circumstances. A dad who inextricably takes off. But this film is far from standard.

This feature takes things in an interesting direction. The viewer starts to lose all sense of up and down. A kind-of twist near the end really up-ends us, and the ending itself, although open to interpretation, is surely bleak.

Child abuse and the trauma it leaves, the fragility of the human mind, the reality of growing up in a cult, and trying to start a new life. This movie deals with a lot of stuff. But it doesn’t feel overloaded. It’s a real slowburn, and it builds surely, steadily, and frightening to its climax. Everything is believable, which is itself quite incredible given the extreme actions of our three leads late on in the film. That I was completely sold is testament to the phenomenal writing, acting, set design, and direction.

Not an uplifting movie at all, but a wonderful one.

4/5

*Did you enjoy the pretentious extended metaphor?

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://pics.filmaffinity.com/the_lodge-962048778-large.jpg

Film Review “Terrified” a.k.a. “Aterrados” (2017)

Like much Argentine cinema … a great idea … but ultimately an unsatisfying mess

Strange events and a murdered wife brings a motley collection of investigators — a cop, a doctor, and a paranormalogist — to this Buenos Aires neighbourhood to investigate. Will they get to the bottom of the case and stop this evil from spreading?

Terrified a.k.a. Aterrados is a disturbing horror film. It never allows you to get your bearings. And asides from a dodgy bit of special effects early on, the film is darkly creepy with a disturbing evil presence.

Unfortunately, the film’s apparently deliberate decision to have no character-based central narrative thrust or fixed protagonist makes it hard to get into and stay with this movie. The effect is that a bunch of weird and disturbing stuff is happening, but without any reason focus or point. It’s frankly hard to care about what happens.

Like much Argentine cinema, there is a great idea here, and some wonderful acting, direction, and film design, but a film that none-the-less is ultimately an unsatisfying mess that goes nowhere. No matter how good these other things are, if the central narrative doesn’t work, it’s game over for the film. Sadly.

2/5

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://es.web.img2.acsta.net/pictures/18/06/08/12/54/5116397.jpg

Genres: “Howdunnit” #howdunnit #whodunnit

A howdunnit is like a “whodunnit“, but where we already know the culprit from the get-go — either because we see it happen at the beginning like in Columbo, or because it’s pretty obvious — but where the fun of the film is to see how, exactly, (s)he dunnit.

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-O62j5Ohzv0Y/ViOLKzXRE4I/AAAAAAAAJaY/yFwX3jkY3wE/s1600/Columbo.jpg

Netflix loses “Star Trek: Discovery” @StarTrekOnPPlus @paramountplus #StarTrek #StarTrekDiscovery

I refuse to get another service. And I mean it. Are you listening, Paramount? … You’ve just killed your baby.

Bad news:

I’m not going to let myself blow up over this in text form, or else this post will become a book. But here it is in short:

Netflix have lost the rights to show Star Trek: Discovery just days before the launch of the fourth season on its platform.

Paramount have pulled it, like other companies have pulled and are pulling stuff from Netflix, in order to develop their own streaming platform.

Customer choice is always best, isn’t it? Usually. And in the world of streaming, it has to be a good thing that the magnificent Netflix isn’t the only game in town.

However, it isn’t economically viable for me to sign up to another service. Nor do I wish to bin off my Netflix subscription. Therefore, broken-hearted but with no doubts, this Star Trek fan will not be able to continue watching the magnificent series Star Trek: Discovery.

I refuse to get another service. And I mean it. Are you listening, Paramount? I only have so much money.

Double bad news: without the backing of Netflix, I bet the wonderful Discovery crashes and burns. People with Netflix hardly know of it as it is. It’s over for this fantastic series. So sad. Well done, Paramount, you’ve just killed your baby.

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://aws.boxofficebuz.com/articles/2021/11/17/star-trek-discovery-season-4-premiere-date-announced.jpg

Film Review “Prey” (2021) #NetflixReview #PreyMovie

Pointless, hangover fodder

Five friends decide to celebrate a stag do in an alternative style: with a manly cross-country hike in the deepest darkest woods. Uh-oh. They inevitably end up getting stalked by a lone marksman who terrorises them.

The whole point of Prey is to see how pressure exposes unseen cracks in the fellowship causing our team to battle against each other and themselves as their friendship threatens to self-destruct. Can they keep it together, will they destroy themselves? Sadly. this descent doesn’t work at all, as it was impossible to understand why these friends were friends to begin with; they hated each other from the get-go. So it’s all rather undramatic and boring.

As for the marksman, the film’s pathetic attempts to explain their actions makes no real sense whatsoever. Indeed, there’s no real motivation for anyone’s actions, including the decision to go on a hike instead of a booze-up. It wants to be a German Ritual (2017), but it’s really not.

Pointless, hangover fodder.

2/5

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.themoviedb.org/t/p/w600_and_h900_bestv2/reUazKPuZSQzEAVG8ehVPX6BOLw.jpg

Film Review “Things Heard and Seen” (2021) #NetflixReview

the ghost story … goes nowhere [and] was pointless.

After an artist relocates with her husband and young child to a dream house for the dream price (familiar set-up?), she slowly begins to realise that both the house and her husband have a dark side.

Part ghost story, part psychological drama of the my-husband-isn’t-who-I-thought-he-was kind, Things Heard and Seen thrillingly portrays the descent into darkness, or rather the slow reveal, of Catherine’s (Amanda Seyfried) husband George (James Norton). I felt sickened and horrified as the truth depth of George’s deception slowly unfurled. All the actors were wonderful.

The story itself is compelling, but there are just too many loose ends to make this film the four star flick it seemed it was going to be. Apparently, the novel which the movie is based on, All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage, does indeed develop these threads. For example, there are characters like Eddie and Cole Vayle (Alex Neustaedter and Jack Gore) or Willis (Natalia Dyer) who seem like they should be developed and central characters, but who just kind of go nowhere. What was the point of any of these characters, frankly? And the worst thing was the ghost story angle; it literally goes nowhere. It really was pointless and, ultimately, a distracting waste of time.

This leads on to the fundamental issue with the film. Whilst screenwriters Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulchini give it a decent go, they seem to be a little unclear as to what kind of movie they’re trying to make. Is it a domestic drama, or is it a ghost film? Or is it both? Clarity on this point would have sharpened up the movie and helped identify which of these loose ends to develop and which to cut.

None-the-less, a very entertaining film which lets itself down.

3/5

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Netflix Review “Intrusion” (2021) #NetflixReview #150WordReview

the excitement wasn’t whodunnit, but howdunnit and whydunnit

A woman (Meera, Freida Pinto) starts a new life with her husband (Henry, Logan Marshall-Green: Tom Hardy’s American doppleganger) after overcoming a bleak cancer prognosis in the dream house that he designed and built. But when they fall victim to a home invasion and robbery, Meera’s newfound sense of security is left shattered.

Intrusion plays the old “vulnerable wife, is the husband too-good-to-be-true?” angle quite well, although I could see where the film was going quite early on. None-the-less, this felt like an episode of Columbo: the excitement wasn’t so much in whodunnit, as we could guess quite early on, but howdunnit and whydunnit — although it must be said that the film didn’t quite deliver on the why.

Somewhat trite, somewhat staid, Intrusion was none-the-less capably written, effectively directed, and well acted. An entertaining Friday night flick.

3/5

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.wikirise.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Intrusion-2021-%E2%80%93-Hollywood-Movie.jpg