Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Mama (2013)

The chameleonic Jessica Chastain. Almost as hot as Gemma Arterton, I'd say.

The Modigliani behind Mama?
At a glance:
It's only by pure happenstance and not my licentious fascination with Jessica Chastain since The Help (2011) that the first two movies I've paid to watch in cinemas this year both star her - Kathryn Bigelow's laborious Zero Dark Thirty (2013) and the del Toro-championed Mama (2013). Yes, I didn't care for the overlong, over-informative trailer (why are they like this nowadays!) but was in the mood for somethin that will do what it says on the tin. Muschietti siblings Andrés and Barbara return to expand on their 2008 short film of the same name (unless you count the accent in Mamá), the spooky three-minute success that got this picture made. The final product is this polished Spanish-Canadian effort - one of the better mainstream supernatural horror movies on wide release in recent memory. It's about two sisters who are rescued from a life of cherry-chompin in the woods by their uncle but a malevolent spirit follows them home. You get a little 19th century backstory thrown in. Strange to find Chastain in the lightweights here. Might've been a moodier, less distractin picture if it were a more obscure actress playin her part as the sympathetic rocker chick aunt figure, innit?
Bad news on the doorstep:
While the strength here is definitely the teasin delay in finally seein the offendin titular mother, I'm still not a fan of these digitalised spooks. However we ought to judge the player based on where he plays. For a movie with so much important CG, it is great CG; and even the protracted and over-exposed CG finale does not undo the tense, solid plottin throughout. That's what you call a sold audience.
Everyone overreacts to moths in horror movies. Why?
Perennial wonderment:
Could've done without the overused contorted human crawl, though. How many times do we have to see that spider shyte? Bleugh. By the way, Mama over-performed in its openin weekend and in just three days earned more than producer Guillermo del Toro's last movie Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark in its entire run. Poor Arnie died takin his last stand, you can read. Box Office Mojo reported: "Aside from the advantages inherent to the supernatural horror genre, Mama also benefited from a strong marketing effort and a PG-13 rating that managed to attract younger females in strong numbers: Mama's audience was 61% female and 63% under the age of 25. They awarded it a 'B-' CinemaScore, which is slightly above-average for a horror movie."
Most memorable line:
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Watch out for:
Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse as the impoverished, feral sisters. Well coached and well done. The male lead, Danish 'Aragorn' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, has left his biggest callin card for Hollywood, I hope, with his largest part to date. Maybe he'll get to play a romantic lead in a Hollywood rom-com some day? Saw him most recently in the superb Norwegian crime-caper Headhunters (2011).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Nothin terribly original here but the production design of the ghoul is effective and its measured narrative enable us to enjoy the old school jumps instead of deridin them. Apparently in a video interview, the Muschiettis revealed that the eventual Mama Blu-ray could have up to 40 minutes of deleted scenes. I'd like to see that; and judgin from the box office collections and the way the movie ends, will wait for a sequel.★★★1/2
Bonus material: