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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)


Sergi López
Maribel Verdú
Ivana Baquero
Doug Jones

Directed and Written by Guillermo del Toro

This is one of the best child casting I have seen. Pan’s Labyrinth is Guillermo del Toro best movie, and it is set after the Spanish Civil War in 1944.
The movie’s language is Spanish, but the events were just too magical and so set to entertain that there is little room for boredom. Every scene meant something, every action led somewhere, and the visual effects plus characterization were so written to capture your love, pity, admiration or hate.

This dark fantasy movie crosses the boundaries between the present struggle of a little girl trying to fit into a world she does not seem to care for, the human world. And a magical world where everything she could desire were just three tasks away from her.

Guillermo’s writing does not dive too much into the magical world, but bases itself on the adventure of Ofelia as she tries to get back to her home and reign as the princess of the underworld.

The movie plot starts with the introduction of the character Princess Moanna whose father is the king of the underworld. Moanna visits the human world, where the sunlight blinds her and erases her memory, her visit made her mortal and she later dies.

Her father believes that her spirit will return to the underworld to take her place as future ruler, so he builds labyrinths (which act as portals) around the world with the hope that she will one day run into one.

That day came.

A girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) travels with her pregnant and sick mother to meet Captain Vidal, her new stepfather. Vidal is assigned to hunt down the remaining rebels of the civil war.

On her journey she sees a large stick insect which she believes is a fairy. The insect followed her to her new home and one night turned to a fairy and led her to the labyrinth. There, she meets the faun, who believes she is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna. He gives her three tasks to complete for her to be able to return to the underworld. She accepted the challenge and sets off.

If the movie were more on the tasks, it would not have been so magical a movie. Her life was being torn in two, as she struggles to be there for her sick mother. Also, a lot was happening too – as Captain Vidal's quest to kill all rebels, lead him to miss the ones hiding in plain sight.

Young Ofelia and we the watchers, deal with torture, death and awesome escapes in other to get to the end of this magical journey.

Winning Three Academy and Bafta awards, one of which is the awesome makeup the movie portrays. The movie went ahead to win many other awards in its year of release. There is nothing more to say, but go see this movie it is a keeper.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)


Francis McDormand
Sam Rockwell
Woody Harrelson

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of those movies that you will appreciate more for the screenplay and the story.  Written and directed by Martin McDonagh based on an idea he got when driving and saw billboards of unsolved murders, his fictional idea on this is one that hit home well enough for me to enjoy.

His own version has a mother who has waited for seven months for the police to come up with something, anything on her daughter’s case. As she (the daughter) was raped, killed and burnt to death. The mother was tortured by what has happened to her daughter based mostly on the last words they said to each other and their relationship not being easy.
To add to her mess is a husband who left her for a nineteen-year-old. Their relationship wasn’t rosy as he used to beat her while they were together.

The difficulty she was going through was not getting better at home with her son, who she feels adrift from and a life she feels has nothing more to offer her. She decided to make sure that the killer of her daughter gets found and decided to make sure the police do not forget to do their job.
She rents three abandoned billboards near her home, which in sequence read "RAPED WHILE DYING", "AND STILL NO ARRESTS?", and "HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?"

This of course changed things for her, the town now hated her and even the police department were not so kin to get involved. The police chief, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) was not all right himself as he struggled with pains of his own, which in turn turned to a tragic mess.

This dramatic tragedy strikes hard on many themes. Its comedic themes which were well placed as we see the actor Sam Rockwell who plays Officer Jason Dixon, transcend from being the comedic, racist, homophobic, angry and childish character to matured well informed one. This transition was not just in his character alone, but in the mother of the raped and killed child, Mildred Hayes played by Frances McDormand and the entire movie.

This well written movie seems to have grown right before our eyes and we are left to see more matured scenes, from the two top characters in the movie Francis McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the film won the awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress – Drama (Francis McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), and Best Screenplay.
It also earned Oscar nominations in Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Francis McDormand), as well as Best Actor in a Supporting Role for both Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.

The Shape of Water (2017)

The Shape of Water (2017)


Sally Hawkins
Michael Shannon
Richard Jenkins
Octavia Jones

Directed and Written by Guillermo del Toro

The Shape of water is not just a romantic drama that will leave you in awe of the wonderful powers of love, it has an additional spice of fantasy and science fiction just to finish the dish of a pleasant time at the movies.

I came about seeing this movie after I came across the number of accolades it has garnered for itself. Some of which includes Best Director and Best Original Score at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. It was listed in the American Film Institute top ten films of 2017 and has been nominated for Best Film in the upcoming Baftas and Oscars.
Seen as Guillermo del Toro’s Best Film since Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). The Shape of Water has one great memorable performance by the lead Actress Sally Hawkins whose supporting cast members were all in Hollywood acting form to deliver the below plot.

Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) is a mute janitor at a government secret facility. We do not know much about her childhood, but what we do know is she was rendered mute by an injury on her neck which she sustained as an infant.

Elisa's life is centered around two places, her work where her only friend there is Zelda (Octavia Jones) who always looks out for her and serves as her interpreter at work. The second place Elisa also spends her time is her apartment which she hardly stays as she spends most of her time with her next-door neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins). Giles is also a lonely individual like Elisa, he is an artist and closet gay. The movie was set in the 1960s so being Gay was not a widely accepted notion at that time.
Zelda and Giles are Elisa’s best friends and the only people who understood her when she spoke in sign language.

One day at work a weird tank container was brought in, and Elisa noticed that it contained something out of the ordinary. During her cleaning she was opportune to be alone with the tank, which houses a creature.
This creature is not just any creature, it is something between an alien or some sort of sea creature that we have never heard about.
Elisa, was fascinated by the creature which she called a Mermaid (Merman actually) when she was telling Giles about it. She started feeding the creature and soon they became friends talking to each other in sign language. Elisa immediately decided she must free the creature as she witnessed Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) being brutal to the creature and planned to dissect it.

Her plan of escape and the amazing things the creature can do… well you will have to see this movie to witness it.
The Shape of Water is an awesome movie and worthy of all the accolades it has.