Crimson Peak: Movie Review

crimson peak - poster

Synopsis:
Ghosts!  Ghosts everywhere!
At the turn of the 20th century, Edith Cushing (CUSHING!) is wooed by an English baronet, gets married and moves to his not-at-all ominous mansion, nicknamed “Crimson Peak”.  There is a nefarious plot between the baronet and his insane sister in regards to Edith.  And then, of course, there are the aforementioned ghosts.

crimson peak - edith
My thoughts:
First things first: with this being a passion project of Guillermo Del Toro, you knew the set design was going to be top-notch.  Like, next-level, blow-your-mind stuff.  It did not disappoint.  With all the big names attached, somehow the house was the star of the show.  It was created as such a living being that it actually breathed.  The hole in the roof led to some great visuals of various leaves/precipitation floating through the massive house.  Footsteps in the snow outside looked like blood footsteps, as the red clay the land was situation on was brought to the surface with each footstep.  The walls of the house oozed with red clay.  I was in love with all of it.

crimson peak - house
If we’re listing things I loved about the movie in order (and we are, because it’s my review and I’m a grown up and I do what I want), the next in line was the performance of Jessica Chastain as Lucille Sharpe, crazed sister of Tom Hiddleston’s Sir Thomas Sharpe.  She was a ball of barely contained crazy in the early going, then she really let loose as the movie progressed.  Her eyes were wild and her face was cold steel and she was amazing and I’m scared of her and I love her and I’m very confused.

crimson peak - lucille mirror 2
I could talk plot and the rest of the cast, but what’s the point?  Mia Wasikowska was fine.  Tom Hiddleston was fine.  Charlie Hunnam was fine.  Everyone was fine and performed their jobs admirably.  The plot was also fine.  Even if everything besides the set design and Jessica Chastain was terrible, it would still be worth watching for those two reasons.

My point is, if you haven’t seen this yet, please do so, if only for how amazing it all looks and for Jessica Chastain releasing her inner crazy.

crimson peak - lucille piano
Rating: 4.5/5

The Conjuring 2: Spoilery Thoughts

I already wrote a review of The Conjuring 2, but I have some questions that would spoil the movie, so I opted to put them in a different post.  Because I am a kind soul.

conjuring 2 - valak

1. Lorraine was able to defeat the demon – Valak – by saying his name, screaming other things and condemning him back to hell.  Or something.  She only knew his name because Valak told her his name in a vision.  “I know his name, I know his name, GIVE ME MY BIBLE WHERE I CARVED HIS NAME,” she screamed.
So…why did Valak tell her his name?  They had no leads on the demon.  The only way they could have defeated him was by knowing his name, and he told Lorraine his name.  This wasn’t a case of finding out the name then needing to travel to some distant location to find more information and using it against him.  This was none of that.  This was a case of, “I say his name and he disappears.”  Valak had one weakness: that someone – anyone – speak his name.  And he handed them that weapon for no reason whatsoever.
I don’t understand why and I need someone to explain it to me.

2. Why did Janet float like Jean Grey when she was possessed at the end?

3. Why does Ed Warren have such a lovely singing voice?

conjuring 2 - ed with guitar

4 .Why do the Warrens have a teenage daughter they leave at home when they go on their missions?  Doesn’t leaving a teenager alone in a house with haunted items in the basement for weeks at a time seem like a recipe for disaster?

"There are frozen dinners in the microwave & don't worry about the whispers in the basement."
“There are frozen dinners in the microwave & don’t worry about the whispers in the basement.”

5. The idea of Valak using other creepy things as a way to throw everyone off was pretty crafty.  Who cares about looking for Valak if everyone is concerned about Bill Wilkins and The Crooked Man?  That’s a nice bit of misdirection there, Valak.  Good for you.

conjuring 2 - crooked man

A Night at The Astor

astor

I recently spent a couple days in Milwaukee for work.  Since I booked my hotel a little late, the only place I could find within walking distance of my meetings was The Astor.  It’s an old hotel (built in the 1920s), and, while parts of it seemed a little rundown, it was a pretty cool old hotel.  It was about 6 blocks from my meetings, and it was less than $100 a night.  Yes, the company was paying for my room, but, being an accountant, I try to be a conscientious spender.

The drive from Kentucky to Milwaukee is roughly 7 hours.  Since I’m a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, I drove up to Green Bay first, spent a couple hours, then drove back to Milwaukee to check into my room.

I got in around 10 pm and the lobby was empty.  I got my room key and headed to the elevator to go to my room on the third floor.  As I entered the elevator, two college girls stepped in.  They got off at the same floor; I went left, they went right.

I was tired but I had some work to do, so I set up my laptop and started working.  I usually wear headphones while working, but I was pretty tired and didn’t feel like going through the trouble.  So I sat there in silence, working on some spreadsheets that I may have found entirely too interesting.

At 11:30, I heard terrible screams and thumping sounds coming from down the hall.  It sounded like a couple girls were being savagely beaten to death.  My thoughts immediately went to the two girls I had shared an elevator with.
I didn’t have a plan of action, but I couldn’t just sit in my room while this happened.  So, equipped with nothing but my old-man fists, I opened my door and stepped out of my room.

I opened the door to a completely silent hallway.  The sounds I had heard just seconds before had abruptly stopped, with no reverberations hanging in the air.  I looked down both sides of the hall.  I was completely alone in the hallway, leading me to believe that no one else heard those terrible sounds.  As I went back into my room and closed my door, I was a little shaken, but I immediately began to rationalize it.  “It was probably just someone’s TV turned up too loud,” was the answer I ended up settling on.  I knew I was lying to myself, but I didn’t mind.

I went through the next day of meetings and was able to push these events to the back of my mind.  That night, a group of us went to a Brewers game (they lost to the Cardinals), and I ended up getting back to my room a little before 11.

At 11:30, as I sat there working on my laptop once again, I heard the exact same sounds.  At least two distinct screams and a loud, savage thumping.
I was quicker to react this time.  I bolted out of my chair and opened my door.  Once again, the sounds abruptly stopped.

I have tried to do research on The Astor and can find no record of similar stories taking place there.  Still, I know what I heard and I know what I experienced.  I never felt threatened, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t uncomfortable.