Friday, March 13, 2015

Mock Squid Soup: Horns


MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are the proud hosts of Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society.  Each month, on the second Friday, they host a bloghop devoted to movies and the people who love them.  They invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews. It's not too late to join us - sign up at the bottom of the post.

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After a successful run in the Harry Potter franchise, Daniel Radcliffe has to be sitting pretty. He's got a relatively large body of work behind him for his age, he's recognizable and downright likable; one could assume he has some financial stability - and he is still a young guy! Great ghost of Jim Henson, what could possibly go wrong for Dan the Man?


The answer to that question might be the movie Horns

Radcliffe plays Ignatius Parrish, a young guy in love with his long time girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple). The love shack for Ig and his girl comes in the form of a tree house; and when Merrin is found murdered at that very spot, Ig is the prime suspect. Thus begins the quest to find the killer of his girl. Who has committed this terrible act? It couldn't be fresh faced Ig...or could it?


Ig seems understandably grief stricken and lost; but you know what will take your mind off your grief? The discovery of a couple of painful horns growing out of your forehead. And that's not all!  Along with the appearance of the cerebral coat racks, every one seems compelled to confess their darkest secrets to Ig. The horns are virtual sin-antennae. The one exception to the free flow of dirty secrets comes in the form of his friend and now his assigned public defender, Lee (Max Minghella).

Humor pops its head up with the ackward, somewhat audacious confessions. His parents (James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan) let him know the cold and callous feelings they now have for him. A local waitress (Heather Graham) sees opportunity in the scandalous news and thinks injecting herself into the story might give her life a bump up. Last, but not least, Ig's jazzman brother (Joe Anderson) shows up to prove that drugs are still a really, really bad idea.



In flashback, pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place and new suspicions arise. The cursed horns prove useful for tapping into the revealing inner demons of others, too. Ig frantically follows up on each suspect till the surprising culprit is found.

Radcliffe really outdid himself with the I-just-rolled-out-of-bed look he sported all through the movie and he nailed the American accent. There's at least three possible genres going on here: horror, mystery, fantasy. I'm guessing the lad is still trying to prove he is more than your neighborhood Potter. 

The dialogue was weak. Someone could have spent a little more time on that screenplay, especially since there was a perfectly good book by Joe Hill to use as a guide. Would Harry have cursed as many time as Ig? That was his full acting range for showing rage or irritation. Yelling the F-word will not get you that Oscar...scratch that, I've not really done the research necessary to say that factually. I know you've read some good screenplays (hint, hint) Daniel, you should have called foul.

Finding the acting lacking, I desperately sought symbolism to justify my lost 120 minutes. It was pretty easy; I suspect it came straight from The Idiots Guide to Symbolism in Film. The Eden-like setting of the tree house,  a man and his woman, naked and unafraid, just two people without a care in the world - and then it all goes to you-know-where...hey, I got that!  The devilish Ig transition confused me a little. Are you good? Bad? Hey, you! You've walked around with horns all through this movie - why pick up a pitch fork and snakes now?

Well, it's too late for me. My 120 minutes are gone and I'll never get them back. Who knows what I could have done with those wasted minutes.

Daniel Radcliffe, I still love you but I hope someone offers you something good before they write a sequel where angel wings come out of your head. 


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37 comments:

  1. I'm not a Joe Hill fan, but I liked the spin you gave the story in this review. I thought Daniel was awesome in The Woman in Black. Now that is a horror movie to see (and a great novel)! It scared the heck out of me!

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    1. I need to read the book; I've flipped through it and everyone says it's great, but I've not read it.

      Lexa, you're right about The Woman in Black - that one was great.

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  2. Let's face it, Mr. Radcliffe in real life is hardly the height of nonsense...

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  3. Good morning, dear Cherdo, and thank you for the excellent movie review!

    I needed to look up actress Juno Temple. Turns out I am very familiar with her father, director Julien Temple, the man who gave us the Geena Davis - Jeff Goldblum movie Earth Girls Are Easy and directed big budget music videos for the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Tom Petty, Van Halen, the Kinks and many other major artists of the 1980s and 90s. Julien Temple's vids were in demand and played in heavy rotation on the MTV style station where I worked as head of production. As I dubbed Julien's videos onto individual cassettes for airing on our station, I studied his techniques and used them in my own videos and commercials.

    For decades I have admired the work of Kathleen Quinlan beginning with her bit part in American Graffiti and including Airport '77, The Twilight Zone, The Doors and Apollo 13.

    Movies that revolve around a hot, bankable young actor or actress usually turn me off before I even watch them. I prefer small independent films that give breakout roles to brilliant unknown actors and actresses. If Horns suffers from weak dialogue then there's little chance I would enjoy it.

    I'm off then, dear friend Cherdo. I will miss you. I hope to resume blogging the first week of April. Until we meet again, please take good care of yourself. I'll be thinking about you. God bless!

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    1. Literally, most of his intense moments are about the cursing. Bleh double bleh.

      Be careful, travel safety, arrive safely and follow the rules from yesterday. While you're away, I will be having a Where's Shady? contest...Waldo never held my interest. Prepare yourself to be back in the cartoon.

      Brother, you have my prayers and best wishes - I hope this move is wonderful, my friend. Hugs to Queen K.

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  4. Hmmmm-I was wondering about this film because I thought it will be really different and great or pretty bad. From what I read it seems to be the latter. So just to make sure, this is the one where we each choose a film and then next month we have to choose someone's film they picked for today? This will be great:)

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    1. I so wanted it to be good!! The premise seemed original and I'd heard that the book was good.

      And yes, I think that is how it goes...pop on over to The Armchair Squid to double check for yourself.

      Glad you're aboard.

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  5. The movie sounds like a clunker.

    But as for Radcliffe, I think there's plenty of reason for hope in the long term. It might be a while before someone trusts him with something genuinely meaty but his name alone should keep him in the rolodex (do those exist anymore?) for the rest of his life. He's not afraid of indie, edgy stuff and that will lead him to interesting writers and directors. When big projects start to come THEIR way and they want a recognizable name and face to front the publicity, they'll call him.

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    1. If you want to see a much more promising Radcliffe performance, check out A Young Doctor's Notebook (I think it is on Ovation - I caught it on Netflix when they had it available).

      Indie, edgy - yes, please.

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    2. Yes, we have a few episodes sitting on our DVR queue at the moment. We watched the first episode. That's exactly the sort of thing I mean. He'll find his adult niche.

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  6. Thanks for the review on Horns. I love the Potter Series, and I have seen Radcliffe in the movie Woman in Black, which was excellent. I think I'll stay away from Horns.

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    1. It's a heck of a movie...but more heck than necessary.

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  7. I really liked the book but I have a hard time picturing Harry Potter as Ig. Just sayin.'

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    1. Even if he was hellbent on playing the part (obvious pun inclination...), I would have looked at his face and thought, "Nope...not a bit Ig-ish. Can't see this one happening."

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  8. I think we are going to get to see the 2nd Marigold Hotel Movie today, so I'm looking forward to it. Don't think I would have liked the Daniel Radcliffe one.

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    1. Oooh, I want to see that one. I've heard nothing but good things and I love Patel and Maggie Smith. Let me know what you think of it, Linda. :-)

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  9. That's funny that Radcliffe is standing in front of an AMC Gremlin.

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    1. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

      I was saving that reference for comments if no one noticed. That jumped off the screen at me. LOL.

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  10. Somehow he's still getting TONS of projects, which is good for him. I guess he gets kudos for always trying to stretch himself as an actor. I can't say I've seen any of his non-Harry Potter work except that horror movie which had a good premise and started out great but just drifted on aimlessly. I finally gave up and stopped watching.

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    1. I like that he was doing a bit of stage work, too. He definitely has talent.

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  11. Radcliffe is talented. It's too bad this movie didn't match his talent.

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  12. Aww man! I was really hoping for more from this film. It's in my Netflix queue just waiting to be watched. Not I'm not sure it'll make it through. In any case, loved your review. Entertatining as always. If I'm up for something awkward next month, I might pick this flim.

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    1. Hey, Toinette! Nice to see you in comments - it's been a while. After I did my review, I looked at some online. There are some people who liked it (as opposed to some puppies or goats). Go for it and let me know what you think.

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  13. Don't think this movie will be on my list.
    If I really wanted to see it I would but it just doesn't seem to interest me.
    Great review though.
    hahahahaha mine was I liked this movie sheep and the space walk ! Good !
    A writer I am not.

    cheers, parsnip

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  14. I've never heard of this one. Perhaps that's because it wasn't a critical or financial success. Daniel has gotten some positive reviews for his work onstage. Apparently he has no problem with removing his clothes. Daniel is short. Every time I see him in real-life photos, I'm shocked by his shortness. It just occurred to me that wearing a stocking cap over horns might look pretty funny. Is that a horn on your head or are you happy to see me?

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Both...it is a horn (2) and I'm always happy to see you.

      And you're right - that dude is short. I'm wondering if the girl stood on a box, seriously.

      Have a good weekend, Janiekins. And busssssss.

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  15. Well good I steered clear from this one I'll say. He sure is trying hard to shed the Harry Potter image.

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    1. He has talent; he should have passed on this one.

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  16. I don't think I'll watch this one. I do hope that he finds some "better" projects. When someone is talented (and I think he is) it's entirely possible to get lost after enough terrible movies. Of course, it's also possible to make a comeback. Just look at what Pulp Fiction did for John Travolta.

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    1. John Travolta struck gold more than once. Look Who's Talking gave him a boost, too. Of course, mispronouncing Idrina Menzel's name gave him a boost in the opposite direction.

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  17. I like that Joe Hill's books are now becoming films, just like his old man's. But does son have something like The Shawshank Redemption in him?

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    1. We will have to wait and see...it hasn't sprung forth yet, though I see promise. Then again, I've not read everything he has written. And who cares what I think? LOL.

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  18. I was intrigued when I saw this pop up on Netflix. However, it looks like I might have to keep searching for next month's movie for me...I think your review helped me realize that this might not be my cup of tea....

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    1. Yeah, I hate to give a big old MEH to anything, but ... meh.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo