Top Ten: Romantic Suspense Films

Top10

Romantic Suspense Films

Romantic suspense as a genre is a difficult one to define. The main differences between romantic suspense and more normalised romance movies can be seen the in the setting and events of the films. Often with a romantic suspense film, the romance between a couple is ‘suspended’ due to more pressing issues relating to the situation of the film, these being of a more action, adventure, or crime slant.

The action genre is a one that branches over into many other, often times surprising genres. After a year and a half spent researching the action genre for my abandoned PH.D, the genre and all its off shoots is one that I still manage to find interesting and entertaining. The romantic suspense genre, while not being widely acknowledged nor defined, is one that nevertheless remains a staple of the film industry.

So armed with this knowledge and my romantically inclined nature, I would like to share my top ten romantic suspense films.

10. This Means War (2012).

A pair of C.I.A. operatives wage an epic battle against one another when they discover they are dating the same woman.

Taken from IMDB

Okay so I will admit that This Means War isn’t that great of a movie – however when I was watching it I couldn’t get over how much it exemplifies the romantic suspense genre.

While the story does revolve around a romantic triangle, there is no lack of action nor romance. Think of This Means War as an attempt to capture the essence of Mr and Mrs Smith – one that almost does. This Means War is a great example of the romantic suspense genre but ultimately a forgettable film.


9. True Lies (1994).

A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman while terrorists smuggle nuclear war heads into the United States.

Taken from IMDB

True Lies may feel more like an action film but when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis interact – their chemistry explodes more than any bomb in the film. Normally in the romantic suspense genre, you would see two people getting together, but in True Lies you see a married couple re-connect and see each other in a new light.

Continue reading “Top Ten: Romantic Suspense Films”

Long Lost Review: The Fall (2006)

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The Fall

Directed by: Tarsem Singh

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.

Taken from IMDB

I’m changing it up a bit this month, so instead of a book, it’s an amazing movie that I don’t think enough people know about. The Fall is a visually stunning film that blurs the lines between cinema, story, truth, and lies – I absolutely loved this movie and just need to share my love for it.

Continue reading “Long Lost Review: The Fall (2006)”

Anticipated Arrival: MIB International

Anticpated arrivals

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What is it?!

A new Men in Black movie!

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organisation.

When is it coming out?!

13th of June, 2019. So… a while away 😥

Continue reading “Anticipated Arrival: MIB International”

Top Ten: Sci-Fi Films

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SCI-FI FILMS

Science Fiction is difficult to define, there are so many sub-genres that a lot of very different content can be classed within the same genre. Sci-fi typically evokes the image of space and flying through the universe, however it can also delve deeper in other issues such as time travel, dystopian futures, alien invasions, and even superhuman abilities.

With this in mind the below list has a few of these different sub-genres, however the majority are ‘typical’ in that they feature space travel. Additionally, as with most things in my life, I have a tendency to prefer humour over any sort of drama. So pretty much every movie on this list is in some way or another, a funny film. And if it isn’t, then it doesn’t hit the drama/thriller/horror genre too hard.

So without further adieu, let’s start this list off with a movie that I am sure a number of you think should be further up the list.

10.Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_poster Guardians of the Galaxy (2014 & 2017).

Brash space adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain. To evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with four disparate misfits: gun-toting Rocket Raccoon, treelike-humanoid Groot, enigmatic Gamora, and vengeance-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when he discovers the orb’s true power and the cosmic threat it poses, Quill must rally his ragtag group to save the universe.

If you give me a big budget, action packed, and most important of all, funny film – It is pretty much guaranteed that I will enjoy the film. Guardians of the Galaxy and it’s sequel are amazing films, they looks so good and are at the very least entertaining. Whatever your thoughts on the sci-fi genre or the marvel universe, Guardians of the Galaxy is worth a watch as it makes such a huge universe and story incredibly accessible. Continue reading “Top Ten: Sci-Fi Films”

Anticipated Arrival: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

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Anticpated arrivals

What is it?!

A Teen Titans Go! movie!

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When the Teen Titans go to the big screen, they go big! “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” finds our egocentric, wildly satirical Super Heroes in their first feature film extravaganza—a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the super hero genre, complete with musical numbers.

It seems to the Teens that all the major super heroes out there are starring in their own movies—everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! But de facto leader Robin is determined to remedy the situation, and be seen as a star instead of a sidekick. If only they could get the hottest Hollywood film director to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their heart, the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town, certain to pull off their dream. But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously Super-Villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. The team finds their friendship and their fighting spirit failing, putting the very fate of the Teen Titans themselves on the line!

When is it coming out?!

27th of July, 2018! Next week y’all!

Australian release date has been pushed back until the 13th of September 😥

Continue reading “Anticipated Arrival: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies”

My Favourite Queer Films

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As someone who has previously studied film at a tertiary level, I have a intense appreciation for film and all that it can represent. Queer representation in film was a focus of mine, and even though I may be a bit rusty and not as up to date with films as I once was, I still know what I like. Which, fair warning, tends to be comedies or cheesy romances.

The Celluloid Closet (1995)

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The Celluloid Closet is a 1995 American documentary film directed and written by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film is based on Vito Russo’s book of the same name first published in 1981 and on lecture and film clip presentations he gave in 1972–1982. Russo had researched the history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters.

The Celluloid Closet is an important queer film because it documents and discusses the history of non-heterosexual characters within early Hollywood films. The film talks about how these characters were hidden in subtext, how they were portrayed as villains, and how censorship affects visibility. Continue reading “My Favourite Queer Films”

Anticipated Arrival: Deadpool 2

Anticpated arrivals

What is it?!

deadpool-2-posterThe sequel to the amazing Deadpool movie!

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

When is it coming out?!

18th of May, 2018!

The 16th of May 2018!

TOMORROW!

Continue reading “Anticipated Arrival: Deadpool 2”

The Christmas Film Genre

At this time of year it is virtually impossible to turn on the television and not encounter a Christmas film. However there are many different types of Christmas movies available to watch, with each film embracing some of the different tropes of the genre.

There are a number of variations the genre can possess, films can be directed towards children or adults, they can feature Santa Claus or ignore his ‘existence,’ they can even be from a wholly different genre, however one thing in common is they are set during the holiday period. Below is a discussion of the more obvious sub-genres of Christmas films. While certainly exploring a number of different themes and films, this list is by no means definitive, feel free to disagree.

MV5BMTM2NzgzNTk2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjUxNjUyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Children Christmas Films

The sheer number of films that can fall within the children’s sub-genre of Christmas films makes it one of, if not the most popular subset of the genre. The films that fall underneath this category are more likely to include more of the ‘classic’ Christmas films than any other of the sub-genres discussed in this list.

In children’s films set during Christmas, it is the simpler nuances of the season that are explored. Films aimed at children frequently have a heavy focus on the exploration and explanation of the true meaning of Christmas. Family, togetherness, overcoming adversity, goodwill and Santa are all popular themes at play within children’s Christmas movies. Often you may find films that display an anti-commercialisation slant with the focus being on a loving family and togetherness; the product placements throughout these films cheapen such sentiments.

However, throughout it all is the awareness that being a ‘good child’ is very important, as how else does one impress Santa and receive presents?

Stand out examples include:

Adult Christmas Films

HNKThe adult sub-genre of Christmas movies are, you guessed it, aimed primarily at adults. Gone are the earnest references to Santa, the sincerity replaced with a more mature and often blasé tone. Where children’s Christmas films may focus on Santa and a fantastical journey, adults Christmas films in a way lampoon the entire genre.

Ways in which this is achieved are through the satirical presence of Santa as the adults are forced to recognise the existence of such a figure, or through a blatant cynicism in regards to holiday practices.Themes such as non-belief, dysfunctional family relations, alcoholism, loneliness and the blatant commercialism of the holiday season can be explored in adult Christmas films.

However, overshadowing all this is an almost bitter overtone, commenting perhaps on the forced cheerfulness that many people find unpleasant during the holidays. Despite this, films of the adult sub-genre nevertheless find themselves ending happily with minor or personal victories occurring.

Stand out examples include:

Non-traditional Christmas Films

The non-traditional genre Christmas films can be thought of in a number of ways, my two favourites are, ‘It just so happens to be Christmas’ and ‘A Hipster Christmas.’ The films of this genre ignore all previous tropes of Christmas films and instead only have events that fall within the holiday season. In a time when Christmas can quite literally be shoved down your throat, non-traditional Christmas films can be breaths of fresh air to the repetitive holiday television programming.

Often, films of this ilk are from wholly different genres unrelatable to the very season specific tropes of the Christmas genre. The two most common films types to dip into the Christmas end of the genre spectrum are action films and romantic comedies.

Actions films

The frequency of which action films incorporate Christmas into its plots is not only a surprising one but a polarising one. One has to wonder at the draw of such two different genres, is it that the cheer and joy of the Christmas season juxtaposes nicely against the needful violence of action films? Or is it just that Christmas decorations look good blood-spattered? Either way, action films that feature Christmas as a back drop nevertheless prove to be popular.

Stand out examples include:

Romantic Comedies

Unlike Actions films and their foray into Christmas films, Romantic Comedies that feature the holiday season just seem to make sense. What’s more romantic than finding your true love during Christmas? While certainly the time of year can be very romantic, the way in which the period has been played for laughs in these types of films are similar to that of adult films.

Admittedly Romantic Comedy Christmas movies are a lot tamer, but they nonetheless feature dysfunctional families, loneliness and rejection have been explored the films. However unlike the adult sub-genre, Romantic comedies that feature Christmas always end with a happily ever after.

Stand out examples include:

 A Christmas Carol Christmas Films

Muppet_christmas_carolIf there is one thing you can always be sure of come Christmas, its Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. The story of A Christmas Carol is one that follows the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by four ghosts. With each visitation to the past, present and future, Ebenezer comes to the personal realisation that his mean and bitter ways have to change. The novel and indeed every adaptation (except of course the Blackadder Special) sees the transformation of Ebenezer into a much more cheerful and good-spirited character.

Dickens’ novel has been adapted numerous times and into many different forms including television shows, films, radio plays, stage productions, ballets and even an opera. From Star Trek Captions to puppets, from horror to comedies, A Christmas Carol is a film that will surely not stop being remade.

Stand out examples include:

There are so many different Christmas movies available today that to classify them all neatly within sub-genres is almost unthinkable. Where one film may lie firmly in the Children’s sub-genre, others may branch out and scatter themselves amongst every sub-genre. As it stands another non-traditional sub-genre could be created that includes Christmas themed horror films. With this in mind, I shudder to think about the future of the Christmas film genre. Who knows what’s in store for the next Christmas season?

Top Five Australian Films

In light of the upcoming celebration of Australian Day, or Invasion Day as it is also know, I thought it a prudent time to list my top five Australian movies. Admittedly, I will be the first to express a certain amount of hesitance in regards to typical ‘Aussie’ movies. The over-use of the underdog story-line coupled with the ‘occa’ attitude so often seen in films such as ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and The Wog Boy,’ are often what put me off.

In light of this, the top five films listed here are representative of the more story heavy and genre centric films of Australian cinema. However what you will notice, no matter the budget or overseas influence, is that the films display a lot of heart and possess a strong emotional centre. Let it be know though, that you will find no overt utterances of ‘struth’ or ‘crikey’ in this list.

 

  • 11163644_800Starting the list off at number five is the well-known film, Babe.

Directed by Chris Noonan, Babe tells the story of a pig who wishes to be a sheep dog. Featuring the ever-lovely Magda Szubanski and American actor, James Cromwell, Babe is an emotional story filled with both comedy and drama. The effect that the film has had on a larger scale can be seen in the ready use of quotes from the film within popular culture. From Shrek to numerous inclusions on prime time animations, the phrase, ‘That’ll do pig’ and even the odd ‘Baa-Ram-Ewe’ can be see reappearing quite often.

 

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Directed by Yahoo Serious, Young Einstein presents an alternate history of the life of Albert Einstein, with the main exception being that he is born and raised in Tasmania. As a poor son of an apple farmer, Einstein discovers the theory of relativity while attempting to add bubbles to beer. The rest of the film follows Einstein as he travels to Sydney to patent his idea and his resulting adventures. The absurdity and almost mindless fun of this film is what makes it such an endearing watch. The charm of Yahoo Serious and his portrayal of Einstein allow viewers to easily watch the historic figure as he invents rock n’ roll, romances Marie Curie, and also stop a nuclear reactor from being built thus saving the world.

 

The relatively recent, the most recent of the films in this list at least, film Happy Feet directed by George Miller makes it into this list for a mix of reasons. First and foremost of these reasons is the amazing soundtrack, where a mix of genres and new versions of classic songs feature heavily. The concept of the heart song is an incredibly sweet one that sets the film up for its main concept of fitting in and difference.  This story telling, coupled with the great voice acting by Elijah Wood and Brittany Murphy, are what really make this film a stand out in amongst other animated films.

 

adventures_of_priscilla_queen_of_the_desertThe mix of camp and stunning Australian landscapes are what make this film stand out. As one of the most internationally successful of the films featured on this list, Priscilla has become a cult classic as well as a hit musical. Featuring Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, the film is not only enjoyable but it is an important one in regards to its depiction of GLBIT issues. If there were one film on this list that people have not seen, this would be the one that I would recommend watching the most.

 

strictlyballroom_dvd_largeFrom the genius mind of Baz Luhrmann comes Strictly Ballroom. As the first film of the Red Curtain Trilogy (the other two are Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) Strictly Ballroom is a story that is reminiscent of the classic Cinderella story. Frumpy, beginner dancer Fran (Tara Morice) is swayed into being Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) dance partner after his own partner ditches him because of his use of non-code dance moves. What follows is the slow transformation of Fran as she develops a stronger confidence in herself, all the while learning and in turn influencing the new way in which Scott dances.

Strictly Ballroom is a lovely, feel good movie. Through the early yet still distinct direction of Luhrmann, the film features bold colours and beautifully shot scenes. The reason this film has topped my list is purely because of the pleasure I gain from watching the film. It’s hard not to watch the movie without a small smile firmly fixed on their face.

Honourable mentions: The Dish, Paperback Hero, Kenny, and anything else by Baz Luhrmann.

Top Five Romantic Suspense films

Romantic suspense as a genre is a difficult one to define. The main differences between romantic suspense and more normalised romance movies can be seen the in the setting and events of the films. Often with a romantic suspense film, the romance between a couple is ‘suspended’ due to more pressing issues relating to the situation of the film, these being of a more action, adventure or crime slant. Notable examples of this genre are Body Heat (1981), Bird on a Wire (1990), Knight and Day (2010) and many more.

The action genre is a one that branches over into many other, often times surprising genres. After a year and a half spent researching the action genre for my abandoned PH.D, the genre and all its off shoots is one that I still manage to find interesting and entertaining. The romantic suspense genre, while not being widely acknowledged nor defined, is one that nevertheless remains a staple of the film industry.

So armed with this knowledge and my romantically inclined nature, I would like to share my top five romantic suspense films.

  • In fifth place is the 2010 release, Red.

ImageTag line: Looking for a little action.

Featuring an all-star cast, this film is one that I initially underestimated. Being somewhat familiar with Warren Ellis whose graphic novel the film is very loosely based on, I was not expecting the sweet yet action packed story that Red delivers.

Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, a lonely and listless man whose only happiness comes from calling his pension case worker, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker from Weeds fame). Sarah, equally bored, lonely and an avid trashy romance reader, also counts Franks calls as the only interesting things in her life. It is once the movie moves past the first act that the action begins to kick in as Franks deals with an assassination attempt and the ensuing dangers.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Franks rescues Sarah from a similar fate and meets up with a few of his old working buddies. The following film is sweet, action packed and features a take-charge, gun-toting, Oscar-winning Helen Mirren.

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The plot follows that of a bored married couple, Jane (Angelina Jolie) and John (Brad Pitt) Smith, who eventually come to realise that they are competing assassins. After the pair discover this fact, the race is on as they both try to kill, then save each other; all the while working on their marital problems.

With all the controversy surrounding this film I was prepared to be disappointed, however, I could not have been more wrong. Mr & Mrs. Smith proves to be not only entertaining but filled emotions as well as flying bullets. The home wrecking chemistry between Pitt and Jolie coupled with the superbly crafted writing is what makes this film.

If you haven’t seen it yet, or if you’re not too much of a fan of romance or action films, go out and see this film as there is more than enough to satisfy the biggest fan of both.

  • Taking out third place is The Mummy (1999).

ImageTagline: The sands will rise. The heavens will part. The power will be unleashed.

The tongue-in-cheek humour and cheesiness of this film has got to be the biggest draw card. The meek and bookish Evelyn ‘Evy’ Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) enlists the help of ex-solider/prisoner Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier) to find the fabled Egyptian city of Hamunaptra. The city is one shrouded in mystery and is, unbeknownst to most, the ancient resting place of a cursed mummy.

This is a film that can watched over and over again without loosing its charm. The sheer awkward and appealing nature of the characters as they fall in love is one that is particularly enjoyable. As far as I am concerned the story flows terrifically with the romance feeling natural and the action being fast paced, featuring just enough scarab beetles and mummy induced mayhem.

Despite it’s less than satisfactory sequels, The Mummy is simply a good time, one could even say ‘a very good time.’

ImageTag line:She’s a girl from the big city. He’s a reckless soldier of fortune. For a fabulous treasure, they share an adventure no one could imagine… or survive.

Romance writer Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) travels out of her comfort zone to visit Columbia in order to rescue her ransomed sister, and in amongst the chaos meets would-be treasure hunter Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas). Hijinks ensue as Joan becomes lost and Jack helps her find her way back to civilisation as well as trying to get his hands on her treasure map.

Romancing the Stone, is not only a romantically charged adventure film but it is also a funny, and well humoured one. Moments from the film, such as the famous landslide scene and the inclusion of Joan Wilder fans, are ones that really flesh out and make this film great. Michael Douglas, who also appears in one of my favourite films Wonder Boys (2000), delivers a wonderful performance as the flippant Jack Colton. Danny DeVito also has a stand out role as the ill treated bad guy, the chemistry and familiar way that Douglas and DeVito interact is one that really ties the film together. The storyline and romance between Joan and Jack is one that I feel encapsulates the romantic suspense film. Not only is there action, but the comparative differences between the romance in Joan’s novels to that of the ‘reality’ of the film is one that make this film a pleasure to watch.

If you haven’t seen this movie you are really missing out on an old-school gem.

The knowledge of how bad this genre can be is one that keeps me coming back for more. The sheer amount of cringe worthy moments, often inspired by the dialogue and actions between the romantic pairs, is what makes this genre so good and such a guilty pleasure. What more is a romantic suspense film meant to do but provide a fantastical and surreal arena for a couple to fall in love, one that audiences at home can revel in?

So far in this post, films have seen the wrath of a mummy, a treasure hunt in Columbia and not one but two blood filled shoot em’ ups. The romantic suspense genre is one that shouldn’t be taken too seriously as it often the sheer visual and intrinsic pleasure of the realistically outrageous that make these films so good.

  • Having said that, my number one pick for best romantic suspense film is The Saint (1997).

ImageTagline. Never reveal your name. Never turn your back. Never surrender your heart.

Simon Templar (Val Kilmer), a world renown thief who uses the names of Catholic Saints to create false identities, is hired by the Russian Mafia to steal the formula of cold fusion from brilliant scientist Emma Russell (Elizabeth Shue). After loving and leaving her, Simon returns to Russia to hand over the formula only to find that Emma has followed him. The rest of the film is an action packed race through Moscow to try and recover the formula and bring down the head Mafia boss Ivan Tretiak (Rade Serbedzija).

Kilmer’s shifting character, terrible Australian accent and coldly charismatic Simon keeps you hooked as you watch this ever transitioning character slowly come to appreciate, respect, then love Emma. The strength that the ‘weak’ scientist Emma shows after such stressful moments is great, and the almost out-smarting of Simon is one that kept me smiling throughout, albeit it with a shake of the head.

The music, the beautiful city of Moscow, and all the cringe worthy but still heart warming moments are what make this film. If you haven’t seen this movie, I could not recommend a more action packed, wistful smile inducing film.

Other Notable Mentions: The Fifth Element (1997), Killers (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), This Means War (2012), and To Catch a Thief (1955).