Meanest of the Mean…Ma-Ma

Njaahahahahaaaaa she cackles, rubbing her hands in glee. Another chance to shine some light on those dark characters. This year Ma-Ma gets a go. She’s got to be one of the most ruthless female villains I’ve come across. Just thinking of her gives me the shivers. Time to get all dark (hope you won’t think bad of me after this but it is The Great Villain Blogathon after all with more nasties found here). Let me introduce…Madeline Madrigal a.k.a. Ma-Ma.

Dredd9Madeline…sounds harmless. She doesn’t look too nasty above either…right? Wrong. Oh how very, very wrong.

We’ll call her Ma-Ma going forward (not Mama but slightly drawn out…Maa-Maa). I’d hate for her to be confused with a mother. Here are a few more that might help set the mood (not that we should judge by appearance):

Paint a better picture for you? I was kind enough to omit the screenshot of when the scar-producing injury is being inflicted. In fact, you may want to stop reading this post soon.

Peach Trees, a 200-storey high-rise in Mega City One, “the cursed city, stretching from Boston to Washington DC”. The building houses 75 000 registered residents of which 96% are unemployed. It has one of the highest crime rates in a city that records 17000 incidents a day. Ruling from the top floor down, Ma-Ma and her gang, the Ma-Ma Clan.

Played by Lena Headey, this is someone you’d hate to come face to face with in an alleyway (or anywhere for that matter). She is so brutal that when 3 small-time drug-dealers encroach on her turf they get…(stop reading if you are squeamish)….skinned alive, thrown off the top floor of Peach Trees…all while under the influence of SloMo…the latest drug she is punting which…yes…slows your perceptions down (substantially). Might be great if it is recreational but not so great when you see the atrium floor rapidly approaching slowly (yes, contradiction intended).

Sent in to investigate this incident, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). They capture Kay (Wood Harris), who Anderson, through her psychic abilities, identifies as the guy who carried out the skinning. Desperate to prevent Kay from talking (I won’t reveal why) Ma-Ma gives orders to lock down the entire building until Dredd and Anderson are dead. Dredd, ever the just, loyal and fearless judge, assisted by Anderson, works his way up floor by floor, body by body, dealing justice with one goal…Ma-Ma. Easier said than done.

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Formerly a prostitute, she got cut up by her pimp. Her revenge…”Feminised the guy with her teeth”. Apparently this is when she became the woman who has no problem casually dealing out the most gruesome punishment to anyone she pleases. Her poor techie (played by Domhnall Gleeson whom I barely recognised), who hacks any system for her, had his eyes redecorated with a knife – her instruction.

I honestly don’t know what could possibly justify her actions. Yes, maybe her pimp doing what he did may just have pushed her over the edge. However, watching her do what she does, there must have been some mean streak in her before then. Deep down, some darkness that was waiting to be triggered. I’d say she is one of the most vile villains I’ve come across.

Gruesome and violent, Dredd (2012) is still an excellent movie enhanced with a brilliant soundtrack. The SloMo scenes are fantastically presented with everything slowing down for added effect:

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While this is a post about Ma-Ma, I must mention that Karl Urban is perfect for the no-nonsense Judge Dredd. If you have been avoiding this one thinking “oh no! Judge Dredd” with the 1995 version in mind…don’t. With a current IMDB rating of 7.1 and 78% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (72% Audience Likes), it really isn’t bad. Written by Alex Garland and directed by Pete Travis, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, wondering how this one could possible end. You have been warned though – definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Whew, so now I need a good, light movie to watch. Something with a “kinder” villain. Or a nice good Prince Charming.

For last year’s entry into this Blogathon have a look at Villain, villain on the Wall.

*Quote taken from watching the movie

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In a Nutshell: The Fall (2006)

Want something different? Something visually stunning? Get hold of The Fall. I’d never heard of it until recently and gave it a go last night. Wow…from the opening sequence to the very last one, you will be hooked purely because you never know how this is all going to unfold.

Very briefly, the story is about an injured stuntman Roy (Lee Pace) who, restricted to his bed, befriends a young girl Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) and starts telling her a story during their daily visits. The movie weaves “reality” i.e. the hospital/story telling part with the “imagination” i.e. the life of the story. The “story” world scenes are absolutely magnificent – from the scenery to the stunning costumes. And the soundtrack together with the vivid sound effects enhanced the whole experience. I love the way the child’s reality influences her imagination and how the two worlds constantly reference each other. I guess just the way our imagination works. As for Catinca Untaru‘s acting…absolutely outstanding.

Don’t be fooled though – it is not a light, children’s movie just because it is about a man telling a small girl a story. It gets quite dark at times.

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Movie Confessions…

So, well, at least I’m not alone because some things left “un-confessed” on my side came up from other bloggers. Whew…wipe brow. Hope you don’t think lesser of me after reading mine.

Have a look at all the other confessions over at Often Off Topic.

Two weeks ago I asked all you lovely bloggers to send me your movie related confessions. You delivered, big time, and boy oh boy did you shock me along the way! Let’s get straight to it, shall we? Firstly, there’s a heck of a lot of ‘must see’ movies that you haven’t seen. In fact, […]

via Movie Confessions Blogathon — Often Off Topic

Wild Rovers with William Holden

The second round of the Golden Boy Blogathon has arrived. This year I decided to tackle Wild Rovers. Another one my parents had on Super 8 but I honestly couldn’t remember it (I know I’ve watched it though). So, nothing better than a Blogathon for some motivation. Time to give it another watch.

Often, when re-watching, bits come back but not with this one at all…well, except for the last 20 minutes or so. Amazing how some scenes suddenly stick. Oh, and the one where William Holden chases a herd of wild horses.

William Holden plays Ross Bodine, an aging cowboy who dreams of retiring in Mexico but doesn’t have the money to do so. Frank Post (Ryan O’Neal) is half Ross‘ age with dreams of his own. One night the two get involved in a fight at the local saloon and to pay for damages, boss and ranch owner Walt Buckman (Karl Malden) informs the two that deductions will be made from their salary. It is at this point that they decide to rob the bank in town. The rest of the story is about their ride to Mexico with Walt‘s sons, John and Paul (played by Tom Skerritt and Joe Don Baker respectively) on their trail.

While this isn’t a fast-paced Western, to me, it is more about the journey and decisions made by the two men (and others). William Holden is fantastic as the older, wiser more level-headed Ross. He fits the role perfectly. Being reasonable or firm when he needs to but adding some wonderful lighter moments in other circumstances. He is the perfect balance to Ryan O’Neal‘s arrogant, sometimes thoughtless and wilder Frank. I found myself smiling so often at the way Ross “reels in” Frank when he gets a bit too hot-headed. And William Holden‘s facial expressions are wonderful in this one.

Directed by Blake Edwards, it looks like this western didn’t do too well when it was released. Running at just over 2 hours, this was meant to be a 3 hour epic but never made it and was even cut down to just over 1 hour 40 minutes or so for the theatrical release.

I covered William Holden in The Revengers for last year’s Golden Boy Blogathon. Before you know it, the 3rd one will be upon us. Ok, ok…it’s only April. But can’t wait anyway. Thanks for hosting Virginie.

 

 

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Musical Notes: A Life Divided

One of the bands I find myself listening to quite often…A Life Divided. Here’s some mellow-ish (or maybe not) music for this Thursday. Hope you enjoy!

Oh…they do a really great rendition of Alphaville‘s Sounds Like a Melody. And The Last Dance is pretty darn good too. In fact, this is a band where pretty much all tracks on the CDs are good – none get the “skip” treatment when they come on. Their “latest” (2015) album is Human. Before that came The Great Escape (2013) and before that, Passenger (2010). I reviewed The Great Escape some time back but here it is again…Music Worth Mentioning

🎵Happy Listening🎵

Doesn’t Count

 

My Apology

 

 

Superb…Snabba Cash (Easy Money) (2010)

I love discovering new actors and actresses. Hence I often find myself watching someone in a movie and then seek out more of their works. In this way I came across Joel Kinnaman only a few weeks ago (I’d never heard of him before) and therefore “found” Snabba Cash (Easy Money).

Well, well, well…what a wonderful visual experience. You won’t get a wild action movie but instead, an introduction to the characters, their hopes, their motives, their relationships and then, a build up of the story. But don’t be fooled…it definitely isn’t boring. You’ll be intrigued as to how this will all come together and then unfold. If you’re like me, you’ll start feeling for the players. Sympathising with them. Hoping they’ll make it out so they can realise their dreams. Even though they are criminals and they should be behind bars.

Every scene is perfectly set up and captured. I really appreciate the reflections, backgrounds or the various interesting composition of shots supplementing character decisions and states of mind. Accompanied by an atmospheric musical score where needed. In my opinion, not just a movie but a well thought out work of art.

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Oh…I forgot to tell you the very, very high level story. Based on the novel by Jens Lapidus and directed by Daniél Espinosa it is set in Stockholm and has three main characters: JW (Joel Kinnaman), an economics student,  works as a taxi driver to keep up with the lifestyle of his rich friends. When he meets Sophie (Lisa Henni), whom he wishes to impress, he becomes involved in cocaine dealings in the hope of earning easy and substantial amounts of money. Jorge (Matias Varela), a prison escapee, knows the cocaine business but also has one last score to settle with the mafia boss who put him behind bars, Radovan (Dejan Cukic). And finally, Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic), the man sent by Radovan to take out Jorge, whose job is complicated when social services leave him with custody of his young daughter.

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Superb, thought provoking movie that isn’t just action scene after action scene. Well worth watching.

(Note, unless you understand the language (Swedish), you’ll need to watch this one with English subtitles)

I’ll give you my thoughts on Easy Money II: Hard to Kill and Easy Money III: Life Deluxe as soon as the DVDs arrive in the post and I give them a watch.

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Here’s something different for a change…

The bush…that’s where I’ve been the last week (hence the “silence” on WordPress from my side)…that’s the Kruger National Park where the wild animals do roam (but you may not always spot them) and there is only a trickle of cellular network in the overnight rest camps. Ah, heaven. It is much needed (for me anyway) to have at least a week with no cellphone (mobile), no internet, no technology…just the sound of birds, hippo or even the wind blowing through the Savannah. And a good pair of binoculars to scan the landscape from the verandah of the bungalow:

Olifants River sunrise (a trickle now but in rare full flow…that’s something to behold)

For those of you who don’t know, the Kruger National Park is the biggest game reserve in South Africa (one of the biggest in the world) and covers 19,485 km². And…the animals roam freely i.e. you drive around (not allowed out your vehicle) and need to find them. No guarantees. It all comes down to luck.

The impressive Baobab Tree

Most people have a goal to spot the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, White Rhino and Buffalo) but I go there to relax. Yes, granted, I have relatively easy access to the Park and have been able to go there since I was a little girl and so the big game is not a priority. From little flowers to insects and birds to the elusive leopard…it is all special. This trip…no lion (missed one by seconds – a lioness had crossed the road and vanished into the thick grass) but lots of other lovely sightings and plenty of time to recover from the daily rat race of the city.

(All photos are my own)

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