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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Carrie (1976), Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010), and Captain Phillips (2013)
Carrie (1976). Directed by Brian De Palma and based on the novel by Stephen King. The film starts at a college volleyball game. Carrie (Sissy Spacek) stands in the corner of the court, trying to avoid being involved, and being made of whenever the ball goes near her. The story then moves to the girls' locker room after the game. Carrie is still in the shower while the other girls are mostly dressed. While washing she looks down and sees blood on her hands. She panics and runs towards the girls, screaming for help. I thought I ought to refresh my memory of the original film, having not seen it for many years. I'm glad I did as I found it pretty much a classic from every angle. Spacek is incredible as Carrie, carrying off the bullied teen perfectly, and is equally fantastic when the tables turn. Piper Laurie plays Carrie's mum, and is also spot on as the religious loony. The rest of the cast are slightly more mixed, and almost caricatures at times. I think some more subtlety would have helped. The story moves along at the ideal pace, and De Palma's direction is essentially a master class. It's backed up by an inevitably dated but still great score. Only the ending feels a little patchy, with a coda that just didn't sit well with me. I don't think it's quite fair to pitch Carrie as an out-and-out horror film, as essentially it's a drama with some supernatural elements. Anyway, for drama fans who don't mind a bit of gore. 5/5 (Excellent)

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010). Directed by Luc Besson and based on the comic by Jacques Tardi. The film is initially set in 1910s Paris. The aged Professor Espérandieu is perfecting a technique to reanimate the dead, and as part of the experiment wakes up a pterodactyl at a local museum, still in its egg. The pterodactyl hatches out of the egg and kills a local prefect and his beau, a dancing girl. Meanwhile in Egypt, Adèle Blanc-Sec (Louis Bourgoin), a journalist and travel writer, is trying to locate a mummy, specifically the doctor of Ramesses II. I was taken aback when friends mentioned The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, as I hadn't heard of it, or at least I'd forgotten if I had. I sort of jumped at the chance to watch a Luc Besson directed film. The story is a bit slow to start with, and somewhat all over the place. Bourgoin is fantastic as the eccentric Blanc-Sec, and is supported by a mostly almost as eccentric cast. Ultimately it's a big French mess of a film, which retains a comic book feel. Those who don't mind a bit of eccentric historical fantasy should enjoy. 4/5 (Good)

Captain Phillips (2013). Directed by Paul Greengrass and based on the book by Richard Phillips and Stephan Tatty. The film starts with ship captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) preparing to leave his home in the USA, to fly to Oman to take a ship to Mombasa. Meanwhile some Somalian fisherman are forced by a local gang to go out on a piracy mission. Captain Phillips is a good factual film. Tom Hanks is excellent, as are the supporting cast. The film is long, at over 2 hours, and the atmosphere in the second hour particularly will be a little thinly spread at times for those who need something more fast paced. 4/5 (Good)