*NEW* THE FOREST REVIEW *NEW*

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Run to the hills . . . Avoid this movie!

A woman (Natalie Dormer) goes into Japan’s Suicide Forest to find her twin sister (Also Natalie Dormer) and confronts supernatural terror.

Dull, boring and laughable. I think Miss Dormer better stick with Game of Thrones. Another intriguing premise thrown down the gutter.

Credit where it is due. Dormer delivered the best performance that she could with the weak characters and cliched dialogue.

I really wanted the film to explore the mystery behind the Aokigahara Forest. Deemed the Suicide Forest. A forest so dense that it shuts out all natural sound. Making it a good site for suicide as no one can hear the acts take place. Believe me, I was freaked out by that paragraph alone on Wikipedia than I was with this movie.

The potential for a dark and psychological thriller squandered and replaced with a generic fright fest with little tension, predictable jumps and a twist you could see coming a mile off. 93 minutes? It felt a whole lot longer than that.

Despite Mattias Troelstrup’s beautifully shot cinematography and the creepy backdrop, The Forest was a coma-inducing bomb. The film flicked back and forth as Dormer’s Sara seeks Dorma’s Jess. The cliched flashbacks with her doppelganger twin were nauseating. Corny and unnecessary. Adding nothing to the mix.

When we weren’t exposed to these flashbacks, we had slow meandering shots of the woods with creepy trinkets popping up combined with lifeless dialogue between one dimensional characters that you couldn’t give two monkeys about.

Yukiyoshi Ozawa did his best to create a little suspense as the forest guide with his chilling ghost stories. Things finally picked up when Jess strayed from the path. A path that Ozawa repeatedly insisted she stayed on. BUT of course, what does she do?

The eeriness surrounding the Forest and the loss of time was a nice gimmick. BUT it never really got going. I could feel my eyes drooping. Reprieved by a few jumpy bits to keep me on my toes. A chance meeting involving a dark hallway in a remote hostel soon woke me out of my slumber. For a brief moment.

Taylor Kinney (Zero Dark Thirty) wasn’t strong enough or creepy enough to create any real threat or interest as the mysterious journalist that Jess meets along the way. The paranoia finally settling in thick and fast. BUT by the end I really didn’t care.

It took too long to get going. And when it did, you really wished you hadn’t bothered. Considering it had a $10 million budget, the effects were dreadful. Random extras popping up with manky fancy dress masks howling stupid noises really didn’t help matters.

And the finale offered a little of what I had expected. BUT it was rushed and far too frenetic. You also realised that the plot didn’t make any sense and the incredibly OTT score by Bear McCreary made it even more comical than it should have been.

A real mess. I’d wait for this to haunt the Horror Channel.

2/5

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THE OTHER WOMAN REVIEW

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Here come the girls yadda yadda yadda. I mean, here comes another generic OTT chick flick. But if you go in with the right temperament, it’s actually quite watchable, if ridiculous and a lot funnier than I anticipated. Hardly perfect. But with a lovely set of leading ladies who are game for a laugh, it just about gets away with it.

If you haven’t seen the trailer; firstly you’re lucky. Secondly, the gist is that after discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly (Diaz) soon meets the wife (Leslie Mann) he’s been betraying. And when yet another love affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot revenge on the three-timing S.O.B.

A slightly different take on it all. We follow Diaz falling in love with the charismatic Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, or Jamie Lannister to the majority. I can’t believe he was in this after Game of Thrones. Some will see it as a different turn from the actor, others a massive step down. The moment in which Carly finds out he is married is still entertaining, despite being flogged in the trailers. You can feel for both Mann and Diaz and their cringey first encounter makes for humourous viewing.

Cameron Diaz has proved before she’s game for a laugh and plays the straighter role and plays it well. However, the scene stealer is Leslie Mann. She has proven time and time again to be a talented and funny actress. Her introduction into the movie did come off very irritating at first.  Her running commentary was annoying and highly unfunny. However, once she meets Diaz, she steals the show. In one scene, she is able to play a remarkable drunk. I’m still convinced she was actually drunk. The next scene you see this vulnerable woman who is battling to come to terms with the fact her marriage is over. She soon grows on you and you do feel for her.

I mean the film could have gone down a more serious route, but I felt for most of the film, the balance worked. I mean it does get more ridiculous as the film carries on it’s running length, especially by it’s shattering climax, shall I say. Crazy. But it’s that sort of film, it’s silly, stupid but at least its fun. I mean the introduction of Kate Upton wasn’t really needed. I felt Mann and Diaz were a decent pairing and worked well off each other. However, Upton doesn’t do a bad job, as far as model debutantes go. She plays the airhead to her strengths and her slow motion bikini clad beach run was a fitting tribute to Bo Derek in 10. Surprisingly, she brings another angle. The trio work well together and manage to make silly jokes come off a lot funnier than they should be. Plus they’re not bad on the eye either. What? Ladies you got Lannister and Taylor Kinney (Chicago Fire) as Kate (Mann)’s brother.

Coster-Waldau plays the arrogant cheater very well. I mean, come on he is Jamie Lannister. The pranks and reconnaissance on him are silly but entertaining. It was surprising to see Nicki Minaj play a normal role. Looking lovely. What? Shame her acting left a little to be desired. I mean I knew she was robotic when she rapped but I didn’t realise she spoke like one?! Don Johnson (old James Crockett from Miami Vice)’s appearance was unexpected. He plays Carly’s crazy player of a father quite well.

It was never going to win plaudits. Nick Cassavetes’ directing efforts have always surprised me. The fact he can go from John Q to The Notebook still baffles me. Some will see it as another lazy chick flick that goes for lazy gags.  I mean scenes involving a badly behaved devil dog will split people. I didn’t know a certain moment with Diaz and the dog was not planned and unscripted. Brilliant. At it’s best, a well acted fun film. At it’s worst, thanks to the finale, ridiculous and predictably corny. If you love these sort of films, then give it a go. If you don’t, then this won’t change your views. But if you can take them with a pinch of salt, then give it a go. I’ve seen a lot worse this year.  3 (just) out of 5!

Currently ranks #123 out of 172!