Monday, May 12, 2014

The Sacrament (2013)

Director – Ti West
Writers – 
Ti West
Production Company – Worldview Entertainment, Arcade Pictures
Stars – AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Gene Jones, Amy Seimetz

It has been soooooo long since I’ve seen a really good movie, what is wrong with me?  Am I expecting too much?  Do I just have certain taste that no one can meet?  Why am I always checking the clock throughout a movie? 

I want a flick that I don’t want to end – please somebody deliver!

Unfortunately I’m not writing this because The Sacrament cured me.  The Sacrament was quite bland, and relies heavily on Gene Jones (Father) and his preachy speeches.  What you’re left with is a very sparse movie with not much going on, not many creative liberties are taken to spice things up.  It’s weird because I did feel some tension so something was working on me, but all in all it just felt uninspired – the payoff very mediocre. 

So here’s what you have, because it’s not much.  A group called VICE travels to a remote location to meet-up and interview the sister of a guy who’s come to them with a disturbing (to him) letter from his sister.  She’s joined a group called Eden Parish and she seems a little off her rocker.  Once the group arrives they’re treated like royalty until they start noticing some creepy stuff going on - Commence them trying to leave, speeches, kool-aid, the end.

So that’s it – I kept waiting for something, anything.  It’s just super predictable.  It’s all obviously based on the Jonestown Massacre, yet there’s no mention of it. It is BARE BONES Jonestown. I say if there’s no mention, then you should probably come up with some original material sprinkled throughout..this movie pegs down Jonestown down to the Help notes and airfield shootings.

The only thing that I found even a bit interesting was that the sister (former druggie) might still be being drugged by “Father”, and that might be why she was so enamored with him.  I think they could have dove into that and had a more interesting plot, show that all his followers we’re being drugged and brain washed.

I think I also wanted a more sinister reason for Father having this commune out in the sticks.  Let’s say he keeps them drugged and demonstrates some disturbing fetishes, he could sell their kidneys to locals. Perhaps he’s the only one who can have children with the women – making a master race.  Don’t laugh at my ideas!!  I program phone systems for a living, I don’t write screen plays – I just know that I needed some spice in this soup.

So in the end I enjoyed Gene Jones, though his speeches grew tiring towards the end.  I thought Amy Seimetz (Caroline) was thoroughly convincing, I wanted more of her high energy, brainwashed character.  And I  know this may sound strange but I have a soft spot for Joe Swanberg and AJ Bowen – they’re like lovable horror teddy bears – but this also means they come off comical to me, and that’s not always good.

Has anyone seen anything lately that just blew their sock off?  I feel like lately I'm either utterly confused with a movie or so uninspired I want to sleep. 4 for lack of imagination. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Proxy (2013)

Director – Zack Parker
Writers – 
Zack Parker, Kevin Donner
Production Company – Along the Tracks, FSC Productions
Stars – Alexia Rasmussen, Alexa Havins, Kristina Klebe

I’m really confused, and that’s not good.  Proxy starts off with one hell of a scene, I was really hooked and remained hooked for at least 30 minutes – but the twists that this movie takes were not at all what I had in mind.  The story left me grasping for answers, or at least some way to tie it up in a nice bow – and before you yell at me saying “Jennifer, does everything have to be tied up a nice little neat bow for you to enjoy it???” 

The answer to that is “NO it doesn’t”.
SO because I’m so confused – let’s truly dish.  Esther is our main character.  We meet her while she’s nice and plump with child.  Minutes in, she’s assaulted by a hooded figure in quite the brutal fashion.  Esther loses her baby, and seems quite calm despite of it.

Soon our main character gets involved with a group for women who’ve lost children.   She’s spotted by Melanie, a member of the group.  Melanie takes her in under her wing, makes sure Esther feels welcomed and the two become friends.  Melanie opens up to Esther about her loss first, and urges Esther to tell her story when it organically comes up.

MAJOR SPOILERSYou want to watch this?  Then stop reading.

Here comes some major changes.  Esther spots Melanie out at a shopping mall, Melanie’s screaming and yelling to a security guard that she’s lost her son Payton.  She’s hysterical, Esther is confused since Melanie has professed to her that her family was killed in a drunk driving accident.  Melanie runs out of the store, Esther follows, and low and behold Melanie plucks her son out of her car.  He’s alive and well, but the twist now is that Melanie is not.

Speaking of not well, Esther has issues of her own.  First off, she’s more into attention than being a mother.  Especially shocking, in a good disgusting twisted movie sort of way, is that she actually commissioned her girlfriend to attack and kill her unborn baby!  Wowzer, the scene where you find this out was quite shocking – I definitely thought Esther was odd, but I really didn’t expect this.  That’s one completely unfortunate thing, Esther is NOT WELL – and you just need to accept that because there is no background into why she’s nuts…and there’s a few more scenes involving her that will have you scratching your head.

Now, we’re only about one hour in at this point and there’s a lot more to go.  Esther becomes consumed with Melanie - they’re really a lot alike in her mind – though Melanie becomes distant from Esther once she lets her know that she’s seen her with her child. 

They’re both psychologically flawed, and it drives Esther to commit a most violent act all in the name of bringing her and Melanie together – and then Esther is shot to death by Melanie’s husband and we have a new lead character and a new vibe of complete confusion on my part.  The overly dramatic scene of Esther’s death was really over the top to me, how about shave off 3 or 30 minutes by cutting some of this out?  It was shot beautifully, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes things are nice and shiny so you quit focusing on the story being so out there.

Fast forward and a small amount of time passes, it starts getting a little freaky when Melanie's husband starts imagining things he wished he would have done differently when he killed Esther, then there's Melanie hitting on her now, dead sons, pre-k teacher – did I mention you still have like 45 minutes to go?

So while all of this was going on, Esther’s girlfriend, Anika, has been in jail.  Anika somehow finds out that Esther has been shot by a family whose son she killed, she gets tatted up for her lover, sporting Esther on her neck as a testament to her lost lady.  This is a major flaw to me because a main sticking point is that newspapers and new channels chronicling the story intentionally withheld the Michaels names, and not even the police knew who Ester was!  So how tell me then, does Anika know from watching TV or reading a news story that it was Esther who was killed?  Doesn't make much sense to me.

Eventually we get an Anika and Melanie throw down (after Melanie watches Anika masturbate though), a few more dragged out dreamy sequences of Melanie spiraling into crazy  – and some terrible acting (or was it the writing) from Kristina Klebe (Anika) end out the movie.

So it’s no surprise to me that I mostly felt like I was spinning around in circles. I wanted off the ride - and it's a shame, because I was begging to get on at first.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

Director – Greg Mclean
Writers – 
Greg Mclean, Aaron Sterns
Production Company – Duo Art Productions, Emu Creek Pictures
Stars – John Jarratt, Ryan Corr

I really love the original Wolf Creek, it’s simple, and its sweaty hand inducing.  You’re drawn into the main characters lives before anything happens, you party and laugh with them.  I can still see them clearly in my brain, because I actually liked them. Soon Mick rolls around  and your enticed with his witty behavior, though thoroughly put-off too.  Mick manages to make everyone a little uncomfortable, but then he reels them back in with his quirky personality.  Is he joking, is he serious?  You can’t piss him off, I mean you need his help…and then it all happens once everyone settles in.  That’s the beauty of Wolf Creek, simple and to the point.

What Wolf Creek 2 does, is nothing like the original.  Have you ever watched a monster movie, and they show the monster so much that it no longer is scary to you?  I used to get super angry when I would only get glimpses into certain portions of a movie, crazy angry if I only got to see two seconds of the scary creature.  Now, here I am wishing that for Wolf Creek 2, they would have given Mick a little less screen time.  He became a messy caricature of his former self – a one liner machine.  He's now a messy serial killer, I honestly didn’t know what his motivations where anymore – until of course he gives an Australian pop-quiz to one of his victims - seriously dude?


Wolf Creek 2 is full of 3 things – one liners, car chases, and people you don’t care about.  I was entertained for all of 15 minutes to be honest, and those were the first 15.  Two bored cops pull Mick over, and what ensued drew me right in.  The two cops are given about 75 outs not to give Mick a ticket.  I really enjoyed how Mick was keeping his serial killers ways at bay, he had to be thoroughly pushed before he gave in – and give in he does.  It was a nice opening and there are pig/cop puns galore, some of them very funny.  I should have known though, the jokes and one liners flowed like a waterfall from here on out.

Mick meets up with some German backpackers, conveniently of course, they’re hitchhiking across the outback.  You spend a little time with the couple before Mick makes his appearance.  The scenes between Mick and this couple made me so angry!  The female backpacker is completely useless.  At least in the last movie the females were put through some hell before they became unable to function.  Here the girl sits and watches Mick man handle her man.  I think I timed it and she had about 15 minutes for a head start on Mick, I think she was entranced though – since they happen to show Mick cutting off her boyfriend’s penis and waving it around in the air with his hand.  The only thing I really have to say is “really?”  Also, why the hell is Mick butchering her man in the middle of the dessert – is he a cannibal now??

Once she finally does break away, she can’t even manage a few words to help the poor sucker out who picks her up.  Her screams are annoying and her lack of normal human function is disappointing.  It’s even more disappointing that the main character, Paul, joins the movie at like 40 minutes in.  You know absolutely nothing about him except that he’s nice enough to stop and try to help a flailing traveler, from here on out its Paul and Micks prowess for one-liners.

Paul manages plenty escapes throughout the movie, but at an hour and forty seven minutes you do get a little meat, kangaroo meat to be exact.  I actually covered my mouth to prevent myself from laughing out loud during a chase scene that involves a herd of Kangaroo crossing the road at a not so perfect time.  I mean, my 2 year old was napping next door – and I really was LAUGHING OUT LOUD..  I am embarrassed that this is part of the movie, this is not supposed to be a comedy.  It’s just not what I expected or wanted.  I want something with the tones of the original dammit.

It only gets worse from here and the music is lousy.  Only so many times can I take the sort of juxtaposition of the scene versus the music.  I love a hardcore horror scene with music that seems it’s opposite sometimes, but every damn kill scene should not be paired up this my humble opinion.

Don’t even get me started on the Hostel scene and Micks underground cave lair.  Seriously did I miss something?  What happened to his beat down farm full of old car parts, what is up with the cave system filled with a hundred bodies?  I don’t get it, and I don’t like it.  I know Mick is nuts, and sick, and disturbed – but this seemed really out there.  Don’t even get me started on Zombie girl, or the 40 minute bonding scene shared between Paul and Mick.

But what I really don’t want you to get me started on is the ending.  I was already angry about the main female character not being able to speak a single freaking word to help her situation – but you’re also left with Paul, who ends up a permanent resident in a mental home.

Dog Turds!  I’m really only a little bit angry because I think so fondly of the first movie.  Mick is still sick as hell, and I would die if I ever ran into him - because he really does scare me.  I’m all in for Wolf Creek 3, ditch the thousand one liner’s, get back to basics – Mick is still one crazy Aussie - he doesn’t need some Hostel cave lair to be scary.

So in the end this was a big flop for me.  I wanted a more serious emphasis, and though the violence and gore are very very serious, the underlying tone is not.  I won’t give up on Mick though, he’s just too damn cool.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Afflicted (2013)

Director – Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Writers – 
Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Production Company – Automatik Entertainment, IM Global, Telefilm Canada
Stars – Derek Lee, Clif Prowse

I think anybody who writes, directs, and stars in their own movie is pretty fantastic.  I thought Derek Lee and Clif Prowse were quirky, passionate, and super energetic.  They’re pumped in this flick, and it spilled over to me, which makes me sad that I got really bored about a quarter of the way through.


Derek receives some bad news health wise (AVM - Arteriovenous Malformation!) and he and his best friend Clif are off to see the world, I think it’s a great excuse.  Derek exudes this excitement and passion which really made me love him in like 5 minutes.  Clif, Derek’s best friend, is also super passionate about helping his friend in the geekiest of ways - blogging the hell out of it. 

So by blogging their journey, we of course have the built in excuse of having footage – Clif is no slacker, he’s a pro, so there’s no horrible camera work here.  Slick shots and cool energetic music make up the first part of this movie, all shot in a more documentary type style.

So enter moment where Derek happens to be infected/afflicted with something that starts taking a horrible effect on him.  Derek starts sleeping the days away and Clif is naturally concerned that Derek’s AVM is the culprit.  Unfortunately Clif can’t talk Derek into seeing a doctor at any point, and soon Derek is showing more peculiar changes like superhuman strength and speed..did I mention he’s not fond of sunlight anymore?   This is where I got really, really, really bored. I don’t need tons of footage showing off Derek’s new talents, give me a couple of minutes and we’re golden.

Something that soon becomes apparent to the two is that Derek needs to consume blood to fend off all the nasty’s he experiences.  I did like how they both worked their  way through what type of blood worked for him, but seriously once you’ve both come to the conclusion that your a vampire it’s time to reach out for some professional help.  It’s funny because in the movie Contracted I completely defended Samantha’s reasons for not reaching out for help more seriously – but here it made me a little angry.  This is straight up supernatural shit!!  Call the Today show for heaven’s sake, they’ll protect you since you’re new superhuman strengths will surely make you a billionaire…or perhaps a science experiment – guess I should be realistic.

I also forgot to mention, lots of this is finding its way on to the pairs travel blog, which I kind of dug.  I like the twist of blog followers watching some of the craziness from afar, unable to physically assist.  Eventually Derek finds himself alone, and on a mission to go back to the source of his issues – his one stand.  He manages to hunt the lady down, and this is where it picked back up for me…just hate that the middle bored me to tears.

Derek meets with Audrey and she gives him the scoop on what he is and what he’ll need to do in order to survive, let’s just say he’s not happy about it.  She explains to him something that I really loved – and wish a whole sort of love horror story could be made out of it.  She explains to him that she didn’t really want to turn him because he was some asshole or criminal, he was a mercy kill.  She thought he was dying, and that she was being kind…Ioved this part of the story.  I would like a movie based around this, much better then us watching Derek run fast and jump high for 40 minutes.

So what am I saying - Something was missing for me.  I loved the two main characters, loved the overall energy, just hated where that energy was spent!  I think I’ll be watching out for the two filmmakers, though I wasn’t quite knocked off my feet with the movie overall – their intense energy is infectious!  It’s found footage with a twist of lemon – I just wanted lime.

I have to give this one a 5 - Sorry Derek and Clif!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Byzantium (2012)

Director – Neil Jordan
Writers – Moira Buffini,
Production Company – Demarest Films, Lipsync Productions, Number 9
Stars – Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton

I’m a decent fan of The Borgias (writer/director Neil Jordan), though I often find it a little slow and drawn out.  That’s the same thing I have to say about Byzantium.  Cool story, nice rich look, but it’s a little slow for my taste.  I still hung on to Byzantium, it oozes quality, so I let it do its thing.  The screen play is by Moira Buffini (screenwriter/Jane Erye), that’s another movie I like but found decently slow.  So what’s my overall take?  Quality story, slow paced – but worth watching if you enjoy character driven flicks. 

Can I also just say what a small freaking world!  I watched Byzantium and Jane Erye back to back and had no clue it was the same darn screenwriter until about 15 minutes ago. 

Byzantium takes a new spin on things, with two strong female leads that couldn’t be any more different. Saoirse Ronan plays Eleanor, she’s quiet and always looking inside herself for something deeper.  Gemma plays Clara, Eleanor’s ever serving backer, keeping the two vampires with a roof over their heads for a couple of hundred years.  The performances by Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton are impeccable, I found myself getting lost in their delivery of lines, which was very nice.  I give mad props to the screen writer and actresses. 

So we have this lovely pair, and they’re vampires, and they feed.  You get to see just how different they are when it comes to the way they procure blood.  Eleanor gently massages her prey with her deep emotional hands, only taking from people who are in their twilight time or on the verge of crossing over.  She’s never scary, only gentle like an angel who’s been sent to these people to help them over.

Clara’s wild, and you’ll come to appreciate her far more as time goes on in this movie.  She’s sloppy at best, you’ll question why she does the things she does – but it all comes to light with timed flashbacks that help to tell the entire tale of this pair. Clara’s been used, it’s only natural that she would treat the rest of the world as a game that needs to be played in order to get what she needs.  She’s quite the protector, and by using her many strengths against those that would use her she’s able to help those that are weaker.

I definitely got lost in the cinematography and music, it’s gorgeous.  It’s so darn methodical, even to a fault…for me of course.  Like I said I did find myself checking the clock a few times, but it always kept me hanging on because I wanted more of this gem of a story. 

Caleb Landry plays Frank, he becomes quite obsessed with Eleanor and she with him.  They were a perfect fit in my opinion.  They’re both very awkward in this movie, and I could see them spotting each other in any surroundings and being drawn together.  That’s always a plus.  I hate it when movies thrusts two people together and really can’t give you any reason for the attraction. Here we have to very unique individuals, shy, awkward, perfect for overall tone.  I couldn’t have seen Eleanor with anyone else.

So while we learn both present and past information on Clara and Eleanor, you’ll also be privy to the larger picture.  The Brotherhood is out to find and eliminate Clara and Eleanor.  Through intelligent flashbacks, that are not at all cheesy, as flashback can sometimes be - you’ll come to understand how vampires fit into this world and why Clara and Eleanor are so different on many levels.

Want to know something else that’s cool – blood waterfalls…nuff said.  Also just took one more look at Neil’s directing list and he’s the director of Interview with the Vampire.  I swear I learn something new every day.  Sometimes I find out I’ve liked quite a few things from one director, Neil’s one of those directors.

Great Story, directing, acting - but I was a little bored - I guess I'm perplexed as to what my rating is....This is between a 6 and 7.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Seasoning House (2012)

Director – Paul Hyett
Writers – Paul Hyett, Conal Palmer, Adrian Rigelsford
Production Company – Sterling Pictures, Templeheart Films, Filmgate Films 
Stars – Rosie Day, Kevin Howarth, Sean Pertwee

I find out so much through IMDB these days.  I was watching a new film (that I liked by the way) called “The Seasoning House”, directed by Paul Hyett.  So after watching any movie these days I do my 15 minutes of work on IMDB to see what that directors done in the past.  I’m almost always surprised to see just how small of a world this movie making business is…and I’ll talk about that later.

Ok so first things first, The Seasoning House is pretty darn good.  Pretty good probably doesn’t make you want to run out and devour the movie this instant – and it shouldn’t.  I just want to let it be known that despite it not being perfect, it’s pretty good.

Pretty Darn Good, Pretty Darn Good, Pretty Darn Good - Sorry, I’m a goof.

Its 1996, in the Balkans – young girls kidnapped from their families are being prostituted out to the military, all whilst being kept in an old decomposing house.  During the film you closely follow Angel, a deaf and mute, girl who’s been kidnapped but reserved to take care of the girls versus being a prostitute herself.

One of the opening scenes in The Seasoning House is a brutal one.  You’ll be meeting the next influx of young girls into the house, and watch as Victor (brothel owner) makes sure the girls know who’s in charge.  The special effects and make-up in this scene are just great.  The make-up throughout the film is top-notch in my opinion.  The thing that isn’t top-notch from the get-go, Viktor.  I was highly disappointed in this character. I hated his lines, seemed so dorky.  He also looked so clean and polished compared to the others.

Viktor takes Angel under his wing. Angel is played by Rosie Day who manages to do a pretty good job despite her characters lack of speech.  Viktor notices straight away that she’s different.  Angel is deaf and has a large birthmark on her cheek, something that might hurt her in the “real” world but works to her benefit in this horrible situation.  I quite liked this, as it also gives Angel an out when she doesn’t respond to the cries and pleading of the other girls being held captive.  You might normally ask why a person wouldn’t help another who’s being tortured, but Angel can’t even hear their pleas…though she doesn’t make a lot of eye contact with them either, as I’m sure she can read lips in some manner.

So beings that Angel is sort of damaged goods, she’s left to pretty the girls up (though that’s laughable) and pump them full of heroin.  I think one thing this movie could have benefited from was cleaning the damn girls up, and make the house a little nicer.  Let’s face it that any dude who visits this place is a total creeper.  But I still feel like some of these girls where so fucked up that they would put off even the most vile man, so while the dirtiness of it added greatly to the cinematography – in my head, the state of the girls would put-off anyone.  Ok, so that’s that.


Eventually Angel develops a friendship with another girl being kept at the house.  This girl can sign, and Angel is immediately smitten and wanting to help.  The girl plays all her cards right with Angel, it’s hard to tell whether there’s a true friendship there or if she’s simply trying to manipulate Angel – I guess it doesn’t matter.  She knows that becoming a friend to Angel could be the difference between life and death.

^^^^^^^^holy crap scary man

Two words – Ryan Oliva (Ivan).  Two words – Holy crap.  I won’t give away the whole scene but holy hell this man is quite honestly one of the scariest men I have ever seen in a movie.  Ivan’s a “patron” of the house. I can honestly say I would probably die from fear if I were in a room alone with this man. This scene had me holding my breath and sets off the second half of the story.  Here’s where my biggest gripe comes from.

Have you ever been watching a movie and the main character is escaping but by dumb luck they end up in the worst place possible, like say the killers house?  Yes, you have??  Me too, it was called Eden Lake and I hated it then.  This also happens in The Seasoning House, twice.  This was my absolute biggest gripe, it’s just way too convenient.   The reason I still rate this higher than Eden Lake is that at least the characters are not doing moronic things constantly just so you can keep the story going.

Sean Pertwee (Goran) also meets with a highly questionable end..or does he?  It’s one of those endings where you get to draw your own conclusions, and I’ll be honest I would have preferred something a little tighter.  This isn’t some crazy thought provoking change your view on the world type movie, I don’t think we need such a broad ending.  It seems like people are scared to end things these days, I’m all for a director having a beginning and an end.  I don’t always want to draw my own conclusions.

End Spoilers

Flashbacks - something I normally hate, but they're not overdone here. It's a little convenient that some characters from her past show up in her future, but hey - this is a movie and movies are stories!

The music really sets the perfect tone in The Seasoning House, done by Paul E Francis.  I noticed it straight away, I love anything that sets such a great mood and doesn’t sound like canned movie music.  It reminded me of works like you’ve heard in Eden Lake and The Descent (though no one can beat David Julyan IMOP).   The music is pretty darn good.

I think Paul Hyett made it to second base with this one, I enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what he has coming.  Paul has done make-up work on movies like The Descent, Eden Lake, The Children, and The Woman in Black.  I can see how some of these movies have rubbed off on him.  The Seasoning House, written and directed by Paul Hyett, is pretty darn good for a first time director.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Open Grave (2013)

Director – Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
Writers – Chris Borey, Eddie Borey
Production Company – Atlas Independent, 852 Films, 
Stars – Sharlto Copley, Thomas Kretschmann, Erin Richards

So here’s the quandary I’m in with Open Grave, I feel like I should like it, but I just don’t.  It’s like when someone puts this valiant effort into making a new inventive cake flavor, but when you taste it you realize that something in the recipe is NOT working for you.  Does that make sense to anyone?

Open Grave follows a man who wakes up in a massive grave of dead bodies with no memory of who he is or how he’s gotten there.  He will meet up with a larger group of folks who’ve also woken up to find that they don’t know who they are, or why they’re here.  The rest of the movie follows these characters around while they try to figure out whose good and who’s bad.

I really enjoyed the overall concept, but I didn’t want the guts of the movie to be the characters trying to figure out who they are.  I wanted the guts of this movie to be these people figuring out what the hell is going on in general!  People, none of us remember who we are – yes this is weird.  For now, let’s just table that discussion and figure out if we’re in mortal danger and try to leave this place like we’re friends.  I don’t care who did what at this point, let’s just focus on surviving and finding other humans who might be able to fill in the blanks for us - deal?

Light Spoilers 

So there’s the gist of it.  All these characters spend most of the movie trying to remember who they are, and they also spend a lot of time giving everyone else the evil eye – because obviously one of these characters must be an evil bastard.  I just didn’t like all the paranoia that was happening, just seemed small beans to me.
I dislike movies that give a lot of attention to small time drama, when they’ve got this large concept looming in the background.  When I think of all the fun Open Graves could have had with the larger concept, I get sad they we mostly just watch a lot of adults bicker with each other.  I guess I didn’t need the slow burn of them figuring out who they are, it would have been much more fun for this to be solved quickly and for the characters to move on to the bigger picture. 


So there are a few other things that really drove me crazy.  I wouldn’t read any further if you still want to watch the movie. 

The Chinese writing mute lady, really????  I find it hard to believe that a grown woman, mute or not, couldn’t help guide the other characters a little bit more.  Make the mute woman a child, problem solved and no longer a flaw.

People can’t remember who they “are” but they are able to retain skills they had such as reading and speaking foreign languages etc.. I just wanted this explained more.  Why remember some things, but not others.

Jonah (Sharlto Copley), I’ve only seen him on District 9 – and he rocked in that flick.  In Open Graves he has the strangest accent. I can’t even really describe it – but it really distracted me.  Overall the acting from everyone in this flick did nothing to help, pretty flat and the dialogue was pretty goofy.

Also - Have you ever watched a movie, and during this movie a character picks up some random video camera?  Sure you probably have.  Have you ever watched a movie where that person then presses play on the video camera, and then what they watch is at the perfect spot so that they can see one of the other main characters doing something seemingly disturbing?  WHY WHY WHY!  This is too perfect! I cannot accept that this would happen in real life.  Other characters also happen upon other useful things such as maps and a cooler containing a cure.

I did like the music, so there’s that - but then the voice over at the end almost wiped it out for me.  

So there you have it.  I just didn’t like it, and if someone could please explain to me what’s up with that scene involving the infected masturbating woman and the infected dude banging his head against the wall - it would be very helpful. 

Or maybe it wouldn’t.

Again this is just all my opinion.  Add this to your repertoire,  I wouldn’t tell anyone not to watch it.  In fact, I see lots of praise for this movie.  So like most things, it’s someones cup of tea, just not mine.

Monday, January 27, 2014

We Are What We Are (2013)

Director – Jim Mickle
Writers – Nick Damici, Jorge Michel Grau
Production Company – Belladonna Productions, Memento Films, Uncorked Productions
Stars – Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner
IMDB Page (2013)
IMDB Page (2010)

I saw the original We Are What We Are quite some time ago, but I remember I was decently impressed with the atmosphere and storyline.  I think my only gripe was that it might have been a tad bit boring at times.  Fast forward to this weekend and I finally talked my husband into watching the American version.  I was pretty excited as I heard pretty much all praise for the remake.  I have to admit, I was bored out of my mind.  I get really sad when my husband, who hates horror movies, agrees to watch one and we dislike it.

The movie looked beautiful - it has that in the bag.  But the story is bare, and boring.  In the original there’s a pretty kick-ass ending, in my opinion.  This one offered up something that was just from left field, considering the kids didn’t seem into the family’s tradition in the first place.

It will be difficult for me to fully compare the two, since I’ve got the memory of a goldfish.  In the 2010 version I loved the grittiness, the fumbling of the family to secure their food, and the complicated relationships between the older children.  In the 2013 version you get nice little loving siblings, a nicely kept home, and a very ceremonial and neat aspect of devouring the body – I disliked all of these things.  By everything being so nice, neat, and discreet – It just made it boring to me. 

The endings, I was glad when the 2013 version ended.  I felt like I had watched a 3 hour long movie, and the period flashbacks made me chuckle.  When we finally got to the end I was still waiting to see what impressive tweak or twist would be applied (not that every movie needs one but I was falling asleep here people!!), I was not impressed.  So you’re telling me that the kids are so suddenly ravenous to either hurt dad or continue the tradition they decide to eat him alive - and he just lays there for it?  Not in my book folks!  I much prefer the 2010 ending, if you haven’t seen it…stop reading.

2010 Poster

In the 2010 version you have 2 boys and a girl, teenagers.  The families being chased down by cops (they’re not the smartest but they do find them!).  In tight quarters the police are on their tails, at one point one of the brother’s bites the sister, handing her a nice little heartfelt note in the process.  So the cops end up seeing her as one of the cannibals victims, and she lives to see another day.  The brothers aren’t too lucky, in a very nice poetic way.  I quite liked that ending, not to mention the mother in the flick pays the price from a group of hookers she pissed off earlier…and you cheer for it.  Because the characters in the original are just a little more dirty.

You know, I think I need to re-watch the 2010 version again.  I think I might have been too hard on it the first time I watched it.  Now that I’ve seen the 2013 remake, I think it deserves more praise.

I realize I didn’t quite dig deeply into either film, but I was just really let down on the remake. PS, I  highly enjoyed Mulberry St also by Jim Mickle …and that one has an incredibly cheesy concept – It’s just done right.  This one only gets a 3 because visually it was nice.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

Director – Aharon Keshales
Writers – Aharon Keshales
Production Company – Lasennac & Associes, Canal+, CNC
Stars – Lior Ashkenazi, Rotem Keinan, Tzahi Grad

A tablespoon of dark humor mixed with an ounce of unpleasant subject matter = Bid Bad Wolves.  Let me tell you two things, I enjoyed this movie and Tzahi Grad is a bad ass of the most awesome kind - I would watch this movie again just to watch the man play Gidi, the father of a murdered child whom many people in the movie are out to revenge.

The premise is quite simple, it’s the way this movie is written and made that makes it unique and special.  Kids are disappearing, molested and brutalized.  There’s a main suspect but he’s released back into the public after a rogue cop makes some wrong moves.  A man whose daughter was murdered and the rogue cop seek some quality time with the main suspect, beyond the reach of the law.

This man is a bad ass

Light Spoilers (BBW is available VOD right now!)

The movie starts off with a lovely scene of a girl dressed in little red riding hood garb, perfectly tying into the movie’s title – great music and gorgeous cinematography let you know you’re in for a nice little ride.  Can I just say that I just loved how they placed the title of the film on the tin roof of an abandoned home the children are playing in = that looked great…and sometimes it’s the little things that really stand out too me.

From the opening scene you’re quickly introduced to our main characters, Lior Ashkenazi (Miki the cop) and Rotem Keinan (Dror the main suspect).  I already told you that Gidi is a total bad ass but Miki & Dror are both very well acted too, top notch all around.  Side characters such as the real estate agent and Gidi’s dad, who we’re introduced to later, are simply stellar.  I can’t say enough about the acting in this movie.

Hilarious and a bad ass

So once Miki makes his blunder and the Dror is let free, he decides to take matters into his own hands.  Little does he know Gidi (dad of a girl who was murdered) has the same idea. The two meet in a most unique and hilarious fashion, everyone is watching everyone and a little dog pays the price!

Once the two have united you get to go on a very dark yet humorous ride with them as they decide to take on Dror.  Eventually our three main characters are all in a house together, things get crazy as Gidi tries to extract some information from Dror about his daughter.  A few times I was questioning if they had the right person, will he spill the beans, what’s going to go wrong here??? Plenty goes wrong – from the hilarious and awesome introduction of Gidi’s dad, to a very tragic outcome for Miki.

I really enjoyed this movie, through I’ll admit - perhaps so much detail goes into it that it might have felt a bit slow a few times.  Since I loved the characters so much, even watching them bake a cake was fun…and yes they really do bake cake.

Monday, January 13, 2014

In My Skin (2002)

Director – Marina de Van
Writers – Marina de Van
Production Company – Lasennac & Associes, Canal+, CNC
Stars – Marina de Van

Written, directed, and starring Marina De Van, In My Skin is nice little flick that follows a woman named Esther. Esther becomes increasingly obsessed with inspecting and mutilating her body after a very strange accident she has at a party one night.

My crazy notes, it helps my goldfish brain remember things...Spoilers 

I’ve never been to a movie set, nor do I have any reel (get it reel…lol) knowledge of film making.  I do know that I get super impressed if someone directs a movie. I’m crazy impressed if someone writes and directs a movie.  I’m just floored when someone writes, directs, and stars in a film – How on earth!!  That’s damn impressive.

Esther is at a party one night and she’s insanely wounded by a trip she takes while taking a walk.  Esther doesn’t first notice this gaping wound, in fact she only discovers it when she notices blood all over the carpet of the house she’s in.  She eventually has the wound looked at, and as you can imagine the doctors perplexed that she didn’t first notice the wound.  Esther almost seems impressed with herself during the scene, or at least very fascinated.

Esther starts to get urges throughout the film, first glances, then touches, then the actual mutilation.  It’s very terrifying to see something come over someone so strongly that they need to take control back and feel normal by harming themselves – but I guess there’s many off putting things that folks do these days.

The people that surround Esther are her boyfriend, Vincent and her “best friend”, Sandrine.  Vincent is almost always suspicious and concerned with Esther. Sandrine is plagued with jealousy towards Esther as she’s surpassed her ranking at the office.  This plays itself out in one of the most heartbreaking and high intensity scenes.

Jealous and bitter to Esther, but highly aware of what she’s going through.  Sandrine lets some fellow co-workers come severely close to finding out Esther’s secret. Sandrine lounges back and watches as some other people almost expose Esther’s leg to everyone at the work function.  It almost played out like a group egging on a beating, and then one person comes to their senses seeing the absolute panic and terror of the victim.  Her dual personality is almost exposed, I was completely nervous for Esther to be found out, my heart raced.  Marina did a wonderful job with this scene.

Throughout out the rest of the film Marina becomes increasingly fascinated with herself. You find this fascination in shocking and subtle ways.  The subtle is an arm falling asleep and Esther’s fascination with that feeling, it’s almost a turn on at this point.  The shocking is a wonderful little dinner scene where her feelings of being cutoff and unrelatable to the group are represented in a most visual way.

The film does get a little more shocking as time goes on, as Esther gives in more and begins an almost affair with her body.  She becomes highly erotic with herself, almost making love to her own body – but with mutilation and very long gazes where she takes in every inch of herself.

Increasingly her urges are represented visually so that you can understand what’s going on in her mind, when she’s set off. I did find some of the split screen imagery to be distracting during the end of the movie.  Once the split screens are no longer used I was really haunted by some of the shots though.  Esther just fully taking herself in, covered in blood.  It seems like she was really “jiving” with her body.  Maybe she was actually seeing herself – maybe she was at one with herself and her mutilation and the real feeling it was giving her?

I dug this film, mostly.  There was something missing for me, I wasn’t connected to Esther in a large way – except that I was nervous for her to be found out.  I didn’t want her to be shamed – but I also didn’t quite compute what she was trying to accomplish because I’ve guess I always thought about self- mutilation as a way that released pain and I wasn’t completely aware of what pain she was experiencing.  Then again, maybe her pain was her disconnect from her body?  I have no true knowledge of what drives the general population to have this sort of behavior – but it definitely wasn’t this version - and by this version I don't mean I think it's wrong.  I think it's just a very original interpretation both story wise and visually.

I guess I have a lot of questions I would ask the film maker, but maybe she’d rather I draw my own conclusions.

If I take Esther’s story as being hers, and only hers – I liked the movie just fine.  I wasn’t enthralled or deeply moved except for empathy for Esther, but I was definitely interested in this film makers story and direction.  Worth a watch for sure.