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Showing posts from November, 2009

Pandorum

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Title: Pandorum
Rating: 1.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror (apparently), Action
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Antje Traue
Director: Christian Alvert

Going in with little expectations, I’d seen comparisons to ‘Event Horizon’ and ‘Alien’ and this was all that I needed. Instead, I’ll make my own film comparison: Doom. Though actually, that might be doing ‘Doom’ a disservice, as even that didn’t have any pretences of being more than a bad action film adaptation of a video game. I’d like to at least call this film somewhat intelligent, but it isn’t; the characters still panic despite holding the only gun, they still sit around and wait for the last possible opportunity to open the door and it doesn’t even take fifteen minutes before they decide splitting up is the best course of action. This is even taken a step further when you notice that certain characters will disappear from entire scenes only to reappear again without explanation, as though someone simply forgot to write him in.

With little …

Terror At Tenkiller

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Title: Terror At Tenkiller (1986)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror, drama
Starring: Stacey Logan, Michelle Merchant, Mike Wiles
Director: Ken Meyer
Duration: 87 mins

Leslie is a meek college student with a domineering, spoiled, and sometimes violent boyfriend, Josh, who is too much for her to be with any longer. Her friend Janna invites her to take a vacation up at her father’s cabin at Tenkiller Lake to keep her mind off him. Once they are settled at the cabin, everything seems to be going just fine. They both land jobs at a diner, relax by the lake, and meet a handsome boat mechanic named Tor. But someone is leaving creepy messages on the answering machine. And little do Leslie and Janna know that someone is killing off some of the locals. Could it be Leslie’s obsessive boyfriend, or someone far worse?

If you ever see this movie, you won’t have to wait long to find out the answer to this question. The film’s biggest mistake is unveiling the antagonist around the 30 minute mark and STILL proceedin…

Thirst

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Title: Thirst
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Drama, Horror, (Comedy)
Director: Chan-Wook Park
Starring: Kang-Ho Song (The Host), Ok-Vin Kim

With Lars Von Trier’s work on ‘Anti-Christ,’ and now Chan-Wook Park’s ‘Thirst,’ I was sure this was to be the year of horror’s revitalization and re-integration into the light of big budgets and competent cast members, and it still might be, but this film wont be standing along side them. Following the torment of a priest (Kang-Ho Song), leaving to assist with an experimental cure with the best of intentions, he becomes infected with the deadly incurable virus, only saved by the accidental transfusion of vampire blood. Afflicted with a terrible disease kept at bay by his vampirism he retains his humanity, becoming stricken with guilt every time he nourishes himself on human blood blood, careful to not cause permanent harm, his sinful desires only worsen as he becomes smitten with the shy resident of his lodging, ‘Tae-Jou,’ married and living with her overbearing p…

Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo)

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Title: Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl - Translated Title)
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror, Drama, Animation
Duration: 25 mins (26 Episodes)
Language: Japanese

“Oh Pitiful Shadow Bound in Darkness,
Looking Down Upon People and Causing them Pain,
A Soul Drowned in Sinful Karma,
Will You Try Dying This Once?”


It is the rumour that is pivotal to the story, the rumour of ‘Hell Correspondance;’ that on the stroke of midnight, those who bear a deep hatred within them and a desire for revenge are able to access their website and request assistance. If their wish is granted, it is the girl from hell who will shortly greet you, offering you the doll contract with a thin red silk string tied in a bow. Upon untying the string, the revenge will be granted and the victim immediately ferried to hell, but there is a high price to be paid for this service: you will be permanently given the black mark, forever serving as a reminder that when your time to leave this world has come, you are also bound to serve an eternal t…

Loft

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Title: Loft
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Starring: Koen de Bouw, Filip Peeters, Bruno Vanden Brouke
Language: Flemish

A Belgian thriller isn't what we usually notice in the film industry, but out of curiosity, I decided to try something different, I was into a really bumpy ride of seduction, betrayal, jealousy, paranoia, and enigma. Five men share a loft, each has a key to it, and it's used as a sanctuary for any mistress they'd desire. A body of a woman is discovered in it by one of them, who is she? The maze begins. With brilliant story-line co written by "Erik Van Looy", who also directed, we can't help but being forced to watch, eagerly anticipating what might happen as the film progresses to darker twists.

I couldn't help preventing myself from being mesmerized by Looy's techniques, every movement is calculated to as a reflection of the characters desires and their ongoing suspicions. This is one of those films that work smartly…

Ink

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Title: Ink
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Drama
Starring: Chris Kelly, Quinn Hunchar, Jessica Duffy, Jeremy Make
Director: Jamin Winans

Remember how nobody knew of “Pan’s Labyrinth” when it was first released (did you even know it was released at the cinema?), or how about Dark City, forgotten until much of the story was borrowed for the far bigger budget of “The Matrix?” This same scenario happened with countless others over the years; Blade Runner, Braindead, Donnie Darko, La Haine, the list goes on, and whilst this doesn’t quite match up, it is the director’s creativity that shines through. What he has succeeded in doing is nothing short of extraordinary; failed to be given even the tiniest of budgets, he began shooting from his own pocket, feeling less of a cinematographer or director as he does a storyteller, or a creator of epic works. He isn’t a Peter Jackson transcribing a book into his own setting, he’s laying the groundwork foundations for his own epic tale which doesn’t re…

Amélie

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Title: Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain"
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Audrey Tautou
Language: French

This kind of films isn't what usually attracts me, but the hype of it, and especially discovering "Yann Tiersen" is the composer, motivated me to see it. The film is a dreamy depiction of Paris, the film centers about the life of "Amélie", a waitress who tries to improve people's lives while dealing with her feelings of isolation and her wild imagination. While if we carefully examined the film, we'd find the content rather shallow and simple. What make this film a treat to watch are the brilliant direction and imagery of "Jean-Pierre Jeunet", and the grandeur of the soundtrack composed by "Yann Tiersen".

The film delivers when it comes to the imagery. We will enjoy watching it as it moves from scene to scene, pointing the characters of the film and their feelings, …

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster

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Title: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1967)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Sci-fi, adventure, family
Starring: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Tôru Watanabe
Director: Jun Fukuda
Language: Japanese (English dubbed)
Duration: 87 mins

After learning from a spirit guide that his brother, Yata, survived a shipwreck in the south Pacific, young man Ryota is determined to find him. He meets up with two dancer dudes, Rita and Ichino, and try to find a boat to sail the ocean. They stumble upon a burglar squatting in a yacht and decide to spend the night. But by morning, Ryota has sailed the ship to sea. They become shipwrecked themselves during a storm, and catch a glimpse of a giant claw from the ocean, and end up on Devil's Island where a terrorist group (called the Red Bamboo) is producing nuclear weapons and enslaving the natives of Infant Island (monster Mothra's home) to make yellow liquid that deters Ebirah (the giant lobster) from attacking their vessels. In order to get the Red Bamboo off their backs…

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

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Title: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Scott Wilson
Director: Scott Glosserman
Duration: 92 mins

Journalism grad student, Taylor, and her camera crew, Doug and Todd, get a call from a man calling himself Leslie Vernon who invites them to shoot a documentary covering his methodical preparation for the night where he is to dawn the identity of a vengeful serial killer and stalk and slash a group of partying teenagers. Through a series of interviews and demonstrations, Leslie takes Taylor step-by-step through the process of creating a legend, selecting a group of victims, singling out a virginal "survivor girl," and set up a location for a night of horror and mayhem to take place. He explains the industry of fear and its conventions, the importance of sustaining a balance of good vs. evil, and influences from his heroes: Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and a retired friend named Eu…

Session 9

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Title: Session 9
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Psychological Horror/Thriller
Starring: Peter Mullan, David Caruso

A "haunted-house" themed film that manages to actually accomplish is what we encounter will set in "Danvers State Mental Hospital", the bat. A striving small business owner of a cleaning, asbestos removing company, "Gordon Fleming" (Mullan) promises to handle the hospital and get the job done in one week. He needs the money. Yes we are introduced to seemingly clichéd aspects of this film, big scary place with voices calling people, but the film, thanks to the director "Brad Anderson", takes us literally through a maze of paranoia that truly makes this film a pleasant/unpleasant experience to watch. The film is atmospheric; we don't get bombarded with information about the past events, but little by little fined out, yet remains an air of obscurity to get us involved.

The film is a mélange of horror and insanity. As each day of the week pass, we …

Flesh for the Beast

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Title: Flesh for the Beast (2003)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Sergio Jones, Jennifer Litsch, Aldo Sambrell
Director: Terry West
Duration: 89 mins

A society of ghost hunters/psychics that is at a loss of funding is invited to a mansion by the mysterious John Stoker. This mansion was previously owned by occultist mobster, Alfred Fischer, and used to function as a whorehouse and place of black magic. The ghost hunters split up to search the house (naturally) with only earpieces connecting them to each other... supposedly. Soon enough, the guests are picked off by the malicious spirits of Fischer's whores (whom Stoker calls "carnex" or "carnivores of the nexus" and succubi) and the host Stoker is tormented by the spirits of past ghost hunters he had invited. But only he knows the secret behind the house and is willing to sacrifice his guests for the treasure that is hidden behind its walls.

Flesh for the Beast is a funny one to categorize. It is so bad, but delive…

Machine Girl

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Title: Machine Girl
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror, Crime
Starring: Minase Yashiro, Asami, Honoko
Director: Noboru Iguchi
Language: Japanese

Directed by the man responsible for the commercials in ‘Tokyo Gore Police,’ and not only distributed by Tokyo Shock (Oneechanbara, Tokyo Gore Police, Samurai Princess), but actually produced by them as well, my initial caution of what is essentially a fan made film based from past experience of others who thought this was enough to make a successful homage I’m glad to say has been proven wrong. Whilst a no frills affair, it has ambitions that bring together ‘Charlies Angels’ style 70s cheese with good old-fashioned grindhouse gore; The low budget a fact they are more than aware of, fitting in the excessive violence in an ‘Evil Dead’ manner to provide a number of laugh out loud moments. Throw in Yakuza, Ninja’s and not one but two hot Japanese woman, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty fun film.

Following the story of Ami, her parents a…

Blood:The Last Vampire

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Title: Blood:The Last Vampire
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Action, Horror
Starring: Gianna Jun, Allison Miller
Director: Chris Nahon

For those that caught my review of the original anime you would know that I thought it was lacking, feeling altogether incomplete (and indeed, it was) and too short to warrant more than a slightly disappointing mark. Nearly a decade on, we return to see a live-action remake, done on a low budget by a French director; to say I had low expectations would be an understatement, but such was my hopes for a better understanding of the story that I grit my teeth and prepared myself for the worse.

But in truth, I need not have worried so intently; far better than I could have expected, rather than run the risk of upsetting fans with major plot reconstruction, they find themselves sticking very close to the script. Decisively so in fact, resulting in many of the issues I had before returning. The film almost twice as long, whilst there were minor dialogue changes it works in the…