Posts

Showing posts from December, 2009

Sublime

Image
Title: Sublime (Unrated Cut)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Starring: Tom Cavanagh, Kathleen York, Katherine Cunningham-Eves, Lawrence Hilton-Jacob
Director: Tony Krantz

This is a film that feels perhaps a little mismarketed, a low-budget horror with little in the way of a budget and outside of a handful of festival screenings, going straight-to-DVD. Anyone at all versed with the genre probably already has some idea of what we should be expecting; if it’s a good quality budget horror I should be laughing for a good portion of the film, and if it isn’t I should be falling asleep, but instead this film falls under a completely different category. This is a horror driven more by a psychological, intelligent aspect than it is tired clichĂ©s and models pretending to act, and whilst the end result is something of a mixed bag theres certainly enough here to keep your brain engaged.

The concept is at least on the surface a simple one, following the protagonist George (Cavanagh) for a routine co…

Fast and Furious

Image
Title: Fast and Furious (aka ‘The Fast and the Furious: IV)
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Action
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster
Director: Justin Lin

If one were to peruse my ever-growing DVD collection pinned by bookcase to my wall there would probably be little to surprise you. Plenty of classics, drama (and an entire shelf devoted to stuff from Japan), but slapped between “Fargo” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” comfortably sits this anomoly. Yes, I have a soft spot for these films in the same manner people have a soft spot for Top Gear; it has no real pretense of pretending to be more than it really is, and as a result are able to market towards what I want from an action film. Yes, the plot is ridiculous and the acting atrocious, but it has silly stunts performed by plenty of cute women and even hotter cars. Who could say no?

Welcoming the return of both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker for the first time since the first in the series made an impression, it is old man Toretto …

Drag Me to Hell

Image
Title: Drag Me to Hell
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Alison Lohman
Director: Sam Raimi

There comes a moment when we are watching a film that we ask ourselves "What does the director want?" While I'm not a stranger to "Raimi", I truly found a mediocre achievement here. Girl lacks confidence in herself, girl tries to obtain higher position in the bank where she works, girl disappoints a gypsy old lady to prove she can make harsh decisions, girl gets cursed, and finally girl is expected to be dragged to Hell by big scary demon. "Lohman's" role was nothing short of the prototypical dramatic scream-queen. I am taking this film for what it is, and even for what it is I did see better works. The film ends up being silly, while good to startle you in some sudden scenes, it is by no means that horror films that it aspires to be.

Some lines in this film are just down to earth silly, which makes them funny, but funny can't always be a good thing. Sometim…

Avatar

Image
Title: Avatar
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Animation
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: David Cameron

“We aren’t the only things flying out there...or the biggest”

Out now for a week and already the fans are buzzing about the spectacular extravaganza of the popcorn-fest ‘Avatar.’ If you’ve already seen it, this probably just mentions a few little truths, but if you haven’t, well thats where things get interesting. Who better to seperate the fact from the fiction than the resident ‘blockbuster hater’ of these parts? Now, I must confess I went into this fully expecting a lot of random explosions, video game CGI and little else, and whilst I wasn’t far from the mark, the result is actually far better than I anticipated.

It is the paraplegic marine Jake Sully (Worthington) who takes the centre stage as the newly recruited volunteer for the ‘Avatar’ project. Following the death of his twin brother, murdered ‘for the cash in his …

Precious

Image
Title: Precious
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Drama
Starring: Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton
Director: Lee Daniels

“A disadvantaged student from a rough background struggles to get by and do well, but with the help of one caring teacher manages to improve their stance in life and make something of themselves.” How many films does this describe anyway? Originally I was to pass this one up as it looked to be offering little that I hadn’t already seen a number of times anyway, but what drew me back was not just the acclaim it was receiving but the manner it does things. Like ‘Fish Tank,’ the lead is taken by a first timer with a weight problem, who grew up where the film is set (Harlem), during the time it was set, it was the consideration for the little details that seemed to separate this from the rest. Sadly, I was wrong.

Perhaps in some desire to ‘better’ those that came before, usually focussing on one specific issue that results in their becoming an outcast, this inst…

The Lionshare

Image
Title: The Lionshare
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Drama, Documentary
Starring: Michael Pantozzi, Bracey Smith, Jessi Kneeland
Director: Joshua Bernhard

2009 may well be a very important year with regards to film making; in the 80s the Japanese pushed the boundaries of gore, Europe demonstrated more naked flesh than was ever before allowed, and now it would seem the Americans are taking their turn, tackling the very manner films are made. On the one hand is the much publicised ‘Avatar,’ boasting a level of special effects that looks set to raise the bar beyond what many could believe, and on the other is this small indie film, with no real publicity, no advertising and barely any budget, and yet this too raises the bar of possibility in a not too distant manner.

In fact, I wouldn’t have known of this films existance if not for my trusty source for downloads, kindly sharing this work – an act openly encouraged by the creator – with the world. In case my hints have not given the game away already, it i…

The Quiet Earth

Image
Title: The Quiet Earth (1985)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery
Starring: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith
Director: Geoff Murphy

It is at precisely 6:12am that our protagonist, Zac Hobson awakes from his cheap motel room after a bad nights sleep. As he groggily drags his tired frame from the clutches of the dirty sheet and makes his way across to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water, he fumbles to turn on the radio to discover nobody broadcasting. This is the first clue that Zac Hobson is in fact the last man left on the face of the earth. Following his journey of discovery as to the cause of the inhabitants mysterious spontaneous disappearance, somehow intertwined with ‘project flashpoint;’ a dangerous project his research company were tampering with, as he continues his exploration, he slowly resigns himself to his lonely fate.

Undeterred by the lower production values of this lost work from New Zealand, the very concept of having the world as your own private…

Save the Green Planet!

Image
Title: Save the Green Planet! (Jigureul jikyeora! - Translated Title)
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Joon-Hwan Jang
Starring: Ha-kyun Shin, Yun-shik Baek, Jeong-min Hwang
Language: Korean

Have you ever watched someone imitate lines of dialogue from a film, perhaps do a short “Are you talkin’ to me” or “I’ve had it with these motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane,” in an attempt to mimic a catchy phrase told by someone who defines ‘cool,’ only to have them do it in a manner that has them looking like a dorky twat? This is to the big hollywood blockbuster that very dorky twat, stumbling along with its self-indulgant delusional fantasies told through the eyes of a hyped up meth addict desperately trying to save the world from alien invasion.

Drugs fuelling his obsession, he is criticised and reprimanded for his outlandish views; humanity constructed in their own image, capable of communicating telepathically through their hair and with an i…

Bruno

Image
Title: Bruno
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Comedy, ‘Mockumentary’
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen
Director: Larry Charles

If you’re the type who still laugh’s at the likes of ‘two and a half men,’ marking its territory with the misogony card, or ‘Big Bang Theory’ where every joke is “but we’re nerds,” then you can add Bruno to the list with his repertoire of cringe worthy, blunt and obvious gay jokes. I’m notoriously difficult to please when it comes to comedy but ‘Borat’ actually surprised me. Sure, there were the excessively long periods with little happening, but it managed to deliver on what it set out to do. This time around im not so sure. In mocking homosexuality and those outwardly opposed to his demeanour, he may be exposing morons for being morons – as though we didn’t already know they existed – but ultimately he comes off as the biggest idiot of them all.

Following the journey of ex-fashion mogul Bruno on his journey to superstar fame, without particular concern of how to achieve his ambition…

Hell Girl: Two Prisoners (Jigoku Shoujo: Futakomori)

Image
Title: Jigoku Shoujo: Futakomori (Hell Girl: Two Prisoners - Translated Title)
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Animation, Horror, Drama
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?”


Let me just out and say it: this was a disappointment. After the peak of the first season (this being being the second in the series) kicking in with a long and emotional finalĂ©, it had seemed they had finally perfected an art that has taken them most of the season to get right, full of good episodes and bad, brimming with potential and hints at what it could be, and it even seems as though they’ve paid attention to the critics of the first somewhat, but for every step taken forwards, they’ve taken one almost as large backwards. This results in a much more consistent series that whilst an improvement over the first, never quite reaches the same heights either. For those not …

Dogma

Image
Title: Dogma
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino
Director: Kevin Smith

Two fallen angels, "Affleck" and "Damon" find a loop in the Catholic dogma which will let them reenter Paradise after being cast out, thus proving God wrong and by that ending existence. "Fiorentino" is the Last Scion that is supposed to stop them and protect the universe from being erased. I won't deny that "Smith" wrote a script that is clever in handling many theological aspects, something that interest me, but in many parts we are presented with a "toilette-humor" that just ruins what could have been a great film. From the beginning we see messages that we should be open minded while watching it, it did anger many, and so I tried to be as open minded as I can. It wasn't the "blasphemy" or "heresy" that lowered the film's status, but many completely stupid events that we shall see. &quo…

Grizzly

Image
Title: Grizzly (1976)
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Starring: Christopher George, Richard Jaeckel, Andrew Prine
Director: William Girdler
Duration: 91 mins

Park ranger Michael Kelly and his crew are in charge of keeping order during a busy post season. Tourists are camping out all throughout the state park. But they aren't the only ones... an 18 foot tall grizzly bear also stalks the woods, and he’s hungry for human flesh. It becomes Kelly’s #1 priority to rid the park of this bloodthirsty killer, and with the help of scientist Scott and pilot Don he begins to track it down. To his displeasure, the park supervisor doesn’t want any bad press, and his ego is getting in the way of Kelly’s progress, costing the lives of many campers and rangers at the claws of this behemoth.

If this brief synopsis sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that. It’s essentially the same story as Jaws. Made on the heels of Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece, this more than just resembles it’s predecessor, it con…