Posted on 7/28/14 02:04 AM
Very Good Girls --- starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen ---
Two friends Elizabeth and Dakota make a pact to lose their virginity on their last summer-vacation at New York City.
Look at the theme of the film and then look at the title of the film. Shame has never been this explainable before.
Posted on 7/28/14 01:14 AM
The Exorcism of Emily Rose - Horror / Court-room film co-written and directed by Scott Derrickson. Starring Laura Linney Jennifer Carpenter (as Emily Rose) and Tom Wilkinson. Film is based on Felicitas Goodman's book called 'The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel' - which is itself based on 1970s true-story of German Catholic woman Anneliese Michel. Film's plot layout is taking place in the court-house, and occasional flashbacks to the events leading up to death of Emily Rose; while undergoing religious ritual of exorcism.
Emily Rose, a 19 year old fresh-college student, living with her parents and siblings head to university after receiving stipend. Slowly she experiences the bizarre events happening around - a demonic-spirit possesses her body. At first her family seeks the help of a psychiatrist, who believes that Emily is suffering epilepsy. Unable to do anything about the growing transformation, the Rose family approach Father Richard Moore (Wilkinson) - whose ritual is blamed for negligence that led to death of Emily.
Bruner (Laura) a lawyer is asked to take up the case of defending Father Moore in the court - where the supernatural superstition has little importance, as compared to medical-finding.
Film's photography is great, along with the solid-acting- but what is actually missing here? The big question-mark! Something that makes the horror-films quite a thrill to sit through, of course, the lack of jolt-scenes. Film may comply with its atmosphere of the horror but more was needed to raise its intensity.
Posted on 7/26/14 02:51 PM
The Expendables 3 - American action-thriller packed film - directed by Patrick Hughes and co-written by Sylvester Stallone. Starring ensemble cast Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and MEL GIBSON. This is the third installment in the series. Filming began months later after the release of The Expendables 2 in 2012. Several actors were approached for the roles including Clint Eastwood, Steven Seagal etc. - but they were either busy or not interested.
Film follows the Expendables team, rescuing Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) from the prison in the desert. They are ambushed by Conrad (Mel Gibson), the team's former co-founder---who was shot and left half-dead by Ross (Sylvester) after he engaged in illegal arms-trading. Conrad is all set to destroy the team - in the nick of the time Ross gets the orders from his boss (Harrison Ford) to form a new team of young Expendables (due to mishap that occurred, in which one of the team members was nearly shot-dead by Conrad). Ross wows to hunt down Conrad and finish him once and for all.
The Expendables 3 had been leaked on the internet (and I am one of those 200k people who have downloaded the film illegally---three weeks before its official opening throughout the world). I have never liked movies with so-called notion of 'attitude-style'. There is nothing sane to talk about this film. Echoing with fire shots, machine-guns, destructions, rocket-launchers. Non-stop editing of action-brazed scenes.
I appreciate Sylvester Stallone for giving work to actors like Wesley Snipes (since his release from the prison) --- but it is heartbreaking to see that all these action heroes of their times, spoil their reputation for freakish-plotted stories, in order to receive 'Whoo' for their He-man stunt in the theaters from the audience.
I believe there is only lucrative strategy for those behind-the-camera, nothing else. It's hastiness that they push raw stories every next year, without contemplating to, at least brush the script with working plot. Don't they even realize that stories have since then become predictable? A central antagonist (always) becomes the final bait, left for the main protagonist (Sly) to finish him off in style (reminds me childhood video-game 'Mortal Kombat').
I did like Mel Gibson, who proves to be giving fair attention to his character and sarcastic lines.
Posted on 7/19/14 03:52 PM
The Purge - thriller film (although considered horror - I don't think it qualifies for the horror) - written and directed by James DeMonaco. Starring Ethan Hawke. The film was made over budget of $3 million, bringing home $89,328,627. It was premiered at Stanley Film Festival.
Set in 2022 (USA) the US government's new Founding Fathers have come up with new entity 'The Purge'. The Purge is authorized to carry-out 'killings', 'rape', 'burglary' and 'stealing', one night of the each year from 7pm to 7am. 911 is unavailable to answer, and so are other emergency helplines.
The main victims of the purge are 'homeless' and 'poor' people, to unburden U.S. government from taking after them. This according to the news, has decreased 'crime' and flourishing of 'economy'. An exception is for high-ranking officials who are barred from being attacked by The Purge - however if these officials intervene in their mission, they're eligible to be eliminated.
Ethan is a salesman for security-system provider, living in lavish suburb of Los Angeles, where he has also helped his neighborhood with security system. Ethan's family include his warm-hearted wife, a daughter who's been romancing with a boy-next-door, as well as a son-who's fond of working on gadgets. As the time nears to 7pm, Ethan activates the security-system with full monitoring-cameras at his front door. His children get into heated-talk with him over his support of the purge killing 'homeless and poor' guys.
Ethan's son Charlie de-activates security-system after spotting a hapless black young man crying outside in the neighborhood - as soon as Ethan overhears the alarm, he arrives into the security-room to re-activate it, not until the boy is actually inside house. Soon we see the purge members arriving outside the house to claim their bait - or face the intrusion for interfering.
They cut the electricity of the house. Ethan, at first does everything to capture the boy - who's been hiding in the house, but just about when he binds him - his consciousness does not allow him to be part of killing-machine.
Film reminded me another controversial film Dog Straw (Dustin Hoffman). I don't know if the plot has been inspired from that film's ending. Looking at elements in the story like 'each year - one night', I can surely say that there are several sequels to come after this (one is already in the process, as I read).
Average acting - about one hour of the film in the beginning escalates thrill. It may not bore you, but anyone can predict the outcome of stories like this - except in case of few scenes, especially at near-ending.
Posted on 7/18/14 08:51 AM
Cat's Eye (OR - Stephen King's Cat's Eye) - thriller film directed by Lewis Teague, and script written by Stephen King. An anthology film that borrows three stories to correlate with each other, namely 'Quitters Inc.'/The Ledge/General. Starring James Woods and Drew Barrymore (as a kid).
Quitters Inc. - Film begins with cat chased by the dog. She jumps onto a delivery-truck and arrives in New York City - here she imagines a dummy in the display turning into a kid-girl asking for help.
Soon we see the cat captured and taken by the Quitters Inc. James Woods a chain-smoker visits Quitters Inc. as recommended by his buddy to help him quit smoking. The doctor shocks him by telling that everytime he draws out his cigarette, he (Dr.) would target his wife and kid - later he is given a demo to see, in which the Cat (captured earlier) is given minor electronic shots.
The Ledge - The Cat arrives in Atlanta, where she is picked up by greedy casino-owner (who's fond of gambling). He abducts a tennis-player with whom his wife is having intimate relations. He asks the man to go around in circumference of the penthouse building, on his top-floor over the exterior-edge-not only he would pardon him but also let him have his wife.
General: Finally the cat arrives in secluded town, where she finds the little girl (Drew Barrymore) who was asking for the help. She notices tiny monster creature hopping inside her house, to harm her. The girl's parents do everything to keep the cat out from releasing disease or whatsoever.
I would never call this as a horror film, instead it falls in the category of 'fantasy' and 'thriller'. Apart from the final part (General)-which contained mediocre special-effects and laughable lighting inside the house; the rest of the two of the opening parts simply did everything for me, both in terms of sustaining satiric dialogues and scene while also scaring the crap out of you.
Posted on 7/16/14 12:11 PM
Lord of Illusions - horror film written and directed by Clive Barker. It is based on the short story called 'The Last Illusion'. Starring Scott Bakula, Famke Janssen, Kevi J. O'Connor.
Film is about a magician cult-leader 'Nix' in the desert, who is rounded up by his former members led by 'Swann' for kidnapping a teenage girl for sacrifice. He's caught and buried deep under so that his body should never be found. 13 years later, the girl now adult 'Dorothea' (Famke) has married Swann - who's himself become a popular stage-illusionist in Los Angeles. But their fear still lives on - what if Nix crawls out of the grave?
After mysterious death of colleague of Swann - he feels suspicious about the circumstances under which he was killed. Swann hires the New York based private-investigator D'Amour (Bakula) to investigate the murder. D'Amour has strong interest in subject of 'cult', and often he suffers from demonic illusions and exorcism that he once witnessed. On a stage-show where Dorothea and D'Amour also join Swann dare to attempt an impossible illusion, in which he dies before their eyes. D'Amour's swift and thorough investigation unlocks the dark mystery in the magician world.
I remember this film (but not its title then) from 1996 - shown by my elder brother. The only scene that I remember of this film was the onstage horrific death scene of 'Swann'. Actors are average with respect to their acting style, which not to be considered amateurish at all. Barker uses fair use of music-composition as well as photography to increase scare-factor. Due to mediocre budget the film carries undeveloped 'special-effects' - nevertheless these scenes were attentively chosen.
Posted on 7/03/14 12:06 PM
Minuscule: The Valley of the Lost Ants (French: Minuscule - La vallée des fourmis perdues). This French/Belgian animation film is inspired by short television-series called 'Minuscule' - both the film and television series are written and directed by Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo. It was nominated for 'Best Children's Film' at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
The film became the phenomenon hit across the French territories. Minuscule is a dialogue-less film, containing just about sound-effects and captures aesthetic southern region of the France 'Provence', for its natural background-settings for the film. The film is dedicated in memory of 'Jean Moebius Giraud'.
In this insect-centered film - the opening screen reads "There is an ancient legend, sung each summer by crickets and cicadas - the saga of young ladybug, who once upon a time, did battle with the red ants. This is her story..."
Film begins with husband and a pregnant wife picnicking outside the calm beautiful surroundings - until they leave for woman's labor. Leaving behind tin-box full of sugar-cubes. The next frame shows, swarm of different species of insects grabbing onto cookies, chips, candies and sticky wrappers etc.
A ladybug who earlier in the scene was chased by bullying flies, took refuge in slightly open tin-box. About half a dozen of black-ants get inside the box to verify the taste and freshness - upon discovering more-than-enough of the treasure, the leader of the ants communicate with the others by blowing whistle-signal. Soon, they carry the tin-box through deep forests, and fresh streaming waterfalls - but not without dangerous encounters with lizard, frog, and vicious fish.
Upon arriving a valley, they are halted by red-ants; whom they try to bribe by offering a cube of sugar. This unleashes greediness in red-ants, who later reach out to their colony to gather force to contain the black-ants colony - where the tin-box has successfully reached. These red-ants hold siege around the black-ants' colony, in typical fashion of The Return of the King (Peter Jackson). Holding posts and installing weapons in shape of discarded pesticide-spray, catapults, pineapple shell to storm the main-gate.
Black ants reach out to their genius lab-owner ant - who offers them dozen of fire-crackers and a match-box (containing single stick only). This is where, ladybug recalls the full match-box leftover by the couple; and hence makes her way out to fetch it.
If you are a person who appreciates the genius filmmaking than this is the stuff to check out. Film does not offer single dialogue and yet I never felt an urge to stop this - rather it accumulated an interest inside of me to watch it in segments (so to fully enjoy it).
This picture is only made to entertain us with its flawless and building story. A sense of friendship between ladybug and black-ant.
NOTE: THIS CONCLUDES MY 1800th reviews written so far!
Posted on 7/01/14 02:10 PM
Why Don't You Play In Hell? (Jigoku de naze warui?) Japanese comedy-crime-drama written and directed by legendary Japanese filmmaker 'Sion Sono'.
This is Sono's return to cinema with 'suicide-club' subjected film - Sono has compared his more than decade-old script, to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. It received premier at Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival. Why Don't You Play In Hell? - earned 'People's Choice Award'. Starring Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaid? and Gen Hoshino.
Film surrounds local teenage nerdy gang of a would-be director 'Hirata' (Hiroki Hasegawa) who has fondness for 35mm; but he's been stuck with pre-digital era camera. Hirata has been touched by the local old cinema-projectionist (probably taking the inspiration from Cinema Paradiso). Hirata picks up teenage local wannabe gangster; whom, he wants to recruit as Japan's 'Bruce Lee' - offering him Nunchaku and Lee's trademark 'Yellow-and-black tracksuit' from Game of Death.
Meanwhile yakuza clan ambushes rival group of 'Muto' (Jun Kunimura - Hard Boiled, Outrage). Muto's beautiful-cum-fierce wife chops the vegetables in the kitchen, from where she goes on chopping each goon. Ikegama (Shinichi Tsutsumi) survives the ambush, and meets the 10-year old daughter and star of recent popular TV toothpaste ad (which somehow gets cut off the air for because of her parents' background). Ikegama gets to caress pedophile feelings toward the girl, up until the next ten-years - when she's fully grown into arrogant, oomph but deadly (played by Fumi Nikaido).
Muto's wife is imprisoned for manslaughter, but her husband, promises to her that he'd turn his daughter into a famous movie-star. Ten years since the events, Hirata gang is still making amateurish films. Cinema has become deserted, where they watch their clips, over and over again. Muto's dream to make his daughter a popular actress, brings him at the door of Hirata and his crew. The script for the movie requires the two former foes to pick up typical Japanese swords and engage in blood-bath fights.
Film's actors are true to this so-called intelligent comedy-film. It's matter of admiration that the director co-joins the two unusual, but at the same time working factions i-e 'yakuza - and - filmmakers'. But in all this fuss and hassle, the hilarious scenes and comedic dialogues elevate its entertainment. There are abundance of movies out there which may spoil your night, and there are some which, although pick silly subject and yet powerfully implement working elements (of course this is usually the work of genius director).
A must watch film, if you really wanna see Japanese-comedy full of silliness and comedy. Beware! Seriousness is not guaranteed here - pure fun!
Posted on 6/30/14 06:52 AM
Metro Manila - a British-Filipino independent film. It was co-written, co-produced and directed by Sean Ellis. Britain sent it as entry for 'Best Foreign Language Film' at the Academy Award, but was never selected - other nods include Bafta award. Starring Jake Macapagal, Althea Vega, and John Arcilla. It was shown at Sundance Film Festival.
Film begins with Oscar (Jake Macapagal) harvesting rice in rural Philippines, along with his hardworking wife. He lives with his wife, a teenage daughter and newly born baby. Upon selling rice, they receive two-cents for one-pound of rice. The hard-times and poverty force Oscar and his family to opt for Metro Manila, to begin new future. But, here they face cunning society and vicious people - everyone does favor to you for some reason.
Oscar receives a job as a guard at Armored Vehicle Company, after his ex-military arm-tattoo was recognized by one of the guards. He's given a job by Ong (John Arcilla), the veteran at the company. Oscar's wife (Althea Vega) looks for lap-dance job at bar to feed her kids.
Ong gets Oscar a shabby apartment, out of the fear that company might kick-him-out for living in slums, where notorious criminals live - who might blackmail him. But slowly Ong reveals to Oscar that he wants to steal a key from the inside of heavily-guarded building, so to open the money-box - else, the box might self-explode with an ink to destroy the money.
Good entertaining film, mild-guitar music-score. Slow pacing film - it captures the everyday problems in general population of any country in the world, and what eventually lead, a humble looking fella to give in his ego and self-determination just to bring a bowl of food for his family. Good acting, few characters, and equally balanced action-sequences.
Posted on 6/30/14 03:52 AM
Septimo (Or "7th Floor) Argentinian mystery Spanish-language film co-written by Alejo Flah and Patxi Amezcua, directed by Patxi Amezcua (his second feature-film). Starring Argentina's now world-popular Ricardo Darin (The Secret In Their Eyes), and Spain's Belen Rueda (The Orphanage).
Ricardo Darin plays a successful lawyer. He's divorced and lives with his two little son and daughter. Ricardo arrives home in the early morning to take his children to the school - his ex-wife (played by) Belen Rueda has also shown up to take custody of children and leave for Spain. Ricardo is also forced by his client to appear before the court-session begins, so that some discussions may take place.
But some bizarre happens that early morning, as soon as Belen leaves, irrespective of warning from her that children must not use stairs, the children challenge their father about who reaches the ground-floor first. When Ricardo comes out of elevator, he does not find the children anywhere in the building. The panic begins!
The film follows the standard of Hitchcockian-mystery, when Alejo surrounds the events inside the building for much of the time, until the near-end. Septimo picks up rhythm of suspense quite convincingly. Some brush-off was possible in-demand for 'dialogues'. But Ricardo and Belen did everything to let audience oversee it.
Amezcua and Flah give a unbeatable ending, perfect climax for such a mystery plotted. Try it if you care not to let your children go missing!