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!
Posted on 6/28/14 10:09 AM
Bethlehem - Israeli propaganda film directed by Yual Adler. Starring Tsahi Halevi as Razi and Shadi Mar'i as Sanfur
Film begins with 'Sanfour' (main protagonist) challenging his friends to stand ground, wearing torn bullet-proof jacket. Sanfour is young Palestinian boy, who lives with aging father and mother - his brother 'Ibrahim' is active member of 'Hamas' and recently caused suicide-bombing in Jerusalem, in which incident more than 28 Illegal-settlers were killed.
Sanfour is recruited by an Israeli agent 'Razi' since he was fifteen years old, forming unbreakable bond between the two - that of 'father and son'. On various occasions, he helps Sanfour. But the primary reason behind this goodwill, is to catch Ibrahim. One day Razi is thrown bomb at when he is told that Sanfour working as 'channel of source of financial funding' between Hamas and Ibrahim.
In an unexpected meeting between Ibrahim and traitors, he is ambushed by Israeli forces and killed on site. This incident enrages Sanfour, who vows to take revenge, even from his mentor. Film is pure Israeli propaganda, to show Palestinians as violent 'nation', and themselves as 'victims'. The film can be matched with period 'western' movies, which stereotyped Native Americans as barbarians and savages, while American cavalry (might) be practicing peace in lonely areas of Old-West.
There is no mention of peaceful tactics shown by Palestinian command to engage in their national mission to get to their demands. The film also deceives the audience about Israeli encroachments across Palestinian territory.
Someone who knows what goes on around 'Hebron' on daily basis, may not buy this version of Israel propaganda. And it is not by non-Israeli, it is shown in 'Israel Vs Israel' by Israeli activists. Bethlehem had already received negative reaction upon its release (no doubt), but one does need to ask these critics - what actually motivates them to award it positive ratings since they hardly get facts on Israel in the United States.
Posted on 6/10/14 07:58 PM
The Freaks - Whereas some call this film 'legend of all horror films' other have called it greatest horror film that contains the elements of suffering of a human-kind at the mercy of God almighty. But in my opinion it is an over-reaction for a movie that has not portrayed itself as a horror film; rather, more like a movie that draws attention of society toward something that is often ignored by them.
Ok. So what's horror in it (if we are to agree with the critics)?
Limbless woman drinking from a glass, is that horror?
Man without torso, and legs moving from one spot to another, is that horror?
A worm-like man without legs and arms lights his cigarette with his mouth, is that horror?
The whole movie contained sarcastic and humorous dialogues, is that how these professional critics are going to judge a film and dub it 'legend of all horror films'.
Which university/college degree do they aspire to be over-confident enough to believe that they have more intelligence than rest of university-graduates (I do not believe that a perfect film-degree is needed in order to optimize your genius approach toward the films)? Quentin Tarantino was owner of film-shop, so?
Otherwise in case of some old critics born in later couple of decade since the release of film, might feel nostalgic about watching this in their youth - but all I ask is that why to mislead the next-generation out of your own curiosity for something that is not wholly 'horror' film?
I loved this movie (but not as a horror film - which it is not actually and I'd like to sit with those who wanna debate it with me). I like this film because it has brought a story about those characters that we disregard having seen them in our circus-tour by buying the ticket and freaking out for few minutes and forget that.
Freaks is about freakish people in the circus (although live-in circus is not shown - we are rather shown the behind-the-curtain life of these characters). Mostly they are friendly toward everybody, chilling out every bit of the time they'd had. Making fun of others, and feeling concerned about other peoples' worries.
They're polite and humble up until you act like the same way toward them. But what happens if you devise a plan to kill one of them and get away with the saved-treasure? Moreover that perpetrator of crime happens to be one of the human-beings working alongside with them? Yes, of course they'd keep their inner-quality aside and adopt what they carry in their external body, to take revenge.
The myth here is that, most of the time human-being act in the way that could've possibly been expected of those freaks.
There is popular so-called proverb in the Sindh province of Pakistan among the youths, it says, "In the today's world of high-class wardrobe worn by all-that, it has become quite IMPOSSIBLE to DISTINGUISH between a GENTLEMAN and a PIMP".
Same (rightfully) goes for the body-perfect humans in 'Freaks' who try to be exceptional from those freaks (they call), and yet in fact they are the ones acting more like it.
Fast-paced film, does not bore you, in fact you enjoy their sarcastic lines, feel pity for what they have to suffer. But please, please I humbly request you not to call this 'horror'! By calling this 'horror film' the critics have become those who do not realize the friendly and amicable environment these freakish characters enjoy in the film--- until some of people try to actually 'MURDER' one of them. If still they press about calling it 'horror' then I believe they did not understand the message of director 'Tod'.
Posted on 6/08/14 03:23 PM
Borgman - Dutch mystery-suspense film, directed and co-starring Alex van Warmerdam (as accomplice of Borgman). This is the first Dutch feature film in 38 years to be at competition at Cannes Film Festival. Starring Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Eva van de Wijdeven, Annet Malherbe, Alex van Warmerdam. Film has been receiving praise and accolades world-over.
Film opens with a caption before blank screen "And they descended upon the earth to strengthen their ranks". A priest and his followers prepare separately, sharpening tools and taking their sniffing-dogs through the forest. They arrive at place in the jungle---under their feet a beard man 'Borgman' (Jan Bijvoet) is hiding, who already found out about their presence and now begins to move out through hidden tunnel. He goes about few distances and wakes up other two of his mates.
Borgman looks like a wizard, who wears an untidy jacket. He goes straight ringing bells of people in the neighborhood, asking them to allow him to take a shower. He arrives at the house of a well-to-do family of Marine (Hadewych Minis) and Richard (jeroen perceval). Borgman lies to Richard that he knows her wife as nurse who previously took care of him for three months - this rages Richard who scuffles with his wife and also beats the hell out of Borgman.
Soon, Richard leaves for the office, and Marine realizes that her servant-house light is on-upon checking she finds Borgman bruised and taking shelter. She offers him bread and meals, plus a shower and asks him to leave before her husband arrives.
Richard and Marine live together, they've got three grown up children, two daughters and a son. There's also a young nanny at the house who speaks English. Richard gets cross very easily, and it seems the two had been at odds previously - where they'd made some pacts to not to hide anything from each other.
After Marine becomes sick of playing hide-and-seek but she also cannot think of letting him go. She agrees to fire a gardener so that he (Borgman) could take gardener's place. Borgman calls on his both male colleagues and two women (who're supposedly mother and daughter) to conspire to kill the gardener and his wife, by poisoning them. They bury their faces into bucket full of raw-cement and let it until they thaw. Later, they dump their bodies in the river. The now heavy-heads with bucket, calmly sit their body at the bottom of small river, like mushrooms.
Borgman appears clean-shaven following the ad for new gardener (but not before killing anyone else who shows up at the house). It turns out that Borgman and his colleagues have been playing jinx at home, turning their children into walking dead-bodies. Their ultimate mission reaches its success when they grow rift between Richard and Marine-instilling nightmares inside Marine's that her husband is inclined to kill her. And before she believes he does so; she gives it green-signal to Borgman to finish him off.
I did not read about this movie I just saw the poster some time back and only then did I realize that film has been earning praise for its murky plot. The film keeps momentum within by gripping its plot tight; but in the process it was not doing anything that would give the audience something that they wish to with them and discuss with their friends, the entertainment they had had. Literally speaking I found it less enjoyable, but even then I would not shy away from saying that in a desperate urge to see its nearing ending I kept visualizing certain scenes to take place - and in doing so, to rid us of sickening games that Borgman and team had been playing around the house and beyond.
If we were to take out the ending factor, thereafter it becomes 'predictable'. And if we their fragile 'trust' in each other - and which is to be blamed for the consequences that they suffered-therefore this movie stands accurate, to the way the events have unfolded. But it's also to be noticed that:- has one got to be that naïve and stupid to let the things unfold as they do in the film? The answers are best within yourself once you watch this film.
The problem with the film is that it fails to highlight the mission of the hunting-team from the beginning. For some time I kept wondering whether, that team was going to show up, or their help, was to be called in. Anyways if you loved watching films like 'Dogtooth' and 'Funny Games' - then, this is certainly your chance another bizarre film.
I give this film 80% for its maintenance of plot without touching the core-subject of sexuality, and for stay away from any other exploitation.