A trippy film about the making of a trippy film. Director Frank Pavich proves he was the perfect man for the job of telling the story of enigmatic director Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed attempt to adapt Frank Herbert's classic Dune. As we hear about Jodorowksy's plan to adapt the novel into a film experience that would mirror the effects of LSD on the brain, director Frank Pavich employs every tool in his arsenal to give the audience the feeling Jodorowsky intended for the audience to feel when they saw his interpretation of Dune.
For the first two acts of the film you are drawn into the personality of Jodorowsky and his determination and skill at assembling a team that could bring his vision to life. Towards the end of the film, it transforms into a tragedy about the death of a dream. You feel the sting of disappointment as Jodorowsky's dream dies, and his vision never comes to life.
It's an entertaining film for any fans of Hollywood stories. It's probably not interesting to anyone else, but if you love stories about how movies are made, this one is very unique in its approach.
It's not as strong as I would have expected from director Scott Derrickson who brought us the fantastic and haunting Sinister two years ago, but there are enough scares and creepy moments for hard core horror fans to get some enjoyment. The worst part of this film is its script, which feels really thin and doesn't give enough detail to the characters for the performers to do anything with. Because of this all of the performers seem like cartoon characters rather than the real people that they are intended to depict.
Bana's most defining characteristic is his horrible accent, Joel McHale seems like he's doing a parody of the "tough guy, adrenaline junkie" partner, and Olivia Munn is given absolutely nothing to do with. It's sad because all of these actors could have done more if they were given more from the screenplay and better direction. The only actors who are really effective are Edgar Ramirez as the unconventional Jesuit priest and the terrifying villain.
Of course, the only thing terrifying about the villain is how Derrickson portrays this character. With the make-up used, and the way Derrickson portrays him on screen, he is pretty terrifying at times. Derrickson's eye and understanding of the horror genre is what really saves this film from being as terrible as the script would have it be. Even though the film could have been cut a lot, Derrickson is able to squeeze a feeling of dread out of scenes where they don't deserve it. The way he shoots New York City leaves it feeling familiar and realistic, while still holding an air of being other-worldly and supernatural.
It's definitely not a great horror film, and it won't haunt you once you leave the theater. However, if you're a big fan of the genre, there are some things that might make you jump while you watch it.
Most of the film feels like a rehash of other great "teens/children go on an adventure film", but it has its moments. Children will really enjoy this film due to its strong sense of adventure, and its brilliant visuals. Unfortunately parents will recognize everything director Dave Green's film is ripping off (not paying homage to), and the lack of ability on behalf of the actors will really grate most mature viewers. This is a family movie, and its not going to be much more than that.
Deliberately paced, but rewarding in the end, Oslo August 31st is a film about breaking patterns and starting over. Director Joachim Trier allows the audience to look in on the day in the life of Anders, a man battling drug addiction. The entire film is a journey filled with the hope that Anders will beat his addiction. With great performers and a strong script, Trier earns every moment in the film, refusing to fall into plot contrivances along the way. It won't work for everyone, because of its slow pace, but if you're willing to stick with it, Oslo August 31st will reward you.