Toy Story 4
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The story is a blend of psuedo-scifi thriller and crime drama based melancholy. At first glance I was eager to check this one out, knowing that John Noble was apart of the cast. Been a fan since season one of Fringe. However, this film practical keeps him in queue, with limited character development and weak writing. It is a shame really because with the right development, Noble could have brought his character to life, and helped vitalize the story. Same with others, several familiar actors both recognizable and talented.
The concept is a great scenario with its blend of human nature and tragedy, showing a very relatable balance between conflict and resolution set upon the backdrop of near supernatural circumstance. Unfortunately there is so much about the plot that is confusing, muddling the dramatic tendencies with questionable science fiction that raises more eyebrows than excitement. Even with the actors' committment to the project "Silencio" fails to ever pull you into the intended thriller elements.
There isn't a lot happening as far as special effects. Most of the sci-fi aspects take place in the opening scenes with quick bursts of CGI. Beyond that the film relies mostly on monochromatic atmosphere both dark and moody. Situational moments and dialog are meant to solidify the breadth of science fiction stuff with slow paced drama and some crime thriller thrown in. Overall "Silencio" never really catches enough energy to be thrilling and the writing and tempo create a sedated experience. Which is sad because the idea and the cast were great enough to elevate the story's potential.
Blood Craft" mixes elements of the occult with deeper aspects of human tragedy, and reconciliation. The story plays with this in a chilling character study of scar tissue and a desire for closure. It starts with a dark, gritty, fetish kick and impulsively you are forced to really face the protagonist in a very"unpolished" state. The intention of both the director and the story becomes clearer later in the film. "Where you are in life is relative to your past".
"Blood Craft" is far from the typical witchcraft movie. There are these familiar tropes of some really bad guys, black magic, and revenge, Bressack's story goes deeper. There is human suffering, victimization, and pain as a catalyst. And in classic fashion and true to his nature, James Cullen Bressack explores those elements in harsh flourescent light, as blunt and uncomfortable as the truth.
The acting is palatable for the most part, the lead seems to draw emotion from a sort of 'shell-shocked' pool of survivor's guilt and doesn't really change gears, but the second lead is a disturbing, uneasy mix of "victim / devil's advocate, very convincing. A plus for "Blood Craft" is the fact that given the weight of the material woven into this supernatural nightmare, all the cast do great at delivering.
The special effects mix both practical and CGI. And to its detriment, works nicely, minus a couple of moments. The horror aspects are visceral and full of delicious occult affectations that offer enough eye candy for the fan of witchy horror. The film is low budget in both style and implementation. The cinematography is great and the music score fits perfectly with the heavy nature and dark overture of the picture. Now it works on a low budget scale so don't go in expecting an updated retelling of "The Craft". Overall I say check it out, it's classic Bressack filmmaking.
"The Glorious Seven" is a revisionist take on the classic film "Samurai Seven", and full disclosure-I only saw it once as a kid. Also there is "The Magnificent Seven", which I saw bits of, but westerns are typically not my thing So setting that aside, my review is simply based on this film's merit-as much as possible.
The story isn't all that original once you get below the surface. This version is more exotic, bringing Spanish flavor to the concept. Deeper elements are recognizable tropes-not just from the obvious influences, but characteristics from material over the years pepper "The Glorious Seven". I mean-lets face it- 'Magnificent', and 'Samurai' have had a major impact on cinema, film and television.
The acting is above board. Occasionally there are moments where dialog feels clunky and lines fall flat, but for the most part the film's story moves smoothly with committed actors. Character development is a little dry, they only shine to a level barely giving dimensional performances. Still it is enough to hold your attention. I was impressed by how much the energy and attitude of the film became reminiscent of the"American Ninja", "Kickboxer" franchises.
Special effects-wise, there isn't all that much to say. Nothing really impressive stands out. There are some fight sequences, gun battles, and action moments that spread out the runtime appropriately. Sometimes they feel sloppy but for most scenes things go as expected, but with mediocre pop. Gunfire is often CGI, but tolerable. The real effect comes from the scenic locations. It really amplifies the overall value of the film. Overall"The Glorious Seven" isn't anything we haven't seen before, but it manages a decent watching experience with plenty happening, and worth checking out.
The story teases a cryptoid style horror but that is only in the dialog at the beginning between the main characters. I thought it was going in. It was not. What unfolds is a nicely concealed, layered horror story that brings hints of "madman" and "mutants". Douglas does a good job of regulating how much of the deeper plot elements get revealed. At some level the complexity of the movie elevates the experience of watching the story unfold.
The cast is fully committed to the characters. Unfortunately they are not developed to the level that makes you connect with them. They are thinly veiled stereotypes, overdrawn. None are likeable. Still, "Between The Trees" has some stuff happening that is interesting, and there is some atmosphere that keeps your attention. It does go left midway when some comic relief appears- and falls flat.
Special effects, minus CGI gunfire, stays practical. It is pretty good work and, even though it is limited, is a pleasure to see onscreen. The creature design and concept is a bit lackluster, kind of like a theme park mutant from a haunted attraction. Still the idea of It all is chillingly delightful. Overall, "Between The Trees" has as much working in its favor as it has going against it. It's worth checking out and despite it's flaws it is mildly enjoyable.
The obviously cheap ploy, with the title, aside, the film plays with very familiar horror tropes decently. The supernatural, reaching the spirit world, and the eternal longing for an understanding of of death. All these, only in a twisted nightmarescape where delving into the darkness can be deadly.
The acting faulters throughout the film, character development is only slightly developed to a level that only supports scene staging and we never really get to connect emotionally. Most of that seems to stem more from a lack of character committment than story. Still there is enough present to tell a complete story, The things lacking cause a lack of energy, suspense and elevated level of horror desperately needed.
"Pet Graveyard" does implore practical elements, which are always a plus and something I really enjoy. There isn't much of a musical score to to amplify the feel and thrill of the movie, overall. It kicks in during the kill shots but often it feels clunky and does little to accentuate the moment. Overall, the film never reaches it's potential, and there is a lot of that present in"Pet Graveyard". Check it out but don't expect too much.