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I just don't get the hatred???
I just rewatched Episode 7 and maintain my opinion that I really like it. I looked through the IMDb reviews of this film and cannot believe the hatred for this film. It seems that some people just hate for hatred sake. The biggest complaint that I see is that it is a rehash of Episode 4. I have to agree that it is very similar to it but after the absolute hatred that was unfairly bestowed on the prequel trilogy I knew that this would be a big budget fan film. Which it is. I am not bothered by that. George Lucas was criticized to the point of ridiculousness about how Episode 1 thru 3 weren't like the previous trilogy that there was no other way to.go. Does episode 7 break new ground? No. Does it harken back tl.the reason i.love Star Wars? Yes. That was enough for me.
Really? I should have stayed away!!!
I really love the original Suspiria. It is my favorite Argento film. Its visual style and music are great. It really introduced me to Italian horror. When I heard of this remake I was reluctant as I always am about remakes. The truth is that it is a complete reimagining, not really a remake. But it is way too long, pretentious and slow for me to recommend it. I admire that something different was tried with this film, but on the other hand why call it Suspiria?
I will not go into any plot details but needless to say it is a mess of a movie. It is supposed to be a horror film but has no real suspense. In fact it is so over the top that it is actually funny.
The last 30 minutes are especially unintentionally funny.
Stay away. Go see the original masterpiece.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Spectacular, with a few negatives.
After Infinity War came out it was going to be a tough task for Endgame to top it. In many ways of course Endgame is more satisfying because it brings this iteration of the MCU to a rousing, emotional conclusion.
As much as I came out of the theater with a great big smile on my face and even some tears were shed. I can't help think that there could have been some things that could have been changed that would make the film better. The running time is certainly daunting. The first hour is very somber as it had to be bit it does take the film alot of time to get its footing. The 2 things that really bothered me were the handling of Hulk and Thor. I have never been a fan of Mark Ruffalo as David Banner/Hulk. Here he is turned into a hybrid of both characters, it didn't work for me. But even worse they turned Thor into a joke character. I really didn't like this. I get that Ragnarok reset the character on a more comedic path but they went overboard here. The performances are really good, especially Robert Downey Jr. He has been the center of the MCU and has carried it well. Chris Evan's is very good as Captain America. Everyone gets their moments. The film is less frenetic and more introspective than Infinity War. But the last hour is pure magic. They went all out and succeeded at least in the conclusion.
The great thing is that the MCU for all of the bombast and high budget effects that the films feature they have very good character development and arcs. We care about what happens to them. It us no easy feat with such a wide variety of characters that they could pull it off so well.
But they did.
Man on Fire (2004)
A very effective revenge story!!!
Man On Fire is a film that i.have seen now many times. The truth is that the story is really just a run of the mill revenge story. What makes this film so good is the acting and the execution if the story. Denzel Washington has always elevated any film that he's in just by his presence. His performance in this film is one of his best. He takes the material to a much higher level.
The basic story is that John Creasy, the character played by Denzel Washington is hired by a young wealthy couple in Mexico to protect their daughter Pita, played by Dakota Fanning. Creasy is an ex-Special Forces operative that is an alcoholic and hates his life. He us full of guilt at all of the things that he has done. He goes to Mexico to see an old friend named Rayburn played by Christopher Walken. Rayburn offers him the job to protect the daughter of Samuel Ramos played by Marc Anthony. He and his wife Lisa played by Radha Mitchell need to hire a bodyguard to fulfill the requirements of their kidnap and ransom insurance since they live in Mexico City where there are a lot of kidnappings. Once Creasy arrives, Pita wants to befriend him. He resists and tells her that he is not being paid to be her friend. One night, Creasy tries to kill himself with a gun but the cartridge fails to fire. Pita persists in getting Creasy to open up and gradually he does. He helps her with her swimming competition, and they talk while she does homework. Slowly, Creasy begins to care very much for Pita. He even tries to stop drinking. One day while waiting for Pita to finish her piano lesson he notices so.e cars pull up to where she is waiting for Creasy, they are there to kidnap the girl. A shootout ensues and after Creasy is able to kill a couple of the kidnappers he is shot and Pita is taken. Initially, in the hospital Creasy is a suspect in the kidnapping and is going to charge with the killing of two police officers that were part of the kidnapping. Fearing that Creasy would be killed by the police, an agent of the AFI named Manzano and Rayburn take Creasy out of the hospital to protect him. Meanwhile,the kidnapper called The Voice contacts Samuel Ramos about negotiating ransom for Pita. Samuel is assisted by his lawyer played by Mickey Rourke. After tget agree to a place for the money drop their is an ambush and the money is stolen. After the ambush apparently Pita is killed. When Rayburn tells Creasy about Pita being dead, Creasy decides to find and kill all of those involved in the kidnapping and death of the girl. Rayburn helps him obtain some weapons and Creasy begins to investigate. The film at that point becomes what really could have been just a standard revenge film. Creasy goes and finds the perpetrators and kills them one by one, finding out more about the scheme to kidnap Pira along the way. The difference here is that before the revenge aspect of the film starts the film takes its time in exploring Creasy, Denzel Washington is great at showing the pain that Creasy is in and his lack of will to go on. Dakota Fanning is terrific as Pita. She comes across as a good but precocious girl that seems lonely. The chemistry between Washington and Fanning is really good. The scenes between them come of as very real. They don't come off as cute, but have a real tenderness that works. We get to like and feel for Creasy and Pita, so when she is gone and Creasy goes out for revenge there is an emotional core there that makes what's going on more compelling. The film is directed by Tony Scott with a lot of visual flair which is usual for him but he plays good attention to the characters in the story. Needless to say Creasy gets the bad guys and the film ends in a more or less predictable manner but is done with such conviction that it works.
Weird Science (1985)
A fun romp from the 80s!
I was a teenager during the 80s. John Hughes teen comedies are some of the best memories I have from that decade. Compared to some of his other films, WEIRD SCIENCE is probably the least regarded. It is very funny, and some would say crude but it as a film of that time it is good.
Very simple story. A pair of geeks decide to create a girl on a computer and get more than they bargained for. The unpopular geeks only wish to find girls to like them and be popular. Gary is played by Anthony Michael-Hall, Wyatt us played by Ilan Mitchell Smith. They are very funny together but the film belongs more to Anthony Michael Hall. He has the best lines and reactions in the film. The girl they create named Lisa is played by Kelly LeBrock in a very funny but sexy performance. I remember having a huge crush on her from this film and THE WOMAN IN RED. She is gorgeous. The story could have been about the boys learning all they need to know about sex and there is some of that but it is mostly about Lisa helping them become more confident. The humor is pretty tame from today's standards but it still works, and there is a sweetness that is enjoyable. Wyatt has an abusive brother named Chet that is played hilariously by Bill Paxton. He steals every scene he's in.
All in all it us a funny coming of age story that seems to be a time capsule of a great decade.
By far the best Transformers film since the first one!!!
Before seeing Bumblebee, I hadn't really liked most Transformers films since te first one came out in 2007. The sequels ranged from just ok to downright horrible. They were cool to look at but lacked any semblance of true excitement and fun. They were more exhausting than exciting. The films were joyless, no heart, no one to care about. I am so glad that Michael Bay stepped down as director and let someone else get a crack at resurrecting the franchise. The director of Bumblebee is Travis Knight. He has only directed the animated film Kubi before this film but judging from the success of Bumblebee, I'm sure he will get more opportunities.
The film takes place in 1987. It starts on Cybertron, where Optimus Prime and the Autobots are at war with the Decepticons. Opti.us realizing that they are losing the war, send B-127 to earth to set up a new base for the Autobots to regroup in. He arrives on earth and lands close to a military team called Sector 7 which are in the forest training. They immediately go after B-127 but before they can get to him he is attacked by a Decepticon, that tears out his voicebox. Before collapsing, B-127 scans and transforms into a classic VW Beetle. Charlie is a teenager who goes to a scrapyard to get parts for a car she is repairing, but finds the Beetle. She begs her friend that owns the yard to give her the car. He agrees if she could get it to run. In fixing the car, Charlie accidentally activates a homing signal that is transmitted into space and intercepted by Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick. They do to earth to find B-127. They encounter Sector 7 and convince them into thinking that they are peaceful and ask them to help in catching B-127. Meanwhile B-127 reveals himself to Charlie. She befriends him and tries to teach him to communicate with the car radio since he could speak. She names B-127 Bumblebee. A young man named Memo discovers Charlie with Bumblebee but promises not to tell anyone about it. He has a crush on her. Charlie leaves Bumblebee alone in the garage when she goes to work but he is able to get in the house and proceeds to destroy her living room. Charlie's mother angrily blames her for the destruction and she leaves the house with Memo and Bumblebee. They are then attacked by Sector 7 alin with Shatter and Dropkick, Bumblebee is captured. Charlie and Memo go home but they plan to rescue Bumblebee. After finally telling her mother about the pain she is after losing her father, Charlie goes to rescue Bumblebee. On the way her mother and stepfather help her get away from Sector 7 and they find Bumblebee. Shatter and Dropkick nearly kill Bumblebee and reveal that the Decepticons will come t earth to destroy the planet. Charlie is able to revive Bumblebee. Shatter and Dropkick go to a communications tower to signal to Decepticons but Charlie and Bumblebee go to stop them. Charlie is able to deactivate the homing beacon as Bumblebee kills Dropkick. Then Shatter pursues Charlie and Bumblebee causes a flood to kills Shatter. Charlie realizes that Bumblebee has a great importance and tearfully says goodbye. Bumblebee then scans a 1977 Camaro and drives off and meets up with Optimus Prime.
This film has as much action as any Transformers film that preceded it, but it also has an engaging relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee. It us really endearing to watch there friendship develop and even when the action gets going you have someone to root for. This film was very satisfying on an action level and story level. The great thing was seeing the old style Transformers in action. In fact the effects though very good are not at all as flashy and intricate as the Michael Bay films, the focus here is more on the characters. That is a change for this franchise, I hope that continues.
Please let James Wan reboot Superman!!!!
Aquaman has never been one of my favorite superheroes but I was looking forward to this film because I like James Wan as a director. DC has mostly failed miserably over the years trying to create a universe to compete with Marvel. They do have what I think is the best superhero trilogy in the Dark Knight films but since then they gave the keys to Zack Snyder to start their universe with Man of Steel. Even though I kind of liked it, I never really agreed with his take on Superman. My fears were confirmed when Batman vs Superman came out. That film was embarrassingly bad. Snyder had taken two of the greatest comic book heroes and stripped just about everything we love about them. The only good thing I can say about that film is that it is only slightly better than Batman and Robin directed by Joel Schumacher. But that film was just horrible in every way. Justice League was ok, but not near as good as the Avengers series. Then finally DC got it right with Wonder Woman. That film was great. It presented an origin story but it also made the main character something that Mr. Snyder didn't do. Wonder Woman was a HEROIN!!! She wasn't the brooding bores that Batman and Superman were in his films. The film was fun and rousing, as I think these type of films should be.
Well DC has finally got has gotten it right again with Aquaman!!! I hadn't really thought much about Jason Momoa as Aquaman in Justice League, but here he makes the character his own. The setup is relatively quick with Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, an princess that had escaped Atlantis to avoid marrying a man she didn't love. Temuera Morrison plays Thonas Curry, a lighthouse keeper that notices Atlanna on the shore and rescues her. They fall in love and have a baby named Arthur. Shortly after he is born, they are attacked by Atlantian soldiers and she goes back to Atlantis to protect Arthur and Thomas. Then the film moves forward to Aquaman rescuing a submarine from pirates in a great action scene. In that scene Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is introduced as David Kane, a villain that would later become Black Manta. Then the film goes to Atlantis where we see that Orm, played by Patrick Wilson. He is Arthur's half brother and wants to wage war with the surface world. Arthur is almost killed with his father in an attack with a tidal wave but is saved by Mera, played by Amber Heard. She is an Atlantean that has been chosen to marry Orm but tries to convince Arthur to come to Atlantis to claim his birthright as King. He refuses, he had been rejected by Atlantis as a half breed. Mera convinces Arthur to go with her to help prevent Orm's attack on the surface. Once in Atlantis, they meet Vulko played by Willem Dafoe. Vulco had trained Arther in his youth to fight at the request of Arthur's mother. He tells Arthur and Mera that they should find the Trident of Atlan, a weapon that had been wielded by the first king of Atlantis. If Arthur would get this magic artifact, he would he accepted as King of Atlantis. Suddenly they are ambushed and Arthur is captured, but Vulko and Mera escape. Once captured, Orm confronts Arthur and tells him thT their mother had been executed for the crime of having a half breed son. Arthur challenges Orn to a duel in front of all of Atlantis do determine the rightful king. Orn defeats Arthur, but Mera rescues him. They both travel to find the Trident of Atlan. They go to the Sahara Desert to find where the weapon was forged. There, they unlock a holographic message that leads them to Sicily. They find the coordinates to the location of the trident. Orm had given David Kane weapons to kill Arthur, he used that technology to built the Black Manta suit. When Arthur and Mera are in Sicily, Black Manta attacks them, almost killing Arthur before being thrown from a cliff to his apparent death. Mera helps Arthur heal and tells him to embrace his destiny as a hero as they go find the trident. They arrive to their destination but are attacked by some monsters called The Trench but are able to escape. They find a wormhole and are transported to a ocean at the center of the earth. There, they are unexpectedly reunited with Atlanna. She had been sacrificed to The Trench but was able to survive. Arthur goes to retrieve the trident, facing Karathen, the creature that guards the trident. Arthur is able to prove his worth and reclaims the trident. Arthur emerges with the traditional Aquaman suit. Along with Atlanna and Mera, he goes to confront Orm. Orm had already started the war that would eventually go to the surface. Once Orm's followers see that Arthur has the Trident if Atlan they embrace him as King. Arthur then confronts Orm and demands that he renounce the thrown. After they fight, Orm is deafeated. Orm then discovers Atlanna is alive and accepts his fate. Atlanna finally returns to the surface and reunites with Thomas as Arthur ascends to the throne in Atlantis.
Aquaman succeeds at being an epic superhero story. James Wan and company have created a very entertaining and I evolving film. And as in the case of Wonder Woman made Aquaman what he should be, a hero to root for. Jason Mamoa plays Arthur with a lot of humor but also with heroic conviction. All of the cast is good, especially Amber Heard as Mera. She and Mamoa have good chemistry. The look of the film is predictably spectacular. The world of Atlantis is really great to look at. Even though it is obvious that the characters are not underwater the effects make it as believable as it could be. But the characters and story make the film enjoyable. I'm glad that DC has finally found the way to do justice to their heroic characters. I hope with the success of this film, Jane's Wan is given the chance to reboot Superman the right way. I really enjoyed Aquaman!
Koroshiya 1 (2001)
A live action Japanese manga!!!!
I have been on an Asian Film kick lately. Watching all kinds of films but especially horror and revenge films. I had never heard of ICHI THE KILLER. I read only parts of reviews because I didn't want to know much going in. What these reviews mostly say is that it is brutally violent. It is is brutal but the violence is comic book over the top, not realistic. From the first 10 minutes the film is obviously a violent black comedy.
The film is about a yakuza enforcer Kakihara who is tasked with finding a mob boss that has been murdered. Meanwhile, a demented young man named Ichi is seen witnessing a brutal rape of a prostitute. He gets sexually aroused at the view of the rape. He is really a sadistic killer. Kakihara is determined to find his boss's killer He is also very sadistic, at one point torturing a man by hanging him by hooks and pouring scalding oil on his back. There is Jijii, a cleanup guy for the yakyza that convinced Ichi that he was bullied as a kid and needed to avenge this by killing the bullies in the world. Ichi killed his victims in an over the top manner that is so over the top violent that it reminded me of outrageous violence in Evil Dead. The film is very.much a black comedy, the interactions between characters are very funny at times. The reviews that I have seen have said that the film is difficult to watch. I tend to think that the more over the top violence is in a film the less horrifying it is. I will say that the disturbing parts of the film are the scenes of rape and torture of women. Those scenes were the only ones I found to be hard to watch. I found out after I saw the film that it is based on a Japanese manga of the same name. That explains the over the top stylized violence. I am not a huge manga fan but have seen enough to notice what this film was going for.
I thought I was going into seeing a violent crime drama. What turned out to be was a very well made but totally outrageous adult live action cartoon. On that level it works.
Man did that suck!!!!
I have been catching up with Korean films since I viewed I SAW THE DEVIL a couple of months ago. That film blew me away. It was a very violent revenge story. The film was uncomfortable to watch but the story was compelling and emotional, not just violent. I had read a lot of great things about OLDBOY. I didn't know much about the plot, but assumed that it would be good from all the great things I read about it.
After seeing this film I really don't get why it got such accolades. The basic outline of the story is that a man is put in an isolated room for 15 years in a cell that looks like a hotel room. He escapes the cell and begins a frantic search for truth and revenge. All of this sounds promising doesn't it? We it starts out very well. But as the film goes along it gets so convoluted and strange that it just lost me. The film stars Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su, the man that is imprisoned. When he gets out he is given a cell phone in which he gets a call from his captor. His captor refuses to tell him why he was imprisoned. What follows is a web of violent revenge and deception. His captor wants to make Oh Dae-su suffer. Again, the basic story could have been very involving but this film is done in such a slow meandering and overall weird way that I just didn't care for it. I won't give away much, but this film is so pretentious and self serious for it's own good. The violence in the film is very brutal, but without the emotional connection it just seems gratuitous. I've read reviews of this film hailing it as a masterpiece, I just dont get it? It is well filmed but so outrageous that it lost me. Not for the faint of heart. I won't see this again.
Hounds of Love (2016)
Strong, disturbing Aussie thriller.
I have been seeking out Australian films especially thrillers since I saw THE LOVED ONES. That film blew me away with its performances and suspense. HOUNDS OF LOVE is every bit as good as that film. In fact, it is in many ways more disturbing because there is more character development.
The film is about a deranged couple named John and Evelyn that kidnaps young girls and takes them home to eventually kill them. One night they see a girl named Vicki that snuck out of her home to go to a party walking on the street and stop to offer her a ride. At first, Vicki refuses, but they convince her to come to their home for some drugs. They go to the house and have a drink Vicki starts feeling woozy. She tries to leave but is forcibly prevented to leave. The couple takes her into a room and chain her on a bed and gag her. The film at this point becomes a disturbing but riveting character study. The couple mentally and physically torture Vicki. But what is shown is that Evelyn is a very unstable woman that is totally controlled by John. Vicki begins to try to drive a wedge between the couple, telling Evelyn that John doesn't love her. Evelyn begins to have doubts. But eventually she becomes more willing to see Vicki die. Vicki's mother is desperately looking for her daughter. The tension is built up very well to a somewhat predictable conclusion. But the film is so well acted that you become invested in what's going on. Really good film.
Haute tension (2003)
Well at least the first 80 minutes were good!!!
I had heard for year great things about this film. It was getting great reviews everywhere, I hadn't gotten around to seeing it until a few days ago. All I can say is that for approximately the first 80 minutes of this 89 minute film, it had me. And then in just a couple of minutes later it pulled one the most ridiculous twists I have ever seen
So bad that instead of giving it a rating of 8 i am giving it a 5!
The film is about two women friends named Marie and Alex that are traveling to Alex's parents house for the weekend to study. Before they arrive there is a scene of a driver in a truck holding a women's head in his crotch and then he throws the severed head out of the window. The two friends arrive at Alex's parents home and after having a short tour of the house both Marie and Alex go to sleep. Marie goes into her room and puts on headphones and begins to touch herself. Suddenly, there is a doorbell ring, Alex's father goes to answer the door. He is immediately slashed by a straight razor in the face by a killer. The killer proceeds to decapitate Alex's father, the mother finds him dead and killer approaches her. Marie heard the screams and hides under her bed. The killer searches the room but doesn't find her. Marie than runs to Alex's room and finds her chained up and gagged. Marie tells Alex that she is going to call for help. She goes into the parents bedroom and tries to use the phone to call the police. She hears the killer coming and hides in the closet. Through the closet door she witnesses the brutal killing of Alex's mother. After the killer leaves the room, Marie goes back to Alex and sees the killer go after her brother, killing him. Then Marie sneaks into the kitchen and grabs a knife. The killer takes Alex and throws her into his truck. Marie is able to sneak into the back of the truck with Alex without the killer seeing her. He drives off and goes to a gas station to fill up and Marie gets out of the truck to go find help in the gas station store. The killer goes into the store and Marie hides, then she witnesses the store clerk being killed. After the killer drives off Marie grabs the store clerk's car keys and goes after the truck. She tails the truck into a deserted road and suddenly it goes out of her sight. The truck is now behind the car and runs her off the road and the car flips, but Marie is able to get out even though she us injured. The killer sees her in the woods and chases her until she finds and enters a greenhouse. She grabs a fence post wrapped in barbed wire and he finally finds her. She bludgeons him with the post and apparently kills him. He suddenly wakes up and starts choking her. She grabs a plastic sheet and is able to suffocate him. She goes back to the truck to find Alex. Then the film cuts to the police arriving at the gas station. As the police view the store's video surveillance tape we see that Mary actually killed the clerk! Then we see Alex cutting Marie's face and stabbing her in the stomach. Alex escapes into the forest to get away, but marie chases her with a concrete saw. Alex is able to flag down a car and as she gets in the car Marie appears with the saw and brutally murders the driver. Marie begins to break the car windows to get to Alex but Alex is able to crawl out of the carr with s crowbar. Alex has a piece of glass that severs her Achilles tendon. Marie grabs her and forces Alex to tell her she loves her. Alex then stabs Marie with the crowbar. Then we see Marie in a psychiatric hospital with Alex looking at her from a one way mirror. She grins and reaches out for Alex. Credits.
All I could say after what I just saw is WTF? The film had been really good for about 80 minutes and then they pull this ridiculous twist? Really? The twist that Marie is the deranged killer would be fine if the film would have set up a narrative that you could go back to and realize that all along. They way that this comes out of the blue after seeing the killer before Marie and Alex get to the house in the beginning isn't explained in any way. I have no problem with a film ending on a twist but there should be some logic that makes the viewer go back and see slight clues that would explain what happened. This just felt like a cheap way to end the film in a shocking way. It didn't work at all for me. The film had been really tense and gripping up until that point. That twist ruined the film for me. It is very well made, the violence in the film is very graphic and brutal. It is very bloody. It works on that level but the ending makes what happened before fall apart. There is another thing that I found really annoying that I didn't realize was on purpose. The film starts with the dialogue being badly dubbed in English. Then it goes to French with subtitles and back again. Why? I don't think that I have ever gone from liking a film and then ending up not liking it so drastically.
A great gorefest!!!
CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD is the first in Lucio Fulci's gates of hell trilogy. I had read great this about these film so I started with this one. It is the Fulci film that I have seen and was really impressed. I had started my Italian horror film binge with Dario Argento films and really liked them. Fulci, like Argento is great at creating a sense of dread onscreen, but the difference is that Fulci goes for more explicit gore than Argento.
CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD begins with a character named Mary at a seance. She suddenly has a horrible vision of a priest hanging himself and collapses and apparently dies. The next day she is buried in a cemetery but suddenly wakes up and screams for help and begins to claw out of the casket that was already in the ground. A journalist named Peter was nearby in the cemetery and hears her screams and helps to get her out. They go visit Theresa, the medium that performed the seance. Theresa warne that the death of the priest had opened the gates of hell and that the living dead would rise on All Saints Day, just a couple of days away. This starts a series of events that begin to happen around them. The dead do eventually rise and begin to reak havoc. Peter and Mary try to find a way to close the gates of hell. The film has some really gory scenes but also creates a sense of dread that is effective. There really isn't much plot other than trying to close the gates but it is very involving. The film is kind of slow but never boring. A great horror film!
What a disappointment!!!
I am getting into classic Italian horror films. With Lucio Fulci I went straight to the "Gates of Hell" trilogy. I really liked the first two films but this one doesn't even come close to the level of this films. The only thing I found to be good was the gore effects. They are very good. The rest of the film is just horrible. The acting is so laughably bad I was totally waiting for the film to end. There is a boy named Bob that is probably the worst child performance I have ever seen. Knowing that the first two films were very flimsy story wise I wasn't expecting much difference here. The story is completely incoherent. I know that the attraction of these horror films is more the visual style and gore effects but this film bored me to tears. The first two films in the trilogy are both have great visuals and music, they are both a fun watch. This one was a really bad one!
A stunning expression of violent insanity.
I had seen so many great reviews of this film all year that I had really high expectations for it. The reviews were calling it brilliant, violent and unforgettable. After seeing it I can say that my expectations were mostly met. The film is mostly a marvel to look at. Director Panos Cosmatos has a very beautiful and haunting visual style that makes this film into a full on nightmare world.
Even though it has a pretty thin storyline it manages to grab the viewer right away. The setup is simple, but the execution is not. It is a revenge story unlike any I've seen before. Nicolas Cage stars as Red a logger that lives in a secluded house in the woods with his girlfriend Mandy played by Andrea Riseborough. They lead a quiet life. There are signs that both of them have led troubled lives but they deeply love each other. One day when she is walking to work at a nearby gas station she passes by a van carrying a a deviant hippie cult led by Jeremiah. He sees Mandy and is struck by her beauty. He later orders on of his disciples to kidnap her. He enlists a demonic biker gang to help in taking Mandy. They enter the couple's house and abduct them. Once captured two cult female members drug Mandy before they take her to Jeremiah. Once they present her to him, Jeremiah starts to speak to speak to her in front of his followers, trying to seduce her by telling her that God had told him to take from the world anything he wanted. Also he puts on a record of music performed by him. he was a failed musician. She the starts laughing, ridiculing Jeremiah. This enrages him so much that he goes outside where Red is tied up and gagged and stabs him. He also has Mandy burned alive in front of him. Jeremiah and his followers leave Red tied up and drive off. Red is able to get loose. After seeing that there is nothing left of Mandy but ashes he goes home. After falling asleep he wakes up from a frightening dream he goes to the bathroom and takes out a bottle of vodka and drinks it while crying out in grief and rage. He goes to see a friend that has his crossbow. His friend knows that Red is going out for revenge and tells Red that he will most likely die. Red then forges a battle ax and goes out to find all of those involved in killing Mandy. What happens next is predictable, after all this is a revenge story. Red finds his prey one by one and kills them in increasingly violent fashion.
What is different here is the way the story is presented. Cosmatos creates a world that is horrifying but beautiful. The film is like a nightmare hallucination. The story may be familiar but the stunning visuals are definitely unique. Nicolas Cage is perfect as Red. The actor has played very disturbing characters in the past, but this time he goes for broke in showing Red's grief and violent insanity. The other cast members are also very good, especially Linus Roache as Jeremiah. He is appropriately evil and egotistical in the role. Many have complained that the film is all about the style, with no substance. Though I have to agree that it isn't focused on character development and plot the world that is presented is so unique and insane that you can't take your eyes off of it. I'm sure that MANDY will be considered a cult classic very soon!
Typical supposed art garbage!!!
This Greek film got a lot of praise on the festival circuit in 2009. Like most European art films critics loved it. I was curious to see the film. The premise sounded interesting. The very thin story is about a couple of parents that have raised their three kids without having them leave their home. The kids are now teenagers. The father tells them that they can only leave the house until their dogtooth falls out. Two girls and one boy. The parents are so determined to shield them from the outside world that they even change the meaning of certain words. The father is the only one who can leave the house. He goes to work at his factory. He does bring a young woman that works for him to their house in order to have sex with his son. He doesn't want to get know where they live so he blindfolds her when he drives to his home. She has sex with the son a couple of times but the next time she asks him to give her oral sex. He refuses. So the woman approaches one of the girls and offers a gift if she does what her brother didn't do. The fork agrees. The curious girl then goes to her sister and makes the same offer. The next the woman comes to ask the girl to satisfy her, the girl demands that she give her a couple of VHS tapes that she brought. She finally agrees. Tge girl sneaks to the VCR one night and watches the videos. In turns out that they are Hollywood films. The girl is so taken by what she sees that begins to act out and repeat the lines from the films. She quotes ROCKY and JAWS. The father finds out about this and takes the videos and hits her repeatedly with one of them. He goes to his employee and attacks her for corrupting his kids. Being that the woman won't be back, the parents have the son choose one of his sisters to have sex with. The father has such control over his kids that he has them act like dogs. The parents have an anniversary so the their two daughters dance for them. When one the girls gets tired the other one continues. She proceeds to perform the moves from FLASHDANCE until she gets tired. Later, in desperation to leave the house she goes into the bathroom and hits herself hard in the mouth with an exercise weight to knock her dogtooth out. She goes to her father's car and hides in the trunk so she could leave when her father goes to work the next day. The father finds blood and tooth pieces in the sink in the bathroom. The whole family looks for her frantically but they don't find their sister. The next day the father goes to work and still doesn't notice that his daughter is in the drunk. Credits.
Let me say that this a film that dares you to keep watching. Their are moments of explicit sex and violence that are off putting so if you are easily offended stay away . The film is really a black comedy that really isn't that funny. The premise is interesting but the film is just offputting. It isn't the most violent or sexually explicit film I have ever seen but the it is the typical art film that goes to great extents to make its point. The film I believe comments on the lies that parents and even society tells children to control them. That is a worthy topic but just because a film goes to the worst parts of human nature and isn't a fairy tale like a lot of films that come from Hollywood doesn't necessarily make it good. This film is the typical art piece that gets accolades from snobby critics and filmgoers. I beg to differ. This film takes an intriguing premise and wastes it.
Who's That Girl (1987)
I can't help it. I like this film!
I had seen this film when it came out in 1987. I had liked it because it was light and funny. I hadn't seen it in a long time but my daughter wanted to see so I popped the DVD in and nothing has changed. I am fully aware that this film bombed and was ravaged by critics, but I can't deny that I like it! It is the only film that Madonna has acted in that I like.
It us a screwball comedy that's for sure. Madonna plays Nikki Finn, a convict that is getting out of prison on parole after 4 years that she was found guilty if killing her boyfriend. A wealthy man that has an interest in making sure she get on a bus to her hometown of Philadelphia after she gets out of prison. He asks his soon to be son in law to drive her to the bus station to make sure she gets on the bus. The son in law named Louden is a lawyer at his form and is played by Griffin Dunne. He also needs to.pick up a cougar that belongs to one of his clients. Once he gets to the prison to pick Nikki up she drives him crazy. She makes him let her drive his mother in law's Roles Royce and then ditches him in the hospital after he has an anxiety attack from her crazy driving. He later gets out and catches up to her in a bad neighborhood buying a gun. All he wants is to take her to the bus but she pleads with him help her clear her name by telling him she did not kill her boyfriend. She has key to a safe deposit box but needs to find a pump named Raul to get the bank name and box number. All of this is played as ridiculous screwball comedy. Though I have never thought that Madonna was a good actress she goes all out to play Nikki and it fits her persona. She does use a sort of annoying voice playing her but after a while it's actually endearing. The chemistry between Madonna and Dunne is also good. He of course plays the straight arrow nerdy guy that at first can't stand Nikki. They go around New York City to find the evidence to clear Nikki and she creates mess after mess for him. It's really funny how the two play off of each other. Well of course they end up falling in love.
It may not be a very good but I have seen much worse romantic comedies than this one. Also the soundtrack has some very good songs from Madonna, especially the title track. So I may.be in the minority, but I really enjoy this film.
[REC] 4: Apocalipsis (2014)
Not great, but a competent way to end the series.
After seeing REC 3, I was very discouraged at the way the filmmakers had taken the series. With this film, they go back to the story and tone of the first two films. The biggest difference this time is the setting. The location this time is a ship at sea. Another change is that again the filmmakers decided to abandon the POV shooting style that they used in the first two films. The POV style was not used in REC 3 but they also changed the tone of the film into horror comedy. This time, they go back to straight horror.
The film begins with the Army taking over the operation dealing with the apartment building. A special forces team is sent to destroy the building and while they are setting bombs they are attacked. They also hear a woman screaming and rescue her. It turns out that it is Angela, the reporter from the first film. The story then moves to the ship.
Then Angela wakes up and is being tested by a doctor. We also find out that there is an elderly lady that was the only survivor of the events that occurred in REC 3. Angela is taken to the bridge and meets Nic, a tech guy who is trying to recover video from Angela's camera. He recovers the footage and sends it to the lab investigators on the ship. The lab is trying to develop an antidote for the virus. Suddenly, there is a blackout and an infected test monkey is released and attacks the ship's cook. Then the film really gets going. The attacks come fast and furious. Because REC 4 is shot in a traditional way the action is more elaborate and gory. The crew members begin getting infected a real havoc around the ship. One of the doctors named Ricarte finally sees the footage that was on Angela's camera and it reveals the moment that Tristana transfers the parasite we saw in the first film into Angela's mouth. Ricarte immediately tries to surgically extract the parasite from Angela but his assistant is attacked and she escapes. Angela insists that she is not carrying the parasite. Guzman confronts her about it and she accuses him of tricking all the people on the ship. It is revealed that Angela transferred the parasite to Guzman during her rescue. Ricarte is convinced that there is no other way to prevent the spread of the infection so he sets the timer to blow up the ship. Guzman corners Angela and the parasite attempts to enter her mouth but she kills Guzman before it can happen. Nic gets a lifeboat and Angela jumps into the ocean to flee with him. The ship blows up and they get away. The last shot is of the parasite in the water but I think the filmmakers make it clear that the story ends.
This film ends the series on a pretty good note. I get that they couldn't repeat the POV style of the first two without seeming redundant, but this film works on it's own. It is well done but not as innovative and entertaining as the earlier films.
Only a notch lower than the original!
Sequels rare if ever exceed expectations of being at least as good as the originals. There a very few times that I have liked a sequel more. REC 2 has the difficult task of being as scary as REC but moving the story forward. I think that the filmmakers have succeeded in doing exactly that.
REC 2 starts right where the 1st one ended. The apartment building that was locked down an quarantined again is the setting. Now a new SWAT team enters the building with a man from the ministry of health named Dr. Owen to further investigate the horrific situation. They search the penthouse where the last attack in the first film occurred, looking for clues as to where the original carrier of the virus that was infecting the residents and making them flesh eating zombies. They search around the building and get attacked again only the film adds a new element to story. It turns out that Dr. Owen is a priest and was sent by The Vatican to get a blood sample from the first carrier. They believe that the people in the building are being possessed by demons. All of this is done with a lot of suspense and tension just like in the first film. The attacks come fast and hard. It is again like being in a great haunted house. The priest fights off the possessed with Catholic ritual phrases like in The Exorcist and the scenes are done very well. There is a new plotline with three teenagers that are out fooling around and enter the building through the sewer tunnel to avoid the police. One of them gets infected. All of this ends up with the priest and survivors find Angela, the reporter from the first film that was supposedly captured by the Trustana, the first carrier. It is kind of predictable what happens when Angela enters the picture, but directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza keep the tension up through the end.
Like all sequels, especially in the horror genre, have a disadvantage in that the viewer has most likely seen the original so they are prepared for what the film is going to be like. The element of surprise is diminished. But REC 2 has as much tension as REC and the supernatural element is done very well. I would say that REC 2 is a very good film of it's kind and only a notch below the original in its effectiveness.
Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da (2010)
Brutal revenge film
I had seen very positive reviews about this film but I had seen that it was very violent. It is indeed one of the most violent films I have scene, but is so expertly made and acted that it all works.
The film begins on a very disturbing note. A young woman on the side of a road in South Korea that is having car trouble is approached by a man that offers help. She refuses, but he comes back brutally beats her. The killer takes her to a secluded place and kills her. When the police find her remains in a river her boyfriend Kim Soo who is a secret agent is so disturbed by this loss that he vows to find the killer and get revenge. The basic premise of this film has been done many times before, but rarely as effective as this film. The film is very much a cat and mouse set up in that Kim Soo doesn't want to just kill the man who took away his love, but make him suffer. He brutalizes the killer, but let's him live, only to go after him again and again to cause as much pain as possible.
This film is very intense and disturbing. The violence shown is very explicit. The difference here is that it also shows the negative effects of Kim Soo's actions. He is told that nothing that he could do can bring his fiance back, but he continues to go after his prey. Director Kim Joe Woon keeps the tension at fever pitch but doesn't ignore the human element in the story. The film gives as much time to Kyung Chul, the killer as to Kim Soo, so we get to see his point of view. He's a twisted, evil man who hates and get pleasure out of killing women. It is a long film but it's so involving that the running time is not an issue. The film asks the question that who of the two of them is the monster? A great film.
THE BEST FILM OF ITS KIND EVER!!!
I have been on a horror film kick lately. Looking at best of horror film lists to get recommendations on films to see. On almost all the lists REC was on them. It is a Spanish film that had come out in 2007 but I had never heard of it. I read up and it seemed that it had quite a following. So I searched and was able to get to see it.
I was a little apprehensive that it was a POV found footage film. The sub genre has been beat into the ground. But I went in with moderate expectations. After seeing REC I can say that I was blown away!!! It is the best film of it's kind that I have seen. The film is set in Spain. There is a a reporter named Angela and her cameraman shooting for a late night TV show in a firehouse. They follow the fire service on a call they received from an apartment building nearby. It seems that there was a woman that was distressed there so the firemen go to see what the problem is. They arrive in the womans apartment and see that she is very upset. In the middle of trying to calm her down the woman viciously attacks one of the officers biting him. What happens for the next 80 minutes is absolutely great adrenaline rush horror. Now we are told that the woman was infected by a virus that was similar to rabies. As it turns out the virus turns the infected into blood thirsty zombie/vampires! The building is suddenly put into lock down by the police and no one in the building can leave. The intensity of this film never lets up. They run around the building trying to find out what was going on and find that more people have been infected. The attacked come from everywhere. This film feels like being in a great haunted house! You never know when things are going to happen. I am not really a fan of zombie films but this one is different. It is done with such great timing and skill that it really seems that what is happening is real. For those looking for good character development this isn't for you. There are some truly scary moments. And the last 10 minutes are super intense.
Because of its success REC was predictably remade for American audiences as QUARANTINE a couple of years later. I saw that film to compare and even though it is virtually a shot for shot remake it's not even close as effective as REC.
Seul contre tous (1998)
Disturbing, self indulgent art film.
When I go into watching an "art" film I know going in that many of these type of films are made by directors that have certain contemp for the viewer. Such is the case with Gasper Noe with I STAND ALONE.
I came to this film after being blown away by the directors' film IRREVERSIBLE. That film was very disturbing but it was done in such an innovative and honest way. So I looked up Gaspar Noe' s filmography and found that this film is his first feature.
What I can say about I STAND ALONE is that it does show that Noe wants to confront brutal truths. The film is about a middle aged butcher in France that had been in jail for assaulting a young man that he thought had raped his daughter. The daughter was put into an institution, she was mute. He had since been with his mistress who is pregnant and moves to a new town to start a new life. He doesn't love her but she had promised him that she would help him open a new butcher shop. From the beginning we see that the butcher is a bitter man. He feels that life has dealt him a tough hand. He hardly speaks, most of the film is him having an internal dialogue, we get to hear what he is thinking. He seemingly hates everything and everybody. His only love us his daughter. After his lover refuses to give him money to open his business he looks for a job and can't find. All of this makes the butcher more angry. He finally finds a job in a nursing home. He gets home and his lover confronts him about an alleged affair. They fight and he blows up and starts hitting her, killing her unborn baby. This scene is very difficult to watch, he does this horrible act in front of her mother. He takes a gun that he finds in the house and flees to Paris. With barely any money, he gets a room in a cheap hotel and starts looking for a job. He even goes to an old meat distributor of his to ask for a job and he refuses. All of this makes him angrier. His thinking gets more violent and vengeful. He has a gun so he decides he is going to shoot the man that wouldn't help him with a job. All of this inner monologue is full of racist, homophobic, violent thoughts. To him life is terrible and he is going to do something about it. He finally goes to see his daughter. Takes her out of the institution and takes her to his hotel. He then decides that they only way that he can be with his daughter is to kill her and himself. In his mind he would be sparing her the pain of life. The scenes that follow until the end are truly disturbing. He makes a decision that is in my view disgusting.
This film is indeed very powerful and it does touch on things that we all may think at one time or another when we are down. But even though I can understand the pain that the butcher goes through his way of dealing with his circumstances is terrible. It is hard to empathize with him in any way. I felt while I was watching this film that it is very similar to TAXI DRIVER. The film deals with despair and loneliness and we have a character Travis Bickle that is having similar violent thoughts and decides to act on them. The difference is that though we do not condone what he wants to do but the film allows us to feel for him in a way. The butcher is so bitter, so hateful and nihilistic that I found him repulsive.
Much of what I feel that Gaspar Noe wanted to say with this film is very anti-capitalist. It isn't very new, French cinema has always been obsessed with pointing the finger at capitalism as the great evil. He makes his points in a very strong and honest way. He chooses to view the world as a bleak and hopeless place. That's fine. Cinema sometimes shows us the dark side. This film is truly depressing.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
A bad film with a notorious reputation
I had not seen this film even in the 80s when the slasher craze was in full swing. I was watching a documentary on horror films and they had mentioned SLEEPAWAY CAMP as a notable film from the decade. The problem is that they gave away the reason it was notable!!!! So I watched it out of curiosity. The truth is that up until the twist ending it is a very below average slasher film. It has no tension, humor, suspense or scares. It is horribly acted even for a film of this kind. It is like FRIDAY THE 13TH in that it takes place in a summer camp. The basic story is about a young quiet girl that is bullied at the camp by most of her counterparts. She doesn't speak to anyone except her cousin and a boy that takes interest in her. The killings are pretty standard stuff, not the worst I have ever seen but they have no real shock value or scares when they occur. It us unintentionally funny a lot of the time. So the only reason to see this film is its final 2 minutes when there is a supposed "twist" ending. I have to say that if I didn't know about it beforehand it would have really shocked me. I have to say that it was an interesting way to wrap the film up. The last image I have to say is chilling. If the rest of the film would have been this clever it would have been much better!!! It is worth seeing ONLY for its final shot.
AN EXERCISE IN BLEAKNESS
I stumbled onto this film from a list of notable Italian films. I read what the film was about and the controversy it caused when it was released so I was curious to watch it. I finally found it online and saw it. I almost want to say that I made a mistake in seeing this film because it is the single most depressing and disturbing film I think I've ever seen.
It takes place in WWII fascist Italy and deals with a group of senior members of government rounding up 18 young men and women to take them to a secluded palace with a plan to torture and sexually degrade them. The film is broken up into 4 segments, gradually becoming more disturbing. The men of power take great sexual pleasure from seeing their captives submit to their disgusting acts. I wont go into detail but this film has some of the most disturbing and sadistic scenes I have ever witnessed. There is a level of bleakness from what is shown that is deeply depressing. I felt angry throughout the film that the captives didn't rebel, there are a couple that try but are severely punished. There is only really one moment when a girl cries and pleads for G-d to save her from her suffering but the film does not show these people to have any other emotions other than terror. Of course, I am sure that it was Pier Paolo Pasolini's intention but the darkness of this film is almost overwhelming. Pasolini I feel wanted this film to be a mirror to humanity and our ability for cruelty. There is nothing in this film that could be construed as entertainment. I feel dirty for having viewed it. Again, that was probably the point. How many films do we watch that have sex and violence do we regard as entertainment? It's true, some films do glorify some of our darkest impulses. This film does none of that. It is very bleak and doesn't offer any hope. Is it a good film? I can't say yes. I am giving it a bad rating and won't recommend it because watching it was so unsettling. That is the reaction that Pasolini wanted. In that he succeeded. I will never see this film again, but I will never forget it.
Creed II (2018)
Better than almost all other Rocky sequels!!!!
3 years ago when Creed was released I was hoping that it wouldn't ruin how Sylvester Stallone had presumably said goodbye to his beloved character in ROCKY BALBOA. Thankfully, I was proven wrong. Not only did it meet low expectations, it exceeded them with flying colors. It didn't reinvent the Rocky formula but it gave it much needed shot in the arm
Ryan Coogler created a film that could stand on it's own, but fit perfectly into the Rocky universe.
Now comes Creed II. It is a tad less effective than Creed but it is better than most of the Rocky sequels. It again respects the formula but is grounded by a very good performances by the cast but especially Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed. Both Creed films belong to him, as they should. He is a terrific actor. Sylvester Stallone wrote this sequel but makes the great decision to keep the story about Adonis, but Rocky plays a important role.
I hate giving spoilers but most people already k om that Creed II is about Adonis being challenged to fight the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed Apollo in ROCKY IV. Dolph Lundgren is back as Ivan and gives I believe as good as a performance as he can as a bitter man that lost everything after losing to Rocky. He is training his son Viktor to be the champion he failed to be. All of this is fairly predictable but this time the script gives Ivan Drago some humanity that was not at all present in ROCKY IV. Obviously, Adonis takes the fight feeling that he has to. He has still not been able to construct a legacy that his father had left. He asks his girlfriend Bianca to marry him and shortly after the marry they find out that she is pregnant. The chemistry between Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson that was so good in the first film is again present here. The great thing about the first CREED was that the quiet, more character driven scenes made the film better. That is the case again even though this sequel is more formulaic. Sylvester Stallone proves again here that he is capable of bringing something to his Rocky character that had been lost in most of the previous sequels. He plays him with wisdom but also with regret.
All of this of course comes with the obligatory fight and training sequences which are done very well again. They are not as showy as the other sequels but because we care about Adonis they are really effective. Like Ryan Coogler before him, director Stephen Caple Jr. puts a lot of emphasis on his characters as well as the fight sequences. If there is a misstep in Creed II is a cameo by Bridget Nielsen as Ludmilla, Ivan Drago's wife that had left him and their son due to his failure. She appears at a victory dinner for her son and comes to the final fight only to leave her son again. But, that is my only complaint. Creed II is certainly predictable lwhen it comes to the final fight, but ends on a poignant note with both Adonis and Rocky. This film is what it is, a very good sequel to a great film.
[Rec]³: Génesis (2012)
A horrible bait and switch!!!
I came a late to the REC franchise. I had seen reviews of the first 2 and became interested in seeing them. I loved the first one and really liked the second. Both are two of the best horror films of the last 20 years.
So I went into REC 3 with high expectations. Not only did it not meet them, it completely cheats its audience by changing the tone of the last two completely! The film is REC in name only. The POV shooting style is only visible in the first 20 minutes. The rest of the film is shot traditionally. I can understand the decision for the change,POV is a very restrictive way to shoot a film. What is a cheat is that this film has virtually no relation to the first two.
This time, the action is based around a wedding. The wedding takes place and as soon as the reception starts the zombie attacks begin. All of this would be well and good but the filmmakers decided to make this into an over the top horror comedy! The violence is worse but the comedy tone doesn't work. Especially because I went into it expecting an intense horror film. If you are going to take such a 180 why not call the film something else? Of course the called REC 3 because of the built in audience. I think it is a sneaky way to trick people that were fans. The film is not horrible but it is like most of the zombie horror comedies that I've seen during the years. It isn't really that funny, in fact it goes for outright cartoon humor. I get that they wanted to switch it up but this was bad. They built a franchise based on intensity and scares and decided to blow it all up? I was mad after watching.