Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recent Viewings...

The Reeds (2009)
Directed By Nick Cohen

An odd horror film with an almost incomprehensible plot stemming from a weekend boating trip gone wrong. It has ghosts, it has crazy teenagers, it has a man in a rain coat running around with a gun and it may or may not have a monster. The film fails to deliver on almost every level with the odd exception of the acting (odd in that normally the fault with these films IS the acting.) Whilst I appreciate what the film was attempting to do, I have no idea why they have tried to do it in this completely disjointed and uneven way. And then its over and you are left with far more questions than answers.

Possession (2007)
Directed By Neil LaBute

yet another American remake of an Asian film (Addicted), which, apparently is all Sarah Michelle Gellar is good for these days. The story focuses on two brothers, the usual kind who are complete opposites, one good & one bad.... The good one is married to the girl of his dreams, the bad one wants his brothers wife to be the girl of his too... enter a completely ridiculous car accident in which both brothers end up in a coma. Only when the bad brother wakes from his coma, he claims to actually be the good guy! Hilarity ensues and the plot goes downhill from there... In all honesty, Lee Pace & the cinematography are about the only things keeping this afloat.

Thirst (2009)
Directed By Chan-wook Park

Chan-Wook Park's (OldBoy) latest effort is an interesting tale involving a vampire, it is beautiful, bloody and hands down beats anything that involves *sparkling*.

Phenomena (1985)
Directed By Dario Argento

Not Mr. Argento's best work, but gets extra points for having Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence and a Monkey....The idea is not a bad one, it just fails in its application.

Saw VI (2009)
Directed By Kevin Greutert

For some reason, even though I hated the first Saw...I have kept on watching these damn things right up to this one...though this was better than the Saw V. I do, however, think they are clutching at straws with the lead into part VII though. ( need to watch after the credits for the lead in...)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eat My Shorts: I Love Sarah Jane (2008)

I Love Sarah Jane (2008)
Directed By: Spencer Susser
Starring: Mia Wasikowska and Brad Ashby
Running Time: 14 Minutes
Country: Australia

I Love Sarah Jane is a hugely impressive Australia genre short. I love most zombie movies, there can't really be a bad one, but there can be overly long ones. What Spencer Susser has created is 14 minutes of absolute zombie joy. You are thrust straight into a world where zombies are reality. In fact; most adults are infected and all that is left are the youth trying to cope with the aftermath and simply survive.

We follow Jimbo, a young boy (Jimbo) who seems hopelessly in love with one of his friends sisters, so much so, that he is oblivious or unaffected by what goes on around him. Unlike his friends who are intent on living dangerously, torturing zombies and recklessly risking their lives.

The film perfectly creates and sustains its own world, fully immersing us and leading us to believe in its reality, the special effects are excellent (no doubt due to the fact that most of them are in camera) as is the acting and direction.

This film is a must see for any zombie fans and to say that I am looking forward to Susser's upcoming film Hesher would be an understatement!

You can watch I Love Sarah Jane in full below; Enjoy:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rant Alert! - Fighting Censorship

I cannot begin to express how pissed off I am with people who expect the government to protect their children from his or her parents own ill-informed decisions.

I am just so sick and tired of seeing news articles about censorship and "protecting the children". If you have a child, then YOU have a responsibility to protect that child, not the government, not your neighbor, not your imaginary friend Fred, but YOU!

R Rating for Video Games

We deserve an R rating for Video Games, if protecting the children is the only reason we don't have one, then where do you draw the line? I don't even understand how this is a debate? Do you leave cigarettes and booze lying around for them to access easily? Why don't you just give them all the yummy drink products from under the sink next time they are thirsty? Wait, that's right... we should ban drain cleaner and spray & wipe to protect children, because surely if you have this stuff just lying around it is a danger to all!!!

If you don't want your children to play violent video games, then do not provide them with ways in which to access them. I have already had a rant similar to this which you can read about here.

Internet Censorship
This also means that if you don't want your children to view or have access to inappropriate web content, then do some research, find a filter that works for you, or supervise them whilst they use the net. Why do I have to suffer from your inability to control or inform your child about the things they can and can't do. If you need help with this, there are plenty of options available to you, from parental advise sites to governmental support agencies.

TV & Movies

Are you concerned about violence on TV or in movies? Try turning the TV off every once in awhile or change the channel. Why not play a board game or go for a walk. Lazy parents who use the television as a babysitter are the first to complain when their child is exposed to something they did not want them to be. Well, whose fault is that? We already have quite strict classification laws in place for both TV and Movies, make an informed choice and set schedules for your child's viewing habits based on these choices.

So by now you are probably wondering what prompted this rant? (that is of course if you are still reading). Well, in today's news, the mother of a 9 year old girl complained that a Lady GaGa concert was not appropriate for her child and that she should have been warned of this fact prior to purchasing the tickets. Seriously? How could you not be aware that a Lady GaGa concert would not be acceptable to minors?

I think this site sums up my response best: Parents Outraged By Lady GaGa Concert

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Under-rated Trilogies - The Prophecy

The Prophecy (1995)
Released on a limited theatrical run, The Prophecy was not an altogether successful film, although it did make its money back affording it a continuation. Starring Christopher Walken as the arc angel Gabriel, The Prophecy tells the story of the fight between angels waring over control of heaven. Gabriel has come to Earth to seek a dark soul that will help him in his cause, only he has been beaten to it by Simon (Eric Stoltz) who has hidden the soul in a little girl. With the help of her teacher, a detective and the devil himself, they must try to keep Gabriel from getting the soul.

**Please note the following contains spoilers**

The Prophecy II (1998)
Gabriel is released from hell and put back on Earth for reasons not entirely clear. When he gets back he finds that the angel Danyael has knocked up a nurse to bring forth the Nephalim in order to try and return order to heaven and keep Gabriel from winning his war. Gabriel, with the help of a recently deceased teenager tries to stop the child's birth in a fight that sees them return to the garden of Eden for the final showdown.

One of the major issues plaguing the film is the non-return of one of the lead actors from the first. Apparently you can just give another actor long hair and present him unshaven for a few scenes before killing him and hoping no one notices. The acting is also fiarly wooden, which is a shame given a cast the likes of Christopher Walken, Brittany Murphy, Eric Roberts and Jennifer Beals. Again Christopher Walken steals the show and the film isn't all bad.

The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000)
Possibly the weakest in the trilogy, The Prophecy 3 sees Gabriel (having been converted to the thing he hates most in the previous film) help Danyael (the Nephalim from the previous film, but all-growed up) fight to save his and all the other monkey souls from Pyriel, the angel of genocide, who has decided to rid the Earth of its human plague.

Again the film fails to keep consistency of actors and kills off those characters in all-to-convenient ways. The story seems a little shonky and the acting in the series gets progressively worse, but there is still enough here to warrant watching all 3 films, if not just for Walken's performance.

The future of the series.....
Well, regrettably The Prophecy is no longer a trilogy as there have been 2 direct to DVD movies that were released back in 2005; The Prophecy: Uprising and The Prophecy: Forsaken. As these do not feature any of the original cast members I choose to believe that these films do not exist. Or, if they do, they are not a true part of The Prophecy series.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Descent Part 2 (2009)

Quite possibly one of the most anticipated releases on my schedule in some time, The Descent Part 2 has taken 5 years to get here, and regrettably, to everyone outside of the U.K has gone direct to DVD & Blu-ray.

Set directly after the first film (The U.S Happy Ending Version), Part 2 sees Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) suffering amnesia and forced by local law enforcement to return to the caves in order to help find her missing friends. Of course, once she and the search party get down there, her memory of the events that transpired slowly returns and things start to go down hill in the usual fashion of blood and violence. Whilst the sequel isn't quite able to capture the same claustrophobic nature of the original, it does bring its own sense of foreboding and does have some genuinely creepy and intense moments. The use of the "loud noise" or "creature visible in the background" scare is a little excessive, but the film sticks pretty close to the rules of the original, which in someways holds it back a little. A few cliche moments aside, there are some great scares to be had, and the violence is certainly more graphic than its predecessor.

Directed by first-timer John Harris (the editor of the original) and co-written by James Watkins (Eden Lake), the film makes great use of the widescreen imagery and keeps the same look and feel of the original. Scenes inside the caves seem a little brighter affording us a greater view of the monsters and their habitat. The score is once again composed by David Julyan and used to great effect with sweeping strings and low bass.

All in all a solid continuation to the story, and as far as sequels go, this is about the best you could have expected and is a must view for fans who enjoyed the original.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alice In Wonderland (2010)

I was hoping for more....and if not more, I was hoping it would be better. Alice in Wonderland suffered from 2 major problems for me. The first, is that it is not Alice in Wonderland. If you are going to call your movie Alice in Wonderland, then I believe you should be telling the story of Alice in Wonderland. Instead we are presented with a 19 year old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) who, as a child had a repetitive nightmare involving rabbits in waistcoats etc. Well, what do you know, she sees said rabbit whilst attending an (unknown to her) engagement party and follows it down the hole to Underland (thats right, not Wonderland) There she is informed that she is the champion of the people and must face the Jabberwocky in order to defeat the Red Queen and restore the White Queen to power! Add to that cameos of all the familiar characters (the best being the Cheshire Cat) and apparently a movie of Alice in Wonderland you have.... yes mmm (or should that be "curiouser and curiouser", possibly the hardest line ever to deliver with credibility in a film.)

My second problem was the completely and utterly distracting use of awful CGI. Crispin Glover doesn't even have his own body in more than half the scenes his is in! It was distracting to the point of pure rage. With a film like Avatar still showing, the CGI in this feature sets the technology back about 10 years. Was there a budget constraint? I am not even sure why half the things that were CG needed to be?

I should also point out that I chose to see the film in 2-D, and I don't see how the 3-D could have made any of this better.

So....I had fairly high hopes for this and instead I was presented with Tim Burton's worst film since Planet of the Apes. It is a shame that Disney would finance a film like this, when American McGee has been trying to get his Alice project based on his amazing video game retake of Alice in Wonderland off the ground for more than a decade.... well, I guess I can still hope.