7 items from 2014
Often controversial Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye delivers one of his finest films with Blind Massage, a delicately observed and artfully directed ensemble drama, based on the novel of the same name by Bi Feiyu. Putting aside, at least for the time being, the intensely sexualized scenarios that marked some of his previous films (Summer Palace, Spring Fever, Love and Bruises, Mystery), Lou immerses us in a unique world - that of the blind - that's never been captured on film in quite this way. Sighted professional actors playing blind, including some Lou regulars, mesh seamlessly with actual non-sighted and partially-sighted amateurs to create a broad canvas encompassing several stories that are all engrossing and beautifully rendered.Blind Massage begins with an offscreen narrator (who is heard...
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In all fairness, director Kaare Andrews could have shown colonoscopy footage for an hour and a half and it still would have entertained viewers longer than Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever managed to – but our ambitious auteur goes above and beyond by delivering a sequel more in line with Roth’s original cult phenomenon. Sure, Rider Strong doesn’t drop in for another “explosive” cameo, but back once again is Roth’s flesh-eating virus, and this time it’s ready for the big leagues. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is a puss-ridden, grotesque, splattery bit of biological horror, and while it lacks the indie charms that wooed franchise fans initially, Andrews’ pseudo-reboot could be the start of something nasty – rivaling Roth’s signature brand of stomach-turning visual horrors.
Since ruining a friendly vacation and eating through a prom, officials are still struggling to contain the hungry virus causing so much devastation. »
- Matt Donato
Eleven years after Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, and five years after Ti West’s Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, horror’s tiniest serial killer is back, with a new installment from Kaare Andrews, a director probably best known for his 2013 ABCs of Death segment.
Officially a prequel rather than a sequel, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero attempts to provide an origin story for the virus, while still delivering enough laughs and gore to keep fans of the previous two films happy. However, like its predecessor Spring Fever, this latest strain of the franchise lacks the infectious inventiveness and sheer bite that made Roth’s first film a cult classic: in horror terms, think mild rash, rather than full-on flesh-eating fury.
Employing a dual narrative technique, Andrews’s film splits the action into two distinct storylines. One of these centers on a remote research facility, where scientists battle to find a »
- Becki Hawkes
Stepping onto the sun-scorched plains of the wild, wild west — or, more accurately, the PlayStation Store — this week is Image & Form’s 2D platformer, SteamWorld Dig. Much like its unassuming protagonist, the company’s side-scrolling adventure has clambered up the gaming hierarchy over the last six months. Once a 3Ds eShop exclusive, the digital mining expedition is currently available through PC platforms and, more recently, on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita as part of Sony’s annual Spring Fever promotion.
Upon first glance, it’d be easy to dismiss SteamWorld Dig as a smorgasbord of different genres. From Spelunky’s loot-mongering to the resource management found in Terraria, the game undoubtedly draws from other titles in the side-scrolling genre. However, after several wondrous playthroughs, I soon discovered Image & Form’s title to be much, much more than the sum of its assimilated parts — the wild west, »
- Michael Briers
From the harsh, sun-scorched plains of the western frontier to PlayStation platforms, Swedish indie studio Image & Form confirmed today that its mining platformer, SteamWorld Dig, will make its way onto PS4 and Ps Vita on March 18th and 19th in North America and Europe, respectively.
Initially released through the Nintendo eShop back in August of last year, the indie gem garnered critical acclaim for its atmospheric setting and grizzled protagonist, Rusty. After making your way to the humble village of Tumbleton, players are tasked with unearthing resources and the buried secrets of the town in typical, side-scrolling fashion.
Additionally, SteamWorld Dig also features a variety of abilities that users can unlock in exchange for excavated cash and gems — including wall-climbing and the ever-useful steam punch. Undoubtedly, Image & Form’s 2D western draws from games such as Terraria, given the inventory management and retro aesthetic.
Priced at $9.99 (€8.99), the game will be »
- Michael Briers
Director: Kaare Andrews. Review: Adam Wing. What's that you say, Cabin Fever 3? What the hell happened to Cabin Fever 2? Spring Fever, you say? Nope. Still doesn't ring a bell. In all fairness, you'd be forgiven for missing the second part of this unwanted trilogy altogether. Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever was a mess of a movie, a film so terrifyingly bad even the director disowned it. To be fair to Ty West (The Innkeepers), the finished article was nothing like the film he envisaged, having abandoned the film at the start of post-production, but the studio stepped in and Cabin Fever 2 emerged, the product of too many cooks and not enough good taste. The original entry in the series, directed by Eli Roth, was one of the better cabin-in-the-woods movies, with unpredictable twists, a welcome dose of homage, sharp humour and gore aplenty. Now comes the horror sequel nobody asked for, »
Non-conformist Chinese auteur Lou Ye has always trained his sensuous gaze on outsiders, and in “Blind Massage,” he explores the fringe existence of sight-impaired masseurs and masseuses from an unsentimental distance. Demystifying their specialized profession and evoking their arduous search for love and stability, Lou’s detachment — often an artsy pose in his other films — has a kind of tactfulness here that allows these absorbing stories to speak for themselves. The helmer’s second feature made with the Chinese film bureau’s official approval, this French-Chinese co-production is no more mainstream than his previous work. Likely to enjoy critical buzz but lukewarm domestic B.O., it will nonetheless find its way into his usual festivals and European arthouses.
At the Sha Zongqi Massage Center in Nanjing, fully and partially blind employees enjoy an oasis outside what they call “mainstream society.” Run on a slick management model by blind partners Zhang »
- Maggie Lee
7 items from 2014
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