Reviews written by registered user
|26 reviews in total|
Barfing out references in place of a coherent screenplay, the directors
of this kitsch turd appear to have been trying to have a good time
copycatting Lynch, Argento and Phantom of the Paradise, while
masturbating on Alfons Maria Mucha's art, more than trying to make it
worth the spectator's while.
The untalented and hideous actors, all lookalikes, and looking like the improbable offsprings of Klaus Kinski and Dominique Pinon, minus the talent, just show up on the screen doing various things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever, while atrocious camera-work, hard to bear colour schemes and an extremely unpleasant soundtrack attack the viewer in a most unpleasant way. No beauty, no poetry, if not for a couple of scenes that are nicely thought out, but that do not serve an actual cinematographic purpose in the film, more of an onanist visual act.
More than leeching off other director's trails, it would be a good thing for the two directors to go to a screenplay class, during which I'm sure one of the topics to come up would be "how to keep the viewer interested". If they don't go to one soon, they could remain amateurs for the rest of their careers but at this point, I'm not sure they have much left to say anyways because they already had so little to begin with.
Let's just hope that they will keep to short films: in the grind-house scene, their insufferable aesthetics would be praised if they keep it short, as in title sequences or collective movies.
In short, the lesson here is that one does not aim at directing a "cult" movie, it's not a genre, it's the viewers who decide. "Cult" films were usually trying to be interesting or narrative before they were trying to be "cult" films, and that's something we'll hope the directors understand soon.
There are many things I liked in the film. The designs of the alien world were really well-done; from the cars they use to the furniture and architecture, guns, cars, food (loved the steaks on the barbecue, shaped like ovnis!) to even the fonts which seem to have been given a thought. I liked the plot - which obviously parodies 1982's E.T - here, the main character is a human landing on another planet and being hidden and helped out by extra-terrestrial kids! Nice idea. Even the music seems to be a nod to John Williams' score to ET - which is a good thing because the music is quite nice to listen to - yet at times, the similarities were too obvious. It was overall a very inventive film in terms of design and plot. I want to stress on the efforts which were made to design the film, and all the different aliens who appear in the film (the big monter from the intro sequence, the H.R. Giger-like dog, the main characters of the film, and the "eyeball for a head" which reminded me of Medama-Oyaji from GeGeGe no Kitaro or the band The Residents) And it's nice to see that a company which isn't Dreamworks or Pixar can do something clever and visually achieved!
This film ranks among the worst films I have ever seen in my entire life. Not a single joke was funny, not a single image of the film nice to look at or worth remembering. The last minutes of the film, where the "bad guys" of the film are present the most, were almost unwatchable considering the awful designs of the creatures, and the absence of wit and ideas in the plot. I had the feeling I was watching a badly designed video game whose graphics are below average. At times watching it felt like torture for me and if I hadn't had a principle of never walking out on a film I would have left the theater. Simply put, it is one of the worst and ugliest films I have seen.
Come and see bad framing! Bad composition! Never-before seen screen ugliness! A film inspired by the colorization process of black & white films! A film that would maybe have raised an elbow in 1939! Maybe not! Every action that takes place was called for 2 seconds before! Visual clichés of the 1950 brought back through the magic of costly CGI! Virtually unwatchable overly yellow-toned images that will make you squint! Not for children-type extreme gratuitous violence packaged for 12 year-olds!Music score ripping off Indiana Jones and Star Wars proudly! Why invent when you can rip off! Everything that comes with exclamation points and CGI has to be great, George Lucas said so! This film is uninventive, rips off loosely anything more or less related to pulp comics and b-movies of the 1950, but since it's a ripoff it can never achieve 1/1000th of anything referenced. There is no merit in using today's technology and budget to evoke ancient films, there would have been if the methods employed were as scarce as the ones available back in the 40s, 50s, quite like what Soderbergh did with "The Good German", even though it wasn't all that great anyways there's still more merit there. And you can't take a flash picture with an Argus Brick unless there's a flash mounted on it (but the whole film is in the same vein of nonsense, as if clippings from the 40s and 50s were pasted together in a meaningless mosaic). The makers don't go for realism, but - what makes it worse, they don't go for visual style either. Very ugly film. The most horrible end credits song I've heard in a million years. Abandon all hope.
The French community of filmmakers present us with yet another terribly adapted film: Hell, based on the book by Lolita Pille. As the book itself wasn't really fantastic to begin with, there was still something to make out of it: the sound, the fury, the depravity, the recklessness and immorality of the French XVI-district youth could have been brought to the screen into a film either better than the book, or at least just as entertaining. But here's the problem that prevents this film from being that film: everything. It's all done wrong from the start, beginning with the actors. As in the book the main characters are supposed to be parts of a so-called glamorized, sexy, attractive and unattainable youth, here the actors are obviously not in character, looking way too common to be the "angel" and the filthy rich low-morality "pétasse" that they are in the book. Sara Forestier is neither shot by the director in an attractive way, nor made to look attractive by makeup or other artifacts that are present in the book: she looks plain, and with her "gamine" looks, remains miles away from the manipulative girl that her character should be. Nicolas Duvauchelle lacks charisma, as he usually does in most films he's in, but also brings with him the feeling that he is miscast, looking more like a numb tattooed homie from the suburbs than like the pristine yet cultivated product of the rich quarters of Paris. The same can be said about other characters: while in the book they have an important position, in the film they are more than cast aside, and miscast too, most parts landing onto very common actors with little or no previous acting experience. The worst for last: the director. He also doesn't seem to have much experience, neither as a director or as a film enthusiast: it seems that his references are Chabrol, Rohmer and Godard, and while there's nothing really wrong with that, there is a world apart between the book and these directors. I couldn't help but think while I was watching the film of what a visionary and talented director like Darren Aronofsky would have done adapting the book, using exciting photography, brilliant camera moves, gifted actors even in small parts, etc. Here, Chiche ("scanty" in French) delivers an almost politically correct vision of a book that most relies on sex, debauchery, violence and lust, and takes a malignant pleasure in erasing all that makes the book enjoyable, including the climaxing scene at the end of the book which reminded me of Requiem for a Dream when I read it, and here is simply not even shown. This feels quite like turning on the radio and putting earplugs on, or leaving half-way through The Usual Suspects: it ruins all the fun. From the beginning to the end nothing in the film retells how the book feels, it looks like a cheap TV movie (most of it is shot with hand-held camera, "caméra à l'épaule" seems to be highly praised among French filmmakers nowadays). Where the books offers a scene in a night club with plenty of noise, drugs, manipulation, crowded with people and excitation, the film offers a one-shot scene in a cheap dancing joint with maybe no more than 15 extras, bad soundtrack, terrible photography, lame camera-work, etc. The whole film painfully lacks ideas or creativity whatsoever, is a total waste of money, means, and time - for those who made it and those who watched it. I advise to not watch this film if you enjoyed Requiem for a Dream or any film from a talented director pertaining to depraved youth, or maybe to read the book first and see how much of a shame this adaptation is.
No one wants to see actors who can't act, singers who can't sing, directors who can't direct and who don't even have an original screenplay to begin with. Listing the number of original films, plays, bands that are being ripped-off in this laughable non-existing film would be endless: from Frankenstein to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, from The Psycho to The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, the list goes on. The title of the film itself is a (bad) ripoff, ripping off TWO titles wrapped in one ("Phantom Paradise" and "The Phantom of the Opera"). The director-screenwriter couldn't even come up with inventive FAMILY NAMES for his characters because he's so unimaginative. In itself, ripping off other people is nothing wrong, if done well (i.e. Blow Out wasn't too bad). This guy sees all around him that rock films, like the Who's Tommy, were the new hot thing and decided to make his own, and failed miserably because to begin with he has absolutely no taste in music (other than film music), no imagination, because he couldn't come up with an original plot and felt like ripping other works would be okay, and because he decided to cast in his schoolmates as actors who can't act to save their lives, and who deliver the most miserable performances in the History of film (just the sequence where Winslow sings at the beginning and moves back and forth and sings a bad song as horribly as humanly possible = funny for a while, boring after the first 30 seconds). Let alone the directing, which is really painful for the eyes in terms of camera moves, editing, etc, there's also ugly production design, and the lighting of the scenes was really hard to stand (this one being ripped-off Argento). It's really sad DePalma didn't feel like making a film free of references to other people's works, because minus all of the references, there would still be something remaining. Not much. But something. The story of a young man who is being stolen his creation, disfigured, and decides to go on an avenging rampage should, and could have been good, but sadly it fell into the paws of DePalma, who is so famous for ripping off everything he ever went in contact with (and maybe ONLY famous for that). And the most funny part about his film is that the film is about being ripped off, so it could be seen as a biography on behalf of DePalma, since Swan and DePalma are so close in their way of dealing with their "art". Maybe someone should make a film called Phantom of the Theater, about Hitchcock, James Whale, Oscar Wilde, Orson Welles, etc. coming out of their graves and trying to murder DePalma for ripping them off? Just do it this way: try watching the film, and if you can't stand the first two (so-called) "musical" moments, just forget about it because it gets worse and worse as the film goes. DePalma's worst film to me - with him being quite a bad director to begin with...
I had the chance to come across this show when it was broadcasted on France 5 in France, but I understand it was not widely released... It's regrettable, because I found the show very entertaining, and it occurs too seldomly that a show will not talk down to children, belittle them or think they're retarded just because they're young. The character design is a real treat for the eyes, and of course, since the show is about horror, there's a vampire, a monster that reminds of Victor Frankenstein's Creature, a hunchback, a mummy, etcetera, there even is a zombie who is always seen watching TV all day, and whose eyes almost drop out of his head... As you can believe, the connections to popular literary and cinematographic culture don't end there, there's a lot of clever in-jokes when the characters speak to each other, in the way the sets are designed, etc. If your kids are too young to watch Tim Burton's films and the Hammer films from the 60s, this will be a good introduction to keep them waiting with cold-blooded humour!
This film is an absolute jewel, a once-in-a-decade type of gem, that
shines darkly in the world of obscure and impossible to find short
films. It features Timothy Balme, the excellent actor from Peter
Jackson's Braindead, in a super-real nightmarish adventure that
combines with science and genius the elements of film noir and the
apocalyptic but absolutely brilliant vision of a world without women.
From the photography, to the music and screenplay, this film is
absolutely haunting and will leave tracks in the viewer's mind for a
very long time (I have seen it in 1996 and still remember it vividly).
When such a brilliant short film is made and released, one might wonder
why such a prestigious work is not broadcasted on TV more often,
featured in DVD featurettes, or simply talked about more. It received a
special prize at Cannes in 1996 from the French TV channel Canal +, but
no one seems to notice. It has Timothy Balme in it, but sadly he's
disappeared from view during the last decade, so no one really cares or
remembers about him either. But I am absolutely certain that there will
be a day when a pretentious low-budget independent filmmaker will dig
this short film out to make it a full-length feature - which will be a
mistake, unless if it has the advantage of bringing this marvelous use
of cinema (back) to light.
Do not miss your chance if you are offered to see it.
Honestly,the concept behind "Masters of Horror" had something going for it. Big-time horror directors that are now left aside by the industry being given a chance to direct horror again, I was all for it from the start. That is, until I watched some episodes... Oh boy, it's really bad TV. Not only does it seem like the directors are being given very little budgets to direct their skits, but there seems to be guidelines as well, like shooting in HD for example. To make a long story short, it's bad both for artistic and reasons financial reasons. I cannot help but compare to the "Tales From The Crypt", and the M.o.H. episodes really don't stand the comparison. TFTC was good, MOH is bad; according to me here are a few keys to explain it: TFTC was shorter (around 25 minutes for each episode) than MOH (50 minutes per episode), I believe it allowed denser screenplays, with good ideas reoccurring more often, better overview of an episode, less chances to let the plot be confusing or boring. Duration might have been also the reason why the budget was better spent on TFTC: directors got to have REAL film music composers (composers on MOH are if inexistent, very bad), REAL actors (whereas on MOH it's nothing but unknown actor after unknown actor!), REAL directors of photography and, it can help sometimes, REAL film cameras (while MOH is shot on HD cameras with very wrongly chosen lens-pieces), the result of which being that the episodes of TFTC looked and felt "cinematographic" in the sense that there was real actors being casted, ranging from Michael J. Fox to Tim Roth to Kyle McLachlan to Kirk Douglas, but there were also film composers behind it, of the range of Alan Silvestri, great directors of photography like Dean Cundey, high-end screenplay writers, and in that sense each "Tale" was a little movie of its own true kind. Compared to TFTC, the "Masters of Horrors" is quite a lame approach to TV horror. It's very hard to stand looking at it if your standards regarding cinematography are just a little above average, because it looks the same as any ugly TV serial, if not worse. It gets boring and even annoying incredibly fast, within the first 10 minutes usually. The actors are never-heard before wannabes (except for Fairuza Balk, Robert Englund, Angela Bettis and a few, but even there, they are the only famous actors of their episodes). The director base for MoH was good in the beginning, but it's getting worst and worst with every episode: now if even the directors are unknown to the world, what remains? Nothing! And it's funny how they are starting to have complete unknown directors while they haven't even had, say, Stan Winston, Dick Maas, William Lustig, Sam Raimi, Eric Red, Robert Harmon, William Friedkin, Jim Muro, Stuart Gordon, Russell Mulcahy... If even "Masters of Horror" cannot bring dead directors back to life, who will? Maybe a rerun of Tales from the Crypt will.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am very disappointed at Fairuza Balk for being in this episode. Although I haven't seen all the episodes of Masters Of Horror yet, this one is the one I've liked the least so far, mainly because I find it empty of serious plot elements, but full of gratuitous violence. The story is very lacking, and although I appreciate the main idea of this series of horror made for TV films, the duration of the episodes seems to be a real problem not just for viewers but also for directors and screenwriters who have to create a "scary" or gory film that lasts around 50 minutes. What they will be tempted to do, and do here, is to build their films on gratuitous and senseless violence. After the first 15 minutes of this one, when both the trucker and the hunter are definitely presented as being moronic killers and sick in the head, what is there to expect? Nothing else happens than an increasing build-up of violence, which not only is not scary, but even bores you to death because it's so uninteresting and there's really nothing at stake worth caring for. Ugly to watch, too, which is almost true for all the episodes. The cinematography seems inexistent, the music is crap. It's just north-American TV at its worst.
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