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The Ninth Gate (1999)
When films come out of novels always the same debate arises: which is better, is it faithful, why the changes and so on. Let's take for example Hillcoat's adaptation of The Road; rarely seen a more humble and plain translation from the word to the image. In The Ninth Gate something very different happened. At one end we have Arturo Perez Reverte's novel The Club Dumas, a nice well built story with thrill, adventure, kind of romance, strong hints to supernatural, blood, twists, nothing missing for a good screenplay and a box office hit. On the opposite end Polanski adaptation, where everybody and everything is twisted, painted with the most evil (thus confused)colors. Surely happy are the satanists with their unending arguments about who is what, how Hell is furnished and the color of Satan's tie. If you mess with the Devil you get a mess, and there may be a touch of art in it. The reason of the twisting may be found in the terrible past of Polanski, the war, the murder of his wife. So, i guess, having read that robust and effective novel the director went on a trip of his own into the darkest unknown.
Stag Night (2008)
homo not sapiens
Well, I am not sure that what I am going to say may contain spoilers. Up to you to decide. Undoubtedly well crafted movie; a previous reviewer found camera work messy in action scenes, but I think it is deliberate. The whole story is tuned to the unbearable stupidity of these people who get trapped in NY Underground. They understand nothing of the situation and they take the wrong decisions all along till the end. It is the saga of the mistake, of the inappropriate behavior. Sure they stepped on a strange reality, sure they know nothing about horror films. This is not a fault. But I guess from their asinine stubbornness that all of them wasted school years drinking and flirting, with no knowledge of history, anthropology or human sciences whatsoever. All this comes up to a simple suggestion: from the very first scenes ask yourself who are the bad guys, and when blood runs be sure you support the right team. You will enjoy it.
Dark Country (2009)
surely well done
Well, I am not sure what to think about this movie I had fun looking at it, Lauren German is more than gorgeous, the acting has no flaws, the pace is satisfying, characters are alive, normal, but the place where they are is not . The story is not that original, if you have some practice in mystery thrillers you have a fair chance to guess what is happening long before the end. Could be a remake of some old movie, a good remake anyway. What I liked most is the nice photography of the desert night. Did you ever feel out of space-time looking at a starred sky, undisturbed by city lights? Well, that is the case. As for the 3D, have fun.
The Cottage (2008)
Delirium can have qualities
If delirium can have qualities, this movie sure has. What should be appreciated here is the integrity that lies in every minute, in every single shot. There is some philosophical deepness in it, the idiot machine characters playing a script from which they cannot escape. This kind of situation usually makes viewers laugh, as a reaction to the inevitableness of stupidity in life, where intelligence plays no role. The plot may seem crazy and twisted: it is not; every minute builds the next one, in a crescendo which is sustained till the end. Add that it is shot nicely, characters are perfectly chosen for the job, the scenery, should say the furniture has a warm touch, blood floods freely. What more can you ask from a horror comedy?
The Forgotten Ones (2009)
Well, monsters are monstrous
It is hard to fill ten lines of comment for this movie. What has to be said? Well, the monsters are monstrous, the girl pretty (in some common way), the island mysterious. All of them do their job. Cinematography is not that bad, you just get the sense of people lost in a wild forest. Of course the writer had to fill some space with irrelevant anthropology about characters that are not even mean enough to deserve such misfortune or so nice to make you cry. As a matter of facts monsters look more interesting and complex. I would have liked that some destiny, or original sin had pushed the humans to that place. It would have meant some stars more.
13 Hours in a Warehouse (2008)
how to make the movie of your dreams
Just imagine you and your friends, a bunch of cinema fans, have time to kill, and one comes out with the idea: let's make a zero budget movie. If you are in this mood this movie is an absolute must: you will get a lot of good hints and a (short) list of things to avoid. And dream to be as good a beginner as this Kaufman is. You will need a location: if it is good you can just write the script inside it, by night. An abandoned, gloomy, brownish, creepy warehouse would be perfect; you can have it for just a few beers. The genre, of course, horror/fantasy to avoid the traps of intimate dramas, or the costs action movies. With a wise script special effects can be very simple and at the same time so pertinent to their background to be unarguable (when you see them in this movie, just reflect how they are obtained and what's the relationship with the story). The movie has apparently no pretensions, the language is simple, the end may be imagined, the use of cinematographic archetypes abundant, citations range from Charlie Chaplin (a character features this across the whole movie, and, please don't think it's naive or stupid, on the contrary, it gives a special flavor) to the standard up-to-date gore. A partial theatrical approach also helps giving some structure, but in the whole, it is the location that keeps all together. There are nice ideas here and there that put salt in the soup, some scenes that need a bit of cleaning, the suspense is always alive. A film to look with critical eye to fully enjoy it. But if you are a lazy consumer and like the genre, it is worth the price anyway.
The Code Conspiracy (2002)
cinema is not just ideas
You may like the movie or not, it's an obvious matter of taste and individual sensibility. Better said, you may like so much the message conveyed that you give it a ten. I gave this movie a five. In my opinion, to give a ten, cinema art qualities should be taken into account, like camera work, or robustness of plot, which allows for ellipses, or smartness of the screenplay. All this is missing in this movie. If a character runs for his life let him run till the viewer also is breathing heavily. The message itself is vague, no technical details (in such a technological subject) to give it substance. A horror film may have a ten if it is perfectly done, and possibly teaches the viewer a better understanding of the human behavior. Ideals and spirituality are harder to convey. Somebody did it, a good job indeed, with very plain examples.