Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I really like genre movies. I particularly like indie and under-the-radar horror. I love a film that teaches you how to watch it as it messes with structure and convention.
I do like following a movie from early production news until it gets released, but I haven't been doing that as much as I'd like lately.
I like to keep up to date on remake news...and still waiting for a damn film version of Shirley Jackson's WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE! (Stuck in production hell)
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
Crimson Peak (2015)
Like reading a Gothic novel
I want to see it again to digest the film.
I could write much, and keep on reading about this film. But I won't retread what others have said.
This film does reward a person who can see it in a specific lens. That is from Gothic/Romantic Novels and stylized Hollywood films such as REBECCA, NOTORIOUS, GASLIGHT, etc.
It is a love note to the Gothic novel (and by extension Gothic film). It is a beautiful thing to watch it tick all the right boxes. It wasn't about surprise, it was about execution (perhaps literally, hehe).
It did feel as if I was reading a novel visually, and I don't think I have quite had that experience with a film. As in a novel, there were moments in the theater that I wanted to go back and "re-read" what had just happened, especially as there are such subtle emotional shifts in the beginning that carry as much weight as action.
That in itself gave the exhilaration of a "page turner".
Something as small as a glance, or a social slight becomes like a shot gun blast when you are used to that restraint of convention in the Gothic novel.
Watching the opening sequences were as delicious as reading Wuthering Heights or Agnes Grey or Ethan Frome for the first time. I really enjoyed Edith Cushing's character (Edith Wharton gloss, perhaps?). I got who she was very clearly, and I was on her team.
Thomas is a worthy and sympathetic Byronic hero. The moral weight of his choices and thinking through the "what ifs" with him, and mentally trying to fill in all the back story that is elliptically told, becomes part of the sad fun of watching the film.
The house is pitch perfect.
Lucille transforms visually and symbolically according to Gothic/Romantic archetypes.
Was just great fun to watch, and I enjoyed that it committed to the genre in ways that did not feel compromised for Hollywood/mass audience.
I did feel there was a little too much reliance on some "visual quoting" or narrative borrowing from some sources that it is clearly alluding to (such as Hitchcock's NOTORIOUS), but I could forgive it.
If you are Bronte/lit nerd, Crimson Peak is like visiting an amusement park.
The Hive (2015)
I guess I am not the demographic...it made me angry.
I will admit upfront, this film left a really horrible taste in my mouth.
So much so that it even soured my feelings towards Nerdist and Chris Hardwick.
I know his M.O. is to be very positive about everything, and upbeat. But this movie just wasn't good.
If you are giving it a HUGE pass because it is low-budget, maybe you could forgive it some of its mistakes.
I was ready to walk out after 10 minutes because of a sound design element that was quite literally painful. From Bravest Warriors: "It's like making Oatmeal cry..." Catbug:"Why would you do that?" Why would you hurt your audience? That is lazy filmmaking.
All of the characters were unlikeable bullies. I rooted for no one and wanted them all to die.
The visual design was for stylistic purposes and actually violated filmic grammar in ways I just could not forgive.
Blacklight? Why? Totally non-diegetic, which is fine, but could not forgive it especially compared to other issues.
Oh, let me do First Person POV shots as Over-The-Shoulder shots, SOMETIMES. Why? I'm confused.
Let me have blinking lights/strobe effect FOR NO REASON, other than to make the shot painful to look at. Thanks.
The love story didn't really work for me either. There was ONE SCENE where it was almost poignant (the one with the strobe lights), but I didn't even want to watch it because the cinematography was so annoying.
Nor did I find the gore effects particularly interesting either.
I didn't like the movie. I didn't enjoy watching it. I didn't like the score (which was also a major selling point of the film).
It was all over the place. And there there was weird unnecessarily sexualized slut-shaming/emasculation dialogue that I also did not like at all.
The whole big social networking allegory was also not very strong or sold well in the movie itself. You get that more from reading critique on it than what you can actually see in the film text itself.
Maybe I am too old.
I love genre movies. I love the surprise little indies.
But I was sitting in my seat fuming, just waiting for it to end. I felt lied to by the Nerdist stamp of approval.
To me it is totally skippable. Unless you are OK with starting a movie that it is OK to shut off before you finish.
Quirky, beautiful film that avoids clichés.
I saw this cold(was not aware of the director or her work) as part of Japan Cuts film fest in NYC, at which the director attended. I went primarily because of my love for cats and my respect for Japanese pop culture's handling of cats (Maru, Cat Cafes, Maneki Neko). It could have been horrible, but if there were some cute cats, I would have been satisfied. Fortunately, it was totally worth viewing. My boyfriend begrudgingly went with me, and he thoroughly enjoyed the film. The director got the idea for the story after an elderly friend's cat died, and she thought "wouldn't it be great if he could rent a new cat?". The script was written in four days. The tightly constructed episodic pattern to the narrative structure is pretty close to genius. It is one of those films that gets a pay off from the audience being in on the pattern and still manages to add some twists and side-steps clichés, particularly in the last few scenes of the film. The two negatives are that it starts to feel a bit long by the end, and the need to carry through the symbolism in each episode feels a bit contrived. But, these are small critiques. The protagonist, who is basically in every scene of the film, manages to be quirky without being annoying, and vulnerable without being pathetic. The cats are cute as heck, and the director, being an owner of three cats herself, allowed the cats to do their thing in the background, etc. Very funny dialog and comic timing makes a good transition into subtitles. The film itself is beautiful, with mellow golden mise-en-scene that lets the scene breathe. Everything, the costumes, the living room shrine,the pig-shaped incense burner, and the web of clothesline, is placed and shot for beautiful visual balance. Also the director she said she wanted the interiors to look very Japanese, Showa Era, and contrast with the heroine's modern take on life. The closing titles are the topper of a kawaii (cute) and funny film. It isn't a chick flick. It isn't JUST a crazy cat lady movie. It is a well-made film with a different point of view and a gentle message. And lots of cats.
Cocks and Cunts (1963)
A Warhol-era "Happening"
Creating Christmas ON EARTH when only 18 years old, during the tail-end of Hayes Code sexual repression, and as a member of Andy Warhol's Factory, Rubin's film has earned its space in film history. Rubin originally wanted to title the film C**KS AND C**TS, which gives you a sense of the pure explicit nature Rubin sought to capture on film.
It is an art film with a 60s rock-and-roll and Motown soundtrack (no dialogue), intended to be viewed as a "happening," its accompaniment was originally performed live by the Velvet Underground.
The film seeks to create ambiguity by superimposing close-up images of male and female genitalia over images of a woman painted black, a relatively inactive orgy, and a pair of male lovers embracing and having sex.
It is explicit without always being sexual (yet always confrontational).
Technically it uses tinted frames (red and green used frequently), mixed in with black and white, and a sort of "picture in picture" effect via the dual projection presentation.
Visual motifs (as you would imagine in a dialogue-less art film) abound. "Mirroring" is used often, with the graphic presentation of a black-painted face with white made-up lips and eyes interchanged with the black painted female body with white breasts and stomach. Holes (aka orifices) are often layered in the shots, as to create a sense of ambiguity of what you are viewing.
Obviously, not a film for everyone. But if you like underground video, are curious about Warhol-era art, 60s culture, feminist film, or queer depictions, worth checking out if you can catch a screening.
The Omen (1976)
It was ok, but I was disappointed
This film is worth seeing, but I had some problems with it.
1) I can't stand Gregory Peck. I am sorry, but he delivers each line exactly the same way. He is so wooden, and I feel he and Lee Remick are miscast. She is this beautiful young looking woman, and he is so much the "elder statesman." Gross.
2) The first hour of the movie drags. I could have done without all the exterior shots in Rome and exposition of the Ambassador Thorne character. I really didn't care about him one lick, even from the first scene. It took too long to get down to the goods with Damien. And even when he is developed, we never get a full sense of his evil or what he is capable of. Call that "restraint" but I just call it a missed opportunity to spice up the film.
And if this is the incarnation of the devil...all he gets in the house as protection is a dog and a nanny? This was a bit weak and didn't align with the creativity of the other deaths that occur exterior to the house.
3) When we do get action, it is great - such as the photographer's run in with the plate glass...and the infamous tricycle scene that has an incredible build up...
But beyond that, moments of good camera work (the tricycle scene again) were drowned out by lots of boring set ups and uninteresting camera angles. The film has gotten kind of dated - the film stock looks really grainy and the colors are muted (again, adding to the boredom effect).
I was expecting alot from this movie, but having just watched "Suspiria," "Cat People," and "Dead Alive," "The Omen" totally pales in comparison...
Maybe I am just not taken by the whole theme of the clash of cosmic forces of good and evil...the whole Christianity plot line was like a dead weight to me...
I am glad I saw it, but I won't be watching it again.
I saw "Lemora" last night at a screening in Lincoln Center.
It is most definately a "cult" film, and the director is trying to work to get a DVD made, so finding it will be much simpler if all goes as planned.
The story is based on a standard formula, and it plays with convention through its rendering of character. With its heavy Christian overtones/symbolism, and marrying of sex/vampirism, there is depth to the film beyond zombies wandering in the woods.
Get past the fakey southern accents that are occasionally good for a laugh (apparently the director was raised in the south, but the film was shot in California, outside of Pomona), and there are some good performances.
I didn't find it as scary as other's posts did, but there are definately a few moments that illicit a jump from the audience. There are more disturbing moments (strange depictions of sexuality) than those of horror.
Bascially, this is a film to simply watch and attend to the world that it is creating. Even though it did not affect me as much as a film like The Ring, for example, there are still images from the film that will become part of my conceptions of films and the genre.
The Ring (2002)
Creepy, Post-Modern and Haunting.
Rule #1 of watching this movie - it is a remake with two subsequent sequels...it isn't meant to come to a neat conclusion. The "barn door" is left gaping open for part two at the end.
Rule #2- leave the kids at home unless you want to cough up for expensive therapy bills and remove your tv and phone from your house.
I am a big fan of horror films, and "The Ring" just about pushed me over the threshold of what I can stand in terms of scariness (still not sure if this is a good or bad thing). This is a beautiful, haunting, stylized and permanently mind-altering film.
As I sat in the theater, I was struck by the thought that "The Ring" will become this generation's "Psycho" or "Poltergeist." This film is no mere horror movie. "The Ring" embraces its forefathers of the genre, then proceeds to spin it's own near-therapy-inducing post-modern chills. One of the characters asks "Where does your mom keep her Vicodin?" You will be wishing you had some too after the first freaky, wicked-creepy flash of disturbing imagery.
What "Psycho" did for showers, "The Ring" does for tv's, (with a concious nod to "Poltergeist") vcr's, log cabins, forests, phones - you name it. Like Hitchcock, (note the homage to "Psycho" in Rachel's shower scene)the film does not derive its terror from gore or thrill kill - but rather through a painstakingly deliberate unfolding and revealing. "The Ring" was at times so dramatically tense and creepy, you felt you needed a break, but the director shows no mercy. (Yeah, and director-dude, thanks for all those "false scares," I really needed those in addition to all the other trauma).
There is much to praise about "The Ring," and it seems destined to become both a block buster and a cinephile's cult favorite. The film craft is excellent - stunning visuals, spot-on music and atmospheric noise, good script, good acting and masterful direction. "The Ring" is elevated above the typical genre film.
The myriad of meta-narrative and meta-cinematic elements only add to the meat of this film. Point 1- we are watching a movie about people watching a movie that kills them (and just wait till the home video! Try putting that in your VCR a second time). At numerous points in the film, it posits, and you think to yourself - will we the viewer die too, having seen "the tape??"
Also, interestingly, we mirror Rachel - we want to "show" people "the tape" (aka "The Ring"), but we don't want to "kill them" with being freaked out and emotionally scarred. We also mirror her process of discovery as we look back and try to piece the film together - I see flashes of the movie as concepts click into my comprehension.
The film does not explain everything, and to fault it for that I believe misses the point. There is much to ponder and discuss. You will want to see the originals, and simultaneously not want any more of those images in your head.
See it, but only if you want to carry Samara (is this a gloss for Samsara??) in your head forever.
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Deserves a look...
Cairo is one of the lesser known films among non-Allenophiles. That is a shame. It is a gem of a film. Rated PG, it is accessible to audiences of many ages, asks provoking questions about auteurship, and is a visually inventive piece of film making.
Woody has left a bad taste in my mouth in the past with his ironic casting (hmm...Muriel Hemmingway as his ravishingly beautiful 17 year old lover in Manhattan...almost unbelievable until he goes and hooks up with Sun-Yee Previn, his beautiful, then 19 year-old, stepdaughter). Here, his casting is spot on. Both Jeff Daniels, in his well carried dual-role and Mia Farrow, as the stars-in-her-eyes Cecilia, display a great mix of comic timing and sentimentality.
For all those post-modernists, Woody brings us nagging meta narrative questions...what is reality? How can art be said to live on in the viewer? What animates fantasy? How do the characters relate to each other and film?
While giving us food for thought, Mr. Allen also gives us a feast for the eyes with his conceptions of depression-era film making amidst the dreary backdrop of industrial New Jersey. His use of color, darkly lit interiors and location shots (the abandoned amusement park at Bertrand Island, NJ) creates a memorable cinematic realm.
This is a nice departure for those sick of Hollywood schlock or overly pretentious art house fare. A sweet film to share with any movie fan. Definitely worth the 90 minutes of your life it will take to view.