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The Signal (2014)
a film that thinks it is smarter than it is
The director did a Q/A after the screening and mentioned that he never got into film school, but got into the industry by working for 8 years
in cinematography for panavision, working his way up. I really respect that. Also, this film sounds effing amazing, mostly due to getting Skywalker Sound/Ben Burtt to assist. Amazing! Talk about connections.
**-light spoilers ahead-** With that said, this movie is built around these twists, but those twists are not very smart nor do they challenge you to think -but that isn't what makes this film bad -though I think good sci-fi should do that. This film combines ideas seen and used in past films; certainly it does very little new. In no way shape or form am I punishing this film for not being original either. It has one or two interesting concepts, it is a polished film with some genuine tense scenes. However, I just don't believe it is a very strong film because it is not very smart, and it is filmed with many scenes that are not very purposeful, or meaningful, especially to the story. Example: There are these random scenes where the main character is staring into a flooded forest crossing; seemed very out of place. or There is a scene where the protagonist on a wheelchair is escaping with female on stretcher tied to him, nobody notices him.
This film actually reminded me of Skyline more than anything else. It also kind of rips off the best concepts of Dark City.
I think this director has much potential, but I implore him to challenge the audience more with storytelling, and moreover to stop using visual effects as the pillars of a film, to stop letting the desire for a twist to drive a film. Good storytelling is beyond those things.
A Field in England (2013)
if you use performance enhancers you will see this is a good movie
A pop song is such as where anybody and everybody can get the gist of the beat, the hook and the catch within seconds. Accessibility is key. Metaphorically, this is not a pop song. Rather this is something original and strategically and thoughtfully created despite minimal resources used. Made from a shoe string budget of £300,000 this is a film that in itself is a mushroom trip.
If anyone's taken psychedelic mushrooms before, you know that one possible consequence of the evening is that things would occur in repetitive circular cycles. Repeating the same sequence of events over and over unknowingly.
This movie feels like a mushroom trip. Shot in black and white, it spirals in and out of control, much like a trip.
I watched this solely because Ben Wheatley directed this and I thought Kill List was a pretty damn good, an amazing attempt at something original and cool. Go watch that movie. then take special "mushrooms" and watch this.
Kill List (2011)
If you love movies, watch this movie - this movie stays with you if you give it a fair chance
When I first heard of this film, it was under the premise that it was a Horror Hit-man movie. Let me say that again: HORROR Hit-man MOVIE. I love genre mashing and my cinema boner went instantly hard.
The reality of this movie is actually so much greater in my opinion than just genre mashing -great writing, genuine creepiness, and darkly humorous scenes -and an ending that sticks to your ribs. All in all there are so many great scenes in this movie. But moreover, it rewards repeat viewings as it challenges you to arrange together the puzzling pieces it leaves in the wake of what you see.
This movie is not without flaws (pacing, editing). You really have to pay attention and trust where this movie is going, especially for the first fourth of the movie, which is understandably hard, especially for the first 20 or so min. That's when the first "odd" thing occurs, albeit quick and not very alarming, that is the first indication that this movie might be going interesting places. From there you don't see anything hitmany until like the first 30 or so min.
I am not going to lie, I've watched this movie possibly like 10+ times now. The first time I watched it, I didn't think it is as great as each repeat viewing. The first time I was so disarmed and unsure of what I just witnessed that I watched it again. I liken now to my behavior to be that of the Native American Indians who were unable to comprehend the sailing ships of the Spanish.
Each time I watch it, I catch something I didn't the last time - for example this time it was the line: Sam was up in the middle night due to "Bad dreams about the cat"
WATCH THE MOVIE TO SEE WHAT I MEAN DAWG
The Collection (2012)
Despite faults, still excited for the third
While I do agree with many of the bad reviews blasting the poor editing and missed opportunities. I am still glad that this movie got made. What does parallel the first film are some great ideas lost in some cliché ones -Great ideas that perhaps were done fairly in the first, are done haphazardly in this sequel.
A few IMDb reviewers likened this remake to Aliens, and I think that is the best perspective to approach it. The movie builds off of the lore of the first film but it noticeably tries to be a different type of film as far as tension and pacing feels more action-like than thriller-like. I assume this was done purposefully as the premise is so contrastly different than most films in this genre: mercenaries are hired to hunt down the serial killer. -And oh how I love that premise: the Mercenaries (Including "Bubbles" (Andre Royo of The Wire fame) force the protagonist in the first film to help them find a girl captured by the killer. Only Arkin knows the way's to the killer's lair, as he is the only person who has ever escaped. *******Spoilers** Some other elements in the sequel I like are the zombie-like drugged-up victims that have gone insane. I also like the idea that some of his victims have Stockholm syndrome and assist him. Even the ending, opens itself up for a third film with a revenge-type plot involving Arkin! which further intrigues me. ********End- Spoilers** All these great ideas are just barely touched upon, which is a huge downer, but what I love about the last film and even this sequel, is that I can still tell that at its core, these movies are TRYING to NOT rehash the same crap clichés shoveled into us by the mouthfuls. You see effort in that regard and even if it fails on some levels, I highly encourage this type of behavior in my movies.
Hence the 7 out of 10.
In Summary: I feel in many ways, what lacked in proper execution this time around, made up for it by a dare I say BETTER premise than the first. As the first movie was pretty Saw generic like -I've never seen a movie where a bunch of mercenaries are hired to hunt down a serial killer. BOOM.
San geng (2002)
Nothing Extreme about it
If you are deciding whether to watch this film based on the fact that you enjoyed the original Three Extremes, then you should not. Avoid at all costs. At best, in this film there is only 1 horror story and 2 supernatural dramas.
While the original had cutting edge horror directors, superb pacing and tension (minus dumplings due to extreme editing) this one only has one acclaimed horror director and two horror producers trying to direct horror. The 1 horror director I am referring in this series is Jee-woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters) and though he manages to make the best short of the three shorts (entitled Memories), the other two fail so horribly that it really deflates any effort put in by Jee-woon.
Stay far away from this if you liked the original, it left me in poor spirits and I felt totally cheated by the producers of the original and their ploys to cash in on how amazing the original film was.
I would recommend this to people who normally are afraid of extreme Asian horror cinema as this is a great vanilla way of enjoying supernatural/paranormal stories. Also, die hard fans of Jee-woon should catch Memories because it has great acting and is technically far superior than the other two shorts. You can also witness some of the evolution of the atmosphere employed later from A Tale of Two Sisters.
Do whatever you can to watch this film.
In my opinion if you loved Director Kôji Shiraishi's film Noroi, then you will absolutely love this film. It is done in the same mockumentary style as Noroi. I want to say the most similar US film to date to Occult/Okaruto is The Last Exorcism, but to me, this was a much more rewarding film. Shiraishi bravely manages to intertwine so many subjects and themes in this film: UFOs, the supernatural, ghosts, paranormal voices, seemingly random acts of violence and terrorism, and much more.
Part of what I loved about Noroi was following all the clues and tying together all the fake and real history right along with the film's faux dockumentary filmmakers. It just works really well within the mockumentary medium. This movie paces much more nicely toward a final climax, I feel much better than Noroi did too. I had a real hard time finding this film subtitled. I really hope it gets a proper US release, and I really want American filmmakers to pay attention!!
Spoiler: I will just run through the introduction to this movie, because its the "slowest" part of the film. The film focuses on a documentary crew interviewing survivors and witnesses of a stabbing incident at a famous national mountain park area. The stabbing happened on a bridge, where the "crazed" man kills two people and carves an odd symbol on a third man. Most of the film unravels as we follow this third Man/survivor as he undergoes changes from the stabbing incident. Unravels is exactly what this film does, as one clue after another leads to stranger and more frightening consequences. The acting is great, the main character of this film/the man who survived the stabbing incident, is so great at being this type of regular man who hides a secret greater plan. I feel like that could have easily broken this film, if that character was at any point too unbelievable/overacted/etc, but no, he remains so seemingly dismissive as a pretend ordinary joe but yet... I don't want to spoil any more, but I really appreciated that character.
This film is definitely not without flaws, but all of them can be easily forgiven. The greatest and most obvious weakness would be it's special effects budget.
Do whatever you can to watch this film.