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The Devil's Candy (2015)
I thought this movie was fascinating
"This is different. I've never had a muse before. I don't remember painting this. It's like it's, it's like somethin'.. It flowed through me."
I won't beat around the bush. I thought "The Devil's Candy" was unparalleled. And not because of the demonic story itself. But because of the appearance of Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry). A true metal-head who throws himself, stripped to the waist, on a canvas cloth with spray cans during the night. A prehistoric looking guy with lank greasy hair, gleaming because of his with oil smeared muscles. He tries to put the energy he receives from listening to squealing and howling guitars into his artworks. In a way he reminded me of Rob Zombie. The day the family Hellman (appropriate name!) decides to move into a sweet-looking little house somewhere in Texas, Jesse doesn't realize that the dark forces that are present there, will inspire him in a very different way.
It's never really frightening so to speak. No paranormal events or sudden jump-scares that'll spook you. The eerie part is developed in a more subtle way here. The demonic character of a former resident who's either possessed by satanic forces or simply mentally disturbed, is the thing that makes for some scary and eerie moments. I'm talking about Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince). A somewhat fuzzy and labile-like person. Not long after the Hellemans moved, this retarded person shows up at the door and claims that he needs to return to his former home, so he can produce a deafening sound on his red Gibson Flying V again. Noise he needs to produce in order not to hear those adjuring voices. Voices that incite him to perform disgusting acts.
Although it's a horror, it's not really bloody. You can imagine what dreadful murders are happening. And at some point when Jesse is painting again, you'll see fragments of red paint mixed with seemingly bloody fragments. But it's never explicitly shown. There are moments when you can feel the helplessness of a future victim. The powerlessness and the realization what's waiting for them, provide an uncomfortable feeling. Ultimately, you can ask yourself the question whether it's really Satan who's ordering Ray. Or is he just a mentally disturbed person who hears voices and is guided by them. More or less it's explained a bit by the preacher in a religious television program. Satan isn't only that metaphysical character with horns and a pointed tail. It's not only that mask that's being worn at Halloween or the character you'll see in a movie. It's an aggressive anti-Christ who lives among us and uses us to carry out his unspeakable deeds. In a less religious context it simply means the evil that proliferates in humans.
The story isn't very original, but the undertone of the film is fascinating. The fact that the film is filled up with brutal metal sound, creates of course an extra satanic dimension. Personally I still think it's absolutely ridiculous, but the association of Satan with metal is never far away. Well, probably there still are some blockheads who think that Ray's actions are a result of listening to heavy metal. Ultimately, the film balances between a psychic, demonic story, and the story of a serial killer who's guided by an evil influence. I thought it was fascinating enough anyway!
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Off Piste (2016)
The initial idea was interesting. The outcome was so exaggerated.
Looking at the cover of "Off Piste", you're expecting a pure survival movie full of action and chases in a French snowy landscape. That's not the case. It's rather a psychological drama in which processing a traumatic experience is the central theme. First we meet Stanley Winters (Henry Douthwaite) who during a military raid on a local pub, where I.R.A. members were discussing something, accidentally shot the young son of one of these members. And then there's Niamh O'Brien (Lara Lemon) who witnessed the death of her younger brother and father that evening as a young girl. Both are struggling with the past. Stanley stows away his military combat uniform after this incident and moves to the French Alps where he'll live with his blind mother (Yvonne O'Grady) in a remote mountain cabin. There he tries to find inner peace.
As Niamh discovers the real truth about the death of her father and brother, she leaves Ireland confidently and travels to the French mountain village. The further progress of the story seems to be evident. You can only guess what motives Niamh has to find those responsible. Is it to avenge her loss? A revenge because her life ended up in a series of depressions? Or is it because she wants to deal with the past and finally be able to leave it all behind? That the person who took care of her afterwards still has a dossier lying around about Winters, is an indication about the unlikely and the sometimes nonsensical events.
I liked the psychological aspect and thought it was interesting enough. Stanley struggling with his inner demons and using a female psychiatrist (who displays more uncertainties than her patient) to channel his recovery. Even Stanley's mother tries to get her son back on the right path so that he rediscovers the meaning of life. That's why she acts like a mother hen, the moment Niamh arrives. As a true matchmaker she tries to hook them up. She isn't aware of the dreadful link that connects the two.
What's the flaw in this film you wonder? The absurdity of the two idiotic Irish guys, traveling headlong to the French Alps. Ethan (Jared Fortune) , because he believes that he sees himself as the fiancée of Niamh and he finds it hard to bear that she's looking for another man. And then there's Logan (Paul McGuinness). He's just in it because he has probably nothing else to do. They arrive at the French village like two genuine Irish hooligans. Ethan confronts Niamh with the fact that she first had to consult with him. A bit later he clears off like a beaten dog after she made it perfectly clear to him what their relationship is about. The resulting response is so excessive that the credibility of the whole film is brought down. If these two skirts hunters have experienced many rejections in their homeland, I fear the female part of the population was decimated in number. I've always said that foam-free, warm beer is fatal for human brain cells.
So despite the beautiful renditions of Henry Douthwaite and Yvonne O'Grady, "Off Piste" reasonably far-fetched. I understand that without the intervention of Etahn and Logan the complete movie would be kind of banal with just scenes of two traumatized souls. But as I said before, the motivation for their intervention is totally whacked. Even the ultimate action from Stanley is in terms of coincidence grossly exaggerated. Regrettable. Because eventually I found the underlying issue extremely interesting.
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Ghost Nets (2016)
A short commentary on a short film.
"That doesn't mean that I have to like you."
A short commentary on a short film. "Ghost Nets" tells the story of three relatives somewhere on the English coast, setting up their tents there with the intention to go surfing in the salty wet from the North Sea. From the outset it's clear that the relationship between Neal (Joe Sowerbutts) and Jack (Bruce Lawrence) isn't really an example of how brothers treat each other. A burdensome secret from the past is haunting them, as we will learn later. Matilda (Charlotte Mounter), girlfriend / wife of Jack (I suppose) is the neutral person who tries to mitigate the circumstances.
The very first thing I noticed, was the use of sharp images which were edited in a rather professional manner. The desolate coastline, screaming gulls and the apparent coldness were brought into vision in a perfect way. The content of Neal's discovery is unknown and it'll still remain a mystery after the movie's ending. Apparently it can have an immense impact on the people involved. That was kind of obvious at a certain moment. It seemed like the content was very important. Of such importance that even a total stranger appeared to claim it.
Unfortunately, for me this was the weakest moment of the movie. This fourth person showing up and the resulting situation, looked quite amateurishly accomplished. In a short time the professional view was undermined and I got a feeling as if I was watching at some hobbyists creation. Besides that, the film was quite intriguing and the dialogues and performances of the cast were of an acceptable level. I'm still puzzled about the film title and its meaning. Is it a reference to lost fishing nets drifting around in the ocean and being a threat to the wildlife in the sea. Or is it about the disturbed relationship between the two brothers? Or was the content of the thing Neal discovered owned by a criminal network? It remains a mystery to me. But damn, I really wanted to know what it was and why they made such a fuss about it. Perhaps it'll be clarified in a future feature film! More reviews here : http://bit.ly/1KIdQMT
Shovel Buddies (2016)
And you think this should have been a dead serious subject? Pun not intended.
"When I was seven, I met my best friends. They were idiots, and I loved them for it. We did everything together. No matter what, we had each other's backs. Nothing could change that, even when this jackass got cancer."
A while ago I skipped the movie "Swiss Army man" because I didn't feel like watching a movie about a farting corpse. Even though Daniel Radcliffe played this stiff character. I'm sure there was a deeper meaning behind the whole idea, but I still didn't feel like it. When I started watching "Shovel Buddies", without knowing what it was about anyway, I noticed this was also a flick with people running around with a death body the entire movie. And this thanks to the idiotic plan Jimmy (Alex "Ithaca" Neustaedter) wanted to fulfill at all costs, as a last tribute to his recently deceased best friend Sammy (Philip Labes). And the plan is to make sure that Sammy is being buried while wearing his American football t-shirt, instead of being cremated. That's the quest Jimmy wants to carry out after receiving a snap chat from Sammy. That's today's youth. They continue to hold on to today's gimmicks until their final breath.
I must admit that the film irritated me enormously at the beginning. Mainly by the behavior of Dan (Kian Lawley). An annoying jerk whose posturing attitude and arrogance started to get on my nerves. I was hoping someone would slap him. Especially after his bluntly rude behavior at the funeral and the tactless and sexist remarks afterwards, I actually didn't like watching it anymore. Also the ridiculous, absurd plan was a bit too much. And I thought that policemen use a gut feeling. Sammy's father (James C. "Coldwater" Burns) clearly didn't. Instinctively, he had to sense what those teenagers were planning to do. Well, not him. Later on he appeared miraculously at the right time and the right place. Probably years of experience caused this.
As the film progressed, the absurdity of the film took grotesque forms. At some point I just couldn't decide whether it was morbidly humorous or tragicomic. On the one hand there were funny moments like the image of a flabby Sammy sitting in the car. In a way that was hilarious. On the other hand, I sometimes thought it was somewhat pathetic and they made one stupid decision after another. The previous mentioned fragment with the four cheerful teenagers amusing themselves in the car while a corpse calmly sitting in their midst, was both terribly funny as embarrassing to see. They should have used "Bohamian Rhapsody" as soundtrack and it would have felt like a sort of "Wayne's World".
Focus on the entire picture and you'll notice Sammy's mother ..... The dual character of "Shovel Buddies" makes it difficult to form a proper judgment. Just like the involved characters you'll be emotionally tossed around. The film is also stuffed with contradictions. Jimmy wants to fulfill his best friend's last wish, but at the same time it seems that Sammy really was a manipulative brat who suddenly throws a seemingly close friendship overboard, because his sister was doing the hanky panky with that particular friend. Even Dan's transformation from insufferable asshole into an compassionate, ordinary teenager who suddenly realizes that his behavior is intolerable, sounds a bit implausible.
The biggest plus point of the film was Kate (Bella "Blended" Thorne) with that lovely, cuddly face and those roguish, sparkling eyes. A ravishing appearance. Really that type of female beauty that breaks up real friendships. At least I added the option "Watch movies with Bella Thorne playing in it" to my to-do list. The initial idea of this film was quite original to say the least. Looking back at it, not only the burying of the corpse became a problem, but there also appeared to be a few personal issues between the characters. However, in the end these personal disputes were buried as well. Appropriate film title. Not?
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Alone in Berlin (2016)
An admirable piece of resistance, although the impact of it was minimal.
"You're to blame. You and your damn war! You and your damn fuhrer!"
There are countless films about the resistance during WWII. But I had never heard of a German resistance against the Nazi regime. I'm sure there were more German citizens who weren't set up with the affairs of the German Empire. Most likely they kept this to themselves out of fear for reprisals. Anna (Emma Thompson) and Otto Quangel (Brendan Gleeson), whose name was Hampel in real life, may have had an aversion to the regime in the first place because their son had to join the German army. That's beyond dispute. The day they received a letter with the news that their son was killed at the front, is a turning point for both. Anna starts mourning in a serene way, while Otto's rebellious nature takes over and his plan is to write compromising messages on postcards and leave them behind at random places in Berlin. In this way he's trying to make clear to others that the country they are living in, isn't such an ideal place. Even if there's only one person who starts a silent protest as well, Otto still will be convinced that he has succeeded in his plan. Just look at it as a revenge for the death of his son.
"Alone in Berlin" isn't exactly an action packed movie and progresses slowly. All you get to see the whole movie is how Otto writes down in a patiently way his protest lyrics on a postcard (with kid gloves and in a different style of writing), the callous way these two resistance fighters interact with each other and an investigating held by the young police inspector Escherich (Daniel Bruhl). Although I actually wondered which tactic the inspector had in mind so he could track down those who are responsible. All he did was looking endlessly at a city map of Berlin with a whole series of flags pinned on it. Each pin represented a found postcard. 285 Postcards, to be exact. And the only clue that Escherich has is the handwriting on the cards. A handwriting revealing certain characteristics of the writer. That's about it.
So besides a subplot about an old Jewish neighbor who's taken care of by the Quangel's if needed, one can only witness their silent protest and their relationship as a long married couple. A marriage with no affection and passion anymore. Even the letter about the death of their son, elicits no signs of any emotion. Despite the superb acting, it was all pretty boring. Even the use of English with a ridiculous sounding German accent, felt forced. This was obviously a strategic move, so they could put two big names on the payroll. "Alone in Berlin" does show that not all citizens were ardent supporters of Nazi Germany, but this one-man action ultimately had no influence on the rise of Adolf Hitler as we've learned in history classes. Eventually it was nothing more than a voice in the wilderness. Had they used the needles that indicated the places where the postcards were found, and planted those in Hitler's ass, it would have been more painful than this admirable action.
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Impressive, depressing and shockingly realistic.
"I eat your tears and I save them right up in my belly. I'm Popeye. Your tears are my spinach. They make me strong. That's not fair. I'm the one who might have cancer. I need spinach."
Are you looking for a movie that'll make you instantly happy or that'll make your heart beat faster because of the tension? Look further, because "Animals" doesn't fulfill these requirements whatsoever. What a tremendously depressing and slow film this is. A sketch of two hopeless cases living on the edge of society and whose desolate life only consists of committing petty crimes in order to provide money for their basic needs : a daily dose of heroin or a line of coke. They drive around all day in a dilapidated car and try to kill their time with useless activities such as their daily visit to the zoo. The only thing you wonder after a while is whether or not their relationship is solely based on their stubborn addiction.
I remember being shocked after watching "Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo" when I was younger. This was also such a depressing film about the devastating effect of heroin and the certainty that those who used it would eventually die from an overdose. "Animals" didn't leave me unmoved either. Even though it sometimes felt more easy-going and you'll be spared from sickening images of withdrawal symptoms. Jude (David Dastmalchian) and Bobbie (Kim Shaw) have a whole series of scamming tricks they use regularly on innocent people, to get some money. And when they succeed in it, the money is gone in the shortest time. All spent on some precious bags full of white powder. And every time when they've used the drugs, they realize that life can't continue like this. That they should find a way out. This was the last time they used again. Especially when they bump into a couple of corrupt policemen who expropriate their hard-earned money and little bit of drugs. But when the first withdrawal symptoms appear, it's back to the same old routine.
I do like survival films, but not exactly this kind of survival films. Ultimately, this is nothing but a portrait of two people trying to survive. It was terrible to see how far they would go out of despair. They both realize all too well what state they are in. They even wonder how they've ended up in this situation. Two white Americans with a proper education and both reasonably intelligent. In the end they compare it with the stupidity of birds that keep flying into the same window time after time. So it's dismissed as just their own stupidity and that's that. So despite the awareness and sometimes rising urge to quit, the two of them can't make that crucial step towards salvation from this deadly sh*t.
Fortunately I don't have any experience with such drugs. Though other experiences are kind of similar to Jude's and Bobbie's hopeless addiction. The renditions of David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw seemed to me realistic enough. Superb acting and wonderful to see how they shift between different moods all the time. Even the physical appearances of these two addicts changes in a convincing manner as they exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Jude is an intelligent young guy, but he's also unreliable and selfish. Bobbie usually looks like a real slob, until they are doing the call girl trick and she starts to dress up. At that moment she reincarnates into a wonderful and beautiful looking woman. The supporting roles are of secondary importance as they come and go. The entire film focuses on the two main characters only.
Eventually, the whole film is just a series of fragments about human decay, despair and misery. And this interspersed with brief flashbacks (with drugs always in a leading role) and moments when the duo tries to get money. Until disaster strikes and then it goes straight to the denouement. And that's where this movie moved me. That specific moment proves that there's indeed still a close and intimate bond between those two. An endearing gesture. Perhaps a glimmer of hope for success. "Animals" is a moving film that contains a kind of twisted love story, showing how an animal instinct seizes a human being whose body screams for drugs. What a sublime movie!
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A Netflix release. A decent SF war story with some slick looking footage
"Our business requires us to make suppositions. My business requires us to prove them. Your technician's job is to find glitches, so, he sees glitches. Your job is to find the enemy, so, you see the enemy. Locals believe in spirits, so they see spirits. Everyone is biased, in one way or another. So, my answer to you right now is that we lack data to support any theory."
I hope Netflix still has a few more similar films up their sleeve, because this was surely excellent work. Not only did it look great. It was also thrilling and action-packed. Unfortunately, the creators of this action-SF are huge admirers of "Aliens" I guess and based their concept a little bit too much on this blockbuster. Again, a group of hard-trained soldiers try to make their way through a war-ravaged metropolis while being harassed by non-human enemies whose touch is sufficient enough to make you fall stone dead on the spot. Even their sophisticated equipment is no match for these supernatural entities. The equivalent of Newt (the charming little girl with that tousled hair) is introduced as well. And of course, this group of soldiers serve one central person, Clyne (James Badge Dale), who has the key to the solution.
The only thing that bothered me somewhat, was the denouement and the final explanation of the particular phenomena. I'm not doubting the intelligence of Dr. Clyne, but the sudden insights he gains here and the naturalness with which he brings forward solutions, is adjacent to the unbelievable. And how he could upgrade the weapons into ultimate defense weapons by using material that was lying around, made him look like a real MacGyver. The scene in the power plant of Masarov wouldn't be out of place in some kind of PS4 game. Only, the final scientific explanation was beyond my hat.
Apparently, Universal Pictures has produced this film and pushed aside the film because they didn't believe in a successful worldwide release in cinemas (disappointing cost-benefit analysis, most likely). Maybe that explains the rather spectacular effects and overall design. Fortunately, Netflix has taken over this not so bad SF and started broadcasting this on their channels, otherwise this film would have died a quiet death. Ignore the coincidences (like the huge camera Clyne has taken with him, even though he didn't know what was going on) and some stupidities, and you'll surely get to see a sound and spectacular-looking SF. I thought the armor and weapons of the advancing troops really looked slick. Not those plastic fake firearms you give your adolescent children as a gift for Christmas. And when the final offensive is deployed, you can expect some decent action scenes.
So! You have a Netflix subscription and you don't know what to do on a Sunday afternoon? Feel free to look for this film and enjoy a decent, cyberpunk war story. And if you have knowledge of the Slovenian language, you'll notice that the Moldovan little girl isn't speaking Moldavian. She speaks Slovene fluently (If I wasn't married to a Slovene girl, I wouldn't have noticed myself). It's these small imperfections that prevents this film to be among the greatest science-fictions. Mind you, the emphasis is on "small" when talking about these imperfections.
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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
You think "Saving Private Ryan" was gruesome and bloody .... This will blow your socks off.
"Help me get one more."
Even the worst horror can't make me look at the screen with disgust. But the moment one of these American soldiers set his hand on a seemingly lifeless body, a hysterical scream sounded and all hell broke loose, it did. The image of that unfortunate soldier whose body is torn to pieces by a devastating hail of bullets, took my breath away abruptly. And that's the start of a brutal and bloody narrative. Yet another unknown story, doomed to disappear in the annals of this terrible great world war. Again the story is infused with some goody-goody events. Plus it has a high "outcast becomes ultimate hero" level. But that's the only criticism I can think of. For the rest, this is an emotionally shattering film.
The film immediately begins with a slow motion footage of the battlefield. A chaotic war scene. Infantrymen are shot to pieces. Japanese soldiers are running towards a certain dead. Disemboweled bodies. A pile of mangled corpses. And when there's a sign of life, they are mercilessly burned with a flamethrower. After a while you wonder if this isn't a bit exaggerated. But then again, for those who weren't there, it's difficult to imagine the hell these soldiers were in. And even while sitting safely in your lazy chair watching this horrifying spectacle, the realistic sound effects and gruesome images will make you sh*t your pants out of sheer anguish for sure. And this, my friends, was just a foretaste.
"Hacksaw Ridge" jumps back in time after this introduction. Back to the rustic rural life in Virginia where Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) grew up. His pacifism was sparked the day he nearly killed his brother after hitting him in the head with a heavy brick. But he wants to serve his country and voluntarily signs up for the army. His family felt as though they have been hit by a bomb (no pun intended). Especially his father Tom (Hugo Weaving) , an ex-soldier who survived the 1st world war. When it turns out that Desmond stubbornly continues to refuse to touch a weapon, his training becomes a series of harassment by fellow soldiers and the military command does everything to get rid of him. But a verdict is delivered by the court-martial, after an ultimate interference by his father, stating that he may serve his country without taking up arms. So armed with nothing but a pocket-sized bible Desmonds he's off to the front. Hell on the island of Okinawa.
"Hacksaw Ridge" is divided into two contrasting parts. On the one hand the cozy, peaceful first part where the sprightly Desmond tries to seduce his future wife and where he enrolls after which he starts his training. And on the other the bloody battle on the island of Okinawa. Actually it's almost the same format as used in "Full metal jacket". The stereotype of the average medic serving in a war, whose job is to take care of the wounded on the battlefield, is being refined here in no time. That image of the huddled, frightened soldier with a red cross on his helmet is replaced by a heroic, self-sacrificing soldier who would walk through fire for his fallen comrades. And this image is reinforced by the figure Desmond, a conscientious objector who's running around the battlefield like a Speedy Gonzales and rescues abandoned soldiers who were doomed to die there. Unfortunately, this message was just a little bit exaggerated in my opinion.
It's not only the images of this war that'll leave an impression on you, but also the rather magnificent acting. Andrew Garfield plays in a convincing way the devout and sometimes seemingly naive Desmond. By smiling constantly in a retarded way, it looks as if he isn't right in his mind (No wonder he joined the army voluntarily). In addition, we see a few brilliant supporting roles such as the one from Vince "Term Life" Vaughn (again proof he can play something different than a goofy not-so-funny part) as drill sergeant Howell and Hugo Weaving as Desmond's father. But most impressive is the fact that this is all based on true facts and that Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector who was awarded the "Medal of Honor" for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action".
In my opinion this film primarily showcases stupidity of mankind. A portrait of the madness during this World War. The senseless waste of young lives while trying to conquer an insignificant rock (A bit like "Hamburger Hill". Only in reverse). I'm convinced that many of those heroic soldiers were asking themselves what the hell they were doing there at that time. I bet they didn't see the point anymore of this whole operation. But stop the lingering. Orders are orders. Forward, straight ahead meeting your own demise. Madness!
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The River Thief (2016)
A boy. A river. An adamant girl and her Christian granddad. That's it!
"Some places change things some days, some people... they can put a mark on you that won't ever wash off."
"The river thief" managed to leave me speechless. And this merely by the denouement. The run-up was anything but interesting. It shows the life of Diz (Joel Courtney) as he leads it now. A carefree existence in which he steals anything he deems necessary, without feeling bad about it. He has no sense of values. Diz is a street boy whose mother abandoned him and left him behind in an alley . And now he's looking for his natural father as he follows the banks of the Snake River. How long he has been doing this, isn't really made clear. And the motive to seek his father is also hazy. His vagabond existence is halted when he meets Selah (Raleigh Cain). She's a waitress in a kind of burger joint where she gets to know the habits of Diz. Namely not paying for the consumed burgers. Selah's grandfather Marty (Tommy Cash. Yep, brother of the famous Johnny Cash) tries to teach the boy some life lessons and instead of giving him a scolding, he invites Diz for a steak night.
Clearly grandfather Marty is a true religious person. Before you know it, all sorts of religious philosophies are exposed. About gifts and that you shouldn't take life for granted. And also about those priceless things in life such as your heartbeat and your senses. When Diz succeeds in stealing a considerable amount of drug money in a very simplistic way, this is the beginning of a naive attempt to grow a friendship between him and Selah. One thing struck me. How the egocentric Diz undergoes a metamorphosis in such a short time. From one moment to the next he changes from being an indifferent person into someone who appreciates values such as forgiveness and repentance. Probably for the first time in his life he's facing a sense of guilt. He tries to apologize by flooding Selah with expensive gifts, which in turn creates a twofold problem. On the one hand, Selah doesn't want this and she makes this absolutely clear. Secondly, the criminals could easily trace Diz because of this outrageous behavior. As a result Marty and Selah are also placed in a vulnerable position.
Despite the limited budget, "The river thief" is blessed (sorry) with some brilliant impressions of the winding Snake River and other static nature scenes. In short, when looking at the technical side, it all looks professional enough. In terms of acting, it wasn't too bad. Joel Courtney acts natural and convinces as the casual and spry Diz. Raleigh Cain is as passionate in her acting as Selah is in person, but sometimes it felt rather drab. And Tommy Cash is the oracle of the film. Nothing more nothing less. These are certainly not top performances, but they are at least better than those of the two gangsters Saul (Paul Johansson) and Clyde (Bas Rutten). And I don't blame the actors themselves, but rather the script. It portrays these two figures in a fairly implausible and dumb way.
Unfortunately, the content of this film is similar to the way in which the Snake River runs. Slowly it proceeds without any significant, exciting or tense moment. I read some articles where they labeled this as a "Christian movie". Well for me it didn't feel like a Christian movie at all. Besides, each film can be interpreted in such a way that people say there's some kind of religious message hiding in it. Marty being a moralist, who tries to learn Diz certain life values, doesn't make this a Christian movie suddenly. But I can tell you without hesitation, the surprising denouement totally blew me away. Not because of its violent nature, but mainly because I didn't see this one coming. So, although there are a few bombastic topics about gratitude, forgiveness and self-sacrifice, it all felt rather contrived and banal to me. And even if there would be a deeper meaning hiding somewhere in this film, I guess it completely eluded me. Most likely there'll be some philosophizing about this movie in theological circles. Unfortunately my intelligence falls short when talking about spirituality. Thank God.
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The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
Yet another zombie film? Yep. But it'll surprise you ...
"She's got a muzzle on her face and her hands are tied behind her back. And you're still afraid of her? Yeah. And you should be, too."
One thing is certain. The zombie concept that's being used in horror movies is far from dead. I always wanted to use this expression in a review about one of the many zombie movies we are confronted with in recent years. And I thought that no film could surpass "Attack of the lederhosen Zombies". A horde of bloodthirsty Austrians stumbling over a snowy mountain landscape, being impaled on ski poles and in the end being pulverized by a snowplow. These are perfectly normal events for a zombie movie. The fact that they are mutated because of a chemical substance which is going to be used for the production of artificial snow, is a new original fact. So no nasty virus that causes all the misery this time. Looking back at "The girl with all the gifts", I can only admit that they managed once again to portray the world of zombies (or rather "Hungries") in an original way. Hence the definition at the beginning.
This time it's a sort of fungus that transformed the world population into mindless, comatose creatures with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. The solution can be found at a military base. Young people are subjected to medical tests there, because they may form the basis of a possible remedy for this pandemic. They were born in a sinister way and are partially resistant to the malignant fungus. Although they exhibit symptoms of human-eating half-dead, they still function normally. Melanie (Sennia Nanua) is a highly intelligent girl with a logically working brain. She could well be vital important. Without a doubt, this chapter in the film was the most successful and terrifying part of the entire movie. A bunker-like building with young children locked up in separate cells and who are brought to class on a daily basis, after carrying out the same daily ritual in compliance with strict security measures. As a group of "Hannibal Lecter"-like psychopaths, they are sitting in the classroom, learning about the Periodic Table. At that moment I started wondering what this was about. Why do those heavily armed soldiers fear these innocent looking children?
After a while everything becomes clearer. And then hell breaks loose. This is the start of a survival journey through zombie country, with the aim of reaching a safer place. Among the survivors, who are part of this fleeing group, we find Helen Justineau (Gemma "Hansel and Gretel : Witch Hunters" Atterton) and Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn "The Great Gilly Hopkins" Close), who have to traverse a post-apocalyptic England, together with a few soldiers. Obviously Melanie is also present since her brain might contain something to solve the whole problem with. The two female members Justineau and Caldwell are diametrically opposed in their opinion about Melanie's destiny. Dr. Melanie Caldwell sees her purely as a scientific object, while Justineau still tries to look at her as a human being. Certainly this creates the necessary ethical and humanitarian conflicts.
Nonetheless, first lets praise the creators of this zombie flick who tried to breath new life into this totally milked horror genre. And more importantly, the rather brilliant acting performance of the fledgling Sennia Nanua, who really resembled Rudy Huxtable from "The Cosby Show" at certain moments. In a pure and convincing way she shows the inner struggle she's fighting. A cheerful and polite little girl fighting against that constant emerging urge. How Glenn Close (nominated six times for an Academy Award) ended up in this simple zombie flick, remains a mystery to me. And her acting isn't groundbreaking either, so to say.
Personally I thought the first part of the film was intriguing and gripping. This level of fascination drops rapidly in the middle section. The same clichéd happenings as we know them from all the other zombie movies reoccur here. Again the same stupid decisions and not so original confrontations. When an exciting moment commences (like the zombie minefield in the mall), again this is spoiled by incomprehensible facts. Unfortunately, the number of exciting scenes in this film is shockingly limited. Even the scene with Melanie standing face to face with a gang of youthful "hungries" (they looked like "The lost boys" from Peter Pan) wasn't really successful. But then again, the end was again surprising in a way.
All in all, this wasn't a bad movie and they tried to be as original as they could. No, the zombie genre isn't reinvented here. Not even by the use of a different terminology and the introduction of blocker gel. But what makes this film stand out, is the acting of the young protagonist. However, there's one thing that is abundantly clear after watching this quirky zombie. We don't need to worry about one thing. A British zombie invasion won't be caused by the Brexit! Just kidding.
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