Reviews written by registered user
|3 reviews in total|
Stingray Sam is great reflection on North American culture through the ages. Presented in a series of episodes (it was never supposed to be a feature, but more of an ol' fashion serial - it's even shot in black and white), each segment contains a good series of jokes and gags in a different location and a unique song for each (which, for the most part, are really catchy). The framework of the story involves two outlaws, Stingray Sam and the Quazar Kid, who are sent to on a mission to rescue the daughter of a famous carpenter (in this reality everyone can become famous if they're good at what they do, even carpenters). That's basically it. And it's great. The special effects are campy, but they're supposed to be. It's all part of the charm and it never takes away from how clever the whole thing is (the story of how The Quazar Kid and Stingray Sam become outlaws is top-notch satire). I really think some of the people commenting on Stingray Sam just aren't familiar enough with the references to understand its aim. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a catchy song and seeing golden-age pop culture skewered.
I regret that I watched a pirated download of this movie. It was fantastic, and it truly deserves my money. However, that said, I don't know how else I would have found out about this absolute gem of independent film-making if it wasn't for seeing it on a list of downloads and feeling curious. My ONLY quarrel with Ink is the quality of the visuals themselves. I understand the desire to create a dreamlike, otherworldly atmosphere; but blowing out all the whites and softening the image can only be tolerated for so long. In some ways it makes the movie look cheap, which couldn't be more misleading. I think it's best to go into Ink curious. I didn't really know what the film was about when I began watching it other than it dealt with the idea of parallel worlds (and I think one review equated it with The Matrix some how); but it was a pleasure to let the film unfold in front of me, never knowing exactly where it was going and letting all of the puzzle pieces eventually drop perfectly into place. Although sometimes the costuming leaves something to be desired, the actors wear them confidently and never let you feel like you're being swindled. That said, the acting was top notch. Especially from lead Chris Kelly. Keeping everything I just said in mind, I would like to reiterate that Ink is an INDIE. Those looking for a big-budget thrill-ride will be slightly disappointed. But it is a remarkable indie. It doesn't let it's budget get in the way of a great story, startlingly impressive special effects (car crash scene is top-notch), visionary directing, and chameleon acting. This IS indie film-making. And it's the furthest thing from that soft-spined 'mumblecore' that lovers of independent film have been forced to sleep through for the past decade. I can't wait to see what's next from Jamin Winans. In the meantime I'm going to track down a copy of Ink all legal-like to add to my collection. In fact, if you're reading this post and are interested in watching it, try to find it legally - only because it's worth the purchase and it lets investors see audiences appreciate intelligent independent film-making. It's well worth the purchase.
Last night I watched The Revenant at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and it was clear the film took everyone by surprise. Going into the screening armed only with what I saw in the trailer, I wasn't looking forward to much; I feel that I should make it clear to anyone interested in seeing this film - the trailer for The Revenant represents the film in only the most superficial way. Yes, it is a buddy movie; yes, one of the buddies is undead; and yes, there is sarcastic dialogue and gun-play - but those just building blocks to what is, as a whole, a fantastic and sincere film which doesn't let itself get stuck in a box. What impressed me most about The Revenant was it never felt like it was trying to be cool. It was never trying to imitate, or appeal to a specific market. Granted, it does deal with supernatural elements; even so I would strain to call it specifically a horror film. The characters acted honestly and with a sense of realism that is too often neglected in the genre as of late. I enjoyed watching them make decisions and think for themselves - these were real characters, and real friends. The director was introduced as a special effects artists, who has worked on such films as The Abyss, Bubba Ho-Tep, and the Phantasm series - which is both impressive and unfortunate. Watching The Revenant, he's definitely not just a special effects artist taking a stab at directing; this is a film handled was great confidence and ability, marking a start to what will hopefully be a prosperous career. It would be a great shame if The Revenant just winds up playing the festival circuit and falling into obscurity. Someone needs to pick this thing up, it's gold.