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I really wanted to like this... but I didn't.
Alex Angulo is probably one of the best actors in Spanish cinema. His tragic and untimely death has made Justi&Cia the last film in a fantastic career that spans across three decades. Casting Hovik K as the main character was definitely a great choice, and the premise couldn't be more contemporary or interesting. However, the film doesn't hold together, or at least it didn't to me. I really wanted to now this two characters in depth, but I never rooted for them that much. There are some road movies out there that bring you so much into the life characters that you feel waking out of a dream when the credits roll. I didn't feel that in this case. The dialogue - aside from solid lines like "me has engañado! - sí... qué se siente?" felt swallow and cliché. There are definitely some great scenes like the closing shot or the dildo-torture that move or amuse you (in that order!) but overall I can't say that I watched a good film, let alone a great one. It is a shame, because as I stated above, the premise and casting was top-notch, but to me it somehow did not deliver. It may also be that the tragi-comic game doesn't engage the audience enough i.e. Justin's plan is realistic, but it's not conceivable that they manage to drive through the whole country uncaught... especially when the press dubs them "the justice miners" whilst Justi the Miner's face and all the accident-related matters is still on TV. Little details like the petrol station guy pulling up a shotgun straight out of Doom 3 doesn't help either.
I am sure Ignacio will go on to write other great stories; I am sorry that this one didn't cut it for me, and that that was Alex's last film, especially after masterpieces like El Dia de la Bestia, probably the only other big film in which he was the main character.
Freeze Frame (2004)
Why haven't I heard about this film? What a story!
As above, really - I knew nothing about 'Freeze Frame', stumbled upon it and it captured me from the very first minute. The first scene sets the mood for the whole story - a perfect introduction for a tale that uses multiple-cam narration masterfully. No doubt that films like Open Windows or the V/H/S series took inspiration from it. Lee Evans is fantastic and infuses his character with the right amount of pathos. I could only complain that the climax loses a bit of intensity due to R Stirling performance; there was something off, not sure why, but I had one of those moments when you feel a bit detached. More than recommended, especially the interrogation scenes and Sean Veil's musings
Shame, it could have been the perfect ending to the trilogy
The above summary says it all, really. I loved how T Six played with our expectations: first film mixing horror and dark comedy plus the shocking idea, second film a complete turned around for a truly horrific show.
Can you imagine if he had nailed the third installment? It'd been a solid 3-film centipede sharing plot, characters and one unique storyline, even if the film within a film within a film trick could be deemed a bit lazy.
Despite a premise that wasn't too bad (the 'prison centipede'!), the execution was simply not good. I was bored at times, fed up with Dieter Later shouting CONSTANTLY, the comical moments were not funny, Laurence Harvey was a joke compared to the chilling monster he played in part II. The gross moments felt gross just for the sake of it; it wasn't nightmarish like in part II, but simply disgusting (I'm thinking of the 'death rape' scene...) Some scenes dragged on forever, like the one in the yard. The plot loses all sense when the Boss starts shooting people randomly and no one seems to care that much. Even for a storyline that's always been over the top, it's just doesn't hold together at all Shambles, really. Especially disappointed because I REALLY wanted to like this movie!
Not my cup of tea, but you have to give it to Cerdá
I'll accept watching gory stuff if there's a point to it, so I'm glad I sat through this 30 mins short. Atmospheric, clinical and beautiful, disturbing and disgusting all the same.
You could argue that Cerda lingers too much on the blood and guts, but I guess it's more than justified since we are in a Morgue! I would never watch it again, but like many other pieces out there I think it deserves to be experienced.
PLEASE NOTE: IMDb's summary ruins the film. First, because the plot is minimal and everything is given away. Secondly, it belittles or ignores the value of the short: the way is shot, and the combo of music and camera work.
Aux yeux des vivants (2014)
Good start, some cool scenes, but it loses itself in pure nonsense
You have to be given the chance of believing in a film to enjoy it. The film starts brutally and unexpectedly and the appearance of a Goonies-style gang of boys promises fun and adventures mixed up with horror. However all your hopes quickly dissolve into nothing when the characters begin to behave in, to put it simply, stupid ways. The feeling that I got as a spectator was that the directors thought of scenes they wanted to shoot and then forced the characters to do things to make them happen and move on to the next one. To me, that sort of decision can kill a movie. I'm all up for suspension of disbelief, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Among the Living soon becomes some sort of cross between Friday 13th and Goonies, but it doesn't quite work. Shame - I loved "Inside", I've been reading these French guys' magazine "Mad Movies" since I was 15 and I REALLY wanted to like this film... but I couldn't.
ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Some genius, some good, many just OK, some rubbish... still LOVE the concept
I really fell for the concept when the first film came out, despite the fact that many of the shorts were complete rubbish... the gems that one finds along the way is prize enough though (Dogfight, Vagitus or XXL just to name a few).
The second one has a new tune and intro (great, both of them) and a more consistent quality throughout the 2 hours of film. Apart from "P", which is the biggest pile of boring *** that I've ever seen, all are at least watchable. Funnily enough, it seems that there are less gold segments than in ABC 1. I'd take the first one.
I do think that the screening process should be a bit more severe. I simply cannot believe that some of the letters were considered good enough to be part of the anthology, even considering personal taste/arty concepts/etc.
In any case, you gotta admire these guys who are pushing in their concept despite its unconventionality; just for that I'll be buying the film!
Obra 67 (2013)
David S does it again
Obra 67 is a small gem. The trio of actors who carries the film does a great job in my opinion, and for me the only weak part is where *SPOILER* is when the crazy guy's secret is discovered; it's too cliché and I think it does not suit the realistic and almost melancholic tone of the rest of the film *END OF SPOILER*. Until this part, the film deserves a solid 7. The end raises the level of the story back up again. Of course, Dechent shows again what an amazing actor is, and David S tells another story with traces of Tarantino and reminds me of the main plot of Tough Guys (1986); it definitely remains in the memory of the viewer. Favourite scenes? Dechent in the nightclub and Pandy and Cerdy!
Cutting Moments (1997)
... is the main feeling that steams off this film, and it succeeds at it.
I have read reviews of people "disappointed" by the gore. I do not think that the intention of the film maker was to show off gore scenes or create a before-its-time torture porn.
The true value of the film is the never-told story and the good work of the actors. Again, many reviewers complain about them. I thought they did a good job, especially the wife. I felt myself feeling extremely sorry and sad for her.
The gory scenes made me flinch and cover my eyes; not so much because of the actual gore (anybody who's seen a Saw film has seen worse stuff than this) but because I did get attached to the characters and it felt real and sad.
To be honest, I would have liked to see less gore; everything else was good enough to stand on its own and there was no need to show a couple of things that (IMO) detracted the attention off the main story.