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The Mind's Eye (2015)
Just like they used to make 'em!
Fantastic, fun, low budget, daft horror film made for peanuts. Just the sorta thing we here at Plop Towers love watching.
Written and directed by Joe Begos who also done the cracking Almost Human.
If you ask me, the horror genre, and films in general, need chaps like young Begos. People who won't let the lack of budget get in the way of telling a story, and doing so well.
Same goes for anyone who reads this, if you want the world to hear your voice, do it now. Don't wait for external endorsement, sponsorship or someone to hold your hand, it won't happen. You'll probably fail, but what do you wan't to say when your ticket's punched? You tried your best, or you thought about it a lot?
(Originally at www.filmplop.blogspot.com)
The Epic of Everest (1924)
Absolutely stunning film.
Comprised entirely of silent footage taken during the Mallory and Irvine expedition of 1924.
I doubt I'm revealing much of a spoiler when I say it didn't end well. Knowing the fate that befell the young men on the mountain, it makes the footage all the more poignant, particularly the early scenes featuring smiling, optimistic faces at the beginning of their challenge.
Although digitally remastered, it's hard to believe your watching footage that is (almost) a century old. The skies, the mountain peaks, and the small, close details captured on film look almost as fresh as anything from the modern era.
There is a subtle ambient soundtrack played throughout the film that really adds to both the impressive, otherworldly landscape of wonder and the creeping, inescapable finality of how it will play out. A strangely disturbing mix of the ephemeral and the eternal. (Easily the most pretentious thing I've typed in years!)
How things change, yet stay the same.
The -not strictly necessary, but still very welcome- sequel to Jake West's 2010 Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape. This one's a bit more detailed than the first film's overview, with in- depth interviews with some of the people who were arrested for possessing, copying and sometimes dealing the films on the banned list. As well as some of the people responsible for making the films included on the banned list and organising the festivals where they were screened.
For Brit film fans of a certain type and age, there's some nostalgia gold in this.
Thank golly we would never again have to suffer under a Tory government who would try and impose their morally superior control over the media us delicate plebeian ingrates can enjoy. All that dangerous, unregulated 'esoteric content' is out there for us to enjoy, unfiltered and free to view anonymously without anyone monitoring our choices.
Eh? What's that now? Oh.
So, yeah, buy a copy, it's cracking good stuff.
The Last of Us Fan Film (2013)
A Loyal tribute.
A little late to the party, I've recently been playing the brilliant PS3 game The Last Of Us. As with many popular video games, it has inspired a number of 'fan films' online. If you didn't already know, these are small, low budget, short films inspired by the original digit-pixel time- wasters. If you have a look on YouTube, there's thousands of 'em.
I done a search the other day and this one 'topped the charts', so to speak. Even if you haven't played the game, although it'll definitely help if you have, I think there's something to be enjoyed in this.
Set twenty years after a rather nasty fungal infection has decimated humanity, it focuses on Joel and Ellie making their way through a wasted, fading landscape, hoping to make contact with an underground resistance group called The Fireflies. The Fireflies have a medical team that can potentially harness Ellie's immunity to the infection and create a cure, ensuring humanity's survival. On the way they encounter numerous dangers both human and infected. A bit like The Walking Dead, but without the boring six months spent on a farm bit.
As someone who has spent a great deal of time watching films, playing games and making zero-budget splatter-flicks, I feel I can pass a relatively experienced eye over such endeavours.
Starting with the bad: The building used in the film is covered in graffiti. This makes no sense as the infection spread fast and would've left little time for decorative tagging. Lifting dialogue directly from the game feels a little forced when comparable scripting would have worked just as well. The guy playing Joel looks a little young and the girl playing Ellie looks a little mature. The 'Clicker' they encounter basically looks like a normal fella with a cake glued onto his face.
The good: The building used looks very much like the hotel in the game (the level it's based on), and considering this was made on a pocket-money budget, the graffiti is easily forgivable. Both the main actors capture the game's characters style and mannerisms very well. Idiots on YouTube complain that 'Joel' is too young and 'Ellie' is too old. Well, when it was made Jeff Moffitt was 47 and Kate McLeod was (a young looking) 20, so that's guff. They nailed it in my humble. The action choreography was spot-on. It caught the mood of the game. It looks great considering the almost complete absence of budget.
Have a watch, it's ace.
Originally posted at: http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/180614- last-of-us-fan-film-2013.html
Almost Human (2013)
Low budget horror film that tries to combine Invasion Of The Body Snatchers with Carpenter's The Thing and, surprisingly, does a very good job of it.
A chap with a beard disappears in a flash of light then he wakes up naked in a forest two years later. He changes a bit in the time he's gone, and instead of throwing himself a welcome home party with a big cake, he starts killing people and inserting alien eggs into their bodies via a long, fleshy egg-pipe that comes out of his mouth. It all gets very bloody and then ends.
It's absolutely straight-up, with nothing complex or contrived, just a decent, well made horror film with some excellent, splatty practical effects. The only flaw is some of the acting is a little weak, one character in particular is amusingly bad in some scenes, otherwise it's a real little cracker and worth seeking out.
Originally at http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/
Planet of Dinosaurs (1977)
The most profound experience ever committed to film.
loved this film as a kid. Although, like most children, I was a largely useless idiot who drew energy from sherbet and E-numbers, even then I had enough awareness to realise that the acting in this film is a relentless sensory pummelling of awful.
However, it does have dinosaurs in it, and at that age, that's all you need to make a film brilliant. Some years ago me and my brother went to see Land And Freedom, The Ken Loach film about a young Scouser who goes over to Spain to fight against fascism. As an adult, I could appreciate the nuances of the story and found the ending very emotional and poignant. As a child I would've found it boring. If there had been a version where the fifteen minute conversation about collectivised farming had ended with a Tyrannosaurus and a Triceratops kicking each other's balls off, I would've loved it. Point is, if you drop dinosaurs in any old crap, pre-teen boys will love it. Hence why, I loved this film as a nipper, even with performances that could fairly be used as a litmus standard of terrible.
Also, if this film didn't have dinosaurs in it, it would just be called 'Planet'. That would be rubbish.
Anyway, in this thundering mud-baby of brilliance, a group of people are flying through space in a plastic model spaceship, it goes wrong so they get in a plastic escape cup and fall onto the dino-globe.
They then spend about 80% of the film walking, occasionally stopping to forget their dialogue and battle with some amusing stop motion plasticine lizards who have trouble retaining size continuity from shot to shot.
The effects are actually not too shabby here and there and it looks like the sculpting of the creatures was the only part of the film where any money and effort was expended.
If nothing else, it's worth seeing for the range of moustaches involved and the acting.
Originally at: http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/230213-planet-of- dinosaurs-1977.html
What Richard Did (2012)
A mostly excellent Irish film about a double murderer (one gerbil, one human) and the effect that seemingly small acts can have in the immediate and long term.
The Richard of the title is an 18yr old lad from a good family living in an idyllic portrait of youth: beach parties, disposable income, good looks, popularity, mobility and a bright looking future.
One night, he attends a party where alcohol blurs perception and emotions run high, leading to an (unintentionally) fatal confrontation. The remainder of the film is an exploration of how Richard deals with the repercussions of his actions and highlights the burden of guilt he carries.
The acting, by the whole cast, is superb, and elevates what could be a mundane film into the realms of a highly recommended one.
Originally posted at: http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/050213- what-richard-did-2012.html
Killing Them Softly (2012)
Retro style crime thriller
Slow-burner crime flick that's thankfully free of the usual action film silliness.
Two low level goons rob a card game run by the mob and, by making off with the wedge, apparently cause the city's 'criminal economy' to collapse.
It's a rather heavy metaphor of American economics and the wealth divide that comes with unshackled capitalism, set in 2008 the Bush/Obama electoral race plays out in the background to reinforce this. The plot of the film itself is an obvious micro-study of America's wobbly fiscal position, Brad Pitt's final sentences in the film sum it up well.
Although set in recent times, the film seems to make a strong effort to look like something from past decades. Aside from the election race footage (seemingly on every screen passed in the film) there is one brief shot of a mobile phone, everything else: clothes, hairstyles, cars, even the weapons used are far less era specific, giving the film a drab 1970s look. The retro look suits the film's throwback vibe, it's far more about dialogue and acting than crash-visuals and violence fetishism. Y'know, like film's used to be.
Originally at: http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/301212-killing- them-softly-2012.html
The Devil's Business (2011)
Two hit men arrive at a house under instruction to kill the guy who lives there. They sit around talking waiting for him to get home, one of 'em goes for a Pooh just as he gets back. Timing, eh?
The cast, all four of them, are very good, especially Billy Clarke as Pinner, the elder, experienced hit-man. His unblinking 10 minute monologue is flipping ace, a great, weighty centrepoint of the film. The majority of the runtime is the verbal exchange between the two hit men, there is gore and jump scares but they're not over used and the script will hold your attention as it creates a nice creeping tension.
The only weak point is the very end of the film, without giving anything away, it gets, we thought, a little silly. It's a let-down, but a forgivable one as the hour leading up to it was so enjoyable and well made.
Well worth a purchase/rental!
Anthology horror film. The wraparound is about a bunch of petty criminals who are told to break into a house and steal a VHS tape. Obviously by someone who still thinks it's 1998.
They get in the house and find a bum-load of tapes and a dead bloke. Rather than doing anything logical, they decide to watch some of the tapes. The film breaks into five standalone mini-flicks. All of them, to varying levels of contrivance, use the found footage format.
I actually like the found footage thing, it can be very effective, Blair Witch was great and the little known Brit film Exhibit A was excellent, nasty stuff. The style works particularly well in horror where it can cut corners by having stuff 'just happen', things need less explanation when they are witnessed by incidental cameras rather than framed in a traditional narrative. However, this film does feel like it's a little late to the party.
Anyway, the first and last are the best efforts, the middle three feeling a bit like filler, although all entertaining enough.
As with Trick 'R' Treat a few years ago, this film seems to have got the horror fans foaming at the arse with excitement, every review praising it beyond its true merit. I think this is indicative of the dull lack of originality in the horror genre these days. It's a good, entertaining film, but in no way a future classic.
Meh, that'll do.
Originally at: http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/100812-vhs-2012.html
The Collapsed (2011)
Slow, but with a nice creeping tension.
*Spoilers are very mild* Low budget Candian film (IMDB says $150,000. If that's Canadian dollars, that works out at about five shillings) that follows a family as they amble through a seemingly limitless countryside, trying to find somewhere safe after an unspecified apocalyptic event.
The slow reveal as to the nature of the event is where the film eventually concludes, in a somewhat less than cheery fashion.
It's well shot, well acted and well paced. The only flaw, and I'm willing to forgive it considering the budget, is the free-form sounding, trumpet-heavy soundtrack. Although I might just dislike trumpets.
I've decided, yup, trumpets are definitely bastards. So you should seek this out and give it a go. It's good.
8.5/10 Originally at: http://filmplop.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/160512-collapsed-2011.html
Day of the Dead (2008)
I am still shaking in awe of this film!!!
On a horror website I frequent, many people posted derogatory comments about this film. The site's owner said that the worse people insulted the film, the more people are likely to part with their hard-earned to see it. Such is the strange world of horror websites. Well, with that in mind, I'd like to wholeheartedly recommend this absolute flippin' masterpiece.
The narrative, framed in a style that some would consider 'poor', 'amateurish' or 'atrociously bad' I consider to be a learn-by-example of unparalleled genius. It challenges our conceptions of what makes for good cinema, or even 'entertainment', and offers, instead, a story-structure and pace that allows one so much interpretation. As a viewer you will look deep inside yourself, back and forward through time, out of the window, in your pockets... Pretty much anywhere but the screen while it's on. SUCH is the profundity of the Day Of The Dead 2008 experience.
The performances are, in a word, acting. There are many other words that could be used, but I think the director should be applauded for making use of people from the 'special communities'. Their unique interpretations of emotional responses are brave, their struggle evident in every laboured motion and word. It almost brings a tear to the eye, especially when comparing this to the original D.O.T.D. which relied so heavily on such conventional approaches to acting. These are the kind of challenges we should confront ourselves as viewers of high class cinema.
Scares? Well, in the original, we had the hands coming out of the wall, Dr Tongue, the amazing Rhodes death scene, the metaphorical, regan-era cold war tension between science and military, the oppressive gloom of the miles of underground tunnels filled with the groaning dead. This version does away with such things, instead employing a cast of utterly lovely photogenic models barely out of their teens. Surely this, more than anything Romero has ever done, reminds us to be cautious of our collective attitudes towards the increasingly disposable nature of society, how living for now, and only caring about image and asthetics will surely come back and bite us. The lack of gore just reinforces the fact that beauty is only skin deep and looks fade with age... or infection from a zombie bite. In this one, the zombies can also climb on walls and stuff. Which is also brilliant. And not at all rubbish.
To summarise, this is the best film ever made in the history of all existence and should be experienced by everyone at least one thousand times. In NO WAY is it a cynical exploitation of focus group, corporate demographic mentality, created entirely for audiences of pubescent, text-speak, MySpace idiots who will whoop at any bright colours and loud noises like a bunch of hollering sub-cretins in dire need of having some real life punched into their vacant, teenage, mouth-breathing faces.
Yes, please see it. You wont regret it.
Kiss of Death (2008)
In my opinion, the BBC are the finest public broadcasters in the world. Creators of some of the best television ever made. Kiss Of Death, however, is rubbish and an example of an unfortunate trend in the BBC's output.
I can understand their desire to emulate the slickness and pace of U.S. television, in particular crime dramas and proceduals. The BBC try and import this style in Kiss Of Death and give it the Blighty spin, keeping the high-tec, super-slick, jump-cut, fractured-timeline, low attention span style of a show like CSI but managing, somehow, to lose all the qualities that make such shows entertaining. The style just doesn't suit British T.V. and often results in an embarrassing cross-culture mess. Like Kiss Of Death.
Casting in this was very questionable.
Louise Lombard (who has actually been in the aforementioned CSI) played the leader of the investigative team. She portrayed the role competently but flatly. The background story of her character was predictable cliché. Domestic tragedy, broken marriage, emotionally troubled blah, blah, blah. Me, I think she got the role because the producers wanted someone who offered maturity combined with a photogenic looks.
Danny Dyer played the second in command type figure, a role entirely unsuited to his style (which appears to be, er, playing himself). In the right role he can be pretty good, this isn't it. The thing is, to play the aggressively weary, experienced cop you need someone who doesn't look like a cheeky 12yr old delivering his lines like a school bully on an E-numbers rush. Oh, and what was with the ambiguosly framed shoulder holster? Gun? Mobile phone? Sandwich? Attempt to create a slight edge to his character which'll help foreign distribution deals? The (now essential in all crime shows) profiler was given some of the blandest dialogue you can imagine. "This is a message to us", "He's making a point" and so on. This poor fella's lines really exposed the biggest weakness of this opening episode; the script.
The plot itself was derivative and formula offering nothing new to the genre. This show also suffered from the terrible BBC 'in house' promotion that so much of it's recent output champions. The only news channel witnessed was BBC, the only O.B. news van at the crime scene was BBC... I know the unique nature of the BBC prevents commercial branding and product placements, which is fantastic and one of the reasons why I still believe in them and happily pay my T.V. license fee, yet they could easily drop in something fictional here and there. I'm just surprised they didn't nudge in a plug for the execrable Dr Who. Still, it was only the first episode.
In conclusion, this was a weakly made, terribly scripted, unoriginal, sack of crap that suffered hugely from style over content.
Harsh? Maybe, but as someone who champions what the BBC do and as a license fee paying viewer I find the increasing trend towards this kind of lightweight pap rather deppressing. The BBC can do drama very well, not in this case though.
Bereft of quality, class, humour, originality... And any other positives.
Opinion? Why certainly.
It's a right old sack of tits.
For some reason I was hoping this would be good, but no, it's just the same frickin' film I've seen ten times this year already. Redneck town, pseudo-inbred family, creepy locals, sinister sheriff blah, blah, blah. Admittedly, that can sometimes make for an entertaining flick, such stuff has done in quite a few films, but when every single character in a film is so damn 'off the peg', so devoid of any originality, it's just tedious.
The acting is truly pathetic. The cast consists of two brothers, one of whom made me want to drive spoons into my eyes within 30 seconds of him first talking. I soon realised that driving spoons into his eyes would be far more pleasurable. I waited and hoped, but sadly he remained un-spooned for the entire, painfully long (or so it seemed) running time. This guys generic, whiney, 'wise cracking' slacker portrayal was utterly flat. Dislikeable without any redeeming features. His older brother was slightly more tolerable, but equally bland. They are joined by two friends: a token frat boy and his forgettable bimbette girlfriend. After about twenty minutes, they are also joined by another girl, a camper they meet whose friend you see killed, graphically but boringly, at the start of the film.
The killer is just completely meh. He's a lumbering half-wit whose defining trait is that... He kills people with assorted tools and weapons, mostly whilst listening to an old song (which itself just grates after hearing it once). These killings also get filmed for some kind of cottage-industry snuff collection.
He likes to wear a wielding mask whilst killing. Instantly as iconic as Jason's Ice Hockey mask, Myers Shatner mask, or Freddy's hat and glove combo. Or, possibly, just a chap in a wielding mask. In a very, very bad film.
Without wanting to be overly unfair about the guy who plays the killer... Well, he's not the speediest looking chap in the film and it surprises me that he manages to kill so many young, healthy people without meeting much in the way of resistance. Tip for anyone planning on going camping within the weak reality these films inhabit: Run, occasionally. It's what your body will be telling you to do and, as a race, it's served us well for many years when confronted by, y'know, danger and stuff.
The main 'selling point', for want of a better expression, is that this film has some very graphic gore.
So. Damn. What? Gore, when done for the sake of gore needs to be really good to be entertaining. One scene, the one that people seem to be talking about, is that a guy gets one of his testicles popped by mask-boy, with a pair of pliers.
How shocking! Or, just boring, post-Eli Roth, 'Look how extreme we are!' crap. A couple of weeks ago, I watched the French film 'Inside'. That was as gory as this but benefited from being well acted, well paced and nasty in a way that is genuinely shocking rather than just cynical and boring. Which this film is.
I'm so bored of tepid dreck like this, and I apologise for going off on one, but I'm increasingly feeling like the horror genre is destroying itself by letting so many films like this come to the fore and becoming, sadly, increasingly representative of the genre.
Stuff this film.
Cold and Dark (2005)
As feeble as a drugged infant.
For the most part, as well as the fact that I'm very lazy, I'll just agree what most of the other negative reviews have said.
There was a few moments of good camera work and one or two effects scenes that worked OK. But that's enough of the positives.
My biggest problem with this film is Luke Goss's narration. What the hell? His accent when on-screen appears to be a blend of his normal one and Eton educated posh kid.
However, during the narration, it appears to change considerably and consistently. From what I can tell he is trying to sound American.
It just sounds like an embarrassing combination of Brooklyn cab driver and confused Welshman.
In short his accent, like the rest of this film, is awful.
It frustrates me that the UK has such potential when it comes to film making, yet every film we make tries so damn hard to appeal to the American market. This is a shame for both us and any actual American audience that would like to see authentic British films.
To be honest, I think people could film something better on a mobile phone.
Shows promise, loses pace.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS!!! I thought it started off very well. A novel idea, playing on the standards of both alien and revenge films. Kept me gripped for about 40 minutes... Then, well, I dunno. Seemed to lose a lot of the tension.
Also, during the film, much was made of the 'If we kill just one of them, they will kill all of us thing' the main chap said "It wouldn't even be a war, they'd just annihilate us" Right, fair enough. When, during the final part of the film, they (they aliens)attack the house, they do it by breaking the windows and doors with their hands. That'd be a pretty damn slow annihilation. One farmhouse at a time. And they seem to have they same resistance to nine-millimetre bullets as we do... Formidable foe? Or intergalactic, drunken teenagers? I've seen worse in pub car parks.
Still, it is was refreshing in it's novelty, and I can understand the defenders of this film.
Dead Men Walking (2005)
Better than so many of the recent efforts.
Dead Men Walking...
Nope, not the Sean Penn film where he plays a killer with hair so fantastic it deserved it's own billing, but a play on the prison term used when someone walks the 'Green Mile'. (Oh gosh, I watch too many films). Y'see, after a 'bio-toxin' (YAWN!) infects a guy who gets sent down, he unintentionally spreads it, and before you know it, the whole place is crammed with zombies in denim.
I speak as someone who had a passion for zombie films a long time before 28 days later and Dawn Of The Dead 04 re-fired the collective film going interest in them, but for fuggs sake, it's getting a little tedious now. It seems that everyone with a camcorder and a pot of latex is trying to make their own un-dead classic.
Me included. Bugger.
The difference between most of them and this film, is that the script, at times, struggles bravely to throw in the odd good, or believable line. The gore is pretty fun, and the whole thing almost over comes its obvious budgetary restraints to turn into something quite worthy.
Well, I liked it.
It was great!!! Nah, only joking. 'Twas awful.
Made for approximately the price of a newspaper, this film is (I believe) the fifth in the series. A fair comparison is the films of Kevin Smith. No, I don't mean they are funny, interesting and original, I mean that each one is probably only half as good as the one before it. And at least Smith started with the awesome 'Clerks'.
This film was made in Eastern Europe and pretends to be in America. The fact that even the women speak like Vladimir Putin make this quite obvious. The acting is comparable to children in a playground, running around with water pistols. But without the imagination. This film also has the second worse piece of dialogue I've seen in recent times. (For the worst, see 'Unleashed/Danny The Dog: "My mother, she was a whore.") A man stares at the shapely rear of his co-worker and says "Nice pooper".
I have a question for any women who might read this: If, during my highly libidinous single years, I had approached you, looked round back, and then smilingly said "Nice pooper", would I have got anything apart from a slap?
Nope. Didn't think so. Avoid unless in the company of drunken, giggly friends or you're feeling particularly masochistic.
Blood Gnome (2004)
A work of unparalleled genius.
Aah, Blood Gnome.
A surprising film.
A film of contradictions and surprises. I was expecting a standard poor quality horror film, the usual combination of poor acting, poor effects and exploitative content.
No, instead the viewer is forced to confront ones own beliefs in "reality", "self" and "gnomes".
A considered study in social norms, conformity, ostracism and the need for acceptance. All played beautifully through the perspective of the central character, the 'Gnome'. (Played here, with profound gravitas, by a plastic gnome)
He tries his hardest to fit in, his efforts are universally met with rejection, dis-trust and bare hatred.
Who hasn't felt like that at some point or another? Inside all of us, there is, at times, a troubled gnome.
In these times of societal divisions, a relevant film indeed.
The final words left me weeping like a beaten drunkard. Realising the folly of his efforts, Gnome's last words, before expiring- "Gnomebud".
Not a dry eye in the...
OK, I'll stop. I realised that I couldn't muster up an opinion on the ACTUAL film beyond the words: "As absolutely terrible as it sounds".
A confused mess about the S&M bondage scene, and a demonic gnome. Also, the version I saw, had the last twenty minutes missing.
Still, looking forward to the remake: "Plasma Pixie".