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A film who's creator knows no bounds of imagination
David Bowie introduces the first five minutes of Valerian, and perhaps its fitting we should have the Starman himself lead us into a glimpse of what the future could hold for humans and all interstellar life.By the time Mr. Bowie completes his Space Oddity, we've learned that the titular City of a Thousand Planets is the international space station hundreds of years in the future.suddenly, a peaceful seashell world is decimated without explanation.from there, Valerian and Laureline take over the action as two agents in pursuit of their stolen commander, and everything gets weird from there. Director Luc Besson is his own starman here, and he commands the world of Valerian with pizazz and passion. Not everything works, as our space agents wrestle dialogue that falls pancake flat; but the actors play well off each other and comedic moments succeed more than fail. The ending half of the film loses steam,except for Rihanna's literally acrobatic performance,but Valerian is a bonkers crazy, geeky, and likable space opera that can only come from someone who's imagination is truly free.
Madison County (2011)
Twisted little flick, big pig head
I've known of Madison County's existence for almost a year now. Since it's debut trailer, there was an immediate intrigue I had to the film. This looked like horror done down and dirty, raw in tone and quick with kills. A year later and I'm finally able to see if my suspicion was right. Well, I was. Madison County is a twisted little flick that spins an interesting mystery long before the kills begin.That may sound like a turn off for blood fiends, but with surprisingly likable characters and and a consistently uneasy atmosphere, County quickly shuttles you to the main attraction: Damien. He's weird, he's tall, wears a pig mask, and has a close bond with his ax. Damien is a real terrifying sight, and you get to see a lot of him. the most effective sequences in the film consist of Damien approaching his victims from yards away. Writer/director Eric England boldly places Madison County almost entirely during the day, and being able to spot Damien advancing through the distant trees is a thrilling image. While Madison County is not a perfect film (it has an amusing way of going through a horror film checklist) it really knows how to ratchet up tension and display some serious brutality and completely solid acting. it's a shame it didn't go theatrical, but at this point Madison County is the best horror home release since The Hills Run red two years ago.
Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Oh dear, here comes the yawn.
Well darn, at least Clash of the titans, while cheesy to a fault, entertained me. It was two years ago, and I left a theater mildly entertained but ultimately let down by horrid 3d effects and an underwhelming lead man in Sam Worthington. fast forward two years and here we are again, with expensive special effects and a two dollar script. it's not that Wrath is horrible, but it does not improve upon it's predecessor in any way, which is it's final downfall. Worthington seems more comfortable in the role this time(I spy a smile!) but the script denies him any time to flesh Perseus out.
In fact, the script let every actor down. Ares, portrayed by Edgar Ramirez, is hopelessly sullen and Fiennes' Hades has by far the worst lines in the film. Liam Neeson phones it in, with his beard doing most of the work. Also, Bill Nighy randomly shows up as Hephaestus, the keeper of the labyrinth, and while his kookiness is most welcome, he is granted around ten minutes screen time. And finally poor Rosemund Pike, playing a tough queen, gets knocked down and around by both monsters and a two dimensional character arc. Wrath of the Titans' only improvement is it's special effects, which are indeed quite amazing. Kronos, while suffering from short screen time, is an awesome sight, except for when he stands( too much torso, not enough leg). His arms of molten rock spew destruction everywhere, and you can see the money on the screen. Other titans fair just as well, but the director seems unsure of the effects work, and keeps the camera jittering along. Overall, Wrath really did nothing that Clash didn't do, and failed to truly entertain. the only time my heart beat fast during the movie was when the Prometheus trailer came on in 3d. That was the highlight of the film.
The Woman (2011)
Dark, brutal, heart-breaking
The Woman arrives on DVD and Bluray amidst almost a year of controversy and festival runs. The picture was accused of misogyny, horrific violence, and bad music. Two of these three things are true. Let's just say certain musical selections don't really make sense in a film of this subject, and the violence will surely have innocents running for the door. "The Woman" sports a deeply feminist view upon domestic violence and the domination of man over women in contemporary society. However the film does not focus it's killer's eyes on the disturbing, horrible men featured here. A crucial moment underlines the idea that we all have the power to change a lurid situation drastically, and if you do not seize that opportunity, you are just as guilty as an aggressor. My heart broke for all the women in this film, including the titular cannibal. They endure some of the worst male behavior ever seen in a suburban, or civilized, society and the violence that embeds the last half hour is blunt and brutal. Director Lucky McKee injects so much energy into this film, but he doesn't glorify the violence. It's the audience's choice, myself included, to crack a smile when certain characters get what's coming to them. Prepare to be made uncomfortable, disturbed, scared, and finally short of breath by The Woman.
Grim subject, beautiful set
Bereavement is the prequel to the film Malevolence, explaining the origins of Malevolence's serial killer. We are introduced to Martin Bristol, a special child who cant feel any physical pain. Taken from his backyard by local killer Graham Sutter, Martin is brought to Sutter's slaughterhouse, who then begins to teach the mute, horrified child the art of killing women. Years Later a girl named Allison moves in with her aunt and uncle close to the slaughterhouse, and a chance glance at an older Martin in a window sparks her interest to investigate. Wrong move.
What must first be said about this film is that it is grim. When you mix a serial killer, a child, pretty women, and multiple meat hooks you know the film will not end happily. The carnage dealt out by Sutter to random victims and eventually Allison and her family is brutal and presented in a chilly, matter-of-fact way. Not anything graphic but definitely brutal. What elevates the film from just a gore highlight is the fine acting from all involved. Alexandra Daddario takes the cake with her acting chops, expressive blue eyes that rival the eyes seen in the Underworld series, and an amazing body. She is put through a grueling endurance test of horror by Sutter (a great Brett Rickaby) and passes with flying colors. Michael Biehn should also be noted since, well, he's freaking Michael Biehn and rocks the screen whenever he's on.
However, the icing on this bloody cake is the Amazing cinematography and locations of rural PA. Rolling green grass, lonely dead trees, and blazing red sunsets can be found throughout Bereavement, and it evokes a strange combination of tranquility and underlying danger. Somewhere in those beautiful fields, a killer could be getting rid of his last victims remains. it's a chilling feeling that accompanies every scene of Bereavement. My only gripes with the flick are the usual lapses of logic that women seem to encounter whenever they are being hunted by the killer. Wise up sweeties, you got this! Despite that, this a great slasher tragedy, as I would call it, with one hell of an ending that packs an emotional wallop and I highly recommend it.
Shark Night 3D (2011)
A group of college friends are pursued by various species of sharks and redneck idiots in this horrendously bad theatrical "horror" film. I wish that was all I could say about this film but it honestly offended me. The story and background of all main characters were forced and horribly acted, save Sara Paxton and Katherine McPhee, the latter being the hottest of the bunch( yes, I had to switch to superficial looks to remotely enjoy this). Paxton's character is adorable but her relationship to the villains is just stupid, like an impossibly vapid Dawson's's creek episode. the sharks do not fare well either in this cinematic garbage.
How did these sharks get here? God knows but Joel David Moore states at the beginning of the film that "it's not impossible". Well there we go then! The sharks themselves are pitifully rendered and evoke absolutely no scares, just laughs. But is it enjoyable, comedic laughs I produce? No, it's a guffaw that I'm still sitting in my seat and not spearing the screen.
Two out of ten. One star each for the beautiful McPhee and Paxton. The rest can burn in hell.
Watching a crime scene
Human Centipede 2 is like watching a crime scene. Besides our nasty, degenerate villain in Martin, there is no character development at all. What is on the screen is just violent act after violent act, culminating in a slightly open ending. I was expecting to see some really horrible acts of violence against bodies, and that's exactly what I got. I didn't enjoy it one bit. However, I cannot deny the effect it had upon me. I had to watch the Simpsons for an hour following this film so I could feel normal again. Physically, this is the most disturbing film I've seen. I have seen worse in extreme cinema when you are actually invested in the characters, but that is impossible here. This movie is not for the squeamish at all, in fact a scene or two forced me to turn away and gag slightly. It sucks to admit that as I consider myself a seasoned genre fan, but yeah, certain parts were really freaking gross. Was there any tension? Well the first one elicited a few genuine scares but here, the fear is for what your eyes are going to be subjected to next. Watch at your own risk.
Really dumb fun
Let me begin this review by stating that I Loathed Wrong Turn 3. After two extremely solid entries, I was given Insipid acting, cgi blood from 2002, and characters I couldn't have cared less about. This crap resulted in me wanting to punch through my television. And yet, the thing sold so here we are with part four. Hoping producers realized that they made a mistake with 3, I was all in, until I saw 4 was by the same director. CRAP!! Or is it? Declan O Brian must have known his limits as a film maker, in turn attempting to inject a sense of fun into this entry instead of having idiot prisoners give moral speeches like the last. In varying degrees, he succeeds.
Wrong Turn 4 is stupid. REALLY STUPID. In fact it would take up all the space in this review to encapsulate all the mistakes the characters make throughout. Hell, I'm shocked these people were able to live outside the womb. But O Brian adheres to the hillbilly formula this time, instead of breaking it, and created one hell of a ride. The opening sequence is an astounding array of chaos and PRACTICAl effects and blood, which transforms into sleazy, campus sex with four of our main teens. After said nude introduction, the rest of the cast comes in and a wrong turn to a cabin is made. Put the pieces together. there is not much else to reveal except death spoilers, which I will not partake in. This flick is tailor made for gore-hounds, and they are the ones who ultimately will love this. being a gore-hound myself this film has serious replay value.For casual viewers; friends and a vast amount of beer is necessary for this to be a stupid,bloody,fun as hell romp through The West Virginian snow.
The Orphan Killer (2011)
Gory, interesting film
The Orphan Killer stumbled onto my conscience on Facebook like everyone else.I'm riding high on slashers now with Bereavement and Chromeskull out within weeks of each other, so I checked this out for honestly two minutes. I Thought, " screw it, my paycheck was big enough, buy and support low as hell budget films". A short wait brought the disc to my door and the film begins. I say this film is interesting because honestly, it's a somewhat "mute" film. An odd description as the movie's littered with loud music, but script is very spare without a ton of exposition, a slick move from a movie with a lot to explain. It also plays out almost in real time, so our main girl doesn't have much time to realize she's next on the kill list. The flashbacks are well timed and show a pretty original origin to our Killer that could easily warrant a prequel with funding.
Diane Foster plays Audrey, the killers sister. She is a formidable scream queen and also sexy as all get out, so no complaints here. When needed, the girl can kick serious butt; she's not leaving without a fight. everyone else in the film play sitting ducks waiting to get hacked to death, but there's nothing wrong with that. Supporting acting in horror films is always questionable, but overall the actors are decent gore fodder. Speaking of which, damn that Gore! Orphan Killer does not shy away from serious blood and limbs, tons of it! I wont spoil it but those searching for copious amounts of body parts will find it here. Overall, The Orphan Killer is a great addition to the new wave of slashers, and MAY BE gorier than the Laid to Rest films, I'll have to watch again to compare. Either way, don't mess with Marcus Miller The Orphan Killer.
Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 (2011)
A vastly Superior sequel, Late night Heaven!
When Laid To Rest came out, I thought I was in slasher heaven. The movie was no BS when it came to what it was about and solidly delivered the goods with gore. A few years later I revisited the film and realized a problem. I was too intoxicated with the gore when younger that I failed to see the horrendous acting. watching it again, I found myself cringing at almost every piece of dialogue. However I still liked the gore.
So here comes the sequel, which promised to be better and gorier, like all slasher sequels should. But I wanted to keep the expectations in check in case everyone stunk again.WRONG! Main girl Jess is very nice to look at and is a great scream queen, unlike the gratingly annoying girl from the first. Thomas Dekkar reprises his role and performs fine, but Jess is the main focus. Brian Austin Green steals the show when featured, I won't say his role but its massively entertaining.
With Chromeskull though, the main attraction is the gore. I write this review after viewing it on demand so I cannot tell if I saw the unrated, but WOAH, I'm more than sure I did. The body count reaches double digits, and every death is more elaborate than the next. not like Saw elaborate, but I've never seen blades used in so many shockingly graphic ways in one film. Director Robert Hall outdid himself here, it's just bloody beyond belief, really, and the energy keeps the film chugging along. There are also some legitimate scares and tension which Laid to Rest sorely lacked.
Did I have any problems with the film, sure, but they're too small to mention. See this if your a horror fan, and be prepared to see so much blood you'll be knocked back. Also, be sure to stay after the credits!
The Return (2006)
way better than expected
I just got back from The Return and loved it. It certainly wasn't amazing, but it was a huge cut above other movies like it. I went into this expecting a movie like Dark Water. More of a drama than anything scary. I was wrong. Return had a whole lot more scares than Dark Water, but had a story to back it up, not to say Dark Water didn't have any. Sarah's acting was a whole lot better than her other movies, which added to the scares. It was a bit confusing at times but the ending brought it all together. the scares were mostly jump moments, but the atmosphere and cinematography added on to them.Go and see this movie, but don't expect stupid scares like the Grudge 2, and enjoy the ride. The return was a well acted, slow moving yet wonderfully intense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
Rest Stop (2006)
Nice preview of what is to come
I had heard about Rest Stop a couple of weeks ago and had seen the cover art of the DVD, which had me sold. I then heard that it would be on Scifi to promote the DVD, but was skeptical. Watching it on TV could take out any shock value the DVD might have in store for its buyers. Deciding to watch Rest Stop on TV, it was an OK movie. My main issue with it was that it was severely edited. It was about 70 minutes where as the real version is 80 min. and the unrated edition is 85. The killer would appear for only a second, and had barely any presence. The gore parts were good, and the ghost/purgatory angle was interesting, it was just way too short. commercials kill everything. But, i fully intend on buying th unrated DVD.
Lady in the Water (2006)
Lady in the water, the newest film from M. Night Shyamalan, might just be his most original and most entertaining movie. There were so many things that were extremely likable. One great feature was the great array of characters. i have never laughed so much in a suspense movie because of characters. the level of suspense, or lack there of, is also a bonus of this movie. When Night wants to scare you, he will with his trademark creepiness and his jump moments. But many people have forgotten that this is a fairy tale, and when Night wants to be in awe of the original story, and trust him on its many twists and turns, he will make those moments very charming. There are many shots of the Lady, and sometimes she may just be standing there, but there is something very storybook-esque, that keeps your eyes riveted to the screen. The moral to this story is a very true one too. Finding your purpose on earth, and using the powers that were given to you to make everything better in life. There have been many movies that are shown during the summer season, but Lady stands out a a small fairytale that will charm you to the credits, and will have you thinking about it after the lights in the theater come up.
this IS a good movie! Kinda
This movie is so far being hailed as the worst movie of the year. Though many people think that is sucks, i say it doesn't. Let me start by saying that the acting is not all that great, besides Milla Jovovich. The story and script aren't that great either, and the special effects range from good to so-so. But that is what i love about it. The movie has a ton of great action sequences and all of it is color coordinated. the devices Violet uses is a little far fetched but they are SO cool, i mean a 0 gravity device used to ride a motorcycle on walls, now thats cool. Even though i pointed out some of the flaws, yes it has more, that is what makes it unique. It feels like a sci-fi movie from the seventies and i loved that feeling. Some of the lines were also so funny it sometimes felt like a satire of action movies. But we all know it was just a bad script. that is what i loved about this movie and i intend to see it again. i would recommend it to anyone that wants to have a senseless good time and wants to revisit the seventies.