Saturday, April 27, 2013

ABC's of Death (2013)

Nine Things About the Movie The ABC’s of Death

  1. This is perhaps the most unique movie of 2013.

  1. It’s an interesting setup. 26 directors from around the world were given a letter of the alphabet. They picked a word starting with that letter, and then made a short film about that word that incorporates death. They were given complete artistic freedom to make whatever they wanted.

  1. The movie spans cultures, times, countries, and topics. Some are more conventional, and some are pretty extremely out there. Some are serious, some are funny.

  1. The movie has been criticized for being too uneven. I’m not sure that’s a legitimate criticism. We have 26 different movies by 26 different directors. Each one has its own style and technique. Now having said that, some films were definitely better than others.

  1. There are some minor masterpieces, absolute gems, sitting in this infernal alphabet. Some are burned into my mind, whether I want them there or not.

  1. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but there seems to be a thread involving toilets, poop, or farts weaving its way through the films.

  1. There were more giant penises than I expected.

  1. If there was an award for “weirdest film” in this anthology, it would definitely go to Japan. Of course. No other country is quite in touch with their inner freakiness as them.

  1. I don’t recommend this to most people - it’s pretty violent, bizarre, and it goes to bad places that no mainstream film would ever consider.  But for those with more... unusual tastes, this can be a good time.

The Quiet Ones (United Kingdom, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie The Quiet Ones

1.For a horror movie, The Quiet Ones is well-named.

2. It’s set at Oxford University in 1974. A professor has custody of an insane young woman who thinks she’s possessed. The professor hires three young assistants to help him with experiments to “cure” her.

3. The professor believes that the girl isn’t really possessed, but does have telekinetic powers that she doesn’t understand or know how to control. His experiments are basically psychological and physical torture techniques that will upset the girl enough to let out her “demon” so they can discover what’s really going on.

4. As the movie progresses, and the girl can’t get her demon to come out, the young assistants begin to suspect that maybe the whole thing is a hoax, or that the professor is obsessed with the girl.

5. The movie gets points for actually talking about real science and hypotheses, and how experiments can be contaminated. It’s also cool to watch the 1970’s setting and scientific technology.

6. The actual story is pretty interesting. But it’s not very scary; it’s more of a drama. So the director had to put in a few stupid “jump scares” just to make something happen.

7. The movie does a good job of building a creepy, moody drama where you aren’t sure exactly what the deal is. After awhile, the possessed girl seems less threatening than the professor in charge of her.

8. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t know how to end - the “solution” just comes out of nowhere to tie things up in a sudden and shocking way. It basically makes the rest of the movie pointless. I don't really even understand what happened.

9. As a psychological drama, this is a pretty interesting, stylish story. But as a horror movie, it’s at first kind of boring and then rather ridiculous.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Room (USA, 2003)

Nine Things About the Movie The Room

1. Oh hi!

2. Before I saw this film for the first time, all I really knew is that some critic called it "the Citizen Kane of bad movies". I thought the hyperbole was amusing. 
But whoever the critic was, they were dead right. That's the only way to describe this jaw-dropping cinematic black hole.

This is supposed to be a romantic drama about a man engaged to a woman who doesn't love him anymore and who starts sleeping with his best friend.

Like "Citizen Kane", this movie is the brainchild of one man. Tommy Wiseau wrote, produced, directed, and stars in it. And like Orson Welles, this is Wiseau's first film. But it's the anti-matter version. For everything that Welles did brilliantly, Wiseau does idiotically. It's like Wiseau (who obviously has a thing for Tennessee Williams) took a crash course in filmmaking... and misunderstood every lesson.

5. Wiseau also clearly has a thing for Tennessee Williams. He consciously tries to imitate the feel and story themes of the famous playwright. Too bad he makes a complete mockery of things.

6. Let me make this perfectly clear. There are not just a couple of things wrong with this movie, there are literally hundreds. From the acting, to the script, to the technical production, the whole thing is like an atom bomb waiting to go off. An atom bomb made of spoons.

7. There is no way to adequately describe this film. The main star, Wiseau, has the body and and acting ability of a reanimated corpse. Now combine that with the dialogue's rampant non-sequiturs, the anonymous characters, the plot holes big enough to throw footballs through, and the apartment's mysterious doorways. 

8. This movie must be experienced to be appreciated. It makes you feel drunk or stoned, even when you are totally sober. It will be tearing you apart before you know it.

9. The Room is famous in underground cinema circles, and has attracted a cult following not seen since The Rocky Horror Picture Show,  For better or worse, your life will not be the same once you've seen it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Raid 2: Berendal (Indonesia, 2014)

Nine Things about the Movie The Raid 2: Berendal 

1. In 2012, one of the greatest martial arts action movies ever made was released. It was called “The Raid: Redemption”. Unfortunately, being an Indonesian film with subtitles, very few people in America saw it. It became a cult classic among action movie lovers. If you have seen the first movie, you can pretty much stop reading the review right here and go see this one. Yes, it’s that good. It’s the most badass movie of the year.

2. This movie continues the story of Rama, the cop that survived the first movie. It starts out exactly where the first movie ended, so if you haven’t seen the first one, you are going to be pretty lost for awhile. And yes, it’s still Indonesian, and still has subtitles.

3. In this movie, Rama is “persuaded” to help find more dirty cops by going undercover and joining the ranks of a crime syndicate. Then the mayhem begins.

4. The action in this movie is just as good, if not better than, the first movie. The choreography of the fight scenes are gorgeous and almost like a ballet.

5. The violence in this movie is brutal, bloody, and beautiful. It has the highest body count since, well, the first movie. It’s not for pacifists, or those who can’t stand the sight of blood.

6. The cinematography is exquisite. Sometimes the camera is focused on extreme close-ups; other times it soars over and through the action like a deadly angel. The set designs are elegant and stylish.

7. Sure, there are some silly parts - the bad guys tend to forget they have guns and decide to fight Rama in hand-to-hand combat. But that’s all part of the bone-cracking, spine-ripping fun.

8. The movie is two and a half hours long, which is rare for an action picture. That’s because in between the fight scenes there is a lot going on. There are double-crosses, counter-crosses, and accidental crosses. It’s a lot to keep track of.

9. This is a hyper-violent, stylish work of action art, made for people who enjoy extreme, over-the-top action. If you’ve seen “The Raid: Redemption”, you need to see this one. If you haven’t seen the first movie, then you need to correct your mistake, go watch it, and then see this one.