Tag Archives: Movie

Excision (2012)

24 May

Watching Excision is a bit like having a nasty, infected flesh wound.  You want to look away and stop picking at the damn thing, but you just can’t. The wound becomes more and more bloody, offensive and disgusting until finally it creates a lasting scar that stays with you forever.  But somewhere among all the blood and horror is a bit of playful fun – and that is where the movie thrives.

Bordering on John Waters-inspired trash-cinema, (we even get a cameo from the man himself), Excision is part coming-of-age story, part horror/comedy.  We see the story of a mentally disturbed girl who wants to become a famous surgeon, but she is trapped by her conservative mother and skeptical peers.  She is also obsessed with blood, dead bodies and loosing her virginity before her senior year of high school. What ensues when all these elements mix is a nice blend of campy dialogue, disturbing images, and teenage drama, with plenty of WTF moments injected in for good measure.

Stylistically, Excision is one of the coolest films of the year.  The bizarre images and scenarios culminate into an all-out freak-show, but unfortunately, the narrative falls flat after about 30 minutes.  There is no motivating drive for anything we see in Excision; no “rosebud” to keep things moving, and the film simply turns into a random-but-fun assortment of bizarre situations. When we do finally realize what is going on with the story, it is too late and the film ends at its most pivotal and dramatic moment.

Excision still has its interesting points though. The characters are all fun, especially the lead played by AnnaLynne McCord, and you can tell there is some smartness behind all the blood and gore.  Overall the film is best suited to fans of the camp/horror/comedy boat, although there is enough going on to keep most people entertained.

6/10 stars

Similar to: Bronson, Carrie, Teeth

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Upstream Color (2013)

17 May

Upstream Color isn’t simply a film which you go and see, but rather a film which one experiences.  And it was easily the most surreal, disturbing, emotional and provocative film experience I have had all year.  Shane Carruth, the mastermind behind the mind-melting 2004 Sundance hit Primer, wrote and directed this film, and he brings the same sense of mystery, ambiguity and cinematic exploration.

The film starts with a montage of sorts, displaying several boys collecting some sort of earthworms. We then skip around from a woman named Kris, a man named Jeff, a farmhouse with pigs, and a mysterious old man who enjoys recording different sounds.  We know something connects these characters, but we don’t really know what or how.  Upstream Color is a film that asks the audience questions that have no solid answers, thereby forcing us to come up with our own.
It’s also a film which tells its story through a visual language rather than a spoken one, following in the footsteps of films like The Tree of Life or 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Even if what we are seeing is senseless and bizarre, the cinematography is always beautiful, and the sounds and music of the film add to its unique and enchanting appeal. It is a real challenging film, both intellectually and emotionally, but never a dull one.

If you are someone who needs things explained and a concrete resolution to arrive by the time the credits roll  – this film will bore you to tears.  But if you want something different and can accept critical thinking, mystery, and open endings as an essential part of cinema, then I highly recommend Upstream Color.   I loved it.

9/10 stars

Similar to: The Tree of Life, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Antichrist 

Pain and Gain (2013)

8 May

Pain and Gain is the latest escapade from the infamous action-movie auteur Micheal Bay (Armageddon, The Rock, Transformers). Overall, though the film gained the typical critical backlash Bay is used to getting, I liked it. So sue me. Sure he has had a few misses over his career, but Micheal Bay still knows how make entertaining movies. Dwayne The Rock Johnson at his best. Overall the film is a goofy ensemble of events and ideas, but there are enough golden campy moments throughout to keep me satisfied.

6/10 stars

similar to: Fargo, Spring Breakers, In Bruges

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The Loved Ones (2009), The Warriors (1979), Thirst (2009), Lolita (1962)

20 Feb

I’m going to try and update this thing more regularly, even if it’s just a quickie review of something I have seen recently.

I’m also going to try and talk about classics as well as some of the newer stuff I get my hands on.

What I have been enjoying this past week:

The Loved Ones (2009)

– Holy smokes. what a twisted movie. It is not everyday you see a teen horror film that is so chilling, disgusting and fun.  After seeing last year’s Snowtown, I know for certainty that when it comes to the disturbing and macabre, Australians do it best. While it has it’s cliche’ moments and becomes a bit predictable, there are enough twists and WTF moments to make this stand out among others of the genre.

Similar to: Hostel,The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Snowtown

Rating: 6/10 

The Warriors (1979) 

– I finally got around to seeing this cult classic and, while it is a bit slow at first, The Warriors was an overly entertaining and satisfying movie. The stylized story about gangs in a post-modern NYC goes places I wasn’t expecting and the ending was fantastic. Also a huge fan of the film’s score and wonderful costumes.

Similar to: A Clockwork Orange, Brick, 

Rating: 7/10

Thirst (2009) 

I absolutely loved this movie.  Park Chan-wook is no doubt one of the best directors working today, and he demonstrates his knowledge and passion for filmmaking perfectly in Thirst.  The story revolves around a priest-turned-vampire who is desperately trying to tame his appetite for bloodshed while at the same time helping a family in need. The film is incredibly unpredictable and beautifully shot. If the thought of blood grosses you out, you are better off avoiding this entirely, but if you have a thirst for the dark and disturbing – of if your tired of seeing the same old vampire movie – give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Similar to: Let The Right One In,  Oldboy,

Rating: 8/10 

Lolita (1962) 

Finally managed to see Stanley Kubrick‘s iconic romance story about a man who falls for his landlord’s daughter.  Lolita is a superbly-writted drama and overall great film (but with a mastermind like Kubrick, what can you expect?).  The performances felt real and the characters are complex and interesting. Though it clocks in at over 2 hours the film never drags and you become immersed in the riske’ relationship between our protagonists.  I couldn’t help but thinking the entire time “how did they get away with filming this in 1962?”

Simmilar to: Eyes Wide Shut,  The Apartment, The Graduate 

Rating: 9/10 

so thats that. Any recommendations you have let me know! 🙂

Gangster Squad (2013)

8 Jan

Gangster Squad is to films noir what The Avegners was to superhero flicks.

It is loud, explosive, fast paced and just good ol’ crime-fighting fun. Sure, it’s not the most intellectual piece of cinema, nor the most dramatic. But Gangster Squad gets it ferocity from it’s fast-paced, episodic action sequences, and a slew of great performances.

The casting here is remarkable and the drama is cleverly paced with welcome bouts of comedic timing. Sean Penn, as the ruthless crime leader Cohen, is at the top of his game. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are great together and Josh Brolin makes a whole-hearted likable good-guy (for once).

Added to the film’s style is a pitch-pefect retro look and beautiful Matrix-esc action scenes. The story is catered to meet modern audiences, but is still reminiscent of great films noir and gives heaping doses of thrills and emotion.  This film packs a violent punch and though not genre-defining, Gangster Squad is one of the best crime films I have seen in a long time.

rating 7/10 

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Sundance Film Festival 2012 feature films and documentaries

4 Dec

The Sundance Film Festival announced the feature films and documentaries yesterday. I’m looking forward to seeing Chan-wook Park‘s Stoker, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon’s Addiction, and Sound City, a documentary about the digital music revolution.

382092_10151193956618515_1299375032_nfor the full list of films click the link below:

 

http://www.sundance.org/festival/release/2013-sundance-film-festival-announces-films-in-premieres-and-documentary-pr/