Sunday, February 11, 2018

Short Film Review: Side Effects (2018)

Zombie movies and the genre of comedy are not exactly strangers to each other. Ever since George Romero provided us with the first true vision of the brain-eating (or general human body-eating) brain-dead ghouls, humanity was hooked on this idea and rightly so. Unlike many other genres of horror, zombie one comes with a subtle disclaimer that this is not the most serious topic in the world.

Sure, they can come with truckloads of drama and The Walking Dead as a TV show epitomizes this premise. But, below the surface, we all kind of gets that walking corpses looking to eat the living aren’t exactly an expression of existential philosophy.

Jonathan Vargas as the writer and director of Side Effects, a short zombie movie, did not have any dilemmas about making his premise both zombified and ridiculous. In the movie, a small hustler and self-proclaimed ladies’ man ends up in trouble when he can’t repay the money he owns to the wrong people. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Indie Showcase: Pure the Movie Series (2018)

A new movie series is available on Amazon and it provides a gritty story set on the unforgiving streets of Buffalo, New York. Here is the official movie description of Pure the Movie Series:

Pure an action packed movie-series about the streets of Buffalo New York. The first part of this drama identifies with a hustler named Nevada who is wise beyond his years. After robbing one of the city's most respected gangsters, he and his crew had a plan to take over but in order to do so, they must work for the enemy.

As a tale about tough individuals who are fighting for their right to survive and thrive, Pure The Movie Series seems really interesting. For me, it carries a strong resemblance to works like the HBO TV show The Wire and many other great contemporary crime dramas.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Short Film Review: The Defector (2017)

Menacing. If The Defector was any single emotion, it would be pure, unfiltered sense of menace. Like a bus with that might or might not carry a suicide bomber, this short film expertly racks up the tension without doing too much. Instead, it allows its conflicting ideas to battle between each other in the mind of the viewer, while it desperately tries to latch onto some character. Who is justified in his action and who is the real menace? Defector leaves the audience guessing as the story quickly moves through its plot. 

The film follows the real-life figure of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt as he engages with his security chiefs about the Reds, individuals suspected of working against the state. However, Holt has his own agenda and begins to explore one of the secret treads, culminating in a single night of dangerous confrontation, which the film depicts.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Two Paragraph Review: Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Copyright: RLJE Films
I went in with big expectations when I started watching Brawl in Cell Block 99. S. Craig Zahler, its author, and I really mean author because the man wrote, scored and directed the film, completely mesmerized me with his previous film, Bone Tomahawk. Now, the story of a weird Wild West is exchanged for the universe of drug pushers and the things they willing to do to protect their loved ones. Also, it uses Vince Vaughn in his best form as the main character who finally provided his career with the thing he should have gotten from True Detective.

But, while it’s a fun and gritty movie, Brawl in Cell Block 99 is basically a reskinned Bone Tomahawk. Its first half features a long exposition and plenty of character building, which then drastically switch at one point, landing its protagonist in hell (again). From there, he has to fight to find salvation (again). While this is loose setup, it still feels very repetitive and for me, takes away a lot of points for this otherwise promising weird thriller. Zahler needs to mix it up a bit for his next film because this formula is getting a bit stale.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Indie Showcase: Hongo (2017)

For any independent movie, there is always the dilemma of how should a particular film present itself. Should it be flashy and shocking from the first moment, trying to catch the viewer with this effect alone? Or should it try to play it cool and slow, allowing the viewer to gradually become immersed?

Hongo, made by the Misguided Perceptions Media Group is an interesting movie that apparently uses a little bit of both approaches. The film tells the story of a convict that get paroled and released into a world where he ends up struggling just to get by. Desperate for any option, he listens to the recommendation of this parole officer and contacts a man who offers him a job.

At this point, the film takes a sudden and menacing. In an unknown open space, he and other individuals are placed in a surreal, but a very deadly situation.  As their plight begins, so does the film take a step into a horror-thriller domain.

Aside from an interesting plot, Hongo features great cinematography, with excellent shots of serene nature, which is a complete contrast to the frightened and desperate character. The film also features really cool editing, especially when it comes to its action-drive second part. The trailer clearly shows this fact near its very end with a great jump-scare.

All of this makes Hongo a very promising gender-bending film that you should check out. If you want to learn more about the movie and where you can watch it, use this link.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Documentary: An Inflammatory Approach (2017)

Copyright: Dreamscape Media
The place where Western pharmaceutical and medical practices meet and clash with those outside of the same realm is always an interesting one. Teddy Hayes, a UK filmmaker recently explore the same domain when he traveled to India to meet a doctor who developed a completely new approach aimed at resolving inflammatory illnesses. The result is a fascinating film called An Inflammatory Approach and here’s what the documentary page states:

A medical discovery offers an alternative treatment to inflammatory-related diseases. Bobbili, India is where the work of Dr. Apparao Peddapalli has reaped incredible medical results despite business-related conspiratorial challenges-specifically the systematic discounting of his proven results by government and global pharmaceutical companies.