Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Two Paragraph Review: Hostiles (2018)

There’s something about this film that I can’t quite put my finger upon. It is something elusive, barely visible and still impacting the entire experience of watching it. But, while I cannot pinpoint it, what I am certain is that it stops the film from being really impressive. Instead, it makes it linger between the average and the good categories, as something that belongs in neither one. Its story is about a late 19th century US army captain who escorts a family of native prisoners to their new home. He does this after many years of bitter US-Native fighting and crooked peace deals, now apparently nothing more than a jaded and violent officer, masterfully played by Christian Bale.

Now, why is the film lacking in such distinctive, slight and yet undeniable manner? It is not that the film features or forces some particular type of political message that would make it feel fake, even though it does tend to pile blame more towards the white settlers (no argument here from the historical perspective). The problem lies, for me, in those little cracks and fissures that appear from time to time, mostly in the script. A sappy moment here, an injection of banality there. At the same time, unlike small masterpieces of new-western like Bone Tomahawk, the film takes itself excruciatingly seriously. Thanks to this, it ends up missing the mark for me - not completely, but evidently. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Indie Showcase: Forbidden Power (2018)

Forbidden Power seems like an ambitious movie that is mixing an interesting blend of genres. Here is how the film described its plot:

After a one night affair with a mysterious woman, a young man wakes up alone, empowered and with a cryptic message. He uses his power in business and then searches for the women to find out where her power came from.

The movie is written and directed by Paul Kyriazi, an industry veteran with more than four decades of movie business experience. This is probably the reason why he decided to combine things like science fiction, thriller, action, and mystery, each of which is a big challenge for independent production.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Two Paragraph Review: A Quiet Place (2018)

The thing that makes A Quiet Place such an original experience is the fact that it takes away a single element of regular cinematic work - speech. It keeps many of the other sounds, like ambiance noise and even music. Yet, when it comes to human speech, the thing we hear so much in almost any movie genre - there is almost none. At the same time, the plot is full of an intensity of character interaction, especially those coming from Emily Blunt, all of whom are members of a US family stuck in a post-apocalyptic setting where making a loud sound means a certain death.

With this reduced process of storytelling, the movie managed to be a small marvel of cinematic greatness. Devoid of speeches and dialogues, it creates an engaging thriller/horror story while building a family drama in the background. Mixing all of this in some gorgeous cinematography, A Quiet Place is really a great example of successful innovation coming from mainstream Hollywood production.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Film Review: Brokedown (2018)

There is one word that perfectly describes the new indie thriller-horror Brokedown by Pole Star Studios - this word is “rough”. At first, this might sound like an overly simplistic description of a film that clearly has a lot of time and effort invested into it. Its runtime of about 90 minutes is packed full with a complex script and a storyline of multiple threads that weave into a single cohesive mesh at its very end. There is a clear sense that the film’s director and writer, John Reign, just like the cast, placed a lot of time and effort into the film. Yet, in spite of this, the roughness of the movie is the thing that left the biggest impression on me.

The movie premise is simple and will be familiar to most of the fans of the US cinematography. In it, a punk-rock couple of Stormy and Jason head off from a concert Jason just had. Immediately after it, in the midst of a heated argument, he proposed to his girlfriend and they decided to speed home to share the news. However, in their return journey, they come across a gas station deep in a place that can be only described as mountain hillbilly central. An altercation with a group of local men sets the stage for a bloody and tension-riddled film.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Two Paragraph Review: Mute (2018)

It's hard to tell for sure where Mute was trying to go and what was its director, the brilliant Duncan Jones, trying to do. As a cyberpunk tale set in the undefined period in, I guess, the future, it has all the hallmarks of a noir story. The movie showcases a mute main character that gets his love taking from him, a group of odd persons from the margins of society as supporting characters and some weird new pieces of tech everyone is using.

The result is something that is an unholy mix of Strange Days and Southland Tales, but which features all of the failed quirkiness of the later film. It might sound strange, but Mute is a movie that is somehow completely devoid of charm and it kind of needs it. In fact, it needs it bad, like many science fiction films that are high concept pieces. This one is a film like that, but it has a lot of charm. Jones maybe did not intend this, but the movie is still a high concept (at least parts of it try to be one). This is why watching the film, at least for me, seems like a waster experience from start to end.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Indie Showcase: AnyBodies Game (2018)

A new indie feature-length film is on its way in less than two months and it promises to bring a mixture of drama, action and suspense thrills. The name of the movie is AnyBodies Game and here is how it describes itself:

While a group of friends are enjoying life they mysteriously began to receive bloody letters and prank phone calls. They all began to take the threats serious after the death of one of their own friends. Who could do such a thing when the finger is pointing at all of them? This could be AnyBodies Game.

The trailer shows an ambitions piece written and produced by Ann P Productions. It holds plenty of characters and a plot that seems to be constantly going through twist and turns.
With a strong element of mystery, AnyBodies Game appears to tackle the horror thorpe of a group of friends being hunted by an unknown assailant. The first thing that comes to mind with this setup in the series Scream, but with a setup that is taken into the modern time and complemented with a natural approach to acting.

The movie is set to have its theatre premier on July 5th, 2018. For more information about this event and the movie, check out the AnyBodies Game official website.