Sunday, November 30, 2014

Neary's Void - A short movie by Dillon Schohr

When it comes to weird stuff happening in the desert, LA filmmaker Dillon Schohr is definitively not a stranger to short movies which feature these elements.

But, unlike his last desert film Alone, this time Schohr sets his piece into the realm of science fiction, but underline this with a good and very developed soundtrack, as well as some fine photography that uses the natural contrasts of this arid land. In his latest short film, story follows a man who witnesses a stranger doing something strange in the remote area.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Film Review: Interstellar

Copyright: Paramount Pictures
I don’t care about explaining worm hole or black holes, I don’t care about the reasons why a world is dying (that is why I can ignore ridiculous reasons like plant illnesses) or what preposterous plan is made up to save it. I love science fiction in every shape and form, but if it’s good, I can set aside any problems if a work of art built on solid foundations. This means that I do care about the characters and how they act in different situations, and how they grow and develop under these circumstances.

Here is the tragic thing about Interstellar and Christopher Nolan: he builds his characters meticulously, like a genetic engineer would work on his pet project in the most equipped lab in the world. Like a geneticist, he creates everyone’s narrative DNA brick by brick, making sure that they produce the strongest possible impact when they are brought to the world. But, there is a cruel touch that can be felt in that mixture, one that belongs to a cold, calculated demographic analyst and not an artist ready to himself begin a journey of exploration.

This Interstellar review isn’t about how Nolan made a bad movie. It’s about he made a perfectly tunned film that was designed to be liked, even worse, to be loved. For me, this is a terrific flaw, and to add salt to the wound, I think it was premeditated to the last miniscule detail.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review and Ending Explanation: The Babadook

Copyright: Causeway Films
Being that 2014 is almost done, and I am not expecting any revolutionary new horror films, I can (almost) safely say that in my opinion, The Babadook is the best movie in this genre in the last 12 months. As a simple story, it delivers its punch right in the beating heart of terror with stunning precision, wherever that subconscious center might be.

Jennifer Kent directed this film, who is better known as an actress than a director. As a first time feature film, her directorial debut is pure horror shock and awe in the best possible way. Kent obviously understands art as a form of presenting content and emotion with as little noise or additional elements as possible. That is the reason why she made, first and foremost, an extremely elegant film that fits together like a brilliant architectural design. While I watched it, I had no inkling to fantasize about changing anything, and so far in this year, only Fury managed to lure me so effectively in its universe.

The Babadook offers a simple story about an emotionally tormented single mother Amelia, who is still haunted by the death of her husband on the eve of her giving birth to their son Samuel. Now, seven years on, Sam has a hard time fitting in with other children, and Amelia barely manages to balance her work and his needs. One night, she reads him a book called the Babadook, unknowing that it will summon a terrifying experience involving a shadowy creature with long pointy fingers and a top hat. Similar to Annabelle, the film bases its horror on children's accessories, in this case a pop-up book, and delivers a terrifying effect.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Film Review: Le Fear 2 - Le Sequel

Copyright: Jason Croot
Le Fear 2 - Le Sequel is a film about the troubles of making a film with no budget and some amounts of dispersed talent. In it, Jason Croot, who directed the film and came up with the initial idea, tells the story of Carlos, a man who wants to make a horror film (actually, his 23rd movie of his career). He receives a shady offer that will cover the financial element of his production, but on the first day of shooting, realizes that he actually got a trailer home on a parking lot.

Soon, characters like young Nigerian swindlers and nymphomaniac (and slightly psychotic) make-up artist enter his project, and Carlos decides to soldier on in spite of the fact that he doesn’t have anything and is making something very similar to absolutely nothing.

The main problem of the film is the fact that almost everything is a bit too long. This is seen in gags, character encounters and even individual dialogue lines; jokes and the punch lines are there, but they are blunted by this constant notion of a prolonged introduction. I realize that the director aimed for, let’s call it, a long narrative exposure as the part of the inherent nature of the film, but it just becomes tiresome after a while.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Crowdfunding push: CONCLUSIONS

CONCLUSIONS is a short film about suicide. While many already have a strong opinion on this subject, recent events that included well-known figures taking their life have shown that there are conflicting thoughts about this act.

Like art should, CONCLUSIONS explores the issue, but does this from a slightly different perspective. Its short summary states:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Film Review and Interpretation: Before I Go to Sleep

Copyright: Clarius Entertainment
Tackling selective and not-so-selective amnesia is a favorite topic for both thriller and comedy filmmakers. Christopher Nolan made cinematic history with Memento and defined almost a decade worth of thrillers, doing for amnesia-stricken characters what Usual Suspect did for the Unreliable narrator back in the late 90’s. Before I Go to Sleep movie delves into the same murky waters of loss of memory, but unlike Memento, it reached a much shallower place.

Before I Go to Sleep was directed by Rowan Joffe in 2014, who wrote some good screenplays like 28 Weeks Later, but didn’t make many films from his latest position. This lack of experience is telling, and Joffe didin’t struggle with his star cast, where the triad of Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong but especially Colin Firth, all produced great roles. Joffe, in spite of this, made a very lukewarm film, which also managed to come off as very unassertive in several key moments.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Film Review: These Final Hours

Copyright: These Final Hours
These Final Hours is a film that has the amazing power, for me at least, to anchor the viewer emotionally in its characters. As a doomsday tale, it delivers its punch to a very brittle place, where all the regrets and wrong decision slowly eat at people. When it is all finally over, there isn’t a chance to fix any of it, simply because the time left is measured in hours, not days or months. For James, the main character, there is only the possibility of decency in an environment that gave up on everything that doesn’t produce gratification in the next minute.

After all, in the film’s setting, everyone on planet Earth will be dead before the day ends.

A meteor hits the Atlantic Ocean, and it is one of the class of world killers. A shockwave of utter annihilation is heading across the globe, destroying everything in its path. No one can hide, nor run. The inhabitants of Australia got lucky in the sense that they get to receive it last, and can decide what they want to do with those final hours, at least those who don’t lose that chance to random violence that ravages the suddenly lawless world. James only wants to get to a party, where he can drink and do drugs unit he doesn’t feel anything. He leaves his pregnant mistress to link up with his regular girlfriend on the event, broken and beyond hope. But, on his path, he rescues a young girl named Rose, who only wants to get to her aunt.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crowdfunding Push: The Criminal Audition

From the first sentence, The Criminal Audition seems like it has all that is needed for a cool movie. Its simple plot is original (to my knowledge) and instantly I started developing storylines set in its narrative, which is a sign of a great and expandable idea. The core concept of the film is this:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Film Review: Cold in July

Copyright: IFC Films
Like a kid sitting in a lap of an adult wearing an old fashioned bunny costume, there is something wrong with this film, but it is very hard to pinpoint what that thing is exactly. 

Like the mentioned image, it is also fascinating to watch. Sure, it doesn’t have a lot of direction when it comes to character development and it also isn’t timid about introducing completely new plot twists in random sections. But, in spite of all this, Cold in July somehow works.

Its story is about a man who kills an intruder and become entangled in a lot additional things which threaten his family and also beckon him to go on very dangerous weekend vacations. But, apart from presenting its development, I couldn’t quite say what this movie tries to be about. 

Ideas like fatherhood, family and generational debts creep around it, but not one of them can take up the prime spot. This Cold in July review will, just like my viewing of the film, lack a clear message, but I feel that this might not be such a bad thing, especially for the film (less so for my review).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Film Review: Life after Beth

Copyright: A24
There is an emerging trend that offers a new incarnation of the horror comedy genre. Unlike its last versions from the late 80’s, where much focus was placed on slapstick and gore, the new films present a weird social enclosure in which the focus of the characters remains almost untouched by the events of the film, no matter how bloody or strange they become. These films present their own version of the reality where things like complex explanations of trivial occurrences or personal awkwardness remain relevant for the characters even while a horde of zombies bang on their door.

Summer of Blood is a perfect recent example of this notion, while some of it can be seen in films like This is the End and John Dies at the End. But Life after Beth is simply soaking in it, and thanks to it, the film provides a hilarious experience which only intensifies as the plot progresses.

In the film, a young man named Zach is devastated by the accidental death of his beloved girlfriend Beth. He tries to find some consolation with her laid back parents, until he notices that Beth is back at their home. He confronts all three; while Beth seems unaware of her resurrection; both her mother and father are bent on keeping this appearance of their daughter hidden, and demand that Zach plays along. He accepts, realizing that something much bigger and stranger is happening around them. Still, he remains oriented towards his relationship with the decomposing Beth.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Crowdfunding Push: Vagina Bug

This short movie was already shot in August 2014, but now its author Michelle Dyer, who directed it, needs funds to compete its post-production. Vagina Bug describes its plot like this: