Thursday, December 22, 2016

Film Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Copyright: Paramount Pictures
I can only describe a film like 10 Cloverfield Lane as a classy thriller horror. I say classy because it does provide a certain level of style and commitment that elevates it above what most other three-man movies with a story vaguely similar to this one.

As a spiritual successor of Cloverfield which has nothing to do with the previous film aside from the idea that regular people are placed into unexpected, enormous and outwardly danger, the film comes with the burden or recognition and expectations. But, in spite of this, the “sequel” works pretty well in its narrow (literally and figuratively) playing field. Of course, the original Cloverfield did not have John Goodman, an actor who can make all the difference for a movie.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Film Review: Warcraft (2016)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Great young directors will often be provided with a chance to enter the realm of huge Hollywood blockbusters and showcase their ability to tackle projects on this scale. Duncan Jones, whose talent after films like Moon is indisputable, got his break with the first feature-length movie adaptation of the Warcraft video game franchise.

Jones should have said no, but he instead tried to do the best he could, which wasn’t that great when all is summed up. In the film, the beginning stages of the orc invasion of the realm of Azeroth begins, all masterminded by Gul'dan – if this doesn’t mean a lot to you, you probably won’t enjoy the rest of the action-packed film which is not that action packed. 

Lead by a weird assembly of actors, some of which are both very good and poorly cast, which is presented perfectly with the case of Ben Foster, the Warcraft film is lacking clear direction and some final sense of purpose. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Film Review: Midnight Special (2016)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Jeff Nichols is an authentic voice in the American movie industry. His relatively small body of work includes brilliant films like Mud and Take Shelter which offers a colorful (even though rarely cheerful) setting where he is free to explore the thing that really fascinates him: family. In his latest film Midnight Special, the same process is present, but this time, the setting is way beyond anything he created before.

On some levels, the story about a boy who is clandestinely escorted by his father and his friend who believe he possesses a supernatural power plays out as a vintage adventure film. Close Encounter of the Third Kind is a logical choice for a connection, but Midnight Special works on an entirely different tune. While the 1970’s Sci-Fi classic provided a sense of wonder and amazement, the same is practically non-existent here. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: Dreaded Light

A new feature film is currently in the pre-production phase in the UK and it is looking for funding. However, the Dreaded Light comes with a slightly different way of finding the funds for this project. Led by Mark MacNicol, an industry veteran, here's some additional info about it:

A recently widowed father is struggling to cope with his grief as well as his two teenage daughters. The youngest has developed a fear of daylight – The eldest died when she was a baby.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: The Toymaker

There is a strange and inherent magic in the notion of toys, no matter where they come from, to whom they belong or what price tag they might once carried. A new mixture of a documentary and an animated feature desires to explore the idea of toys and how they made an impact on a man who produces them. 

This film is called the The Toymaker and it's currently in the final stretch of its crowdfunding. Here's how the movie presents itself on its official IndieGoGo page

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Film Review: The Nice Guys (2016)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
This film tries to follow in the footsteps of those comedy films which try to extract the hardboiled detective and place it into the weird and wacky world of show business. While they’re funny, they also utilize real violence to create a mix most similar to a black comedy, but not quite there when it comes to satire or cynicism (which these lack).

Every couple of years, one or more movies like that come along and replace the previous reigning king. That is why Get Shorty, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and other ones like it always tend to stick around for a somewhat prolonged period of time, mostly by being inflated in value mainly by the audience which digs the violence-fame-jokes mix-up.

The Nice Guys is a perfect representative of this trend and like most, it tries to innovate the form at least a little. In this case, there are two hardboiled detectives, here private investigators, who are working on a case of a missing porn actress in LA in the late 1970’s. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Film Review: Money Monster (2016)

Copyright: TriStar Pictures
We all got hurt in one way or another by the recession of 2008/09. While reasons for the crash are beyond most of us, many instinctively blamed the trader/broker/banker characters of the world, especially the US.

The same sentiment was founded on numerous elements, but the biggest cornerstone was the idea that those behind the reigns of this failed venture did not suffer when the excrement hit the fan.

Money Monster draws most of its energy on this premise and wants to serve one back to the financial community and at least in this fictional domain, make them sweat for what they have done and continue to do. But, no one can threaten them financially, so here a man decides to move his vengeance to the realm of bodily harm.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Film Review: Green Room (2015)

Copyright: A24
When Jeremy Saulnier made Blue Ruin he showed that he has the chops to make specific and very driven visions which are both familiar and deeply authentic. In Green Room, Saulnier got a chance to try and catch that AAA production wave and make a horror thriller with a great cast and a very original (yet easily relatable) setup.

Immediately, it’s clear that he successfully resisted all the temptations that mostly boil down to dumbing down of his vision. In the process, he didn’t quite make a perfect masterpiece which Blue Ruin (almost) is but still showed that he’s a force for the future of a type that is sorely needed. Often labeled in other reviews and media in general as punks vs. neo-Nazis, Green Room basically is this – after they book a gig at the wrong club in the woods and there open a wrong door, a DIY punk band ends up being under siege by a gang of murdering white supremacists.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Gaby's Revenge Full Season Review (2016)

The thing which impressed me the most about the web series Gaby's Revenge is the ease with which it develops emotional connections. Like a neural network where nodes connect to other nodes and create a dense mesh so does this series place its characters in a living, breathing universe, where every action has a reaction.

Inside of it, the things people experience are not plot devices that simply take place and then disappear. Instead, like in the real world, they interact with each other, expanding a single event into a complex and tragic story of violence, family, and loyalty.

The creator of the series, Jonathan Vargas, pushes a clear vision for the episodes. The series consists of five individual episodes and they all differ greatly in tone, length, and exposition of the key plot elements.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: Lucifer Rising

Image and video hosting by TinyPic There are several staples of the horror genre, but one of the most basic one, the idea of the Devil (or some of his many alternative names) was somewhat disregarded over the past couple of years. Now, however, a crowdfunding campaign for a film by P. Vincent DeMartino seems determined to change this and do it with a movie called Lucifer Rising.

Here’s what the official Indiegogo page of the film states about the project and its purpose:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Coming Soon: The Magnificent Seven

As the release date of September 23rd edges closer, the public interest for The Magnificent Seven only appears to grow. Recently praised for a very diverse cast, the film's director Antoine Fuqua played down this idea, saying that everyone simply worked hard on the movie. His last remake, The Equalizer did not fair that well with me, so I'm hoping that he's back to his sharp self with this one.

Check out the official trailer for The Magnificent Seven below.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: Blackpoint's Daughter

In a previous couple of years, some fantastic Neo-Westerns were made all over the world. With films like Bone Tomahawk, Das finstere Tal and The Salvation, it is clear that this genre is currently attracting excellent filmmakers. Now, a director by the name of Marika S. Cotter needs help in finishing her project in the same domain called Blackpoint's Daughter. Here is what the film’s Indiegogo page states:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Coming Soon: Dunkirk

If war is hell, then the Battle of Dunkirk was a special kind of hell, which saw thousands die in a small patch of land in France as BEF and their allies desperately tried to evacuate by sea as many soldiers from the mainland Europe as possible.

Now, Christoper Nolan is making a film simply called Dunkirk which will showcase the evacuation. The movie promises to deliver a war epic hopefully in the footprints of modern films like Fury and it comes to the theaters in summer of 2017.

Have a look at a short trailer that recently came out.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Copyright: Paramount Pictures
This film has the drive, the familiarity and it has just enough unique charm to make it a great family adventure set in the Star Trek universe. Jason Lin, its director, must have a very in-depth knowledge of the popcorn genre and how the same can be rehashed to seem new and exciting.

But, Lin is not a snake oil salesman and there are no cheap gimmicks in the film. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wrote the film as if they made a very long episode of the original TV show, making the plot simple and self-contained. Star Trek Beyond begins when a lonely shuttle reaches the Federation’s newest and biggest space station Yorktown. Its single crew member pleads with the authorities to come to the rescue of the stranded ship and the captain and the crew of the Enterprise takes up this challenge.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Coming (Not So) Soon: Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is not going to be hitting the movie theaters anytime soon (the release date is in 2017), but the film does look both impressive and kind of idiotic at the same time. So far, it looks like the producers decided to combine the notion of King Kong with the first part of the Predator series and then put in a big chunk of Aliens from 1986, mainly with the current military aspect of the film. This will make the film either pretty fun or intensely bad.

Check out Kong: Skull Island trailer below.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Film Review: High-Rise (2015)

Copyright: StudioCanal
Ben Wheatley knows films. His Hit List is a marvelous noir movie, developed and executed in a manner that should have made Wheatley rich and famous in a more just world. After it came out in 2011, this relatively young writer, director, and producer continued working on edgy films that only rare individuals thought they completely understood.

Now, he has branched out to the domain of big budgets and celebrity actors, while at the same time hooking a chain tied to a great literary name to his film. High-Rise is to Wheatley what The Brothers Bloom was for Rian Johnson and Godzilla was for Gareth Edwards. All of these directors showed immense talent and ability to make small films where they attained a huge level of control. Their first film on an AAA budget, however, ended up as something not exactly spectacular. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Coming Soon: Incarnation

An independent film from Serbia, incarnation looks like an interesting psychological thriller, mixed with some lo-fi science fiction. The plot sees a young man who he is somehow forced to revisit the same moment in time in a city he does not recognize. Here, he is chased by four men in masks who are determined to kill him every time, while on the other side of reality, he finds himself in a hospital as a patient with no memory about who he is. 

The film was directed by Filip Kovacevic as his first film and hopefully, Incarnation will get some kind of a distribution deal. Check out its trailer below. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: Custodian

The domain of crowdfunding provides incredible opportunities for artists, but also, sometimes, nightmare scenarios. Scott Storm, a US-based writer, director, and animator recently experienced something similar when a funded project of his got a sum of $10,000 pulled out by on of the investors. Fortunately for him, the Seed&Spark service decided to cover 50% of that sum and now Scott is looking to attain the other half through an additional crowdfunding process. But, what is his film all about? Here’s what the page on Seed&Spark states:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Film Review: Unfriended (2014)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Horror and technology always work well together, especially when the technology in question is something that is all consuming when it comes to the masses. There is probably related to some deep fear that is skeptical about any new tool that any primate species develops and humanity is no different.

As science progressed, the number of these tools multiplied and our fears followed. Interestingly enough, in the 20th century, the focus of the horror genre for the first time moved away from things like weapons (atom bomb) and poisons, which were tropes even in the previous eras and started to get interested in tools of communications.

Killer VHS tapes, haunted cell phones and death music records were just some of them, but now, the age of the internet provided new locations where the horror hooks can land. Unfriended is a film about VoIP technology which becomes possessed by a restless spirit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: Let's get Kevin Smith to Amsterdam!

If you like independent films, you most probably like Kevin Smith. As a director, Smith has had his hits and misses, but always tries to produce something fresh and exciting, even when it goes horribly wrong

But, aside from making some incredible films that shaped many excellent directors that started out, like Smith, with a camcorder and a lot of guts, the man is a genius speaker. It’s enough to experience his Giant Spider Producer story and see that his gift to inform and entertain large groups of people rivals that of his cinematographic skill.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: Kill Pill - PHASE 1

When a horror crowdfunding campaign describes itself as It Follows meets The Walking Dead you have no choice but to take notice. Here's the additional info provided by the film creators:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Film Review: Zootopia (2016)

Copyright: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Here’s the key selling point to the entire Zootopia shtick – let’s imagine all animals are anthropomorphic and that they live in a single location. Sure, why not, but many kids’ animated movies already did those assemble animal casts, for example, Madagascar.

But, Zootopia smartly spun the same concept and upgraded it with a simple idea of keeping the animals in their relatively accurate scales.  For example, mice use small doors; giraffes use doors many times larger, standing side by side.

This is the main thing working for the film and the generator of 70% of the jokes. The rest come from the notion of animal affiliation, which divides all members of Zootopia, a place where all animals live in harmony, to predators and everyone else. Here, the film and its director duo of Byron Howard and Rich Moore tried to play the tolerance&animosity card, but unlike the scales thing, it didn’t really stick well to the root plot.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Film Review: Hyena Road (2015)

Copyright: Elevation Pictures
It’s not often that the international audience gets to see anything from a Canadian perspective, apart from how it is to live in a trailer park. But with Hyena Road, the film provides this and places it in the setting that is most un-Canadian: the war-torn Kandahar province in Afghanistan. The film follows a mixture of Canadian military personnel in the heart of this Asian land, looking to build a road through one of its most dangerous provinces and the heartbeat of the Taliban insurgency for decades.

As the joint work of a unit of special operators, a command & control team and an unorthodox intelligence officer begins to unravel, the audience is shown how treacherous this conflict is. Here, there is always a chance for a bullet to a head or an IED going off, while the Canadians possess their own versions of deadly deliveries that can be dispensed to the local insurgents (and other Afghans as well). 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Crowdfunding Push: The Last

An interesting psychological/supernatural horror is looking to crowdfunding to help its production. The film is called The Last and here's its story pitch:

A terminally ill man spends his last days coping with death and struggles to undo his past sins. While headed to a remote location he stumbles upon a woman. The two become stranded hundreds of miles from civilization. Secrets and lies quickly force them to be suspicious of each other's intentions. They soon discover that they are not alone. Something dark lives in the woods. Something not human and when it arrives there will be no survivors in its wake.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Film Review: Last Shift (2014)

Last Shift is, by all measure, a modest film. As a mystery horror that places a young policewoman in an empty precinct that is going to be abandoned the next day, it creates an environment that is perfectly suited for losing one’s mind in a violent manifestation of demonic madness.

Directed by Anthony DiBlasi, who already made and produced several horrors, Last Shift demonstrates as his strong suit an effective pre-production process and budget management.

The key location of the film is at the same time its only location. The single empty police station could be any communal building, from a DMV to an administrative office belonging to a high school.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Film Review: Deadpool (2016)

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
Deadpool is a very talkative piece. From the first moment of the film right to the very end, the main character and the actor playing him continuous talk to everything, covering other characters in the film, inanimate objects, memories, and the audience. When it comes to A-production superhero movies, this is definitely not something you experience often. Even movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, which was exceedingly self-aware compared to the old standards seems like regular superhero stuff when it is placed next to Deadpool.

The same goes for the structure of the film, which is full of flashbacks and dialogue-based sequences, pretty uncommon for the genre. In general, all of them work as a comedy which happens to include a superhero-like character and some neat fight sequences. But these are only broth to the soup that is Deadpool.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Film Review: The Gift (2015)

Copyright: STX Entertainment
Concepts of a thriller movie and a mystery movie are often strongly connected, especially when it comes to impressive films which encompass both notions. If done right, the source of the tension and suspense can arise straight from the plot’s core mystery.

The Gift is a film that combines these two in the right manner, but also does it in a low-key manner, gradually building up seemingly irrelevant facts on upon the other.

As the image begins to make sense, the film revs its engines to full power, making the experience of a flawless thriller that is both modern and vintage when it comes to its delivery. In more ways, the film hooks the viewer slowly and with utmost precision, which is why you cannot feel the sting until it starts to lure you in.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Film Review: Legend (2015)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
For some complex and subtle reason, gangster movies became something that is not easy to make. It could be that the ever increasing demands of the viewers have forced directors and writers to try and push the limits of the genre, but as recent films clearly show, this is not going well. Just like Black Mass, another high-end gangster film based on real people, Legend is also lacking in engagement, in spite of some great acting and plenty of style.

The story of the film is set in London in 1960’s where the Kray brothers rule as criminal princes. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Film Review: I Smile Back (2015)

Broad Green Pictures
There’s plenty of terrible mental and emotional spaces in the I Smile Back movie. As an exploration of a well-meaning but critically damaged woman, who is played by Sarah Silverman, it goes deep into territory that will make people feel uncomfortable, even though 

I doubt this was the intended purpose of its makers. Its director, Adam Salky, decided to place its plot in a perfect household, where Laney and Bruce, a young and successful couple have two perfect children and live in a beautiful house.

In that environment, however, the main character of Laney feels an endless torrent of negative emotions and thoughts which push her into alcoholism, drug use, and promiscuity. At one point, the situation begins to deteriorate and she starts to lose control, which triggers an onset of fear about the prospect of losing her family. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Film Review: Point Break (2015)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Having an intellectually-lighter script can, in the right hands, be a huge advantage. It could be argued that the script’s and the director’s cognitive potentials add up to make a single IQ – if the script is low on its intellect, a high-IQ director can mend it by lending her or his potential to the equation.

That is why Kathryn Bigelow made the original Point Break in 1991 into such a memorable film, in spite of a paper-thin plot and so many dumb looks on the faces of the actors that some might think they’re solving mathematical equations.

The Point Break remake once again has a weak script, but I’m not saying that it’s director Ericson Core is unintelligent. However, Point Break 2015 is a bland endeavor that leaves the viewer in a state of nothingness, emotionally and especially intellectually. The story once again features a young, dashing daredevil (which is a horrible movie from 2003 which Core also directed) called Utah who also works as an FBI agent.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Film Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
However you look at it, Hail, Caesar! is a densely layered film which is immensely enjoyable on its surface. Designed as a weird comedy about the golden age of Hollywood and one man’s mission to keep it that way, the film’s plot quickly branches out into numerous other domains, including religion, workers’ rights and the role of musical interludes.

In it, Coen brothers do what they do best and mix strangeness with latent meaning, but in a way that makes them look more like baboons and not David Lynch disciples. Their best films use this formula to a degree and even though this film is not one of those, it still provides a celebration of some of the most recognizable cinematography in the last 30 years.

For most of the film, the perspective of the plot is split between characters that are somehow connected to a disappearance of a big movie star from the set of a historical epic film. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Film Review: Irrational Man (2015)

Copyright: Sony Pictures Classics
The talent of Woody Allen knows no limits. His film called Irrational Man is one of the best examples of his current creative period in which he apparently fell in love with simple and basic thrillers. Like Match Point, this film provides an uneasy, self-mocking feel that is rare and precious in Hollywood these days.

Here, Allen puts Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone to work, using them to create a plot where a distraught philosophy professor played by Phoenix arrives at a new college and begins to reevaluate his life through talks, sexual encounters and epiphanies about the nature of humanity. Along the way, murder also becomes involved.

The plot, like Allen’s direction, builds up an environment of intellectualism and an (undeserved) high quality of life, but also a vast and placid emptiness about the purpose of it all.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Film Review: Trumbo (2015)

Copyright: Bleecker Street
This movie is more about Bryan Cranston than it is about Dalton Trumbo, which is not necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, it is definitely not about Communism in any shape or form, even though it should be at least a bit. Instead, it is about how the US when through a dark period by learning their lessons, which they obviously (like any other super-power in the world) did not do.

Like many big films about a dodgy period in the US history, it slithers away from the slippery ground which might not go so well outside of the relatively liberal costliness of the country.

Here, in the mostly blood-red interior of the US, I bet that calling someone a “communist” is still a hard-hitting insult but also a social system that armed Christian Caucasian still fear deep down inside. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Film Review: Remember (2015)

Copyright: A24
The best way to describe Remember is to call it nauseating in a really mellow way. Atom Egoyan, its director, works really well with bland locations, where the depth of space is measured in meters that are in their single digits. Virtually all of the film, except its finale, takes place in rooms, basements, run-down houses and other places that are both enclosing and claustrophobic.

Here, in these spaces from where there is no room to escape, a simple plot unravels. Zev Guttman, played by Christopher Plummer, is a Jewish man gripped by late-stage Alzheimer’s, who mourns the death of his wife in their nursing home residence. But, Zev is soon reminded by Max, one of his friends about a promise he made: as a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, he will find an SS officer who stole the identity of a killed camp prisoner and immigrated to the US after the war. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Web Series Review: Gaby’s Revenge (2016)

There aren’t many cinematographic forms better suited for small, independent productions than the neo-noir thriller genre. In the past couple of years, several brilliant films of this type were made, including the phenomenal Blue Ruin. Now, it seems that filmmakers are trying to use a similar setting and tone and move it to the domain of the online forms like web series.

Jonathan Vargas is one of these people and his new series called Gaby’s Revenge is aiming for a thriller vibe, produced using a limited budget. The first episode begins with the character of Gaby returning to her home, masked and armed.

Through a contact with her handler, the audience learns that Gaby works as a hitman (hitwoman?) but one who is particularly inept in completing jobs in a manner that is not, as the film states “a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie”.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Film Review: Black Mass (2015)

Making films about gangsters, especially real-life ones, can often turn into a quite a boar and Black Mass is an ideal example. The story revolves around a steady rise to fame of James 'Whitey' Bulger, a Boston kingpin in the 1970’s and 1980’s, mainly thanks to his connections with the FBI task force in the same city.

Directed by the talented Scott Cooper, who made the impressive Out of the Furnace before this film, Black Mass falls short of being either thrilling or compelling.

As if he was star-struck by Johnny Depp, who plays Whitey, Cooper seems to struggle whenever he is not in the frame. The film just adores Depp and his evil, vampire-like persona, but does not succeed in showing the audience why should they care about this pale-eyed monster.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

MFM Oscars 2016 Predictions

Copyright AMPAS
With the 88th Academy Award just hours away, here’s my take on the possible winners of the evening, mostly in the big non-technical categories. Overall, it was a less-than-impressive year, aside from many great performances, especially by the female actors in films that speak about social injustices of the past and the present day.

Also, the 2016 Oscars will most likely be remembered by the controversy about the lack of diversity in the nominee lists, but considering the super-white, super-male Academy membership, is hardly a surprise. Read the list of my 2016 Oscar Predictions.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Film Review: Steve Jobs (2015)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
In the modern, still somewhat death-centric culture thanks to 2000 years of Christendom, deceased are both revered and explored. No matter if those people are dead musicians like Michael Jackson or Kurt Cobain, or if they are leaders of industry, like Jobs, there is a strong magnetic pull that keeps people from allowing them to be forgotten. 

It does not only this but also somehow forces the public subconscious to dig through their lives and looks for clues, even though there are no real questions anymore, at least not any that are relevant to them.

This grave digger approach is the reason why a lot of films about real people end up either half-cooked, like The Imitation Game or weirdly (but clearly) disjointed from that actual woman or man as Lone Survivor.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Film Review: Bridge of Spies (2015)

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
30 years ago, when Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers were younger and a lot hungrier for recognition, I could imagine the Bridge of Spy becoming an interesting film. Back then, aside from the supposed mindset of these men, this film about Cold War spies would have had an additional advantage: the USSR would have still existed.

Today, however, spies are mostly people who sit behind a computer and fly a drone over some country where beards are very popular or who force their way into the enemy’s (and more than often allies) databases. The age of the agent 007 is so gone that even the last film from this series desires to put the notion of the gentleman spy to its eternal resting place.

But, Spielberg-Coen production decided that the world of the spy genre had too much technology, YouTube head chopping videos, and radical Islamism villains.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Film Review: Flying To Disney World (2016)

For a film that literally uses one piece of paper (a winning lottery ticket) and a hot dog (a magical-scientific means of travel) Flying to Disney World really makes the most use of its limited resources. Its director and writer Jonathan Vargas takes his barren production potential in terms of locations and props to create an elaborate joke which is both funny and laden with subtle references to the popular culture. While not perfect in execution, this short film clearly shows that the ability to restrain one’s aspirations and ambitions for any one project is the key to its success.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Film Review: Spectre (2015)

Copyright: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Everyone seems to be impressed by the fact that Dark Star is David Bowie’s eulogy, but Spectre offered people a lot less usual content on its farewell to the Daniel Craig’s James Bond. In it, Sam Mendes apparently decided to end his 007 run not with a bang, but with a very impressive whimper. This time, the plot does not include testicle-beating, M-stabbing villains, but an organization that encompasses them all.

The same organization is run by a mysterious figure that apparently, died many decades before and now wants to see the world burn not through a single grandiose deed, but through the human savagery and gradual exploitation of the range and anger that is already in all of us.

Mendes is a master of an elegant cinematic eye which could have worked equally well 50 years ago as it does today. Steering clear of any and (almost) all modern tricks, the director of Spectre uses his natural ability to set up a shot in a menacing way, where the protagonist is almost surrounded by other things in it, both human and inanimate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Web Series Review: Jacob (2015)

In many regards, the online format is ideal for the horror genre, and Kristopher Stoltz, the writer and director behind this web series completely gets this idea. Jacob web series opens up as a story about an ambitious and somewhat distraught young filmmaker leaving his parent’s home to live on his own. As he settles in his new apparent and starts to prepare for a career as a police video editor, he chooses to document his experiences in a vlog form.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Film Review: Tangerine (2015)

Copyright: Magnolia Pictures
A lot of times, you really need very little to make a decent movie. Tangerine is a type of film that has even less than very little when it comes to the cinematic gear, sets, and props, but it has more than enough in the terms of actors and performances.

Following two transgender prostitutes and an Armenian taxi driver on the streets of LA on Christmas eve, it explores the nature of relationships in a place where desire and utter loneliness go so well together.

As Sin-Dee works tirelessly on finding her pimp/boyfriend, her friend Alexandra tries to provide her with some common sense while she calls on mutual acquaintances to visit her gig taking place on the same evening. As they go about their business, the city remains indifferent to their hopes, fears, and aspirations.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Film Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)

Copyright: The Weinstein Company
With The Hateful Eight, the movie that Quentin Tarantino delivered is for me similar in quality to Django Unchained, which makes it a contender for the worst films he created in his career. Of course, Tarantino’s worse is a lot better than most directors’ best, but still, the fact remains. As with the previous western, there are several things which really grind my gears and where the film failed to maintain a connection to both my emotions and attention span.

First and most serious of these is the film’s chapter that rewinds from the cabin fewer atmospheres to a period that took place a few hours earlier, taking the plot into the recent past to explain the protagonists’ current predicament.

This big revelation reveals nothing of value and just sabotages the big finale that can only be expected from a neo-western where a bunch of killers ends up spending a night in isolated, blizzard-stricken house miles away from anywhere.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MFM's Best Movies of 2015

2015 will most likely be remembered as the year when the new Star Wars came out and made more money than any other film before it. But, besides the big toy franchises, the previous year had some nice surprises as well when it comes to movies. In 2015, huge action franchises like the Mission Impossible and Jurassic Park/World showed that they can make fun, unpretentious films, while the documentary domain for feature length pieces seems stronger and more vibrant than ever. Of course, some movies just came out bad, even though all pointed that they should be at least interesting. But, out of all those movies that came out in the last 12 months, here's my pick of the best films of 2015:

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Voices From The Mist - A short film by Vladislav Pantić

Vladislav Pantić is a visual artist and animator from Belgrade, Serbia. As a veteran of the gaming industry, Vladislav was included in the game development process for several years before he published his first short animated film called Voices From The Mist.

Featuring a combination of the classic frame by frame animation and CGI element, the short film tells about the relationship between humanity and the hidden world of the fairies.

With a brilliant voice over acting and plenty of atmosphere, the short piece really has that vintage fantasy feel that marked so many fantastic films from the 70's and the 80's.