Saturday, December 28, 2019

Indie Showcase: THE DOORS BETWEEN US (2019)

A good indie film utilizes the elements it has and downplays those it might miss. In the case of THE DOORS BETWEEN US, the good elements are most definitely actors and a solid script. The lacking ones include a choice of location and overall cinematic visual potential. Yet, this doesn’t ultimately hurt the film. Here's how it describes itself:

Eight complete strangers are tested like never before when they wake up locked inside a mysterious house. With no memory of how or why they are there paranoia takes over, forcing them to make their own decisions on who to trust and how best to escape.

Developed by Janky Jank Productions, THE DOORS BETWEEN US sets out as a horror. There, its warped lifeboat scenario is quickly divided among different characters. All of them are unique and easily distinguishable between each other, which is a big plus for the film right off the bat. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Two-Paragraph Review: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)

There are a lot of references in this film. So many references, in fact, that for me, they manage to drown out any relatable essence. As a depiction of a time gone by, Tarantino has a lot to say, or at least to observe. Yet when it comes to connecting with the characters he seems to struggle where and how to focus, apart from regret. The same applies to the nature of storytelling he tries to use. On one hand, the movie is meandering and could have some similarities to the avant-garde filmmaking from that time. It is by no means an homage to the same movies, but more a very engaging acted documentary.

The weird and uneven use of the narrator is the perfect example of this nebulous approach. Something very similar and insecure is also present in the way the film treats its story. Possibly the best way to appreciate this film is to think about it as a buddy action comedy-drama. Otherwise so many scenes remain redundant in its attempt to define an actor of that period, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and also turn around the Charlie Manson story. While there is an attempt to merge these two-plus hours of screen time and too many unrelated topics make that merger feel very forced.