10.31.15

My quick rating - 7,4/10. This was the movie for me to see on Halloween this year, that is for sure. As usual, Guillermo del Toro visually stuns the audience with every single scene. The locations that are presented are an absolute marvel. Granted a film cannot be just a national geographic on location shoot alone and this film delivers. The story itself is a mixture of two stories really, one that is ghost story and the other that is romance/thriller.

The Gothic/romance part of this story follows a young American woman (Mia Wasikowska)who is born into wealth yet aspires for her own identity, writing. She falls head over heels for a "Baronette" (Tom Hiddleston) who seems to be mysteriously enamored with her.

The ghost story part revolves around the spirits off those past hanging onto a particular place or feeling which del Toro typically incorporates into the story more then being the focus of it. That being said, the creatures when used look very creepy and startle with their appearance and on queue sound that makes the viewer jump on a few occasions. Not many directors understand how to blend CGI and practical effects in such a seamless way.

Now the basis is set and fans of his previous work may complain since there are two totally different types of del Toro films, huge Hollywood blockbusters such as Pacific Rim and lesser known Spanish horror films such as Devils Backbone. There are more examples of each, but you get the point. This movie is more or less what happens when these worlds collide. Now we have both and I, for one as a fan, am grateful. The story itself may be a bit obvious at times but the way the supernatural helps the audience through is so brilliantly done, that you may have forgotten you guessed parts 10 minutes prior. This is also assisted by extremely good performances of which the show is stolen by Jessica Chastain, playing Lucille, as a dark and seductive character. Here she plays the sister of the Baronette Tom Sharpe. Without giving further away to this film, I will say that everything you would want from a film are all here (minus a complex plot). The scares that del Toro can so simply yet effectively extract from an audience is present along with all the vibrant use of color and sound to contrast the changing moods. Not heavy on the horror or the romance, just a perfect balance of the two making this a worthwhile film for any audience that appreciates quality film making.

I applaud del Toro for coming back with such a film after his Pacific Rim undeservedly bombed in the theaters. Welcome to his world which he crafts so well and enjoy the ride. 

10.16.15

My quick rating - 6,4/10. After years of problems with legal, money, distribution and who else knows what, this movie is finally out and viewable to the masses. So the big question is "Can Eli Roth bring us something worth all the hype?" My answer is Yes BUT not a yes with all capital letters. Let me explain quickly. The movie is an homage to "Cannibal Holocaust" which is a flick that came out and was so disturbing, violent and original (the actual first found footage movie) that the makers of the movie were arrested since the government thought it was an actual snuff film and the people were killed. Obviously that failed since the creators brought the actors n TV and proved their point. Anyway, big shoes to fill and Eli Roth takes a shot at it. So armed with the plot of a group of college kids standing up for political reasons (here it is stop knocking down rainforests and destroying tribal cultures)crash land and met said tribe. Of course, they are cannibals and hence the fun begins. So of course the gore is heavy when need be but was it so bad to disgust? Not really. Actually the movie is very well written to also make a point. People stand on their soap box to make a point when in essence they don't care but want to just further themselves. Anyway, the rest of the plot is fill in the blank with double crosses, escape attempts, and dinner served up. Oh, and the scenery in this film is spectacular since Roth is definitely one who knows how to use a camera. Overall, a bit longer (I suspect there is a much longer version) and maybe more to the story aside from the lame soapbox ending and this would be scoring even higher but as is, very good stuff. 

10.08.15

My quick rating - 6,3/10. Another surprise low budget horror film that shows the amount of money you put in has nothing to do with the end product. The movie itself starts out simple (yet obvious) enough with a rookie officer, Loren (Juliana Harkavy) pulling last shift duty on a closing precinct. I use that word since the premise is awfully familiar with "Assault on Precinct 13". Anyway, that being said, the story similarities end there. I did catch a few camera shots and setup scares that also reminded me of John Carpenter style, but what is wrong with borrowing from a master? So the inevitable ensues and a story of a cult leader type figure killing a few of his followers and himself in the prison (the story is intermingled throughout via flashbacks and visions of old footage) turns into a living nightmare for Loren. Throughout the film it is hard to tell if she is imagining it, being taunted for being a rookie or legit is in a haunted police station. This is what makes the tension build and keep you watching. Their are some truly disturbing images in this movie that are subtle yet very effective to get under your skin. The highlight of this movie is just not being sure through the whole thing just what exactly is going on. This leads you to a fantastic ending that will keep you thinking after the credits roll. All the elements of a quality horror movie are here along with a capable cast of actors and some film devotion from director Anthony DiBlasi. Great Shocktober flick. Check it out.

09.26.15

My quick rating 7,3/10. A very impressive movie to say the least. Melissa McCarthy again is hilarious and does so by juggling the part of a midwest everyday women and immediately changes on the fly into raunchy one-liners so well. The ease which she shows on screen is wonderful and so fresh in seeing what she calls "big women" movies as not being some stupid vehicle or drawback, just another performance. ALong the way in good performances is Jason Statham completely making fun of his own character/real life persona he is typecast into. It is obvious to tell he enjoyed poking fun at himself. Just the beginning of course since the story itself was a nice throwback to the spy genre movies with double crosses and who is on whose side twists. Not saying any were all that surprising but still added to the entertainment value. The action scenes are nicely edited together and make sure to be just unbelievable enough to also illicit a laugh from them. Overall along with sprawling scenes around the globe and production values being top notch, it is hard to find flaws in such a surprisingly good flick so leave it at, "Check this one out" , you will not be sorry. 

08.20.15

Very well made sci-fi movie which is a good thing

My quick rating 7,5/10. This is an excellent sci-fi flick. Interesting way to start a review, eh? It looks spectacular visually and editing as well. The story itself is unique (i believe it was a comic book at some point) but either way the plot will draw you in. Noomi Rapace does an excellent job in the lead, but no surprise there, she is a great actress. I did find the other characters a tad bit irritating aside from the Captain. Charlize Theron was used sparingly so not much to say (I read she was also considered for the lead). The action scenes are paced nicely and are used when needed not overdone. When the action scenes were used, they were filmed so well even with the mix of CGI often but I almost didn't even notice, well, almost lol. The obvious influence of the late H.R.Giger was also a nice touch, giving homage to the great artwork he graced us with. At 2 hours long, I was hard pressed to even notice how long it was since I was that into the film. One way to end this short blurb is I am looking forward to the sequel which is coming in 2017. I believe any sci-fi fan would agree and will be looking forward to it as well. Non sci-fi fans most likely will appreciate an interesting story and well made movie so my final thought, see it.

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