Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

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Star Quality Shines Through in Stardust

December 14, 2008

STARDUST (2007)
d. Matthew Vaughn

In the extras, Matthew Vaughn describes this movie as The Princess Bride meets Midnight Run, and it’s an entirely accurate description that captures the delightful and engaging tone of this fantasy based on an original novel from Neil Gaiman.

This Star Is Not The Only Thing Rising

This Star Is Not The Only Thing Rising

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This Movie Stinks… Of Beauty: Street Trash

November 2, 2008

STREET TRASH (1987)
d. Jim Muro

You gotta love those trashy independent horror films from the 80s — The Toxic Avenger, Re-Animator, and Street Trash (among many more). Films such as these pushed the envelope of taste and humour as they stretched the boundaries of what was allowable on-screen — insane gore effects despite the low budgets, and, more often than not, full frontal nekkid chicks (and a couple of penis shots for fair balance).

You Know It's the 80s When It's Neon-Colored

You Know It’s the 80s When It’s Neon-Colored

This cult movie, long consigned to the back wall of video stores, finally made its DVD debut a couple of years back in a souped up two-disc “meltdown” edition released by Synapse Films. It tells the story of a community of bums living out of a automobile wrecking yard in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and what happens when a 60 year-old hooch, Viper, hits that community and starts melting bums from the inside out.

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It’s the Devil! (Yawn)

October 4, 2008

BEYOND THE DOOR (1974)
d. Ovidio G. Assonitis, Robert Barrett

Another Italian horror movie that rips-off the possession genre and, no surprise, it stinks. I could tell immediately the movie sucked because it starts with a voice-over narration by, you guessed it, Satan himself.

Beyond The Door poster

You’re boredom grows... and grows... AND GROWS.

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Pay It Forward

September 29, 2008

CASHBACK
d. Sean Ellis

Despite the clunky voice-over narration that emulates Fight Club’s style (even cribbing the protagonist’s insomnia) and despite the seams showing from padding the original short film to feature length, I enjoyed the story of night-shift employee Ben Willis finding love again while pursuing his dream of being a painter. This enjoyment rests mainly in the developing relationship between Ben and fellow employee Sharon (the beautiful Emilia Fox who looks like Sarah Polly), a relationship further developed in the feature vs. the short.

In pursuit of his artistic dream, Ben develops time-stopping abilities and uses it to undress the female clientele of the supermarket in which he works (in order to sketch them, yeah — that’s the ticket!). This magic realism almost doesn’t work because the explanation is hardly satisfying, and it strays a little too close to being creepy, but it’s for Arts sake, people! Full-frontal female nudity is beautiful!

The ability to stop time is used for better dramatic effect as the narrative develops and the relationship between Sharon and Ben grows. Ultimately, it is the filmic literal of the metaphor of time stopping in a shared moment that points towards the future as opposed to figuratively stopping time by living in the past.

The cinematography is incredible; colors are vivid and crisp; and camera movement underscores the emotion. The few things that I found less successful was the balance between the goofy Sainsbury employee bits (especially the “Kung-Fu” character) and the relationship drama, which I found more interesting and emotionally rich. The goofy bits just felt like bits from other movies (Trainspotting mainly (there’s even a football game halfway through the flick)), though I did appreciate that they kept the film from being monotone.

In any case, Cashback has its rewards and is a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I give it 2 3/4 stars out of 5.

Next up, I should have Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men.

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Night Watch, Hardly Watch

September 21, 2008

NIGHT WATCH
d. Timur Bekmambetov

Night Watch, the Russian horror/fantasy sfx extravaganza, is one of those movies that is all thunder and no rain. Lotsa noise, little substance. It moves from stunning visual to stunning visual, connected by the thinnest thread of a plot and really poor dialogue with no emotional pay-off.

Aah! What the hell is going on this movie?!

Aah! What the hell is going on this movie?!

From what I gathered, the Night Watch are the good-guys, servants of light in a millennia-old battle against the Day Watch, the bad-guys most of whom are vampires. The plot has the Night Watch seeking out a kid, who according to prophecy, will choose a faction, forever tipping the balance in that faction’s favor. There is also a subplot about a cursed person, the Vortex, whose connection to the main event I am fuzzy on.

I am mostly fuzzy on this movie because after about ten minutes, I grew bored with the film. I have a tough time following characters with ill-defined supernatural powers and with films that showcase the effects more than the characters. The film wants to be The Matrix in terms of scope, philosophy and action set-pieces, but it all barely hangs together.

That being said, the film looks great and the special effects are well done, but if I’m singing the sets and not the songs, well… you know. So after this confused mess, we’ll see if it improves with Day Watch. But next up, I should have I, Madman.