Sunday, March 29, 2009

Timecrimes [2007]

Like my most recently reviewed Vinyan, Timecrimes (or natively Los Cronocrímenes) stripped down is basically a ripoff, this time it's Sundance's 2004 Grandy Jury Prize winning Primer, but that aside, it's a smart and entertaining thriller of timely proportions. 

Meet Héctor, a typical average-joe buffoon trying to enjoy the good weather and a day off of work.  Laziness gets the better of him, and he finds himself lounging in his backyard with some trustee binoculars.  At a distance his lenses find a beautiful woman in the woods all too carefree and undressing herself.  Héctor casts his wife away and ventures off his property for a closer peep.  Upon reaching a good distance he is attacked by an estranged man reminiscent of Sam Raimi's Darkman. 

After getting a scissor puncture to the arm, he escapes to a nearby science lab, is coaxed into a time machine and is sent back to earlier on that day...where present time Héctor is living his life...and the mystery, chaos, and confusion begins!

Time travel films are always tricky.  You can't get too complex or you'll confuse and dissuade the viewer.  You can't leave it too simple or it's too predictable with little to no room for surprises.  The much coveted and difficult to find balance is achieved in Timecrimes; maybe even moreso that the aforementioned Primer, which left me quite dumbfounded.  

A good comparison could be Christopher Nolan's Memento (although not a "time travel" movie per se).  Add an incredibly intelligent script, likeable, realistic and believable characters, and superb direction, and you get a film worth seeking out or a blind buy.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vinyan [2008]

Vinyan is a cold and dirty bitch, yet infectious and captivating.  What could be described as nothing more than a Heart of Darkness ripoff,  Vinyan separates itself from the accusation by offering it's own variant unnerving imagery, disruptive sound editing, and unsettling psyche.

Paul and Jeanne are heart torn parents after their only child was stripped from their lives in the devastating south asian tsunami.  While at a fundraiser for destitute Thainese families, Jeanne notices a child with striking resemblances to her own in a video of a ravaged villaged.  Pushing unlikelihood aside the two follow distrustworthy guides into Burma, where the video was shot and where their prayers will be realized or their nightmares materialized.

Fabrice Du Welz's follow up to Calvaire, Vinyan, does not stray far from the successful formula.  Vinyan is as damp and nasty, as unique and ripped-off, and as intensely laborious and painful to watch as Calvaire, with nods this time around going to Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies.  Such deliveries won't fly with all, but for those in acceptance will be treated to an incredible odyssey of emotion and pain, climaxing with horror and awe....and possibly a tribe of kids rubbing mud all over Emmanuelle Béart's naked body (hey...I'm just sayin').

Although Vinyan won't please everybody, I suggest you try it once.  Puff puff pass my friends!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Outpost [2008]

Can you say **cough cough** The Prowler (1981)

Outpost proves that you really don't need an intelligence or innovation to shit out a good film. No need for any originality when you can box it up, smother with shimmery wrapping, top with a bow, and give it to a grateful imbecile who's just happy you didn't smear it on their face. Let me explain.

A group of mercenaries, with Harrison Ford in K-19: The Widowmaker caliber accents, are hired to lead a mysterious engineer into the heart of war stricken Eastern Europe to find a bunker which hides a WWII relic of experimental physics that turns dead Nazi soldiers into an indestructible SS ghost army! Apparently Outpost should've been named Universal Soldier: The Nazi Germany Edition.

But honestly, you won't even notice the fuckin' half-assed story (well, now you might...and quite possibly I ruined the whole fuckin' experience for you! Sorry bitches). Outpost is tightly built on a sound foundation of solid filmmaking. The film opens with the aforementioned soldiers treking through the depressing countryside as a saddening score moods us well. Our characters are interesting, mesh well on screen and don't say anything warranting bitch slaps for retardancees. The cinematography is strikingly bleak and cold.

Tell me ^^^ THAT isn't creepy as fuck!  Geeeez

When we are finally taken inside the outpost itself, director Steve Barker really turns up the creep factor, the darkness and scare factor are not too dissimilar than 2005's The Descent. Lights flicker on and off, and we only gets glimpses of the impending evil. Some good kills are upon us...and from then on, the story unravels and the final battle ensues, and really, the film just sputters and dies.

If you want recent comparisons, think Dog Soldiers with a worse ending, or a Rogue that actually delivers some suspense. In summary, it's really the packaging and delivery that make Outpost a check-out-worthy film.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Ear To The Blood Soaked Ground - What's In The Box? [20XX?]

Check out this little test video of an in production independant film. Reminiscent of the teaser for Cloverfield, but can I say a little more inspiring?!?!?

Official Website

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Burrowers [2008]

J.T. Petty's The Burrowers, based on and brought to the big screen from a 7-part tv miniseries, is good. And that is the problem, it's a good movie, just a terrible horror film.

After a family is abducted from their home, leaving only a mangled man and pools of blood, a posse of law-men and locals assemble to hunt down the suspected Indians and bring the family home safely (before they're raped and scalped). While on the warpath, men go missing by the night and the hunters become more and more the hunted - by those scalping and raping Indians...or maybe an unseen unimaginable evil. DUN DUN DUN.

Think Tremors, without a hot female lead or comic relief, and these creatures paralyze and shallow bury their victims (returning later to eat them alive), directed by John Ford, starring Lost outcasts instead of John Wayne. Get all that? Ok, good.

The long drawn out story takes us over the picturesque wasteland of Nevada, following scruffy men with nothing really interesting to say, but at least whatever they're saying, it's said well...few and far between are tense moments for tweens, where we get only glimpses of this mysterious creatures that we hardly care about because it was 45 mins ago when we saw that really cool scene...but that doens't matter because scruffy men are still talking by fires, and sometimes on horses, over the picturesque Nevada wasteland. Nice.

When the finale finally finalizes I'm just too drama-mooded to death to actually care about the mystery being unfolded, which is good, because it never does really just kind of ends...and those damn Indians are still to blame! Fuck...and I thought non-reservation living minorities had it bad. Well, at least I still have that picturesque Nevada wasteland.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bad Biology [2008]

“I was born with 7 clits.” The now infamous opening line to Frank Henenlotter’s glorious return to film, or smut and gore depending on whom you’re asking, is stapled to every review, stamped to every brain, and saluted in every cult circle. But I choose to offer yet another line to sum up the experience of Bad Biology…

“This not clever. This is not intelligent. This is not artistic. This is crude, gutter-level filth.”

True, so very fuckin’ true…I smirk in agreeance and glee.

Let me bring you up to speed. Jennifer, the heavenly bestowith of said multiple clits, is “unlike other so-called nymphomaniacs, (her) needs are not psychological, they’re physical”; which make her covet “dick like a junkie needs a fix”. Her unbearable desires and sexual appetite are uncontrollable, leading her to a life of one-night stands, murder and the never-ending search for someone “built differently”. Enter Batz, the hung like a horse and yin to her yang, is a socially awkward, pill popper with an addiction all his own – his dick has an alter ego strung out on steroid and hormone stimulants. Let the games begin!

Henenlotter does it like no one else. Yes, we’ve had some recent vagina-logue horrors – Teeth and Killer Pussy . But Henenlotter pushes the boundaries further and explores new territories.

He’s auteurist, if you’ve ever seen Basket Case, Brain Damage or Frankenhooker, you know you’re watching a Henenlotter film. Dark comedy, eroticism, and wholesome ol’ sex are intertwined with the horror foundation almost seamlessly. Combine that with a a thumpin’ underground hip hop score, an unforgettable, implausible and utterly fucked up storyline, including a detachable penis on a bangin’ spree, vagina faces, a half dozen or so crying mutant babies, and a masturbation contraption that’d put the cybian to shame, and you have one helluva entertaining hour and twenty!


100 Feet [2008]

Although I’m ecstatic to see Eric Red (The Hitcher, Near Dark & Body Parts) behind the helm again - this time not taking 12 years to return - 100 Feet falls flat, having tripped over itself. X-Men ex-hottie Famke Janssen stars as Marnie, a recent parolee returning home to live out the rest of her sentence under house arrest. The catch? It’s the house she killed her wife beating cop husband in.

100 Feet stumbles right out of the gate with the absolutely terrible on screen partnership of Janssen and wannabe goomba, Bobby Cannavale (as dead husband’s former partner Shanks). We’re force-fed awkward and ludicrous dialogue with the all-too-annoying and obvious too much info scenario set up.

“What do you mean I’m not going to have power until Monday, that means I won’t have power ALLLLL weekend?!?!” – dun dun dun!

The night arrives. And aforementioned husband's ghost shows up to finish the beat down he was so inconsiderately interrupted by his knife-wielding wife. Marnie spends the weekend ordering delivery, sleeping with teenagers, and enjoying the spontaneous surprises from the chin checker spectre.

A few decent jump scares and one apparition ass-whooping for the ages later, we’re thrown a laughable and nonsensical ending that only Sauron of Lord of the Rings would understand. If you like j-horror, check this out, if you don’t, skip it.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Living and The Dead [2006]

The Living and the Dead is an artsy and drama-driven tale of the death and the descension into madness using setting and tone from shades of Kubrick's The Shining and Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, that aims not to please but shake convention and disrupt the norm.

The Brocklebanks are a once well-off family of three, Donald, and ex-Lord and former business-mogul now homeridden to care for his only child James, a schitzophrenic man-kid, and his wife Nancy, now a terminally ill dependant. To avoid the sale of their countryside estate, Donald is forced to abandon his family and home, leaving the care duties to a nurse on daily house call. James sees this as his opportunity to "make daddy proud" by taking responsiblity and care for his mother, and subsequently himself. After James locks the nurse out of the house, places the phone off the hook, and attempts to care for 2 persons too many...the downward spiral ensues - and this is where director Simon Rumley really bleeds his genius.

The mental breakdown is the make or break moment for these psychological films, and Rumley uses all the tricks in his bag. Rumley utilizes camera techniques (speed framing and motion shooting) and setting either cold and desolute or bare and cramped to throw the viewer of kilter, incorporate the brilliant acting of Leo Bill as James, and the final product is quite effective - even for someone quite desensitized. The one downside is the somewhat anti-climactic ending which is far from terrorizing or horrific, but once again effective, if not predictable, I guess

In summary, The Living and the Dead is a handicap kid at an amusement park. Most will casually peek, some will stare, and few will want to take him home and feed him jello...where you fall will determine the likelyhood of you enjoying this movie.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Ear To The Blood Soaked Ground - Offspring [2010]

With the recent successes of Jack Ketchum adaptations - The Lost (2005), The Girl Next Door (2007), Red (2008)...yet another novel comes to the big screen - Offspring...and I couldn't be happier.

Each of his first three adapations are wonderfully disturbing films, each unique, each compelling, and each unrelenting in nature. I can only guess that Offspring will encompass these characteristics and shock us once again.

"Survivors of a feral flesh-eating clan are chowing their way through the locals. Amy Halbard and Claire Carey strive to survive their abduction by the cannibals and save their children. A subplot involving Claire's despicable husband, Steven, gives an opportunity to cleverly compare predatory civilized folk to the appetite-driven primitives. Written by MODERNCINÉ STAFF" - Source:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mirrors [2008]

I don't watch many big budget ego-monger made mainstream horrors, but I HAD to check out Mirrors eventually...I'll follow Alexandre Aja into the depths of fluff animation and rom-com meadows after he gave us the gloriously brutal High Tension.

Sure, a Mirrors review wasn't necessary, but I figured I should at least drop a thought or two for other fellow indie-lovers and underground dwellers.

Mirrors plays out like a Japanese teen titilater. We have ghosts, gruesome deaths (mind you, too few), mystery, and an unlikely case solver...drenched in atmosphere, dark lighting, a strong string score, and capable cast. Okay. What's to hate? Not much. So what's to love? A keeping it consistant - not much either. Therefore, in conclusion, Mirrors attempts nothing else but to be a non-envelope pushing money least it succeeeded.


Martyrs In Still Motion

Enjoy, you defiled fiends!

A pregnant woman and a man-gina are forced to leave the cinema and require medical assistance at Sitges 2008! Begins around 4:30.