Monday, July 21, 2014

Dead Snow (2009) & Red vs Dead (2014)




I've had before Norwegian movies on my blog. And I think I said that they're not really on "my frequency". Well, I've finally found the exception .. a double one = "Dead Snow" & "Dead Snow 2" ...

The first movie follows a "classic" plot. A group of medicine students decide to spend a winter vacation on a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Of course, that's a bad idea ... The original part comes with the bad things that happen. More precisely at the end of WW2, in that area, a nazi platoon didn't just quietly packed and left, but decided to stay a bit longer ... years longer ... as zombies ;) Obviously, I won't get into details, but to follow with the 2nd movie I have to give a spoiler = in the first, there's a lone survivor...

... And the lone survivor has a personal vendetta to carry on in the sequel. If the first film seems to you to be just another zombie movie, with more original zombies .. the sequel is so innovative that at some point mocks itself declaring during an exchange of lines that what's going there can give birth to a new movie genre :). The trailer gives some info, and more than that I just can say that "red" in the title links again to ww2 ( guess how ;) ).

Both movies are very bloody (e.g., we have a tribute to "Evil Dead" on cutting an arm with a chainsaw). Both movies have "outrageusly awful" scenes ( I prefer to not give examples :) ), but usually caught in a sufficiently funny context, that you can forgive them. Both movies have something different to other zombie movies, the comic side which actually works here. I think just "Shaun of the Dead" managed to pull this off, "Warm Bodies" being the counterexample I prefer to give (we don't count "Fase 7" or "Cabin in the Woods" - those are not pure zombie movies). And the second movie manages this that well, that's mandatory to also see the first to catch every bit of what the sequel offers ;)

Rating:
Dead Snow - 3 out of 5
Red vs Dead - 4 out of 5











Sunday, July 13, 2014

iNumber Number (2013)



There are movies on which I can say "this will be good" after three minutes. Well ... in some cases it happens that I'm wrong. Not with "iNumber Number".

Simple story. In the corrupt world of South Africa's law enforcement, two cops try to make a difference. Until the day one of them gets tired risking his life for rewards stolen by superiors, and decides to push a bit further his undercover work = to move forward with a robbery planned by a gang, get them caught only after the hit, and "lose" some cash evidence in the process. Hardly, he manages to convince his partner to back him up eventually. But, of course, things go wrong ...

What we have here is a South African indie budget movie, that I had the opportunity to catch at a local film festival. I really hope this gets a wider release, since it's way better than many action movies made in Hollywood. Top notch directing and casting (despite the fact I don't know any actor). But what makes this movie really shine is the camera work and the editing ... I think is the only movie I've seen by now where I really liked the use of kinetic camera for the action sequences. It happened before in some rare cases to be neutral/ok, bun generally I hate this ... Because usually is exaggerated, chaotic, and gives headaches. What I've watched here can get in a cinematography course on how to dose "the shakiness" both as time and as movement direction. Besides this, the cinematography it's overall simply superb. There's much to say .. I'll resume only on how the English subtitle track is integrated, which I think comes along the original movie reel (= was the same on yt trailers & in cinema). The text is not placed in the classic bottom/center, but occupies the most appropriate space on the running scene. At some point it gave me the (positive) impression, I have a rolling comic book in front of my eyes.

Although as I said the story is simple, the movie is action packed + even if you probably expect the classic happy-end, there are many some small details that complicate the situation and keep you focused. I've already gave a (predictable) light spoiler on the movie ending, and that's probably the weakest point in the whole film. Too idealistic :) ...

Rating: 4 out of 5










Friday, July 4, 2014

Enemy (2013)



If you're scared by David Lynch, you should not watch "Enemy" ...
If you're arachnophobic, you should not watch "Enemy" ...
If you're given chills by syndromes like multiple personality disorder or schizophrenia, you should not watch "Enemy" ...

Maybe you should watch "Enemy" ...

What could I say more than the clip and trailer posted below ? I don't know... Jake Gyllenhaal plays a double part, a lonely history professor who discovers he has an identical lookalike in a B-movies actor. As expected, up to the end you'll probably get sort of convinced that the two are one and the same. Sort of .. because unlike, let's say "Fight Club", here the movie doesn't bother that much to connect the dots in order to avoid loopholes (well ... you probably can explain everything as a hallucination of the main character = problem solved).

I'm not really in the mood to get into other details on the subject. I still should point other stuff though. The movie is directed by Denis Villeneuve ("Prisoners"). I doubt it could've got any better on the script it has = yet another proof that the director's quite promising. Besides that I can add also the brilliant cinematography (Nicolas Bolduc - never heard of him before). It's simply put in perfect tone with the subject. And the comparison with David Lynch in the beginning comes mostly from the atmosphere created that's mainly based on the visuals.

I'd keep for myself the end note philosophy, but... At least, I'd like to believe that the movie ending interpretation is that people with some kind of problems, at some point, and with somebody close to them, can become aware. If not about themselves, at least about the effects on others around them. The reality is chillin' though. And .. that's all.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (subjectively ...)









Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fish Story (2009)



I have neither the time, nor the mood for writing lately. It's probably noticeable :) ... I didn't lose track yet on the rate of entries/week ( I know that I'm one behind ;) ) = maybe there are still some chances to catch up. The good side is that long breaks bring better movies. Like "Fish Story", or "Fisshu sutôrî" in Japanese, because we have something from that part of the world...

I don't really know in what genre to fit the movie. I guess I could mix together comedy, drama, romance, musical, SciFi, and maybe others. As a short summary I can say that's a sort of concise "Cloud Atlas", better centered on the "in-depth idea", more lighthearted, and without box office claims (now don't get me wrong, I liked "Cloud Atlas", but sometimes got a bit lost in details). The movie starts with the apocalypse of 2012, when a comet has a couple hours until hitting Earth, and the planet inhabitants wait helplessly for the end. Including the residents of the Nippon archipelago. I'm not gonna give any spoiler ( although the outcome is sort of predictable, but not the details ;) ). We slowly move back to 1975 (with some stops on the way). when an unsuccessful punk band, with lousy sales and about to disband, releases a last album including ... "Fish Story". A song with lines that make no sense, and which gets a cassette recording with an enigmatic silenced part in the middle. Stuff that over the years gives birth to various urban legends on the song break reason. And so, the movie carries us forward and backward in time, with various scenes that connect more-or-less to "Fish Story". It's sufficiently chaotic to put your brain at work a bit on trying to tie the loose ends, but at the same time it's perfectly structured not to give you headaches. The story unfolds in a pretty concise manner, although it might not seem so in the beginning. But pretty much everything starts connecting from a point onwards in a sort of long time propagated butterfly effect. And if by chance you still get lost in the story building chain, don't worry, you'll get it before the end ;) ...

I could start with the movies philosophy and what it wants to transmit to the public ( if it wants something :) ). However, I guess that the "in-depth idea" I was mentioning that's more clear, maybe it's clear just for me. So I'll let everybody to get a personal conclusion. On my side I'll stick to the "Cloud Atlas tagline": "Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future." ...

Rating: 4 out of 5




Monday, June 9, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)




I've already given a short intro for "Edge of Tomorrow" in the preview I did two entries ago. So let's dig directly in the story. Somewhere in an apocalyptic future, where an alien race is about to conquer Earth, major Cage (Tom Cruise) serves bravely his mother planet as a proud member of .. the public relations department of the army. Activity that gets a sudden change (in a sort of unrealistic fashion .. although you could try to explain it later), in a sunny day, when the joined armies commanding general personally sends our major to the front line. Where he eventually gets deployed by force, qualified as deserter, and with his rank stripped and reduced to private = "ready" for face-to-face combat. Of course, being a total noob in using the equipped weaponry, major Cage dies at a short time after setting his foot on the battlefield. Not alone though, but taking with him also a particular specimen of the alien fauna. Thing that, without saying more ( check out the movie :) ) allows him to open again his eyes, at the beginning of the first day in his short and unfortunate soldier career ...

As compared in the preview entry, we have indeed a sort of "Groundhog Day" = neverending repeat, but just as starting point. Further ... why, how it got there, how it can get out of there + other minor aspects = saving the planet & getting the girl :) are part of one of the nicest SciFi stories I've seen in the last years. Again, mentioning that I have a soft spot for time travel ;) It's not about the complexity or philosophic depths here (= as in "Looper" for instance), but the story is very well structured and quite entertaining for the almost two hours the movie has. I'd actually say, unlike other times, in this case it was so .. I don't know, lighthearted let's say, such that I didn't even try to find loopholes in the time reset theory. I just enjoyed it as it was.

I can't make any particular appreciation on the technical side of the movie, but the script helps a lot. Besides the main genre = SciFi & action, we also have some comic relief added, or (light spoiler) as an IMDb comment was saying, something like "if you hate Tom Cruise, that's the movie you should see" with a reference on how many ways the main character can die. As a final point, we also have a pretty smoothly integrated romance, which sort of runs along with the main action thread ( although quite discreetly :) ), and which I liked a lot (stuff that rarely happens). I don't know if it was about Emily Blunt, or how the story went, but well :) ... Overall, the movie was a very nice surprise, and I can warmly recommend it ;)

Rating: 4 out of 5