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2013 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (January – April)

January 11, 2014 3 comments

Iron Man 3 - Robert Downey, Jr.

With a few exceptions, this is the time of year when studios tend to dump lesser films and films not expected to do well during the blockbuster and Oscar seasons — stuff like low budget horror films, foreign imports, romcoms cashing in on Valentine’s Day, and films held off because the studios would rather market them at a time when nothing else is really out, and they might be able to get a few bucks out of those who crave a blockbuster but don’t want to wait a few months. Naturally, being the thrifty, frugal person I am, there were quite a few films I didn’t see during this time period, though with the summer blockbuster season creeping earlier and earlier into the year, such as with the high profile March release of Oz the Great and Powerful and the April release of Iron Man 3, it certainly seems like studios are catching on to the idea that, hey, there’s room to spread them all out. One can only hope that if that trend continues, filmmakers would be more likely to try harder and make films that standout in quality for your dollar… but that’s probably unrealistic.

Anyway, here are the films that, as of this writing, I did not see from January – April 2013, in order of release, as noted on Wikipedia. Please note that, as in the past, I still reserve the right to watch any film that is listed here and then re-remark on the film in one of the upcoming articles on films I did see from 2013. So, yes, you might see some of these films again, and soon… Read more…

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Special Review: “28 Weeks Later” – Portrait of Domestic Abuse

October 20, 2012 2 comments
Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Produced by: Enrique López-Lavigne, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich; Bernard Bellew (co-producer); Danny Boyle, Alex Garland (executive producers)
Written by: Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Enrique López Lavigne, Jesús Olmo
Cinematography by: Enrique Chediak
Music by: John Murphy
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Idris Elba
Year: 2007

 

28 Weeks Later lacks the originality, rawness, and, frankly, the mystique of Danny Boyle’s first film, but it’s a sequel that figures out a perfect way to have the rage virus return and deliver even more terrifying thrills. New director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo remains faithful to the tone of the first film yet focuses on entirely new characters and new ideas in a story that nonetheless continues where the last film left off. But while 28 Days Later told the story of a group of individuals coming together to form what could effectively be called a family, 28 Weeks Later intriguingly stands as a counterpoint to that narrative, weaving into its plot a story about a family torn apart by deceit and violence, and the two children who find themselves caught up in a system that, though well intentioned, may not be able to save them from a horrible fate.

(Due to the essay-like nature of this review, please know that SPOILERS are necessary for my examination, and, thus, do lie ahead!) Read more…

Review: “28 Days Later”

October 31, 2011 6 comments
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Produced by: Andrew MacDonald, Robert How (Line Producer)
Written by: Alex Garland
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson
Music by: John Murphy
Year: 2002 (UK)

As I recently stated in one of my (many to come) Great Scenes articles, you don’t have to be from England to recognize just how terrifying the seemingly abandoned streets of London become in 28 Days Later. Danny Boyle’s brilliant take on the zombie horror film sub-genre is as breathtaking as it is unnerving. Read more…

10 Scary, Suspenseful, and/or Freaky Non-Horror Films for Horror and Non-Horror Fans Alike

October 25, 2011 4 comments

If you couldn’t tell from the past 17 days, I’ve been focusing on strictly horror films for my reviews. The thing is, I’m not really that into horror! I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to broaden out into the genre, however, and honestly, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Mostly cheesy, low quality B-movie and B-movie level films that I likely will never watch again. There are a few better ones I have yet to publish reviews for, but I’m reluctant to go much further into new territory because, quite frankly, it’s burning me out.

That isn’t to say I don’t have any more horror film reviews to come. The next several reviews I have coming down the line are 28 Days Later, The Sixth Sense, Scream, The Others, Halloween, , and trio of horror-comedy hybrids, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and, even one for the kids with Monster House, so there are still plenty of horror films that I’m going to be filling out the next week or so with, all of them quality films.

But I’m taking a bit of a break with this article. If you can read, then you know that this is a list of ten scary, suspenseful, and/or freaky non-horror films for horror and non-horror fans alike! If you’re feeling a little left out of the loop among your horror-loving friends, or if you’re just wanting something of a change of pace from the standard comedies and action films you’re so used to, these should sufficiently get your adrenaline going without feeling as though you’re going to have nightmares afterward. … Well, with most of them at least. Insert maniacal laugh. Read more…

Great Scenes: “28 Days Later” – London Abandoned

October 22, 2011 12 comments

First off, if you haven’t seen the film, don’t watch this video. Just go borrow, rent, or even buy a copy of this amazing horror film, and come back to let this scene sink in. Go on. Do it! … NOW!

Have you come back yet? Okay, then you’re ready to join the rest of us enlightened ones and watch the following clip:

(Okay, so this is an image. I can’t get it to embed, but click on the image to watch the scene!)

This is one of my favorite horror films. Hands down. And this scene is quite possibly the best in the entire film.

Though the video quality is crude in the stream, if you’ve made it this far, then you’ve seen it and know that this is just how the film looks. (And if you didn’t, you’re a stinking liar!) This English-made horror film was made using a Canon XL-1 digital camera, which was first produced in 1997 and continued to be in production until 2001, just one year before this film’s release. Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Trainspotting) deliberately chose this aging technology to give the relatively low-budget film its distinctive, gritty look.

The setting of the film is, as you may have guessed, 28 days after a devastating plague swept through England. Jim (Cillian Murphy, Batman Begins, Inception) is a London courier who was previously struck by a car on his route and plunged into a deep coma before the world came crumbling down around him. The world he awakens to is vacant madness, as the hospital he finds himself in is trashed and abandoned. He cries out for anyone still around. He’s weak and disoriented and hasn’t eaten for quite a while. Some sugary sodas give him some strength as he leaves the hospital, only to find more emptiness. London has been abandoned completely, with not a soul in sight. His cries go unanswered as debris gives him a hint as to what has happened. Missing people. Vigils for those departed. Old newspapers telling of a mysterious infestation.

This scene was filmed in the early hours of the morning. The story goes that it was so early, the filmmakers were able to capture it all while police barely had to block traffic to create the eerie effect of having a completely motionless London. The toppled bus was placed, filmed, and returned to normal within 20 minutes, which is made all the more impressive when you consider that London is pretty much England’s New York City. If you thought that the silent nature of New York City was creepy in I Am Legend, then you’re going to be completely blown away by this green screen and visual effects-free scene.

It only gets more and more unnerving the more the music kicks in. Featuring an edited version of the Godspeed You! Black Emperor song “East Hastings”, the pulsing bass, plodding keys, and, of course, the interweaving guitar combine to project Jim’s confusion and helplessness and help to sell the absolute terror one would face in this situation. The track has since gone on to be the de facto theme to the film series, showing up throughout this film’s sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which is also worth a look.

One of the great things about this scene, though, is how utterly scary it is, despite the infected having not even really made their terrifying debut. This emphasizes that the fear in this film isn’t just from the potential the characters face in getting infected or torn apart, but also their need for companionship and their fear of feeling lonely or abandoned in a world gone mad. 28 Days Later is a film about a family coming together, but at this point, Jim has no one to help him here. You don’t hear him crying out for explanations. Instead of crying out “Why?” or “How?” he simply cries out desperately, “Hello!?” And, as you watch the film, these words continue to echo throughout, as they continue to search for hope and for their cries to be answered…

My Top 10 Favorite Horror Films (2008)

October 13, 2011 4 comments
This is a reprint of an article I posted on Facebook, October 14, 2008 — 3 years ago to the day in about an hour and a half, actually! I was busy constructing a new list tonight, when I found myself struggling, getting off track and, thanks to being sick, I didn’t really feel too motivated to continue, to be honest. Then I happened to remember that I had already created one a while ago. I didn’t realize that it was actually that long ago, though!

 

Around this time, I was going through a phase, writing Top 10 movie lists that will no doubt find their way here one day, much like this list and my Simpsons Movie and Catwoman reviews I posted from my review-writing English class. In fact, these lists were made just a few months after those reviews were written. I was riding high on review writing, and these were my pet projects.

 

Looking over this list, I’m actually pretty happy with how it is, even with 3 more years of experience with the genre. Possibly the main exception I would make is throwing Scream in there somewhere, but that’ll get its own review soon, anyway, so that movie will get its just attention. Don’t worry! Also, while Shaun of the Dead is undoubtedly horror-related, I didn’t put it here since there’s a strong emphasis on films that scare and create suspense.

 

I’m once again presenting it unedited from its original format, typos and all, save for some additional photos just for visual flair. I was pretty loose with the term “Horror” to be honest, but I wasn’t really that well exposed to the genre at the time. Heck, I’m still not, which is kind of the point in me focusing on the genre this month. Hope you like this list, though, as I attempt to recover and recharge by being absolutely lazy! Read more…
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