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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Swiss Army Man

July 8, 2016 1 comment
Swiss Army ManDirected by: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan – as “Daniels”
Produced by: Eval Rimmon, Lauren Mann, Lawrence Inglee, Jonathan Wang, Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall
Written by: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan
Edited by: Matthew Hannam
Cinematography by: Larkin Seiple
Music by: Andy Hull, Robert McDowell
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Year: 2016

 

I’ve never been so moved by a movie with this many farts since… well, probably ever…. Read more…

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REVIEW: The Babadook

October 17, 2015 3 comments
The BabadookDirected by: Jennifer Kent
Produced by: Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere
Written by: Jennifer Kent
Edited by: Simon Njoo
Cinematography by: Radek Ladczuk
Music by: Jed Kurzel
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Benjamin Winspear
Based on the short film Monster by Jennifer Kent
Year: 2014

 

It takes a lot to scare me these days when it comes to movies. Sure, some might have a lot of high tension, and others may exploit our squeamish tendencies through excessive, torturous gore (amongst other things), but when it comes to genuine terror, I can’t recall many movies that genuinely get under my skin and terrify me. The Babadook, an independent Australian film that came out of nowhere and almost immediately became a cult classic thanks to word of mouth marketing, is undoubtedly one of the most unnerving, scariest movies that I’ve seen in quite some time, from any era – and I recently saw The Exorcist for the first time. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: The Visit

September 17, 2015 6 comments
The VisitDirected by: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced by: Marc Bienstock, Jason Blum, M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Edited by: Luke Franco Ciarrocchi
Cinematography by: Maryse Alberti
Music by: Paul Cantelon
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn
Year: 2015

 

M. Night Shyamalan – the guy’s name has basically become synonymous with “crappy movie with a twist ending.” The filmmaker was once purported to be “the next Steven Spielberg” when he released his first film, The Sixth Sense, and people continued to call him a master of suspense with the release of his second, Unbreakable. There was a brief time when Shyamalan’s name in the credits was reason enough to go flock to the theatre and see his latest work, but something quickly changed in the public consciousness, it seemed. It seemed to start at a different time for everyone. For some, it was his alien invasion film Signs, with its improbably prophetic twist reveal. For others, it was The Village, which seemed to promise one movie in the trailers and delivered something completely different and ultimately disappointing with the end product. Some were even willing to go as far as The Lady in the Water, but others even took issue with Unbreakable, while others claim that one’s still superior to his first. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

April 24, 2015 1 comment
Kumiko, the Treasure HunterDirected by: David Zellner
Produced by: Jim Burke, Andrew Banks, Cameron Lamb, Chris Ohlson, Nathan Zellner; Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (exec.)
Written by: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Edited by: Melba Jodorowsky
Cinematography by: Sean Porter,
Music by: The Octopus Project
Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, Shirley Venard, David Zellner, Bunzo
Year: 2015 (wide)

 

Opening with a distorted epigraph declaring the following tale to be “based on a true story,” Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is actually based more in legend than true events. The true story became muddled thanks to a misunderstanding between Bismark, ND police officers and a Japanese woman named Takako Konishi, who had come to America from Tokyo and who the police had trouble communicating with thanks to a language barrier. Konishi was seeking some kind of refuge from her overwhelming depression somewhere near Minneapolis. She had lost her job back in Tokyo and had spent some time there with her married American businessman lover, whom she possibly came to see before tragically committing suicide near Detroit Lakes, MN. The language barrier between the police and Konishi, however led to the creation of an urban legend that Konishi had instead come to seek out the money-filled briefcase Steve Buscemi’s character had buried in the Coen Brothers film Fargo, believing the briefcase was real thanks in large part to that film’s epigraph declaring the story to be based on truth (it wasn’t) – this epigraph is, in fact, the very same one that Kumiko borrows for its own story. While David and Nathan Zellner here choose to focus on the myth for their story, however, in so doing, they actually manage to do justice to Konishi’s tragic story by portraying the heartbreaking truth of her emotions that were lost in translation through the story that far more people were compelled to listen to. Read more…

2014 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen

February 7, 2015 1 comment

Under the Skin - Eye

Finally, we come to the films that I actually did see! As with the films I didn’t see, these films will come at you in three parts: the films that were just somewhere in the middle in terms of quality, the films I greatly disliked, and the films I really enjoyed.

I use those qualitative terms just to avoid confusion over what I’m ranking here. The films in this section range from generally bad to generally quite good, but never elevating to excellence or making me fall in love with them or making me hate them with a passion. That being said, I didn’t expect to like some of the films here as much as I ended up liking them, and, of course, I was letdown by others I actually was kind of looking forward to.

If you don’t see the movie here and didn’t see it in the list of films I didn’t see, then you can almost certainly be guaranteed to find them on one of my next two lists, as this is just a portion of the 121 total films I ended up seeing from 2014 as of this writing, whether in theatres, on DVD/Blu-Ray, or through streaming. Read more…

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REVIEW: Grave Encounters

October 30, 2014 3 comments
Grave EncountersDirected by: The Vicious Brothers (Collin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz)
Produced by: Twin Engine Films, Digital Interference Productions, Shawn Angelski, Michael Karlin
Written by: The Vicious Brothers
Edited by: The Vicious Brothers
Cinematography by: Tony Mirza
Music by: Quynne Craddock
Starring: Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray, Juan Riedinger, Merwin Mondesir, Matthew K. McBride, Ben Wilkinson
Year: 2011

 

I didn’t really count on doing a found footage film this year, but my friend offered this up as a solid horror film the other day, and, in return I said I’d do a review of it. For the record, this is the same guy who suggested I watch the 1991 Sylvester Stallone movie Oscar, the also horrific Thomas and the Magical Railroad (which was his joke suggestion last year for a horror movie review), and the unexpected suggestion of Albert Nobbs. If anything, though I haven’t very much always enjoyed his suggestions, they have definitely given my reviews more variety, and so I think I’ll give him a pass on this cliché subgenre recommendation – and if he takes issue with my condescending tone here regarding his movie suggestions and taste, then he totally knows it’s intentional… and totally sincere. t(-.-t) to you and your suggestions, dude. I had heard of the film before, but it was only in passing on various websites’ comments sections and such. It also popped up recently on Netflix’s streaming service recommendations for me, so when he watched it and then made the recommendation himself, I figured it was just meant to be. Read more…

Review: “The Notebook”

May 7, 2013 6 comments
The NotebookDirected by: Nick Cassavetes
Produced by: Lynn Harris, Mark Johnson; Toby Emmerich, Avram Butch Kaplan (executive)
Written by: Jeremy Leven (screenplay); Jan Sardi (adaptation)
Edited by: Alan Heim
Cinematography by: Robert Fraisse
Music by: Aaron Zigman
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Jamie Brown, Sam Shepard, David Thornton, Kevin Connolly
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
Year: 2001

 

Nicholas Sparks adaptations have become something like an annual event, it seems. Sure, it’s not actually true, but it feels true, what with all the films attempting to cash in on this film’s success as a tear-jerking romance novel adaptation. It all started with Message in a Bottle in 1999, and then there was the Mandy Moore film A Walk to Remember in 2002. The biggest film in this series of cloying romantic fantasies, though, seems to be The Notebook, a film that even romantic movie haters had at one point or another assured me is actually “a pretty decent movie.”

Now, I admit that I had basically pecked out portions of story from this film based on scenes I had caught glimpses of while on various trips back home, mostly when my oldest stepsister was still living at home. There were probably two or three good efforts thrown in there, too, of me actually trying to honestly follow the film with them before something else caught my attention and I wound up not following through with it. When I started Girly Movie Month this month, however, I knew that this would ultimately have to be reviewed, being basically the girly movie that comes to my mind when I think of the term “girly movie.”

Having finally seen the film all the way through in one sitting, I feel as though I can honestly sit down with anyone who may have told me in the past that this was actually a “decent” film and tell them to their faces: “You are so full of it.” Read more…

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