Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Swiss Army Man (2016)

An American comedy drama horror directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe.
A man stranded on a desert island is about to hang himself when he sees a body wash up on the shore. The corpse turns out to have special powers and almost be alive. The two have many adventures together as the corpse uses it's special powers to get the man home and the man explains life to the corpse that is becoming more alive as it learns.
This started out super-gross. I was ready for the worst, but then it turned into a heart-touching tale of learning to live. Obviously, the plot and characters are top notch. The video is absolutely amazing. They used every effect I know without overdoing it. Physical and digital effects combined with master camera-work to produce a spectacle for the eyes. The soundtrack was a little on the post-alt rock side, but that was the only point that was less than perfect. I won't spoil the ending other than to say I liked it. Films of this caliber come along so infrequently these days. I rate it best. WATCH IT!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Killer Robots! Crash and Burn (2016)

An American science fiction by Sam Gaffin.
A team of four robots escape from a death arena, only to be destroyed. They are reconstructed for a mission to save a planet from a computer virus.
Oh, man! So bad! Like not even worth making fun of bad. The plot was very basic. The characters were literally Adobe After Effects cutouts. The video seemed all the same. It was all explosions on bluish-grey mechanical backgrounds. The audio was probably the best part, featuring music from the band, The Killer Robots! I imagine that one of their shows would be really fun because they involve the audience and give you foam weapons to attack their fake robots with. The movie didn't work out so great. I was reminded of The Storm Riders and The Storm Warriors. They overused special effects and it would have been cool as a short, but the feature length film format was like telling the same joke over and over. Overall, it got old really quick. I rate this bad. DO NOT WATCH!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Wild Bunch (1969)

An American western directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson.
A former member of an outlaw gang has gone against them and has an inept crew to fight them with. The gang flees to Mexico after a bank robbery, where they also encounter military resistance.
Shootouts, peplum-style men on horses and gangs/armies fighting was all I saw. There were a few drinking scenes to break up the monotony of violence, but it was mostly physical conflict. Hence, the plot did not interest me and there were too many characters to get to know any of them. The video tried so hard to be spaghetti like Sergio Leone, but could not reach his level of intimacy by using so many dudes fighting. The audio was actually very good. I could hear all of the dialogue and it contained appropriate music, including diagetic sources. Overall, a peplum western trying to be spaghetti in America. I rate it poor for being something that it should not be and trying to be something that it cannot be.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Before Midnight (2013)

An American romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
The same couple from the previous films is living in Europe and have twin daughters. However, the man's son from his previous marriage is living in the U.S.A. with his mother. The couple drive to their friend's house and go to stay at a hotel.
Why is this so interesting to me? I don't even like romance flicks. Anyway, this time the couple are arguing more. A sign of the times. The characters are accompanied by a group at dinner and have a very deep discussion about life, love and relationships. They get along really well while walking to the hotel, but once there, they start arguing. The video was similar to the previous films in that it featured long double shots of the couple talking. It differed by cutting more frequently and featuring other people more than the second film and much more than the first. In the first, it was almost all them. The second introduced some other scenes and this one prominently featured other people. The editing is the same. From the first to the last, we see an increased frequency of scene cuts. This film featured a good few minutes of visibility on the female lead's breasts. Female anatomy points there. Overall, I would rate the series as good, but this film falls in with the second as adequate. It was not as good as the first, but still plenty watchable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Before Sunset (2004)

An American romance directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
The couple from Before Sunrise (1995) meet nine years later in Paris. The man is the author of a book detailing the events of the first film and the woman is an environmental activist. They meet at his book signing and try to spend time together before he has to catch an airplane flight.
I was disappointed. The first one was so good that anything else is a let-down. The plot took place over a shorter period of time and had lost it's magic. The characters were the same, but they were trying to rekindle old sparks of romance and catch up on lost time. It seemed sad. The video featured lots of moving shots with the actors walking and talking. They did a good job on that. The audio blended seamlessly as the original and featured a song played by the female lead on guitar and vocals. Actually played live with no faking, a rarity. Overall, not as good as the first one, but still as well-made and "soundly" designed. I rate it adequate.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Before Sunrise (1995)

A Swiss Austrian American romance directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
A young man meets a young woman on a train across Europe. They become interested in each other and at the man's stop, he asks the woman to wander through the city with him all night before he leaves on a plane and she leaves on the train. She agrees and they fall in love.
Pretty well made. For such a simple plot, it held my attention quite well. This is one of those films where two people talking can be interesting. The two main characters reminded me of Wesley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride (1987), but more modern. The video was planned and executed flawlessly. It all seemed to be one long conversation as the pair walk through scene after scene. The audio featured audible dialogue and a soundtrack that I didn't even notice was there. The music was so appropriate that it just blended into the plot and video seamlessly. Now that I'm through singing it's technical praises, there are only two points on which I disagree. Romance is not my favorite genre and the woman was begging for sex beginning around 1:14 without receiving any positive feedback until around 1:20. It started with a "let's see if the glass slipper fits" remark atop a stone stairway and was not resolved until 2 or 3 scenes later in the park. As a side-note, this couple was featured in Waking Life (2001) in bed, having a conversation about dreams. Overall, a technical masterpiece that was fun to watch, but not my favorite genre. I'm rating it good for these exact reasons.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Good Morning and... Goodbye! (1967)

An American sexploitation film directed by Russ Meyer.
A group of seemingly unrelated characters living in a valley are united by sexual infidelity.
So Russ Meyer. Who is sleeping with whom is not a valid plot. The characters seemed to boil down to three: husbands, adulterers and women. The video was alright, but just a little more creative editing would have made a huge difference. For example, the old husband is driving and the witch is everywhere. Putting her more places for shorter times and making her seem to disappear and reappear would have been very easy. The intro scene of the naked woman running got my hopes up about nudity, but the rest of the film did not deliver what was promised. The audio let me know that they were inexperienced at mixing dialogue and music. The dialogue was too quiet and the music was too loud. I have very sensitive ears though. Overall, not worth watching at all. Russ Meyer has made much better films with more nudity and more plot than this. I rate it poor.