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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Guard (2011)

An Irish crime comedy directed by John Michael McDonagh, starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham and Fionnula Flanagan.
An Irish cop gets a black, American partner and they try to catch a gang of drug dealers.
Amazing! I don't have anything bad to say about this. The plot was written very well and held my attention through two consecutive viewings before writing this. The characters were written and cast well. They were unique and colorful and made me feel like I had known them my whole life. Even the secondary characters were written and acted perfectly. The dialogue was on par with Quentin Tarantino material. Video looked more like Wes Anderson style. Everything was contrasty, over-saturated and extremely planned out. The audio was great. Everything was mixed right and I could hear the music and dialogue all very clearly. Overall, a fucking masterpiece. There is no other way to rate this than best. You must watch it!

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Grey (2011)

A British American disaster adventure directed by Joe Carnahan, starring Liam Neeson and Dermot Mulroney.
A group of men are on an airplane that crashes in Alaska. They try to survive with a pack of wolves chasing them through the wilderness.
How disappointing. The plot held my attention because of the subject matter. The characters were not very developed and lacked back-story. They spent the whole time arguing and getting killed. The video all looked good. There were some very good shots of landscapes and action sequences. The audio was mixed well and I could hear everything. The soundtrack music stayed in the background and seemed appropriate. What irked me was that the rising action would almost instantaneously skip to resolutions. This was particularly true of the ending. Overall, a disappointment. I rate this poor, mostly because of the ending.

The World's End (2013)

A British American science fiction directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan.
A group of friends try to visit every pub in their town at the end of school and only make it through 9. Years later, they reunite and have another go at it. This time, the town is mostly populated by alien robots.
Entertainment value was very high in this. The plot held my attention very well. The characters had relatively deep back-stories and some even changed during the duration. The video was executed well and featured over the top special effects. The robots coming apart was done convincingly, there was a walking metal sculpture and a giant fireball. The audio was mixed well, but the music was not what I would have chosen. Overall, a fun flick. I rate this awesome. Watch it!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

A British horror directed by Colm McCarthy, starring Glenn Close.
A girl goes to class in a restraint wheelchair on a military base. It turns out that she has a lesser degree of a zombie virus and the scientist wants to make a cure from her brain and spine. The base is invaded by zombies and the girl escapes with a jerk soldier, the teacher and the scientist.
I actually liked this. The plot held my attention and differentiated itself from other zombie apocalypse films. The characters were a little deeper than standard survival horror folks. I liked the main character because she was very different from everyone else. The video was done very well. I really liked their use of selective focus. The audio was pretty good, but there was one really annoying song in the soundtrack. Overall, an entertaining and moderately unique zombie apocalypse survival horror with a good main character. I rate this adequate. You might as well watch it.

Sunshine (2007)

A British American science fiction directed by Danny Boyle, starring Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada and Michelle Yeoh.
A team of astronauts are piloting a bomb to rekindle the sun. When they stop to inspect the abandoned ship from the previous mission, things go awry.
This seemed like a syfy channel flick because it was all about the astronauts arguing. The plot was not all that great because of this. The characters were extremely shallow and lacked any hint of back-story. The video mostly looked good. There were some underexposures and the special effects were a little wonky. The audio was good. I could hear everything and levels were mixed correctly. Overall, it's just not that great. I rate this tolerable.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Source Code (2011)

A French American science fiction directed by Duncan Jones, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
A soldier in a military experiment is transported into the past to stop a bomber from destroying a train.
This was kind of sappy for a science fiction. The plot held my attention because of the idea of being sent back in time, into the body of a victim of a disaster and trying to stop it. The main character was developed, but the others were not at all. The video all looked professionally done and the editing was extremely seamless. Special effects when the train blows up multiple times were done quite well and convincingly. The audio sounded good to me. I could hear everything very clearly and the music was mixed very low. My beef with this is the super crap happy, sappy ending that took too long. We go from explosions, death and destruction with the main character in a strange situation to almost a romance chick flick. Whatever. I rate this o.k. because it was going so well until it went down the drain.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Moon (2009)

A British science fiction directed by Duncan Jones, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey.
A man working on a lunar base finds out that he is a clone. The previous version crashed a vehicle and the new one finds the old one and takes him back to the base. Together, they form a plan to get one of them back to Earth and restore communications that had been blocked.
Pretty cool. The plot was interesting and held my attention. I've always wanted another me or even a few more. The world would not be the same if that happened. The characters were the copies of Sam and his robot, GERTY. I initially thought we were going into a HAL9000 scenario, but the robot turned out to be good. The video was done very well. I think that the lunar base set was very convincing because it was a complete set. The outside sequences with rovers were done with models, not CG. The audio was mostly good. There were a few bits of dialogue that were mixed low, especially on video playbacks that Sam watched. Overall, I think that the filmmakers got the '70s and '80s feel that they were going for. I rate this awesome. Even though I spoiled so much of it, watch it anyway! Tom Cullen would agree.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I'm Not There (2007)

A German American dramatized music documentary directed by Todd Haynes, starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere and Ben Whishaw.
Something about the life and career of Bob Dylan is supposed to be communicated.
Holy multiple non-linear plots, Batman! So, we've got 6 plots based on different and undefined periods in Bob Dylan's life and they are alternated through the duration. This tells me that they did not want the viewer to understand what was going on. There were so many characters that thinking or writing about them would make my head hurt. The video and audio were done quite well and it was a technically sound film. I could see and hear everything that was going on. There were some nice shots and creative visual compositions. The music was mixed well with the dialogue to the point that they were inseparable. Overall, a beautiful, but incoherent mess. It was done in such a way to make me think that this may have been intentional. I rate this adequate. Don't plan on understanding it, at least on the first viewing.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Attack the Block (2011)

A British science fiction directed by Joe Cornish.
Aliens land in urban London and teenagers fight them.
This was really cool. The simple plot worked because it was backed up by all of the other film elements. The characters were unevenly developed and all development was in the present tense. However, the viewer is clearly supposed to like the characters. Good acting definitely played a role in this. There was a scene with rough, funny characters telling a straight character that she was swearing too much. This means good writing too. The video was done very well. I could see everything that was happening and the best part was the motorcycle/BMX/parkour chase and action scene. The audio had clearly audible dialogue in an urban London dialect and the soundtrack mainly featured rap music. Overall, it came together to form a nice little package that was fun and entertaining to watch. I rate this awesome because it went above and beyond requirements. WATCH IT!!!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Jesus Camp (2006)

An American documentary directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
An Evangelical children's pastor runs a religious summer camp. The pastor and some of the children speak about their beliefs.
Let's put religion aside for a moment and look at production. The interviews featured interviewees speaking about their strong beliefs and was accompanied by B-roll of the group engaged in their activities. The pastor pissed me off and I know she's stupid. A prime example is when she's talking bad about people being fat and she's over 300lbs. The video all looked like it was shot well and I could hear all of the dialogue very clearly. The editing was a little less than creative and unique, but got the point across. I don't think that the filmmakers intended any bias in their work. However, I think that it lacked direction and dynamics. Now for religion. These people have the best intentions, but they are flat out wrong. Every religion has puzzle pieces that make up the true nature of existence. The Evangelical Christians have 10 (commandments) out of a puzzle of a few thousand pieces. Their power metal is also quite epic. Unfortunately, religion is a decision and concept that I think only adults are capable of making and understanding. I say let the kids be kids while they can because they can get into religion if they want to when they are old enough to make an informed decision. Overall, a well made documentary about wrongly brainwashing children. I rate this poor because it's a complex subject matter that I don't think was covered sufficiently.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Another Earth (2011)

An American science fiction drama directed by Mike Cahill, starring William Mapother.
An exact copy of Earth is found in the sky. The same night, a successful female student has a car accident with a male professor, killing his family. When she gets out of jail, she applies for a space mission to the new planet and begins cleaning the house of the professor.
Well, that went nowhere. The plot was a little muddy and pointless to me. The characters were developed a little bit. The video looked awesome. One of my favorite scenes involved dust in the sunlight (image). The audio was mixed correctly. Overall, did we need all of this extra stuff just for shots of dust in sunlight? I rate this o.k.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Tale of Two Sisters A.K.A. Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003)

A South Korean drama thriller directed by Kim Jee-woon.
A girl is released from a mental institution into the care of her stepmother. Her sister also lives there and there are haunting style events in the house.
This didn't make any sense. The plot failed to hold my attention. The characters were shallow and even mysterious. The video was excellently done. There was a variety of creative shots and transitions. The audio was in Korean with English subtitles and the dialogue and music seemed to be mixed correctly. Overall, I couldn't pay attention and when I could, failed to figure out what was going on. I rate this poor. You probably shouldn't watch it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mr. & Mrs. Incredible (2011)

A Chinese kung fu comedy directed by Vincent Kok, starring Louis Koo and Sandra Ng.
Male and female superheroes meet. They get married and want a child, but their lives are not exciting enough to be fertile.
Not too shabby. The plot was a little too convoluted for the simple premise. I think there were too many characters and that the two main characters were not developed enough. The video was the best part. It all looked great and had amazing special effects with the magical super powers of the couple. I was reminded of Kung Fu Hustle style of physical comedy. The audio was in Chinese with music mixed very low and I was able to find good English subtitles. Overall, A fun watch with only a few flaws. I rate it adequate. You might want to check it out.

Mary and Max (2009)

An Australian animated drama directed by Adam Elliot, starring Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
An Australian girl becomes pen pals with a mentally ill man in New York City. They tell each other about the problems in their lives.
This was animated very well and looked really cool. The plot was very sad and tragic, but that seemed to be the goal. The characters were developed marvelously well because of them narrating the letters in which they describe their lives in detail. The stop motion claymation style was awesome because of the limited, almost black and white color palette. The audio was mostly dialogue and the music was mixed low to bring out the voices of the characters. Overall, it seemed to be planned and executed in a very exact manner. I rate this awesome. Watch it!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Act of Killing A.K.A. Jagal (2012)

An Indonesian documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
Indonesian gangsters who were executioners during the political upheaval in 1965 are given a camera crew to make a movie about what happened. This is the making of their film.
This strange and slow, but worth it in the end. The subject matter and director were the same as Look of Silence (2014). This film starred different executioners and only a small number of them who still work together as gangsters. The most interesting element was attitude development over the duration. The main character has completely changed how he thinks of the 1965 communist genocide by the end. I won't spoil the ending any more than that, but it was the best part and an extremely powerful scene. One scene that I can mention without spoiling things is Herman brushing his teeth. It's hilarious! The video in this was not as good as Look of Silence. There were more informal and handheld shots. The audio was in Indonesian and the English subtitles were a little difficult to see. Overall, an emotionally powerful film. You have to wait for it, but it gets there. I rate this good. Watch it! In fact, watch both of them as a series.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Thing (2011)

A science fiction horror remake directed by Matthjis van Heijningen Jr., starring Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen.
An alien and spacecraft are dug out of the ice in Antarctica. The alien bursts out of the ice block and takes on the appearance of crew members.
I didn't like the original and don't like the remake. I think that this is a very mediocre science fiction with a lackluster monster. The plot almost held my attention. The characters were very shallow. We're talking little kids' plastic backyard swimming pool lack of depth here. The video was the best part. It was all expertly done and the special effects were amazing. That's where all the money went in this flick. The audio was decent. There was some type of foreign language with no subtitles, but most of it was in English. Overall, there are much better science fiction and horror films with much less fame than this. I don't understand why people like it. I rate this o.k. You might want to think about watching it sometime if there's nothing better.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Filth and the Fury (2000)

A British music documentary directed by Julien Temple, starring the Sex Pistols.
The story of the punk band, Sex Pistols is told.
This was pretty accurate and well made. The subject matter is one that interests me a great deal. I love punk! The interviews were odd. They had positioned the interviewees against a bright background, making their faces dark. There were also the obvious clips of the band from previous appearances on-stage and in interviews. The plot followed the timeline of the band from formation to Nancy's death, covering the entire mythology of the group. None of the video was of good technical quality, but I think it went well with the punk aesthetic. The audio was all mixed correctly. Overall, a perfectly fine documentary about a cool subject. However, it did not go the extra step to earn a high rating. I rate it adequate. You might as well watch it.

Sound and Fury (2000)

An American documentary directed by Josh Aronson.
Two families with deaf children are decided whether or not to get cochlear implants for their kids.
This was mildly confusing, but well made. The subject matter seems like a "no-brainer" to most people, but the parents in this film would disagree. Some of them like being deaf! One of the grandparents had a quote about a crippled family breaking the legs of a child who could walk. I thought that was extremely appropriate. The subject of deaf culture came up and it means deaf people sticking together, staying deaf. If they only knew the sounds that came out of their mouths... The interviews were done very well and were supplemented by intense arguments between family members. There were also scenes of the prospective families visiting cochlear and deaf schools as well as families with cochlear equipped children. The video all looked great, mixing very raw footage with more planned and edited material. The audio mercifully turned down the inarticulate vocalizations of deaf cast members. Overall, a well made documentary about a unique subject matter. I rate this good. Watch it!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Slaughter High (1986)

A British American slasher horror directed by Mark Ezra, Peter Litten and George Dugdale.
A group of students play pranks on a nerd that end up starting a fire and injuring him badly. Years later, they revisit the school and the nerd is there to kill them.
This was terrible and didn't make any sense. The plot was desultory trash with no continuity. The characters were so shallow that it was like they had negative depth. The video was typical of a cheesy '80s horror flick and the audio was very similar. The ending started to turn cool, but collapsed into nonsense again. Overall, worthless junk. It wasn't painful to watch, but just totally sucked. I rate this bad. Don't watch it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Look of Silence (2014)

An Indonesian documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
A man whose brother was killed during a political change interviews his mother, father and the men responsible for the mass murder of people.
This was strange and slightly difficult to understand. The plot or story followed no real, coherent order. It was just a bunch of interviews back to back and seemed very raw and lightly edited. The interviewees were very honest about what happened as they described chopping off heads and drinking blood. I got the feeling that the filmmaker was intentionally pissing them off just by bringing up the subject. There was lots of talk about healed wounds being opened again. They all restrained themselves well and didn't lash out at him too hard. I think that dude's got nards of steel to approach these people like this and film it. The video was very well done. They used multiple cameras and edited it seamlessly. The audio was in Indonesian with English subtitles. Overall, the interest is hidden on a deep dialogue level. I rate it o.k. because it's not something to just throw on and watch. You need an interest in the subject matter or documentary films and the dedication to read subtitles the whole time because very little of the story is told visually.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mazes and Monsters (1982)

A made for TV American adventure drama directed by Steven Hilliard Stern, starring Tom Hanks and Wendy Crewson.
A college student gets too involved in a role playing game.
This was lame, lame, LAME! The plot almost held my interest, but I could see everything coming a mile away. The characters were shallow and poorly acted. The video was full screen and a little degraded in quality. The audio was actually mixed quite well. The soundtrack was not to my liking, but I could hear all of the dialogue and the music was at an appropriate level. I can say that I liked the ending, but won't spoil it by saying why. I rate this tolerable. If there's nothing else to watch, it will kill some time.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Kate Plays Christine (2016)

An American documentary directed by Robert Greene, starring Kate Lyn Sheil.
An actor studies for and performs a reenactment of a news anchor who killed herself on live television.
This was bleak. The plot took a long time to develop before it became meaningful. The subject matter was a difficult one to cover because of the lack of footage featuring the original woman. I thought that the choice of stars was somehow good and bad at the same time. The star of this film was prettier than the woman she was portraying and that covers the good and bad. Watch it to find out why. As the film goes along, the star learns more about her role and eventually begins to dislike it. Overall, bleak and slow, but somehow worth it in the end. I won't spoil that part though. I rate this adequate.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)

A British American horror directed by Dirk Campbell.
A guy buys a motorcycle that is possessed. It wants to hurt people.
This was desultory magic. It was like they turned the movie magic on for every scene, but couldn't put them in a coherent order. The plot was a mess. The characters were developed exponentially in some areas, but were cardboard cutouts in others. The video was definitely of the era. Same with audio. I could hear everything and it sounded like the late '80s. I liked the dismemberment scenes. The poop dream was also cool, but didn't make sense. Just like the rest of the movie. Incoherent magic. I'm giving this a weird, pink rating and keeping it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

O.J.: Made in America (2016)

An American documentary directed by Ezra Edelman.
The eventful life story of football star, actor and possible murderer, Orenthal James Simpson is told.
Going into this, I thought it would all be about sports and bore me to tears. Almost 8 hours of video later, I quite liked it. The subject matter ranged from Simpson excelling at sports to beating his wife. It also included information about the problems of race and law enforcement that were going on at that time. It addressed the concept of what happens when a black man becomes famous in a white society. I think that this context and variety are what made the film great. The interviews were expertly done, with good audio and video. Choices of interviewees focused mainly on the central characters of the events, but included outsiders like jurors, family members, co-workers and fans. There were replayed television sections including commercials starring Simpson and the infamously long court case. Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised that it held my attention through the duration. I'll rate this good. Watch!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gator (1976)

An American crime directed by and starring Burt Reynolds.
A moonshiner who just got out of jail helps the cops to catch a gangster/politician.
This was bad, but not intolerable. The plot was not clearly communicated and hence, did not hold my attention. Characters appeared and disappeared for seemingly no reason and with no warning. I think the real problems were piss-poor pacing and crappy continuity. The video and audio seemed fine. I rate this poor. You should probably just watch the opening chase scene.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hank and Mike (2008)

A Canadian comedy directed by Matthiew Klinck, starring Joe Mantegna.
A pair of male Easter bunnies who live together get fired because they skipped hiding eggs in a house.
This was rather odd. The plot held my attention because the premise was so strange. The characters were cast well, but didn't come with much back-story. Grown men in Easter bunny costumes definitely gets the viewer's attention. The video was done quite well. I could see everything that was happening very clearly and there were some creative camera angles used. The audio was a little low, but I won't really hold that against it. I think that the weird choices of soundtrack music worked well in this case. Overall, this is basically what I'm looking for in a movie to give a good rating. It's something that was made well and stands out in a crowd. I rate this good. Watch it!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cameraperson (2016)

An American documentary directed by Kirsten Johnson.
Clips from other documentaries of a filmmaker's career are shown.
This was alright and desultory. The individual pieces were fine, but they were strung together in a chaotic sequence that didn't make any sense. The camera-work was expertly done and there were some revealing interviews. The audio was very low for most of it and some was in foreign languages. The subtitles were not made very visible, but seemed to be correct. Overall, a pretty mess. I rate it o.k.

Citizenfour (2014)

A German American documentary directed by Laura Poitras.
The American government is spying on citizens and this information gets leaked out.
This was boring. The subject matter did not hold my interest because I already knew that the government is spying on everything everyone does. The whispered dialogue did not help this fact. There were inexpertly done interviews like when the fire alarm goes off in a hotel and they keep filming. These were intercut with news footage from TV. Overall, not worth watching. I turned it off at the hour mark, which is half way through the duration. I rate this shit. DO NOT WATCH!!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

A British art documentary directed by Banksy.
A man who is obsessed with recording videos gets into street art.
This was interesting and fun. The subject matter was lively. These people were putting art on walls illegally, so there was a sense of danger and freedom vs. authority. The interviews were done very well and including the videos that the main character made was the best decision of the film. The video was varied, but the audio was mixed well in post-production. There was a lot of handheld camera, but it ended up working out well. Overall, a cool documentary about street art. I rate this good. Watch it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

She Killed in Ecstasy A.K.A. Sie tötete in Ekstase, Mrs. Hyde (1971)

A West German Spanish slasher directed by Jesus Franco.
A scientist doctor is ostracized for his research and kills himself. His wife takes revenge on the co-workers who condemned him.
I feel like I've seen this before. The plot was pretty stale, even for Franco. What separates this from the other film with the same plot is that the wife stabs guys' dicks off with scissors. The characters completely lacked development. The video was artsy enough to hold my attention a little bit. Some female nudity helped there too. The audio was in German and I found good English subtitles. The music was even staler than the plot. I could swear it was recycled from another Franco flick. Overall, very tired, mediocre and lackluster. I rate this tolerable.

Weiner (2016)

An American documentary directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg.
A New York City politician is having trouble running for an election because he sent sexual messages to a woman online.
This was alright at best. The subject matter was mildly amusing, but not very engaging or thought provoking. The footage that the camera crew got of the politician and his wife was actually good. It seemed like they planned the shots well and didn't just go and shoot junk. There weren't really interviews because this was done in "fly on the wall" style, just documenting what happened. Morals and ethics come into question here. He only sent digital messages. He was never even in the same room as the woman/women he was talking with. I have a hard time seeing how that should be such a big issue. This goes along with my indiscriminate looking without touching rule. Overall, a pretty mediocre documentary. I rate it o.k.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stories We Tell (2012)

A Canadian documentary directed by Sarah Polley.
A young woman makes a documentary about her deceased mother's life and finds her real father.
This was alright. The subject matter was very personal to the filmmaker and the interviewees. The audio and video were expertly done and technically sound. There were some sections that should have been edited out like asking people to repeat a line. There were old home movies included in which the video was not so great, but they helped to tell the story. The story of the mother's life held more intrigue than one would initially expect. Overall, a very personal narrative to release for the general public. I rate this tolerable because I don't really care about their family, but the technical aspect was done quite well.

This Is Not a Film (2011)

An Iranian documentary directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb.
An Iranian filmmaker has just served a 6 year jail term and has a 20 year hold placed on his film career. He invites a friend over to film him explaining his script, but they get distracted.
It's right, this is not a film. There was no plot and one of the three characters was the camera operator who wouldn't cut when the director told him to. The garbage man was my favorite character. OH! I forgot the iguana! Four characters then. And the dog, that's five. The video was not really the best I've seen. Sure, it was good quality, but lacking in substance and material. The audio was in Persian, with accurate English subtitles. Overall, this would be something for the director to share with his friends, not for public release. I rate this poor. You really shouldn't watch it.

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

An American music documentary directed by Morgan Neville.
The lives and careers of female black background singers are examined.
This was not really to my liking. The interviews were good and I think that they covered the subject pretty well. There were plenty of examples of the music that these women worked on. The video was done quite well and even included a little bit of special effects. The scene that I'm thinking of involved multiple copies of one woman singing around a microphone (picture). The audio was of excellent quality and the dialogue and music were mixed correctly. What I did not like was the subject matter. I'm really just not interested in background singers. Overall, a well-made documentary about a subject that does not interest me. I rate it tolerable.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders A.K.A. Valerie a týden divů (1970)

A Czechoslovakian fantasy directed by Jaromil Jires.
A 13 year old girl is dreaming about being accosted by her grandmother and a monster man named Polecat. She also falls in love with a guy who might be her brother.
This was totally incoherent, but totally awesome. The plot was so disjointed and muddy as to make almost no sense at all. The characters were identifiable, but lacked development in most cases. The video was absolutely amazing. The sets and costumes combined with composition, framing, creative camera angles and good camera-work to create a beautiful viewing experience. The audio was in Czech, but there were accurate English subtitles. The dialogue and music were mixed correctly as well. Overall, complete and utter chaos magic. I rate this awesome. Watch it even though it doesn't make sense.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

An American horror directed by Tom Savini, starring Tony Todd.
A brother and sister go to the graveyard to see their mother's grave. Dead people become zombies.
Evaluating a remake of a classic movie happens sometimes. I think the casting was done well and everything was just played by the book. Let's set this as medium ok.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kedi (2016)

A Turkish documentary directed by Ceyda Torun.
Stray cats in Istanbul interact with people.
This was all about B-roll. The plot was sparse and simplistic, illustrating certain cats and relationships between cats and humans. The interviews were on topic. The video was done very well and consisted mainly of cats in this city. The audio was in Turkish and the version that I watched had accurate English subtitles. There really isn't much more to say. Overall, it's a movie about cats. Watch it if you want to stare at cats for an hour and 17 minutes. I rate this adequate because the video looked good.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fire at Sea A.K.A. Fuocoammare (2016)

An Italian film directed by Gianfranco Rosi.
There is a little boy who likes to play with his slingshot. There is a doctor. There are African refugees on a boat.
What did I just watch? Wikipedia says it's a documentary and that people liked it. It's supposed to illustrate a political problem. It also said that there were interviews. There was no coherent plot and no rhyme or reason to any of it. Gianfranco Rosi must be kissing asses when he's not filming incoherent trash. This was a horrid waste of time and I want the past hour and 54 minutes of my life back. I rate this shit. DO NOT WATCH!!!!!!!

Amy (2015)

A British music documentary directed by Asif Kapadia, starring Amy Winehouse.
A biography of the pop star jazz singer.
This was interesting. I actually saw the beginning in one of my classes at school and it just happened to come up on my list. The subject matter held my attention because of the drug addiction, eating disorders and this British girl singing like an old black woman. The found footage style was carried through the duration and ended up working out well. Having lyrics displayed on screen was another good idea. The audio was mostly good and only low quality phone call style in a few isolated spots. Although I don't like pop stars, I do like jazz and stories of troubled times in general. I'm rating this adequate. It's worth watching.

Monday, August 7, 2017

You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008)

An American comedy directed by Dennis Dugan, starring Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lainie Kazan and Rob Schneider.
An Israeli counter-terrorist moves to New York City to be a hairdresser.
This is why I don't watch comedy. The plot was trite and vapid trash. The characters were living, breathing stereotypes and the main character was a white man playing Middle Eastern. There were some interesting video effects like hacky sack with a cat. The audio was good quality technically, but the content was annoying. The whole deal seemed like a cheap ploy to make Americans like Middle Eastern people. Overall, a steaming heap of new Hollywood bullshit (haven't used that one in a while). I rate this bad. DO NOT WATCH!!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Central Park Five (2012)

An American documentary directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon.
Five boys are coerced by the police to confess to the rape of a woman that they did not commit. They are later sentenced to maximum jail terms for it before the guilty man admits to it.
This was not like Ken Burns at all. I didn't see any zooms in or out on still photos taking up most of the duration. The subject matter dealt with racism and police abusing their power, children forced to give false confessions and a total failure of the criminal justice system. The interviews were done very well and the interviewees showed lots of emotion. The B-roll was relevant and there were some still photos and news footage. I think that the most powerful scene was the men (not boys anymore) standing still and describing how this affected their lives as people walked past in the background. Overall, a pretty decent documentary. I rate this adequate.

A Serbian Film (2010)

A Serbian horror directed by Srđan Spasojević.
A retired porn star is hired by a director to make a new film. The actor is initially put off by the nature of the material that is being created and things only get stranger.
This was wild! There is subject matter depicted in this film that mixes sex and gore. The plot follows the actor as he is hired and filming begins. He eventually blacks out and has to watch tapes to remember what happened and then there is an almost foreseen surprise at the end. The characters were slightly developed. I think that the casting was done very well. The director fit his role best in my view. One of the disturbing sections to me is the actor's son talking about "little wheels". The video was chaotic to say the least. However, correct exposure seems to have been kept in mind. The audio got lost in the shuffle. There was just too much going on to notice volume levels and dialogue/music mixing. The version that I saw was in Serbian, with English subtitles. Overall, not something to share with the family, but very well-made. I rate this awesome. Watch it if you can deal with seeing sex and death simultaneously.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Wolf Creek (2005)

An Australian American horror directed by Greg McLean, starring John Jarratt.
A trio of young people are abducted and tortured by a man in the Australian outback.
This had its pros and cons. The plot was revealed as soon as the protagonists got in their car and drove into a rural area. I knew they would be abducted and tortured and that one of them would escape. The only character that I thought was cast well and did a good job of acting was the psycho killer. He was also the only one with any back-story. The video was mostly dark, but correct lighting was used and there were no significant cases of underexposure. The audio was too dynamic. The whispered dialogue was too quiet and the screams were too loud. Overall, exactly what I expected. I rate this o.k.

The Puppet Monster Massacre (2010)

An American horror by Dustin Mills.
A mad scientist invites teenagers to his haunted mansion with the promise of a million dollars so his monster can eat them.
This is a lesson in what can be done with very little. The plot was standard science fiction horror and the characters fit stereotypical roles for the genre. What made it good to start with was the writing. Relationships between characters were explained throughout the duration and the dialogue was just amazing. I liked how they combined puppets and CG for most of it and then had a more traditional looking, 2 dimensional cartoon flashback. To make the video, they had puppets, a green screen and a computer. That was it. The audio was what actually told the story. In order to synch the puppets, they would have had the voice actors and sound effects go first. Overall, I like this for the production and the writing. I rate this good.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dollman vs. Demonic Toys A.K.A. Dollman vs. the Demonic Toys (1993)

An American science fiction fantasy directed by Charles Band, starring Tim Thomerson.
Characters from Dollman and Bad Channels fight characters from Demonic Toys.
What a cluster-fuck spinoff! It wasn't even an hour long! The plot was pretty straight forward, but seemed to work just fine. Using characters from three previous films is kind of in bad taste, but ties the films together to create a mythology better than each could have alone. I watched Bad Channels before I started this blog, so like over seven years ago. The video was mostly big sets and creative editing. They didn't even bother with forced perspective or compositing. The audio was mostly fine, but the baby and the clown were making some horrible noises that bothered me. Overall, only worth watching if you've seen the previous films. I think I actually like this more than the others because it just goes straight in and gets the job done. I rate it adequate.

Dollman (1991)

An American science fiction directed by Albert Pyun, starring Tim Thomerson and Nicholas Guest.
A loose-cannon cop chases an intergalactic villain through a portal in space and lands in a world of giants. His ship crash lands in the inner city where gangs run the streets. A woman who is an enemy of the gangs and is on the neighborhood watch picks him up.
This was not as good as I expected from Full Moon. The plot was pretty standard for a science fiction/urban gang violence film of the time. The characters were even more so. The video was the best part. The camera-work and editing were definitely Full Moon style and the special effects were nice and cheesy. Selective framing, compositing and forced perspective were definitely used enough. The audio featured a horrid soundtrack, but sound quality and mixing were done quite well. Overall, stick with Puppet Master and Subspecies for your Full Moon fix. I rate this o.k.

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

An American crime adventure directed by Charles Laughton, starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish.
The father of a boy and girl steals money and hides it in his daughter's doll, swearing both children to secrecy. He is arrested and dies in jail. His prison buddy found out about the money, but not the hiding place and marries the widow when he gets out. He tries to get the children to tell him and they eventually tell after he has killed their mother. The children then take their father's old boat down the river and are found by a woman who adopts orphan children. When the man who is after the money comes into town, conflict continues.
This was all about plot and characters, but had some good video. The plot held my attention even though it was an older film than I usually watch. The characters were cast excellently and the acting was top notch. They didn't have fancy Hollywood tricks to hide behind back then. Some of the best shots were the man's hands (picture), B-roll while the children were in the boat and a symbolic B-roll scene of an owl catching a rabbit. The audio featured some very mournful music and all audible dialogue. Overall, a film that got the basics so right that it deserves a high rating. I'll give it good. Watch it if you're not against old, black and white movies.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dinosaur Island (1994)

An American fantasy directed by Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski, starring Michelle Bauer and Peter Spellos.
A group of American soldiers land on an island populated by dinosaurs and beautiful women. The women sacrifice virgins to a Tyrannosaur and have a prophecy that gods will come to save them from it.
This is the opposite of Jurassic Park (1993). Jurassic Park had a good plot and this had a bad plot. Same goes for all the criteria by which I judge films: writing, acting, camera-work, editing... All the opposite. I haven't seen dinosaurs this bad since the '60s films I watched! They even invented new species! The only positive opposite was nudity and sex. Jurassic park did not have them, this had plenty of nudity and sex. Boobs in the first 3 seconds! Overall, a movie so bad that it actually is pretty funny. I give this a weird pink rating.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

An American science fiction comedy directed by Stephen Chiodo, starring Royal Dano and John Vernon.
Like the title says, alien clowns land on Earth and kill people. A young man, his girlfriend, a good police officer (there's some comedy element) and their friends (brothers who drive an ice cream truck) have to save the town.
This is good for some cheap and cheesy entertainment. The plot had logistical holes. Why did the cotton candy kill people wrapped in it, but not harm those who touched it? Same with the clown ice cream/whipped cream/pies. The characters were exactly what I would expect from such an '80s flick, with the ice cream truck driving brothers serving as comic relief. Video effects need to be mentioned. The sets and costumes were awesome in a Full Moon or Tim Burton kind of way. We had clowns flying down the road like they were driving a car, jumping straight up off screen and putting on one hell of a shadow puppet show. Even the seemingly innocuous balloon dog was manipulated by unseen means. The audio was a little on the quiet side at times, but generally decent. Overall, good for fans of '80s science fiction, fantasy and horror. Nobody else. I rate this adequate. It would have gotten a better rating with good plot and characters.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

An American documentary directed by Errol Morris.
Two guys in a car shot a cop. Everyone argues over which one did it.
This was pretty standard of court and crime docs. None of the interviews were very impressive and the B-roll was so cheesy and stereotypical that it hurt to watch. The plot followed the timeline of the night of the murder and the duration of the court case. I could instantly tell who was lying just by looking at them. The video looked really high quality for 1988. It's a shame they didn't do anything better with it. Great product placement, by the way. The audio was all great because it was mostly single interviews. Overall, an unimpressive and mediocre film. I rate it tolerable.