Friday, June 30, 2017

Pedal (2001)

An American documentary directed by Peter Sutherland.
Interviews with bicycle messengers in New York City who ride fixed gear track bikes.
Amazing! The guy in the hoodie who lives in the subway made this awesome. When he shows the room that he lives in with a crackhead, it makes the film. Then he steals the other dude's cigarettes. Skeletor track-stands like a pro at every light. There's even a guy with only 1 leg who uses his toe clip to ride. This is free on youtube and if you're looking for good shit to watch, this is it! I rate this awesome. WATCH IT!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Repulsion (1965)

A British thriller directed by Roman Polanski, starring Catherine Deneuve.
A young woman is afraid of everything, including cracks in the wall. She tries to date a man, but just can't make it work.
This was terrible and boring. I've been working from a list of the "scariest films ever made" and it never ceases to disappoint me. The plot was threadbare and vacant. The characters were not developed at all. The video was alright, if filming this girl being afraid of nothing counts as anything. The most memorable scene was hands coming out of the wall to feel the main character's boobs. The audio was in english and there were no odd noises. Overall, not worth watching. I rate this bad. DO NOT WATCH!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Freaks (1932)

An American horror directed by Tod Browning, starring Wallace Ford.
A circus trapeze performer and strong man conspire to separate a midget from his fiance and try to kill him.
This was actually interesting. The plot eventually held my attention enough to watch it a second time in order to understand what was going on. The characters were actual freaks: amputees, midgets and mutants. The video was typical of the 1930s, but more raw and graphic than was popular in that time. I think that the most visceral scene was all of the freaks advancing on the strong man in the rain. The audio was horrible. I could barely understand what people were saying because it was so bad. Overall, a strange, old film for folks who dig weird shit. I rate this good. It's a keeper!

Audition A.K.A. Odishon (1999)

A Japanese horror directed by Takashi Miike.
A widower stages a fake audition for a video in order to find a girlfriend. He falls in love with one of the contestants and everything is fine until they go on vacation together.
This developed very slowly and then got really graphic, really quickly at the end. The plot followed this pattern. For the longest time, it could have been a happy ending romance. Then time and sequence of events get distorted and the woman gets violent. The characters were actually developed quite well for a horror flick, although the woman's story remains a mystery in the end. The video had obstructed views, underexposure and dark scenes, but I could see everything and it ended up working out alright. The audio was in Japanese with good English subtitles. There were some short sections with louder "dead air" background noise, static and hum. Overall, a decent flick, but be prepared to wait for action. I rate this adequate.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Eyes Without a Face A.K.A. Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960)

A French Italian horror directed by Georges Franju, starring Edith Scob and Alida Valli.
A doctor's daughter's face has been damaged and he cuts the faces off of women, trying to transplant his daughter a new face.
This was not so great. The plot did not hold my interest at all. The characters were underdeveloped and there was explanation and back-story missing on many of them. Why does the doctor keep these dogs in cages? The video was uninspired and unimaginative. The audio was in French, with English subtitles that seemed right. Many of the sound effects were grating, raspy and annoying. The soundtrack featured repetitive circus music for no apparent reason. Overall, not something that is good to watch. I rate this bad because I have seen much worse. DO NOT WATCH!!!

Dumplings (2004)

A Chinese horror drama directed by Fruit Chan, starring Miriam Yeung, Tony Leung Ka-fai and Bai Ling.
A rich woman goes to an expensive dumpling shop in an apartment building. The woman who runs the shop claims that eating human foetus will restore the rich woman's youth and beauty.
For a horror film, there was not much to be afraid of here. The plot ran more like a drama and barely held my interest. The characters were typical of Asian cinema post-2000. The video was a little on the strange side, like most films from this time and area. It showed what was going on and used some creative camera angles. A prime example would be the dinner party scene, in which we see an obstructed view of the guests. The audio seemed alright and it had good subtitles. The only real horror element was the idea of cannibalism. There were a few shots of aborted foetuses, but it was mostly drama to me. Overall, this does not deserve it's reputation as a scary film. I rate it tolerable.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fright Night (1985)

An American horror written and directed by Tom Holland, starring Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall.
A teenager seeks the aid of a movie star when he learns that his new neighbor is a vampire.
This was alright, pretty stereotypical of '80s horror. The plot held my interest, despite being exactly what I would expect from the time and genre. I like that time and genre, so it was fine by me. The characters fit those stereotypical roles of '80s films. We had the straight man hero, his girlfriend and the wacky sidekick, along with the washed up film star and charismatic vampire. You will recognize Prince Humperdink from The Princess Bride (1987) as the vampire. The role that interested me most was Jonathan Stark as Billy Cole. His character had few lines, but conveyed a sense of impending doom and menace very well. The video was pretty standard, just showing what was happening without too many creative shots. The special effects were handled quite well. They let you know the fantasy element of this horror film without going over the top. Audio was good because I could hear what everyone was saying and the music was at correct levels. Overall, a pretty decent '80s horror flick. I rate it adequate. You might want to check it out.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Get Out (2017)

An American horror directed by Jordan Peele, starring Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root and Catherine Keener.
A young black man goes with his white girlfriend to visit her family. The family has black slaves who act very strangely. As the main character is discovering the situation, his friend in the city figures it out as well, based upon a picture that was sent.
This was alright. The plot was interesting and held my attention. The main character reminded me of a classmate from school. I think the acting was done pretty well, though. The video was very typical of new films in general and especially of new horror films. The audio was mixed quite well. I could hear all of the dialogue and the music was at correct levels in relation to it. What we have here is a prime example of my adequate rating. It's a fine film and there's nothing wrong with it. There were even some good elements. It just didn't go that extra little bit to make it really good. You might want to check it out.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

An American horror thriller directed by Fred Walton, starring Charles Durning and Carol Kane.
A mysterious man calls a babysitter. Turns out, the kids are dead. He is locked up, but escapes. The police look for him and he calls the same babysitter when she has a babysitter watching her kids.
Lackluster doesn't even begin to describe this. The plot was extremely predictable and there were only a few moments when I didn't know exactly what would happen next. The characters were drab and dull. The killer attempted to show depth by looking in the mirror and crying naked, saying he didn't exist. Whatever. The video was very much of the time and very straight forward. It just showed what was happening, but not in a bad way. The audio was a little off in the beginning because I couldn't hear what the man was saying through the phone. The opening scene was iconic, but it went downhill from there. Overall, a mediocre movie. I rate it tolerable. If you're trapped in a room and there's nothing but a player and this...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Annoying (2015)

A Canadian music documentary directed by Zoran Maslic.
Music videos of a gutter punk duo and interviews with one of the members detail the trials and tribulations of life on the streets in Canada.
AMAZING! Thank you, Nate!!! As the plot develops, it reveals deeper depths of addiction, homelessness, childhood abuse and neglect. The characters are as unique as they can be. As I watched it, I wanted more and more to play bass for their band because they are outcasts, misfits and red-headed stepchildren like myself. The video featured mainly interview and musical performance footage. This was inter-cut with appropriate B-roll of the city, mostly at night. There was also some skateboarding involved. The audio featured some of the best music of the genre, but I suspect that the performers know a very limited number of chords and progressions. Overall, exactly the musical hobo documentary that I wanted and it gets as gritty as possible. I rate this best. WATCH IT!!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Lords of Salem (2012)

An American horror written and directed by Rob Zombie, starring Bruce Davison, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace and Meg Foster.
A disc jockey is Salem, Massachusetts is abducted by a coven of witches to bear the son of Satan. Her co-workers and a history researcher try to save her.
This was pretty cool. I liked the lighting and camera-work most, but that's later. The plot was a Rosemary's Baby knock-off. The characters varied from alright to good. Lighting was amazing. There were dark scenes, but I could still see everything quite well. Framing of shots seemed a little center-oriented, but was still amazing and the camera movements happened at the right times, right places and in the correct directions. Audio was pretty good. There were some grating sounds, but those were obviously intentional. I could hear all of the dialogue too. Overall, a good film for horror fans and those who enjoy Rob Zombie's work. Apparently, I have reviewed none of it, so it will be on the way. I rate this awesome. Watch it!

Friday, June 9, 2017

God Told Me To A.K.A. Demon (1976)

An American crime thriller directed by Larry Cohen.
A police detective is investigating a series of multiple murders in which the killers' last words were always "God told me to."
"Jesus! Did you see what GOD just did to us, man?" - Gonzo, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
This was so '70s. The plot ran like any other detective flick until the last few minutes. The characters were stereotypical of the time and genre. Video was just as grainy and gritty as expected. Audio was typical of the time. My main problem with this is that it was so predictable. If you've seen one '70s detective flick, you've seen them all. Guy gets into the case and is told he is overworking, needs to go on vacation. neutral color suits as far as the eye can see. Overall, I was definitely unimpressed. I rate this tolerable. You should not watch it if there are other options available.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cabin Fever (2002)

An American horror comedy directed by Eli Roth.
A group of college students are vacationing at a cabin in the woods. They encounter a sick man whom they set on fire. He falls into the water supply and they get sick.
This is pretty standard for the horror genre. I thought it was unoriginal and banal. The plot had a few unexpected twists, but was uninspired in general. The characters were so stereotypical and shallow that some of them could have been animatronic and nobody would have known. Of all the humor in this, the only funny joke was a guy swallowing a harmonica. The video was over-done in a cheesy way that was almost entertaining. The audio was decent and I could hear everything at the proper levels. Overall, the modern equivalent of cheesy '80s horror, but with less style and originality. I rate it o.k.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Shallow Grave (1994)

A British crime horror directed by Danny Boyle, starring Kerry Fox and Ewan McGregor.
A trio of roommates have their new fourth renter die. In his room, they find a suitcase full of money. They bury him and sink his car, but criminals are after his money. The roommates also begin to quarrel over the money.
This was an odd film. It started off like a comedy, but got dark and dangerous as it went. The plot definitely held my attention. The characters were written and acted well, except for Kerry Fox. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and George are having trouble writing for Elaine in their TV pilot. The audio and video were expertly done. The re-occurring spin shot of David was strange until the end, when we find out why his head is on a white background. The opening narration by Ewan McGregor reminded me of Trainspotting for a very good reason. Overall, weird British cinema that Americans can understand. I rate this good. You should probably watch it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

A British American thriller drama directed by Lynne Ramsay, starring Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly.
A woman is hated by everyone. She remembers her son growing up, which reveals the reason why she is hated.
Kevin was such an awesome asshole. I couldn't have written him better myself. The plot was VERY British. It was out of sequence and slowly revealed what was going on and why. The characters were written and acted very well. The audio and video were both top-shelf and professionally done. The only problem that I have with this is that the real turning point is never shown or told. We get everything leading up to it and the aftermath, but it's missing that little segment to make it perfect. What exactly happened, how did Eva come to this house and how did it get red stuff all over it? This is a very well-written and produced film, but I think they stopped just short of a complete story. I rate this good. You should probably watch it, but don't go hoping for that "aha!" moment when everything makes sense.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

A British thriller directed by Shane Meadows, starring Paddy Considine and Toby Kebbell.
A man returns from the army to find that his mentally handicapped brother has been tortured in his absence by a group of men he knows. A tale of revenge begins.
Not too bad. The plot was interesting and had a good twist at the right point: Just when you think it's over. The characters were acted convincingly. Technically, it was made quite well. The flashback scenes are difficult to watch and I was rooting for the brother through the whole thing. Stylistically, it shows that it is a newer film with how dramatically the scenes are created. Overall, a pretty decent flick. I rate it adequate.

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

An American documentary directed by Penelope Spheeris.
The first film in this series, this includes interviews with bands and live performances from the Los Angeles punk scene.
Although this is not as good as the sequels, it did serve to set up the style and format of the series. As a base to start from, it served as something to build the other two films from. This entry goes band by band, with interviews and performances intertwined to show a sequential story. The second film was better because it was mostly organized by subject matter. The third film was organized even better to reveal it's story from what seems like nothing. Some cool scenes from this entry include Black Flag's home in the church. One member was a former brain surgeon and they talk about their relations with the hippies. The germs tell a story of a photo session with a corpse and play with their pet tarantula. Catholic Discipline's vocalist is very well-spoken and the section includes information about the magazine, Slash. The interview with X takes place during a tattoo session and Exene shows her collection of crazy flyers and pamphlets. There needed to be more identification of who is speaking and whether they are part of the band through the whole thing. Overall, I think the series got better as it went. I rate the starting point good because I know what came after it. I would recommend watching them all.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fish Tank (2009)

A British drama directed by Andrea Arnold, starring Michael Fassbender and Kierston Wareing.
A rebellious teenager wants to become a dancer. She drinks and dances in an empty flat after trying to free a horse. Her mother is dating a married man who becomes mutually attracted to the daughter. The young man who owns the horse begins a relationship with the main character as well.
Oh, man. Brits are crazy. The plot seemed like it was going nowhere most of the time, but had some hidden meaning that could probably only be understood fully by people in England. The characters all treated each other so badly, but were also very close. The exchange between the sisters at the end demonstrated this best: they hug and say "I hate you" to one another. I saw the sex scene coming a mile away, but won't ruin it. There was also a classic scene when the main character is in her mom's (and her) boyfriend's house. Lots of the video was shot handheld, but I think it kind of worked. The audio featured terrible music and close-mic breathing. I'm not calling the Brits wankers or anything, but their ideas are nearly incoherent to my Americanism. I was reminded of the works of Mike Leigh. Overall, a strange flick. I rate this adequate. You might want to watch it.