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July 2011



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Jul. 4th, 2011



Rubber is a French absurd horror comedy. The plot involves an old rubber tire that suddenly and inexplicably comes to life and realizes it has psychic powers that allow it to blow things up. It goes around killing desert creatures until it comes across a hotel where it begins to cause chaos for people.

The movie also employs a group of people sitting out in the desert watching all this take place. They are the "spectators" and make comments on what is taking place. This is part of the movie I liked the least. I realize it adds to the absurdity and breaks the fourth wall but I just felt it didn't really add anything to it. I also didn't really like the beginning of the film in which the sheriff character says directly to the audience that what they are about to see is an homage to "no reason."

Overall, while there were pieces of the movie I liked, I think the overall work just doesn't work as well as it should. It starts to get old fairly quickly. It might grow on me if I watch it a few more times but I'm not sure if I really want to do that.
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May. 5th, 2011


The Troll Hunter

The Troll Hunter is a film in the same vein as Cloverfield and the other "found footage" monster/horror movies. Unlike Cloverfield, I think this is actually a really good movie.

Basically, I group of Norwegian college students are investigating a series of unusual bear killings and making a documentary about them. They begin to follow a poacher whom they believe is responsible for the bear killings but quickly discover that he is not in fact a bear hunter but a troll hunter. Upon learning this fact the students begin to document his troll hunts.

As I said, I think this is a really well done movie and managed to keep my interest far better than Cloverfield did. The special effects used to create the trolls are really good and not hokie or distracting. After the first 10-15 minutes or so the movie also moves at a rather brisk pace. Two thumbs up from me.

Mar. 25th, 2011


I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil is a South Korean film from 2010. The plot concerns an officer whose fiance is murdered by a serial killer. He swears revenge on the man and eventually finds him, and interestingly, lets him go after extracting a measure of revenge on him, only to pursue him again.

I really enjoyed this film. It's nothing like your typical crime drama. There's no trying to find out who the killer is (he's introduced almost from the start). Even the "hero" is not clearly the hero. Instead, you get a fascinating look at how far a person might go to avenge a loved one and see how that quest for revenge affects them and those around them.

The film almost entirely centers around the two leads and fortunately, they both completely deliver. Min-sik Choi (of Oldboy fame) effortlessly pulls off the role of the crazed serial killer. He's frighteningly natural at it. Byung-hun Lee is equally as good as the officer pursuing Choi. You can see the toll his actions are taking on him, each act bringing him closer to becoming the killer he himself hates. The movie is about 2.5 hours long I think but it never seems long. There's a couple really nice action sequences sprinkled that break up the drama/tension a bit.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a change of pace from typical Western films. A word of warning though, there's a lot of violence and squeamish moments in the movie, so watch at your own risk.

Jan. 29th, 2011


Buried (2010)

Synopsis: "The film revolves around Iraq-based American truck driver Paul Conroy (Reynolds), who, after being attacked, finds himself buried alive in a wooden coffin, with only a lighter, flask, flashlight, knife, glowsticks and a mobile phone to help him escape before the oxygen in the coffin runs out."

I literally just finished watching this movie and thought, "I need to talk about this." It was gripping, suspenseful, and made me completely claustrophobic. I realize that's what every other review of it probably says, but going into this movie I never had any sort of fear of being buried alive or claustrophobia. Yet as I was watching it I felt the need to sit up and stretch my arms and take deep breaths just to remember that *I* was actually okay. Not for the faint of heart.

The cinematography was really nice for having such a small concept to work with. The variety in lighting (switching between a cell phone, lighter, glow stick, and flash light) kept things visually entertaining so I never got bored. In fact nothing about the plot, dialogue, or acting left me going, "I NEED MORE INTENSITY." I found myself actually saying, "Oh, fuck no." Repeatedly. :P

That being said, it's hard to say that I liked the movie because it's just so damn uncomfortable to watch. Well made, yes. Enjoyable? Hardly. But it's still a great movie if you're an adrenaline junkie spending the night in.

P.S. I have to add in one key factor that may sway your decision to see this movie... Ryan Reynolds? Unf.

Nov. 10th, 2010


Bart Got a Room

Bart Got a Room is a comedy concerning that all-important even in a teenager's life...prom. The story is a bit cliche in that the main character is trying to find a date to the prom, even though his best friend has made it known she wants to go with him. The ending is basically what you'd expect in this kind of film but the execution and characters are all very likable and charming. It gets a thumbs up from me.

Oct. 24th, 2010



I found Red to be an absolutely great film watching experience. It's a near perfect mix of action and comedy.

The story revolves around Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) who is a retired CIA operative trying to get used to retirement. That all goes out the window when he's the target of a government hit squad which forces him to seek help from his former friends, which all happen to be fellow spies or hitmen.

The acting is solid all-around but I think the standout must be John Malkovich. He's simply perfect as the ultra-paranoid former CIA agent. It was great to see an actress like Helen Mirren behind a sniper rifle and a Browning machine gun though.

Highly recommended.

Oct. 15th, 2010


Piranha (2010)

Piranha is a remake of the 1978 original. It's your typical B-movie horror/action film and thankfully knows this and doesn't ever try to take itself seriously. The plot is paper thin (an earthquake releases ancient piranhas into a lake during Spring Break), which is to be expected in a movie of this type. It does hit all the major requirements that a film of this type should have: over the top gore, humor, one-liners, super macho acts of heroism, and gratuitous nudity. Overall, it's a lot of fun and would make for a good movie to just put on and laugh at at a party or if you just want turn your brain off for a while.

Sep. 18th, 2010



Pontypool is a Canadian thriller/horror movie released in 2009. The entire movie takes place within a radio station in a small town. In seems like it's going to be just another day but soon the station begins to receive reports that strange and increasing violent things are going on. Riots are taking place and eyewitness are reporting graphic killings by the townsfolk.

The film takes an interesting approach to the action. Most of the attacks and action aren't actually seen, only described by people calling into the radio. I personally liked this way of dealing with things; the descriptions are good enough so you know what is happening but at the same time you're allowed to let your mind fill in any details. It's a great way to build tension. The way the film plays with and uses sound also adds a great layer of creepiness to the whole movie.

The ending of the film leaves a huge opening for the sequel that is fortunately planned to be made. Pontypool is a great example of how you can make a low budget horror film that is still interesting and scary but doesn't rely on buckets of gore or fancy effects. I recommend it.

Sep. 9th, 2010



Frozen's plot is very simple. Three skiers get trapped on a ski lift. No one knows they are there. The movie takes this simple situation and creates one of the most tension filled films I've seen in a long time. Once they get stuck you just know it's going to be bad and you immediately think of all the terrible things that could possibly go wrong. It's very obviously a film about man vs. nature and nature comes at them fast and furious.

The movie isn't without its flaws though. The acting, while not bad, is nothing to write home about. There were also a few plot devices I thought were a bit questionable. I mean, if you're trapped on a ski lift in freezing weather, in the middle of the night, are you really going to be so stupid as to keep your un-gloved hand on the metal rail? There's a few other things I felt that while they could happen, it probably wasn't likely. These don't really take away from the movie too much though, at least for me. It still accomplishes what it sets out to do.
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Aug. 17th, 2010


Shutter Island

I had heard a lot about this and finally decided to give it a chance. Overall, I'm glad I did.

The plot involves 2 U.S. Marshals that are sent to a high security mental asylum for the criminally insane. A patient has gone missing, seemingly vanished completely from her cell. Things are not at all what they seem as the marshals face stonewalling from the wardens and doctors. Things gradually get stranger and stranger and it's not long before Leonardo DiCaprio's character believes that this isn't simply a mental asylum, but rather a front for government funded experiments on the patients. And it appears he is next on the list.

The acting is great and Martin Scorsese's directing is as always top notch. After I finished watching the movie though, I felt like something was just...missing. It just didn't have the impact I thought it needed. Usually when I watch a Scorsese movie I finish and think "Wow, that was really great! He definitely deserves all the praise he receives as a director." I think my expectations might have been too high for this film.

Overall, a good film but just not at the level that I would call "great."

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