Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Midnight Meat Train (2008) Quick Review

The Midnight Meat Train (2008) Dir. by Ryƻhei Kitamura

The photographer Leon lives with his girlfriend and waitress Maya waiting for a chance to get in the photo business. When Maya contacts their friend Jurgis, he schedules a meeting for Leon with the successful owner of arts gallery Susan Hoff; she analyzes Leon's work and asks him to improve the quality of his photos. During the night, the upset Leon decides to wander on the streets taking pictures with his camera, and he follows three punks down to the subway station; when the gang attacks a young woman, Leon defends her and the guys move on. On the next morning, Leon discovers that the woman is missing. He goes to the police station, but Detective Lynn Hadley does not give much attention to him and discredits his statement. Leon becomes obsessed to find what happened with the stranger and he watches the subway station. When he sees the elegant butcher Mahogany in the train, Leon believes he might be a murderer and stalks him everywhere, in the beginning of his journey to the darkness. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on IMDB.

I am a big fan of Clive Barker, and I have read this short story. The film is actually incredibly close to the original work, and Kitamura does a great job keeping the dark theme of the original story. Most times a short story is stretched into a full lenth film, it doesn't really work, but this isn't the case here. I think it is partially due to the above par acting by Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, and of course, Vinnie Jones(as Mahogany, the suited killer). There are also some interesting cameos by Ted Raimi, and the later on A-teammate Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Brooke Shields gives her usual mediocre performance, but her character drives the initial plot.

The film itself is insanely fun, and comes off as a great thriller. The lighting and sound work really add to the element of the film, including the eerie score. I would seriously consider buying this film, even though there are some major flaws in it. I knew the ending going into the movie, but the sudden dropping of the ball ending is less than appealing. There was little to no foreshadowing of the ending, and it comes out of nowhere, almost seeming to be rushed. It was poorly executed and seriously deterred me from the film at first. The more I thought about it, the more I like the film, but I still wish it would have been handled better. The other major downfall of the film is the use of CG during the kill scenes. The kills they manage to pull of without the use of CG are done just fine, and I don't understand why they didn't just stick with that. Need less to say, at least rent the movie, as Vinnie Jones is a badass, and he will kill you if you don't.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Meat Tenderizers
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Meat Tenderizers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If You Had One Horror Genre Related Wish What Would It Be?

Brandon Sites of Big Daddy Horror Reviews ( http://www.bigdaddyhorrorreviews.com/2010/06/if-you-had-one-genre-related-wish-what_22.html ) asked me to take part in his blog with this intruging question in his series of summer time articles. It got me thinking as to what I really truly want to do career wise and I responded with my desire to be a filmmaker in the genre while balancing out my duties as a father and husband. To check out my complete thoughts on this, use the following link above.

Big Daddy Horror Reviews: If You Had One Genre Related Wish, What Would It Be - Part 9: To Be Able T

If I had one horror genre related wish, it would be to write/direct my own feature length horror film. I have a few scripts, but nothing ever happens with them. It would be like a dream come true to have that happen. If it did happen, it would be another wish to work with some of my heroes, like John Carpenter or Wes Craven. Just the chance to meet many horror filmmakers would be amazing, no matter how big or how small. I wouldn't even mind seeing what other people could do with scripts I write.

It's easy to be a filmmaker, but it's hard to be good enough at it to make money.It would be a great chance to show people what I am capable of doing, and showcase my work. I guess when it comes down to it, my wish is monetary. If I had the right amount of money, I could make whatever movie I wanted. Hell, I need money for the short film I want to do in September. I'm thinking about getting together the world's largest bake sale, haha. No Pot Brownies!

I know my wish is probably the same as a lot of people, but I have worked really hard my whole life to make my wish come true. I know being a husband, and a father, changes things for me. I want to make films in Iowa where I live, and people keep screwing that up for Iowans. Eventually I would like to get paid to do what I love to do. Is that so much to ask? It will probably always be my horror genre related wish though.

On a side note, my second greatest Horror-ish related wish is for Uwe Boll to stop making movies and Adam Green to make more.

Thanks again to Big Daddy Horror Reviews for giving me this opportunity! I look forward to reading more posts on this subject, and more badass reviews from you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spiral (2007)

Spiral (2007) Dir. by Adam Green and Joel David Moore (now Joel Moore)

A reclusive telemarketer, whose dysfunctional friendship with his boss is alleviated when a whimsical co-worker enters his life. But as he begins to sketch his new friend's portrait, disturbing feelings from his past threaten to lead him down a path of destruction.

Joel Moore (Dodgeball, Grandma's Boy, Hatchet, Avatar) pulls a quadruple threat here as he co-directs, co-writes, co-produces, and gets his full on acting groove on. He delivers on all accounts and blows my mind with what he was able to put together. I had been pumped for this movie for quite some time now, and even though I own it, I had never got around to watching it until today. Now I'm a little upset that I waited until now. The movie is amazingly thought provoking, and pulls through as a riveting thriller. I love Adam Green and pretty much everything he has done. I haven't seen Frozen yet, but I hear good things. He definitely does an amazing job with Spiral, and you can see his finishing touches on the project.

The acting in Spiral is top notch all around, but there are three people who do an exceptionally well job. Joel Moore, Zachary Levi (TVs Chuck), and Amber Tamblyn (The Ring, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) give strong, almost flawless performances. It was nice seeing Zachary playing the exact opposite of his character Chuck. He showed range of acting ability, and I applaud him for it. Amber was 100% adorable as the happy, always excited, coffee enthusiast, co-worker. Watching her and Joel's character build their awkward relationship, was like watching synchronized swimming. It was beautiful, and the depth of writing shined through. Joel is the real winner of this film though. It wasn't far off from his previous roles he has played in movies, other than Avatar. He was an awkward and shy man who's anxiety ran his life. He had certain ways of doing things and didn't want to break from that tradition. Amber shatters his world, but he doesn't necessarily view it as a bad thing. It is just something different. After he begins to paint her for the first time, the creepiness of his character just gets magnified, and you slowly start to learn things about him. Zachary actually really helps with this, as he is your anchor to Joel's floating ship. He is a great friend, and is always there to help Mason (Joel). He seems to be the only one that understands him. When things unravel, as they do, the film goes from oh crap to oh shit!

The film itself is made beautifully. It is paced perfectly, and shows Joel's ability as a Director, with help from Green. The dark themes are mirrored perfectly by the symbolism in Mason's choice of music, Jazz. They play off this symbolism and darkness multiple times in the movie, and it is unmistakable. Relying on slow transitions rather than cuts, the directors are able to pace the film to their liking. Long drifting shots and slow camera movement add to the effect. The colors of the film are mild, and calming. It goes into his paintings as well, staying away from vibrant colors. Beautiful cinematography by Will Barratt and the original score act as glue in piecing together this brilliant film. It all adds up, and doesn't disappoint when its time to get to the twisty shocking ending. I wanted to give a cheer and a fist pump when the movie was done.

I'm trying my hardest not to say anything about the movie, so I don't ruin it for anyone, but this film is amazing. I loved every minute of it, and I am happy to own a copy. I think everyone should.

Entertainment Value: 9/10 Brush Strokes
Cinematic Value:9/10 Brush Strokes

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Blog worth mentioning.

Recently I was introduced to Star Costumes blog, and they just posted to blog on there titled The 10 Greatest (and campiest) B-Horror Movies Ever! There are some really great movies mentioned in there, and some ones that even I have never seen. Great list guys!

Here is a link to go visit the site! Check it out now!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Vindication (2006) Screener

Vindication (2006) Dir. by Bart Mastronardi

A morality tale about a young man whose attempt at suicide fails causing his guilt to manifest into reality.

Bart Mastronardi has be to one of the best independent directors out there. Just watching the film, you know he was doing everything possible to make the best movie he could with limited funds. Vindication is the first film by Bart, and it only makes me want more. The way he writes with power, and directs with passion. He has an outstanding ability for creating a character driven thriller. His vision is unlike any I have ever seen, and I'd be interested in seeing what he could do with someone else's work, let alone his own. I have been pumped for Vindication for quite some time now, and I was not let down.

The first half of the movie is a little slow, and I'll be honest, I was hoping it would eventually pick up. I knew it was slower because it was being used for character development, and sometimes its not the most exciting thing to watch relationships develop between characters, and to learn about their past. When it came time for the movie to switch from psychotic thriller breakdown birth of a monster to almost all out slasher, I was so happy to have seen the first half of the film. To be able to see the descent of the main character, Nicolas Bertrum played by Keith Fraser, was revolutionary as a horror film. The first half of the film draws you to Nicolas, and you begin to care deeply about his character. He is basically getting crapped on all the time, especially by his emotionally abusive father, who is played by the awesome Jerry Murdock. Nicolas tries multiple times to end his own life, but fails miserably every time, and you get the feeling there is a higher power making it impossible for him to die. That is where the story truly begins, and Nicolas's destiny is slowly revealed to him. A destiny that would lead to the birth of a monster!

Besides a few moments of overacting, the acting itself is very solid. Zoe Daelman Chlanda steals the show as she always does. Keith Fraser does a riveting and disturbing portrayal of Nicolas. Keith shows depth, and versatility you don't commonly find in actors of his age and experience. Then you throw in the inhumanly talented Alan Rowe Kelly, and the beautiful Raine Brown , and you have quite a small, but effective cast. There were strong performances all around.

The film itself is amazing. The strong, bloody, violent ending more than effectively makes up for the slower first half of the film. You can call it a film about guilt. You can call it a film about revenge. You can call it a film about redemption. I call it a film about discovery. Discovering what someone is capable of is a mystery when looking at anyone. Nicolas's discovery was his destiny. Bart tosses around brilliant color schemes, unusual camera angles, and breathtaking editing like a bowl of chips at a party. As a director, he doesn't appear to be scared to try anything, even in his first feature. It doesn't hurt that he has an outstanding crew behind him, but his direction gives the film life. It may have taken a hell of a long time to get this film made, but I can't help but feel part of that was because Bart wanted to make a perfect film, and I think he did a pretty damn good job. William Archiello gives the movie true emotion with a score worthy of mention. That sly SOB Dominick Sivilli is in there again. As a cinematographer, he is always stealing every scene with a camera. His work behind the camera is always top notch. I could ramble about his work for pages, but I don't want to feed his ego. Bart manged to put together a great cast and crew to make a great movie, and I applaud him for it. The movie is disturbing, and not in a bad way. I never get to see movies these days that have exemplary storytelling, but I have a feeling I can always rely on Bart Mastronardi to give me a good time.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Suicide Attempts
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Suicide Attempts