Friday, April 27, 2007

A fun "not" zombie film

28 weeks later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007)

5 reasons to watch this film

1.Robert Carlyle in his most amazing role
2.Great soundtrack
3.Zombies..but not zombies
4.A fun film from beginning to end
5.One of my favorite helicopter scenes (Helicopter scenes are always amazing)

So i got to check out 28 weeks later at a screening because of a friend of mine. He's a critic and a great one at that, he's the one that got me into films. He's kind of my teacher in a way. Well we had the honor of getting a preview screening and i have to admit, after the film ended i didnt know what to think. I did have fun throughout the whole movie but i just feel like it didnt live up to the first 28 days later.

As i went into the film i had a feeling that it would remind me of Aliens and it actually did feel like that. The thing that made 28 days later great was the feeling of being alone, the scenes were very quiet while we got to know the characters and then out of nowhere the infected attack. It just felt like Ridley scott's "alien" and that is a compliment. With 28 weeks later we have an all out horror/action escape film that literally doesnt slow down at all. You never really get to know the two main characters which happen to be children and it seems flawed. That's where James Cameron's "aliens" succeeds because of Sigourney Weavery reprising her role. We already know this character and we actually care if she makes it or not. With 28 weeks later, we dont have any characters from the original, an all new cast where the main characters are a 12 year old boy and a teenaged girl.

After i left the theater i began to think to myself, that wasn't a flaw if you look at it in the sense that these children are just getting back to Britain from being sent out of the country for school. The Kid's have no idea what is really happening except for what they hear on the news. They are tossed into this infected frenzy that just goes insane. There is no time to get to know these characters and that is why we should actually feel for them. They are just innocent people that are trying to escape from something they are completely unaware of. The film leaves it up to you if you want to feel for these characters. It doesn't over do it with sad music over a sad scene. It doesn't have dramatic close ups. The film knows it's bounds of being just mindless fun and smart filmmaking.

The film does something that i highly respect, throughout the film we have heros that never really become heros. People that should live in a normal film get killed of out of nowhere. Also letting us know that we should feel for this kids because no one is safe in this film.

It had to sink in for a while but i finally understood it. Many people have already gave this movie a bad name without watching it just because Boyle and Garland aren't the creators this time but Juan Carlos Fresnadillo does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of the original except for one thing that annoyed me. The constant shutter effect, an effect that honestly doesnt have a purpose and no one can pull it off except...yes, except Kar Wai Wong in Chungking express but then again, it's Kar Wai Wong, he can get away with anything.

This film is great fun and a breath of fresh air from all the so called "horror" films that have been coming out lately. Put "the reaping" and "the grudge" to the side and check out this film, you won't be disappointed. Non stop horror/action from beginning to end. Every act literally starts with a infected rampage. Great fun and a great follow up to the original.

Grade B+

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A film that made me smile

Zatoichi, The blind Swordsman (Takeshi Kitano,2003)

5 reasons to see this film

1. The beautiful camera work
2. The acting and direction of Takeshi Kitano
3. The excellent music
4. The sword fights
5. Enjoyable film with great filmmaking

Yes, this film made me smile. It might seem a bit odd that a film with so much blood and such a high body count would make anyone smile but it's not because of that. It's because of how well directed this film is. It's just a great feeling so see a film that was made with so much passion, it just leaves you knowing that there are filmmakers out there and not just money studio whores.

Zatoichi is directed by Takeshi Kitano, a man who is suppose to be one of Japans greatest filmmakers working today. After viewing this film, you know this man has talent in more than just the directing field. His acting in this film is just amazing to witness. A blind character that sees so much and he pulls it off like it's nothing. Takeshi's acting in this film is all in the face. His suttle smiles and laughs here and there just give life to the character. One thing is to play a samurai but it's another thing to play a samurai who can make you laugh and smile.

The sword scenes are some of the most well directed sword fights i have ever seen. The camera moves everywhere the sword moves, not just paying attention to the character. With a samurai, the sword is every bit a part of him and takeshi knows that. Other scenes that left me stunned here the simple but very effect scenes of the field workers dancing and adding sounds as music to the soundtrack. People might think it's just a cool little moment but it actually is a part of the story.

Zatoichi is a film that gives me hope in cinema. A film that Kurosawa would be very proud of. Film's like this should get more attention, i honestly don't see why they don't. If the audience likes blood well Zatoichi has it. If they like romance, Zatoichi has it also. Entertainment? Zatoichi is filled with it. Great filmmaking? It can be a definition of great filmmaking. I just absolutely loved this film.

Grade A+

Monday, April 23, 2007

Great Forgotten Kaiju

The War of the Gargantuas (IshirĂ´ Honda, 1966)

2.A serious look at kaiju. No Baby Godzilla type laughs
3.The monsters actually EAT people.
4.Great scenes of the monsters attacking
5.Fun from start to finish

This has to be one of the greatest forgotten kaiju films of all time. No one hardly talks about this film, it is always forshadowed by Godzilla. No disrespect to the Godzilla films which i absoluetely love and are the best kaiju films out there but this is just a forgotten classic of big monster cinema.

It's really hard to go into depth about a movie that is filled with just monsters eating people. So there hardly isnt anything to say but it's just great fun. I remember when i first saw it when i was a youngster, i absolutely loved the film. Now as i am older, i can honestly say i do appreciate this film for taking a serious tone as like the first Godzilla films. There aren't any jokes in this film, the monster may make you laugh but when the first scene that comes around when they take a human woman and munch them up, you are left stunned. This film has so many great scenes in it, litearlly great scenes such as with the first attack from a giant squid and a unlucky boat. It is just greatly filmed and the monsters happen to look real in some scenes. How could anyone miss this? I honestly have no idea, just the godzilla factor comes to my mind.

What else can i say? The film is just great fun and shocking at the same time. Just seeing what they got away with in 1966 while the other godzilla films were dumbed down a bit for the children. I personally really enjoyed this film and if you are a kaiju fan, this is a must. Just to give you a taste of something different from Godzilla and Gamera.

Grade B+

Another trip into the mind of David Lynch

Lost Highway (1997, David Lynch)

5 reasons to see this film

1. Directed by David Lynch. Hate him or love him, his work is always interesting.
2. Beautifuly directed
3. Great music for the exception of rammstein (a band i never got into)
4. Patricia Arquette and Robert Loggia give great performances
5. Richard Pryor's last feature film.

David Lynch, what can I say? You either love him or hate him. I try to keep an open mind about film because so many filmmakers have there own vision of cinema. David lynch has one of the most original and interesting takes on film that I have ever seen. A true visionary even if you dislike his films, the originality is there. My first David Lynch film was eraserhead and i absolutely loved it. One of my favorite films. I have only seen 3 others, Muholland Dr, Blue Velvet and Inland Empire. All of those films absolutely left me amazed. I loved every single one of them and i will soon write a little critique on his filmmaking after i have seen all his films ofcourse.

Now for Lost Highway, a film that lynch wrote with the author of "Wild at heart" Barry Glifford. The film that won the palm d'or at cannes. This film is another one of lynch's convoluted take on dreams. For myself, this was also one of the easier Lynch films to understand but then again my interpretation might not fit lynch's. The film is beautifuly directed and i can't help think that lynch knew exactly what he was doing on this project. Some people may say that he just shoots randomly and puts things together but i just don't buy it. Lynch is a true artist and i respect him for what he has done for the art of cinema.

The plot of Lost Highway is simple compared to muholland dr or inland empire but feels just as deep. The narrative also seems to be a bit everywhere but then you can counter that by saying that the second half of the film is just a dream. It just depends on how you interprete the film, which is another reason why i love lynch's films and also this one. It leaves everyone with there own interpretation of the film which sparks conversation among the viewers, which i believe is the best part of any film. The endless conversations about what you have just seen.

The music and sound in this film is great as with every Lynch film that i've seen. Lynch has always said that the sound in his films are very important to his story telling. The sound and his images just pull you right into the center of the dreamlike film and never lets you go until hours after the credits end. It's near impossible to leave a lynch film by not talking about it or having it go through your mind. Even when you sleep you can't help but feel you will experience the film once again. Something that many filmmakers can not do as easily as Lynch.

My final grade for this film is an A-. The only reason why i give it an A- and not anything higher is because i feel that with this film lynch is still perfecting his form. Something that i know Lynch will always have room to perfect. No great director can ever perfect his art and yes, Cinema is art. As for myself, it is the highest of any art form, combining images with sound which is something that lynch is a master at.

Grade A-

Friday, April 20, 2007

The film that just is.

Touch me in the morning (Giuseppe Andrews, 1999)

5 reasons to see this film of the most unique approach to filmmaking i have seen in a while
2.Giuseppe Andrews
3.Bill Nowlin (one of the best underrated non actors alive)
4.The often hilarious dialouge
5.The whole cast

Giuseppe Andrews, Winston the party cop from Cabin Fever as most of you know him has directed some of the most underground talked about films in a long time.The plot is simple, just a teenager that wants to talk to his dad who happens to be a giggalo that just got out of jail. This being considered his best of Andrew's films just floored me when i saw it.This is probably the most low budget film i have ever seen, true shoestring budget. The cast is filled with prostitues, drug addicts, homeless peole and those aren't the characters, they are the actors. After viewing the film i have read many people say that Andrews exploits them and films them just to make fun of them. This didn't come across my mind at all. The way i saw it, Andrews truely loves making films with these people hence why he has a box set that includes all his films which have most of the same "actors" in them. One actor that stands out in the film is Bill Nowlin.

Bill Nowlin used to be a owner of a chain of Mcdonalds resturants, also a heavy drinking and obvious alcoholic. The thing that amazed me about Bill Nowlin's performance is that everything he said is improvised. All the "raps" that he gives to "Coney Island" (played by giuseppe). Yes, Bill does rap and surprisinly speaks the truth when he does.

The cinematography is also by Andrews and so is the editing. The camera is just a cheap 200 dollar camera you can find at cicuirt city but gives the true gritty look that film deserves. It tells the story of the misfits, the people that get kicked to the curb and Andrews loves every single one of them.In behind the scenes features, he speaks with Bill and you can tell he truely is amazed by this man.

This is just the film that is. A very obscure little film with hilarious moments.It might have a meaning behind it or maybe it doesn't but that's the point of this film. It's just a trip into Andrew's head and how much he loves making films with people that he is close with. Making a film at any cost would be the better definition behind Andrew's obscure off beat genius. I loved it but i warn everyone, you should have a very open minded view on film with this one.One of a kind.

Grade A

I saw Harvey, he's real I tell ya!

Harvey (Henry Koster, 1950)

5 reasons to see this film

1. Jimmy Stewart is amazing as always
2. Co stars a giant 6 foot invicible white rabbit
3. The story is ahead of it's time
4. The beautiful suttle cinematography
5. The Dialouge

"Harvey" is just one of those films that you can not hate. The characters are great and so is the plot which seems quite simple but very ahead of it's time. Harvey stars Jimmy Stewart in another one of his nice guy roles with a dark side kind of like with Capra's "It's A wonderful Life". The difference with this film is that Stewart doesn't see angels but a 6 foot tall white rabbit named Harvey.
The dark side that lurks in Stewart's character is that he's an alcoholic even though in the film we only see him drink once. The way Stewart plays the character is just simply amazing. The little movements he does while talking to his best friend "harvey" who is never seen present only in a oil painting. Not too many actors can make you believe you are seeing something that isnt there but Stewart does it perfectly.

Another great little suttle choice that the film has is the cinematography. Notice how every shot seems a bit wider and larger them most films. The cinematograper William Daniels ("cat on a hot tin roof" and "Winchester 73") gives room to have the audience believe that Harvey is there. Stewart looks towards the sky and begins to speak and we automatically know that it's Harvey he's talking to. I did a little quick research on this film and to my surprise Stewart himself was the one who came up with that idea. Obviously Stewart wanted this to be one of his personal films with some great suttle input as that he gives.

The reason why I love this film so much is that it doesn't try to be anything huge. The story isn't anything larger than life, just a man living life. There is no true deep meaning beneath the surface of this film. The film comes straight out and tells you what it's about. It's better to be pleasent than smart. A line that Jimmy Stewart says in the film. I truely love this film and im just glad to have the pleasure of viewing it.

Grade A+

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's not where he stops but who stops him.

Vanishing Point (Richard C. Sarafian, 1971)

5 reasons to see this film

1. The Amazing Car chase Sequences
2. Barry Newman as Kowalski (the fastest jew in the world)
3. Cleavon Little as Super Soul the blind DJ
4. The Cinematography By John Alonzo from Scarface and Chinatown fame
5. The Ending

"Vanishing Point" plain and simple is just great fun. The car chases will leave you stunned, jaw dropped and all. This also left me thinking, why do we need cgi when we obviously have great car scenes in such films as this. The Car chases aren't just all that's in the film even though i assure you the whole film is one huge car chase. This film has some pretty good music in it as well. I'm kind of pissed of with myself because i can't figure out the artist of a soul song towards the beginning of the film but i swear i have heard it somewhere before. The whole soul music leads me into my favorite part of the film. Yes, I actually did like something in this film other than the amazing car chases and that is Cleavon Little.

Cleavon Little plays "Super Soul" the blind Dj. Should i say more? Every single scene with Super Soul is just basically him listening to some damn good soul music and thinking that he's talking to kowalski. There is also a great scene in this film with Super Soul's radio station and a little mishap with some white folks. Some people may find his little side story annoying but i couldn't help but wait for his blind as a bat look on his face come up on screen.

All in all, this is just a great ride from start to finish. Hardly any dull moments, if any actually. Definetely go check out this film with a bunch of friends while drinking a beer or getting mashed. If Super Soul doesn't do it for you maybe it might be the man who catches snakes and sells them to christian groups or maybe even the gay bandits..yes gay bandits. (only in the uk version)

Grade A

Nazi Zombies...nah...that's just The Aquabats

Shock Waves (Ken Wiederhorn, 1977)

5 reasons why to see this film.

1. Peter "Kush"ing. Grand Moff Tarkin himself running away from so called "nazi Zombies"
2. John Carradine as the captain
3. Has a very awkward death involving a fish tank. Hilarious
4. A very very awkward row boat.
5. Zombie emerging from the water.

This film really just isn't that fun. The Zombies aren't zombies at all and that really didn't get to me that much. You kind of figure it out at the 30 minute mark, where you one dies. They also aren't nazi's..i expected hitler to be mentioned a few times...nope didn't get it. The thing that really got me is that the film which has an amazing poster got me really excited. Maybe i expected too much. I was wanting gore and nazi zombies, sadly instead I got a group of zombie's that look like the Skank Loving, horn totting "Aquabats".

The only reason that kept me watching was mainly just because of the emerging of the zombies. Like how i said before, It looks cool at first then becomes hilarious. You are just sitting down waiting to see some more zombies come out of the water hoping that one would have an awkward smile on his face. The other reason for seeing this film is number 3. The most awkward death I have seen in a while. I like to over analyze these grindhouse films to give myself more laughs. So whenever you get to watch this little film. Please...Please...really think about how awkward the fish tank death is.

Grade C

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What this is all about.

Ahoy Squirts, Quint Here...nah fuck that. This ain't no ain't it cool news bullshit. I've decided to make a blog just mainly to communicate what films i have watched with a friend. Anyone else that visits this can visit and check out what i have seen. Everyone is welcome. I'm going to do things a bit differently from other blogs so bare with me. I'm going to watch as many films as possible in a single day, give 5 things on why to watch the film and finally give it a grade. At the end of the week, i will do a full blown out critique on one single film that i have seen the whole week. The week's film will not be picked because it is the best film that i have seen that week nor that it was my favorite. The week's film will be picked because i feel that there is an importance for writing about that film. Sometimes it may be a Kurosawa film and the other times it may be a Andrew davis film. Just whatever film that i feel has importance of actually taking up my time and writing about it. The only true reason why i am not going to critique every film i view with a bunch of paragraphs is basically because i would rather spend time watching films instead of writing about them. So...that's what im going to do.