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Light from Light (2019)
A meditative delight
This film is a perfect, searching and soulful little piece of film making. All four people brought to life here are living in hope for something outside of themselves and beyond the mundane but necessary realities of work, study and getting by. They seek life. They seek light. They seek love. And death is the undercurrent and background and vehicle through which this search takes on a more urgent and pressing need for meaning. And of course, there are various histories, some spoken and others not, relating to grief and loss and a need for forgiveness and closure. The father who 'drank himself to death'. The deceased wife who 'had something going on with another man'. The single mother who despite doing her best, cannot protect her son from the risks life and love inevitably bring, without hurting him herself.
The title of the film, Light from Light. is borrowed from the Nicene Creed and the context in which it is used here, is, to quote a modern shibboleth, spiritual. not religious.
It's beautifully filmed with a mellow soundtrack and lends itself to reflection over entertainment, much to the chagrin of at least one other reviewer here so far, I see (with much amusement).
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Leave a classic horror film alone
This film should not have had anything to do with The Shining and should have had its own story line. It could have stood well on its own as a reasonably good horror flick and The Shining could certainly have stood well alone without its central characters being usurped cheaply like a bad joke, a clumsy satire even. The Shining was chilling, even terrifying and definitely masterful. This was definitely not.
Dark Encounter (2019)
What the hey all?!
Why this film has been rated so lowly I cannot fathom. I was absolutely under its spell from start to finish. And I was very moved by it on more than one level. One of the best ET/UFO films I've ever seen, but also the human-drama aspects were extremely well done.
It's not really horror though; it is more of an intense mystery/ sci-fi/drama. The horror element is strictly human. I guess those wanting more traditional horror are disappointed upon watching that it's just not that kind of film. It's about family, grief, loss, woundedness, love and treachery...and the strange, vast, mysterious universe our lives play out within. I guess it is quasi sci-fi and far-fetched but geez Louise...it's still great film,-making!
Can't rate it
This is one of the most disturbing films I have ever sat through. I think it was mostly the soundtrack, frequent, guttural screaming and image- strobing effect liberally used throughout that really intensified things. If the film creator was trying to make any statement about art, then it was insanely cliche and way over the top. However as a horror film , it is solid and one hell of a hectic ride. You could say it's a statement on hedonism, addiction, drug-induced, total psychic meltdown and how it destroys the self and everything within radius. But nahh...it's just a really good horror film. Lacks nuance for anything more serious than that.
Life of the Party (2018)
So bad. So very bad.
Just really awful. Terrible script. I was cringing and feeling almost violated at times. by the 'humour' (Mum talking to daughter about her 'vagoogle' which was a reference to her vagina, after having drunken sex with a young male student at a student party., Thank heavens we were not subjected to any scenes of that. Got about a third of the way through it and gave up. I think they were aiming for some quasi-feminist re-invention of a liberated mother-daughter relationship but in actual fact, some of these scenes could have been placed at the start of a really perverse porn film.
The Dark (2018)
Kind of unique
I say kind of because although in many ways this is an original take on the 'undead', there was something of 'Let the right one in' about it. But if this was deliberate, than it was a good thing..a very worthy tribute to a great film. If it wasn't deliberate, even better.
Anyway, I was engrossed. And I felt much empathy for the characters, especially the girl, even while I found aspects of her killings difficult. She was a complicated character. There was all kinds of horror in this and it wasn't all about blood and gore type horror either. The horror of betrayal, the horror of extreme trauma, the horror of criminal and brutal human violence, the horror of innocents who get caught in the cyclone of desperation or callousness of others. There is gore, but It's not central to the power of this horror film. The sense of isolation even from one's self is.
It is also really an analogy. And I think the ending is possibly a twist. Watch and decide for yourself.
Raccoon Valley (2018)
For me ten out of ten
I could knock a couple off for the fairly poor makeup jobs on the 'zombies' but because they still somehow managed to be very creepy and because of how the zombie encounters were executed, with plenty of eeriness and slow build-up, and because this excellent piece of cinema was done on a budget under 200 dollars...they get a full ten from me.
I really was on the side of this woman (and her stray cat). Without a word said by her, she won me over. This is NOT a film for high-volume guts- and -blood-loving zombie-film aficionados. So if that's your thing. don't go here. This is more like a 'what if' situation pitting a smart but severely hearing-impaired person alone against the odds in a horrible scenario; her determination, courage and even her compassion. This is a simple, slow brewing and tense Indie character study played out through a strange crises.
It is also beautifully shot, cinematically speaking.
Boarding School (2018)
I have to say this was a very odd film. But I was blown away by two particular young actors: Nicholas J Oliveri and Christopher Dylan White. Never heard of either but extremely impressed by both. Luke Prael is very good too. But the only reason I am commenting at all on this film is because of awesome performance given by Nicholas and Christopher. You'll just have to watch it to see why,
Chung Cu Ma (2014)
I liked it.
This deserves a review. Okay, it's not fantastic but it's not rubbish either. Nice cinematics. A few jump scares. Fairly typical Asian horror. They do love their creepy dead girls who like to crawl across floors with hair in their eyes. always royally pissed off and out for blood. This is no exception. But this had a totally unexpected ending which I did not see coming at all.
Some of it is just silly but it has some real shining moments as far as this kind of horror goes and given it's described as part comedy, that explains at least some of the sillier moments.
La nuit a dévoré le monde (2018)
This is actually quite good
I just finished this. I very much enjoyed it. The undead in this are some of the creepiest in the genre because of their utter silence. The character of Sam really drew me in. You feel very much for him and he manages to portray just about every human emotion there is extremely well while finding ways to survive alone in the desert of death, horror and loss around him. This survival is not just about food and ravenous flesh-eating zombies. There are some small and brilliant experimental music scenes created when Sam finds ingenious ways to relieve his boredom and loneliness. He's obviously a musician . He plays drums amazingly too.
There is a twist in there too. I don't want to give anything away except to say I didn't see it coming at all.
There were many sad scenes. Some achingly sad. And a few humorous ones.
Overall, this is an unexpected gem. Kudos!
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
Pick your nose and eat it.
That's the level of class this catastrophic failure aspires to, Nasty, nasty trash.
It Comes at Night (2017)
This is absolutely not what I expected, which was a film with supernatural themes. I was not disappointed however. It was far more realistic and all the more disturbing for it. I cared for all of the characters. There were no bad guys here, just depictions of people with families on the edge, trying to survive with the threat of a horrible death lurking literally at the door,
I found the 17 year old boy's character especially well done. To be a teen growing up in such a world while dealing internally with that fearful horror along with hormones and curiosity and even the simple love of a pet dog would certainly give cause for the kind of nightmares he was having.
A tense, bleak nightmarish thriller/horror all told.
Don't Knock Twice (2016)
I was blown away by the excellent acting on behalf of the two main characters in this film. The mansion put in a solid performance, and its sidekick, 'dilapidated old house' made a valiant effort. Towards the end, surprise cameos by a couple of old studio-trees had me rooted to the chair. Unfortunately, the human scenery needed some work and I think the film-makers relied far too heavily on these props to the loss of the film.
The Open House (2018)
Basically a decent thriller totally and utterly let down by the ending. I was expecting a good twist, or a tying together of various strands that seemed to weave throughout the story but they lead nowhere. It just was not the kind of film where lack of resolution could be justified. It was like budget or the imagination just ran out and everyone said 'Stuff it ...let's just get it in the can!'
I disagree with another review stating it did not depend on jump scares. It sure did. And a building, winding mystery that was looking very interesting but ended in blandness. I gave it five for the more imaginative effort before the disappointment.
Happy to give the first user review.
As soon as I realised that Sarah Lancashire was a central character in this new production, I knew it was going to be good. Sarah, in her role as a human services case-manage working largely with young people and adoptive families (and possibly troubled families in general, we shall see) just eats it up, as usual and gives us a diamond character, in the rough of course. Some might believe she's been typecast and although there may be some similarity here to her role as a weary and wary copper in Happy Valley, it is only in her ability to portray courage, compassion with human foible so well; the characters are very different people. 'Miriam' is not tough and hard here like 'Catherine' is., though definitely exudes the personality of an experienced, down to earth woman. It's early days but we are introduced to a woman who seems almost happy-go-lucky way. Much more light-hearted and humoured in her approach. It becomes clear early on though that this may be a necessary facade to cope with previous tragedy in her life. And alas, it now seems she is to be the scapegoat for a terrible tragedy she could not foresee occurring with a child she is case manager for. But herein lies the mystery and the drama; perhaps we may see sides of Miriam which will lead us to question this 'diamond'. And question all involved in the life of the young girl at the centre of the tragedy, including the involvement of 'the system' as her 'warden of care'. So far, there are believable and sterling performances by all. I am also quite impressed with standouts Lucian Msamati and Claire Rushbrook. Perhaps the only weakness I personally see (others may not) revolve around the central adoptive family who seem a little too good to be true juxtaposed to what I feel is a rather callous disregard for their adopted child's family of origin. That is a flimsy observation on my behalf at this stage. It's only one episode for me thus far, after all. So I await eagerly the thick to plotten...
Mama's Angel (2016)
Are you KIDDING me?
I sat through ten episodes of this over three nights as it built up to the worst anticlimax I have ever seen on film! I cannot help but wonder if the show's creators simply ran out of time or money or care- factor to have arrived at such an abysmal whimper of a finale. If they were aiming to leave things 'open' for a second season, I cannot imagine anyone would even care enough after such an insult, as to what happens in a future scenario involving these characters.
And are Israeli men really all such failed human beings? There was not one male character presented in this production that I could care about. Even the most vulnerable character, though portrayed so brilliantly by the actor, just became a really annoying presence.
And actually, the women were awfully contrived 'tragic figures' too.
And please...no mother of a murdered child is going to go to visit an imprisoned suspect in that murder, to give him a sympathetic ear let alone be allowed to professionally counsel said suspect.
Finally, you find yourself often thrust into scenes that make little sense, wondering what you're doing there and how this event/character development, or interaction adds anything to the overall story or plot development. And most of the time, these pointless twists and turns are awkward and out of context and actually turn out to be of no value whatsoever.
Bah. Whatever. Could have been great. Turned out to be waste of time.
Get Out (2017)
When I had finished watching this, I felt the film-viewing equal of 'Wow, that was a really satisfying meal!' And I had really not been expecting it to be as good as it was. I don't mean that I thought it would be trash or b-grade. I just wasn't expecting something so powerful really, as a horror, as a dark comedy, as satire and as social commentary.
I loved this film's use of metaphors. Others here have drawn attention to the themes of covert racism that is a disease of power, control and dominance of whites over blacks whilst projecting a smiling, friendly face. Yes. Absolutely. And also about cultural appropriation; admiration and envy for those attributes of a people where there is no respect for the people as fully human beings, even often as not fully sentient beings, less than animals.'Stuff' to be exploited for one's own benefit. I am very sure this is what the 'dark place' alludes to, being pushed into a place of nowhere as your world is gradually stolen from you.
The humour in this that is not really satire, is found in relief scenes centred around Chris's (the victim) best friend who senses something is NQR from the beginning but cannot persuade his friend of this.
I look forward to more from this writer/director.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Great chills and foreboding
How this great little horror flick is rating only in the sixes is beyond me! This is the most eerie, creepy chiller I have seen in a long while, and if you're a fan of gore, plenty of that too. The plot is original, kudos to the writer. There is some depth to the characters, and I really liked the relationship depicted between the father and son as played by Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch and I cared for them. I thought the acting by all parties was good including by those with relatively brief scenes. The morgue within which the story takes place and the corpse about which it takes place, though both technically lifeless, are each given great sinister presence by clever lighting and camera work.
As someone else said earlier, this is a good scary, claustrophobic horror movie which in my opinion excels in building dread and that is where its greatest strength lays.
Twin Peaks (2017)
I was elated when I heard Lynch was doing a Twin Peaks season 3. Now I believe TP 1&2 and FWWM should have been left as the complete story, complete in their incompleteness, which would have been a superior legacy for Lynch over this mess. It honestly feels like he hates his fans and the world in general. Maybe he has given up on the human race and hence has adopted a new style as a film maker, that of 'Whatever.'
Just doesn't cut it.
I think I know what the film-makers were aiming to create here and while I enjoyed some of the cinematography, the capture of the familiar industrial urban complex highwayed out in the middle of nowhere-in-particular and a pleasantly interesting, dreamlike sequence involving sunbathing and a snake, this film fails to make real impact. I'm sorry, but Paz de la Huerta cannot act, for starters. Yes, she does have a somewhat exotic screen presence and I can appreciate why Paz was chosen for the role she plays, but the woman is just so unconvincing, passionless and dull; she merely opens her pouty lips to allow words to fall out and it's all very wooden in what appears to be a permanently coked-out zone.
Diane Agron, conversely, seems to be a good actress but unfortunately Paz made her look she was overdoing it, or taking it all too seriously. For instance, I could not believe her when her character, Sarah, tells 'Pepper' (Paz), 'when I'm with you, I feel like anything is possible, anything could happen'. Really? That's pretty generous when Diane is the one who seems the far livelier and more interesting and passionate of the two! Since when does pushing drugs on vulnerable women, living in squats and being chased by angry thugs make someone edgy and exciting where 'anything could happen' as opposed to making them a real freaking headache to have around and someone who might get themselves or you killed at any given minute?
There's not much of a story arc, and no tension to speak of so the film's resolution falls flat. Character development is poor thus stereotypes must suffice for a boyfriend, friend, work-place 'bitch', a bunch of strippers and a proverbial bad guy who wants his money.
That's all folks.
For the two plus hours of one perfect, seamless camera follow of this film's titular character alone, this is simply an amazing feat. But this is also a post-modern Shakespearean experience with its tumultuous highs and lows and the most moving nuanced portrayal of two strangers finding one another and falling in love I believe I have ever seen in film and usually cinematic romance bores me to tears. But this goes beyond romance; you enter the lives of this pair and the troupe of which they are a part and you cannot help but empathise with them in their their elation, their fear, frustration, relief, craziness, tenderness, desire and pain over the course of a new day breaking as the group becomes deeply embroiled in a criminal act circumstance somewhat forces upon them. The acting and character development are also brilliant. And I wonder how much of it was ad-libbed to a basic plot and script, because I just don't know if this kind of natural and realistic dialogue and character interaction could result from heavy planning.
I really loved this film. It really is a masterpiece (I thought such comments might have been made by friends of the film's creators initially, before viewing) It will be one to stay with me and I will also be looking out for other films by these writers and/or with these actors in them.
Light hearted action comedy
I enjoyed this for some stress-relief. Yes, it is very vulgar quite often. But I adore Miranda Hart, Jude Law is some suave damn eye-candy, Melissa is funny as always and it was nice seeing her take on an action role. Stratham must have needed something as light relief from his usual British crime seriousness; he does idiot well, it turns out. And Rose Byrne was an adorable, lethal, spoilt brat.
Just some fun. Maybe I could have done without male porn bits. That 'thing', I don't know if it was real but it was repulsive. Eww.
I give it 2 for the idea. Other than that, it is insulting to Americans, Norwegians, Muslims, women, intelligence and comedy. It's even insulting to gangsters. The central character is a boorish, bigoted, creepy creep who stalks a much younger woman, calls a Muslim character a 'towel-head' (I don't care if that character was portrayed as disrespectful to women; that entire sequence came off as disgustingly ignorant and bigoted and felt like we're supposed to be in on it with mafiaman, slapping the guy around and enjoying it because he's Muslim, not because he was a rude misogynist.) The show is an embarrassment to Americans. Truly, I am embarrassed for America watching this. I am embarrassed for the writers too, who I believe are Scandinavians, and that is a great shame coming from a part of the world currently delivering some of the best crime fiction TV on the planet. Fail.
This, so far, is excellent drama. In my opinion, it is important drama. This is the stuff of real life, of the deeply messy confusion of being human, where at best, and in spite of our best efforts, sometimes even because of our best efforts, we are constantly 'off- target'. For the central character in this story, the bullseye is Christ-like love. For others, it is family, children, the job, being able to tell the truth, and not least, being able to survive and navigate one's own conscience, or otherwise becoming a part of the 'banality of evil' by embracing dishonesty. Quite often, if our conscience still has life, we are torn and in pain, as 'we do what we must do', because someone's going to get hurt no matter how we choose. Or we die as we sleep; the sleep that is sleep because we refuse to feel pain, especially the pain of failure. But we all fail, as we are all broken.
This show encapsulates that difficult truth very well. The acting and cinematography is top-shelf (Sean Bean possibly had the wrong calling to become an actor, whilst of course, his priestly portrayal is so good because he is such a great actor) There has been some very provocative writing and some of it will set Catholic teeth on edge. My teeth have so far been far more put on edge by what I strongly feel is the over-use of violin in scenes which could stand well alone without it. And a few small continuity issues. Other than that, I look forward to the next episode of such an excellent, even spiritually provoking drama. Which will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea. but it is certainly mine thus far.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Could have been good
This film would have been better if it just stuck to the fictional story within, with some more work and plotting. That was the best part of this film. The ex-girlfriend parts were awful and pointless. Who cares about a bunch of rich art yuppies who were played terribly by the actors anyway. Gyllenhaal and Shannon were wasted in this and were the only high points in the whole thing.