Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Piper (2015)

I know I have been slacking when it comes to the blog. Between my capstone classes in creative writing, work, and now softball, my time has been tremendously limited. While that has been the case, I have watched my fair share of movies and am going to get back into the swing of things. First up, is the 2015 Korean indie flick, The Piper (AKA Guest).

Plot/ Shortly after the Korean War, a father, and son are wandering through the country and make a stop in a remote village, where strange and dangerous happenings occur.

This supernatural thriller was one of the better fairy tale/fable inspired movies I have seen in some time. From Korea, this independent flick features some dark atmospheric moments, yet creates something in a surreal poetic form to convey dread. The acting was tremendous, the cinematography vivid and spot on, and the suspense and darkness are ramped up throughout the film. Yes, some of the audio dubbing seems off at times and some of the characters are under-developed, but these are but minor flaws in an otherwise tremendous film. In the end, this is a version of the story of the Pied Piper that must be seen, it is one of the better adaptations to come around in some time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Z for Zachariah (2015)

After watching the interesting He Never Died, I decided to venture into the post apocalyptic world. Unfortunately, my selection for that genre did little to quench my craving for that realm. That movie was the 2015 entry Z for Zachariah.

Plot/ In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men, and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.

This is one that was picked up at Family Video that I had zero expectations for. Fortunately, that was the case because I really found nothing extremely new or interesting inside this one. In fact, the best part was the lush New Zealand backdrop. Slow and unmoving, this post apocalyptic flick is definitely miscast as something Sci-Fi, being more of a drama/love story. Yes, the performances were solid, but that could not so anything to help add pace or excitement to this rather non-atmospheric entry. In the end, this one is a snoozer and a movie that could have been left on the shelf.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

He Never Died (2015)

After spending the past two days living inside my homework writing a treatment for an episode of Castle (and conducting peer reviews), it was time to find something to help my mind unwind. After searching the shelves at the video store, I settled on the 2015 indie flick He Never Died.

Plot/ Jack, a social outcast, is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs on his door and he cannot contain his violent past.

When I saw this at Family Video, I knew I had to see it. The idea of Henry Rollins playing a strong, social outcast/loner seemed impeccable, and it was. He was definitely the perfect choice for this role, and one of the highlights of the movie. On top of that, for a low budget film, this one did a great job at creating a mixture of atmosphere, storyline, darkness, and demons in a way that did not require a lot of wasted visual effects. Plus, the technical aspects are better than I would have expected. In the end, this underrated movie is a must see for horror fans, and a film that should continue to create interest for some time.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sideshow (2000)

Last night I had to start on my big project for the week. Knowing that, I definitely had to find something that could keep my attention (and maybe serve as some inspiration). After a quick search, I settled on the 2000 low budget horror Sideshow (AKA Haunted Freakshow).

Plot/ While visiting a traveling carnival full of human freaks, high school students nearly join as permanent members.

Most of the time it is easy to predict what to expect from Director Fred Olen Ray and Charles Band, but every once in a while thy throw you a curve. That was the case with this dated horror flick that captured the creepiness of the carnival/sideshow atmosphere. While the characters are somewhat unlikable and underdeveloped and the performances uneven at best, there was still enough entertainment and storyline to keep my attention. Couple that with some of the better low budget effects from that day, decent cinematography, and a storyline that was rather coherent, and you have an interesting no budget flick that served as a perfect backdrop for an evening. In the end, this one will definitely not be for everyone, but if you love low budget horror, Charles Band, or Full Moon Entertainment you should love it. Check it out!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ex Machina (2015)

In finalizing the flicks that I watched this weekend while working on some homework, I was left with just one to review. That movie it the thought provoking artificial intelligence flick Ex Machina from 2015.

Plot/ A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.

While the subject matter in this one is somewhat familiar, it is done in an extremely effective and deep manner that makes you think. It was definitely one of the most thought provoking movies I have seen in quite a while. Everything really works with a dark and haunting atmosphere, emotional (and outstanding) performances, a fascinating score that echoes the atmosphere, and some extremely detailed special effects that were truly worthy of all of the accolades that they received. Sure, the ending may not be for everyone, but personally, I loved the darker tone that they ended on. In the end, this was one of the most entertaining and captivating movies I have seen in some time. If you have not seen it, give it a shot.