Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Film Review: Cold November (2018)


Growing up is never easy and sometimes, it can take us on unique journeys, both outside and inside. Cold November is a movie that explores this notion and does it remarkably well through a seemingly simple setup. The film follows Florence, a 12-year-old living and growing up in a rural part of the US. Interestingly, her family has followed a tradition of the women going to a deer hunt as a sort of rite of passage for entering into adulthood.

Florence is near that point, so she and her mother, grandmother and cousins decide to follow the same tradition. Yet, this process will not come easy for Florence or her loved ones in a tale of nostalgia, change and our ever-inadequate abilities to deal with it, no matter if we are kids, adults or something in-between.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Two Paragraph Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

The original Blade Runner movie is one of my favourite cinematic works of art. Ever since I was a teenager I really enjoyed Ridley Scott vision over distance and cold future. At the same time, Denis Villeneuve is one of my favorites new directors, especially when it comes o science fiction. Two years ago I was completely blown away with The Arrival, so naturally my expectations were high for Blade Runner 2049. Now, after seeing it, I have a hard time putting my finger on it.

The movie is visually stunning and it provides an engaging experience in that sense. However at the same time narratively, it's slightly all over the place. While it's easy to connect with Joe, who is basically trying to figure out what’s happening (like the audience) the rest of the characters fall flat. These include Decker who is who is played by an ever older and less interesting Harrison Ford. All of them are distant but what is worse, they end up feeling irrelevant. The same is true for the plot, which simply does not hold up to the immense visual grandeur of the movie. Maybe Blade Runner 2049 will age better just like the original, but for now, the two are not on the same playing field.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Indie Showcase: My Tiny Universe (2004)

As a rule of thumb, movies are not that good of a way to predict the future. If they were, we would be at least having one or two flying car companies instead of another social media app that just came out. However, sometimes, away from the spotlight of the big prediction and blockbuster visions of the future, some movies do nail the future in an eerie fashion. My Tiny Universe, which was made almost 15 years ago, seems to be one of those films. Here is it’s plot:

Dickie Bates is a washed-up actor. Bobby Devillin is a sleazy A-list producer. Luring Devillin to his home, Dickie pushes the big-shot's weak-points by toying with the one thing that matters to him - his cell phone. The actor's small home is soon filled with an irrepressible crowd of characters in this fast-paced satire of life in Tinseltown.
 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Two Paragraph Review: Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation is the movie about change, more precisely the horror that lies in the same change when it's unknown. The brilliant book on which the movie is based showcases a type of horror which is hard to explain but very easy to experience. In this new rendering of the story Alex Garland, the film’s director and writer tried his best to capture the same essence even though I bet he fully understood that he will at least partially fail. However, the full result of his effort is not a fail by any means.

Instead, it's one of the best sci-fi movies based on a horror premise that was made recently. This is seen in the fact that the movie gains steam as it progresses. For me, that's almost always a really good cinematographic sign and Annihilation is no different. While the initial character exposition scenes are shaky, once the main plot of the movie gets underway the film quickly finds its focus. Naturally, the great cast of the expedition further underlines this idea with their great performances. Natalie Portman, in particular, does an excellent job as the Biologist, which isn't a big surprise, but the rest of the women are not far behind. Thanks to them and Garland’s vision of the novel, Annihilation is a movie that is a must-watch for every sci-fi fan out there.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Indie Showcase: Ring of Silence (2018)

Human trafficking is a horrific process that oddly enough, is seemingly getting more prevalent in the modern world. The same is true for any country on the planet, no matter how developed it might be.

A new feature-length movie called the Ring of Silence explores this very idea and does so right in the hearth of the United States. Here is how the film describes itself:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Indie Showcase: Dead Again (2018)

The world is becoming a more interconnected place all of the time. The globalization trend has been steamrolling across the plant for many decades now, but its results have often been one-sided. This is especially true for the arts and culture, where it can often seem that creative work from all over the world is trying to mimic the trends from a few mostly Western locations. However, the exact opposite applies for the Dead Again indie film which is about to start its festival rounds. Here’s how the film presents itself:

Dejected by love troubles and job upheaval, Thomas comes upon a mysterious diary and begins to read its haunting tale of love and loss. Besieged by strange occurrences and with no one to trust, Thomas embarks on a treacherous journey to unravel disturbing details about the diary’s author and even his own past.

The director, a graduate of University of California-Riverside's Creative Writing program called Dave Silberman wrote and directed several hilarious, suspenseful, and thought-provoking short films. While teaching English for five years in Korea, he won a top prize in the "Seoul, Our Movie" competition awarded by Park Chan Wook. He created DEAD AGAIN, his first feature film, with a modest budget, total commitment, a bit of basic Korean and a lot of body language.