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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Documentary: A Lillie In A Valley (2018)

The modern age is seemingly a time of infinite change. From the end of the 19th century to this very day, the world seems to be constantly evolving in an unprecedented manner. But, imagine witnessing the same process almost from the start of the 20th century right through to the present moment. A Lillie In A Valley is a documentary that covers this exact concept through a story of a very special yet very regular lady living in the US. Here's how the film describes itself:

A Lillie In a Valley., “The story of Lillie B. Johnson”, is a non-fiction documentary film celebrating the life and services of Lillie B. Johnson, an African American woman who has been blessed to be on this earth for over a century as she turns 103 years of age. Born on April 16, 1912, Lillie B. Johnson has lived through many countless historical events including segregation and the civil rights movement, as well as lived to witness the inauguration of the first black president of the United States of America; all in which has took place during her lifetime.

As a pillar within the Wheeler County community, Lillie B. Johnson is valued and appreciated by an innumerable amount of family members, friends, and stakeholders within the rural South-East Georgia town. She has touched and influenced many generations of people who have went on to become successful in life. The story has true disposition in highlighting the importance of family as well as uncovering the true essence of what it means to value God, family, and love. This particular film captures the annual birthday celebration as family and friends prepare for the event that takes place on Lillie B. Johnson St.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

First Look: The Shard’s Wave (2019)

One of the most impressive abilities of the science fiction movies and works of art, in general, is to open up our perspective to what the world is and what it could become. Sometimes these visions are grim and terrifying. At other points, they might be uplifting and hopeful. But, in any case, they provide a glimpse into a world that could be a reality even today, just lying in someone’s mind before that same person makes it happen in the future.

The upcoming movie called The Shard’s Wave is precisely this - a film about perception and the future of our minds and souls. The movie is about two souls that are connected to each other through their minds. One belongs to a regular and innocent person, while the other one is something completely different: a criminal. The story of the Shard’s Wave is about how these connect with each other and change their other lives and the lives of people around them

As a sci-fi thriller that will be released both in English and in Tamil, the film looks really promising, even judging by nothing more than its poster that was recently released. See it below:

The film should be out in 2019 and for any additional information check out this Facebook post.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Indie Showcase: Trouble Is My Business (2018)

Some of the best films ever created over the course of the 20th century were purebred noir thrillers. From The Big Sleep to L.A. Confidential, there is no doubt that a classic noir movie can never get outdated in any shape or form. Trouble Is My Business is a new indie film that works in the cinematographic frame of this incredible genre. Here is why the film has to say about itself.

Detective Roland Drake falls for two beautiful Montemar sisters. One woman is dead and the other wants to kill him. “Trouble” is a new feature film that is a love letter to noir. Trouble Is My Business is a dark, doomed romance filled with mystery, murder and betrayal. Starring Brittney Powell and Vernon Wells. Written by Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell. Directed by Thomas Konkle. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Indie Showcase: Karma (2018)

Friendship and loyalty are things we respect throughout the world and seemingly ever since we became aware of ourselves as a species. However, can both of these ideas push people into horrible decisions and even worse actions? These are the questions that are raised by Karma, a new indie thriller created by SummerTyme Productions. Here’s the film’s synopsis:

It's Ciana's Birthday and she is lucky enough to have six friends to spend it with. After a celebration the seven of them cozy up on the beach to socialize, reminisce, and tell scary stories. Little do they know they're about to endure a real scary story of their own.
When one friend is attacked, the girls turn around and attack her attackers. Murder, mayhem, resentment, and betrayal consume them. With two overzealous cops on their trail as well as the Karma that the girls are enduring, they are becoming more and more frantic about the outcome of their situation and hope they can stop everything before it's too late.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Indie Showcase: Badsville (2017)


The noir movie genre is perfect for any period - it might have been born in the early 20th century, but it is still going strong. A perfect example of this is the fact that it works in so many different settings and time periods. In fact, it even works for those films that are apparently outside of real time and space. Badsville is a new indie release that apparently uses the same principle to great effect.Here’s how the film describes itself:

A violent greaser gang is ripped apart when their leader finds love and is determined to leave Badsville - a town where love doesn't exist.

The trailer, which is super-short, does a great job presenting a violent and desolate place where the main character appears and tries to stay above the water. Badsville is pleasantly “clean” in the terms of cinematography - the shots and photography are defined and steady, focusing on the characters. The moment when violence erupts seems to be a crucial part of the life in the fictional Badsville. However, even if the place is non-existent, the dynamic of the life in a place like this feels more than real.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Short Film Review: Side Effects (2018)

Zombie movies and the genre of comedy are not exactly strangers to each other. Ever since George Romero provided us with the first true vision of the brain-eating (or general human body-eating) brain-dead ghouls, humanity was hooked on this idea and rightly so. Unlike many other genres of horror, zombie one comes with a subtle disclaimer that this is not the most serious topic in the world.

Sure, they can come with truckloads of drama and The Walking Dead as a TV show epitomizes this premise. But, below the surface, we all kind of gets that walking corpses looking to eat the living aren’t exactly an expression of existential philosophy.

Jonathan Vargas as the writer and director of Side Effects, a short zombie movie, did not have any dilemmas about making his premise both zombified and ridiculous. In the movie, a small hustler and self-proclaimed ladies’ man ends up in trouble when he can’t repay the money he owns to the wrong people. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Indie Showcase: Pure the Movie Series (2018)

A new movie series is available on Amazon and it provides a gritty story set on the unforgiving streets of Buffalo, New York. Here is the official movie description of Pure the Movie Series:

Pure an action packed movie-series about the streets of Buffalo New York. The first part of this drama identifies with a hustler named Nevada who is wise beyond his years. After robbing one of the city's most respected gangsters, he and his crew had a plan to take over but in order to do so, they must work for the enemy.

As a tale about tough individuals who are fighting for their right to survive and thrive, Pure The Movie Series seems really interesting. For me, it carries a strong resemblance to works like the HBO TV show The Wire and many other great contemporary crime dramas.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Short Film Review: The Defector (2017)

Menacing. If The Defector was any single emotion, it would be pure, unfiltered sense of menace. Like a bus with that might or might not carry a suicide bomber, this short film expertly racks up the tension without doing too much. Instead, it allows its conflicting ideas to battle between each other in the mind of the viewer, while it desperately tries to latch onto some character. Who is justified in his action and who is the real menace? Defector leaves the audience guessing as the story quickly moves through its plot. 

The film follows the real-life figure of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt as he engages with his security chiefs about the Reds, individuals suspected of working against the state. However, Holt has his own agenda and begins to explore one of the secret treads, culminating in a single night of dangerous confrontation, which the film depicts.