Evil Dead

Ever Needed a Reason to Kick Drugs?

Evil Dead

Evil Dead is probably the most extreme anti drugs campaign that I have ever seen. The film follows a group of young’uns as they spend a few nights in a cabin in the woods in an attempt to help one of them get through going cold turkey from…. well…. I’m not sure so I’m going to go with…… ‘DRUGS’. Naturally they find an evil book of witch craft in the basement and of course read from it, because why not, releasing the forces of hell upon the cabin. A whole load of disgusting and gory scenes follow ending in *and don’t read further if you don’t want to spoil it* the drug addict surviving and all her friends and her brother being brutally murdered. So what did we learn? Drugs are bad. Being a drug abuser will result in the gruesome slaughter of your friends and family. It will result in being possessed via the privates by a tree and end in a fight to the death with hells most dangerous creatures.

So don’t do drugs!

Anyway once you get past the underlying message of the film, the film itself is pretty much everything you’d expect. It’s another remake that did not need to exist. It would have been easy to make a very similar film without calling it an Evil Dead remake, simply attaching that iconic title for me is a way of guaranteeing an audience and nothing more. It definitely does not stand up to the cult qualities of the original. However, it is a decent horror, in a sense that it’s creepy, disgusting and ‘jumpy’. It’s pure entertainment which is worth watching for horror fans but most probably a film that you will forget the minute it’s finished. The film does use a lot of similar effects to the original in a sense that it has zero CGI use (or at least minimal) which is interesting to see when looking at how far special effects have came since the 80s. That is a desperate attempt to find something interesting about the film I know but it really is as obvious and simple as you no doubt expect it to be.

If you are a big horror fan or if you really are struggling for a reason to chuck drugs then you might as well give this film a shot, otherwise, just avoid it.

Dave

Twitter: @DavidSAdamson

Advertisements
Oblivion

 

Oblivion

The End of the World Never Looked so Beautiful

Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion is a beautiful film. The films view on nature is inspiring. The landscapes depicted, as desolate as they may seem, only highlight the power, scale and beauty of the earth. The last Sci-Fi that I saw of this magnitude was Prometheus and although that also looked fantastic it failed to deliver in terms of narrative. So the question is, how does Oblivion?

The film has a number of twists and turns, a few of which are apparent in the trailer(!). I would say all of the twists bar perhaps one, are rather predictable. However this still doesn’t prevent my enjoyment of the film. The jist is this. Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) live on a destroyed earth, after a war with an unknown species called ‘Scavs’ leaves the planet and moon in ruins the remaining population of earth has moved to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack and Julia are assigned as the mop up squad on earth, maintaining robots that work to protect a large structure that absorbs energy from the ocean in order to provide that energy for the colonies of Titan. Jack begins to question his position in the role he has undertaken and shortly discovers that all is not as it seems.

The overall story arc of the film seems to have been done time and time again however there are smaller plot elements that make this story much more interesting. Its intertwining of twists often overlap each other making, at times, more questions arise. I read in an article that said it seems Kosinski presumes that the audience know as much about the narrative as he does making the story hard to follow and difficult to understand. I think this is rubbish. The film doesn’t spoon feed its audience and never directly tells the audience what they are supposed to understand through the visuals but for me this is great. It often makes you question your theories of what seems like a straight forward narrative. This is what I enjoyed about the film, although the narrative was predictable, Kosinski has thrown curve balls at the audience to deter them from what they think is happening.

The film most certainly looks amazing. It’s as though every shot is a money shot and is a prime example of how the often over used method of CGI can create superb and exhilarating settings for a film. There was never a moment when I questioned the landscape of the film, which in a Sci-Fi is integral. The costume and set design were both astounding although Jacks gun did remind me of the old SNES Super Scope and the soundtrack was emotional and exciting.

Oblivion is not a perfect film and I don’t think it will be for everyone, but it’s a great Sunday night watch, in a dark room with those speakers turned right up.

Dave

Twitter: @DavidSAdamson

Sightseers

AN UNUSUAL TAKE ON A HOLIDAY IN THE COUNTRY

Sightseers is a dark comedy and is the third feature from British director Ben Wheatley and it’s been a while since I’ve seen a film quite like it. The story follows two characters, Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) as they embark on a tour of rural Britain discovering everything that the countryside has to offer. The trip soon turns sour after a tourist drops his Cornetto wrapper on the floor. This sparks a homicidal rampage from both Chris and Tina. They begin by reversing their caravan over the Cornetto man and from there they escalate their brutal yet hilarious string of murders.

The story feels like a series of episodes where you find yourself wondering who they will kill in this situation and how will they do it. The link between the killings is that Chris, who is a struggling to write, finds his muse in Tina who then decides that murder is Chris’s way of drawing inspiration. So she encourages Chris to kill. Tina also kills in a desperate attempt to get Chris to like her. This concept accompanied by the hilarious dialogue and ridiculous setting takes you on a journey that will have you laughing for days. The killings for Tina and Chris aren’t necessarily a big deal, more of an annoyance against the enjoyment of their holiday. Chris says after running down the Cornetto man that he (the Cornetto man) has “ruined” the tram museum for him.

It’s this kind of character interaction that brings such hilarity to the film. It reminds me of the work or Martin McDonagh on In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths. Although Tina and Chris are both murderers and generally very strange individuals you find yourself truly enjoying their company in the 88 minutes you spend with them.

This film has put Ben Wheatley on the map for me after I was beyond confused with his previous film Kill List. He is without a doubt a unique film maker, one of which we all need to look out for. Another thing I really like about him is that he is a British director making British films.

Dave

Follow on Twitter: @DavidSAdamson

Trance (Spoilers)

trance111215


It’s been a couple of days now since I saw Trance (Dir. D. Boyle), and it’s grown on me. At first, the films glossy, abrupt and impersonal textures lead to a feeling of being unattached to the story. However, the complex plot, with its many twists and turns, lead the film through its plastic, TV-movie-esque facade and deliver it into a clever and believable (but not totally surprising) twist ending.

The plot reflects the style in which Trance has been filmed; it is unbelievable and at some point, ridiculous. The narration direct to camera at the start of the film from Simon, gives a feeling that we are about to watch a feature episode of the BBC’s Hustle. Together with the fact that a group of hardened criminals would allow a psychiatrist (Elizabeth, played by Rosario Dawson) to take up partnership with them is absurd. These two elements make the film feel childish from the start; they appear as a naive attempt to move the plot forward for the purpose of the twist at the end.

But if you allow yourself to go along with the illogical plot, you will be rewarded with a fast-paced and treacherous journey leading to an explosive ending.

If you want to watch a similar take on ‘reality vs illusion’ style film, check out Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Dir. M. Gondry) and of course the fantastic Inception (Dir. C. Nolan).

 

Ben

 

Julien Donkey-Boy

juliensevigny2

When presented with a Dogme 95 certificate at the beginning of a film, you know you are in store for an epileptic journey, both visually and narratively. And Julien Donkey-Boy does not fail to deliver. An alarming story that delves into the darkness of a disordered family, living in a nameless neighbourhood, schizophrenic Julien happily glides along, naively accepting his father’s brutality and his siblings underlying mental illnesses.

The visual style for the film (mostly following the rules of the Dogme 95 movement) is essential in the aid of telling the story. The frantic camera manoeuvres and and the use of natural lighting throw you into the berserk mind of Julien. In his house, the camera moves sharply to reflect the families broken state, whilst the scenes with Julien and his blind friends resemble its calming and benign nature, the camera adopts a less agitated disposition.

The proximity in which the camera can reach the characters during ferocious scenes supports in intensifying them, such as the scene where Julien is being told by his father to ‘slap his own face, then maybe he’ll wake up’. The handheld camera technique moves like the point of view of another character, and throwing the audience into the brutal situation.

The character performance’s are just as essential and tantalising. The film brings together Werner Herzog, Ewen Bremmer and Chlöe Sevigny, who’s realistic performances push the characters to their limits. Herzog, who plays the families father, is a man who craves an almost fascist sense of order. It is this order that you could blame is the families misfortune. Even though Julien (Bremmer) has a mental illness, his sister and brother are both equally as corrupt. She (Sevigny) is having a baby by her brother Julien. She seems sound of mind, despite the fact that she is having a child by incest; it is more of an absolute attack against the father’s dictatorial sense of control.

In a strange sense, Julien is the most free. His disability gives him the ability to socialise and to act outside the bounds of his father’s control. His friends are blind, and all of them live relatively free and happy lives (even, for example, when they talk about death), compared to that of Julien’s family.

If you are a fan of Dogme 95, then you should definitely check out Julien Donkey-boy. This is dittoed if you are a fan of any of the aforementioned actors, as their performances are fascinating.

Ben

So Christmas has passed and one of my many kindly received gifts was a small book called ‘The 101 Horror Movies You Must Watch Before You Die’. It’s basically exactly as it sounds, a long list of horror films recommended to audiences based on their popularity and influence on the genre. What’s great about it is that it gives you all the films in chronological order from 1919’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari to 2007’s The Orphanage and separates them into decades. Naturally; I jumped straight to the 80’s. Something about 80’s horror always appealed to me, American Werewolf in London and John Carpenter’s The Thing being my two favourite horrors of all time. I think it was the way they experimented with special effects during this era that had me fixated with it as a child.

Anyway, the first film in the 80’s section was Italian film maker Ruggero Deodato’s controversial film Cannibal Holocaust. I had heard about this film. I knew that it had been banned on its original release. I presumed it was probably going to pretty fucked up. Yet; I immediately got a hold of a copy and started to watch it. It would be an understatement to say that it shocked me.

At first I thought the film was just mindless violence and sexual violence because, well, it was. But I still didn’t turn it off. My book had recommended it so I was going to sit through it. Scene after scene passed by with people being killed and eaten and women being sexually assaulted, it was truly disturbing t watch. Then there was a scene where a man cuts open a musk rat. This scene was different. It looked different, felt different. The special effects seemed to be a step ahead of what I had seen in the film so far. Still I carried on watching. More people were eaten. More heads stuck on spikes. More bones made into necklaces.

Then there was another scene with an animal being killed. This time a large turtle/tortoise, I don’t know the difference. Again this was different; these scenes did not look fake. I couldn’t shake the thought of it so I grabbed my book. Having not read anything but the title of the film to avoid reading spoilers I began to read. It turns out the reason for the film being banned was not just for its disturbing subject matter. The animals killed in the film were all real live animals. This shocked me more than watching the film. The film suddenly became real. It pleased me to find out the director was put in prison for four years for the cruelty he showed towards the animals in the film.

Weeks on I still couldn’t shake the thought of Cannibal Holocaust from my head, the reason for this blog; I started to think whether or not, the film had succeeded in some way. Yes killing the animals in this film was brutal and wrong. But Deodato’s goal, like most film makers goal, was for his film to be noticed. It has certainly stuck with me. It made me think about the lengths people would go to in order to be successful and it kind of creeped me out a little.

Despite all this the film did have some redeeming qualities. Most of the second half of the film was in the style of the found footage movie. Very popular today and thought to have been pioneered by The Blair Witch Project in 1999, it again made me think. Maybe if Deodato hadn’t killed those animals and got his film banned, perhaps the film would have made it into the headlines for an entirely different reason to why it did and his career might not have gone down the shitter.

If you haven’t seen Cannibal Holocaust I’m not recommending it. Yet it is rather interesting in a slightly fucked up way. So for those of you who like stuff like that, you should definitely watch this.

Dave. @DavidSAdamson

Django Unchained (Spoilers)

‘Django Unchained’ is quintessential Quentin Tarantino. In his typical fashion he bursts open chests and spews out guts, whilst maintaing a conventional and (what I would describe as) an overly simplistic narrative. This may sound like the key ingredients for a classic B-Movie, and, it is, but as Tarantino has shown time and time again, he can pull it off.

‘Django Unchained’  accompanied by its Academy Award winning director, has a fantastic array of actors, Christopher Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, just to name the leads. Most notable in this beautifully explicit film is Waltz, playing a German bounty hunter by the name of ‘Dr. King Schultz’ (which has lead to him to be nominated for an Oscar). Schultz, quick witted and eloquent, captures the audiences attention from the start with his mysterious and humorous persona; he is immediately ‘likeable’.

Django (the D is silent), played by Foxx, does not have the most complex character to play in the film, yet is able to show his versatility as an actor. Django moves from being a broken and crippled slave, to a free man engulfed by the determination to free his wife from the ironically named ‘Candie Land’. It is not until Schultz’s death and Django is on his way to the ‘LeQuint Dicky Mining Co.’ that we really see him personify the myth that Schultz recites earlier in the film.

The introduction of DiCaprio welcomes the beginning of the final chapter in the movie. His character, Calvin Candie (owner of ‘Candie Land), is despicable, even though he holds the same talent for romantic language as Schultz. They are both parallel and contrasted at the same time. This element causes the upmost friction between the two; they put on an act when they first meet and at the dinner table, both of them pulling facades to get what they want (Candie wants money and Schultz wants Django’s wife’s freedom). Their relationship is interesting from start to finish. Even after Candie forces Schultz to pay $12,000 for Django’s wife and her freedom, it seems as though the trio are free. It is only when Schultz’s and Candie’s personalities colide together that Django and his wife are really thrown in the deep end.

To top the film off, the introduction of Samuel L. Jackson as Candie’s head servant, Stephen,  encapsulates all the comedic and yet highly serious points that the film makes. He is a black man, yet constantly pokes fun at the other black people at Candie land and it adds a fantastic level of comedy to the film through a serious issue.

The film can be seen as a critique of many issues, but mostly of America’s prehistoric views on race and equality. By introducing a German as deuteragonist is a clear showing of the advancement of European thinking; Schultz not only hates the slave trade, but who is (until he trains Django) the only one who can bring American criminals to justice. For example, the whole town of Daughtery do not even know that their own elected man of law, the town sheriff, is a fugitive. It is Schultz, a German, who is aware of the sheriff’s identity. The point is reiterated again as a clan raid is humiliated by not being able to see through their hoods. They are rendered ‘blind’, and their blindness gets them killed. Who by? The European and the black man.

Away from any allegories, the film is fantastic and highly recommended to any Tarantino fan, and anyone who enjoys comedy, action, blood and guts and fantastic acting all in one film.

 

WATCH IT