Wednesday, December 31, 2008

V o l v e r

Spain 2006

Written and directed by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, this humorous fantasy stars Carmen Maura as Abuela Irene, who revisits her hometown in the La Mancha region -- in spectral form -- to resolve problems she couldn't settle during her life. Abuela's spirit gradually becomes a reassuring presence to her daughters and grandaughter.

Almodóvar's distinct ability comes out strong in this entourage of subtly quirky yet realistic characters connected through their kinship and lives. Not as humorous as explained in many descriptions but lack of comedy does not deplete any of the lighthearted approach at the storytelling of many disheartened emotions. Many of which deal with family turmoil on abusive levels. Throw in some scandal and vengeance based of treachery and jealousy. And you have another work of cinematic brilliance from Almodóvar.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

USA/UK/India 2008

After coming within one question of winning 20 million rupees on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" 18-year-old Mumbai "slumdog" Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is arrested on suspicion of cheating. While in custody, Jamal regales a jaded police inspector (Irfan Khan) with remarkable tales of his life on the streets, as well as the story of Latika (Freida Pinto), the woman he loved and lost.

A typical kinetically shot drama with elements of black comedy that we would come to expect from Danny Boyle. This film chronicles a convoluted storyline of Jamal. Once a what is called "slumdog" of the ghetto slums of India, Jamal meets a little girl.
Throughout time the two are separated on several occasions for years at a time. Jamal's desperation for the love of his life reaches it's peak as he becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"in order to reach out to his childhood love, Latika who loves the show.
As Jamal sits at the ring of the show on live television, he begins to make history answering all the questions correctly which has never been done before. Accused of cheating, he his temporarily incarcerated, tortured and questioned on how he knew all the answers. He then tells his life story of how coincidentally he knew all the answers to the questions. This really makes for a great viewing.
Danny Boyle is not daring for being able to make and choosing to make different genre films. He is well rounded and is inspired by all aspects of life.
It doesn't make him daring to make a heartfelt rags to riches love story based in India from a novel. It makes him genius and eclectic showing that other people's work is an inspiration to him. Also there is an uncredited co-director for India, Loveleen Tandan. Great movie.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Old Joy

USA 2006

When old friends Mark and Kurt embark on a weekend camping trip in the Oregon Cascades, they soon find themselves exploring much more than nature in this meditation on friendship, memory and generational malaise. As the men journey deeper into the wilderness -- losing and then finding their way -- they struggle to find common ground in the divergent paths they've chosen for their lives. Daniel London and Will Oldham star.

This minimalistic tale is a quietly portrayed mildly eventful outing of two longtime friends who have taken two entirely separate route in their lives. Kurt one day calls up Mark offering to take him up to a quiet and desolate natural hot springs lodge. Mark now married with a child just around the corner has a moment of subtle tension with his wife in regards to going, which is really well played which is the case for most of the acting in the movie, very natural. Kurt and Mark then set out on their small journey catching up with one another's lives and trying to understand their choices. What I liked about this film is there was no tension or maliciousness. The two characters really are good friends and have no ill intent or contempt for each other. The dialog isn't rich but definitely has some sincerity behind it. "A must see" or "Exquisite" is a little stretch, it's a good movie and all but nothing incredible or special. If it were any longer I would not have felt so positive about it. An hour and 16 minutes was just fine.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Devils

United Kingdom 1971

Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of seventeenth-century France, but need to destroy Father Grandier - the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control. So they seek to destroy him by setting him up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery, the mother superior of which is sexually obsessed by him. A mad witch-hunter is brought in to gather evidence against the priest, ready for the big tria

A truly controversial cult epic, indisputably. Surreal, twisted, intense, beautifully crafted, theatrically acted, Ken Russel's 1971 adaptation of Aldous Huxley's The Devil's of Loudon tests and redefines the boundaries of mainstream cinema even to this day. The story is based on real accounts of 17th century France, The Devil's is about an angry political era of corruption on all fronts namely, religious power and sexual indignation. Considered one of the most important works of post war British cinema the film was definitely banned, damned and ridiculed upon it's release. the original version was cut dramatically of it's key scenes by censors declaring the sections too graphic for the public eye and mind. The visual aspects of this masterpiece is truly devine on levels easily rivaling Jodorowsky and Kubrick. Truly magnificent.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


USA 2007

Emmy winner Brian Cox heads the cast as Avery Ludlow, a simple, affable man driven to extremes when a group of teenage miscreants kills his beloved dog, Red. When it becomes obvious that the boys won't be held accountable for their senseless act, Ludlow takes matters into his own hands. Tom Sizemore, Robert Englund and Amanda Plummer also star in this disquieting thriller directed by Trygve Diesen and Lucky McKee.

I was looking forward to this under the radar subtly suspenseful justice seeking redemption film for quite sometime. I did not even notice it was available on dvd already. The film surely was what I was expecting with a little more, both in a bad and good way.
The bad is very minuscule. I know it was based of a novel accordingly so I cannot really rag on the slightly over dramatic at time dialog interweaving some sub plotting to fill in a full feature. Those tiny cons could have been completely excusable if it wasn't for some of the surprisingly flat delivery.
Other than that the film is completely solid and satisfying. A lot of authentic tension is built as the protagonist seems to fail miserably at over coming fittingly impossible odds of a seemingly unjust system of laws on crimes against animals.
The movie is not slow moving like some readers suggest. It is straight to the point and continually unfolds into a climatic Mexican standoff. The patience of Avery(COX) blatantly dwindles into a maddening set of wide open eyes, which really sets the the level of intensity to high octane. Nice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Devil's Island

Iceland 1996

Brothers Baddi (Baltasar Kormákur) and Danni (Sveinn Geirsson) are being raised by their grandparents in the relative poverty of 1950s Iceland. But when their mother marries an American serviceman, one of them -- Baddi -- is determined to visit his family in the United States. When he returns, he's sporting a new accent and fancy foreign car in this unique look at Iceland at the dawn of 20th century globalization.

The first hour of "Djöflaeyjan" I loved! Reasons being;
hilarious characters, an unsettlingly gritty backdrop, American resentment and an outlandish reactionary premise. A dramatic black comedy with a coming of age commentary, the film only starts to lack within the last 40 minutes. Where it loses it's quirky pacing and pushes forth toward a muddle of sadness that really fails at providing what profoundness it's aiming for. A great watch though, especially since Iceland puts out about 2 movies a year. The relationships build collapse and then crash as quickly as a breath of air, which is a hilarious spectacle. I've never watched a movie with more cigarette smoking in it, in all my life.
Seriously, this should have been called "Tobacco's Island"

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Girl on the Bridge

France 2000

A despondent girl named Adele (Vanessa Paradis) is about to take a swan dive off a bridge into the Seine River when she's rescued by Gabor (Daniel Auteuil), a knife thrower who needs a human target for his show. The luckless Adele agrees, and together the pair thrives, winning a fortune gambling when not performing their act. But fate conspires to separate the duo, who find they need each other to maintain their lucky streak.

A very eclectic and involved upbeat romance with a brave opening interview with the lead actress. Two downtrodden people's lives intersect at a bridge where they are coincidentally about to leap to their early deaths. To much of their surprise even without realizing it at first, the two have an unusual and almost supernatural bond for which great fortune plays in their favor when they are together creating a magnificent and intriguing story that becomes more eccentric, beautifully quirky as well as relatively dangerous as the two's relationship progresses. Shot entirely in black and white there is definitely a noir overtone to this wonderful film

Soft For Digging

USA 2001

In this horror tale, a hermit, Virgil (Edmond Mercier), witnesses the murder of a girl named Claire (Sarah Ingerson) while searching the forest for his lost cat. When absolutely no evidence of the crime is found, the police stop believing Virgil's story. Haunted by nightmares of the girl's murder and by supernatural experiences, Virgil tries to piece together the bizarre mystery of Claire's life and death. Andrew Hewitt and Katy Petty co-star.

Soft for Digging is an interesting minimalistic horror film, with almost no heard dialog. Which in turn sets up a steady, subtle environment mostly in backwood Maryland. This is very effective for the feel of the film setting the viewer up real nicely with the turn of events being somewhere entirely different making it seem surreal at points in the film's climax, with white walls and dirty green aqua painted walls. I could not decide if the sound was off or bad. Or intentionally done weird. But it really is not intolerable, it is kind of charming. Some of the rabid sped up camera work can seem derivative and pretentious but the premise holds a simple unique plot line that cannot be denied. A good watch.


Thailand 2004

In the wake of a deadly SARS outbreak that's turned ordinary people into flesh-eating zombies, Thailand stands alone as the only nation to successfully block the pandemic. But when the virus finds its way into a crowded Bangkok apartment complex, it's up to an unlikely hero to make his way into the building -- and make it out alive. Supakorn Kitsuwon and Suthep Po-ngam co-star in this outrageous horror comedy.

This movie was bad. In a good way I suppose. It's one of the films you can multi task while watching. You know like cooking, or surfing the web. Only looking up to catch the subtitles. However I do own this and there are some hilariously bloody moments. Completely budgeted intentionally campy zombie romp! Bad acting, lame action and bad CGI. You should still probably watch it however. It's stupid.

How to Get Rid of the Others

Denmark 2007

When it is discovered that the least productive 5% of Danish society consumes 60% of government spending, the conservative politicians decide to quietly eradicate the problem.

Despite the very minor inconsistencies that would just not make sense if a government actually did enact a type of selective depopulating martial law on their country, this film was very good. Now it could just be the misanthrope in me, but the ideas are very plausibly elaborated on within the script and with such superb emotional acting infused with black comedy, you really cannot go wrong. A major social commentary regarding the utter uselessness of a large percentage of the world's population not supplying anything but their excrement and trash onto the Earth, which divides into a debatable
suggestion that not everything is society's fault but natural unfortunate selection.
Now hang yourself.

The Good The Bad and the Weird

South Korea 2008

On a train crossing the Manchurian desert, fate unites the three men of the title: a bounty hunter (Jung Woo-sung), a gangster (Byung-hun Lee) and a train robber (Kang-ho Song). When a treasure map is thrown into the mix, the trio form an unlikely partnership to find the loot. Racing through the unforgiving landscape, they stay one step ahead of rivals -- and the Japanese army. Ji-woon Kim directs this kinetic, Sergio Leone-inspired adventure.

Holy fuck. Talk about some of the most impressive action sequences you'll ever see.
Yeah, I said it and I mean it. Gunslinging, tongue in cheek humor, high octane panning, elongated action sequences that never end, frivolous dialog, no heart at the root, it just doesn't matter because it is so good, laugh out loud funny and edge of your seat brutality delivered in a tightly orchestrated onslaught of well thought out, elaborately concocted shoot em up mayhem. You'll love it. It's 139 minutes, the last 30 minutes of the movie could, should, will, has already made movie history you will have to see this 25 minute action scene to even know what the I even mean.

Gachi Boy: Wrestling with a Memory

Japan 2008

Igarashi was one of the most promising students at his university. Intent on becoming a lawyer he even passed his bar exam a year before completing his degree. After a car accident Igarashi has suffered permanent brain damage and cannot create new memories. Each morning he wakes up and notes tacked to the ceiling and walls remind him to read the journals he has been keeping since the accident. His extensive notes have helped him function in day-to-day life. His dreams of becoming a lawyer dashed and a foreseeable future working in the family bath house with his father Igarashi intends to live out one more dream. He has always wanted to be a masked wrestler.

This is some comedic heart felt warmth! Such a surprise. The laughs at first are the epitome of hit or miss nearly failing as a comedy. As the film progresses and the characters are deepened you then realize that this film is all about the triumph of the human desire to do in life what we are truly passionate about, despite sad ironic circumstances. Truly deeply rooted to major character substance amidst a plot that is completely ridiculous, the movie's ability to reel you in gradually is the superb direction that was skillfully crafted to do. I laughed, I welt up, I felt sympathy and joy! It made me feel like an innocent 8 year old boy, watching Sassy fall over the waterfall or Shadow finally making it up over the hill in Homeward Bound.
I shit you not. Such a sensible yet over the top comical drama about people balancing out their lives and relationship with a good friend with an unfortunate disability and with that friend finding a solution on a daily basis to compensate for his own inability to remember what he is so passionate about in the first place.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Lives of Others

Germany 2006

Set in 1980s East Berlin, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's debut feature (which earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film) provides an exquisitely nuanced portrait of life under the watchful eye of the state police as a high-profile couple is bugged. When a successful playwright and his actress companion become subjects of the Stasi's secret surveillance program, their friends, family and even those doing the watching find their lives changed too.

I finally made it a point to watch this and I must proclaim; WOW! Such a great film! It really does live up to it's academy awarded hype. Incredible cast, tightly knitted pacing, fantastic acting and some very enticing moments. This is a dialog strong historical dramatization noteworthy of it's social commentary of many levels. In such accordance with the socialist republic of Germany and how repressed and discontent it's influence is on it's free minded
citizens. Weisler (Ulrich Mühe) the leading actor is portrayed seemingly as a honorable supporter of his socialist republic with a steady and unflinching gaze of observance of everything. He comes off very cold as well supportive of indicting those who oppose or slander socialist ideology. This is later clarified as the exact opposite wherein he is actually pent up with disconcert of the republic's repression of it's people for which The Lives of Others and their fates lies solely in his hands. The last line of the film is one of the most memorable in all history of movie making. So, so, so good.


United Kingdom 2008

MindFlesh is a psycho-sexual horror/thriller about obsession. Chris Jackson is a taxi driver with a childhood trauma. The trauma has made him a portal for obsessions to pass from the mind to the physical world and hence disrupt the world's multiple planes of reality. Extraterrestrials that police the universe threaten to kill Chris' friends unless he conquers his past

I can understand why they would market this as derivative of Cronenberg, but as a whole "Mindflesh" is an original and unique film all in it's own. As the summary of the plot above indicates it is a meta-physically, psychological horror charged thriller.
Despite how ambitious this film is and seems it does have quite a minimalistic style of developing it's cast. Really the other character's that are Chris's friends who's lives are at risk, are never really developed on a multi layered level. This is not by any means a bad thing, for the story does emphasize their importance in Chris's life but only with one aspect of their personal attributes being emphasized which for 2 of them are totally fucked up, ha. One being a co worker/friend paranoid to the max that his significant other is having an affair with the mental repercussions of such extreme mistrust. And another one of his friends is into lycra and cadavers on a erotic fantasy basis, (think of what Doug Buck has done with hedge clippers...)
Anyway, the main focus is really on Chris and his unique super sense of metaphysical
consciousness that at first intrigues him into a mild obsession but ultimately leads to unfathomable pain and near mental collapse.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Skin of Man, Heart of Beast

France 1999

Two young girls (Virginie Guinand and Cathy Hinderchied) are spending some quality vacation time with their grandmother (Maaike Jansen) when their estranged uncle (Bernard Bertrand) returns after a 15-year absence. Tension and a sense of danger fill the air after the uncle's arrival on the scene, but the family tries to take it in stride … until the girls begin to have horrifying nightmares that may turn out be premonitions.

"Skin of Man, Heart of Beast" suits this film as a title, perfectly. To say the least without going into major detail, the acting and exploration of each character is naturalistic and gripping. The flow of the movie definitely structures itself around the family of character's habits and perspectives of each other. Simplicity and realism sparks laughter and tragedy that fuels intensity, sympathy as well sometimes suggested brutality and inhumanity. A real tour de force on many fronts of the human psyche and unconditional family empathy.
There are a lot of subtle innuendos of social digestion that sometimes our species need to just get out of our systems. Whether it be, screaming at the top of our lungs in the woods or on a hill, or punching ladies in the faces, yeah... it goes there, a lot.
People gave this a bad review under minding some of the acted as over done? I did not come across this at all! Critiques taking it as far as facial expressions on the main character CoCo never changing for whichever emotion he was feeling, uh no. Even so, the man is obviously a fucking tortured soul.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crows: Episode Zero

Japan 2007

Bent on proving to his gangster father that he has the chops to take over the family business, Genji (Shun Oguri) enrolls in an ultraviolent high school where he sets out to fight his way to dominance and unite the school's gangs under his rule. But as Genji begins his ascent, reigning school boss Tamao (Takayuki Yamada) kidnaps Genji's girlfriend (Meisa Kuroki). Takashi Miike directs this action-packed drama that also stars Kyôsuke Yabe.

I was astounded by how much I enjoyed such a simple plotted manga adaptation, maybe it's just Miike's ability to direct that made a bunch of high school boys that look 25 kicking one another in the chest every chance they get that made this film so enjoyable. There is a nice amount of character emphasis that supplies plenty of substance making it more than a hunky romp. The production value, acting and fight sequences were spot on, very entertaining.
With a prolonged building up to one imminent and conclusive fight scene, the movie delivers. Looking forward to the sequel.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Who Can Kill A Child?

Spain 1976

A British couple's holiday becomes a nightmarish ordeal when they sail to an island off the Spanish coast in director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's unnerving shocker. Arriving on Almanzora, Tom (Lewis Fiander) and his pregnant wife, Evelyn (Prunella Ransome), soon realize something is amiss: The place is devoid of grownups. It seems the children have murdered the adults -- and unless Tom and Evelyn are willing to do the unthinkable, they'll be next.

I can see how this was a nail biting shocker back in the late 70's and probably well into the 80's, but for my generation that was born within the last quarter of the 20th century there is a lot of desensitizing that is a result of my particular film viewing experiences.
For the most part the movie is very credible and does have some violent imagery and brutal non sanitized moments. However the failed explanation to go into detail about the children's madness really isn't dissected enough to really justify it. Which some people would argue that the opening credits and prologue would be explaining interpretatively. Something else in the film I found annoying was the film's lack of tautness. That really effected me because I could not stand Prunella Ransome who plays the lead actress in this film. Ultimately, the film is worth a watch simply because they answer the question, which is that of the film;
"Who can kill a child?"...
Lewis Fiander can. And many at that.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

S o r c e r o r

USA 1977

William Friedkin (The Exorcist) directs this tale based on the French suspense film The Wages of Fear. Four men (Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Amidou and Francisco Rabal), each from a different country, are exiled to a South American town. The four are approached by an American company to transport the volatile substance nitroglycerin over perilous terrain for a healthy wage and a promise of legal citizenship. Will the men accept the challenge?

First off "Wages of Fear" the film for which this movie's basis retells, si one of my favorite films.
Friedkin's version takes a slightly different direction with developing his characters in a more up to date gritty manifest. There were some major change ups compared to the original but honesly, no complaints here. A grueling and intense journey goes from bad to worse at a consistent pace. Despite near perfection on the platform for which the film is based, there are some uneven character developing that overall does not effect the movie in a negative way but adds an uncertainty to a couple of the actors. Some really awesome shaky cam techniques that sets the tensions high from the very beginning.
The acting is hard boiled, stiff lipped and tough.
This movie really became really brutal! I was surprised and I liked being surprised. I am sure you do too. Watch "Wages of Fear" first. Then wait a few months and watch this. You'll love both!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Seventh Moon

USA 2008

We start out with the Chinese myth (Which is on the poster). After, we follow Amy Smart and Tim Chiou enjoying their honeymoon during the ghost festival and pissing the locals off with their disrespect for the festival. As night draws near, their tour guide gives them a ride to their honeymoon getaway. In the dead of night, the guide gets lost and goes to find help, but never returns...

I saw the world premiere of this in September. The show was sold out and I was one of the last 20 people in the room. So I was in the first row. Oh do I just hate the first row. It was cool being 3 feet away from Amy Smart and director Eduardo Sanchez, but it was not cool watching this ALL SHAKY HAND HELD CAM film... So with that out of the way I really think it effected my appreciation for the film. There is not one instant where there is a steady panning shot. All sporadic and jumpy as on a hand held. No dollying.
This was annoying for many reasons. First being what felt like a forced rawness or attempt at capturing an intensity but since the camera never sits still, it just becomes agitating. The plot is awesome and scary, but through the technique of filming all goes down that drain. Second, no character chemistry. Chiou and Smart do not make a believable newly wed couple, no matter how natural the acting is. Thirdly, there were several things they could have done that would have naturally saved their asses.
I will not elaborate for that is against my reviewing ethics but, come on... climb onto the fucking roof. Gimme one steady pan shot and I would have liked it a lot more. Enough said.


Denmark 2007

Aicha, a high-school student, is a passionate kung fu fighter. Her Turkish parents expect her to get good grades so she can get into medical school, like her brother Ali. But school doesn't inspire her. Defying her family, Aicha starts secretly training at a professional, co-ed kung fu club. A boy, Emil, helps Aicha train for the club championship and they fall in love. But the rules of life are not as simple as the rules of kung fu, and Aicha is forced to decide who she is and what she wants

This Danish kung fu film is more than just a fighting romp. It is rich in character inner conflict as well as family tradition plotted against one's own aspirations that defy bloodline respect yet define an individuals path in life. Which in this case is a Turkish immigrant in Denmark fond of kung fu and her family that strongly opposes the curriculum as a shaming waste of time. Naturally an adolescent with quite a good head on her shoulders knows and feels what is best for her. Regardless of her yearning to
progress in martial arts she is torn between the possibility of her family's shunning, particularly her Father's and is ultimately forced to balance the two. There are some impressive fight scenes and some incredible acting. I saw this at a film fest and there was a Q&A. Most of the stars were martial artists and not actors, and had never acted before. THE EXACT OPPOSITE SHOWS UP ON SCREEN. There are some really riveting and trivial moments. Great film

M a r e b i t o

Japan 2004

Masuoka (Shinya Tsukamoto), a fragile cameraman who's afraid of the unknown that he's certain lurks around every corner, is the last person one would expect to rise to the occasion when courage is needed. But that he does when he winds up with an assignment that has him looking into an urban myth about specters that supposedly haunt Tokyo's subterranean travel system in this fantastical film directed by Takashi Shimizu.

I put this one off for awhile based on many reasons which none are very important to anyone other than myself. This horror film is definitely an interesting Kubrick impressionable vampire story with an underlining hitchcockian subplot about the degeneration of a man struggling to understand the unknown ancient wisdom of sheer terror in the balance of his own created delusional reality and an interpretive subterranean world for which he yearns to return, unknowingly. Or something like that. Shot on digital video going back and forth to the main character's hand held camera that never leaves his side, I am surprised I was not annoyed by this voyeuristic tactic to make things seem more real. Which I do not really think was Shimizu's intention anyway."Marebito" is an unconventional and creepy, almost atmospheric, downward spiral of twisted self absorption.

Bad Education

Spain 2004

Film director Enrique (Fele Martinez) is visited by his childhood Catholic school friend and lover, Ignacio (Gael Garcia Bernal). Ignacio gives Enrique a short story he's written that's a factual account of the molestation he sustained at the hands of their teacher, Father Manolo (Daniel Gimenez Cacho). But as Enrique adapts the story, he uncovers a dangerous web of deceit and revenge in this stark film from Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar.

Convolutely executed without the viewer even realizing it, was what made this affluent work of cinema an intriguing viewing experience. Without giving too much away on the aforementioned I will merely state the acting was amazingly natural syncing believably with a thick homo-erotically charged and deeply emotionally scarred array of individual character developing. A thoughtful consistency of backdrops with warm and cool colors contrasting perfectly. Really sets the tone of genuine late 70's and early 80's. The connection from childhood abuse to adulthood was done rather tasteful really contradicting the rating. I really feel the NC-17 is a bit harsh, for there isn't anything that graphic visually. It is just honest portrayals and the MPAA just could not get passed their own sexual insecurities.

De Zaak Alzheimer

Netherlands/Belgium 2003

Hardened hit man Angelo Ledda (Jan Decleir) finds his career threatened by the onset of Alzheimer's in this Belgian crime thriller. As Ledda struggles to complete his contracts, he must also contend with two detectives (Koen De Bouw and Werner De Smedt) who are hot on his trail for recent murders. Soon, the pressure of it all prompts Ledda to turn on his own employers. Erik Van Looy directs from a script based on Jef Geeraerts's novel.

A great adaptation from a novel to a movie. This riveting crime thriller centers around an aging hit man for hire in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease. Which that alone is an interesting enough storyline to capture the viewers interest. With a brilliantly paced plot accompanied with varying panning and dollying with the camera nothing ever really slows down. What kept me from loving this film is probably the last 20 minutes. But I refuse to "Ebertize" my reviews by making direct references to sections of the movie or quoting it, which essentially ruins it for the film buff, you'll just have to watch and see for yourself that the flawless momentum intentionally falters as the hit man's illness worsens and he starts making mistakes that ultimately leaves one disappointed. But that type of emotion that can be brought out of a viewer is a triumphant maneuver for a movie that focuses on developing characters with a rich individual uniqueness. Well worth a watch!


USA 2008

They've waited patiently for years for the release of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. But when one of their own discovers he's terminally ill, a group of pals embarks on a road trip to Skywalker Ranch to steal the long-anticipated film. Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel and Kristin Bell star in director Kyle Newman's labor of geek love. Star Wars alums Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher and Ray Park make cameos.

I saw a midnight premiere of this in Austin, Texas and was not expecting much out of it. Besides I am not a huge Star Wars lover so I had low expectations. It was really funny, surprisingly. Yeah, it is about a group of Star Wars fanatics but also incorporates a coming of age by deserting your friends and yourself, heartfelt nerdy romantic adventure. Worth a watch regardless if you're into Star Wars or not.

Monday, November 17, 2008


USA/UK/Germany/Spain/Lithuania 2008

An American couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) seeking to smooth out their rough marriage buys a ticket on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. But a chance meeting with two other passengers ends in an accidental murder and high intrigue. Ben Kingsley and Thomas Kretschmann co-star as two Russian police officers trying to solve the baffling case in Brad Anderson's taut and gritty thriller.

Brad Anderson without a doubt has the ability to bring original stories to life in a minimal psychologically tense fashion. His talent is undeniable but has not yet mastered his craft in this field. Definitely more aesthetically indigenous than atmospheric compared to his previous two films, "Session 9" and "The Machinist, "Transsiberian" sets up an interesting and original premise with a frighteningly realistic circumstance. That is until the film hits a turning point where some of the actions do not sync up with the then developed characters, resulting in some unintentionally comedic and ludicrous moments. There are some mildly thrilling moments and however predictable and unbelievable the final resolution is, it is very satisfying, giving each character their gratification for the turn of events.
But the movie most definitely has it's flaws. I do not like to go into detail.I consider that giving things away and diverting the viewers own interpretations.
Worth a watch regardless.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bad Guy

South Korea 2001

A privileged girl falls victim to a ruthless gangster in this disturbing drama. Obsessed with Sun-hwa (Seo Weon), gangster Han-ki (Jo Jae-hyeon) decides to prove that she's not out of his league. Han-ki devises a set-up wherein Sun-hwa is caught stealing money and is offered prison time or prostitution; she chooses the latter. As Sun-hwa suffers the brutality of her new profession, Han-ki, fixated, watches from behind a two-way mirror...

Sun-Hwa the co-star and leading actress of the film, totally has it coming to her. She is an over emotional, egoist brat, also a closet pervert and a thief with a dissonant interest in erotic art. The film does not really go in-depth about that but it is emphasized later on in the film as a love-hate and confused relationship starts to mend a broken Sun-Hwa and the lead actor Han-ki. Who might I say is the coolest, toughest, weirdo thug ever with an unhealthy obsession and nonchalant ego. The guy just doesn't die. He can not be killed. Now this whole moniker of his would be nothing special but as the film progresses into digression, Han-Ki's misanthropy is explained and it is understandable. You come to realize this hard skinned, ruthless individual was caring with an unmeasurable amount of love. With in an instant a tragedy ensured he lost touch of that once caring and loving side, turning him into what he is through out the film; A BAD GUY. Decent film.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Survive Style 5+

Japan 2004

A man continually trying and failing to get his wife to stay dead; a self-absorbed ad agency creative director who comes up with one unworkably inane idea after another; a Brittish hitman who only wants to know everyone's function in life; and an unfortunate office worker and father whose brain is left scrambled after a stage hypnotist is murdered in mid-performance. Starting off as unrelated plot lines, they intertwine with each other as they continue on their respective ways

What a great movie! I could not even begin to break this film down in any way specifically because it is so genre defiant and all over the place.
With what seems to be a lot of randomness held together with interconnecting
subplots there is a quirky substance laid out nicely that really delivers the laughs
and entertainment. Definitely a black comedy to the extent of blood spurts and over the top, postmortem theatrics. Multiple perverted innuendos and some beautifully shot angles. There is a great amount of attention to detail involving exterior, interior, urban, suburban and rural scenery with contrasting colors of perpetual eye candy.
Not as a whole completely frivolous story telling. Genuine tragic does strike at the film's climax resulting in a surprising relation to the characters. A really great movie. If you like Katsuhito Ishii, you'll ADORE this.

Tropa De Elite

Brazil 2007

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, some cops are just as crooked as the drug lords who run the slums. On the brink of retirement -- and burnout -- Capitão Nascimento (Wagner Moura) must find a trustworthy successor to lead a dangerous mission. Co-written by director José Padilha, Bráulio Mantovani (City of God) and Rodrigo Pimentel, the gritty action-thriller is based on Pimentel's 19 years of experience as an elite squad police captain.

A searing depiction of real life experience from one of the co-writers, "Tropa de Elite" is a furiously paced film of police corruption, social segregation merciless vengeance without morale or compromising. With an array of intense characters shot with a nearly unmatched ferocity, the movie never gets boring. The tension never builds because tension is always present, it simply lapses and allows the viewer to take a breath to absorb all that has occurred. Those intermittent breaks from the ferocious dialog and mounting angst and brutal violence gives room for the film's necessary climax with a resolving yet ultra-violent ending. The slums of Rio Di Janeiro as always are absolutely mind numbingly depressing, supplying the disenchanting back drop for an intensely frightening system of a otherwise beautiful country.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Japan 2004

Sword-swinging werewolf Kibakichi gets caught in a battle of good against evil in this action-packed horror tale. Raised on raw meat in a land populated by monsters, Kibakichi sets out on a quest to see if he can find any goodness or compassion in humans. During his dangerous journey, he encounters ghostly monsters, man-eating skeletons and geisha who transform into giant spiders. Ryuji Harada, Mike Tanaka and Mubu Nakayama star.

This is bad. Really bad. A lot of reviewers are comparing this to something that came out of the 60's referring that it's a negative unintentional tone of the film. Not true. This is definitely the intention of the director and actually one of the positive things I can say about this film. The quick panning in and out of character's faces and swinging the camera back and forth horizontally on groups of people, the score and soundtrack are both a part of that homage to late 50's early 60's samurai flicks. But the storyline, the pace, the execution of just about everything, from costumes, to the blood, to the bad lighting and dialog, really make this film a rough viewing. I fast forwarded through most of it once I was about 40 minutes into it, due to the realization I wouldn't be missing much and would fall asleep if I had not. Eh, do not bother.


Hungary 2006

Surreal and grotesque, this black comedy spanning three generations of men serves as an absurdist journey through the history of Hungary, from World War II through the communist era to the present. In postwar Hungary, a depraved hospital orderly spawns an outrageously obese son, Kalman (Gergely Trócsányi), who in turn goes on to raise his own progeny, a skinny boy (Marc Bischoff) freakishly obsessed with taxidermy.

One of my favorite movies, hands down. This is a rich, multi-layered study of 3 generations of Grandfather, Father and son. Making it 3 interconnected movies in one. Which is really advantageous for viewers because a lot of what would be considered, "shocking" or "gross" happens through out this incredible work of cinema. It touches base with human desires and their taboos. Gyorgy Palfi is truly a visionary director who I would not even begin to place in a category with anyone else, except maybe if I was forced to would say Jeunet or Gilliam only pertaining to the lighting and film grain. It would be a far stretch for me to compare Palfi to Jorg Buttgereit for camera work but there are some similarities. A work of groundbreaking art. Everything about this film is top notch. From the pace to the acting, to the plot. If you can find this, you have to watch it. It will change your life.


Sweden 2003

Adapted from a best-selling novel, this Swedish drama follows rebellious teenager Erik (Andreas Wilson) as he's expelled from high school for fighting and sent to the prestigious Stjärsnberg Academy. Having endured many beatings from his father, Erik is dismayed to face a similar threat from the academy's senior students, who bully the younger ones mercilessly. But this time, Erik is determined not to crack and lash out in violence.

Absolutely powerful. From the beginning of the film to the end, "Ondskan" never lets up. An involving character growth from long shot to legend that attains social justice and self-perseverance. Erik is an outlandish violent youth which is a product of his step-father's physically and mentally abusive ego. With such a violent upbringing and a caring mother who is powerless to prevent any damage to the damage already done, Erik develops a hard skin and a tough as nails personality, that gives him an edge on pretty much anyone. This is where a lot of the brilliant execution of dialog and physical altercations play out so intensely. This is to say the least. There are several in depth developed characters of the antagonist and protagonist realm. So well thought out and played with great acting and deep emotional portrayals. A triumphant and riveting film.


France/Belgium/Mexico/USA 2004

Teenager Mike Blueberry (Hugh O'Conor) becomes embroiled with local bad guy Wallace Blount (Michael Madsen) when Wallace gets violent during a visit to a prostitute for whom Mike has fallen. Having been run out of town, a grown Mike (Vincent Cassel) returns years later and becomes the town marshal. When Wallace, who'd been presumed dead, blows into town, Mike is forced to face up to some demons from his past. Co-stars Juliette Lewis.

Despite having some of the most incredible visuals and amazing editing and cinematography ever offered to film the overall lack of heart and two dimensional story telling just collapsed under it's own weight. The storyline tries to hold a profound subject but fails to deliver any believable motivation behind ANY of the characters. Juliette Lewis ruined this film for me. Her portrayal of her character was off key to the whole movie's rhythm-less beat. If more of an effort was put into Cassel's character alone, it could have made up for film's overall lack of substance. Nothing felt tragic, but attempted really hard to be. I definitely did not give a toss about any of the characters, whether they lived or died or resolved any of their quarrels. I just wanted Juliette Lewis' character to die the whole time. Really bad. The visuals and the concepts behind the Native American mysticism was like I stated, INCREDIBLE, but not enough to pick up this forced and often boring western fantasy hybrid based off a comic book, I've never read.

Infernal Affairs

Hong Kong 2002

A veteran cop, Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung), is given an enormous task: to go undercover within his own department and finger the detective who's been deceiving everyone and leaking information to the criminal underworld. But the mole (Andy Lau), whose identity Chan doesn't know, also has no idea who the internal investigator is, and the two soon embark on a dangerous and perilous game of cat and mouse.

I am a big Asian film snob. Most of my collection is either Korean, Chinese, Thai or Japanese. This film has such a smart, nicely paced rhythm but not without it's flaws which are a result of a tedious effort being placed on tragic irony, deceptive morality and criminal profoundness that falls short of any real satisfying impact of a climatic resolution. With that being said, I was really surprised at how much better I liked Scorsese's revision of the original film. To know there is a prequel and a sequel to this film really takes away a lot of credibility from the movie. In "Infernal Affairs" the rawness is skipped, solely relying on each character's convictions to their attributes, which sort of takes away from the realism that could overall be portrayed a lot more intensely. Despite all that, the film is shot really nice and is a good film in the end.

Estômago: A Gastronomic Story

Brazil 2007

The world is made of those who eat and those who get eaten. Raimundo Nonato, our protagonist, finds an alternative way: he cooks. He cooks first in a bar, then in an Italian Restaurant and then in prison - how did he end up in jail? He cooks and learns how to get by in a society divided in two between those who eat and those who get eaten. What he learns, are a series of rules he uses to his advantage: in the end, the cook must also get his share of food and only he knows which part tastes best. Estômago is an adult fable on power, sex and cooking.

This was overall my favorite film at this year's Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX.
When I think about movies I want to see and make, this stands out as their epitome.
Beautifully shot, with a great tone of something mildly sinister, that unfolds as the film progresses each character's persona. Each individual portrays a uniqueness about
them that separates them from one another and connects them to people we know or know of. Truly a heartfelt, sincere and immaculately told piece of film with all genres rolled into one, sci-fi being exempt. The pacing, the dialog, the climax and outcome are preemptive to aforementioned scripting bring everything into place with a genuinely captured profound result, that leaves utmost satisfaction. Gorgeous.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saint Agne

France 2004

A young cleaning woman (Virginie Ledoyen) is dispatched to tend to a crumbling orphanage called Saint Ange that houses only one child. While going about her duties, the new housekeeper begins to witness supernatural occurrences, causing her sole co-worker, a cook, to question her sanity. Directed by Pascal Laugier, this atmospheric ghost story (originally titled Saint Ange) serves up plenty of spine-tingling chills and twists.

Pascal Laugier's debut feature is a fine achievement in alternative horror. Pascal is responsible for the already notorious "MARTYRS" movie currently in the film festival circuit. Hous of Voices has ghostly elements that apply to a young lady's downward spiral toward the afterlife. Her curiosity is triggered when a presence reveals itself within the huge foster school estate she's cleaning leading her to an intriguing and uncertain past of the facility. There is not so much a twist as there is an explanation of why things are happening, regardless the reasoning is a downpour of cold water to the face leaving a genuinely creepy result in it's wake. There are some surprising brutal scenes in this film, I was really impressed. Even though it was in French it was dubbed per Universal amazingly. There is no option to hear the original French dialog but it really doesn't matter in this film's case. Get it, watch it, like it.

The Prophecy

USA 1995

Angels have no souls, but men do. Dark angel Gabriel (Christopher Walken) is angry because God has allowed humans into heaven, so Gabriel descends to earth to capture the most evil human soul he can find, planning to use it to defeat his enemies in an apocalyptic battle. While a good-hearted angel (Eric Stoltz) hides the soul in the body of a little girl, a detective (Elias Koteas) on earth tracks Gabriel's every move.

Where do I start? I have not watched this in over 10 years, but I was obsessed with this film. Even the 2 proceeding sequels just because the story was so dark. And if you know anything about Christian doctrine of any sort, the ability to imprint fear in it's youth is a chilling experience! This film really brings that fear out even if you have fallen away from the psychological comfort known as "faith". This is a must see! The cast alone demands your attention. Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Elias Koteas, Viggo Mortensen, Virgina Madsen etc. There are some amazingly twisted and graphic imagery of fields of impaled angels and other "blasphemous" goodies. The plot is so good too. The soundtrack really sets the mood and could easily creep a lot of people out if it sucks them in. The gospels are burning and the pages of the holy book are soaked in angelic blood. Love it.

The Chaser

South Korea 2008

A serial killer is preying on call-girls from various escort agencies. In the midst of police indifference and incompetence, Jung-Ho (Yun-Seok Kim), an ex-cop-turned-pimp must dust off his old flatfoot skills to find the killer and save the life of one of his girls who has gone missing.

Unholy fuck! This movie is so intense and straight forward.
The characters, the lighting and the premise are breathtaking.
My heart was pumping 3/4ths of this film. Powerful performances
and grisly acts of inhumanity. No pretty pictures are painted
the only pictures that are painted are with blood and tears.
Gripping and relentless the movie never lets go of the viewers throat
and you never get the chance to come up for air. I advice a breathing

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zack and Miri Make A Porno

USA 2008

Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) have been platonic friends for years. When they both find themselves in financial hot water, they hit upon the idea of making an adult film to bring in some easy money. But when "action" is called, these two friends discover that unspoken feelings for each other may threaten the whole enterprise. Writer-director Kevin Smith helms this comic look at the line between friendship and romance.

I'm not a big Kevin Smith fan. His movies are hit or miss with me.
But personally he is a funny guy undeniably. His opening presentation speech
was so funny I really just wanted him to keep talking. I wasn't even stoned
and my face and stomach hurt. Once the movie started I wasn't really feeling the
humor. Standard cock and fart Smith humor, but once they reached the point of introducing Zack's(Rogen) work environment and friends it was literally almost non
stop hilarity. I real surprise and I recommend it highly to anyone who loves a movie that
is gratuitously funny. Not to mention the actual heartfelt undertone that is a romance.
Oh and Bill Pullman was in the audience. How cool is that?
He looked cowboyish...
Anyway, a comedic onslaught and a great pace.

Dog Bite Dog

Hong Kong 2006

Poor young street boxer Pang (Edison Chen) is smuggled into Hong Kong from Cambodia and forced to serve as an assassin. With the police soon on his trail, Pang hides at a dump and meets Yue, whose affections keep him from succumbing to his inner demons. Fanning the flames is the equally unstable Wai, one of the cops assigned to Pang's case. Relentless action and highly stylized violence permeate this fast-paced Hong Kong crime film.

Brutal, unrelenting, violent, raw and very well done. It should end like 4 times before it actually does. But a lot of asian films seem to do that. Which I don't mind. The premise is okay, it's more so a weird flavor of action/romance. Total noir, ultra violent pace. Leaves a different taste in your mouth upon completion of it's viewing.


Japan 2004

After decades of warfare, Earth has become a toxic wasteland, and the survivors are slowly dying from a terrible disease. Dr. Azuma (Yusuke Iseya) has developed a genetic treatment that might help regenerate the population, but his experiment goes horribly wrong. Inadvertently creating a race of mutants that threaten the future of mankind, Dr. Azuma must seek an unlikely ally to help defeat the monsters he's created in this sci-fi adventure.

I finally got around to seeing this over much doubt due to almost being completely constructed of CGI, but in all honesty was blown away by this glorious uncompromisingly brutal, sci-fi epic. This could have fell short of perfection if it wasn't for the strong character development and their sentiments. Nothing does it for me more than structuring a misanthropic plot around humanitarian efforts to keep the peace despite the arrogance and corruption of leaderships running the world's powers. Bloody, awesome pacing, great acting, ridiculous detail and a truly profound and heartfelt resolution.

A u d i t i o n

Japan 2000

Director Takashi Miike fashions an explosive drama in Audition. Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) has lived as a widower for too long and decides it's time to marry again. But how will he find a wife? When a friend suggests he hold a fake audition to pick the right woman, he takes him up on it -- only to realize that his choice may be a better actress than he bargained for.

Definitive, inventive, slow burning, dark, deep, confusing, dry, warm and full of a building tension that is just genuinely creepy. Do yourself a favor if you have never seen this film. Know nothing about it, like I did back in 2003 when I saw it. Even with it being 9 years old and all these torturous films that come out every year by the truck load, this holds it's own. If any one disagrees, then they saw it too late and have been desensitized. Truly one of Miike's best.


France 2004

The students at a mysterious all-girls boarding school learn strange life lessons from their two stern young teachers (Marion Cotillard and Hélène de Fougerolles) in this beguiling and surreal feature debut by director Lucile Hadzihalilovic. Featuring poetic and startling images by acclaimed cinematographer Benoit Debie, the film captured awards at film festivals in
Amsterdam, Stockholm, Istanbul and San Sebastian, Spain.

A very interesting film. As I was viewing "L'Ecole" I found myself very intrigued by the mystery of the whole premise. The whole time I was trying to pin point what was exactly going on as well why and found myself waiting for something catastrophic to happen. Nothing really does but that does not make this film bad in any way. Innocence is of exactly that. Innocence, period. It's a very beautiful multi-interpretable cinematic flare. I did not get bored and I really wanted to see it through until the end without interruption. It is the epitome of a slow burner but with it's mystique and "art film" undertones, it's a collective of character studies not only on the little girls, but on the adults governing their circumstances. Good film.


USA 1985

Chronos is a wonder -- it's the first nonverbal, nonfiction movie filmed entirely in time-lapse photography. Presented as a visual symphony in seven movements, Chronos takes viewers on an unprecedented cinematic journey through the essence of time, across the worlds of natural beauty and man-made monuments. Prepare to be awestruck by this unique film that's unlike anything you've ever seen before.

Everything you would expect coming from Ron Fricke expect that every frame is time lapse transitional. This is Fricke's debut and it really does delivers some astonishing imagery with rich cinematography through landscapes of modern civilization as well as the ancient ancestral monuments throughout the world. There are a lot of shots that to this day have not been topped with their inventive and imaginative cinematography.


USA 1997

Director James Mangold's Cop Land looks at a New Jersey town that's become a safe haven for corrupt New York City cops. Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) turns a blind eye to some crimes, but when murder and cover-ups raise the stakes, Heflin must do the right thing. Cop Land gives Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta a chance to strut their stuff.

The first time I saw this film was when it first came out. I was 14 and I do not think my maturity level was high enough to really appreciate this film. Now at 25 going on 26 years old, I decided to watch it again without a preemptive research of the film. I had completely forgot the premise and just went with it. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. This movie is so good! I really fall hard for a cast of classic 4th quarter of the 20th century actors and this has a cast of some of Hollywood's best. Without exaggeration I was riveted, straight up. The corrupt seeds of an entire New York precinct planted and nurtured by the Mob in a small town across the bay from New York captured me. Some truth had to have been garnered from actual events to present such a controversial and realistically played out crime drama. Incredible performances! The intensity in the eyes of Ray Liotta, the fear and uncertainty in Michael Rappaport's dialog, the tension between Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel's character relationship, Janeane Garofalo's disappointment and embarrasment for Freddie Heflin, Annabella Sciorra's depressive and lonely aura, Peter Berg delivers an intermittent yet impacting force of all emotions, Robert Patrick just makes you hate him, so well! And Sly... STALLONE... You really feel for the guy, he's such a push over. His ability to turn the other cheek, knowing that what is going on and doing nothing about it, really sets up the climax of nearly no sound and all in slow motion. ABSOLUTELY GENIUS!

They Came Back

France 2004

A group of zombies walk out of their graves and head back home in this intriguing French film directed by Robin Campillo. Relatives of the undead aren't quite sure what to do with their returning loved ones, and neither is the government -- so the zombies are placed in emergency housing while authorities figure out what their role in society will be. Meanwhile, the ghouls are secretly going around conducting a little business of their own.

An interesting very avant-gardesque social study of a community faced with the unthinkable; Their loved ones who were once dead, have returned... In no way does this film overdo the circumstances as plausible, which really makes for a humble interpretation instead of coming off as some pretentious art-house profoundness of an explanation. There is definitely a genuine creepiness to the characters that are undead. As the film moves along at a mild building pace, it's construction can be blurry with an abstract simplicity that keeps you enticed. I was really skeptical within the opening frames but as it developed, the film grew on me. In the end I was not disappointed. The undead have defaulted personalities that are derived from their past lives when they were alive and cannot develop beyond their past habits. Though not justifiable realistic, the subtle manner in which the plot is executed, with reintegrating the "returnees" back into the social form of occupations, their citizenship, as well back into their families and lifestyles, its quite acceptable and intriguing. Nicely done.

V i n y a n

France/Belgium/United Kingdom 2008

Paul (Rufus Sewell) and Jeanne (Emmanuelle Béart) lost their young son, Joshua, in the 2004 tsunami, and cling to the hope that one day they'll find him. Believing she sees Josh in a brief video of orphaned children, Jeanne convinces Paul to undertake a rescue mission. The couple spends the last of their savings on a journey into the jungles of the Thai-Burmese border, where unknown threats await them. Fabrice Du Welz directs this dark odyssey.

People are really bummed on this film! I honestly do not see why, though. This had to be such a pain in everyone's neck to film. A very grueling, uncompromising slow, wet and muddy film. I felt so uncomfortable for the characters, in my tidy little theater seat, knowing when I left, my modernized lifestyle comfort offers a king mattress. This film was damp and creepy. Yeah yeah, "Apocalypse Now" that is a comparison you will hear when talking to someone who's critical and missing the point by being over analytical. I enjoyed it, it was not an easy watch and the characters were merely 2 dimensional, but the situation was ridiculous. Determination turns to desperation, turns to insanity, turns to prolific sacrifice, turns to muddy boobies and little kids coping feels. Throw some intestines in there for the slow burning. I appreciated it. It is visionary. And I saw it on the big screen with a burned DVD projection with bad sound and a bad transfer. So if I can find quality in that then there are sure to be people who really like this film.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

K i l t r o

Chile 2006

Award-winning Chilean stuntman Marko Zaror stars as Zamir, a street fighter in love with the lovely daughter of a tae kwon do master. When her father is threatened, Zamir must learn to control his fighting skills in order to protect them all. Written and directed by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, this energetic kung fu tale of honor and revenge also features Caterina Jadresic and Miguel Angel De Luca.

A breath of fresh air. This is a film I highly recommend. Very off beat and quirky with a intentionally over dramatic serious undertone. Great direction, great fight scenes nice character development. What really surprised me was the ultra violence. CGI gore fest that's entertaining enough not to ruin the film. Runtime is right on.

Last Great Wilderness

United Kingdom 2003

An unlikely pair, cuckolded Charlie (Alistair McKenzie) and playboy Vincente (Jonny Phillips), agree to share a ride to a Scottish town called Skye. But on the way there, their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in the woods, where they encounter a mysterious hodgepodge of strangers at a rustic resort. Things turn from bad to worse when they join this motley crew, and before long, their adventure turns into survival of the fittest.

This is the type of movie that builds perfectly. Shot on digital video the storyline starts basic and transcends into a multi-character collage that is very simple but intriguing enough to be natural and acceptable if applied to reality. The acting is superb. The Scottish accents are thick, with no subtitles, so concentrate! This is a very powerful movie. It touched me. The climax is brutal.

Phase IV

USA 1974

When a spate of peculiar activities begins to occur in the Arizona desert, scientists Ernest Hubbs (Nigel Davenport) and James Lesko (Michael Murphy) investigate and discover a colony of highly intelligent ants bent on expanding their terrain -- and on conquering humanity. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Saul Bass, this thought-provoking sci-fi-thriller also stars Lynne Frederick, Alan Gifford and Helen Horton.

Some may say I am exaggerating when I claim this is one of the best movies ever made, regardless my claim does not falter. This is a work of pure genius and a true visionary gem especially for the time it made. Divided into phases, the movie starts with a straight forward yet vague explanation of an astrological alignment that triggers an advancement in intellect of different species of ants. At that,two scientists on the scene seem to devolve as a result and the ants turn the tables doing some experimenting of their own. This is a very intricate sci-fi/drama with a lot of detail and profound monolith ant colonies emphasizing the evolution of their intelligence and superiority to the humyn race. A must see.

King Corn

USA 2007

In Aaron Woolf's thought-provoking documentary, friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move back to America's Corn Belt to plant an acre of the nation's most-grown and most-subsidized grain in an attempt to follow their crop into the U.S. food supply. What they discover about genetically modified seeds, powerful herbicides and the realities of modern farming calls into question government subsidies, our fast-food lifestyle and the quality of our food.

This docu starts off seemingly frivolous and light hearted with a little too much effort emphasizing both. Then you realize that it's a set up for all the sad and serious affects of how the industrialization of agriculture is impacting our blind society. Very well put together and informative film. An easy watch, I highly recommend it.