Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where the Wild Thing Are

USA 2009

4.5/5 8.8/10

An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.

A potent exclamation of being a lonely troubled child, is adapted better than anyone could of imagined from the Maurice Sendak book.
From the start an intimate portrait of the young boy Max is painted beautifully. Confronting his fears,
unbeknown insecurities of his older sister's coming of age lifestyle, understanding his jealousy issues with his financially stressed, but loving mother's relationship with a boyfriend who doesn't approve of Max's out lashes. A story about building unconditional friendships, with understanding that you're not alone in the world and there are in fact others just like you is delivered sincerely, with a great cast. Funny, natural, smart and profound the dialog is genuine and deep. The impact is heavy with this one. Don't miss.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Chile 2007

5/5 10/10

A shy, inconspicuous man named Maco (Marko Zaror) decides to become a self-made superhero when he gains national notoriety for unintentionally rescuing a television reporter from the clutches of two dangerous criminals. Action director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza follows the success of his South American breakout film, Kiltro, with this martial arts gem that also stars Maria Elena Swett, Ariel Mateluna and Mauricio Pesutic.

This film is pure gold. Reasons being many, but mainly for rich character emphasis and the action sequences.
Secondly there is a deep emotional construction of all the characters. Focusing on those who have withdrawn from
society as true underdogs and some that are in the spotlight doing anything to boost their financial and commercial ego.
A young shy martial artist who works at a dead end local club as a doorman, trains extensively in the martial arts as a passion and purpose.
His heart is big and pays weekly visits to his younger artistically talented brother in a mental hospital who has lost all of his barrings due to being raped by a group of men who killed his family during a random street assault.
This group of men are of larger crime syndicate known as The Pedophile Network who kidnap and market young children in
a twisted sexual trafficking ring. Police are helpless due to lack of evidence and cannot seize, search the powerful crime ring.
One night while jogging the young shy martial artist prevents a burglary and a rape of a young news anchor. She then calls
him out during a report on live television and kind of paves the idea for MIRAGEMAN.
From there we see a classic take on developing a super hero, but in a low budget, modestly ambitious stylistic way.
Setting up an email MIRAGEMAN receives messages online of people in distress, sometimes backfiring in his face.
We see him deal with his social insecurities and the treachery of the media moguls that helped his inception into crime fighting.
From natural comedic relief to sad sights of emotional distress as well as brutal full contact fight scenes. I actually think this may
be my favorite super hero movie. Do not miss this inventive and big hearted action film.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paranormal Activity

USA 2007

3.5/5 7.5/10

Bumps in the night begin to spook San Diego couple Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat). When Katie fears their home may be haunted by ghostly intruders, skeptical Micah plants a camera in their bedroom to prove nothing is amiss -- but he's in for a chilling surprise. Soon, the stage is set for a roller coaster of creepy thrills in this intensely gripping, no-budget suspense thriller in the vein of The Blair Witch Project.

3.5 out of 5 rating. As a hyped up phenomena that corroborates with the Blair Witch project as far as marketing and budget goes, I would most definitely agree that Paranormal Activity as a movie itself is just as formidable in it's scary succession. Though well thought out, believably acted and genuinely creepy, there were times where it felt contrived. But more pros than cons, this minor gripe is easily forgotten and long lost in the character build. I personally could identify with the bf and gf because a lot of the dialog reminded me of my gf and I. From harmless bickering and teasing to intense yelling and passion for one another onn both positive and negative scales. The main emphasis of what is actually happening to the 2 is extensive but over all leaves the audience in the dark with what the cause or reason of such a "haunting" is. That is definitely a pro about the film. Merely hinting around and poking at some back story involving the GF and her past, really upped the creepiness. Full of sounds, and subtle visuals and psuedo-spiritual psychological torment, each step the film takes is careful, well played out, hardly compromising the pace of the film in any aspect. Despite the ending and some minor contrived comic relief, Paranormal Activity is a robust, low budget, clever little social experiment on the masses that no one really needs to watch again, but something most people will be thinking about for days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Devil's Game

더 게임
Deo ge-im

Korea 2008

4/5 8/10

A young illustrator in his prime named Min,lives a modest living doing portraits in the city,
his girlfriend whom he's very much in love with, owns a flower shop with her mother.
The Mother and girlfriend owe money to some local gangsters and it's a lot of money for those living a modest life.
One day, Min gets a mysterious phone call from a joyous old man who declares Min lucky and that by being male, he had won the old man a bet. The old man insists on thanking Min personally. Min meets the old man and discovers he's loaded with billions, huge paintings cover his mansion walls, with butlers and servants at his beckoning. The old man wants to make a bet. What is at stake is huge. And what
follows is a 180 degree turn into loneliness, self loathing, true love, treachery, cold heartedness, a couple ridiculous break throughs in medical science and an open ending that leaves the viewer thinking not only about the turn of events that have unfolded in front of them
but your actual life and what you should not take for granted.



USA 2009

2.8/5 5/10

When an accident takes the life of the unborn, 8-month-old fetus inside her, Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) insists on delivering the stillborn child -- only to discover that the baby is alive and heinously hungry. Before long, voracious baby Grace spurns milk and forces Madeline to slake her insatiable appetite for blood. Paul Solet directs this masterful horror movie, while Gabrielle Rose and Stephen Park co-star.

As much as I wanted to like Grace, I just could not get passed a few key points that were just left empty.
There is this ominous shell of promise around Solet's debut feature but the hollow inside suggests that maybe more attention
should have been made to cementing the reason behind what Grace is all about, a zombie/vampire baby and her docile mother.
The look and feel of the film is really well constructed and directed. The acting is fallible but satisfyingly convincing.
What makes the audience wonder is the point, the reason, the explanation. Where in films that interpretation and open endings
are made essential and acceptable, Grace I feel as a story, doesn't cop out, but the film does not know what to do with itself
and ultimately in the end does feel like a cop out. The director's point I'm sure was to establish the idea of unconditional love
amongst a Mother and her kin, but ends up being a passive aggressive utterance of vaguely captured emotion that bears no substance
or true understanding of what is trying to be said. The idea would have been cool if a balance of such anxiety could have been
laid next to, what exactly the baby was and why. Because a Mother's love and yearning and desire to have a child for which on 2 previous occasions her husband and her had a miscarriage, doesn't constitute any substantial reason for such an exploitation.
Subplotted of Grace's dead father's Mother, desiring to take the child away and raise it her self is just as forgetful and loose
as the midwife, hired by Garce's Mom who was once involved as lesbians with... Huh?