Friday, January 18, 2013

Mama

Mama is 2013 horror film with a convoluted story, but a very simple message...If you can find it. It stars future Oscar winner, Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) as Annebell, and Jamie Lannister as Lucas, as a couple who take their long lost nieces into custody following a violent and mysterious ordeal. The children are gone for 5 years before they are finally found by Lucas, who has been devoting all of his time and money into finding them. Annebell very clearly wants no children and just wants to play in her generic rock band, while Lucas is desperate to find his brother's missing children. When the children are found, they are reclusive and in a feral state. One of the girls, Victoria, still has some language skills, so she can somewhat be reintegrated into society, whereas the other one, Lily, is a completely wild animal, Like Mowgli. Then what follows is generic ghost story jargon, strange noises, eerie feelings, Lucas gets decommissioned, blah blah blah. The execution is nothing we really haven't seen before, but it actually has a pleasing amount of scares. The tension is high, the cinematography is very clever (and it really should be in a film that actually tries to scare you) and the performances were all very good. Just because it's unoriginal doesn't mean it's not good, it just happens to be in a genre which is a slave to formula. But the overall point of the film, is about a woman learning to become a mom. Annebell starts off as cold and uncaring to the girls, but after Lucas is out of the picture and ends up caring for the children by herself, she slowly forms a bond with the children.
Mama
Now lets get to Mama, herself. Mama is a ghost that, basically, raised the girls while Lucas was searching for them and formed a twisted and morbid bond with the girls. I thought that Mama was actually a very scary creature and the film makers were really clever with developing the movements of it. The creature moves in a very disorienting matter that is very emotionally jarring that really causes unease and dread to the viewer. The film says more than almost every other horror film in this day and age. And while horror isn't a shallow and one dimension genre that is purely made just to exploit dumb teens who are desperate for a thrill, it is something of a rarity for a horror film to go as deep as this one does. Good examples of other horror films with hidden context are: Dawn of the Dead (original), Near Dark, Frankenstein, The Hills Have Eyes (Original), Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Fly (Original) and Videodrome. But that's not to say that horror can't just be senseless thrills, chills and spills. I would gladly say about Mama that you are having your cake and eating it too. And I recommend you all have a slice
      -L.K

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My 30 most anticipated films of 2013

This is purely a list of films that I want to see this year, and I recommend you all keep an eye out for them too. I disqualify any film that I have already seen from being on the list for obvious reasons
30. The Lone Ranger (Director Gore Verbinski) Release date: July 3
29. Machete Kills (Director Robert Rodriguez) Release date: September 13
28. Foxcatcher (Director Bennet Miller) Release date: TBA
27. Insidious: Chapter 2 (Director James Wan) Release date: August 30
26. The Wolf Of Wall Street (Director Martin Scorsese) Release date: TBA
25. Jack The Giant Slayer (Director Bryan Singer) Release date: March 1*
24. Nymphomaniac (Director Lars Von Trier) Release date: May 30
23. Elysium (Director Neil Blomkamp) Release date: August 9
22. Monsters University (Director Dan Scanlon) Release date: June 21
21. Kick Ass 2 (Director Jeff Wadlow) Release date: June 28
20. The Look Of love (Director Michael Winterbottom) Release date: March 8
19. OldBoy (Director Spike Lee) Release date: October 11
18. Pacific Rim (Director Guillermo Del Toro) Release date: July 12
17. Side Effects (Director Steven Soderbergh) Release date: February 8 Note: This is Soderbergh's final film
16. The World's End (Director Edgar Wright) Release date: October 25*
15. Thor: The Dark World (Director Alan Taylor) Release date: November 8
14. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (Director Robert Rodriguez) Release date: October 4
13. The Conjuring (Director James Wan) Release date: July 19
12. Dallas Buyer's Club (Director Jean-Marc VallĂ©e) Release date: TBA
11. Oz: The Great And Powerful (Director Sam Raimi) Release date: March 8*
10. Star Trek Into Darkness (Director JJ Abrams) Release date: May 17
9. Iron Man 3 (Director Shane Black) Release date: May 3
8.Only God Forgives (Director Nicolas Winding Refn) Release date: May 23*
7. The Evil Dead (Fede Alvarez) Release date: April 12
6. The Wolverine (Director James Mangold) Release date: July 26
5. Mud (Director Jeff Nichols) Release date: April 17*  Note: The director of Take Shelter
4. Before Midnight (Director Richard Linklater) Release date: September 19*
3. The Counseler (Director Ridley Scott) Release date: November 15*
2. 12 Years A Slave (Director Steve McQueen) Release date: September 6*
1. Man Of Steel (Director Zack Snyder) Release date: June 14
That's my list for this year. If there is a movie on here that you haven't heard of, be sure to check it out and watch for it. There are some films that I marked with a * and that just means it's made by one of my favorite directors and I will almost not miss, and neither should you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oscar Nominations


Remember when The Dark Knight was snubbed at the Oscars and everybody was pissed about it? So the academy decided to put 10 films in the best picture category? So why are there 9 films and one of them is Les Miserable? Well that's because the academy is bullshit. Granted there is a certain level of quality to any film being nominated, but certain films get neglected and everyone knows it. I just wanted to reflect on my main problems with the academy and all the ridiculous snubs over the years. I'm glad that certain people get nominated (and I truly hope Hugh Jackman wins) and I don't think that being nominated is meaningless, but too many people get overlooked and ultimately become under appreciated because they don'y have that "*Oscar Nominee" tag.
One of my biggest problems with the academy is that it is biased to a shameless degree. This first became an issue to me in 2009 when Iron Man was not only not nominated for best picture/director, which many people believe it was the best film of the year, but it wasn't even nominated for best actor. Instead, while the academy did acknowledge Downey by putting him in the less prestigious "Best Supporting Actor" category. Still a good achievement, but the performance in Tropic Thunder was not as tremendous as Iron Man. Another preposterous snub was when everybody was sure the The Dark Knight was going to win best picture, and it wasn't even nominated. I honestly think that Heath Ledger only won because he died. Not that it wasn't a great performance, but if that film wasn't nominated for best picture or director, why should it ein Best Supporting Actor? No reason, thats why. Also, Wall-E was the best reviewed film of the year and it wasn't nominated. Most likely because it was an animated film, but The Reader, a film that wasn't very well received got the nomination because it was about the holocaust, therefore it was "mature" as opposed to the "juvenile" Wall-E, which was actually a much more intelligent film.
 My main problem with the academy is that they will give oscars to people that never got one in their long and lustrous career (Sean Connery). A good example of this is is when The King's Speech was nominated for best original screenplay, and it was up against Inception. A film that won various screenplay awards. As visually captivating as inception was, the thing that drove the film was the screenplay. On the surface it was a film about dreams, but underneath it was all about a man dealing with the loss of his wife. But The King's Speech ultimately won, and only because the writer (David Seidler) is 5 million years old. But why was The Kings Speech in the original screenplay category, when Argo is an adapted screenplay? The answer is because The Social Network was clearly the best adapted screenplay of the year and the academy felt they had to give it to Seidler. I could go on about this for hours, but I was hoping I could point a few things out to the public about the very biased academy so that you won't get upset when your favorite films don't get nominated/win. Its all politics and at the end of the day, your favorite films of the year are still your favorite regardless of what some stuck up biased assholes think.
     -L.K
Examples of snubs: Jack Nicholson, Batman
Tim Burton, Ed Wood
Chris Nolan, Memento
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter (I can't escape that film)
Darren Aronofsky, everything he has ever done
Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

An Oscar worthy Jessica Chastain
Zero Dark Thirty is the coolest title of all the films that have come out, so far, in 2013. Also, appropriately, it is the best. Considering the only other movie that I have seen this year is Texas Chainsaw 3D, so if you want to know if it is actually good and want the pros and cons, read on. No reason to waste time, the film was good. In fact it was very very good. It took a subject that I actually couldn't give less of a shit about and had me enthralled for near 3 hours. Had I seen it before 2013, I may have put it in my top 10 of 2012, but I'm not going to think about it and just keep it as a 2013 film. The story itself wasn't anything that was too special, but it was told in a very compelling manner. Just a woman hellbent on finding Usama Bin Laden. But she never gave up and gave a shit about her job, and it was refreshing seeing somebody so dedicated to finding one person. I think most people would have given up after half a decade, and she pursued him for a full one. What makes the film worth watching is the very careful and precise direction. This is the exact kind of film that could easily be misconstrued as propaganda or a violent and over the top war film in the hands of a director like Roland Emmerich, Michael Bay or Paul W.S Anderson, but Bigelow knows exactly how long scenes need to be in order for the right amount of tension to set in. I, for one, didn't know the story of this, so I didn't know how it was going to turn out, other than they get Bin Laden, at some point. So I was constantly intrigued by the escalation of the plot. It was a good old fashion taught thriller, set as a modern day war piece. It is both terrifying and exciting. The cast is quite large and full of a lot of famous faces, but Jessica Chastain ( a favorite of mine) shines brighter than I've ever seen. I would very much like to see her win the Oscar for this, because the performance is both intense, yet humane. She has seen too much blood, but she knows that she can't let go because she is on the right track. The whole film glides right through its 2 hours and 47 minute run time with ease thanks to clever editing and great pacing, and it all builds up to a tense and gripping finale that leaves you on the edge of your seat. The finale is done without background music and it leaves you with a strong feeling of unease. It takes a much talked about story and translates it better than it ever should and it fits perfectly on the silver screen. In many ways, it is the JFK of this generation. Seriously, watch these 2 films back to back and you will see the parallels. True story, based on a book, ensemble cast comprised of lots of famous folks, and the time it spans. Best of all, it parallels JFK by being superior film making. It works as a film before it works as a story. It rightfully earned its obvious Best Picture, Director and Actress nods. I recommend it to everyone. Give it a shot...In the dark XD
        -L.K

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D

Nice ass, bad delivery
Oh boy. What a film. This is a film that is almost impossible to dissect, because there is literally almost everything wrong with it, but as hard as it is to evaluate, its that easy to review. Like I said before, almost everything is wrong with this film, and I will get into the thing that I liked later, so I will just start with the main thing that took me out of the film. This film is a "direct" sequel to the original 1974 film. The problem is that this film takes place 20 years later and the first thing I noticed was that one character had plugs. I thought to myself, "were there people with plugs in 1994?" The guy did have Puca shells on and that was a trend in the 90's, so at the point I was just a bit curious. Then a man pulls up to the main kids in a 2007 Chrysler, and at that point I realized just how bad the script truly was. The writers didn't even fucking bother to make an attempt to make this set in the 90's and the director was too lazy to make that transition as well. The trademark black humor of the series is absent and the film comes off more as a Friday The 13th, than a TCM and there were so many laughs, but all were unintentional. So as I said, the script is awful and the dialogue is just the absolute worst. It was among the worst I have ever heard. Now for the direction. It was probably the worst directing I have seen in a Hollywood film. Everything about it is either laziness or incompetence. Nothing is handled properly. The actors are directed poorly, the technical aspects are incredibly sloppy, the attention to detail is ignored and there isn't enough carnage. The 3D is also poorly used, and yes, I saw it in 3D. There is a scene where Leatherface is running through a carnival and not a person is killed or even injured. It was nothing but a series of missed opportunities. And the thing that pisses me off the most is you don't see the lead girl's tits! Which leads me to my next point, the actors. The actors are some of the most beautiful group of people I've seen, except the older people. The kids are photographed very nicely and many of the shots are focused on one of the girl's asses or their cleavage. Clearly these people were cast solely on their looks because their delivery is absolutely atrocious. Even Tania Raymonde, who I thought was great on Lost was god awful, but fuck, is she hot. Scott Eastwood gives one of the worst performances I have ever seen and it would put community college actors in high regard, but his eyes are so dreamy <3. Again, that's what Friday the 13th is about, not Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so that goes back to the direction. That was one of my problems with the remake of TCM. It took itself to seriously and this one does too, but it tries to be fun in the beginning, for the sake of teens acting like co-eds just so they can be picked off one by one. These little things wouldn't present itself as a problem if there was enough gore, but there just wasn't enough. The production also looks like shit. Leatherface's mask looks like a cheap costume castle mask. AS hopeless as I make this film sound, there were some aspects of the film that I thoroughly liked. All the chase scenes with Leatherface had some genuine tension and when looking for Leatherface I had the "I know he's here but when is he going to pop out" feeling on unease, but then a lot of the deaths happen off screen, showing very little gore, so I was extremely let down. A lot of the ideas are stolen (yes stolen, not borrowed) from the original TCM, including: picking up a hitchhiker, person hit with hammer, person on meat hook, girl in icebox, dead body in the house. For a film that is trying to start fresh, it really lacked originality. I liked the ending, though. It was original and I thought it was the only good thing about the script. The interpretation of Leatherface is actually positive. It is more on par with the original (Gunnar Hanson). He got the stance, the run, and the innocent, yet intimidating demeanor. Best of all, he didn't scream like a bitch like in the sequels. Now the real question is; Did I like it? Well...Yea? It would be right at home with late 70's grindhouse flick with its terrible dialogue, acting, plot and technical failure. I was laughing the entire time. I would liken it to the room, though not nearly as good. I feel like this would make a perfect Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode and hopefully there will be a rifftrax. It is so bad its good, and I really don't say that often. It sucks, and hard, but the train wreck is a blast to watch. So if you want so bad its good, here you go. It was lean and never felt boring, except one part and I blame the director for being terrible, and maybe I enjoyed it because I knew it was going to suck. And this knowledge I give you should help set the stage for your viewing experience.
        -L.K

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