Thursday, September 4, 2014
I notice Park's influence from the beginning. Just the intense focus on small things -- the hardboiled egg, the spider crawling up India's leg, the tennis balls spilling across the court. And of course, this beautiful shot:
The details enthralled me in his other films, and I see they will continue here. Now for the story. On India's (Mia Wasikowska) birthday, while she searches for her hidden gift, her father is killed in a car accident. After the funeral, she meets her father's brother/her uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode) who announces he will be moving in to support India and her mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman).
India is reluctant to have Charlie stay at their home, while Evelyn cozies right up to him. When India's Aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver) comes to visit, things get a little hostile, and she decides to stay at a hotel instead. Meanwhile, it turns out that Uncle Charlie may not be the laid-back world traveler he claims to be.
At school, India is frequently bullied by the popular crowd. When she fights back, she is joined by Whip (Alden Ehrenreich) who commends her for the act, and they meet up again later, unfortunately for Whip. While searching her dead father's items, she learns about her Uncle Charlie's past. But rather than being repulsed, she India is intrigued, while Evelyn is all "bitch, you stole my man!"
While this movie was certainly no Vengeance trilogy, it was just so interesting and compelling in many ways. With a unique script, and Park's great directorial touch, it really is worth a watch. I found the acting to be excellent as well--even though I didn't think much of Nicole Kidman going into it, she was well-cast as a Stepford-ish lush, and Wasikowska blossomed beautifully throughout, from a sulky teenager to a cold-blooded psycho. Don't miss this one!
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I'm always excited when I see the IFC intro, but the Twisted Pictures logo brings back wonderful memories of watching the first Saw movie in one of those discount/second-run theaters in my college town.
In The Tortured, young Benjamin Landry (Thomas Greenwood) is kidnapped by John Kozlowski (Bill Moseley). His parents, Craig and Elise (Jessie Metcalfe and Erika Christiansen) are obviously distressed and frustrated by the police. Bill Moseley as the bi-polar princess/daddy? Well...he busts out the Otis Firefly voice, but the intimidation just isn't there.
So it's no secret that that Kozlowski is the one responsible for the kidnapping and murder of their son. After he receives only 25 to life, the Landrys are set on revenge. What makes it extra interesting is that Craig is a doctor, therefore being able to inflict the most amount of pain on Kozlowski, while keeping him not only alive, but conscious.
They go down the gauntlet of torture, planning to drag it out as long as possible, while continually reminding Kozlowski of all he did to their son. At first, they're a little hesitant, but then they really go balls to the wall.
Now, there is a twist in the last five minutes of the movie that turns the whole thing on its ear. I can't say whether I really liked the twist or not, but it did wrap it up in an interesting way. This movie sort of reminded me of Prisoners but it didn't even come close to having the same impact. All in all, an okay movie if you like seeing people be tortured, but not enough suspense, and certainly not enough Bill Moseley.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
I knew from the start that this one would be more ridiculous than the first, but in the first 10 minutes, Fin is already flying a freakin' plane and April is losing a hand! Soon enough, the sharks are milling around in the Hudson! They're headed for the Statue of Liberty! They're headed for the Mets Game!
The dramatics and overacting in this Sharknado are far superior to its predecessor. From her hospital bed, a handless April begs to be let go to help save Fin, just moments after she encouraged him to go alone! As they rush to the subway, a Mets fan declares: "it's fine! The 7 train is ALWAYS running!" A cab driver sends these poor suckers looking for weapons in Times Square, deeming it the "Crossroads of the World!" From a rooftop, Fin declares, "even the Sharknados are tougher in New York!"
The sharks also die in better ways this time. They get hit out to left field with souvenir bats. They get stabbed with bats while trespassing on the 7 train. They get thrown into a pizza oven by Biz Markie. They get bombs thrown on them by those slingshots you use for free t-shirts at games. A shark gets sliced in half with an NYFD-official chainsaw. NYers fire machine guns at the sky, and the sharks fall like rain. Kelly Ripa stomps on one with her shoe. Al Roker and Matt Lauer stab one with an umbrella.
The people die in better ways. The Statue of Liberty's head bowls over unsuspecting NYers. A shark plucks a tourist off the ferry. A shark swims onto the 7 train and eats a Mets fan. A cab driver gets chomped while trying to Tarzan-swing across Times Square. Even Damon from Shark Tank is a victim of the Sharknado. Plus, everyone and their mom is in this movie. Kelly Osbourne, Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa, Mark McGrath, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Perez Hilton, Biz Markie, Jared Fogel, Downtown Julie Brown, Billy Ray Cyrus, Judah Friedlander, Vivica Fox, Kurt Angle, Andy Dick...and more.
Thank you, Sharknado 2, for bringing me enjoyment on a day I really needed it. I'm struggling at work, adjusting to a new medication, and just feeling generally lousy. And sometimes you don't need a depressing and depraved horror movie...sometimes you just need something where a man pulls his ex-wife's wedding ring from a shark's stomach, and proposes to her again.
I'm obviously going to review Sharknado from a purely parody/joke/hilarious perspective. I've been cracking up at websites and such that are reviewing this as if it is intended to be a real movie. You know Tara Reid is my girl, though. She is in SO MANY horror movies.
Everything's going fine in Santa Monica until a hurricane approaches, and with it, a bunch of angry sharks. Bar proprietor Fin (Ian Ziering), his buddy Baz (Jaason Simmons), waitress Nova (Cassandra Scerbo) and resident drunk George (John Heard) take off to check on Fin's ex-wife, April (Tara Reid) and his daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peeples). At first they think that the sharks and raging waters are confined to the coast, but they soon realize that the sharks will come up through storm drains and other things.
They battle a shark with a bookcase! They run from a ferris wheel! They rescue a bus full of stranded schoolchildren! And when I saw that shot of the sharknados from afar, I laughed with glee. And how else to stop the tornados full of sharks than to throw bombs in them?!
Sharknado comes at a glorious time, where it can grab a generation that is completely captivated by brainless, so-bad-it's-good entertainment. A movie doesn't have to be good anymore...it just has to be completely fucking ridiculous. Throw in a couple D-List stars--the 90210 guy, Kevin's McAllister's dad, and the BJ girl from American Pie, and you have a recipe for success. Thank you, Sharknado.
Marc and Enrique have been trapped in an office building for three months after what is deemed "The Panic," which basically kills you when you step outside. They decide to make a run for it. Marc wants to find his girlfriend, Julia, and Enrique's motivation is unclear at first. As they make their way through the subway, they see that they've previously been living in the lap of luxury in comparison. The subways are now basically refugee camps where people battle for food and water. The GPS they are in possession of becomes a hot commodity. They must wind through tunnels and sewers to reach first Marc's apartment, and then Enrique's destination.
As they make their way to their respective places, they come across others, and learn lessons about surviving in this new world. Some of the scenes, such a the rain in the apartment and the view of the burning buildings, are downright beautiful. The apocalyptic views of Barcelona are amazing, deserted and with wildlife running free. Also, a FUCKING BEAR. That was probably a little overkill but also kinda cool. The details were incredible, like the stacked shopping carts with torches in the supermarket, the rats running along the subway tracks, and the pigeons hanging from the ceiling in Marc's apartment. The people they came across were equally intriguing, and the relationship between Marc and Enrique really developed throughout their journey.
I saw that not everyone liked the ending. Let me be clear, I freaking LOVED the ending. I thought it was a really great wrap up of the whole story, which was intense and beautifully woven. I actually teared up a little at the end, but I am a little overemotional lately ;) DEFINITELY check this one out on Netflix instant.