Archive for April, 2009

SHUTTLE, Edward Anderson 2008

Posted in Horror, Thriller with tags , , , , on April 28, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

shuttle 

As you may have noticed we are trying to watch latest horror movies released and it’s becoming a hard task to find a good one.

 

Yesterday it was time for Shuttle, not a great movie but at least a bit different from the others, at least due to the setting, one of these  shuttle buses you can find at any airport to drive you downtown the cheapest…but cheapest doesn’t mean the best.

 

The action starts at the airport, where two girl friends, Jules (Cameron Goodman) and Mel (Peyton List) have just landed after a girls’ weekend escape to Mexico just a week before Mel gets married to Michael, her fiancé. However she confesses she’s breaking the engagement.

 

Mel, who usually suffers from motion sickness, feels weak after the flight. While taking some time to get better two guys get closer just because Seth is interested in the blonde horny like Jules and start small talk while waiting for the baggage which is lost.  

 

Mel and Jules at the airport

Mel and Jules at the airport

 

As you can imagine, weird things start to occur, the shuttle is diverted to a poor and very isolated area nobody recognizes starts alerting the passengers, and a sudden suicide car almost causes a car wreck, blowing a tire they have to replace, with accident included…eventually the driver turns out to show his intentions are nothing but kidnapping the passengers for hidden reasons I prefer not to reveal because this is the fun of the movie. Thus, we find four people try to find the way to escape from the ginger motherfucker once and once again.

 

sht

 

Probably the idea of a death shuttle is kind of surrealist but in the way the story is developed is quite original, at least the setting is not the typical forest or jungle or the desert, however, as a low budget movie, there are certain moments when they are in the middle of nowhere with nobody apparently surrounding them but you can hear traffic noises.

 

Anyway I think length is  excessive, close to 2 hours, in fact there are moments in which many things happen within 2 minutes, but then action stops and it can be boring sometimes. Probably so many escapes could have been reduced with same effectiveness saving some time, and focusing more on final scenes, which I think are remarkable and clear enough to understand the aim of the kidnapping.

 

I wouldn’t consider it a horror movie but a thriller with some blood and violence. Entertaining, which is enough, and understandable, something to feel thankful for, because some of the latest movies we’ve seen are just gore and effects totally senseless. 

When finally the girls are ready to leave the airport in the middle of heavy rain it’s too late and not many options are available. They refuse to catch a cab trying to save some money, thus Mel stops a shuttle and starts negotiating the price for the  two of them to get downtown, when suddenly a nervous shuttle driver (Tony Curran) shows up offering a better offer they cannot refuse and the promise of no me than three stops. When the other two guys try to catch same shuttle the driver refuses to pick them up until Jules convinces him they’re acquainted. All of them together with the driver and a freak passenger named  Andy start the ride. 

LAID TO REST, Robert Hall 2009

Posted in Horror with tags , , on April 26, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

laid-to-rest

 

We had read in Fangoria, the horror magazine that this movie was awesome, plus the gore pictures  attached, we thought we were watching a definite horror movie, and seeking for some blood in our lives we decided to watch it last night.

 

The movie starts quite hardcore with an attractive girl (Bobbie Sue Luther) waking up inside a coffin, obviously hysteric. She manages to get out and seeks for help, quite in shock, realizing she’s in a morgue. She locks herself in one room and tries to call 911 unable to set a location for her to be rescued, and eventually breaking the cord due to her dumbness.  Suddenly she notices the presence of a weird man face covered by a silver chrome skull mask who carries a steady cam attached to his shoulder and records her in panic until she faints. 

 

She escapes from the morgue and starts running disorientated until Tucker picks her up in his car and brings her to his house for her to rest. His wife Cindy (Lena Headey)  doesn’t  trust her and thinks she’s a hooker but changes her mind once the mysterious girl, who suffers from amnesia caused by the shock, explains what’s happened. Unfortunately the masked man will follow her track and will brutally kill everyone who steps in the middle with a terrible switchblade. Later on the girl, Tucker and a computer nerd, Steven,  will discover he’s a serial killer who records himself killing his victims for some kind of reason it’s not explained.  

 

That hurts!

That hurts!

Since the very beginning we realized it wasn’t going to be a  very good one. The girl seemed more a porn star rather than an actress,in fact her boobs (kazoongas) are highly remarkable, the special effects were not as cool as in the pictures, the dialogues poor and stupid, the man in the mask you don’t understand why he’s like that and why he’s to inject some kind of acid shit because his eye bleeds from time to time…stop!!! This is hell of crap! 

Enough said if I reckon the best moment in the movie is when camera closes up on a guy’s Iron Maiden Vans…Honestly, never trust 100% a horror magazine otherwise you’ll get often disappointed. It didn’t even scare a bit, holy shit! 

 

Typical horror movie including  a psycho killer, the sexy girl, the circumstantial companion, blood to the max and a foreseeable ending. Nowadays it’s difficult to be innovative and genuine but still can obtain good results if you work hard on that, I think, but again, and against the expectations created by Fangoria, this is not the case. 

APOCALYPSE NOW (REDUX), Francis Ford Coppola 1979

Posted in Epic, War with tags , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

 apocalypse-poster

Apocalypse Now is one of these must see classics that you never find yourself encouraged enough to watch due to its extend length. I had tried to see it many times always falling asleep, probably it’s such a dark and slow movie and the atmosphere is so thick and suffocating I had to wait to the right moment as it came to happen two days ago. 

After not being able to fit in his former life and in society  after his return from Vietnam, and having nothing left behind for his wife asked for divorce, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) decides to come back to ‘Nam for a second round.  Abandoned to alcoholism he waits in Saigon to be summoned for a new mission until somebody knocks at his wasted hotel  room door.

He’s asked to terminate Colonel  Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a Green Beret and what could be called a war hero whose  career has been outstanding until some point, when he’s started to carry out his own project of erasing Vietcong, obviously not approved by US government nor Army. They reckon Kurtz has gone insane and is dangerous and no longer useful.

Willard will have to travel up to Cambodia in a classified mission that according to his superiors does not exist and if in case it becomes public, US Army won’t recognize nor admit.

Thus transport by Nung River is arranged although patrol swiftboat crew is not informed on the target of final destination. Clean (Lawrence Fishborne), Chef, Lance the surfer, and Chief Phillips are his only companion during this journey to the unknown.

Napalm, the smell of victory

Napalm, the smell of victory

They will have several encounters with other American soldiers, such as eccentric  Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) who loves surfing, a party in a base with Playboy bunnies supporting and cheering them up…the deeper they get into the journey  the worse and more violent and discouraging attacks are happening, not really confirming the idea of US seizing Vietcong. Losing part of the crew and mood getting darker accompanied with some point of insanity Willard and the others remaining keep heading up to the borders to Cambodia.

Also Willard’s knowledge about Kurtz’ history makes him feel not so sure about how to proceed when he finds him, for  he, in many ways, is capable of understanding what’s going on in his mind.

Kurtz and his complex mind

Kurtz and his complex mind

Eventually, and after many events Willard will find Kurtz and the absurd of the empire he’s created based on the worship of his figure as some sort of God.

Willard, the hunter

Willard, the hunter

Obviously impact caused by this movie is not such as when released  in  1979, for I’ve seen other war movies such as The Thin Red Line, Saving Private Ryan or Platoon, but seems that it meant a point  of inflection in the way war was depicted  from the point of view of a soldier.  Moreover, Vietnam conflict treatment, US biggest shame up to date and how information was manipulated in order to convince people that American army was winning war, and to justify so many human lives wasted in the jungle.

The way the story is developed from easy and fun up to the bad acid trip Willard ends up living is perfect. Everything starts in an easy and almost relaxing way for everybody, although Willard seems enough dark and affected character since the very beginning, the boat trip seems easy without incidences until tension becomes a key factor in what will come next. When they stop a native boat to check for Charlie’s possible evidences tiredness and secrets are started to affect the crew mood and everything gets out of control. The more they travel up to the river, the thicker the jungle becomes and humidity and suffocating  heat  and those heavy rains become a very important part in creating the feeling that they’re forwarding  to some place like hell. Darkness, dead bodies everywhere, dirt and mud…picture is so horrible you start to realize there were like two different Vietnams and would be impossible to have been “conquered” by Americans.

Without  digging too much into the final part of the movie in which Kurtz and Willard meet, I reckon those minutes as a bad acid trip for everything seems part of an unclear nightmare, and the resolution of the story is tough and impressive. I got shocked even though I already suspected what was going to happen, still it was great. I think I will never forget  the last words repeated by Brando right at the end “the horror…the horror”. Final scene gives me the creeps.

Francis Ford Coppola is specialist in including both established actors together with new promises in the cast of his films. In Apocalypse Now, veteran and more insane  people such as Willard, Kilgore, the hippie photographer (Dennis Hopper) and  Kurtz versus the young and innocent guys with a more patriotic view of the conflict and ignorant about what was really happening such as the virgin South Bronx Clean or Lance, the popular surfer.

I don’t have much technical knowledge about filming, work of cameras…but I’m able to recognize good work, and everything is greatly captured  by cameras. Fighting sequences are amazing and very realistic and it’s easy to find several takes and scenes to remember. Probably I will try to read some info about how everything was filmed, it had to be very intense and tough.

What about the music? Plenty of classics we always listen when watching Vietnam movies but here they really highlight the scenes: Suzie Q, Satisfaction, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, Let the Good Times Roll, The End…They all are perfect.

I’m not very enthusiastic about war films but have to admit I enjoy with these ones that in some way make you think a bit, not only about politics but about the proper war and how soldiers co-lived with misery and awful conditions, their feelings and fears…I talk about war movies in which soldiers are human. Apocalypse Now basically deals with Willard’s nightmare, needing Vietnam as a reason to live, but not feeling part of the army or the country, just a killer of a killer. Terrible!

In case you haven’t been able to see it, I strongly recommend you to take a nap before watching it because the story is long and slow, but definitely encourage anybody to watch it. It deserves all good critics received and the status of classic and must see are fair and necessary.