Archive for November, 2009

THE HAPPENING, M. Night Shyamalan 2008

Posted in Horror, Sci-Fi with tags , , , on November 27, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

After the bad taste The Village left, and not forgetting I thought Signs was a piece of crap, I reluctantly  attacked Shyamalan’s latest work, and have to admit, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

The director  again deals with something shocking able to make people feel weak and scared, looking for an explanation for the chain of events they are witnessing involving death on massive scale.

Any given day, starting in Central Park, what  first declared as a terrorist chemical attack strikes population causing them to self-inflict pain up to death. Extreme scenes occur one after another, and bulletins advise people to move westwards as mostly east coast largest cities have been the targets.

After explaining  theories on  the bees mysterious disappearance in science class , high school teacher  Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg), together with his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), his colleague Julian (John Leguizamo) and little Jess catch a train to get away from Philadelphia. After a while, people start receiving news via cell phones also confirming mayhem in Philadelphia. To make things worse, trains stops for communications have been interrupted, leaving passengers at their own fate in the middle of nowhere.

News broadcast  attacks have spread to minor populated towns, disclaiming terrorist attacks as the explanation for such horror.

At a certain point, Julian decides to divert towards Princeton leaving the others, in order to find his wife, who is no longer available on the phone, thus, Elliot and Alma will have to take care of Jess, and find a way out from this mess, however  the menace is fast surrounding, same as desperation and hysteria in the small crowds trying to hide.

The first scenes in this film are outstanding and really shocking, immediately catching audience attention, and making you wonder an explanation for those extreme and chaotic moments. It reminds me so much to Stephen King’s Cell, released in 2006 as to think of some kind of “inspiration”. Then the getaway starts, seems like an Arcade videogame, passing through different obstacles, and getting harder gradually.

It’s fun for the first time I checked the time, there were only 25 minutes remaining, and although getaway could have been extended more without boring, my doubts started regarding the conclusion of the story, and the explanation for this horror. Unfortunately  the explanation, more or less identical to Elliot’s beliefs, is solved with the extract of a tv interview, even with moral message about the way we’re messing with the planet we inhabit. That’s it. Ok, I can buy it, but what turns this into a cheap tale is so much love involved, as if true love could save anyone. What the hell is that? A Christian lecture about salvation?  Because I’ve had plenty of them in my early years! How is that the movie starts with a scientific explanation of the bees extinguishing and then love is so highlighted?

Nowhere to Hide or the power of love

Shyamalan’s definitely are not my cup of tea,  he provides potential ideas, but sooner or later, they end up stinking. This is a clear example about how to life by one major blockbuster, such as the Sixth Sense was, and then despite the unability to deliver good product, survive in Hollywood highly supported by the industry, with amazing  promotion and marketing  keeping him well acclaimed.

CRY-BABY, John Waters 1990

Posted in Directors, Just Fun with tags , , , on November 23, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

 

Another creation by John Waters, Cry Baby is the tribute the bizarre director pays to all those teenage movies in the 50’s  recovering  high schools and Romeo and Juliet’s  romances in West Side Story style, as usual, from a very exaggerated perspective making fun of all that crap.

Allison (Amy Locane)  is a good and beautiful girl whose life has always been too perfect , too “square”, enjoying a social position, always escorted by her perfect boyfriend. During a vaccination campaign, her eyes meet Cry-Baby Walker’s (Johnny Depp), obviously is love at first sight, but he’s a drape, a rebel, and she’s not supposed to be with him. Despite the differences, Allison, tired of being good, will surrender to his charm, but the relationship won’t be accepted by her social environment and his boyfriend will plan revenge on the drapes, causing fatal consequences which will lock Cry-Baby into a Juvenile Estate Penitentiary, up to he’s 21.

Will he be able to escape from being imprisoned, will Allison wait for him or she’ll be back to her former situation? Many questions are answered at  the rhythm of classic rock n’ roll, with hilarious lyrics and dancing performances.

Cry-Baby would be definitely considered a musical film, for music presence is constant. On one hand the proper performances at the talent show, or the jamboree, and on the other the musical scenes, with resemblance to Grease or Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock, with a super young Johnny Depp locked in prison, full of frustration and rage. Lyrics are hilarious, making you giggle most of time and soundtrack is pretty cool.

Jail is so much fun

What about the cast? From Johnny Depp in his hottest taking off  from 21 Jump Street  to Willem Defoe as the penitentiary guard, including porn super goddess Tracy Lords in pin-up rockin’ style, Iggy Pop full of dirt in his most Southern attitude, and experienced and established Polly Bergen as the adorable grandma of virgin-like Amy Locane. And of course, John Waters’ mojo pins, Patricia Hearst and Mink Stole. Especial mention to Hatchet-Face, a super albino woman characterized as scary and disgusting as possible, if I pass by that freak on the street I would get the fuck out asap.

Gorgeous!

Thus, in Cry-Baby you find a cocktail of classic teenage love movie, with comedy, musical performances, and ridiculous and exaggerated acting and dialogues, that make you laugh despite you reckon  that  the story is just crap. Still, you can have a good time.

Lickin is what I'm good at

MOON, Duncan Jones 2009

Posted in Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

moon_poster_sam_rockwell

Taking David Bowie as first reference, it was obvious we were to watch his son’s, Duncan Jones, film debut as director. Obviously we didn’t know what we were watching, just some sci-fi  story, but felt confident after reading some good reviews.

It’s been really a nice surprise, an original story of isolation and manipulation of the human being for business purposes, a fact constantly happening in daily life and mostly hidden from public opinion.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is two weeks from ending his three year contract for Lunar Industries at their lunar station. Working and living on his own, he’s in charge of monitoring  the harvest of Helium-3, and then load supplies on a rocket direct to Earth. Helium-3 has become the most important source of energy, finishing with the concern of lack of oil resources.

Unfortunately direct communications with Earth failed long time ago, thus Sam can only contact with relatives and superiors via recorded messages. His only companion is a robot, Gerty (Kevin Spacey), which has been designed to attend him and assist on any task Sam might require.

moon-gerty%202

Gerty, your friend

Sam starts having hallucinations which initially cost him little accidents, however, situation complicates when he has a serious “lunar” car wreck. When he recovers conscience, no memories of the crash are left, and curiosity will move him to investigate, discovering another himself alive.

Don’t feel like detailing more about the film, otherwise the surprise will disappear, and I think situation and events after what I described is the most interesting part.

What I would like to remark is the way isolation can affect human behavior and personality, and this movie reflects it perfectly.

Also another subject brought out is the way big companies manage to save costs regarding employees, here keeping just Sam as responsible for a complex station and the installations and machinery involved. Always human presence is required despite the high technology working, but what’s the procedure to follow in case of an accident or illness?

sam

I'm a mess

Thus, this film could be labeled as sci-fi, however,  deeper concerns are involved, which make you brain starts thinking, some research advances have been proved as helpful but sometimes can have consequences depending on the way they’re applied.

End of my speech, I don’t want to give more clues about such a good film as this, maybe in the future I add some sort of appendix on which I will expose my opinion openly without spoiling the movie. I’m glad to have seen it, and strongly recommend to everyone. Hope you like it.