Thursday, 31 December 2015

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: POD


2/5


A brother and a sister are on a trip to the lake house to save their sibling who seems to be losing his mind. He has someone or something locked up in the basement. Is it just another delusion or the monster is real? 
They will have to get down, to find out.

If you fast forward to 19 minutes into the movie you may have a better ride with this little indie horror. There is too much senseless  badly written dialogue in the beginning, and it does not add anything to character development that is not clear later in the film.


POD could have been fun if not for the some slow pacing and very ordinary acting. Performances aside, all characters look like they have just walked out of hair dressing saloon, that includes the deranged brother, who should look sweaty and unwashed (there doesn't seem to be a shower in the house, but even if there was, would he be thinking about washing up under the circumstances?) 


On the bright side the location is spot on - here is the real house with a spooky character. Too bad the protagonists are unlikable, the story is disjointed and the cinematography (apart from a  few outside shots of frozen lake and the house)is mediocre. Yes, the team behind had very little money, but the real problem of the film is not the budget, but writing.

POD manages to deliver a few real scares, but is just too tedious to be enjoyable.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

KOREAN MOVIE: THE TIGER (DAEHO)


4/5

The year is 1925 and Imperial Japanese army in South Korea is focused on one thing only - to catch the infamous tiger Dae-ho - the King of the mountain. As all their efforts are in vain, they ask for help the hunter Mun-duk, unaware of his special relationship with the animal. When Mun-Duk refuses, Japanese find a way to apply pressure. It's not before long that things get out of control and a tragedy strikes at the hearts of both - the animal and the man.

Director Park Hoon-Jung is thriving on period action drama, heavy with CGI effects, which until recently was impossible in small Korean market. Balancing visual spectacle with deep and meaningful drama, he gives us a dark fairy tale - a memorable story on a touching subject. He carefully recreates the period piece with masterful attention to detail, but the real winner here is nature. The mountains and the forests of South Korea are on display with colourful season change, giving us a perfect impression of the landscape and creating a stage for the high drama.

Choi Min-Shik as the Hunter Mun-Duk gives us a father and a man of nature. Deeply aware and understanding of his surroundings, he is not coping very well with the changes inflicted on his life by humans. His slow transformation from the medicine collector to a fearless hunter is heartbreaking as he is pushed to the limit of his human and spiritual strength. The villains of the film, however, are nothing more than caricatures and a food to the tiger - they are moving the plot forward, but it is special relationship between the tiger and the man that is the focus of the film.

Heavily promoting the message that nature cannot be only taken from, the movie dwells on the subjects of killing and compassion. Delivering high on action and melodrama the film seems to achieve what it planned to do, giving us a sad but hopeful ending, promising that no matter what, the man and nature are one.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: BONE TOMAHAWK

31/5/5

A small frontier town in the old west has been invaded by the tribe of crazy cannibals. They kidnap a deputy and a medical woman - Samantha O'Dyer. A rescue expedition includes Samantha's husband Arthur, sherif Hunt (Kurt Russell), and few others. They embark on a journey through the wilderness, only to find out that they bit more than they could chew. Their trip is even more complicated because of Arthur's broken leg - an injury he sustained before his wife's kidnapping. The men come face to face with the true terror, that my be the real representation of the land they came to possess. Stripped of the remains of what defined them as civilised men, they are now locked in the battle for survival.

The first adjective that comes to mind when describing this directorial debut by Steven Craig Zahler is "long". The film's running time (over two hours) is the movie's biggest flaw. 30  minutes or so could be easily edited out, however the lengthy dialogues between men about life and death add some additional meaning to the finale.

The film works well in character department. The four men are properly fleshed out, each with his own backstory and motives. They are not friends, but united by the spirit of comradery, and are surprisingly blind to the suicidal nature of their mission.

The violence in the film is random, but effective. Music score is a bare minimum. Deaths come in a sudden and brutal fashion. The kills are rare but effective. The final showdown is not very cinematic, but presented, however, in a very intense and realistic way. There is very little explained about the villains of the story, but their obscure origins is what make them scary.

BONE TOMAHAWK would have been a disaster if not for is well built protagonists. It is also painfully long, but those who last the ran will not regret it.



Friday, 18 December 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: SURVIVOR


3/5

Kate Abbot (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor in an explosion where all her colleagues had died. Being the only suspect  and with a merciless killer (Pierce Brosnan) hunting her down she has no one to turn to. She can only count on herself to uncover a global terrorist conspiracy and stop the unthinkable from happening.

SURVIVOR has a familiar set up of Nick of Time, Red Eye or Non Stop, but with a lesser budget and simpler script. Director James McTeague, the famous creator of "V For Vendetta" gives us a disappointing and uninspired piece of work. It's resembles an episode of 24, only without character development. Every turn of the script is obvious from miles away and Milla Jovovich gives a woden performance and lacks vulnerability and charisma required for the role. The image of a merciless killer suits her much better. As for Pierce Brosnan, he plays well against the stereotype, portraying a cold blooded bastard with ease, however the script does not give him any back story to work with, so his character, inspite of his efforts, remains a one dimensional baddie.

On the bright side the movie has a decent cinematography and action. It is always fun to watch Milla running away from Pierce, looking scared, and as the stakes grow higher towards the end of the film, it even manages to deliver on suspense department. The script of SURVIVOR will fall apart like house of cards if you start analysing it, but may be enjoyable if you overlook the faults and just go along with it. With its generic story and cliche characters, SURVIVOR can be enjoyed by some and well deserves its place under the sun.