Archive for September, 2010

Media Rights Capital, Night Chronicles, Universal Pictures

Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O’Hara, Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend, Jacob Vargas, Matt Craven, Joshua Peace

I’m starting to think like Night, I think.  I figured this out pretty fast, but surprisingly it didn’t take anything away from the enjoyment of the film.  This is classic M. Night Shaymalan!  There’s creepy, and suspense, and a surprise (hardly) ending.  Don’t let anyone tell you the ending, or it will spoil a lot of the fun, plus it makes you feel smart when you figure it out for yourself.

This is one of those very simple, yet very clever premises.  The “narrator” who you will get to know later in the film, repeats the stories that his grandmother told him of how the devil can come back,  and take the souls of those who are evil.   Not only that, but the devil can take human form and walk among us.

We have a cop, who has an alcohol problem.  The film opens with him, and one of those amazing shocks that catches you by surprise.  (Shock by sound effect, if you know what I mean).

The story develops quickly and soon we know that a group of strangers who are trapped in an elevator are not who they appear to be, and one of them is the devil.

The suspense is awesome, and you never quite know what’s going on.  A good deal of time when the folks in the operator are in the dark,  the screen is also completely dark.  The theater where I watched this had a lot of light from the stairwells and such, and this would have been awesomely terrifying if you saw it in a dark room.  In case you watch this later at home,  be sure to turn out all the lights.   The sounds of what is going on in the dark are really frightening, and then the lights come on and you see what you just heard.  Creepy!

This is a short film, all in all it’s only 1 hour and 20 minutes.  This is kind of a relief, as it is nice, for a change to go to a movie and get out in an hour an a half,  even with the 37 previews that come in front.  In fact, I’m not the only one annoyed by this.  You can hear half the audience groaning each time the “This preview has been rated for all audiences”  comes up at the front.   They are interesting to a point and then there another one, and another, and another, and then another.  It’s getting rediculous.

So anyway, this isn’t Night’s greatest achievement, and it’s not a blockbuster.  But it’s really a clever film, and a lot to think about.   Night has an interesting mind, and it’s good to see him writing again.  I’m sure he has a bunch of stories in him waiting to come out.  This was a refreshing night out.

Oh, and one of the previews I saw had the premise that an evil soul can be reborn into a newborn on the night they die.  The story is about Jack the Ripper coming back as a small child.   Hmmm.  I wonder if it’s possible for great people to do the same.  I wonder if it’s possible that Rod Serling was reborn as Night Shaymalan?   This would have made an excellent Twilight Zone episode!!!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Movie Rentals Releasing Today Tuesday September 28th, 2010

  • Iron Man 2
  • Get Him to the Greek
  • Babies
  • Frozen
  • The Killer Inside Me

Author: EdG

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Matador Pictures, Island Film Group, Trailblazer Films, Screen East

Q’Orianka Kilcher, Barry Pepper, Will Patton, Shaun Evans, Jimmy Yuill, Julian Glover, Tamzin Merchant, Catherine Steadman, Kainoa Kilcher

This is a true story, based on the last ruler of the nation of Hawaii.  The US stole the country back before the turn of the 20th century, and President Clinton send a formal apology during the 90’s.  Officially Hawaii was annexec, but since it was not an agreement between two nations, but all one sided, then it doesn’t really mean it was annexed. 

Princess Kaiulani was the child of a Hawaiian mother and a Scottish father.  Her mother was sister of the King.  This is the story of her youth, and according to the excellent documentary included on the DVD, is pretty much a true story.  Some of the facts, they said, were smushed together for convenience, but esentially this is what happened.   They have a rather intense love story in the film that may or may not have happened the way they described.  There is some evidence that some of it may have happened, but for the most part that is the weaker portion of the history, but makes a better story.

The Princess was schooled in the Brittish Isles and then returned as she began her 20’s to her land just in time to watch it being swallowed by the Americans.  She had a vigorous and exciting, but very, very short life.  It ends tragically, but this story is told of her beginnings and dwells on the wonderful parts more than the tough parts.  The scenery in Hawaii is absolutely breathtaking.   Honolulu had electric lights long before most of Europe, and the place was very advanced for the late 1800’s.   The level of literacy was much higher than most other places. 

I really enjoyed wathing this film.  Like I said the cinematography was exceptional, and it was a very beautiful story.   I know a lot of people thought it was dull and boring, but I didn’t find it that way.  I thought it was excellently done.  And as I mentioned before, if you watch the DVD, the documentary of the real Princess Kaiulani in the special features is also excellent.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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StoneBrook Entertainment, Sycophant Films, Grindhouse Entertainment Group, Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Brian Geraghty, Rachel Blanchard, Anna Paquin, Stephen Meyer, Tricia Heffer, Gabrield Olds, Jessica Collins, Larry Sullivan, Ryan March, Kris Wheeler, Mia Riverton, Haja Hill, Gerald Downey, Eddie Martinez, Magda Rivera

Open House is a solid horror thriller.  Not very huge budget, no real blockbuster stars, but very, very creepy.  A couple is in the midst of a divorce and the wife has decided to sell the house.  She’s trying hard to dump it and holds an open house to show the place off.  One of the couples who come to the open house never leave.  Next thing you know Alice (the wife) is being held in a crawl space in the basement.

Both these people are nuts, but the crazy guy is keeping Alice alive for his own purposes, so not only does he have to keep anyone else from seeing her, but he has to keep his partner in the dark as well.

Alice does all she can to try to escape, and typical of this genre, close call after close call keeps the heat on throughout.

There are certainly lots of horrifying parts, and lots of gore.  But this one is much worse because of the suspense.  In between the catch and kill games, there is still Alice locked in the basement, beaten, starved, and forced to keep quiet.

This is a cat and mouse movie from start to finish.  Will these evil house grabbers get away with it, or will they get it in the end.  Up until the last moment, you’re not really sure, and the suspense never lets up.

Plus points for the suspense, the clever premise, and a pretty decent execution of the well written story.  A few minus points for the low budget, cheap effects, and lack of any really great standout performances.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Hyde Park International, Merchant Ivory Productions

Omar Metwally, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hiroyuki Sanada, Norma Alleandro, Alexandra Maria Lara,  Kate Burton, Norma Argentina

I’ve struggled with this review.  I was anxious to see the movie,  but waited from the time it was released on DVD for the release on “Watch Instantly”.  I liked the premise and I thought it would be good, but it was a lot different from what I expected.  This is a very cerebral movie and it is dreadfully slow.   The basis of the story is a writer who has conned the school to give him a grant to write a biography of a South American author who published one famous book and then died.  Problem is that he has no permission to write such a book.  So his overly demanding girlfriend/fiance coerces him into going to South America to ask permission of the author’s family.

And what a family it is.  The house is being run by the widow (Laura Linney) in a crotchety role, with the help of a gay relative (Anthony Hopkins) and her husband’s mistress.   Each is a misfit, and what a dysfunctional family this is.

The whole thing is rather strange, and goes about it very slowly!   I’m not sure if this is classic cinema and wonderful storytelling, or crap.  I find myself leaning toward the crap side, but I can’t seem to get it out of my head either.  So maybe they’re clever after all???  Anthony Hopkins is an awful flaming gay queen character.  He can’t pull that off.  And Laura Linney is supposed to be this bitch old lady which Bette Davis used to be able to pull off so well, but unfortuantely here, its not nearly as bitchy as it’s supposed to be.  I didn’t buy it.  The two relatively unknown actors seemed to pull it off more than anyone, so maybe the lack of notariety is an advantage here.   Not sure.

The wife says “No”.  The queen says,  “Yes, but”….and the conditions are really strange.  It is sort of explained, but it gets resolved in 2 sentences and the urgency and need seems to fade away leaving you wondering why it was such a big deal?   The mistress takes a liking to the guy, and one of the “While You Were Sleeping” moments occurs.   This also warranted big drama when the plot was discovered, but again it was dissolved by a shrug and sigh, and plods straight along without looking back at it.

The ending is also particularly NON-stunning as well.  It just sort of comes to an end.   “Who was that?  Oh, just someone that I used to know”

All in all I didn’t rate this very high as I didn’t enjoy it very much.  I was slightly interested in what would happen, but mostly I was disappointed, and in the end I realized I didn’t really care if he wrote the damn book or not.   I know some people are going to go gaga over this film and call it fine art cinema, but for the average guy, this is mostly boring.   I am really willing to discuss further if any fans want to disagree, but it didn’t move the earth for me, that’s for sure.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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