Posts Tagged ‘[rec]

18
Sep
09

Dumb shit people say after trailers.

I just watched the new trailer for “Paranormal Activity”, which is getting some serious buzz as the next big thing in the horror genre. I’ll cross my fingers for that, but that isn’t the point of this post. The trailer used night vision cameras pointed at a test audience freaking out to kind of build hype for the next “scariest movie ever made”. [Rec] did this too, and I’m sure some other horror film did it before that. I almost thought “hmm, kinda like that one [Rec] Trailer”, just in terms of how the film is pitched… but then I caught myself about to say something stupid.

What other stupid things can people say based on trailers alone? Well let’s list a few.

“A comedy with zombies? Totally rips off Shaun of the Dead…”

Example : Zombieland.

Shaun of the Dead kicked a whole lot of ass and I’m glad it got a huge audience instead of just the usual zombie loving cult people, but it was by no means the first comedy with zombies. In fact, Shaun of the Dead owes plenty of its style and tone to the Return of the Living Dead series, as well as several others. Great film, but don’t call others like it a rip off just because it’s the only zombie comedy you’ve ever seen. While we’re at it… who’s psyched for Zombieland?

OMG it’s like a documentary or something! IS IT REAL OR JUST FAKE LOL!?

Example : The Poughkeepsie Tapes. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Blair Witch Project.

There’s a sub group for these people, the people that bash the movie because it’s “fake”. Selling a movie as “found footage” from a real event can sometimes lend it some real atmosphere, but the filmmakers are never expecting you to actually be fooled by this. Sometimes it’s done really well, sometimes it’s done really poorly, but it’s never bad because it pretends it really happened and it didn’t. Most movies pretend things happen.

This movie looks so scary can someone please give me a plot synopsis and spoil every scary part in great detail!?!?

Example : MANY.

This one seems to be mostly symptomatic of IMDB, and it seems to be relatively new. I don’t understand this at all. It seems to come from people that have a genuine interest in horror movies, but psyche themselves out to the point where they can’t bring themselves to actually sit through one. I don’t know how that can actually occur in someone’s head, since the curiosity in the story demonstrates a desire to see it, why would someone want it cheapened? If I told you I had a real interest in Tolstoy, but I don’t want to read Tolstoy, I just want to have it explained to me in great detail, wouldn’t you question that?

Maybe I’ll come up with more of these eventually, but those are the ones that jump to mind after spending a little too long browsing around online. Sorry this post was late, but I’ll keep on the normal schedule on Monday!

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20
Aug
09

District 9 – A mineshaft review

Okay okay.. so I took a break from the mineshaft for about 8 posts. I was falling behind on my backlog of posts and I got lazy… I do apologize, but now I’m back on track! So, my return to the mineshaft will be met with a District 9 review!

Warning : This review contains spoilers worse than the portrayal of Nigerians in this movie.

Now, District 9 is a solid movie. Due to so many summer movies completely sucking, it may still be one of the top summer movies of the year. I found it quite an entertaining “ride”, as critics say. I wasn’t really going to go after it until I saw that public opinion on this movie is COMPLETELY out of control and I feel like it’s my duty to pop up and point a thing or two out.

Good things?

The Special Effects are excellent… and I rarely say that. I’m more inclined to appreciate the special effects in something like Terminator 2 or Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the CG effects in this movie are pretty excellent. When you consider that this movie has a small fraction of the budget of most effect heavy movies, it gets even more impressive.

The guy who plays Wickus does a great job. In fact, Wickus is a pretty good character all around. He’s a bit of an ass… and a bit stupid at times, but he’s somehow sympathetic. He’s one of the more interesting action stars in recent memory.

The bad? Oh here we go…

The documentary style filming at the beginning of the film is really interesting, which is probably why it was awkwardly dropped after 15 minutes. I thought this part of the film was really cool and did a great job of “world building” and making the concept behind the film seem really convincing. It also did a great job of building tension when some of the interviews imply things that are about to unfold. Then all of a sudden in the middle of the documentary style filming, we are shown shots from other angles that obviously couldn’t be filmed by news crews or film makers. It’s completely jarring. Imagine The Blair Witch Project, but every now and then they cut away to a helicopter shot to show the witch’s position relative to the campers.

Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by Diary Of the Dead, [rec], and Cloverfield, but documentaries carry with them inherent questions about who is filming them, why, and what their agenda consists of. This movie pays no attention to any of that. In fact, we don’t even get to see the documentary style cameras in the wide shots. Eventually they drop the style completely and go for a traditional hollywood film. Which brings me in to my next point.

It’s TOTALLY a traditional hollywood film. Don’t buy all the marketing about how it’s a first time director and how it’s completely different from anything you’ve ever seen. This movie reaches a point around the middle where it’s everything you’ve ever seen. It becomes any sort of “government project gone wrong” movie… following in the footsteps of The Incredible Hulk, or X-Men Origins : Wolverine. It becomes completely predictable, and extremely cliched. Sure, it tries to snap back into the artsy documentary stuff at the end, but the bulk of this movie is a big dumb action movie. There’s nothing wrong with a big dumb action movie, but this film seems to revel in its action and gore while pretending to be subtle. Once again, master of the transition… this leads me right in…

The “clever social commentary” makes George Romero look subtle. I was worried going in that there would be too much preachy social commentary and too little attention to story. I found the commentary that was there was completely obvious… and it didn’t seem to go into much depth. I think maybe the movie is afraid to delve into the issues it wants to present. When the action really picks up, the movie abandons its ambitions for satire altogether. This movie will not generate intriguing debate about Africa afterwards, you will be talking about the alien battlemech instead.

The “villain” soldier guy sucked balls. Okay this is a minor complaint, but still. The best this movie has to throw in Wickus’ way is this bald soldier guy who only seems to be the bad guy because he miraculously survives every scene he’s in. Over the course of the film we see Wickus take down huge amounts of soldiers. The idea that this one guy could pose any threat to him is a bit of a stretch.

Overall, this movie is a very small film that collided with a very big film. It’s no surprise that the big film won, leaving bits of small film blood left all over the screen, suggesting that there once was more there.

I’ll end this review on that quippy note. District 9 fans, I urge you to disagree with me and write a comment or two. ūüôā

09
Oct
08

[rec] just rules…

For those of you who are interested in horror films, particularly zombie films, I recommend the relatively new spanish horror film [rec]. For those of you who are interested in POV horror, or POV filmmaking in general, I recommend [rec]. For those of you who wanna be grabbed by the collar and taken for one hell of a ride, I definitely recommend [rec]. It’s everything Cloverfield could have been.

In case you don’t know, I’ll give you a really quick plot overview. A perky journalist lady and her cameraman are doing a late night feature on firemen. They follow a team of firemen out to an apartment building on a mysterious call… and it all goes to hell from there. This movie is indeed being remade as “Quarantine” in the US, but more on that later.

There will be some debate as to whether it’s actually a zombie film or not. Yeaaaah they’re not technically dead, but it has all your typical zombie movie traditions of claustrophobia, a disease that spreads through bites/scratches, and that pervasive feeling of dread throughout. If you really wanna argue about it, go for it… but it’s at the very least a¬†sub-genre¬†connected to the zombie film.

So yes, it’s a shaky cam POV film like Cloverfield, the Blair Witch Project, and Diary of the Dead. Out of those four, I’d say [Rec] and Diary of the Dead are the two worth watching (zombie bias? I think not!). Diary of the Dead uses the POV camera idea to make a statement about “the youtube generation” and how the internet is affecting the media, as well as society in general. [Rec] uses the POV camera idea to make you jump off the¬†cushion¬†and yell “get OUT of there!” as much as it possibly can. It’s not high art, it’s not well acted cinema, it’s a movie that drags you into hell, leaving you there with the lights out. It’s for people who enjoy the horror genre for the thrills more than anything else.

If you can stand subtitles in the least, do yourself a favor and find a copy of [Rec]. The dialog is pretty light throughout even if you aren’t a subtitle fan… and hey, if you’re REALLY not a subtitle fan, go see the american made Quarantine this week in theaters!¬†

Okay that was a cheap shot. Believe it or not, I’m not going to hammer on a movie I haven’t seen yet. Sure, it kinda stinks that they’re remaking a 2007 film in English in 2008. Yeah, from the preview it looks like an exact shot for shot redo of the first one. It’s one of those “What’s the point?” type reactions for me. I’m not going to complain unless I’ve seen it though. One thing I will complain about is when remakes tip very¬†important scenes in the trailers. They really shouldn’t show key shots and moments from the last 20 to 30 minutes of the film in horror film trailers. I think The Eye with Jessica Alba did the same thing. Now that I’ve said it you probably know what I’m talking about, but those who pay attention to the trailer may be less surprised by a quite surprising moment in the film.¬†

Maybe I’ll throw some venom at the remake if I ever get around to seeing it. Fans of the original will give it a good smashing, but keep in mind that it will only bring a bigger audience to foreign horror in the long run. If the Gore Verbinski remake of The Ring didn’t happen, the japanese horror craze probably wouldn’t have taken off nearly as well as it did.

People like to say that Hollywood is low on ideas, but as long as they keep stealing ideas from other countries, they’re pointing to where the good ideas are coming from, letting the real horror fans run out and get scared by some original,¬†innovative filmmaking.