I’ve already fallen behind on all the movies I wanted to watch, but I’m going to attempt to make a comeback later in the month by watching two movies occasionally. However, I managed to see a couple horror films this past week, and there will be a lot more for next week’s post. In the meantime, it is time for some James Wan and John Carpenter love.
We’re one week into October and I found myself in a state of realization recently. Turns out I’ve seen very few horror films. Growing up, I was the kid who wanted nothing to do with horror. Why would I want to spend my nights creating nightmare fuel out of images of psychopaths, ghouls, and clowns? One of the few horror films that I actually watched while growing up was Army of Darkness, and obviously that was due to its campy nature and comedy. However, as of the past two years (when I decided to sit down and see Sinister in theaters), I started learning to love horror. It’s an overcrowded genre nowadays, but there are minor tweaks which can sometimes completely change the effect the film has on me. So, since it is October, and I have a long shame list (as well as some other horror films that I’m just interested in seeing), I am going to try to watch one horror movie a day and write a little reaction to them. Then at the end of each week, I’ll post those reactions. However, I already screwed up this week by not watching all the films I planned to see. Going to try and re-schedule them for another day. With that history out of the way, let’s commence with a hell of a list of films. Pun intended.
Title: Sin City: A Dame to KillFor Genre: Crime, Thriller Director(s): Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez Release Year: 2014
*I would like to state here that there will be spoilers for the first and second movies throughout this review.*
The mid 2000’s were a time of reinvention in film. Christopher Nolan, director of Insomnia, Following and the cult hit Memento, was hired to reboot the Batman franchise. Horror movies turned into endurance tests for your tolerance of gore. And remakes were becoming a thing of terror. Robert Rodriguez turned his head towards the noir graphic novel series, “Sin City” and made something fresh and (arguably) original. Made through the techniques of CGI and various animation effects (e.g. rotoscoping), Sin City commanded the screen with incredible visuals and the whip-fast editing. While the original movie may not have cared too much about genuine character arcs or women (something we’ll address again later), it wrapped itself around being a fun movie for a new generation.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the sequel. While the original surprised its audience with women in various states of undress, and an unparalleled hatred for male genitalia, and various other atrocities that almost made the viewer feel disgusted with themselves at how much fun it was, the sequel doesn’t care to do anything but cross some t’s and dot some I’s. CG rain? Check. Blood splatter in pure white? Check. Almost naked woman in nearly every frame? Double Check. Continue reading →
Title: Video Games: The Movie Genre(s): Documentary Director(s): Jeremy Snead Release Year: 2014
I have played plenty of video games. I might even go so far as to say that I love video games. A bold claim, for sure, but not an uncommon one by any stretch of the imagination. Video games are huge, and constantly getting bigger and bigger, so the idea of a documentary that looks back on the history of the medium and examines the struggles that the medium has had since the days of Pong and the arcade cabinet, is both tantalizing and informative. There is a lot of information to be unearthed when it comes to what went wrong at certain times in the industry and how some companies fell to the sidelines simply because the industry was in a constant state of flux. Unfortunately, Video Games: The Movie is a celebration of gaming, with very little recognition of the struggles the industry has had to overcome and is still overcoming.
There was a moment when the most beloved of video game companies, Nintendo, was being discussed as the saviour of the gaming industry and developers and publishers talked about the influence Nintendo had on the industry as a whole, as well as their lives. That segment is exactly what is wrong with Video Games: The Movie. It never acknowledges the missteps of Nintendo, and even goes so far as to feature employees of Nintendo esteeming the company in both what it’s done in the past as well as the present. It is a moment that plays out as a very unappealing advertisement, where you can tell the filmmakers were not concerned with telling two sides of a story, but merely wanted to get more people into video games.
Title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Genre(s): Action, Drama, Science Fiction Director(s): Matt Reeves Release Year: 2014
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a magnificent film. Not because it does anything original; not because it breaks new ground; and not because it reinvents the wheel. It is a magnificent film because it uses revisionist film-making to make a point. It understands that good science fiction has something to say, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has something very poignant to tell the audience. It takes a human story and uses apes to tell it. By doing so, Matt Reeves manages to highlight the simplicity in the story, but also reinvigorate what it means to be a science fiction film.
The movie picks up years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes escalated into a world where Caesar (Andy Serkis) is essentially the ruler of the world, or at least in the scope of the film. Humans aren’t even considered to still be alive, and there are rules which the apes live by. They are rules which are reminiscent of Moses and the Ten Commandments, but more limited and devoid of religious association. However, they are the beginning of a civilization. That is where Dawn of the Planet of the Apes excels: it demonstrates the evolution from tribalism to civilization by simply restarting the world.