film

아저씨 (Ajeossi/The Man from Nowhere), (2010)

Finally got around to see this! I love asian cinema because they push boundaries (visually and thematically) not often seen in western films, and this one did not disappoint.

Korean title: 아저씨 Ajeossi
English title: The Man from Nowhere
Runtime: 1h 59 mins
Country: South Korea
Year: 2010

Director: Jeong-Beom Lee
Cinematographer: Tae-Yoon Lee
Editor: Sang-Beom Kim

Cast: Bin Won, Sae-Ron Kim

Synopsis:
A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend. (imbd.com)

Thoughts:
From the opening scene I found the characters compelling. The kid, So-Mi (Sae-Ron), is so cute, and fast we learn about her family situation and want her to get all the good in the world. While Tae-Sik (Bin-Won) is a mysterious dark (and handsome) character! The story follows their friendship and how Tae-Sik ends up hunting high and low to find the kidnapped So-Mi.

Usually I don’t like it when the main character just walks through the film without any challenges, I don’t know why this was different? Maybe because so much was at stake, and you never know what’s going to happen in an Asian film. You never doubt that Tae-Sik will lose the fights he’s in, he’s so raw. I think I accept this because of his backstory and sudden connection to the kids also because his fighting is pretty GENIUS! On many levels.

Last knife fight was pretty awesome. The P.O.V camera/editing made it super intensive, and i would love to try this technique in the future myself.

I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to people who like action, and doesn’t mind blood, brutal fights (knife, guns, beautiful martial art) and gruesome images of cut up victims. This film makes you feel, it gets you emotional, even some funny moments, and definitely… ACTIOON! 😀 Compared to many new action films, I love that this is action with reason, not just to show off all the guns and blablablahZzzZzz.. It is compelling all the way through, and I can’t wait to see it again soon enough!

So many twists!
So much heartbreak!
So much action!
I loved it!

Now go watch it (it can easily be found online for free)!

 

Rating: 4.5/6 .. but so close to a 5!

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-CinaMonster-

Horror from the Homeland : Villmark 2/Villmark Asylum (2015)

Title: Villmark 2 (Eng. title: Villmark Asylum)
Year: 2015
Runtime: 1h 33mins
Genre: Horror

Director: Pål Øie
Cast: Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Ellen Dorrit Petersen.

Synopsis:
Five contract workers have taken on the task of tracking a huge old sanatorium for hazardous waste before demolishing. They realize that the job is more than a search for asbestos and mercury. The enormous building has much darker secrets. (imbd.com)

Thoughts:
The first ‘Villmark’ was made in 2003, and is my favorite Norwegian horror film, so of course I wanted this to be as good. First of all, this story doesn’t follow ANY THING from the first one, I don’t understand why this is a “sequel” (Just to get the audience of course, plus is the same director). I had hopes it was going to be creepy because it is set in an old mental asylum. I think the location itself is a great place for a horror film, and as much as it is used quite well, i think it’s just a small portion of how much it could be used as a scary element. We honestly don’t get the feeling of how big this place is, even when they get separated. Yes the walks go out of reach (i think), but there’s no establishing of the inside, only the outside full house, which is not even filmed in an eerie way like it should be.

So this story revolves around 5 people who searches this huge house for “hazardous waste” before it’s going to be demolished. One man, Frank, has takes care of the property from its closure in 1978, and of course this guy is a little bit fishy. During their stay they start experiencing weird things: a dead guy, a creepy girl, and other stuff. And like “every” other horror in an isolated place, they start disappearing one by one.

Honestly, I didn’t find this very scary, and the ending was like WHAT WHY.. it is a twist, they tried, but not a twist wanted, mostly because it doesn’t make sense. I just think it wasted a lot of potential at the actual location. It is pretty good for a new horror film though, even though i didn’t feel it to the bones. Another note is that i feel the color scheme is not completely right.. more colder?? Like the new Japanese horror films.. Yes please!

If I were them, I would use this place for a crazy ass GHOST STORY!! Not Frankenstein-ish WWII nonsense….

With that said, i’m gonna start writing it right now… !
Look for it in 2020!

Rating: 3.5/6
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– CinaMonster-

 

The Boy (2016)

Title: The Boy
Year: 2016
Run Time: 1h 37mins

Director: William Brent Bell
Writer: Stacey Menear
Stars: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell

Synopsis:

An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive. (imbd.com)
Thoughts:
While watching this i actually felt i had seen this before, i have no idea where, but i think i’ve seen something about the “real” story behind this.
Anyway, in the beginning i thought this could be a decent scary movie, but honestly nothing really exciting happened. I don’t think the audience ever get to see the doll actually move (which with the end makes sense, kinda). The end did not come as a surprise, but still, I don’t understand it completely. There’s no sudden audio or close up scares, it’s kind of like a drama… with some scary/freaky elements haha! I even have a bit of a living doll “phobia” (from watching Goosebumps when i was younger), but this didn’t really affect me at all, soo… something went wrong somewhere you filmmakers! It had some pretty piano music though! 🙂
Was it a spirit, or was it not? That is my question about the end. I don’t think i would recommend this to many unless you are easily scared or a horror fan (like me), and just want to see it.
Raiting: 2.5/6
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– CinaMonster –

CineReview: Suicide Squad (2016) *No Story Spoilers*

Title: Suicide Squad
Year: 2016
Director/Writer: David Ayer
Cinematographer: Roman Vasyanov
Editor: John Gilroy
Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis. (Full List)

Synopsis:
A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency (imbd.com).

Thoughts:
Having been waiting for this film for a while, I had pretty high expectations, which is never good, specially not with Superhero movies. In the beginning, I really enjoyed the music, that was really good, when introducing each character. After a while though, I thought the music kind of took over, and it tried to lead the audience. In addition, by using popular music, it will definitely (at least for me) distract me from the story and/or character instead of adding to it. During the introduction, being an editor, I really enjoyed the way the edited to the music! And i think only once, I got thrown out because of weird jump cut editing (..the bad side of being a filmmaker I guess, seeing all this tiny details.)

A downside to movies like this is that it is TOO MANY CHARACTERS to get attached to.  And because of this, the characters are not as deep as they should be for the audience to connect fully and care for them all!

Jared Leto as the Joker: I really, REALLY!! wanted him to be super GREAT as The Joker, because I love Jared, and I think he’s a good actor. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed. I thought, Of all people, he would be the one that could be just as crazy as Heath Ledger, but i didn’t feel it like that. I don’t want to compare them, but I don’t think his character was strong enough here.

My favorite characters was Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and Katana (Karen Fukuhana). Girl power all the way! And, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) was pretty badass. I actually liked each character in the squad by them selves, and the background stories they tried to mix in, but it was too many for one film!

Storywise, i don’t even know. The film is only 2 hours and 3 minutes, it should be longer for us to know the characters, and feel their losses. I didn’t really feel the challenges in this film either, or the stakes. So much missing, that could’ve made this film a lot better. And because of the “short” run time, things happens pretty fast, and it’s all boom-boom-boom after each other! I’m not trying to be negative, I am just pointing out things critically, i actually enjoyed the film.

Note: Sadly I saw this Pre.Premiere at a music venue/ bar, and they decided to have a freaking 15 MINS BREAK in the middle, i was, to say it nicely, PISSED OFF!! Because they cared more abut selling alcohol than giving us a good cinematic experience! 

All in all, the film is entertaining like it should be. It did not reach the level I wanted it to be at, but I wasn’t bored. Also, I haven’t read any comics of this, maybe it follows it? I don’t know, but I am SURE it is better suited for “normal” audiences, who’s there for the superhero, entertaining film.

Rating: 4/6
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-CinaMonster-

A Filmmakers Wet Dream: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso

Title: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (Cinema Paradiso)
Year: 1988
Run Time: 2h 35 min
Language: Italian

Director: Guiseppe Tornatore
Cinematographer: Blasco Giurato
Editor: Mario Morra

CINEMA PARADISO

I was honestly ecstatic when I realized we were watching this in my film narrative class. I have wanted to watch it for so long, I even have it somewhere on a hard drive I think, I have NO IDEA why I haven’t checked it out before!! It’s a SHAME!

Synopsis:

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist. – IMDB.com

Thoughts:
The films follows Toto, a kid without a father who forms a relationship with the village’s projectionist Alfredo through their love for film. It follows Toto through life, love, leaving his home behind to become something more, and then getting back to remember the life he once lived.

This film shows how movies units people. Here, it unifies a whole village. It shows what you have to give up to pursue and live your dream. It shows you beautiful love. It is truly an amazing film that touched all of us film geeks in the audience because we felt so close to Toto.

The final scene is (a little bit to much and cheesy BUT!) emotionally beautiful ! I absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves making films, anyone who wants to follow their dream and does, and most people in general.

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5/5 stars for sure!

-CinaMonster-

 

 

2001: A Space Odyssey

Film: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Year: 1968 (had no idea!)
Run Time: 2:22h-2:41h (Depending on which version you watch)

Director: Stanley Kubrick (One of my favorites!)
Cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth
Editor: Ray Lovejoy

This film has been on my list FOREVER! Finally, I saw it on the BIG SCREEN in my film narrative class a few weeks ago, and it was basically nothing like I expected. I expected aliens and weird shit. I mean, it was a lot of weird shit going on, but nothing as I had visioned. I’m happy I saw it in class, because i’m not sure I would’ve lasted through the first Part on my own!

It starts with monkeys.. lot’s of monkeys, and a black stone. Then it goes into space travels to the moon and Jupiter, and I learn that my former place of studying was 100% influenced by the interior design in Part 2 (see pictures). Then there’s the thing between humans and smart machines, which was interesting.

Lnacaster University Learning Zone

Learning Zone, Lancaster University, UK

Station_V_01

Hotel in the Film.

 

 

My favorite part was the weird, WEIRD trippy travel near the end! I absolutely loved it, it was so beautiful. I think the cinematography and the audio design/ music is amazing, and is absolutely the best thing about this movie. I remember feeling so uneasy I almost had to leave whenever we only heard the breathing in the spacesuit… it was so claustrophobic and anxiety raising, pretty great.

Yes it’s so long (at least it feels long because everything is slowly paced), but in the end it’s all worth it, even if you don’t understand exactly what you watched because of the separate story lines in each part!

 

I’m not gonna give this a rating because i’m not sure yet how to feel about it yet, I think I have to watch it again, and write an actual review.. I’m just excited I finally saw it! It was a pretty great experience. It’s a MUST WATCH for any film enthusiast (specially in the working field) though… but I don’t think my mother would get through it.

-CinaMonster-

What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

Being a huge fan of horror films I have in recent years lost faith in this genre of film. Commercial horror films that is.

Some of my favorite films are the new-Hollywood horror films from around the 68 to early 80’s. Because this was the era after Motion Picture Production Code (film censorship laws), the filmmakers used their new freedom to create some of the most shocking (at the time) films. Of course i also enjoy Hitchcock, and a few 90’s films. Some of my fave horror films are for instance The Shining, The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, and The Birds. Quadruple THE!

I believe it is hard to come up with an original idea these days, but still, how hard is it to make it scary? I mean, in a psychological way. The new horror films are only meant to scare you in the moment, and not after. These scares are made out of loud noises building up to moments that actually isn’t scary at all, if it wasn’t for these loud noises. It’s like the audience is frighten of the sudden loud noise, not the actual picture, character or situation in the film. Of course this is an amazing example of how important music and sound effects are in films, but i think it’s a cheap way of making a scary movie. It’s like there’s no thought put into it, as they only rely on these sudden noises. When I watched Sinister in the cinema for instance, I was so exhausted after the film because of the constant building-up-to-a-scare sounds and music. The actual “scare” that the sounds were building up to however, was just a few insects, or a lawnmower… LAWNMOWER! And what about Paranormal Activity? How many are they supposed to make! I know they make a lot of money on these films, and I find it sad that money controls this industry as much as it does. I admit i thought the first one was okey, idea wise. Not very scary, but I enjoyed the low-budget documentary Blair Witch-ish influence.. But that was many years ago! I’m tired of all these sequels and prequels and whatever. When I watched the last one in the cinema, I only got frightened because of all the 12 year old screaming around me. Another example is the films The Purge and You’re Next… I have only seen The Purge, because i don’t want to see You’re Next.. Why? Well, they look exactly the same!! People in masks, trying to get into your house, killing people… How exciting! I know the actual plot is different from each other, but it looks pretty much the same.. Only that the people in You’re Next would fit in the “What Does the Fox Say” video.

RING-DING-DING!

And of course, if it isn’t the loud noises they scare you with, it is the massive amount of blood, or grotesque killings that makes your stomach turn. It’s not about the story anymore, it is about the sounds and visuals. For instance, I find the two first Saw films to be very good. The last… million.. however, it seems like they only put in torture and blood just for the sake of it. The more the better! And i do understand that this appeal to their audience, the fans of Slasher films, but also having a story, would be highly appreciated. I’ve also seen that these torture/bloody scenes have moved out of the Slasher flicks and into normal horror, which means you can’t choose. I personally don’t have an issue with blood and torture scenes, I find it hilarious at times because it is so overly used.

I am not saying ALL new horror films are bad, but a lot of them are. One film I have found a bit scary in the last few years is Insidious though, so in between all the rocks, there are some gems! 😉 Other than that I favor the non-commercial international horror films at this time in history! Like for instance Ringu (JPN), Audition (JPN), and REC (Spain), and I actually find the Norwegian film Villmark to be pretty decent too.

So I mean, is this time the death of horror films? Are there no more original ideas, so we have to re-make all of them? Has the filmmakers and studios just become lazy and redundant? Or do they really just give us what we, the audience, want?

“What’s your favorite Scary Move?”

The next Paranormal Activity perhaps! No thanks!

– CinaMonster –

Cine-Review: Frozen

Title: Frozen
Year: 2013
By: Disney

Synopsis:
Princess Elsa has a secret power of controlling snow and ice. By an accident she hurts her sister Anna when she is young and is banned from using her powers again. Years later, after living in solitude, she is going to be crowned as Queen, but is annoyed by her sisters irrational attitude and end up freezing the whole town of Arendale. Else is mad and scared and runs up to the mountain so she won’t hurt anyone ever again. The film follows Ana on her trip to find her sister and get her to defrost their town.

Review:
I didn’t go into the movie theatre expecting much of this. Yes, it could be as good as Tangled, but after reading some reviews i doubted it. What made me happy was that Disney still holds on to their traditions of musical elements in their animated films. This film may not hold classics like heard in Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, but I found it heartwarming and fun to re-live these childhood memories of Disney films and songs. Some of the songs are also a bit long and weird to be honest.
Since I am from the North, what i enjoyed most in this film was the influences it has from Scandinavian-, in particular Norwegian culture! The music, the names, the scenery resembles my culture, and it makes me a bit proud that Disney has chosen to portray this in one of their films.
All in all, the film is entertaining, and has it’s fun moments. Especially the Snowman Olaf and the reindeer Sven makes the film very enjoyable! The songs however, are a bit long and out of place at times, but the overall impression is quite good.

So if you are into Disney, and musicals… this is the film for you!

– CinaMonster –

This is the End (2013)

Short-Short-Review:

Directors: Evan Goldberg, Set Rogen
Cast: James Franco Jonah Hill, Set Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson.

This domesday comedy revolves around a party at James Franco’s house where several celebrities are faced with an apocalypse. it has some fun moments, and if you like the actors in it and are familiar with their work, you will like the film. However, the film is filled with manly a bit childish jokes, that may not appeal to all. All in all, it is entertaining if you want a break from your everyday life.

Rating: 3/6

Trailer:

– Cinamonster-