Horror maven Wes Craven died today, age 76, from his battle with brain cancer. Normally I don’t post things like this but I think we all know how influential NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET has been in my life (I’ve only mentioned it a time or two…). It’s my favorite horror series; I own 2 documentaries about it (if there are more, PLEASE let me know because I need them!); have a sweet NOES shirt that I was gifted a couple of years ago; used to fall asleep to the theme song that I would play on repeat on my phone (what? It was soothing!) and had my proudest “parent” moment ever just the other day when my ex-bf’s kid sent me a story to read that he’d written for Creepypasta that had a Krueger homage in it. *wipes away happy tears* I am proud of the horror education I instilled in my kiddo.
The first SCREAM also made an impact on me as I was 16 when it came out (yes, I’m old, I know) and it was one of my first horror movies. It was so irreverent, so scary (at the time) and so fun. It made me realize movies didn’t have to come in a pre-packaged form and be like all the rest. Important knowledge for a girl who was nothing like anyone else in her small Southern town or her family.
And Mr. Craven knew that change was good such as when he wrote and directed this bit from one of my favorite films, PARIS JE T’AIME:
So goodbye, Wes Craven, and THANK YOU for all the nightmares.
It’s Devil Week over at the IPCs because everyone needs more devil in their lives, right? Starting yesterday, there’ll be five days worth of movies with the word devil in the title that may or may not have to do with the devil at all! (Or in this case, not necessarily in the title but ya know…E said it was totes cool!) And so I present our He Said/She Said of I’M NOT JESUS MOMMY:
I’ve never been a real big fan of “The Omen” style Antichrist movies, probably because I was bred into a religious environment growing up, and, as a Sagittarius, I can’t really take it when people tell me what to do and how to think and what’s trendy and what to watch and what to do and everything else. The “Sag” is a free spirit who makes his (her) own decisions by trying it out himself (herself) before making the decision of like or dislike or hang on to or get rid of. So, here we have an Apocalypse movie, via “The Rapture” that’s really (thankfully) not too preachy but, honestly, suffers from WAY too much slowness, boredom and, I do hate it, but not too much budget. With “Amber Lake“, those folks showed us how to make a really GOOD movie with no money. Here, the acting is pretty bad from everyone, but it’s not like I just hired my neighbor from across the street to do the co-star role for 200 bucks, I think it’s just a lack of experience. I am always appreciative that a movie gets made (who knows if I’ll ever even finish my screenplay and try), much less gets picked up and distributed, but this was just kind of too slow. I mean, I think they really tried, but, for real, I played 20 rounds of Words With Friends during the loooooong musical interludes because I was not interested, I thought about how I might review this because I think they had a good idea which could have been much better with some more funding, I thought about how (in no way ever) I could give some money for a better remake and, for those of you who look at this, I thought about how I had the shot in my back today and I could finally sit comfortably, and I thought about how I have to go to work tomorrow. Anyway, this is boring and slow and has several record-playing pauses that dim any excitement that might be brewing, BUT – it’s a good story, if you don’t mind a Christian style End-of-Days Rapture thing.
So – a very large chested woman named Bridget McGrath plays a very successful fertility doctor named Kimberly Gabriel who can’t have kids of her own. She is opted in to a U.S. Army experiment where an actor named Charles Hubbell (Dr. Gibson) has finally figured out how to clone a human embryo. Despite her initial reservations, she decides to go along with the experiments on illegal Mexican aliens as hosts and goes ahead and self-inseminates herself with one of the clone-embryos. Sure enough, it takes (but none of the others do) and eventually she Cesarean-style has a baby she names David (complete with an upside down cross indention on his baby-head). Shortly after that, we cut to seven years later, the Earth is in famine, war and death (Revelations), everyone seems to have “the mark of the beast”, the U.S. is in some sort of Ice Age and (I think) the Mexican government is controlling everything from food to water and bread and there is no gas or electricity. Kim and her son David are living alone in a cold, cold apartment and he Doctor (Hubbell) has gone bat-shit religious, preaching (and praying) constantly to his live-in sister and her daughter.
I’ll stop here, because this is a decent (but very slow) movie and I shouldn’t spoil it, but this could be much better. Let’s ax the record playing, the CGI cold breath, the way, WAY too many close-up shots, the irritating preaching by Hubbell, the clothes-with-no-bodies-Rapture business and make this into something exciting that’s not “Vanishing on 7th Street“. To me it’s “to each their own” and I have long read into the dogma of Christianity (and many other religions) and I get it, but how about someone funds something that is actually scary about the Apocalypse, which is a fearful thought, whichever “ism” you believe in. It’s been a LONGtime since I saw it with my friend Dave M, but I think my favorite of these types of things is “The Prophecy” with none other than my main man, Christopher Walken.
No, no you are NOT Jesus because I’m fairly certain Jesus would’ve had the common courtesy to put a comma in that freaking title. Seriously. That’s the first thing that’s wrong with I’m Not Jesus Mommy but never fear, that’s not the only thing that’s wrong here, trust me. There’s lots more to come!
The story starts out with a woman. She’s a cancer survivor but unfortunately the cancer left her unable to conceive. She has a husband who seems pretty sweet and loving – I mean they spend the first 20 minutes of the movie dancing around the kitchen and drinking wine and snuggling. In between the lovey-dovey, there are shots of the woman (Kimberly, btw) being interviewed because she is also a fertility doctor (irony!), then going to a top super secret meeting with military personnel, then getting all furious because at this top super secret meeting she learns that these people are cloning, then after that she decides to take a job with them. Hey, minds can be changed in the blink of an eye.
Roger is the lead doctor of this top super secret cloning project which seems to mostly consist of catching illegal immigrants and offering them the chance to become a permanent resident if they agree to be implanted and carry a baby to term. The embryos that aren’t implanted are destroyed which agonizes Kimberly. So what does she do? She grabs the first one she sees and impregnates herself, of course! No learning anything about the embryo or where it came from or any characteristics of it, nope, just point and shoot with the turkey baster. She’s totes excited about this and runs home to tell her husband who becomes furious. Why? Because she didn’t ask him and this wasn’t just her decision. This was an odd turn of events to me because it’s made pretty apparent before hand that Kimberly really really wants a baby and if you didn’t want a baby, Mr. Husband, pretty sure you should’ve said something like, AGES ago. *shakes head, rolls eyes* Mr. Husband runs off in a rage and immediately gets into a car wreck where his car is flipped over. Then another car comes along a minute later and smashes into him. Oh well.
Baby is born (which is pretty epic because all the other embryos implanted were still-born), baby is baptized. And suddenly, it’s 7 years later and the world has gone crazy. Mexico has closed off its borders and built a wall to discourage US and Canadian citizens from crossing into their land. People are being fed government rations and starving. There’s barely any electricity or heat and all that’s on the telly are the government rules (curfews, punishment for not obeying the rules). Life pretty much sucks.
Now, remember Roger, the cloning guru? Well, he’s gone extremely religious. He’s somewhere between fanatic and extremist. I mean, he’s smothering people in the name of love and all that (just a note – one of the people he smothers is an adorable little child so if that sort of thing bothers you, for sure never watch this one). And baby? Well, his name’s David and he has an imaginary friend named Kuddles and his mommy is dying and he wants to go to Mexico. There’s a lot of “yada, yada, government is bad, yada, yada, mommy is dying, yada, yada” exposition and then suddenly we’re at the end of this thing without anything really having happened. I will tell you this much about the end. The whole “I’m not Jesus” thing comes about from David having been cloned from blood found on the Shroud of Turin. Yep, he’s supposed to be a Jesus clone.
So what are my issues here? How about a handy little list?
1. The acting is bad. Kimberly is completely monotone. “My baby!” carries as much weight here as “I took out the garbage.” It’s entirely distracting.
2. This movie has no idea what it wants to be about. It starts off being about the dangers of cloning, then suddenly it turns into a statement about immigration, THEN it goes all religious and finally at the very end, it’s about cloning again. Now if they had picked just one of these (hell, even two) it would’ve made for a much more linear narrative but instead we get a jumble that doesn’t know what it wants to be preaching about.
3. The description I read about the movie before I watched states that “odd things happen when David is around”. NOTHING odd happens when David is around except that he’s a weird kid that wants to bring his mom back to life when she dies. And there’s one instance where Kuddles seems to “come to life”, so to speak.
4. We see people getting killed and then a minute later, all that’s left of them is their clothing. So we seem to have the Rapture going on but why do they need to die first for this to happen? Admittedly, I haven’t gone to church in awhile but my understanding is that you can just be raptured without being killed first.
5. Why did the world suddenly go all Big Brother crazy? There is NO indication of this happening prior to the title card “7 Years Later”. Did cloning make this happen, is that what we’re supposed to surmise? This plot point seemed to come totally out of left field.
So much wrong when this could’ve been so much of a right. *sighs*
Ugh, anthologies are like SO over, you guys. Totes. And yet, people keep doing them. “The Perfect House” came out this past July as a release from Wild Eye Releasing and once again reminds us of how badly we need some original horror stories on the scene. And it isn’t just the anthology framework here that’s overdone, it’s ALL of it. It’s an entire film of “Yes, yes, we KNOW, we KNOW,” with perhaps a spot of “Oh, hey. That was sort of nice.”.
Here’s how it goes down:
Enter a young family (parents and 3 kids) going to dinner at their neighbor’s house. Things are going well (kinda sorta – the in your face foreshadowing has already told us shit’s about to go down) till a weedwhacker (I think) is brought up. Chaos ensues for a brief moment. End Scene.
Enter a young couple who are house shopping. They stop at a house that they are so super uber excited about and meet with the oddly super sexual realtor (whom the wife does NOT bitch slap for some reason) who shows them around the house (thankfully without having sex with either or both of them) while telling them that the basement is usually a deal breaker. But why?? End scene.
Enter another family in said basement on a dark and stormy night…No really, it is. Big storm so they’re all sleeping in the basement because it’s all dark and scary. We’ve got a brother and sister who look to be between 13 and 15 years. We’ve got a dad who is REALLY into protecting the daughter for some reason. And then we’ve got mom, who is a scary psycho bitch. Needless to say, the sleepover doesn’t end well. The problem is, I think there was supposed to be some sort of twist or something but it was so dark I don’t know what happened (not to mention 3 different versions of the same story were told – NOT helping). This one could’ve been okay with a clearer ending and some more light in the basement.
After a totally not seamless transition (I spent a good two minutes trying to figure out if the girl in this story was the same as the girl in the first story despite our having gone back to the couple/realtor scene b/c they looked so similar), enter another teenage girl and a psychopathic guy, say in his early 20s? in the deal breaking basement. This time the girl is in a cage (kinky) and is being forced to watch as dude allegedly kills a person a week. Just fyi, he’s had her for FIVE years. A person a week for five years? How many people is that exactly? 260? Have the police not noticed the 260 people that are missing from this town (is there even a town left at this point)? Or are they seriously just so incompetent that they can’t find a serial killer who’s been in the same house for 5 freaking years with a girl in a cage? SERIOUSLY?? Logic, thou art a fool. *eye roll* And then after that, it’s just torture porn for a thousand years or so. I thought the torture porn trend had finally died out but it seems I was wrong. *sighs* On the plus side, the effects are really good so if you’re a gorehound, you will most definitely be pleased.
Back with the sexy realtor/married couple, the wife part of said couple is getting totally wigged out by the basement. Bad feels and all, ya know? Her hubby still says everything is fine but you know what? He’s apparently cut his finger on something pretty badly (from the amount of blood gushing out) and yet he still has a goofy grin on his face because of the realtor, so what does he know?
ANNNNNDDDDD we’re back with our original family, who went to have a friendly dinner with the not at ALL crazy neighbor man, who didn’t at ALL flip out about a weedwhacker and then handcuff them all up to indulge in some more torture porn that’s a cross between “Saw” and “Would You Rather?”. Ye gods, when will the torture porn/”I’m Jigsaw’s prodigy” end??? But once again, it’s got some good gore (although *spoiler* if you have issues with young kids dying, you might want to skip this one).
Also on the plus is Felissa Rose as the mother of the “Let’s go to dinner and get murdered!” family (you might better know her as “Angela” from the amazing “Sleepaway Camp”). Most of the acting is well done – the young couple and realtor were a little under par while Girl in a Cage was pretty kickawesome. Props to the makeup team and FX – they went above and beyond. This film suffered the fate of many a horror flick in that parts of it were much too dim to see anything. That was mostly in the basement scene and then part of the family at dinner scenes were hard to see as well.
To sum up, “The Perfect House” isn’t the worst thing you could watch by far, it’s just tired, another “wash, rinse and repeat” horror film. But if you’re into anthologies or the torture porn genre, then by all means check it out because you might like it. Just hop online and hang a left at their website!
(Ugh, finally this week is over!! And so I present a review…)
Jaschar L Marktanner’s AUFDRUCK/LABEL (hailing from Germany) is a nifty little 4 minute film about two young women in their twenties who sit in a café and sip coffee out of way too small cups while smoking an unhealthy amount of cigarettes and talking about everything under the sun and beyond, like aliens. Pretty simple, yeah? And seriously it IS an unhealthy amount of cigarettes (says the former smoker). ;) It’s also so much more than that though.
These two are very “Ugh, life. Whatever.” women who have an absolutely fabulously random conversation about some “son of a bitch” (and the waiter, who is also a “son of a bitch”, and aliens, also “sons of a bitches”, and well, I think you get the picture) and who are just so immensely dismal and Debbie Downers (especially the one in the hat) that you don’t know whether to feel bad for them or just laugh. Which, honestly, isn’t even the point in the first place. As you’ve likely already figured out from the title, this is a film about labels given to us by other people and labels we give other people (“bastard” was also highly utilized here – interesting that the two main labels both dealt with aspects of one’s birth).
This girl was my fave. She’s the one that brought up aliens and showed much more contempt for everything in life than the other girl, which I enjoyed. This was Mary Krasnoperova’s first film role and I gotta give her props for making me laugh!
Ms. Anti-Blossom here was good too, just more decisive about her utter lack of interest in life, rather than full of contempt. More “yes, he IS a son of a bitch and the world does suck and blah, blah. Also, blast those aliens!” This was Kira Mathis’ first leading role so kudos to her too.
Overall, it’s a rather enjoyable (and odd – which only elevates it in my book) film about the asinine way the world works with it’s many familial, societal (and more) categories & labels dumped upon us. (Really when you actually think about it, all those little boxes we’re put into are similar to the structural architecture of Dante’s INFERNO, you know?…Yeah, I think too much sometimes…). Being chock full of cursing also gave it a plus in my book. ;) And the gorgeous aesthetics wrapped everything up neatly.
AUFDRUCK/LABEL is making the festival rounds right now but should it come out online anytime soon, give it a quick watch! For now, check out the IMDB!
“Set in a troubled town in the center of England, life is tough for Toby, a local fighter down on his luck. His mother is an invalid; the town hates him and a particularly nasty businessman has plans for him that will tear his life apart. One day, after losing a crucial fight, a stranger only known as ‘The Collector’ arrives to take him away and drop him in the middle of an unforgiving landscape, where he will either sink or swim. Toby realizes that he has died and landed in a cruel holding pattern between heaven and hell, where he must find his own way, or be forever stuck going in circles.”
Directed by John Wheeler and starring Aaron Long, Simon Sokowlowski, Laura Marklew, Sarah Jane Whittaker and MacKenzie Arnold Williams, The Last Road is an unfortunately messy film that has a solid premise but poor execution. It’s wonderful that the scenery is dark and moody and gorgeous to look at, because trying to follow the story line proves difficult at times. The movie seems to be trying its damnedest to be abstract but it never quite succeeds. Instead we get a loose plot line of a man-child stuck in a type of purgatory, walking aimlessly and suffering different encounters that are supposed to have deeper meanings than what they appear as. Some of these meetings do just that while others…not so much…And after Toby’s first 30 or so minutes in this purgatory, one’s patience starts to wear thin as the journey grows ever the more tedious.
Then there’s the matter of the acting. It’s interesting – the women all did a fine job. They weren’t outstanding but neither were they terrible. They did what they were supposed to and played their parts well. It was only some of the men actors that I took issue with – for example, there was a character that was a former military officer of some kind who died of a dug overdose who seemed to have trouble expressing emotion. And then there was Toby (Aaron Long) himself. When he was playing just straight forward, little to no emotion, a chill kind of boxer/fighter/wrestling guy, he did a not bad job. But in any scene where emotion was required (particularly a negative emotion like anger or sadness) the poor guy couldn’t emote to save his life. It almost seemed as if it was just that melodrama wasn’t his thing so, “okay but whatever”. Regardless of motive or inspiration behind it, it was distracting. His death scene was one of the more horrible I’ve witnessed (just as an fyi, I feel bad saying that because I myself SUCK at death scenes. I am SO bad, lol) but at the same time, it wasn’t him alone. It was the entire scene. Every person in the frame was doing poorly and the way the shots were handled could have been better (too much cutting to the guy sitting in the corner of the ring, too much on the face of Toby and it was just TOO long). *sighs* Look, nobody here was Paris Hilton, okay? People just seemed to have trouble expressing passionate emotions is all.
Moving on…Fight choreography. This one was interesting. The fights in the ring – the wrestling – I thought were rather well done. I used to be a huge wrestling fan and not just of pro but I’d sometimes help a friend run sound for local amateur matches too. I was REALLY into it. So I was impressed with what happened inside the ring. But outside? I…I just…I have no idea what happened there…Fights were slow and sloppy and the moves were so very obvious. I absolutely understand the importance of safety first but comparing the fights inside the ring to outside is like comparing apples to oranges – entirely different creatures. I’m quite curious as to why that was.
Independent films are always fun beasts. Often they’re lo-budget and people are working 8 different jobs and it’s a helluva lot of fun. So sometimes things can get overlooked. It happens. But the continuity here in this film was horrible enough that SOMEBODY should have noticed. Having a cigarette be different lengths in a scene is one thing. Having someone lose his teeth, then turn around immediately after and still have them is something altogether different. I saw makeup errors, errors on marks and the such. Some of it is unavoidable if you’re working with a lo-budget true. But others, like the teeth thing, can easily be avoided. (And I realize there’s a chance the teeth thing might have been on purpose but it still doesn’t make sense if something from earlier is taken into account so…). If you can’t figure out how to make it work, don’t do it. You’ll be better off for it.
“Okay”, you’re saying to yourself, “she obviously hated The Last Road.” Well, no. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t entirely like it but neither did I hate it. There was some cool stuff thrown in there too. There’s a part where, after Toby’s death, he goes back home to see his mum. Except he can’t actually SEE her. He can, however, see the sheets of the bed bunched up around her (she’s an invalid) and see her shadow. Then there’s Toby’s dog, Prince. Prince is Toby’s absolute best mate. He’d do anything for that dog and the relationship there is touching to watch. As I said previously, the wrestling bits were fun to watch and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous to behold. And the concept behind the piece is a good one, a fascinating one – it just needs some work…
Citizen ‘Caine comes to us courtesy of John Ervin, who also brought us The Tiki War (which you might remember me reviewing in Rogue Cinema a couple of issues back). While I enjoyed The Tiki War, unfortunately I did not enjoy Citizen ‘Caine. The film didn’t serve so much as a look at the grittier side of life as it did to a somewhat boring slice of life. While I don’t think the point of the film was to be grittily morose, one would think that diving into an exploration of the adult film industry and cocaine addiction would be dirtier and more interesting. Mostly though, I just kept wondering what point the film was trying to make exactly and that’s usually not a good sign…
Synopsis: Lou Phillips, a cocaine-addicted insurance salesman from Minnesota, confronts the seedy underbelly of Hollywood in search of his missing teenaged daughter. During his search he interrupts a shoot at LA’s Deep Horizons Studios, which specializes in home-maintenance videos that also serve as adult-entertainment films. In the process of confronting director Sir John Blunstone, his crew, and his biggest star Martha Sunset, Lou also confronts his addiction to cocaine.
See, that sounds kinda neat, right? And I liked Scott Carson as “Lou” A LOT…except for when he was in Hollywood. Those scenes he wasn’t as good in but it had more to do with the dialogue than him. Because there was simply too much extraneous dialogue floating about here. I’m guessing 7-10 minutes could’ve been cut from this 30 minute film and it would have still worked (possibly even better?). Simply removing the word “Ratan” from appearing so many times would have been an improvement.
What the film DID have going for it were the rare jokes sprinkled throughout. I did find the mixture of sex and appliances strangely amusing, as well as the several references to Nicolas Cage being the BEST ACTOR EVER. But as a whole? The acting made me wince…the dialogue went on and on…and the film just left me empty. It was a nice effort but one that didn’t really pay off. (And let’s face it, if you’re making a movie about people having sex with blenders, it should be fabulous, even if it’s just so BAD that it’s hilarious. But this was just BAD).
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT ENTERPRISE! THE ROGUE RUNNERS AND LIVELOVE FILM WITH A LITTLE IPC FOR GOOD MEASURE
Wherein E. tells us about a neat upcoming indie film, gives a shout-out to The Rogue Runners and reveals the logo for his new production company! Sa-weet stuff! Get it while it’s hot!
Originally posted on Isaacs Picture Conclusions:
Happy Sunday and a little contest break here! Recently, I’ve interacted with a couple of GREAT people (one I’ve known for a bit and one I just met) and we all have new projects we’re putting together that we thought we could try and help each other out on. For those of you Most Beloveds who look out here regularly, you know I’m working on a movie trailer to try and use as “content” on a crowdfunding site to help fund a full-run movie I am trying to make – and – for even longer term Most Beloveds, you know how I support Independent Film earnestly. So – working on actually making an Independent, I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of Good Things and see if you could somehow find a way to support them, whether it be monetary or not – maybe spreading the word. Obviously, as…
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Capital I, by director Amartya Bhattacharyya, is an intriguing mix of philosophy, psychology, physics, sexuality, reality, imagination…this film is an abstract work of art. Amartya is a 27 year old Indian filmmaker and this was a debut film shot on a shoestring budget – I gotta say I’m wicked impressed. Capital I involved a lot of artistic shots and a lot of beauty; a lot of creation. Pulling that off on their budget, I find amazing.
Synopsis – ‘Capital I’ is a surreal fiction film dealing with an artist’s works where the artist himself doesn’t exist in reality. It is also an existential psychodrama revolving around said mysterious and unknown artist and depicts the transformation of mind of a young girl whereby she finds herself trapped in between realistic relationships and attractions and a strange relationship with her hallucinatory lesbian partner.’ If you’re like me, you just read that and went “What the hell?” But if you go and watch Capital I and come back and read this, it will not only make sense; it will make so much sense that you’ll see metaphorical layers.
Because that’s what watching this film is – seeing the metaphorical layers of life peeled back one by one. It’s having everything in life being simultaneously set right while being crushingly wrong. I don’t know whether to reference Alanis Morisette’s ouevre here or The Matrix…Piyali is a young grad student of psychology who becomes obsessed with a local happening wherein a house was found locked from within but with the occupant having vanished. All that was left behind were some drawings and poetry style scribblings. She and an old friend, who is also a physics professor, team up to solve the mystery but as they go deeper, Piyali discovers more about existence and reality than planned. Oh, and she’s the one with the hallucinatory lesbian lover (as one has).
Capital I is one of those films where every sentence spoken has meaning but since there’s so much dialogue and so much to catch, only a couple of things will be lines that you, yourself, hold onto. One of mine was when it was mentioned that “the air here is pure.”…”it’s because it’s not weighted down by dreams and memories.” (Insert heart emoticon because I swooned). It’s not just the words you’ll fall in love with though (side note: the dialogue switches between English and Odia, sometimes in the same sentence. I’m not sure if there was a deeper meaning to that as well?), but the cinematography and the scenery. There are close-ups of some amazing small creatures…blurred ambiances when it comes to sensitive material…symbolism galore…amazing use of color…Ugh, have I gushed enough yet??
Seriously, this is a Must Watch, particularly if surrealism is your thing. I think this may be my first Indian film (Bollywood has never quite appealed)(also look at that – first Turkish film AND first Indian film posted about this week!) but if this is what’s coming out of India right now, I am SO there. Check out the Capital I website and go follow them on Facebook (then share their Facebook page with your friends and make yourself look uber cool and all sexy intelli!) You won’t be sorry!