Dark City – Director’s Cut

Feb, 11, 2017 – Watched:

Dark City (1998) – Director’s Cut

Had this film sitting on the HDD since last April and finally was in the mood to watch it. So lets break it down.

Conceptually this film had something going for it. Visually, this film had much too enjoy despite being a little too obvious with the miniatures laced throughout the scenes. With that said the cinematography was lovely.

But can that save a film from bad acting? Unfortunately not. The lead in this movie scores an A+ for bad acting. Over the top stuff from certain characters as well (Keifer), and I hate to say it, it’s laughable at times. And when you put that all together, its hard to take it seriously.

To sum it up, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but the acting is too much to get over. This film had something going for it from the concept stage (enough that the Matrix used the same sets) but the execution of this wasn’t fulfilled properly.

6.5/10

VFX – 7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118929/

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Lone Survivor

April, 3, 2016 – Watched:

Lone Survivor (2013)

One hell of a movie. Emotionally tormenting to say the least. I’m glad they decided to make this film as close as possible to the actual story without “hollywoodizing” it to the nth degree. It’s not 100% accurate (what movie ever is?) and it doesn’t have every little detail from the actual event shown, but that’s fine, because the point is made very clear.

This film was an extremely visceral experience, deeply moving from start to finish for me. That’s hard to say about a lot of films these days. On the surface its a war movie. But deep down it makes you question your faith in humanity and the good of others regardless of where they come from.

8/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1091191/

Pt. 2

Pt. 1

 

 

Moon

March, 25, 2016 – Watched:

Moon (2009)

This was different. And different is good in a world of repetitiveness.

I think I spent 2-3 hours hunting down a sci-fi movie to watch tonight that sounded interesting and promising. It was this versus a Ridley Scott picture, in the end, I picked this one. And thankfully it payed off. It’s a special little film.

This movie was different from your typical sci-fi stuff. What that something “else” was; I won’t really talk about (for reasons of spoilers and surprise).

Its got an interesting story for a backbone supported by Sam Rockwell’s compelling performance. The whole movie involves only him and him alone. From the first scenes to last, his time on screen is effortless it seems.

I found this movie minimal in nature, no prolonged or unneeded scenes, short in duration and to the point. The budget was low ($5 mil) and they made the best of it.

Visually it was inspiring. From the start I noticed a sense of realism that lacks in most Sci-Fi/Fantasty films (think Hobbit). Moon utilized Bill Pearson, (the supervising model maker on Alien) and the lunar rovers and harvesters were all models. This was such a breath of fresh air from the horrid CGI I see in films nowadays. That’s not to say there wasn’t any CGI in this film, but where it was implemented it showed, sadly (perhaps to the budget). As for the model work, it was pure perfection. 🙂

This one leaves you thinking…

8/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1182345/

The Thing (1982)

February, 20, 2016 – Watched:

The Thing (1982)

In the year 1982, John Carpenter decided to release “The Thing” – hailed nowadays as a “classic horror movie” by some. I’ve never had any interest in Carpenter’s work for the most part, and only by sheer chance tonight I decided to watch this film-making “attempt” at horror. I didn’t read into it, no reviews, no details, no nothing. Just sat down and watched it from start to finish.

So, I’m left with the burning question that most of us ask ourselves after watching a movie.

“Did we enjoy that? Was it good? bad? perhaps only mediocre?” “Did we waste our time on that? Was it life changing?” Thankfully, that’s an easy answer in this case.

The Thing starts off promising and suspenseful in the opening scene and quickly shifts into horrifically bad for an array of reasons.

  • No characters depth, no interesting developments, shallow plot.
  • Bad acting. What were they thinking? Kurt Russel’s stupid hat in the blistering cold? Come on, it was absurd and stupid.
  • Where was the script? All I heard was repetitive lines over and over again. Laziness at its core. The writing was bad and laughable.
  • Repeating story arc. One death after another for no good reason other then showing off the fancy 1980’s special effects.
  • Really boring score.

And that’s where we’ll stop. Too many flaws, no point in listing them all.

I really didn’t think much of this coming into it. So my disappointment isn’t really that high, its actually expected. It seems Carpenter’s work overall never really concentrated or achieved proper character design/development, which should of been a read flag from the start. Thankfully real horror gems (ie. Carrie, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby) take all these important aspects into consideration and as a result stand the test of time.

The only good points in the movie? The VFX for the time period. Quite uncomfortable at times which was impressive (even now in 2016). And finally, the best for last, let’s not forget this:

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Albert Whitlock – “The Thing”

VFX – 8/10

The rest – 6/10

If you want a real horror, don’t bother with this, unless you want a “horrifically” bad attempt at a scare and storytelling.

 

Remember

February, 18, 2016 – Watched:

Remember (2015)

This Canadian film utilizes a low budget TV like production with some questionable cinematography choices at times. (not to mention the flaws in direction and story/screenplay which become evident right from the start)

Despite these let-downs, it casts the extremely gifted and talented Christopher Plummer, who, along side other seasoned actors (another one being Martin Landau) make for an entertaining trip down “memory” lane. Or perhaps an old man’s version of Memento.

Due to Plummer’s riveting performance though, the rest of the mistakes can be ignored and the movie can be enjoyed believe it or not.

7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3704050/

Blade Runner (Final Cut)

Feburary, 13, 2016 – Watched:

Blade Runner (1982), Final Cut (2007)

Spur of the moment watch tonight. Completely unplanned for. It’s fucking freezing outside, so why not watch more films? 😀

Got my eyes on the Remastered Final Cut Blu-ray edition tonight and it was a hell of an experience.

I had some interest developing towards this one in the past few months but couldn’t find a good time to watch it. Either the mood wasn’t right or I simply wasn’t interested. Sometimes its better not to rush and wait for a practical time and place to view a film. Other times, its good to just take the plunge.

BR is a slow riser and builds up steadily. At first I wasn’t really that impressed or taken with it, but as time went on it dragged me in further and further. It requires multiple viewings to really appreciate it in its entirety, and seeing as I’ve viewed it for the first time tonight, I’ll be re-watching this one some time in the future again.

The opening establishing shot is something to really feast your eyes on. It’s long, slow and hauls you into a grim dystopian landscape. A lot of double exposure sequences in the fire scenes. The visuals throughout the film are from another planet. For 1982 this was a huge achievement.

Another thing to add is, unlike a lot of films nowadays that rely heavily on (poor) CGI that simply looks fake to the eye, this one relies on the various ancient methods of illusion and disbelief in film making. It’s got that 80’s charm to it, something that has been lost in the current films of this generation. (I may go into this in greater detail sometime later since its a subject of its own)

 

–  http://douglastrumbull.com/key-fx-sequences-blade-runner-hades-landscape

 

One thing that really escalates this sci-fi classic to another level is the score. It’s absolutely PERFECT from a musical standpoint. The minimal synths interact brilliantly with the shots and glide your eyes over the futuristic cityscape like nothing I’ve seen in recent memory. I could listen to the score alone for hours. Actually, I’m obsessed with the score. It’s haunting, dark, miserable and you can feel the hopelessness of this city within it.

It’s pure awesomeness and inspiring as hell.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/

8.5/10

Black Mass

February, 7, 2016 – Watched:

Black Mass (2015)

Where to start?

Depp is an absolute delight on screen. His soulless deep blue eyes bring you in and never let you look away from start to finish. He’s a fucking nightmare. (more on this later)

Masanobu Takayanagi’s cinematography is raw, gritty and simple. I loved it. A lot of center framed shots.

Good moody score.

But the best part? Is knowing what they missed and didn’t put in the movie. The thing with Whitey Bulger is, once you start doing a little research on your own time, you realize what could of been put in this film may of been just a little too raw for the audience. After all, its geared toward being entertaining, and not a documentary.

In some respects, I think if they’d extended this to 3 hrs (instead of the 2) and expanded more on the crimes of Bulger, then the general audience wouldn’t of found this as palatable as the final edit. The violence is also held back and not really glorified considering other possibilities for a film of this nature. And that was a good choice.

In reality, this dude was one sick fuck, and that’s putting it lightly. (Do a little research and you’ll see why)

And finally, lets not forget how corrupt the governing bodies were too. Scum all around.

The film gives you a lot to think about. And ultimately, that’s what good cinema should do.

8/10

 

 

 

 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Dec, 7, 2014 – Watched:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Absolutely stunning work of art.

Been dying to see this for years upon years, finally got a chance to catch it. I need to give it a second uninterrupted proper viewing for all the little details, but its safe to say its near perfect (+/- a few things.)

Written for the screen by Eric Roth ( Forrest Gump (1994) and Munich (2005) ) its no surprise this film was so damn engaging. The production design was flawless and stylistically stunning. Great, powerful performances. Eyes were glued to the screen the whole time.

During the viewing I noticed several interesting visual elements (surreal at times) throughout the film (ie: the cities, sunset, streets,etc) I had a feeling quite a bit of matte work and vfx was done for this film and in the process (of a little research) found a nice breakdown of exactly that – http://www.matteworld.com/film/2008/button_1.html

8.5/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421715/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curious_Case_of_Benjamin_Button_%28film%29

Dallas Buyers Club

February, 22, 2014 – Watched:

Dallas Buyers Club http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790636/

Phenomenal performances. Extremely fast paced. And what an emotional SOUNDTRACK.

F.T anyone? 🙂

the best for last

I drank through a bottle of whiskey watching this beauty. Good times. 🙂

Springbank 10 year old

I think the picture speaks for itself. This is heavenly crafted.

These guys also make, Hazelburn and Longrow. The latter being a heavily peated malt. Yum.

Springbank 10 Year Old

Springbank 10 Year Old

Springbank is amongst Scotland’s most traditional distilleries. It is run by a descendent of the family that founded the company in the early 1800’s. John and William Mitchell had a background of illicit distilling before they founded Springbank in 1828.

The town that houses Springbank, Campbeltown, was once home to about 30 distilleries. There are now just three Campbeltown distilleries: Springbank, Glen Scotia and Kilkerran, which the Springbank team opened in 2004.

Location on Map

Springbank runs its whole production process in-house from the cutting of peat and malting of the barley (6 hours over a peat fire) through to the partial triple distillation process and the bottling of the final product. Every year, the distilling apparatus is cleaned out and the peatier (48 hours over a peat fire), double-distilled, Longrow is produced before reverting to Springbank again.

The whisky is never chill-filtered, so all flavours, aromas and textures are retained.

Springbank is one of those whisky gems that serious Scotch fans love.” – http://www.smwhisky.com.au/catalogue.php/Springbank