Monday, December 28, 2015

Black Forest, 2012, Staring Tinsel Korey, Dhaffer L'Abidine, and Oliver James. Directed by Patrick Dinhut

Monday, December 28, 2015

I came across this "gem" on Netflix earlier today. The cover art looked promising, the story sounded like it might be good, I love fairytales, and I am always interested in paranormal happening in forests. The premise was promising, so, I popped this one on and I was pretty excited! 

It started off awesomely enough, comic book like illustrations of forest creatures, spooky trees and other creatures... and that sadly was the best part of the film for the most part. Yes, you read that right, the opening credits were sadly the best part, at least in my opinion. I was hoping that this would be something in the ilk of "Troll Hunter"( it is no secret how much I love mockumentaries), my hope was very misplaced.

Right away, it starts with people running from something and trying to get into a VW beetle, and it has that feel, like when you are watching a movie or a television program and you are astounded that the acting is just a bit too over the top and then suddenly someone yells "CUT!" The shot pans out, and the aforementioned actors are actors ACTING like actors in a production in a production... except, in this, it never happens, instead something gigantic slams into the top of their car and then something "spooky" happens.

Fast forward (or maybe not, who knows) and we meet one of several unremarkable stereotypical people in a group of people who sign up to go to a fairy mound on the eve of the summer solstice. In this group, there is a "Handsome" Doctor, a well todo banker, his young wife and their infant daughter (yes, it is the smartest idea to take your infant daughter to see the awesome fairies in a foreign country in the middle of a field with several other strangers who may or maynot be part of a human trafficking ring), the even younger nanny (who of course has that, "I'm so hot" vibe), and bringing up the rear so to speak is two "nerds" who are studying pagan something or another. They all are given feathers as tickets to get in (because you need tickets to get into this magical field gathering) and then fast forward again, to night time.

This is where all the crap hits the fan and we get our first look at some ok computer graphics that are about what you would expect from SYFY. I can't really say much more without spoiling everything, but the one thing that did amuse me greatly is the "witch" is a very close facsimile of Mama Midnite, the cabin is also pretty spot on, other than that I was mostly just annoyed. The things that should have been scary weren't, the 7 dwarves went a different direction than I thought they would, but it still wasn't that scary. The werewolf (?, or wolf or... I am not sure) was very twilight trailer-esque, and the troll I didn't even get to see except for his hands. Also the sets just weren't as menacing as I thought they easily could have been, they were like less colorful, less moody, cast off sets from Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Mostly what clued you in that it was "fairyland" was random fake flowers and fake red and white toadstools, occasional there are trees that move, but not as often as I would have liked. 

Also to my annoyance, most of the "stories" were just jumbled pieces from here and there. I feel like if you were going to go that direction, you easily could have found some much more horrendous fairy tales to take pieces from because if nothing else people would have been even more confused and would have had to do research to see where they came from and found some new fairytales to read. The could have easily used some of the less known Grimm's tales, or how about a couple from Basile or Asbjornsen and Moe?

I will stop my rant for now, I wish I could suggest this one, and I guess I can, but know, that much like being stuck inside a fairyland or a UFO, these will be 2 hours of your lives that will disappear and you never will get back. Proceed with caution!

Til next time!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Where did Marlena go and a Vampire triple feature review.

Monday, December 14, 2015
I feel terrible that I have not Blogged since the beginning of October. I apologize for that. I am sure you have guessed October is a busy month around the mausoleum and expected blog posts to be fewer, but I did not foresee being amiss all of November and half of December too.

I am very sorry, November lead to some unforeseen changes in my work situation and my health and although it is for the better (at least the work situation change), it was unexpected and I needed to wrap my head around it.

I suppose I could have blogged about it, but I don't really take any comfort from letting people know my personal problems, or their sympathies. I prefer to work through it and move on, which is exactly what I have done and now here I am!

I have prepared a vampire triple feature review for you all, of 3 avant-garde (or at least uncommon) vampire movies! I hope you enjoy them, and I will be eager to read your comments! I missed you all!


Only Lovers Left Alive, 2013, Starting Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, and Mia Wasikowska. Directed by Jim Jarmusch.

First up in my, "Vampire Triple Feature" is "Only lovers left Alive", written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. 

When I decided I was going to write this triple feature, because lets face it, I owe you guys big time in the post department, I thought that rather than doing the "classic" type vampire movies I would lead more toward the avant-garde side of things, because lets face it, even though vampires have been watered down and more mainstream for the past few years, there are still some original ideas out there, even if it is more original based on story than the actual vampires themselves. I also didn't want to swim too far out into the deep end, because I am sure some of you would love to hear all about the wonder the is Robovampire, but I am going to keep it just slightly off the beaten path. Of course if you would like me to go more in depth, I happily can later. Now back to the movie at hand.

O.L.L.A. has a big name cast, which really was the icing on an already slightly misshapen cake, but aside from this, I found it kind of like the vampire version of "How Wanda got her Groove Back" or at least what I imagine it to be, because I have not actually ever watched it. 

In Jim Jarmusch's world, vampires are pale, thin, and don't wash their hair as much as one would expect. Tom Hiddleston's character, Adam, is a shut in, who lives in a boarded up house in Detroit. Tilda Swinton's, Eve,  character is outgoing and hanging out in Tangiers with her friend/ role model/ maker, it is never really addressed. They have been separated obviously for awhile, but when Eve notices that Adam seems to be depressed, she goes to call on him. There is something that I think is suppose to allude to the fact they all sort of have a mind link of some sort, but it is just that, an allusion.  They seem to appreciate being together, and even though they are quite different they aren't upset that they are and just do what they do.

Basically this is just following the day to day workings of vampire life. It isn't super eventful, but there is something to be said about a movie that isn't trying to reinvent everything. I did like the allusion to needing to be invited in to a house, symbolized by removing ones gloves instead. It makes it seem more... cozy? Also interesting is that they refer to humans as "zombies" for whatever reason.

At one point Eve's little sister Ava shows up and causes some trouble, but it really isn't that big of a catastrophe.

All and all I didn't mind this movie, it is quiet, has a decent sound track, and the sets are very realistic, there isn't much whimsy in them, just the personalities of the people in them. It is a good movie to have in the background, but I don't imagine inviting my friends over to watch it (who am I kidding, like I have friends other than the puppets and my pets.) 

If  you like your vampires broody, musically inclined, and well read and you have a voyeuristic side for people watching. Give this one a look.

A Girl walks home alone at night, 2014, starring Sheila Vand and Arash Marandi. Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour.

Next up in my "Vampire triple feature" is "A girl walks home alone at night" written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour.

I am going to say right away, this movie is in a foreign language (possibly Persian, but I am no scholar in middle eastern languages by any means) so if you are not wanting to read subtitles this is not a movie to even tangle with unless of course you speak the language it is in! Also, this movie is in black and white, which many of you know I am quite a fan of (call me nostalgic) however if you are not a fan, again, just an FYI.

I had heard a lot of hype around this movie, so I figured I should finally get around to watching it. It had a cat in it so that earned it points right off the bat (oh ho, bat, as in vampire, but not really, there are not bats that I know of in the movie.) It is set in from what I have read is a ghost town called "Bad City" which is basically mostly where horrible people live, but there are a couple good ones mixed in.

I had also read some where this movie was "feminist." I suppose it could be called that, but, really the vampire girl saves a prostitute twice. I am not sure, if that makes this movie feminist however, because maybe she just doesn't have a taste of eating women, or maybe she just felt sorry for her, because she wasn't a terrible person and she was having a rough couple of days.

The sets in the movie are inserting to me, just because the closest I have ever been to Iran was Turkey, and it was much more lush looking than these scenery in this movie was. I tend to avoid deserts, because they make me depressed, not enough greenery.

This movie is low on the gore scale, there are a couple feeding scenes, however they are not really that bad, and since they are in black and white it makes them look more artistic than horrific. I was glad the cat was ok, I was worried for a little bit that he might end up not making it to the end.

The score/ sound track was very unnoticeable, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good, it just really didn't stand out to me at all.

The characters were what they should have been, and they seemed to play their parts well. I honestly didn't really feel any compassion for any of the characters, like I think I was suppose to. I chalk that up to personal issues though. The dialogue was usually well composed, but there was a couple times where it seemed awkward or forced.

With all that said this movie left me having flashbacks to 1994's "Nadja" not only because it was filmed in black and white, but it has that grungy independent starkness (probably because they both are independent films) so prevalent in movies like this. It certainly wasn't bad, but I don't think I will be watching this one again soon. Maybe on a day I am feeling more focused it might be better to try again. Check it out for yourselves though and see what you think. I might be completely of the mark.

Cronos, 1993, staring Federico Luppi and Ron Perlman, Directed by Guillermo del Toro

My final movie in my "vampire triple feature" is 1993's Cronos written and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

I have watched this movie several times, I have enjoyed it every time. It is again not your run of the mill vampire movie, it has themes of vampirsm, eternal life, needing blood to survive, but there are no fangs or neck sucking.

It does have subtitles, but certain parts are in english also, so it is interesting to occasionally realize you know what every one is saying.

It follows the story of a shop keeper named Jesus and his family. Something odd happens with a relic in his shop, and rather than freaking out  like any other normal person would, he just embraces it and continues on with his life as best he can, until of course his shop is destroyed. That is when everything is starts getting a bit crazy, thugs, parties, car crashes, crematories, the list goes on. 

I really do love this movie, the story is interesting, the characters are well rounded, the physical effects are creepy yet understated, and the ending is awesome. 

I wish I could say more about this one, but I can't really with out giving a much away.  Do yourself a favor and check this one out. If you are disappointed you are more than welcome to tell me as much!