Candyman (1992)

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Director Bernard Rose
Writer Clive Barker (novel)
Starring :Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Ted Raimi, Michael Culkin, Vanessa Williams, Rusty Schwimmer. USA. 1h

This was one of those movies we used to talk about as high school kids, only the most badass dared to watch it and only a select group of those bad asses dare to perform the Candyman Ritual. I have to admit that I have NEVER done it and I never will.

Based on a short story by Clive Barker called the Forbidden, this visually stunning movie tells a very faithful rendition of the hook handed Candyman, an urban legend with a little more truth than anyone would like to admit to.  A beautiful Chicago doctoral student Helen (Virginia Madsen) is researching the urban myth in the area which he holds most influence, Cabrini Green. With her friend and assistant Bernadette (Kasi Lemmons) go into the gang run projects to discover more about Candyman, after running into some helpful characters Anne-Marie and her baby boy, Helen soon find herself captured up in the legend which is becoming more and more real around her as Candyman makes himself and his hook for a hand known to anyone who is involved in Helen’s life. Continue reading Candyman (1992)

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Racing Extinction (2015)

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Director : Louie Psihoyos
Writer : Mark Monroe
Starring : Elton Musk, Louis Psihoyos, Jane Goodall, Leilani Munter. USA 1h 30m

I‘m not the biggest animal lover but I do love nature and the likkle creatures that abide on our lovely planet, and while I do what I can to conserve the planet and fauna, I’m not sure if focusing in on the animals will really make bigger changes. BUT if we do want any of them in our future we do have to act now… I kinda knew this already but I was hoping to see some leaps and bounds in this apparently AMAZING documentary.

Racing extinction is like Zeitgeist but apart from worrying about the global situation and resources it focuses in on the conservation of the wildlife and really focuses in on those illegal activities which cause a flood of various extinctions like whalling etc, and in principle seems a noble thing to do.

Unfortunately the documentary is lame and so far from helping.. It just seemed like Louie just wanted to document his joyride around the planet picking on other countries for their different in animal rites, he even reflects on this at one point by taking into consideration how much damage his own travelling was having on the planet but doesn’t give any indication that they switched fuels or did anything to reverse the fact, plant some trees maybe? In fact there are NO answers here at all!? It’s very easy to point fingers at what’s wrong and identifying and highlighting the problem is brilliant but if you want any hints at way to change things then you’ll need to check out the website.

Winning is the only option.

Despite leaving a bad taste in the mouth, the docufilm is well laid out, there’s lots to look at and the conclusion is a car travelling around displaying graphics and pictures of endangered animals on various buildings!? It’s all economical and enviro friendly but that is the amazing finale, sorry to spoil it but really the film is only step one and very long journey of changing the opinions of millions of people, and not to piss on any parades but it’s not going to happen by displaying a lizard walking up the empire state building.

Overall it’s well written and strangely presented, but quite informative of the state we’re currently in, there are not hints at how we got here,the spotlight is on China, forget all the damage everyone else has done. This a bold and vivacious inspiration look at the future of conservation, an eye opener for anyone who’s been totally oblivious to it until now. But if you’re looking for hard facts, a history lesson, informed decisions and way forwards you’ll not find it here. Instead it’s just a bunch of pretentious but dedicated people filming their travels in the aim to protect some animals and highlight our plight, I’m not dumbing down the work that they have done, although some of it raises more issues than solves problems but it didn’t inspire me and I doubt it will inspire anyone who’s actually informed, but hopefully it will raise some awareness and get people looking to get out there and actually do something pro active.

Rating 4/10

aofa04

 

 

 

RZeitgeist (2007), The Bridge (2006), Earthlings (2005)
L – Selected Documentaries
A – Should documentaries really be movies?

 

Abandoned (2006)

 

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Directed: Nacho Cerda
Written: Karim Hussain/Nacho Cerda (screenplay)
Starring: Anastasia Hille, Karel Roden, Valentin Ganev, Carlos Reig. Spain, Bulgaria. 1h 39m.

I must admit that I missed the very beginning of the movie but it was literally 5 minutes or so, and I have been reliably informed that I didn’t miss much!

The epic opening that I missed involved a peasant family who are eating dinner when a truck stops outside, the patriarch of the family goes outside, opens the truck to find a murdered woman and two crying infants. Marie Jones (Anastasia Hille) discovers her Russian roots and returns to the family home to find out more about her past and family after information that she has inherited a property in Russia and the advice that she should visit it. Upon arriving in a alien and hostile land, she eventually gets to the property where she is soon abandoned and has to make the best of a bad situation. With limited supplies she tries to get comfortable in the run down family home, looking for clues about her past, after discovering a few clues to some past violent events, an estranged twin brother, Nicolai (Karel Roden) and a dead version of the siblings who stalk them at night.. Continue reading Abandoned (2006)

400 Days (2015)

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quickflickDirector :Matt Osterman
Starring : Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz ,Dane Cook, Ben Feldman, Tom Cavanagh. USA 1h 31m

An unusual take on purposeful LoFiSciFi, an mock space mission, designed to test a small group of hopeful astronauts ability to be cooped up in an artificial environment for 400 days brings about some unusual events when the team are faced with the unknown.

With its slow beginnings in prison, where one of the members of the team is working off the end of a 4 day bender, he’s soon released and on his way to a press conference before being shut away in an underground bunker for 400 days with his ex girlfriend, a jock and a sentimental youngster. The team have the task of spending 400 days in a simulated space environment but are actually situated in a secret bunker in the desert. They are promised a few curve balls and are faced with their first during a simulated error on take off. Each member of the team has their own agenda about what the “real” agenda is. After a few days and some rumbling they lose contact with mission control and are unable to upload their podcast to the web. unsure if this is “another curved ball” they wait it out, 373 days later, and after each member of the team have started experiencing vivid hallucinations a strange man breaks into the unit the air becomes thin and polluted and samples of moon dust is present. After some deliberation they suit up and explore the world around them and the mystery get darker and more bizarre.

400 Days

One of those movies where it’s hard to say too much because the plot thickens throughout. Initially I thought that this was going to be like Moon (2009), totally based within the confines of a futuristic setting, watching the mental humans running around getting intergalactic cabin fever, but it transfers into something much deeper. Once they venture out of their confines into the pitch black waste land in their pretend space suits (motorcycle suits) like techno versions of alice in wonderland. The world they find is both filled with danger and uncertainty, every situation can be read in two different ways either everything is part of an elaborate simulation or the world has changed in a dramatic way while the peeps were underground. Literally every person they meet, every situation even the interactions between the team could be judged that one of them is “acting” to keep up a charade, or are they? The ability to keep the viewer guessing for so very long is outstanding but the absence of any answers is indeed frustrating and intriguing.

AOFA07

 

 

Rating 7/10

RMoon (2009), The Signal (2014), Calvaire (2004)
L – Frustrating endings, Lo fi sci fi, Cannibal films
A – What’s the big thing about open endings!?

Possession (2012)

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quickflick-1.jpgDirector :Ole Bornedal

Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Matisyahu. USA. 1h 32m

I first heard about the haunted wine chest on an episode of Mysterious Universe and I was freaked out on so many levels, then after a few bizarre experiences there was an update to the podcast and they announced that a film was going to be made about the unusual occurrences that surround the box.. I was not sure how to take the news. I expected that all sorts of gates of hell would be opened but it turns out that the film wasn’t all that scary compared to the true story.

After stumbling across a random item in a boot sale a father cannot deny his daughter the antique box that she finds and after opening it, she becomes obsessed with the box and the strangeness starts to happen all around the family, that are already pushed to breaking point as they are going through a bitter divorce and move.

This dark and creepy exorcism story does emerge from the tangled tale eventually and the film does have a healthy dose of jump scares along with a solid religious background, some ground breaking tension and the usual creepy long haired girl scares along with any other haunting based film. Quite similar to Unborn (2009), these films centre in on Jewish demonology, and this is creepy as fuck. After the box starts to really affect the youngest of his two daughters, with her violent and erratic behavior she starts her appetite increases and a darkness soon engulfs the family. Unfortunately a lot of the scares are signposted, the dentist stepfather has a run in with darling demon possessed child and his teeth start to fall out of his bleeding mouth, the a lot of the upcoming events and after the family visit the hospital things basically turn into a Silent Hillesque exorcism thrill ride.

Young Em (Natasha Calis) is the star of the show, having to create so many different personas throughout the film she seem to have been put through her paces, often stealing the limelight from her older and more experienced counterparts. The effects are nearly all computer generated apart from some windy atmospherics.

Being creepy more than scary, and with “that” ending it’s quite a decent horror, but it takes too long to get going and doesn’t really transverse the genre enough to really grip a huge audience, it certainly doesn’t really bring in anything new, but it remains one of the better constructed possession movie, but it could have done with being more obscure and surreal but that’s just my taste.

I didn’t find the movie all that scary compared to the original story but I had been listening and reading about the true story for some time and that was honestly nerve wrecking, so if you enjoyed the film I highly recommend that you check out the podcast and the book, you’ll be in for some amazing scares.

Rating : 6/10

RMama (2013), Possession (1981), Unborn (2009), Ringu(1998)
L – Haunted items films, Possession films,
5S – Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Vs – Possession Vs Possession

Checkout the podcast details here http://mysteriousuniverse.org/tag/dibbuk-box/

Life (2015)

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Director:Anton Corbijn
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton Canada, USA. 2016. 1h 51m

I can honestly say that this film wasn’t ever going to be a winner with me, but I’m opening minded and I’m more than happy to let a good film change my opinion, but there was something worrying and lifeless about this new film from Anton Corbijn.

Meandering along at a cool jazz tempo throughout this piece of American icon worship featuring an underpowered performance from Dane DeHaan impersonating James Dean, which just comes across as drowsy more than introverted, misses out all of the gritty details about sexuality. Continue reading Life (2015)

Carandiru (2003)

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Director: Hector Babenco
Starring: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Rodrigo Santoro, Wagner Moura. Brazil. 2003. 2h 27m.

It’s going to be hard to try and keep this brief as I obsess over every detail of this movie as often as I can. I remember the tragic events sprawled out in the news when i was a youngster and the defiant song from Sepultura that followed.

Bittersweet and spicy, Carandiru digs deeps into the prison system in Latin America and humanises the inmates at one of the most controversial prison riots ever. Following the induction of Dr. Drauzio Varella (Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos) and through his fresh and sincere eyes we meet a host of wasted lives, thieves, junkies, whore and hitmen, all flourishing in the this uncanny citadel. Continue reading Carandiru (2003)

Kantemir (2015)

 

Kantimer

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Director: Ben Samuels.
Starring: Robert Englund, Diane Cary, Daniel Gadi, Sean Derry. USA. 1h 24m.

Without having seen Robert in a lot of films since 2001 Maniacs (20??) I was pleased to see him doing something new of late, and of course it’s horror but strangely it seems to be a gothic style horror, I would have guessed that this would be to slow and boring for such a lively character? But alas stranger things have happened. Continue reading Kantemir (2015)

Harbinger Down (2015)

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Director : Alec Gillis
Starring : Lance Henriksen,Camille Balsamo, Giovonnie Samuels, Matt Winston USA. 1 22m

Something a little repetitive from the darkside of sci fi, this independent monster horror was funded through Kickstarter and to it’s credit it does use minimal amounts of computer enhancements and makes for some great viewing.

An eco graduate student Sadie (Camille Balsamo) manages to convince her badass grandfather (Henriksen) to take her and some whiney bastard onboard his fishing trawler  the Harbinger to investigate the effects of global warming on a pod of Belugas when she discovers a block of ice with a flashing light in it, turns out it’s a crashed Soviet moon lander that crashed landed in 1982, the astronauts bodies seem to be infected with an unknown virus but being frozen in the ice there is no chance of infection right!? After the corpse disappears and the identity of one of the crew is unearthed, a biological nightmare ensues. Continue reading Harbinger Down (2015)

Splice (2009)

 

Splice

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It was really weird watching this after so long, but Splice came on TV around the time I was getting dinner ready and so I had to stay and watch it all the way through. Because… you know there is so much I don’t like about the movie but it’s sadly quite watchable.

Two amazing biology hipsters Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) manage to splice lifeforms together to not only make new creatures who synthesize shit that some coporation want, but in secret they want to take things a step further but end up taking things a step too far and create Dren (Delphine Chaneac) a hybrid between a host of creatures with the addition of human DNA. Elsa welcomes Dren into the world and mothers her through her rapid growth and imminent decline, but the faster she evolves, the more her creators start to realise that they may have made a catastrophic mistake. Continue reading Splice (2009)