Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daniel Thron's "Spoiler"

Spoiler from spoiler movie on Vimeo.

This is one of the best short films I have seen in a long time. Watch it. Very well made.

DVD - Blank City

Blank City is a fantastic documentary about the film scene in New York City in the late 70's and early to mid 80's, specifically in the East Village. Showing lots of clips from films that most people will never get to see, and touting interviews with the likes of icons like Amos Poe, Lydia Lunch, Eric Mitchell, Jim Jarmusch, Beth B. and Scott B., Glenn O'Brien, and more, the film is pure candy for anyone interested in that era of filmmaking or NewYork City history, or both.

DVD - The Roost

Ti West is someone who I became interested in after having seen House of the Devil. That film was extremely well done, and felt like a return to what made old school horror films so great, valuing suspense and dread, over gore and shock. I recently watched his debut feature, The Roost, and, while the film about a group of young adults on their way to a wedding getting sidetracked to a farm with some malevolent evil waiting for them was not quite up to par with his later film, or his most recent film, The Innkeepers, once it got going, it got a lot better. Its major handicap was its molasses pace in the beginning. You can see that West is trying to establish that dread and suspense, but in this film, it just ends up being a little much, and you end up looking at the clock after a while. Overall, it was a decent first feature, and if you haven't seen any of his other films*, I can vouch that House and Innkeepers are considerably better.

*I haven't seen Cabin Fever 2 or Trigger Man.


Headhunters is the tale of Roger Brown (played by Aksel Hennie), a corporate recruiter who doesn't make near enough money to afford the wealthy lifestyle he leads. In order to do so, he steals high priced art. When a mark shows up in the form of a potential recruit, Roger goes into action, but the man he's trying to recruit, and steal from at the same time, is not who he appears to be.

Headhunters is one of my favorite films of the year, and it is in no small part due to the performances of every single actor in the film. The direction was perfect, the cinematography was gorgeous, and the story was tight. I feel like if I say too much, I might give something away, because this film is built on moment after moment, and I would hate to spoil any of those for anyone. With that in mind, I'll simply say that I LOVED this film, and I think if you watch it, you will too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

CineMolesters Ep. 4: Prometheus

 There are mild SPOILERS in this, so if you haven't seen Prometheus, don't watch this.


It was, then it wasn't, then it kind of was, then it "shared DNA". There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of back and forth about whether Ridley Scott's new film Prometheus is an Alien prequel. Let's just get this out of the way now - it totally is. There are little sign posts everywhere.

The film follows a crew of scientists on a mission to find the origins of man. What they find, though, is enigmatic, and extremely dangerous. God bless Ridley Scott for not giving everything away, and keeping some kind of mystery to the story of the Alien saga, while still giving us something interesting to watch.

My biggest question, going into all of this, was - Will this film be worth it? The original Alien, and its sequel, Aliens, are classics, to say the least. While Alien 3 had its issues, it's still a worthwhile addition to the cannon. After the vomit inducing Alien: Resurrection, however, I feel like the story was played out. There was nowhere else to go with this. That Prometheus is a prequel gives Scott ground to do a lot of things, but still, do we NEED a prequel?

My answer is no, not really, but I'm glad we got it. Scott shows us a whole new world, one that he could not have created back in the late 70's, and it is pretty amazing. The star map sequence is especially breath taking. Ultimately, though, for all of his vision, the story feels like it's too busy trying to meet an arbitrary set of expectations, as opposed to unfolding naturally, in the way that the original Alien did. No one can deny that Scott's original film is, well... a little slow. It builds tension and dread in increments, and that is part of what makes it so amazing. It is that epic roller coaster climb to the top of the hill, and then down the other side. While Prometheus has its moments, they always feel expected, and that, inevitably, takes some of the fun out of it.

Don't get me wrong, the film was enjoyable, it just felt like they were trying to hit points of audience expectation all of the time, instead of giving us the "WTF just happened and everything goes down hill from there" factor that the original Alien, and to some extent Aliens, did so well.

One note about the 3D - To me, the really wide shots were where the 3D came alive for me, but the rest of the time, it was actually kind of distracting. The biggest problem for me was when someone's helmet display was framing the screen. My eyes had a difficult time scanning the image with so much going on  in the foreground, middle ground, and back ground simultaneously. I would, actually, like to see this in 2D, and see if I enjoy it more visually.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Castles In The Sky: The Films of Studio Ghibli

My Series Pass and tickets to Castles In The Sky: The Films of Studio Ghibli at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, TN. One of my favorite things that's happened in a long time. Saw so many great films, and will be writing about them soon.