Friday, 23 June 2017

Eloise (2017)

Genre

Horror

Director

Robert Legato

Country

USA

Cast

Eliza Dushku, Robert Patrick, Chace Crawford, Brandon T. Jackson, Nicole Forester, P. J. Bryne, Ricky Wayne

Storyline

Four (almost) friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries.

Opinion

Why do I always let myself condition by a pretty face? If it wasn't for Chace Crawford on whom I have a crush on since Gossip Girl, I would have never seen this film. Sorry, I meant this pathetic thing that pretends to be a horror film, but that really looks like a series of disjointed videos put together by some student for a high school project. 

There isn't a single aspect of Eloise that makes sense, starting from the story. The plot is illogical, plenty of loose ends, plot holes as big as Lunar craters - I could write a whole post talking only about those holes if I wanted to -, it's impossible to follow and equally impossible to understand. In other words, it's not a story.

But a number of horror films without a solid story, well, it's plenty out there of those horrors. Despite that lack, some still manage to be decent if not good movies. Of course, that's not Eloise's case. There isn't a single scary thing here - probably the filmmakers forgot that's a quality requested in films of this genre -, there isn't any tension or suspense, There isn't a disturbing scene in the whole thing. 

The acting, however, is in line with most horrors, it's truly horrifying especially from Eliza Dushku and Chace Crawford who are as bland as water. And the poorly written and so not developed characters sure didn't help. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: The Woods


Hello there, it's Thursday Movie Picks's time, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves where you share three movies to fit the theme of the week each Thursday.

It's probably because they are kind of scary and mysterious, the fact is that in movies woods get along with horrors. That's why I picked three films involving the woods that are not horrors. 

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

It follows an old travel writer as he decides to hike the Appalachian Trail. I watched this because there's Robert Redford, but it's a waste of time. This is a slapstick film that isn't even funny. Although true, the story feels flat and lacks credibility; the characters aren't that interesting and Nick Nolte's is utterly annoying.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

When a rebellious kid and his foster uncle go missing the New Zealand bush, it's ordered a national manhunt because everyone thinks the uncle kidnapped the kid. It's hard to put down in words how much I love this film. It's charming, funny, entertaining and probably the best adventure film I've ever seen. It's got great characters, it explores themes such as mourning and loss without being heavy, it's beautiful to look at and the cast is great too.

Into the Woods (2014)

The tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel are tied together by a couple cursed by a witch. It kinda sounds like a mess, but it's a pretty solid musical that puts a good twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Too bad there's Johnny Depp playing a drunk pirate disguised as a pervert wolf. 

In guerra per amore (2016)

Genres

Comedy, Drama, Romance, War

Director

Pif

Country

Italy

Cast

Pif, Andrea Di Stefano, Sergio Vespertino, Maurizio Bologna, Miriam Leone, Stella Egitto, Vincent Riotta, Maurizio Marchetti, Antonello Puglisi, Samuele Segreto, Mario Pupella, Orazio Stracuzzi, Lorenzo Patané, Aurora Quattrocchi, David Mitchum Brown, Forest Baker, Rosario Minardi, Salvatore Ragusa

Storyline

New York, 1943. Arturo (Pif) loves Flora (Miriam Leone) and Flora loves Arturo but she has been promised in marriage to Carmelo (Lorenzo Patané), the son of a Mafia boss. Their only hope lies in Flora's father, who still lives in Sicily, so Arturo joins the US Army to return to Sicily and ask for Flora's hand.

Opinion

I loved Pif's first feature, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer. That movie was such a unique approach to Mafia, and Pif brilliantly paired the drama of the matter with some great humour. And that's exactly what he did (again) with In guerra per amore.

Once again using a love story between Arturo and Flora (because those were the names in his first feature as well) as a conducting wire, Pif brings to the screen another part of the Italian history that is very hard to digest, this time being the agreement between the US Army and the Mafia to occupy Sicily without resistance from the locals, which resulted in Mafia literally taking control of the island.

And the result is a strong criticism and denunciation of the rotten system behind Italy's liberation from Nazis that leave us to wonder which one really was the real dictatorship, the Nazis's or the Mafia's which still holds up today.

Despite the matter, In guerra per amore is not a heavy film. It still has its dramatic and touching moments and it will stick with you for a while, but the light, sarcastic, self-ironic and never-out-of-place humour will make for a very easy watch.

The credits obviously go to Pif. His direction is smooth and the writing is great, but what I liked the most is the narration. His voiceover is, in my opinion, what makes the story more interesting and engaging, and make you feel more invested in it. It makes you feel like you're a player, not a watched.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Blade Runner (1982)

Genres

Sci-Fi, Thriller

Director

Ridley Scott

Country

USA

Cast

Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull, Kevin Thompson, John Edward, Hy Pyke, Kimiko Hiroshige, Robert Okazaki, Carolyn DeMirjian, Den Astar

Storyline

In 2019 Los Angeles, blade runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) is hired to hunt down a fugitive group of replicants, humanoids created by man and used as slaves.

Opinion

Blade Runner is one of those movies that is on my watchlist since always, and despite the great things people say about it I never bothered watching it. Frankly, I thought it was going to be another science-fiction flick with Harrison Ford. But Scott made it (when he still made great films) so it couldn't be just another film of the genre. And it sure isn't.

Blade Runner is a glorious, incredible science fiction film that all the movies of the genre should take the example from. With a very simple and straightforward story, the film proves that you don't need a very complex, intricate plot to keep the viewer glued to the screen. The cool thing about it is that it's some sort of detective/neo-noir story set in a dystopian future.

And it has a great main character too. Although Deckard, the blade runner aka a special cop whose job is to track down and eliminate replicant, doesn't have much character development, his awakening is incredibly interesting. At the beginning, he is just a lifeless dude, someone who's sleep-walking through life as Linklater would say, but he slowly comes to life. And you root for him, without even caring whether he's good or evil. And Harrison Ford delivers the character moral ambiguity wonderfully.

Unlike most science fiction films, Ridley Scott's has some deep philosophical message; it is a commentary on what it mean to be human and what's the meaning of life. It explores the fear of the unknown, of not knowing where we come from and where we are going.

And it's also very beautiful to look at. The gritty urban atmosphere is delivered to perfection by a great use of lighting, a striking photography and a score that makes the film even more gripping.

 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Towering Inferno (1974)

Genres

Action, Drama, Thriller

Director

John Guillermin

Country

USA

Cast

Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Sheila Matthews Allen, Norman Burton, Jack Collins

Storyline

At the opening of The Glass Tower, the world's tallest skyscraper, a massive fire breaks out and a determined fire chief (Steve McQueen) and an honourable architect (Paul Newman) must work together to fight the fire from the outside and the inside.

Opinion

This film came up a while ago during a conversation with my mother. We thought we were talking about the same movie until I mentioned a terrorist attack. Turns out I was talking about Die Hard and she was talking about The Towering Inferno, a damn accurate title to be honest. Since it came up again a few weeks ago on Birgit's blog, and it sounded fun, I eventually watched it. And it was fun.

The story is well crafted, interesting and suspenseful and that's basically because of all the subplots this film has. The film does not only revolve around the attempts to escape from the building on fire - which I was worried it was going to happen - but it also focuses on the individual dramas of the characters, being a bit moralistic at times. Like with the couple having an extra-marital affair who is among the first victims. At times, it does get a little melodramatic and soapy, and there are things going on that really add nothing to the story, but it's still bearable.

There isn't much of a character development, but the main characters, those being Steve McQueen's fire chief O'Hallorhan and Paul Newman's architect Roberts, are quite interesting. The others, well, it's not like they are not interesting, but they are not likeable.

The best thing is easily the pacing. With a running time that almost touches the 3 hours, which to be honest scared the crap out of me, the film flows smooth like water, and it goes way faster than a lot of other disaster movies, like Titanic. The action isn't bad either.