Archive for April, 2014

 

David Ayer, who has a number of police dramas under his belt as a writer and director, gave us End of Watch in 2012. I don’t think this movie received nearly the amount of acclaim that it deserved. This film starts Jake Gyllenhaal as Officer Taylor, and Michael Pena as Officer Zavala. Both of these actors give incredible performances. I was unfamiliar with Michael Pena before seeing this movie, but I really think he stole the show. Gyllenhaal is great, but Michael Pena’s performance was so genuine, and you can’t help but adore his character. You can read a quick review of the film here and this is a link to the trailer. You can also watch the movie here on Netflix! If you ask me, movies that elicit real emotional responses from the audience are pretty rare. Directors and actors who can generate that raw emotion should be praised. This movie certainly does that, in my opinion. It’s so real and moving.

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This is not your run-of-the-mill police thriller, but it’s also not bogged down with so much drama and emotion that it takes away from the action. I really encourage you guys to check this movie out.

Okay, so my first movie post is going to be about a few horror films that I really enjoy.. and also one that I really didn’t enjoy.

I realize not everyone is going to agree with me and that’s cool. The point of this is to turn anyone reading this page on to awesome new movies. Also, this is my page so that gives me the right to complain about movies I hate. Let’s be real, when we spend ten bucks to go to the theater, we earn the right to complain if the movie in question is a disappointment.

It would make sense that since I love film, I am currently taking a film class. My teacher is one of about 10 who teach this class at this university. All the teachers collaborate and come up with a list of the films that will be studied that semester. My teacher is way into horror, so he opted to show us 1 Wes Anderson film (Rushmore), instead of two (buh-bye The Royal Tenenbaums!) In place of the 2nd Anderson film, he decided that he would give the class a taste of the horror genre. I admit, I took this teacher last semester for a class completely focused on horror media and the reason I selected him this semester was in hopes that he would once again grace his students with some of his extensive horror knowledge. You did not disappoint, Mr. Frazier. I saw this film in my horror media class, and had absolutely zero objections to watching it a second (or third, or fourth..) time. I had never heard of this film until my teacher showed it in class. My first reaction to this film was to finally breathe a sigh of relief at the end, after holding my breath through the majority of the film. Then I had to do some stretches to relieve the tension that had been coursing through my body for the duration of the film. Here it is, guys:

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The Loved Ones. This film, released in Australia in 2010, is the writer/director Sean Byrne‘s first feature-length film. It made its way to the United States in 2012 after generating some buzz at some of the film festivals where it was shown. I’ll begin with a disclaimer: there have been multiple reviews to classify this film as “torture porn,” and their claims are not without merit. I personally disagree, only because I believe this film is carried by its plot more so than its masochistic appeal. It stars Robin McLeavy (you may also know her from AMC’s Hell on Wheels) as Lola Stone. She gives one of the most convincing horror villain performances ever. Seriously. Ah, and Lola’s super creepy prom song. You’ll feel so demented as you sing it for the 24 hours following watching the film, while everyone who hasn’t seen it will think you’re singing an obscure Cyndi Lauper song (Am I not pretty enough? Is my heart too broken?) Even though this movie isn’t extremely well known, it has received rave reviews – it has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! You can read a review and summary of the plot here and this is a link to the trailer: don’t let the first 50 seconds fool you! It is definitely not for the faint of heart, I’m not kidding about the violence, but who wouldn’t want to watch a “psychotic re-imagining of Pretty in Pink”? Sean Byrne has so much potential, and I can’t wait for him to give us something new. Check this one out guys!

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If any of you are familiar with Rob Reiner‘s 1990 film, Misery, it is somewhat similar to The Loved Ones. If you are not familiar with Misery (based on a Stephen King Novel) then you should be. It stars the fabulous Kathy Bates (above) as Annie Wilkes, who “rescues” her favorite author Paul Sheldon (James Caan). I know this movie isn’t new, but it’s seriously underrated. Kathy Bates is one of the best actresses out there, and her performance in this movie is phenomenal. It is so over the top, you can’t help but laugh, but she delivers it in such a way that it never loses your interest. You can read a review of the film on this site and watch the trailer here. The story is nothing too extravagant, but I promise you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. The film is named for Misery Chastain, a character in one of Paul Sheldon’s book series, who Annie basically worships. This movie is pretty violent, but nothing like The Loved Ones. If you like any kind of horror or thriller movies, definitely give this one a try.

I’ve given you two wonderfully demented films to enjoy. Now I’m going to give you one that was just kind of tragically stupid and only a little demented – not even the good kind of demented. Yes, there is a good kind of demented. Anyway, here it is:

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I will first address the reviews plastered on this misleading movie poster. Savage slasher? Okay, sure. Unpredictable? Yes. Fresh, terrifying, wickedly savvy and most entertaining? Not even. Here is the trailer if you’re so inclined to watch it.

There are really no notable cast members (no big names anyway) in this film. I’ll start with the positive, because there’s not much of it. Actress Sharni Vinson, who plays Erin, does a pretty good job, considering the garbage plot and script she has to work with. Even from the trailer, if you have any kind of respect for the horror genre, you can see that there is little promise for a quality film. One mistake horror filmmakers make so many times, is they don’t make their characters likable or relatable. It makes it much less intense watching characters get picked off one by one, if the duration is spent wishing they would die faster. This film is no exception. Aside from Vinson’s character, the rest of the victims are just irritating. It covers a choppy plot with unnecessary violence. I am not against movie violence at all, but when it’s just thrown in to make up for a crap story and bad acting, then it just becomes annoying. I will admit, there were a few aspects of the plot that surprised me, which is uncommon with a run-of-the-mill slasher movie. With the tagline “Don’t bother locking the doors. Animals don’t use doors.” what could go wrong, right? I’ll leave it up to your discretion if you want to take a chance and see You’re Next for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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So, I recently had a pretty bizarre experience with what I believed to be lucid dreaming. I’ve done some research on lucid dreaming, and I think it’s pretty sweet. I’ve tried it on quite a few occasions (to no avail). I have weird dreams very frequently, usually 3-5 times a week. I’m totally okay with having weird, freaky, even frightening dreams. Dreams can provide some of the best creative sparks. However, I’ve never experienced anything like this – that’s not to say that I am deeming this a negative experience.

My roommate was asleep, so all the lights in my room were off. I wasn’t really tired, so I listened to some music for a while and finally I decided I would try to sleep. I laid there for a while, and I’m not sure how much time elapsed. At this point I was sort of between sleep and wakefulness. I remember thinking that I wanted to reach for my phone or grab something off my desk (I really don’t remember what, this was over a month ago), but I was just too tired and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make my body move.

The next phase was something similar to what one experiences when they look at a bright light in a dark room. Once you look at the light and then close your eyes, you continue to see the flashes of light with your eyes closed. This was a very similar sensation, only it had no known origin. It looked like a kaleidoscope. It just kept moving. My eyes were closed but I remember seeing, in the midst of this black kaleidoscope, one area of light. It was almost as if my eyelids had a hole in them, and I could see my room, just through that small area. I tried to reach for that area (not literally, at this point I am “dreaming”) and when I did, the area of light relocated. This happened a couple of times, the light moving out of my grasp each time. Then the kaleidoscope faded out and I was thrust into a new scene all together.

I was running from some kind of creature in what appeared to be an area, sort of between a dockside town and a forest. The creature was gaining on me and I was trying as hard as I could to get away. The distance between the creature and myself was closing more and more, no matter how fast I ran. Finally, it got so close, I could feel it breathing on me. At that moment, the creature collapsed on top of me, seemingly lifeless. I tried to move out from under it, its weight was crushing me. I saw an arrow sticking out of its chest. I was confused as to where it had come from. How did it miss me? I continued to struggle, working to push the creature off of me. All of the sudden, the weight was lifted off, but by another set of hands than my own. I looked up to see another version of myself, carrying a cross bow, presumably the one that had directed the arrow to the creature. I looked up in shock as the crossbow wielding version of myself reached out a hand. “Get up,” she said. I sat unmoving, dumbfounded. “Come on,” she repeated and I took her hand and pulled myself off the ground.

I was aware that I was somewhat awake when the kaleidoscope was still happening, but once this sequence began, I was not. It, however, did feel somewhat different than dreaming normally does.

The scene above faded away and I fell back into the partially awake kaleidoscope phase and felt very relaxed, not asleep, and yet not awake either. You can’t really experience the relaxation you feel while you are asleep (because you’re asleep, duh), but this felt like the most extreme form of relaxation I had ever felt. And then I was ripped from my state of relaxation. I swear I heard someone say, in a harsh, strained whisper: “FIRE!” I could almost feel their breath as the word flooded my ears. My eyes immediately opened, and obviously there was nothing there. It felt so beyond real.

I am a huge fan of horror movies, and have seen plenty of them in my day. I am not easily scared. I had read about the parts of lucid dreaming where people are attacked by demons and everything else while they’re dreaming. I wouldn’t say I necessarily welcome a demonic attack, but I am not really scared of the possibility of this sensation. While I am not easily scared, I do believe in some supernatural forces. I do not think what I experienced was anything like that. It was just remarkable how real it all felt.

I’m just curious if any of you guys have had any experiences with lucid dreaming that you’d be wiling to share. I love hearing other people’s stories with dreaming, so comment if you feel so inclined. I’d love to read it!

“The boundaries…

Posted: April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

“The boundaries which divide Life and Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?” – Edgar Allan Poe.

This is an award winning short horror film. And when I say short, it’s under 3 minutes. Lights Out is directed by Swedish filmmaker, David F. Sandberg, who won best director in the Who’s There Film Challenge. It definitely packs a punch. As a big horror fan, I was impressed. It’s worth the watch!

Let me know what you guys think!

As I’ve mentioned in my profile, writing is my passion. That passion collides with film. It is my dream to write and direct my own screenplays.

I genuinely love all genres of film. Action, horror, thriller, comedy, romance. They all have their space in my personal, fairly extensive, DVD collection. While romance takes up a very small space, action and horror seep from my shelves. I’m going to start posting some of my favorite movies, directors, and actors, plus what I love about them and why you should love them too.

Also, like I said, I love all genres of film (and I’m not just saying that to sound sophisticated). If you have any movie suggestions, movies you love, under-the-radar directors you think I should check out, please let me know. Getting a new movie for me is more exciting than new shoes. I’m always on the lookout for new films, so give me some of your cinematic wisdom.

An idea…

Posted: April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized
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There’s nothing quite like it. That feeling. You’re going about your normal thought process, nothing special. Then it happens. You visualize it in your mind. As real as the world around you. In that moment, your idea is your world. You watch it play out in your mind like a movie, even if it only lasts for a few seconds. Then it’s over. The credits roll. And then, it consumes your thoughts. You want desperately to build on it, nurture it, so you can watch it one more time. Only this time, you can see a whole scene, instead of just a few seconds.

To live a creat…

Posted: April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.