Tag Archives: murder

Bartleby Abroad: Giant Pig takes a ‘Chaw’ out of Korea

26 Jan

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Chaw (NR) Running Time: 121 min. Directed by: Jeong-Won Shin Starring: Tae-Woong Eom, Yoon Jae-Moon, Yu-mi Jeong, Earl Wayne Ording  Cinematography: Barry Stone

3 marias

Before launching into Jeong-Won Shin’s B-movie bonanza Chaw, I believe a word of caution is in order. For those expecting a schlocky horror film like Razorback or possibly a suspenseful creature feature  like The Host, temper your expectations now. And for anyone who only observes star ratings, you might want to really read the review before deciding on this one.

Because, on the level, Chaw is an amazingly buffoonish piece of work. Continue reading

Now Playing: Jackson Rattles ‘The Lovely Bones’

15 Jan

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The Lovely Bones (PG-13) 120 min. Directed by: Peter Jackson Written by: Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie Original Score: Brian Eno

2 marias

 

Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones is a decidedly creepy and insubstantial adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel. Recounting the after-life of young Susie Salmon, a 14-yr old Pennsylvania girl who is raped and murdered by a neighbor, Bones is being sold as a kind of bittersweet fantasy with an eye on family tragedy. Beautifully photographed, with a haunting wistful score by Brian Eno, Jackson and company bring all of their technical expertise to bear on the film and attend to its tricky narrative taboos with a  delicate hand. The acting is mostly very good, with the centerpiece being a thoughtful and sweet performance by Saoirse Ronan, who seems to have a bright cinematic future ahead of her. And yet, for all of this, The Lovely Bones falls flat on its face. Hard. Continue reading

Movie Review: ’44 Inch Chest’ is full of British treasures

15 Jan

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44 Inch Chest (R) 112 min. Directed by: Malcolm Venville Written by: Louis Mellis & David Scinto Starring: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, Joanne Whalley Cinematography: Dan Landin Original Score: Angelo Badalamenti

3.5 marias

There are six men in the room. It’s one of those run-down, grimy hotel jobs where the walls haven’t seen a paint roller in centuries, and the furnishings suggests it’s mostly used for taking care of unsavory business best not exposed to the light. Now imagine for a moment, you are the sixth man in the room…who happens to be tied to a chair with a bag over your head, listening to the other five decide your fate. Continue reading

AMAD-Horror Edition: Mute Witness

18 Oct

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cinemagrade b+What is it that makes a film ‘scary’?  I don’t mean simple jump thrills or a little bit of goose-pimples. What I’m talking about is that tight-chest,  metallic taste in the mouth, primal fear that gets a hold of you and doesn’t let go. It’s the kind of anxiety one starts to feel when the car breaks down late at night on the side of the highway, or that tension that mounts when you realize your child is no longer next to you in the grocery store. It’s based off a moment of panic, and let’s face it, film as a medium isn’t always capable of evoking the feelings it shows on screen. We can enjoy a romantic comedy but there aren’t many that can elicit a feeling at all similar to actually being in love. The same goes for fear and terror. They are hard to quantify and characterize on film in such a way that their essence is echoed in an audience’s reaction. Over the years, maybe a handful of horror pics have done that for me. Mute Witness is one of them. Continue reading

AMAD-Horror Edition: Dark Country

1 Oct

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October 1st,2009–

Wow. October’s already here! From this point forward I’m gonna set a genre for AMAD and stick to it for the entire month. This time, it will be horror films–surprise, surprise!–and every day from here to October 31st I’ll be highlighting a different one, preferably something I haven’t seen before. Below, I’ll throw up the lineup for the next five days so you can keep track. So, let’s get started today with the Thomas Jane directed thriller Dark Country that mixes 3/4 noir with 1/4 Twilight Zone and produces an interesting modern riff on the ‘killer on the deserted highway’ motif.

cinemagrade b-I have alot of respect for Thomas Jane as an actor. He’s consistently taking roles and projects that aren’t a ‘sure’ thing and even if they don’t always pan out (Mutant Chronicles) he gets the credit for mixing it up and taking risks. He’s also quite talented and more than capable of elevating a movie with his performance. He’s easily the best thing about The Punisher 2004 and hits all the right notes in The Mist. He also seems relatively grounded and in-touch with his work and his fanbase. Jane and David Arquette brought the entertaining and silly The Tripper to The Senator Theater’ in ’07 and had alot of fun screening it for the audience that showed.  You can see from the clip below that they really got into the event and were not concerned with  holding themselves at a distance from the audience. Top that all off with the fact he’s a native son of Baltimore. Continue reading

Trailer for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lovely Bones’ finally arrives

5 Aug

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August 5th, 2009–

I read Alice Sebold’s odd and oddly touching novel The Lovely Bones a few years ago, while making daily trips on the Light Rail. It was an interesting and at times haunting read; simple, elegant prose and compelling imagery layered onto a human story. I enjoyed it very much but never quite understood the desire to make it a film. Peter Jackson is a great filmmaker and can bring some amazing visuals to the big screen (I even love King Kong) but he seemed like a far too literal minded director for this material.

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The trailer here suggests that I was wrong and that Jackson has found a way to take Sebold’s words and visualize them in his own way. Check out the otherworldly splendor and earthly heartache deep down in The Lovely Bones.

The Weekly Creepy: Wait, why do ‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane’?

26 Jun

 weekly creepy Welcome to the Weekly Creepy. The goal is to help expose you the audience to newer horror/thriller films that might have slipped under your radar. Dedicated to obscure, foreign and indie fare (as well as the glorious world of DTV), The Weekly Creepy will tackle a different pic each week, with reasons why it is or isn’t worth your precious time or money.

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June 25th, 2009–

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The odd history of Jonathan Levine’s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a far more  horrifying story than the one within the movie.  After being completed in 2006 and playing various film festivals, the movie sat in limbo for a year or so and then never got theatrical distrubition here in the U.S. Over in Britain and other parts of the world it’s available on dvd, and if you have a region free dvd player you can get it on Amazon. Then, this summer,  a release date of June 18th was announced only to have the distributors pull it again. Amber Heard, who played the titular character, has gone on to become something of a scream queen even though Mandy Lane has yet to officially play over here.  In the time since making ATBLML, director Levine has finished and released another movie, The Wackness, and has about three more in production. If he’s lucky Mandy Lane will stay hidden until he’s got a few more finished pics under his belt and can safely chalk this one up to youthful excess. Continue reading