Tag Archives: mystery

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

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AMAD-Horror Edition: The Changeling (1980)

13 Oct

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cinemagrade bGeorge C. Scott is not the most ideal mark if you are a troubled spectre looking to haunt someone. He isn’t going to scare very easily, and all of your dripping faucets, percussive banging, and Enya whispering are likely going to just tick him off; believe me, you don’t want George ticked off. But if you can get beyond the fact he’s probably going to get under your skin long before you get under his, he’s a great ally. Continue reading

Now Playing:Rockwell Encounters The Darkside of ‘Moon’

23 Jul

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Moon (R) 97 min.

For here I am sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet earth is blue
And theres nothing I can do

Though Im past one hundred thousand miles
Im feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows

Space Oddity, David Bowie

cinemagrade AThose haunting lyrics to Bowie’s song about a lonesome and isolated astronaut seem to echo in every silent space of Duncan Jones’  new hard-science fiction Moon.  And there is a certain sense of symmetry there when you consider that Jones is Bowie’s son and this movie his first directorial debut. What a debut it is too! Starting small and quiet and then gaining momentum slowly and purposefully, Moon tells the story of astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a company man fulfilling the last bit of his three year contract on the lunar surface where he is the only human member of a mining operation. What is it exactly Sam is mining ? Helium-3, a clean fuel source that is abundant on the moon but provides the key for Earth’s energy crisis. Employed by Lunar Industries, Sam’s primary job is to oversee the automated robotic process. As a result, that means Sam’s only crew member is the base’s A.I. system, GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacy as a cross between Hal 9000 and Robby the Robot).  Continue reading

DVD Showcase: The Thinning Hairline Between ‘Knowing’ and Believing

7 Jul

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Knowing (PG-13) 121 min. Directed by:Alex Proyas. Written by:Ryne Douglas Pearson & Juliet Snowden. Starring:Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, D.G. Maloney, Lara Robinson.

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Is the universe governed by determinism or by random event? Do we as human beings exist in it all alone, or is there a greater omniscient force which rules over all of our lives? Are the worlds of science and religion exclusive to themselves, cancelling one another out, or are they simply different lenses through which we view the same events? And the greatest conundrum of all; is Nicolas Cage still capable of making a good movie?  Alex Proyas’ new thriller Knowing, which opened in theaters last March and hits Dvd and Bluray today, raises all of those questions and answers concretely only one. Yes, Virginia, Nicolas Cage managed to not ruin a movie. You will believe a man can stare vacantly and have just cause for doing so.  Continue reading

Now Playing: ‘Revanche’ ponders the path of vengeance

18 Jun

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Revanche (R) written & directed by: Götz Spielmann. starring: Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko, Andreas Lust, Ursula Strauss, Johannes Thanheiser. cinematography: Martin Gschalt.

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Götz Spielmann’s Austrian thriller Revanche, nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards, is the kind of movie I usually adore. It takes it time in telling a story that on the surface seems unlikely and then uses the tools of the cinema to draw it out and bring it to life. For the most part it worked for me. I enjoyed the acting immensely. I appreciated the beautiful and pastoral cinematography and the brilliant framing of shots. I was engrossed in the story and invested to some degree in the characters. But, somehow, that doesn’t end up being enough for Revanche. Spielmann develops a languid drama based around the singular concept of vengeance but his keen eye for observation is ill suited to a would-be thriller that starts spinning its wheels mid-point. Continue reading

Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’ goes Gothic! Trailer and pics here!

11 Jun

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 June 11th, 2009-

Now this is what I’m talking about. I’ve just started writing a new column called The Weekly Creepy and as I was in the midst of preparing the first week’s review (up later today) this trailer surfaced. And this is the kind of thing I want to see when I go to a Gothic thriller; lots of dimly lit hospital corridors, gloomy gray skys, bodies dangling over cliffs and of course, crazy people that look like they might bite you. It’s been awhile since Scorsese has done a movie like this. In fact, I think it’s safe to say the last time was probably 1992’s Cape Fear remake. This one looks heaps better than that one, although there is no DeNiro to be seen. Continue reading