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25th
APR

Wolf Creek

Posted by Player under Horror

Wolf CreekIf you read my review of Hostel, and thought that the film might be too gore oriented and not have enough suspense, then perhaps you should consider Wolf Creek instead. Unlike Hostel, Wolf Creek is a well rounded film with good dialogue, incredible cinematography, and developed characters. It is essentially the tale of three college aged friends. Liz (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy (Kestie Morassi) are young British girls on vacation and their native Australian friend Ben (Nathan Phillips) is trying to show them the cool sites. They end up going deep into the outback to look at a giant crater named Wolf Creek. This is when the landscape and desolation of the Australian Outback starts to show itself in the film, and you can’t help but think how vulnerable people really are in the middle of nowhere. Ben’s car breaks down of course and in the middle of the night they are rescued by an outback man, who agrees to tow their car to his home and repair it. The film soon turns very dark, as Mick is no ordinary outback man, he’s a serial killer! John Jarrett’s portrayal of the homicidal outback man is so great, I’m sure they will probably make a Wolf Creek 2, as the character is that frightening!

Wolf Creek does take a while to develop into a suspenseful horror film, but once it does, the film does not disappoint. Most of all this film was shot in Hi-Def Video and it looks absolutely amazing for being such a low budget film. Suspense fans will appreciate the look and feel of the film, while horror fans will love Mick’s trademark laugh and sadistic nature. In all there is something for everyone to enjoy in Wolf Creek.

4.5 out 5 stars

25th

Hostel

Posted by Player under Horror

HostelThis weekend was horror movie weekend for me as I took in the delights of two major films. The first reviewed here was Eli Roth’s Hostel, a delightful movie for horror and gore fans and then the more dramatic and suspenseful Wolf Creek. To begin with Hostel is a film that does not take itself too seriously, because it’s part American Pie slash Euro Trip and then becomes something more horror oriented, along the same lines of Saw, (that is if Saw was actually a better film than it is, which it is not). The story starts out with three guys looking for action in Europe. The two Americans are Paxton and Josh and their new buddy Oli who is from Iceland. Josh is the sensitive guy and Paxton is the strong one, while Oli is the funny guy who enjoys playing jokes on everyone. The three get a hot tip from a guy that there are hot women in Slovakia and that they are totally available. Our heroes find themselves on the first train to Slovakia, only to discover that yes there are hot women to be had, but that Slovakia is also one strange place.

Eventually the horror begins and Hostel becomes one very upsetting film. The torture devices are brought out and limbs are cut, stabbed, burned, and even surgically operated on. Our one hero left is Paxton who is taken prisoner himself and who needs to find a way to escape and seek proper vengeance on these evil people.

I must admit the film does make you want to look away in some places, but at the same time it poses such interesting and fun questions. What other movie would feature children killing in broad daylight? And what a genius idea by a director to depict children murdering for bubblegum?

At the end, it helps that I could sit down and watch the three part documentary of the making of Hostel and see that this was all fake and that Slovakia is not at all the murderous place that Eli Roth depicts in the film. As a whole Hostel has sub par acting, lots of nudity, plenty of blood and gore, and some incredibly bad lines, so yes, it is an awesome film.

4.5 out 5 stars

20th
APR

Inside Man

Posted by Player under Drama

Inside ManInside Man, features the ever popular Clive Owen as a bank robber who takes over a New York City bank to steal something other than money. It is then up to Denzel Washington, who plays the smooth hostage negotiator to figure out what the bank robber’s intentions really are. Along the way though, Jodie Foster makes an appearance as a high priced broker known only as Miss White, who tries to manipulate the situation for the bank’s owner. In between all of this, director Spike Lee makes sure to paint a colorful portrait of New York City life, with all its racial tensions and candor. However Inside Man lacks action and though the dialogue is interesting, the film becomes too predictable and in some places even unbelievable.

Clive Owen is perhaps the most popular actor right now, and while he does deliver a few moments of his typical “man pushed too far” character, it is not enough to make this movie memorable. Even Denzel Washington seems to just be along for the ride and does not deliver anything exciting in his role. The only real surprise is Jodie Foster who plays a woman you love to hate. The C word is even used to describe Miss White, and I must admit that even though Foster is no longer the young actress in Silence of The Lambs, she looks impeccable and down right sexy. I look forward to Foster playing more villain type characters in the future.

Other critics found Inside Man too commercial and even dull, but it is a decent film and like most of Spike Lee’s other films, it is all New York City. Being from Chicago myself, that does not always work for me.

3 out 5 stars

4th
APR

V for Vendetta

Posted by Player under Action

V For VendettaPerhaps, we like to think of ourselves as being reasonably intelligent, even somewhat open and responsive to artistic points of view, but perhaps we are not. Perhaps, we watch movies as an escape and the action film is not meant to make us think or be political. It is a puzzling predicament that we ask Hollywood to come out with better films and yet at the same time to not insult our sensibilities. And this is the predicament that we find ourselves in if we watch V for Vendetta, a captivating film that tries to aspire to some lofty political ideals and at the same time present some thrilling action sequences.

The film depicts the political transformation of Evey (played by Natalie Portman). In the beginning Evey is a young woman who lives in fear of the government, but when she is rescued by a mysterious masked man, her life changes. At the end Evey is a woman without fear and it will become her choice ultimately if the entire British government should be toppled or remain in power.

In between, Hugo Weaving as V is one of the most charismatic heroes in a long time. He kills swiftly, but with care, leaving always a flower for his victims. The final battle scene does not disappoint either.

But what makes V different from other films is that unlike other Hollywood films, V actually speaks volumes about today’s political climate. Everything that Hollywood has tried to avoid talking about directly, V openly talks about. The political ideals of personal liberty, freedom from government intervention, and choice are repeated throughout the film, but one can only wonder if today’s generation of iPod users are actually tuning in or just waiting for the next action scene.

5 out 5 stars