barber10 > ReviewsExtraordinaire

ACAB All Cops Are Bastards - 5 years, 9 months ago
A.C.A.B. is an exceptional film with a plot that is remarkably simple while being at the same time extremely complex.By simple I mean the film doesn't have a traditional narrative structure with a concrete setup, conflict and resolution nor does the film really have any bad guys or good guys. Instead, the film simply provides a glimpse into the lives of a unit of the Italian riot police. Throughout the course of the film we are given examples of police brutality, racism and all sorts or corruption in the riot unit. However, the film also offers a look into the personal lives of the unit's members, the sense of brotherhood they all share and the dangers they have to face while on duty that have helped shaped their hostility towards the people they have to deal with everyday. Because the film provides an unbiased look at the Italian riot police it is up to the viewer to decide whether or not the police should be hated or sympathized with or if they are simply reacting to the conditions of the society they serve. So, in conclusion, while the plot may be basic the characters and the world in which they exist are very complex and make A.C.A.B. a very engaging film. 5/5
Dream Home - 5 years, 9 months ago
Wai dor lei ah yut ho, a.k.a Dream House, was not only extremely gory (and I mean disturbingly so) but also borderline depressing as our protagonist and killer is extremely unhappy with her lot in life and her solution to her unhappiness is to murder people in the way of her dream life. The movie is beautifully shot however and the social issues it addresses are well presented in the film. 4/5
Owning Mahowny - 5 years, 9 months ago
Owning Mahowny will certainly be a difficult movie for people who can relate to or have been affected by a gambler's addiction to watch. This film holds nothing back. All our lead character, Mahowny, cares about is gambling. He doesn't even care about how much he is winning or how much he is losing, all he cares about is the world of gambling and the rush of the win. Every time he loses he uses as an excuse to get back in the game and gamble in the disguise that he's only trying to win his money back. In reality, he just gambles for reasons only addicted gamblers could understand. He doesn't drink, he doesn't sleep around, he have any vices but gambling. Gambling is his obsession. This movie is a unique take on this very real problem that afflicts millions of individuals. 4/5
Sugarhouse - 5 years, 9 months ago
This movie's plot is nothing unfamiliar to the average crime film buff but, the acting, script and character development is beyond brilliant. These elements make Sugarhouse what should have been a discarded piece of trash into a movie that should not be missed. Ashley Walters steals the show once again as a cracked out, struggling human scavenger who harbors deeper feelings of moral responsibility. Andy Serkis plays a cracked out, soon to be father with a gorgeous and thoughtful wife, who pretends to have values but in reality is a murdering sociopath. Finally, we have Steven Mackintosth, who plays a middle class bloke who wants a gun for unknown purposes but will do anything, including, risk his life to get his hands on it. The interplay between these characters is fantastic and you have got to see the film for yourself to know what I mean. There a sense of mystery, tension and empathy for the characters that builds throughout the course of the movie in ways you would least expect. 5/5
388 Arletta Avenue - 5 years, 9 months ago
I have been anxiously awaiting watching 388 Arletta Avenue for some time now and I was not disappointed. The film's premise is basic. A man's wife goes missing and he is being harassed by an unknown stalker who purports to have his wife and slowly drives the man insane. The premise is basic but the execution is unique. The movie is a found footage film but one of the things that makes this film stand out from other FF flicks is that we are not certain if the movie is merely shot in a the found footage style or if someone is in fact stalking the protagonist with a camcorder and with hidden cameras throughout the house, his car and his workplace until the end of the film. This element creates a sense of mystery and frustration which heightens our empathy for Nick Stahl's character (James) as his circumstances drive him mad. In fact, during a great portion of the film James's behavior is so aggressive and erratic he becomes unlikable at which point it's easy to suspect James's did in fact kill his wife and is now dealing with his own denial and guilt. The film is not without it's flaws. Many people may be disappointed with the lack of resolution at the end and their is very little character development. We know nothing about James or his wife. All we know is a seemingly ordinary man James is losing control of his life and his sanity. Overall, great thriller. 4/5
Livide - 5 years, 9 months ago
I love French horror and I loved this film from beginning to end. From the director of one of my all time favorite horror film's "Inside" I didn't expect anything less. It's both magical feeling and terrifying as it's visuals are stunning in a horrific yet beautiful sort of way and the plot unravels as if it were a fairy tale. Additionally I never knew what to expect next which is always a plus. This is easily in the top ten of my favorite French horror movies of all time. Horror fans, especially French horror fans have got to watch this movie! 5/5
Outpost Black Sun - 5 years, 9 months ago
I remember seeing the first Outpost many years ago and although I thought it was an above average indie horror flick I felt the whole premise of Nazi zombies was a little silly. However, the film took itself so seriously it overcame its comical plot so I was willing to give Outpost Black Sun a fair chance and I'm glad I did. The sequel far out does its predecessor with more plot development. so the idea of Nazi zombies isn't as ridiculous and the whole cast take their roles seriously as well so their characters are also believable. The sequel has a bigger budget as well which means it has better action scenes better effects and better production design all around. I felt the sequel was also more adventure and less horror orientated which I actually enjoyed even though I am a horror fan at heart. Definitely worth the watch. 4/5
The Afflicted - 5 years, 10 months ago
The Afflicted is a very well made movie. The acting is superb if not a little over the top, namely, by the mom, but she was supposed to be deranged so in the context of this movie her performance worked. This movie is not light entertainment by a long shot. It is difficult to watch what the kids have to go through. As a fan of horror movies I can take a lot of violence but I can tell the violence in most horror movies is all fantasy however, in this movie the violence all feels so real so it's painful to witness. It's a shame the things in this movie happen in real life and in fact, this movie is based on a true story. (4/5)
The Entity - 5 years, 11 months ago
The Entity is a fairly original take on the evil ghost genre because rather than haunting a house, or possessing a person the ghost in this films stalks and literally assaults a women no matter where she is. It's refreshing that this film doesn't fall for the same cliches as other ghost movies. The ghost isn't haunting the women just to scare her or to deliver some kind of message from the other side rather, all the ghost wants to do is maliciously and most often sexually assault her whenever it wants to. Furthermore, unlike most haunting films where all a person has to do is leave a physical location or to be around friends in order to avoid being terrorized, the women in this film has no where to run and is presumably no safer alone than she is with others because the ghost will dispense of anyone around it in order to get to the girl. Because this film avoids all the cliches of these kinds of films and because there is really nothing to complain about as to the acting or direction of the film, I would give it I solid 4/5. I would be tempted to give it a perfect score if more insight into what the entity was, was given and if the movie had more resolution in the end.
Rise - 5 years, 11 months ago
Rise is a strange little film because it's a movie revolving around vampires and yet it adheres very little to the mythology surrounding vampires that we are used to seeing in vampire flicks. The vampires don't have fangs, they don't have superpowers, a simple bite won't turn someone into a vampire, they are not inordinately sensitive to light and they don't fear God. However, they do crave blood and they will live forever unless stabbed in the heart with a stake. I'm not pointing this out as a criticism as I always enjoy a fresh take on things. Besides this new mythology, the acting in the movie is excellent all across the board as it features a great cast. Unfortunately, what this movie suffers from is a weak plot and an even weaker sense of pace. The plot is simple, a lady gets turned into a vampire but she rather be dead and so she vows to get revenge on the vampires who turned her. This is all well and good but it has been done ten times better before in the Blade trilogy. To add, the script and Lucy Liu's performance don't make her anger at her predicament very convincing. As I said the pacing was another problem. There are brief periods of action followed by long stretches of nothing but mindless banter and the movie is not presented chronologically. It jumps back and forth in time in a way that is so confusing it's impossible to tell the sequence of events the movie takes place in. As a whole, the movie is ok and fans of vampire movies will no doubt find it above average but all in all this film was a waste of a good cast. 3/5
Noroi - 5 years, 11 months ago
Noroi (aka The Curse) concerns strange happenings occurring around a small town in Japan in which people are mysteriously disappearing, dying, experiencing supernatural phenomena or just plain going crazy. It is truly one of the better found footage films I've seen. What stands out about Noroi from other films in this genre is the scope of subjects it covers and the different forms of media it uses to cover them. Unlike films like Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and Paranormal activity which focus on the POV of a small group of individuals, Noroi is shot like an episode of Dateline and utilizes the POV of an investigator, interviews, footage from News and Variety shows and much more. The net result of this is that Noroi weave's a much fuller story than the average found footage film, leaving very few plot holes and avoiding that common feeling in these types of films that the movie should have provided more information. Unfortunately, because the film does offer so many explanations it isn't quite as unsettling as The Blair Witch Project or Rec however, at least we won't be waiting for a sequel to get the whole story and at least it offers something fresh! 4/5
Cold Prey 2 - 5 years, 11 months ago
The Fritt Vilt (aka Cold Prey) films are highly praised among fans of the slasher sub genre of horror and in certain respects I can see why. The acting is way above average with well developed and likable characters,the cinematography is gorgeous and there are a handful of scenes of true suspense. Not to forget the villain is really cool looking. Fritt Vilt II picks up right where the first left off and is equal to and in some aspects even better than the first (as long as you can believe the killer could survive his ordeal in the first film). However, just like in this first film the plot is painfully thin and can basically be summarized as any average slasher could,"The killer arrives and starts killing off people one by one and is seemingly indestructible". I for one am pretty tired of this premise but I do appreciate the strengths the film does have and therefore I would give this film a solid 3/5.
Needful Things - 5 years, 11 months ago
The premise of Needful Things revolves around a small town that is visited by who else but Satan himself. Satan's goal, as always, is to manipulate human beings into committing sin by preying on the weaknesses of human beings so he can tell God, "I told you so!". Yes, we have seen this premise before and to be honest Needful Things doesn't add anything new to this theme. The production relies heavily on the performance of the devil himself, a seemingly (at first), kindly old man, played my Max von Sydow. Sydow plays a remarkably kind man at times and then, at others, a very sinister creature who preys on man kinds greed and hate. We also have Ed Harris who does a great job playing the new sheriff in town who was hoping for a simpler way of life out of the big city only to encounter a bunch of evil doings that seemingly make no sense until he gets to the bottom of it all. Anyway, excuse me for getting straight to the point but the bottom line is if you are looking for a film with a similar premise my recommendation would be to opt instead for the Devils Advocate or Angel Heart which, are both much more convincing portrayals of of Satan if, in fact, he exists in human form. Needful Things suffers from poor direction and poor dialogue from players except for the lead roles. I'm not suggesting to disregard this movie however, I am suggesting you hold off watching this until you have nothing better to do/watch.
Flowers in the Attic - 5 years, 11 months ago
Flowers in the Attic is based on the novel of the same title by Virginia C. Andrews. The premise is fairly dismal as it concerns a group of kids who are confined to an attic in their grandparents mansion while their recently widowed mother attempts to woo her parents into putting her in their will so she can support her children on her own. The twist is, while her kids are locked in the attic she slowly begins to forget about them entirely due to psychological abuse from her parents and her desire for riches. Forgotten and alone, the kids health and hope begins to deteriorate. The plot of the film is brilliant and the plight of the children is truly a tragedy to behold. Unfortunately, the only thing that holds the film together is the plot. The film suffers from melodramatic dialogue and "" like direction giving the film a cheap feeling to it. In fact the only stand out performance is from the mother and the wicked grandmother. Furthermore, the entire movie focuses on the children and although it is implied the mother is also experiencing abuse it is poorly depicted so that when she turns on her children it's impossible to sympathize with her. So while the movie is worth a watch due to it's memorable premise many viewers will probably be disappointed in its execution. Flowers in the Attic is definitely up for a remake with better writing and direction.
Exhibit A - 5 years, 11 months ago
Exhibit A is a difficult film to watch. So much so in fact, that most people probably would critique this film poorly, criticizing it as being boring, too slow or down right depressing. It is my belief that's because this film was not meant to be a thrill ride as most horror films are but rather an honest portrayal of a father having a mental breakdown due to the pressures of being the head of a family and this film succeeds in doing that. The performances by the unknown actors are extremely believable (the daughter and father's performance are most noteworthy) and having the whole movie shot as if it were a home movie also added to the realism of the experience. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who's interested in watching an honest portrayal of a family tragedy unfolding on film, a tragedy that unfortunately occurs often in real life. Just be warned that this isn't light entertainment and if you're looking for a movie to escape reality this probably isn't the film for you.
Salvage - 5 years, 11 months ago
Salvage is one of those movies where it's hard to decide whether to like or not because it has so many strengths and just a few weaknesses but the weakness effect the movie so much so, the strengths are overshadowed almost entirely. The basic idea of the movie is pretty cool. A cargo container containing a dangerous monster washes ashore near a small coastal town and escapes. That to me sounds like a recipe for a good movie. The problem is the monster's origins are hardly explained and when we finally see the thing it's very cheap looking and hardly intimidating at all. Not near dangerous looking enough to require a team of special forces to wipe it out. Additionally, the way in which the special forces unit quarantines the town is hardly believable or perhaps just poorly explained. They seem to be wondering around aimlessly accomplishing nothing. The film however does have some strong performances all around and really did care about the three leads. The camera work is also satisfactory and the film features a score that sets an appropriate hopeless tone that fits the film. It's possible that the director wanted the focus of this movie to be much more about family and the relationship between the mother and daughter rather than the monster and violence. If that is this than the director succeeded. In conclusion, for horror fans this movie is a mixed bag but worth a one time watch.
Cannibal Holocaust - 6 years ago
I watched Cannibal Holocaust several months ago and even after watching countless horror films since, I can't seem to get this one out of my head. Although I am a huge fan of horror movies I'm not a fan of Ruggero Deodato's films or Italian horror in general but nearly everything about Cannibal Holocaust stood out to me. For starters, I believe the level of violence in this movie is unmatched in terms of the impact it leaves. I have seen many of the recent ultra-violent movies such as Martyrs, Inside, Hostel and many of the old violent exploitation films such as Caligula and the Ilsa films but none of these impacted me the way Cannibal did. While the violence is overdone at times, it is so realistic, in your face, primal and senseless I actually felt sick and had to close my eyes several times throughout the film. The effect the violence leaves is also bolstered by Riz Ortolani's score. As many other reviewers have mentioned the score is unforgettable. Taken out of its context, the main theme could very well be played during the opening credits to some corny 1970's American family values sitcom (the antithesis of Cannibal Holocaust's theme). At times the score stands in such strong contrast to the events on screen it contributed to me feeling a barrage of emotions ranging from despair for the characters to disbelief at what I was seeing. The cinematography and set design was effective as well with the exception of several overly done Indiana Jones "esque" skulls and other props. Although I don't think the film captured the beauty of the Amazon it certainly made it seem like a primal hellish maze. The acting in the movie may not have been Oscar worthy but I thought it fit well with the film. Especially in the last segment where I thought the actors did a great job coming across as callously detached, self-centered ignoramuses as I think was Deodato's intention. My biggest criticism about the casting would be that some of the ill-fated mud covered native women appeared strikingly Caucasion with well kept teeth. There is much more to be said about this film. This is the first time I've ever felt the need to contribute a review but I feel it is sadly underrated and deserves more critical respect (although I don't claim to be a pro-critic by any means). I just can't help but think if Quentin Tarrantino or Robert Rodriguez made this exact same movie today it would rated at least as one of the top 50 best horror movies of all times.

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