Tag Archives: Thriller

Movies and Tea #31 – Lust, Caution


Our Ang Lee season arrives at Lust, Caution, an erotic thriller set in Hong Kong in 1938 and in Shanghai in 1942 which sees student Wong Chia Chi being drawn into an assassination plot to kill special agent for the Japanese goverment Mr. Yee only to soon find herself falling for him as she is forced to decide between lust and duty.

Despite the critical acclaim recived for the film it still saw leading Tang Wei blacklisted unlike her male counterpart Tony Leung which we also question as we also look at the controversy the film caused upon its release in China

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Friday Film Club: Your Name + Ocean’s 8

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Your Name (2016)

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Adapted from director Makoto Shinkai’s novel of the same name which was published only one month prior to the film’s premiere, Your Name stands out because of all its elements being done very well: story full of reveals and twists, emotional moments, music score and of course, its rich animation. Your Name tells the story of Taki and Mitsuha, a teenage boy and girl respectively who live in different places, don’t know each other and somehow swap bodies in their sleep and gradually forget the other’s name and events when they wake up again in their own bodies. In the midst of a rare comet passing through, their lives become intertwined unexpectedly as they build a connection with each other and try to seek out one another.

Your Name has incredibly rich animation. Each scene has a lot of intricate details. Whether its setting up how the sunlight beams through a scene or how the night sky and the comet and lights contrast in its night scenes, every scene is set up to look beautifully authentic, especially in its outdoors nature scene that almost looks like a realistic snapshot full of colors, instead of an animation. Paired with its music score by Radwimps which runs fittingly throughout all the scenes, especially during the montage moments between the two main leads and the little things that happen to go through time quickly.

Your Name carries a rather complex story packed with swapping bodies, time elements and a few surprises along the way. Its execution is possibly the most important element put to the test in order to make each of its reveals timed perfectly to make it have the most impact and Shinkai does it so masterfully that it manages to make each one unpredictable and pulls the story into another direction and packing in a lot of emotions and tugging some heartstrings as this is at the centre of it all, a love story by the end. At the same time, props to Shinkai who also starts off the story in a light and fun way of introducing these two characters who learn to discover each other physically and emotionally, adding a lot of charm and humor.

At the end of the day, Your Name delivers an fun and emotional story that has a lot of creativity behind it. Its success lies heavily on the twists that it delivers effectively and yet, there’s so much more to this as both the visual aesthetics and the music support the story including the supporting characters which give foundation to explain why these two characters are caught up in this dilemma.

Elwood’s Pick – Ocean’s Eight (2018)

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Working with half the crew but losing none of the star power this genderswapped follow up to the original trilogy (lets just forget that Ratpack original) see’s Danny’s sister orchestrating her own heist upon her release from prison after an art swindle went south. Now gathering her own crew together she plots the snatch of a diamond necklace from the Met Gala.

Switching out the bright lights of Vegas for New York is certainly a great move as it really stops the film from falling into just reworking one of the original heists. It also gives Debbie her own stomping ground even if both her and her partner Lou (Blanchett) feel a little too similar to Danny and Rusty.

Thankfully the similarities end with Debbie and Lou with the rest of the crew each standing out on their own merits and not used before skill sets like Rhianna’s hacker Nine Ball and Mindy Kaling’s jewelry maker. Add to this Helena Bonham Carter’s fashion designer and the always fantastic Awkwafina who here shows up as the always required hustler / pickpocket. It’s equally nice that director Gary Ross resists the urge to cram in a bunch of cameos from well known female celebs to ramp up the girl power, which I honestly was expecting from the setting so to not see an awkward cameo from Taylor Swift or god forbid Lena Dunham was a welcome surprise. We do however get James Corden as an insurance investigator which feels like it was dropped into the film just to give him a role even as per normal he adds nothing but runtime to the film.

The downside here though is compared to the Ocean’s 11 heists the one here lack alot of the twists and complexity and comes off a little too straightforward for the brand. I guess we should just be glad it doesn’t pull the franchise killing move of having an actor suddenly play themselves as we got with that Julie Roberts moment in Ocean’s 12.

A fun heist movie with a good energy between the cast, it’s just a shame this feels so self contained as certainly this could have been the start of a fun new trilogy with this crew. But in the meantime it’s a fun watch while it lasts even if it’s not exactly bringing anything new to the genre.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: The Big Sick + Widows

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – The Big Sick (2017)

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Loosely based on the real life relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon who also penned the script for this romantic comedy, The Big Sick tells the story of a Pakistani guy Kumail, both an Uber driver and a stand-up comedian and his interethnic relationship with Emily. As he tries to live his life the way he wants while not ruffling the feathers of his parents as a facade, his indecisiveness of which side to commit to affects his relationship when she discovers that he has been constantly keeping a box of pictures of girls that his mother has been setting him up with. However, when Emily ends up hospitalized, Kumail commits to helping out her parents despite their reluctance and ends up facing his true feelings and become more certain and more honest of his desires.

The Big Sick is something of a breath of fresh air in the whole realm of romantic comedies. It highlights a little of cultural differences that stand between those involved in interethnic relationships. At the same time, it still bundles in a decent amount of soul-searching on behalf of primarily the character of Kumail as the character of Emily does fall into a coma for at least half of the film or something. This also is quite the unusual sort of flow of events as it makes it much more than simply a typical rom-com.There’s a deeper level as these other elements get brought into the picture.

Looking at the cast, there is not much to say about Kumail as someone who plays himself in this somewhat autobiographical flow of events. However, there is quite an impressive little cast here going and the first goes to Zoe Kazan who, while spends most a good part of it in a coma, brings in a very quirky female lead, which shouldn’t be a surprise with the roles that she has played before whether in an indie romance like In Your Eyes or Ruby Sparks. Playing her father Terry is Ray Romano who plays a fairly serious role here despite the story touching in the stand-up comedian main character. Playing the mother is Holly Hunter who takes on quite a strong motherly role who finds a growing bond with Kumail and has a powerful scene where she attacks someone in the audience for making a racial comment.

There’s a lot to love about The Big Sick. A big part of it goes to it feeling genuine and heartfelt. The other part is that the intercultural relationship is a refreshing angle to take with some new themes to explore. If you like a nice romantic comedy, this one definitely fits the bill.

Elwood’s Pick – Widows (2018)

EEOFzC1XUAAF8paAs a director Steve Mcqueen is hardly one whose name attached to a film instantly makes it a must see especially after having endured the tedious Hunger and award pandering 12 years a Slave. So it wasn’t surprising that this film originally flew under my radar until recently and more shockingly turned out to be a film of his I can actually recommend!!

Following a trio of women who in the wake of their criminal spouses being killed in a botched heist find themselves picking up their debt with Veronica (Viola Davis) the wife of the heist mastermind Harry (Liam Neeson) now setting out to pull off the heist he was planning.

Bringing together a fantastic cast here Mcqueen crafts a tight tale not only following the amatuer crooks as they attempt to pull off the heist with no actual criminal experience and nothing but the desperation of their situation to drive them on. At the same two equally corrupt parties are battling out to be alderman of the Chicago south side giving the feel the feel of “The Wire”.

A gripping watch throughout here this film along with the much underappreciated Oceans 8 showed the ladies were just as capable of the guys and this is certainly the case here and even if Mcqueens other films failed to connect this is certainly one worth checking out.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Top 10: Hidden Gems of the Decade (2010’s)

For one reason or another movies can often get missed or overlooked on the release schedule be it from terrible marketing or just not connecting with audiences upon their initial release. Whatever the reason here are 10 hidden gems from the last decade which are worth discovering.

Youth In Revolt

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Tapping into the awkward charms of Michael Cera this indie comedy unsurprisingly sees him playing the terminally awkward Nick who rather check out old movies and records while generally failing to connect with anyone around him until he meets the beautiful Sheeni who shares his love of records and French Culture leading him to create a rebellious and swave alter-ego François Dillinger (complete with pencil moustache) to win her over while wrecking havok on the lives of those around him.

Redline

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For those who felt that the Fast and Furious movies were still alittle grounded will find a lot to enjoy in this 2010 debut anime feature from Takeshi Koike whose work as a director is probebly best know for World Record his contribution to the fantastic Matrix animated anthology The Animatrix

Here he brings together a colourful cast of racers for a nitro fuelled take on Wacky Races as the intergalactic high speed race the Redline which this time will be taking place on the android planet Roboworld. This is a film packed with action and visual flair while still highly accessable to even the none anime fans amongst you.

The Devil’s Double

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This film actually made my top 10 list of the decade but seeing how it’s pretty much fallen under the radar it’s worth recommending again especially for the duel performances of Dominic Cooper who here plays Iraqi soldier Latif hired to become the double or bullet catcher for Saddam Hussein’s son Uday. Initially excited to share Uday’s life as he has acess to everything he owns from the massive palaces, fast cars and flashy wardrobe only for the dream to soon turn into a nightmare as tensions in the palace increase and Uday’s lifestyle starts spiralling out of control.

A gripping thriller based on a true story, it’s a film which hooks you from the start while peppered with it’s share of surreal moments such as watching Saddam play tennis with himself, while your never sure which of these two men is the real dictator.

50 / 50

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Based on screenwriter Will Rieser and his battle with spinal cancer, here Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays public radio journalist Adam as we follow his battle with cancer in a film which both funny as it is touching especially as Joseph undergoes treatment connecting with his fellow patients over Weed Cookies while his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogan) looks after him. A refreshing change of pace from the usual terminal illness dramas while both actors really tap into the material with great on screen chemistry as we chart the highs and rock bottom lows of Adam’s battle.

I Kill Giants

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Based on the indie graphic novel of the same name this was initially a film I was alittle disapointed in the first time I watched it having expected something like Troll Hunter instead finding something more akin to The Wasp Factory as reality clashes with small island magic and fantasy as the bunny ear wearing giant slayer Barbara secretly protects her small village from the giants secretly invading its shore or atleast that’s what your lead to believe as she draws the new girl at school Sophia into her world, but does it hide a darker reality?

Featuring energetic performances from both Madison Wolfe and Sydney Wade while Zoe Saldana keeps the adult connection to this world as the school psychologist this would make an interesting pairing with Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures

Pain and Gain

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Following on the mini-trend of adapting magazine feature stories for the screen which gave us Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and was followed by this true crime drama from most shockingly of all Michael Bay!!

Featuring none of his explosions, battling robots or ridiculous action set pieces here he strips things down to basics to tell the story of three bodybuilders who hatch a plot to extort wealthy new client Victor Kershaw out of his assets only for their plans and attempts to get away with the crime spiralling rapidly out of control especially once Ed Helms private investigator starts looking into the case. An engrossing story combined with plenty of Bay’s visual flair even if nothing is blowing up.

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea

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Using a diversive doodle style of animation which if you can get past it will find a film which delivers a quirky take on a disaster movie when the cliff the school is located on breaks throwing the school and students into the ocean were they must now battle through the floors to escape.

Bringing together a diversive range of voice talents including Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph and Susan Sarandon adding an almost Wes Anderson quirkiness to the film.

Blue Ruin

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Funded through Kickstarter the second film from Jermy Saulnier marked him out as a serious talent to watch which he only reinforced with it’s follow up Green Room. Here though he gives a slow burn meditation on revenge as vagrant Dwight (Macon Blair) discovers that the man who killed his parents twenty years ago has been released from prison early and sets out to get his revenge.

This really is a film best seen with as little expectation as possible and while it starts off perhaps alittle slow once it gets rolling it grabs hold of you and refuses to relinquish its grip till its played out its grim finale.

Big Bad Wolves

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Following a series of violent murders of young girls, three men soon find their lives on a collision course with each other. Gidi (Tzahi Grad) the father of the latest victim now fuelled with a lust for revenge, Miki (Lior Ashkenzai) a rouge police detective and Dror (Rotem Keinan) a school teacher and main suspect, who despite being arrested once already by Gidi only to be released due to Miki and his teams’ vigilante actions. Now Dror finds himself captured again by Gidi and the now suspended Miki who are determined to get him to confess to the murders they believe he is responsible for.

While Israeli cinema might not be over well renown outside of World Cinema fans, it certainly seems to be something which directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado are trying to change, as having launched their careers by making Israel’s first horror film with their debut Rabies they now follow it up by essentially giving the country its second with this film, which also came with a glowing recommendation from Quentin Tarantino who proclaimed it as being the “Best Film of The Year”. While the heavier torture scenes really took away from my enjoyment of the film and rating it higher, this is still unquestionably brave and exciting film making at its best.

So there’s our top hidden gems from the last decade, but did we miss one your favourites? Let us know in the comments your own hidden gems from the last decade

Friday Film Club: Zombieland + Stoker

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Zombieland (2009)

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Even back in the end of the 2000s, Zombie horror has already been plentiful. Paved before by George A. Romero and the Living Dead franchise or Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later evening landing on something more similar to Zombieland in the UK called Shaun of the Dead. Horror and comedy isn’t a rare combination and yet, zombie horror comedy is one that works so very well and yet again proved when Ruben Fleischer’s feature film directorial debut is a movie about four people of all ages that end up surviving together in this post-apocalyptic USA filled with zombies which all started from mad cow disease morphed into “mad person disease” and infected the world when these mad people turned into zombies.

Zombie films are been there and done that and while a lot of these segments are quite familiar. Zombieland stands out because of its four characters and how its able to maintain the very fun and light-hearted tone throughout the film with humor that hits a lot of the times. This dark humor sprouts also from the witty dialogue from these four and their wildly different personalities and the fact that the audience only knows them by where they come from.

Jesse Eisenberg takes on his normal role of his 2000s where he plays an awkward college boy called Columbus who is weak and fairly useless except because of his scaredy-cat personality, he has made up a ton of rules which become a pushing force throughout the movie. He’s not supposed to survive this long but being over-zealous about protecting himself has gotten him this far until of course, meeting Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee who is an older man with a lot more bravery and recklessness and is double the man that Columbus is. Tallahassee is the bombtastic character that adds so much flair to this story. Of course, the mighty will also fall for the young and weak damsel in distress game when this is how Emma Stone’s Wichita and her little sister Abigail Breslin’s Little Rock join their party. Nothing bonds a group like some connery.

With the sequel of Zombieland hitting theatres, it’s the perfect time to revisit this film from 10 years ago. Zombieland is a solid zombie film outing with a hilarious cameo from Bill Murray and a fantastic ragtag team including Michael Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and of course, Woody Harrelson. The four playing characters which no doubt, for fans of the film leaves great impressions.

Elwood’s Pick – Stoker (2013)

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There is always going to be a certain amount of hesitation whenever  one of the heavy hitters of foreign cinema decides to make a stab at the English speaking market, especially when there is the prospect of their style not translating to a Western audience, let alone the inevitable meddling from studio bosses. A fate which has sadly befallen many a great director with Guillermo del Toro’s  Mimic certainly being a prime example of such meddling. Park Chan-Wook throws his directing hat into the international directing ring, after wowing us previously with his Vengeance trilogy, which included the soon to be (unnecessary) remade Oldboy, while he also showed us a lighter and more playful side with the sadly overlooked I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK which he made for his daughter. Both showcased his visual flair with frequent love for unconventional plot points, such as the sign language sex scene in Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance.  Needless to say I was curious to see how his style would translate, while equally interested to see if his style would be forced to be toned back to suit a western audience.

Thankfully Chan-Wook fans can rest assured that he has lost none of his visual flair in the transition from his native Korea, with this Hitchcock influenced tale on which India Stoker (Wasikowska) solitary and privileged life is thrown into a tailspin by the death of her father Richard (Mulroney). Now left with her estranged and mildly unstable mother Evelyn (Kidman), who upon meeting Richard’s charming and charismatic brother Charlie (Goode) at the funeral invites him to stay with them, unaware of the secrets he is hiding.

Okay at this point I probably have said too much about this film, as this is certainly one best seen blind. True this is no easy feat these days were information is but a mouse click away. I will also state right now that there is a high chance of spoilers ahead so consider yourself warned.  So save yourself now and go watch what is possibly one of the more original and rewarding releases of 2013

While perhaps not as good as some of his previous films perhaps due to it being the first film which Chan-Wook hasn’t written himself, it is none the less a positive start for his first venture into the English language market, while certainly giving us one of the more interesting films of the year.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club – Anna and the Apocalypse + Rollercoaster

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Elwood’s Pick – Rollercoaster (1977)

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A film probably best known for its rather spectacular opening roller coaster crash than the film the footage was actually taken from this would be one of the few feature films that James Goldstone directed spending most of his career directing TV Pilots for Ironside and the original Star Trek were his work was not only noted for its momentum but also the “fifteen-minute cliffhangers” he brought to them. This is a film equally noteworthy for being one of the four films which Universal presented in “Sensurround” were selected theatres were low-frequency bass speakers were used to create vibrations at key moments, which ultimately proved to be so successful that it cracked the plaster of some of the theatres which choose to use it.

Despite the impressive opening crash this is surprisingly a much more subtle film than you might expect as Goldstone instead here chooses to craft a tense thriller with the rest of the film plays off the tension of not knowing were the bomber has hidden his next device let alone the mind games between Timothy Bottoms unnamed bomber and George Segal’s Safety inspector Harry. Bottoms however was criticised for being too boring as a villain in reviews for the film when it was originally released but here he gives a performance reminisant of Kevin Spacey’s John Doe in Seven which here really works for the film, especially when he is spending the majority of the film taunting Harry over the phone or a walkie talkie, all the time knowing that he holds the power in this situation with Harry left to play the unwilling puppet in the proceedings.

Segal meanwhile is an engaging leading man as the frustrated safety inspector he works in humorous subtle digs at his incompitant bosses while also having to work with the local police chief and Richard Widmark’s tough FBI agent. While it might seem that his talents are perhaps alittle wasted here seeing how he spends most of the film talking to the Bomber over the walkie talkie while moving through a variety of amusement rides which for theme park fans provides its own enjoyment with the film being shot on location at Ocean View Park, Kings Dominion and Six Flags.

The Cinematography throughout is extremely impressive especially with the rollercoaster footage were large portions are shot from the front of the carriage creating that simulator feel of being on the ride which is a nice touch especially when Goldstone isn’t planning on giving the audience any more crashes. The fact that they are shot from so many angles including some impressive profile shots is really add to the excitement, especially during the finale were the cat and mouse games are played out on the opening of the six flags Revolution the world’s first coaster to use a clothoid-shaped vertical loop and more fun against the backdrop of a Sparks concert a gig which had rumoured to had been offered to both the Bay City Rollers and KISS the later turning it down in favour of doing KISS Meet The Phantom of the Park. Sparks would later recall doing the film as one of the worst things they have ever done which I had to wonder if this was before or after they did their 2006’s album Hello Young Lovers. Despite what they feel about it, the high energy performance here really play well against the tension of this final game between the bomber and police.

While it might initially be a little disappointing to see what seems to be setup as another disaster movie dissolve into a thriller it ultimately proves to be the right move here, especially with Segal’s performance certainly able to carry the film so that such shocks are never required even though the film had originally been planned to be a lot more gruesome with both the opening crash and how the bomber ultimately meets his demise, a plaque for which can still be found on the rollercoaster at Six Flags. While perhaps not a film that rewards repeat viewing it’s one still worth checking out especially for the opening crash as you wonder just how they pulled it off.

Kim’s Pick – Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

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Mixing genres is a lot of fun and nothing quite sells like the idea of mashing zombies, musical and a Christmas setting together and its one of the reasons that 2017’s Scottish film Anna and the Apocalypse first landed on anyone’s radar during its festival circuit. While the idea sounds a bit odd, just like Shaun of the Dead worked out, Anna and the Apocalypse is very much a teen horror comedy musical. Its not very scary but does offer a lot of alternate Christmas and zombies elements.

Starring a fairly unknown young cast, Anna and the Apocalypse works because it does what it needs well. The first is the musical numbers. The music itself is a lot of fun, probably more for people who like musicals but there’s a lot of entertaining moments in the songs and the background. There are some downright ridiculous moments and yet because it’s a musical, it does work. Second, the friendship element and character bonding here also delivers. The characters really are known more through how they react and are and gives space for them to grow. Third, the pacing and execution is pretty fast-paced because of its compact run time that gives time for things to just keep happening and not spend a lot of time on the dramatic things like dwelling on past issues.

Overall, Anna and the Apocalypse is a movie suitable for Halloween and Christmas and is surprising entertaining with some very addictive songs and fun numbers. The characters are few but all are quite endearing especially with their different personalities. Its rare that the “bad boy” Nick, played by Ben Wiggins is not repulsive but while he starts that way, he also has quite a nice presence here along with main lead Anna, played by Ella Hunt (who suitably is now part of the Apple TV show Dickinson) as well as the fairly awkward presence of their friend, Steph, played by Sarah Swire, who is really witty and a great character in the film as a whole. Catchy tunes, fun characters and zombie apocalypse breakout during Christmas is a really great mashup that’s well worth a watch.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club – Antisocial + Perfect Blue

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Hi folks and welcome to another edition of The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Antisocial (2013)

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Canadian film company Black Fawn Films is known for its filmography of independent horror films. With a good number of films under their belt, there is no doubt that the team themselves have a great love for horror and in their films, a lot of homage is given to the various subgenres of horror. However, what gives them a unique twist is not only their vision of creating something new of their own while also mixing it up in terms of various subgenres together. While some viewers might view this as “been there done that” and feeling very familiar with its content, especially with the film today, it’s still has some refreshing elements especially paired up how the films are usually executed.

Antisocial is a 2013 horror film set during New Year’s Eve focused on a house with five university students partying it up when an epidemic spreads throughout the world. As they barricade themselves in the house, they also start rummaging around the Internet to find out the cause of the epidemic. Slowly, they each become both scared and filled with paranoia. Taking a bit of the digital world epidemic like Pulse and blending it into a science fiction-esque story and then adding in some zombie elements here, this film is a nicely-paced movie. Its mystery of the epidemic unravels itself. At the same time, while the 5 characters here might not be fully investigated, making them slightly more shallow, the film never forgets its focus is not on all the character drama but rather on the urgent situation at hand. There are some truly tense moments and they do ramp up to a memorable climax. Antisocial is not perfect but its straight forward and not always predictable.

It’s a revisit on our part that has held up a lot of its initial appeal. And if this film is your cup of tea, Antisocial 2 did also happen. While its pacing is different from the first one, its story is set some time after Antisocial ends.

Elwood’s Pick – Perfect Blue (1997)

MoxieStaffPicksPerfectBlueSatoshi Kon’s directorial debut is Hitchcock-esq thriller following Mima , a member of a J-pop group “CHAM!” decides to pursue a career as an actress, displeasing her fans especially her stalker Me-Mania (Okura). Now finding herself the target of threatening fax’s and mail bombs, things only get stranger when she discovers a website call “Mima’s Room” documenting her life if she was still with the band, as Mima finds her world being turned upside down as she is pushed to the brink of her own sanity.

A griping film throughout, the film though is a lot deeper than your usual psychological thriller, as while most thrillers would be content to just play off the mystery of “Mima’s Room”, here Kon’s focus on the changing personality from Virginal pop idol to driven actress willing to do more and more to ensure that she makes it as an actress, even if it means shattering the image her fans about her as she inturn starts to slowly reveal her much darker side.

 

At the same time Kon shows equal attention to the supporting characters who all provide their own piece of the puzzle, from Mima’s office Manger Tadokoro (Tsuji) who pushes Mima into increasingly risque situations which he convinces is for the good of her career regardless of the pressure it puts on her already fragile psyche through to the obsessed  and grotesque stalker Me-Mania who plasters his walls with images of Mima’s pop idol form which in one memorable scene even speak to him. Kon though is equally mindful of the smaller details which often prove as a result to be just as memorable, such as an actor involved in filming the rape scene apologising to Mima during a break between takes.

The animation is crisp and clean throughout, with Kon choosing to avoid the more traditional large eyed anime style, instead for a more realistic style as seen with the wide range of character designs and while it might not have the wow factor that many have come to expect thanks to the releases of Studio Ghibli this is still visually a nice anime to look at, with the movement of the characters being especially spot on as especially highlighted during the ice pick murder sequence involving a length chase around the victims apartment.

A benchmark in Japanese animation aswell as also providing the inspiration for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, as it’s slowly earned the same recognition as the likes of the legendry Akira or Ghost In The Shell.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.