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Showing posts from March, 2017

Funny Games (1997 + 2007)

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Veteran director Michael Haneke's 1997 French language film Funny Games is far more intelligent than it's concept suggests. A brutal, bare-bones story of an innocent family engaged in a series of cruel, sadistic games by two young men, it provides little respite from its utterly depressing tone and increasingly shocking imagery. While this may be enough to put off many from ever watching it, and it was understandably controversial on its release and still is today, those who stick around will find a smart commentary on modern day perceptions of violence along with a superbly tense script and masterfully orchestrated scenes that, under any one else, could easily have been diluted into a mundane horror mess.

The key component of Haneke's film is its ability to manipulate seemingly mundane, almost darkly comic situations into downright disturbing depictions of exploitation. The two young men, Peter (Frank Giering) and Paul (Arno Frisch), initially appear a little odd and unset…

Get Out

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This much hyped directorial debut from Jordan Peele is the perfect example of a multi-talented director. Previously co-creating and starring in arguably the greatest sketch show of all time Key and Peele, Peele shifts into a more serious mode with this gripping and wonderfully inventive race-based horror-thriller that could in fact be described as the first progressive horror film. 

The film follows young couple Chris and Rose as they embark on a weekend trip to visit Rose's family. Chris' uncertainty grows as the visit takes a number of disconcerting twists and turns, with his suspicion that his African-American ethnicity is the issue for Rose's parents. Daniel Kaluuya is great as the instantly likeable Chris and Allison Williams equally as charming as girlfriend Rose, with Kaluuya, previously impressing in the Black Mirror episode "Fifteen Million Merits," also an excellent fit for the horror aspect of the film, his reactions suitably amplified for maximum effec…

Quick Flick: Elle

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To even describe the basic premise of Elle is a struggle. Part serious rape drama, part gripping revenge thriller and part sharp comedy, this latest shocker from Paul Verhoeven refuses to be confined within one particular genre, making it one of the most fascinating and gripping films of the year.
Isabelle Huppert as Elle is the absolute center of the film, a commanding force whose sheer brutality and overwhelming power is both exciting and terrifying to witness. Her constant unpredictability makes her every move uncertain and ever more intriguing. By far one of the most powerful female roles in years, she suits the tone of Verhoeven's film perfectly, sashaying between razor-sharp wit and brutal sincerity without a moment's notice. No matter how seemingly confusing or intimidating her actions, she holds the screen like no other, the icy driving force of every scene.
It is no understatement to describe Elle as the epitome of dark humour. After all, it is very surprising to find y…

Seoul Station + Train to Busan Double Bill

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Yeon Sang-ho's double bill of undead drama is simply something else. Serving as two complementary films, both combine a number of powerful social messages with plenty of staggering action set pieces that appear to have few limits and set the films from apart from the normal run-of-the-mill genre schlock. 

Starting with the prequel, Seoul Station is an animated horror flick, a very rare concept in itself. Based around a simplistic tale of a troubled young couple split apart during a zombie outbreak, the animation is surprisingly effective, helped in no part by some excellent voice acting. 

While the film takes minimal effort establishing its central characters, its focus on the gradually evolving chaos of the city and the ignorance and confusion of the government makes for an intelligent little piece that, while a fitting precursor to Train to Busan, could easily be enjoyed on its own.

The main issue with Seoul Station is its often heavy-handed delivery of its social commentary (the f…