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10X10 (2018)

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I want you to tell me your name.
Cathy.
My name is Cathy Noland.

One thing is certain. “10X10” breaks all records when speaking of resurrections. The number of times you see one of the two protagonists getting back on their feet again seemed endless. It looked like a newer version of “Night of the living dead“. But this time with two stubborn non-zombies playing in it, whose resilience seemed superhuman. At one point I was more concerned with figuring out which of the two had the lowest IQ. Because you can’t keep up with the number of stupidities after a while. And finally, I also wondered at the end what statement Lewis (Luke Evans) would give about the whole event when the police show up on his driveway. It’s clear I didn’t really like this film. And that because of the accumulation of absurdities.

Cool but dumb …

I wanted to see this movie solely because of Luke Evans appearing in it. Personally, I don’t think he’s a bad actor. He has a certain likable appearance. In my opinion, he didn’t act so bad in “No one lives” and “Message from the king“. He radiates a calmness and coolness. But here he also seems to have the gift of stupidity. Or they tried to portray him as a real amateur. However, it all starts fairly intriguing. The patience with which Luke observes his future victim Cathy (Kelly Reilly) and the seemingly perfect way in which he carries out the abduction. From then on it started to look more like a slapstick than a nerve-racking thriller. The abduction wasn’t perfect, but rather a combination of coincidences and pure luck. But for all we know, he could have been caught red-handed and taken into custody. On the other hand, would that be the case, this would have been a short movie. Speaking of luck-pushing.

Before you know it, someone is being kidnapped.

The next hilarious moment (intentionally I suppose) is the arrival at his hypermodern, tastefully decorated house. There the victim awaits an ingenious installed, low-noise isolation cell of 10 by 10 meters. Luke turns out to be a regular do-it-yourself shopper because he made it all by himself. He did manage to do that. But apparently, a perfectly functioning garage door was a bit too much. And from then on a psychological cat and mouse game starts that only revolves around revenge. It’s best I don’t tell more specifics of this less successful film. Contentwise, it’s already nothing much. Let alone I’d reveal more. Actually, the content is so limited that they decided to fill it up with irrelevant trivialities and artificial emotional moments. You have to admit that the creators of this film ensured that the pace is high. Only half an hour has passed and poor Cathy is already gagged and screaming anxiously in her cell.

The story fails.

The fact that “10X10” didn’t meet my expectations is, in my opinion, not due to the acting itself. That wasn’t so bad. It was even reasonably convincing at times. I think that the script is the cause of this disappointment. And this because of a too limited story. How can you make a whopper of a film from a wafer-thin, simplistic plot? Even the Spielberg’s and George Lucas’s wouldn’t figure out how to do that. To be honest, it didn’t matter to me anymore who would die in the end. I was already satisfied that at least an acceptable playing time had been provided.

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

HORROR

Child’s Play: A Creditable Attempt To Breathe New Life Into The Chucky Franchise

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What’s your name?
Andy. ‘Sup?
Hi, Andysup.

It seems like a lifetime ago since I saw the original film with the demonic pop Chucky dangerously swinging around with a razor-sharp butcher knife. Well, It’s not a hundred years, but thirty years is a long time as well. That’s how long it’s been since I went to get the VHS of this movie in the local video store. Apparently several sequels have been made after the initial release. Somehow I’ve missed that. Me and sequels. It remains an eternal struggle. Because there wasn’t anything better to choose from and I had nothing to do, I still took the risk and watched this modern version. Apart from the fact that the doll looks slightly different, has been given a different name and the reason for its malicious behavior has changed slightly, it was exactly as if I went back in time. “Child’s Play” has the same 80s horror mood.

 

Child's Play

 

A pimped version.

But first of all a big compliment to the makers of this pimped version. Most reboots or remakes just seem like a duplicate of the original. Here they really deviate from the original story. It’s not the soul of a serial killer that transforms the doll into a bloodthirsty, diabolical murderous toy. Here it’s an aggrieved and irritated Chinese factory worker who starts to mess with the security software out of revenge. To be honest, I felt like giving up at that moment. A ragged and clearly unkempt Chinese guy reprogramming the source software was, in my eyes, completely absurd and exaggerated. Fortunately, I persisted. Because all in all “Child’s Play” wasn’t so bad.

 

Child's Play

 

Don’t expect creepiness.

What disappointed me a bit, was the doll itself. Especially the transformation from good to evil. In the original film, Chucky did get a diabolical and cruel expression. In this movie, they wanted to achieve the same effect by providing Buddi (as this child-friendly babysitter is now called) with red-glowing eyes. Well, it wasn’t really scary. And to be honest, this film isn’t creepy at all. I thought it was rather entertaining horror material, suitable for the novice horror enthusiast. Don’t expect any nasty-looking killings either. You’ll see clichéd situations where circular saws and a lawnmower (or something like that) are used in. The favorite murder instruments from the 80s.

 

Child's Play

 

Acceptable acting.

The acting was generally acceptable. Only Aubrey Plaza as Andy’s mother wasn’t really convincing. To be honest, she seemed to be the sister of Andy (Gabriel Bateman), the introverted boy with a hearing problem. David Lewis played the most annoying character. That means you can say that his acting was successful. The most light-hearted and comical part was provided by Brian Tyree Henry as police officer Mike, who lives with his mother. It’s not only the mother-son correlation that sometimes causes hilarious moments. There are also slapstick-like scenes, such as the gift-wrapped item (Well, I try to stay vague about this) that falls into the hands of Mike’s mother by mistake. Most surprising in this film was the fact that Mark Hamill (Yes, Luke Skywalker himself) was responsible for Chucky’s dialogues.

 

Child's Play

 

A nice time-killer.

In the end, this was a creditable attempt to breathe new life into the Chucky franchise. This modernized version is not an epic film but is anything but bad. It even tries to portray a failing A.I. and point out the dangers of a robotic society. And actually, what Chucky is doing, is simply the result of a learning process that he undergoes in the company of Andy. If the latter makes a remark that he would rather get rid of the cat Mickey Rooney, you already know the verdict. In the end, Chucky is nothing more than an electronic gadget that ignores the robotics laws of Asimov. It’s not really impressive or exciting at all. But “Child’s Play” was a nice time-killer.

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

Gary Oldman Boards a Sinking Ship in ‘Mary’

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Genre : Horror-Thriller
Rating : Unrated
Director: Michael Goi

Cast:
Gary Oldman
Emily Mortimer
Stefanie Scott
Jennifer Esposito

Things have been pretty rough for David (Gary Oldman) as of late. Working as the captain of a fishing tour boat he dreams of starting his own boating business to provide for his family. At a local boat auction he finds an old vessel, The Mary. Desperate and unable to resist the opportunity to be hi own boss he buys the ship despite the financial risk. With the help of his wife Sarah (Emily Mortimer) and daughters Lindsey (Stefanie Scott) and Mary (Chloe Perrin) are able to clean up the ship making it look as good as new. Joined by the young Tommy (Owen Teague) and David’s second in command Mike (Manuel Gracia-Ruflo) the family sets sail towards the Bahamas before the ship’s mysterious past comes to light.

 

 

Told in a series of flashbacks during a police interogation Mary should be great. In fact writer Anthony Jaswinski (The Shallows) has proven that an ocean setting is more than enough to craft a compelling tale of terror. Using it as the backdrop for a haunted house story seems like a no brainer. Sadly that isn’t quite what we get. With Jaswinski and director Michael Goi seemingly unsure what they wanted we get a mix of terror and family drama that doesn’t quite commit to either.

For the most part Mary sticks to jump scares. Whether it’s doors banging by themselves or mysterious footprints appearing out of nowhere, Mary treads very familiar waters through most of it’s run time. There are moments of intrigue such as when the ship that haunts The Mary takes control of Tommy but any chances for development are quickly glossed over in the next scene with just as much care going into the dramatic scenes. With tensions high from the time David buys the boat, we get hints through the film before Lindsey confronts her mother about committing infidelity. Although hardly the revelation they want it to be the scene is sold beautifully by Emily Mortimer. In fact, Mortimer does a wonderful job throughout the film.

 

 

Her first horror movie in nearly a decade Emily Mortimer is more than ready to carry the film on her shoulders. Playing an unreliable narrator to a criminally underused Jennifer Esposito she gives Mary her all with a performance that wouldn’t be out of place in some of her best roles. She particularly pops when paired up with Gary Oldman. While not given too much to do besides look concerned there are glimpses of suspicion when David catches Sarah talking to Mike. The two are so good together that you can’t help but be disappointed we aren’t watching the two in a straight up dramatic movie.

Between the performances from Emily Mortimer and Gary Oldman and the shots emphasising the isolation of the ocean you can see glimpses of brilliance in Mary. But like the ocean itself these hope spots are swept away just as fast. Instead what we get is a cliche ridden mess that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Leaving the door open for a sequel Mary has sunk before it even left port.

 

Rating 4/10 Links : IMDB

Mary is now on Bluray, DVD and on VOD

 

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Comic Book Movies

Joker: A Well-Deserved Oscar Statuette For Joaquin Phoenix

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I just hope my death makes
more cents than my life.

Weltschmerz. Despair. Grief. Desperation. Those are the keywords that came to mind after watching this movie. If you are a superhero film fan and you expect heroic confrontations between this crazy clown and our bats-related superhero in a tight latex suit, you can safely turn around and skip this film. The interpretation of “The Joker” by Jack Nicholson was masterful. He played a mean Joker who was obsessed with money and power. But without a doubt, Heath Ledger’s interpretation is the most legendary. He played Joker’s insanity and psychopathic behavior in an unparalleled way. An outstanding acting performance. What Joaquin Phoenix does in this film, however, is breathtaking and brilliant at the same time. After “You were never really here” I thought Phoenix belonged to the leading group of excellent actors. After “Joker“, for me anyway, he’s already the front-runner in that group.

 

Joker

 

A confronting and impressive film.

I am not easily impressed by a movie. But “Joker” made an immense impression on me. And not because of the violence. By the way, I found the reports of people leaving the cinema prematurely, because it became too intense, grossly exaggerated. Every average action movie today is filled with aggressive scenes full of senseless violence. I was more overwhelmed by a constant uncomfortable feeling while watching this film. A feeling of pity and vicarious shame. For Arthur Fleck, as well as for the fellow citizens he meets in his daily life. For me, the saddest scene was the stand-up comedy moment. You know Arthur’s performance will be completely ridiculous and that his would-be funny performance will backfire in his face. The most significant scene was the one with the over-concerned mother in the subway who shouts at Arthur and tells him to stop intimidating her child. After his hysterical laughing, she turns her back on him anxiously. Pitiful. Confronting. Enough incentive to derail the psyché of this disturbed soul.

 

Joker

 

Phenomenal Phoenix.

Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal. Not only is he extremely psychologically vulnerable. Also physically he looks emaciated and fragile. Little more than skin and bone. It looked as if his rib cage would burst out of his body. And his shoulder blades could be ripping through his skin at any time. Skin like yellow parchment full of cracks. Just like his by antidepressants ravaged morbid mind. Antidepressants that are needed to control his uncontrollable laughter and help him through his measly existence. A hopeless life without understanding and loving feelings. Except toward his mother (Frances Conroy). An old woman who sits all day in her seat. Demented. Fading away. With a daily routine of writing letters to Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), father of Bruce Wayne and future mayor of Gotham, asking if he could help them.

 

Joker

 

May the force be with you.

Joker” is not a relaxing film. It’s depressing to see how such an individual is harassed and spit out by society. Not a day goes by without being scorned, physically abused or treated as a leprosy patient. This downward spiral he’s getting into creates an explosive moment in which he takes matters into his own hands, resulting in a disastrous outcome. The discharge that follows afterward, has been portrayed both frighteningly and magically. That unreal and silly dance in the public toilet is probably a moment of realization that his life is at a tipping point. And without realizing it, he becomes the symbolic force behind a movement against injustices in society. A sort of evil, insane Katniss Everdeen for the outcasts. And although many don’t like to hear this, the number of similarities with our current society is alarmingly high.

 

Joker

 

Hand over that statuette. And fast.

Yes, “Joker” is a sort of origin story of Batman’s most infamous archenemy. On the other hand, this could be the portrait of so many others as well. Everyday people who struggle with their personality and fall through the cracks and out of the system at all levels. Individuals who are often driven into a corner and cultivate a destructive hatred toward everything and everyone. And then there’s a day their fuse blows and they resort to actions that aren’t tolerated by modern society. Not that I approve of these actions but I think it’s kind of logical consequence. “Joker” is not part of a superhero universe. This film is more realistic than any psycho-dramatic film. A film that shows how an underdog grows into a monstrous tormentor who preaches chaos and destruction. A numb, sick mind that doesn’t care. The harder you pound him, the louder his laugh. The movie “Joker” helped me understand who that figure is and where he comes from. For me the most impressive film out of the superheroes potpourri that we’ve seen these few last years. And for my par. He’ll certainly be laughing about it uncontrollably the evening of the award ceremony.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

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