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‘Sleep No More’ Review

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Genre : Horror
Rating : R
Director: Phillip Guzman

Cast:
Keli Price
Brea Grant
Stephen Ellis

 

 

 

As complicated as life can be it is surprisingly simple to stay alive. When it comes survival all humans need are air, water, food and sleep. Even then studies have shown that humans can live without water for three to four days while the world record for days without sleep was set by Roy Gardner in 1964. But what if you didn’t have to? That’s what Professor Ella Whatley (played by Yasmine Aker) wants to discover in Sleep No More.

In the 1980s the professor and a small collection of students are doing a study on sleep deprivation. More specifically, to see what happens when you pass 200 hours without sleep. They theorize that once they hit that point the human body adapts and will never need sleep again. But their university funding is cut off when one of their test subjects kills themselves. Already too deep into the study to quit they band together and find a “cure” for sleep. With the help of the experimental drug Cogniphan students Joe (Keli Price), Frannie (Brea Grant), Holly (Christine Dwyer) and Dale (Stephen Ellis) plan to stay up for over a week. Hours turns into days and the students are feeling the effects. As they get closer to hitting what they call the “lucidity point” they begin to see something humans were never meant to see.

Directed by Phillip Guzman (Dead Awake) and written by Jason Murphy (The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen short), Sleep No More is the latest in a long line of ‘science gone awry’ movies such as The Lazarus Effect and Flatliners. For the most part Sleep No More does what’s expected of those kinds of movies. Whether it is overlooking obvious signs of evil or sticking with the experiment no matter what Sleep No More is a classic example of dumb horror heroes. What makes it stick out from the more recent variations on the trope is its use of an 80’s aesthetic. Similar to movies such as Summer of ’84 and Stranger Things, Sleep No More utilizes older technology, a synth score and a collection of 80’s classics to set the mood. And yet it doesn’t quite feel right. They do an admirable job trying to replicate the Reagan years but the movie feels a bit too glossy to really emulate the era. Unfortunately, the same kind of inconsistency appears in more crucial parts of the film like the special effects.

 

 

That isn’t to say all of the effects are bad. In fact, the practical effects look good for an independent title. The suicide that end the initial experiments looks particularly gruesome. The problems arise when it comes to the computer-generated effects. Whenever we are given glimpses of the other world it looks dreadful. Looking like a mix of smoke and The Midnight Man everything looks fake and takes you out the movie. By the time our tired students start to hallucinate the effects look like something out of a Syfy movie. As bad as it looks the cast sell it all flawlessly.

Although Sleep No More has a relatively small cast each of them do a beautiful job showing the wear of sleep deprivation and the experiment. Despite Aker’s Professor Whatley is more of a background character observing the patients she gives the role a professionalism that separates her from the rest of the cast. By her side, at least initially, is Keli Price as Joe. Diving headfirst into the experiment he does a good job anchoring the whole production, exuding an early Andrew Garfield quality in his performance. Providing Sleep No More’s comic relief is Stephen Ellis. Playing Dale, he puts in the most over-the-top performance. It is especially noticeable after as the hours tick by and his performance becomes peak Nic Cage-esque. It really adds some pep to the movie.

 

 

Genre favorite Brea Grant (better known for Beyond the Gates and All the Creatures Were Stirring) gives a predictably good performance as Frannie. One of the more developed characters she eagerly goes into the experiment before being forced to tap out early. The only person who doesn’t get a chance to shine is Christine Dwyer as Holly. In fairness that’s hardly her fault. They just don’t develop her character enough and displaying the typical symptoms of insomnia. Despite that hiccup though the cast are definitely the highlight of Sleep No More.

There are many symptoms when it comes to a lack of sleep with the most common being irritability, forgetfulness and headaches. But if I had to ascribe a symptom to Sleep No More would be clumsiness. Despite a good cast and solid direction the movie can’t seem to help but stumble. Whenever the movie gets on a roll we’ll get an appearance from the smoke or a terrible looking ghost that takes you completely out of it. There’s a solid movie in here it just never comes into focus.

Rating 4/10
Links : IMDB

Sleep No More is available on DVD, Bluray, VOD and Digital HD Now

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Finally Official – ‘Matrix 4’ Is On The Way With Original Cast

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“Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker”

This time it’s for real! This is not a drill “Matrix” fans. Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich has confirmed, the computer generated world of ‘The Matrix’ will be returning to the big screen. The original cast will be reprising their roles, while Lana Wachowski will be sharing co-writing duties with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. Lana will also be directing the future installment, with no word as of yet if her sister Lilly Wachowski will sign on. But chances are, that may change once things get further underway. Toby Emmerich released an official statement on the project, here’s what he had to say:

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana. Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker, and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

Though Plot details haven’t been worked out. Lana Wachowski shed some light as to the direction we can expect:

“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”

Keanu Reeves is set to return as Neo with Carrie-Anne Moss reprising her role as the infamous computer hacker, Trinity. How this will all work has yet to be revealed, considering both characters met their demise at the end of the current trilogy. There’s is also no word yet on whether  Laurence Fishbourne will return as the rebellion  leader, Morpheus.

Production is set to begin 2020

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Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Brightburn – This Superhero Parody Peppered With SF And Horror Elements Is Simply Sublime

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Take.. The.. World.
Take the world.

Superhero-movie-haters unite. Run to a nearby movie theater to see this movie. Because “Brightburn” is the ultimate anti-superhero-film of all time. The moment I realized which direction it was going, I cursed myself because after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” I’d decided to have a little sabbatical. I was going to avoid movies with characters in tightly fitting latex suits and superhuman powers. But as it became clear that it wasn’t what I expected, my enthusiasm grew all the more. My enthusiasm for films such as “Deadpool” and “Ant-Man” (because of a touch of whimsy and the originality) was effortlessly overtaken by this highly original anti-superhero film. And if one also mixes the superhero genre (of which they are continuously producing sequels and prequels) with my all-time favorite genre horror, it simply can’t go wrong. I am indeed enthusiastic, yes. Extremely enthusiastic!

 

Brightburn

 

Is it a plane? A bird? Is it Superman? Uh, nope.

It all starts as a sort of Superman parody or reboot (another favorite Hollywood term these days). Here too, we meet a young couple who have been trying to have a child for years. Even spicy lingerie doesn’t do wonders because farmer Kyle Bryer (David Denman) (and yes, the location is again a big farm) is rather clumsy, which means that his watch always gets stuck in his wife’s hair. BANG! Before they realize it, some object out of space crashes nearby. Right in their back yard. And as if it’s the most normal thing, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) finds an innocent, sweet little guy in this comet or spacecraft. They adopt him instantly and call him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). All peace and light, you think. Until the boy realizes that something is wrong. Especially when he tries to start the lawnmower and suddenly the thing ends up at the neighbors. A few meadows further.

 

Brightburn

 

An evil superhero with an attitude.

With the well-known figure Superman, the parents didn’t waste any time and told young Superman to keep his growing powers under control and only use it to help humans. In the 70s this fact was acceptable. But after the trillionth superhero movie, that concept really starts to sound boring. And that’s where “Brightburn” starts to deviate substantially. As soon as it seems as if puberty hits Brandon, and no it’s not about hair growth and other side-effects, and he wanders around the farm at night looking for something that seems to call him, it becomes clear that a constructive parent-child conversation is not really useful. When Brandon feels disadvantaged, it’s best to stay away from him. The consequences of a tantrum can be disastrous. You could end up flying into a closet or have a crushed hand as a result. So they are stuck with a teenage son with issues who has superpowers. A “Dennis the Menace” with an attitude. You don’t have to be smart to know what’s going to happen next.

 

Brightburn

 

Not really horror.

Let’s talk about the horror part. For those who are only used to super-hero films, it will be a shock. For a seasoned horror fanatic, it’s all just ordinary. It’s not terrifying or too bloody. There are some excellent gore effects in it, though. I personally found it simply exciting at certain moments. Exciting as in how the story will continue and end. And they even tried to tackle that part in an original and quirky way. The majority of blockbusters always have such a predictable outcome. In a western, the bad guys always eat dust in the end. A romcom has a happy ending in most cases. And even superheroes on the verge of despair will eventually prevail (such as The Avengers, for example). If you expect this to happen here as well, you’re absolutely wrong. But there’s one thing I’m sure of. The marketing department of Marvel already smells money. I bet they are planning a sequel already with The Avengers trying to beat the unstoppable Brandon.

 

Brightburn

 

Excellent acting.

About the acting, I can be brief and concise. Simply excellent. Especially the mother and son bonding was worked out and portrayed in a proper way. The desperation and motherly love that Elizabeth Banks radiates is simply wonderful to see. And even though Brandon seems incomparably innocent at times, the moment his evil ego pops up, he can conjure up a frightening and impressive facial expression. It’s just a shame he didn’t focus his anger on the annoying class bully as well.

 

Brightburn

 

I repeat it once more: a brilliant film.

Brightburn” definitely will end up in my top list this year. The only downside was the duration. Far too short of course. But otherwise, this superhero parody, peppered with SF and horror elements, is simply sublime. The fact this film has a go-against-the-rules attitude and the idea of a superhero who doesn’t care about humanity is a pleasant and refreshing change compared to the commercial one-size-fits-all releases nowadays. Just something as simple as Brandon’s costume. Has anyone ever wondered who actually made the Spiderman suit? Or did Peter Park have a Sewing and knitting diploma? Brandon uses a piece of woolen textile and a bedspread as equipment. Ingenious anyway. As brilliant as the film itself. I keep repeating it. It is hoped that it will stay with this unique film and that they won’t come up with a miserable number of sequels.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

 

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