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Thorougbreds (2017)

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First it was borderline personality,then severe depression,
yesterday, she said it was antisocial with schizoid tendency.
She’s basically just flipping to random pages of the DSM-5and throwing medications at me.
But I have a perfectly healthy brain.
It just doesn’t contain feelings.

There are films that aren’t much of a story and still leave a certain impression. The same applies to “Thoroughbreds” where two teenage girls, each with a specific personality disorder, come up with a plan to kill someone. The two haven’t seen each other for a long time. An eternity in which much has changed. One grew up in a rich family while the other knew a past in which the killing of her own horse played an important role. But despite the contradictions, the old friendship bond is restored. And before they know it, they are planning a murder together. Strange but true. Although it’s about a murder, it’s actually a funny and comic film. Especially because of the fascinating conversations full of dry, nonchalant humor. Sometimes it seems like the two young girls are totally insensitive people. Which is applicable to one of them.

Two tasty actresses.

The two main roles are played by two young actresses whose earlier performances I could appreciate. Physically they both look appetizing. Only Anya Taylor-Joy, who takes care of the role of Lily, has a more unique look with those big Bambi eyes. Olivia Cooke, on the other hand, is more the cliché image of the beautiful girl next door who’s slowly changing into a sensual young lady. The type of girl you’ve already met in countless feature films. Maybe that’s why Anya Taylor-Joy appeared in movies like “The Witch“, “Morgan“, “Split” and “Marrowbone“. All of which I enjoyed. Although I was kind of disappointed about “The Witch“. Not because of the acting. I was expecting more of a horror instead of a medieval drama.

Dead serious and funny at the same time.

Olivia Cooke’s acting was breathtaking and extraordinary in the film “Me and Earl and the dying girl“. A film that’s difficult to surpass. Even though her acting in “The Signal“, “The Quiet Ones” and “Ready player one” (although the emphasis was on the visual part) wasn’t so bad, the quoted film really stands out. But what she shows in “Thoroughbreds” as the apathetic Amanda, can compete with it. This was an enjoyment from start to finish. The way she plays the personality of Amanda is truly magnificent. And even though this film is meant to be deadly serious, her attitude will unintentionally cause comical situations.

I bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Thoroughbreds” is such a type of film which is difficult to pin down to a specific genre. Yes, it’s indeed a crime film about two eccentric girls who are brooding on a devilish plan. And yes, unintentionally there’s also that comical approach through the behavior of the two ladies and the way they interact with each other. And wait till you see the unexpected ending which makes it all seem sinister. But if you think about it longer, you’ll agree it’s a logical outcome. “Thoroughbreds” is not exactly an easy movie in terms of genre. It is a fascinating film with the emphasis on the character and psyche of the protagonists. The fact that an intriguing and ingenious twist has been given to it only makes it more interesting.

I was fascinated by the conversations. Bizarre.

So if you like a well-thought-out story that isn’t simply crafted up, then you should definitely give this film a chance. And besides that, you can also enjoy Anton Yelchin, who unfortunately died in a sad accident, once more. I thought the last film he acted in was “Green Room“. But most of all, it’s the literary jousting that takes place between the two female main characters that made an impression on me. It sometimes seemed like a Shakespearean play that uses fancy words in a subtle dialogue. I never thought a conversation would fascinate me. The wonders of the world are not yet out.

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

HORROR

Pet Sematary: The Film Remains True To The Original Idea

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A place to bury our pets and remember them.
It might seem scary, but it’s not.
It’s perfectly natural.

In the distant past, I was an avid reader and devoured books constantly. That has been considerably reduced over the years. But, occasionally I grab a reading book. Generally, that only happens during a well-deserved summer vacation on one or another beach. Stephen King‘s oeuvre has always enchanted me. This summer vacation I read his book “Elevation” in one go. Not that it was high-quality literature, but King is such a wonderful storyteller whose stories grab you and don’t let go. That actually applies to most of his books. Of course, there are also film versions of his books that are worth seeing. Personally, “Christine” and “Carrie” are movies (horror-related) I enjoyed the most (but I can easily name a few more). And the film “Pet Sematary” from 1989 can also be counted with films that had a huge impact on me. The only question I first asked myself (and many others too, I guess) was: “Is it really necessary to release a remake of this film?“.

 

Pet Sematary

I really, really, really hate remakes.

Those who know me a little have read already a few times that I hate remakes, reboots and so on. I admit that cinematographically and when it’s about acting, it’s most likely to be an improvement compared to the original. But the story, the content, the soul of the film, as it were, will remain the same. And isn’t that a bit too easy? But then again, they could also rigorously change the content or storyline. But don’t you think this would create a completely different movie? And is there really someone who has the guts to thoroughly change a movie classic? Well, Kelvin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer were brave enough and succeeded in retaining the spirit of the story, despite the drastic plot changes. Only, it didn’t impress me as much as the original did.

 

Pet Sematary

 

A drastic plot change.

Some elements from the old movie escaped my memory. For example, there’s Zelda (Alyssa Brooke Levine). Either her part wasn’t explicitly emphasized in the first film. Or the number of years have begun to take its toll on me. In any case, this was actually the most creepy image used in this remake. The most crucial adjustment they have made is the choice of the victim. In the original, the youngest son Gage (Hugo / Lucas Lavoie) can’t avoid a rushing truck. I remember this fact as very shocking to me. That sweet-looking little guy, the kite falling down and the tumbling children’s shoe. I can picture it right now. Not that the choice in this remake is less terrible. But it didn’t shock me as much as it did in the original film.

 

Pet Sematary

 

There’s the initial question again.

This choice not only gave the whole thing a different turn, but the scaryness of the film also suffered a major blow. I found the role Gage played in the first film, more creepy than that of Ellie (Jeté Laurence) here. On the other hand, the cat Church looks more ominous and evil, than its alter ego in the original film. And the dead student Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmed) also came into the picture more explicitly. Broadly speaking, the film remains true to the original idea. The concept of a father’s all-embracing love for his child. And the will to cross borders to reverse it all. There are no surprises in that area. Which in turn leads to the initial question: “Why a remake?“.

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Action

Alita : Battle Angel – Fast Paced Action-Rich Combat Scenes

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While I’m learning name, do you have one for me?
Alita.
It’s a nice name.
I love it!

I was really looking forward to this movie “Alita: Battle Angel“. A cyber-punk setting and unparalleled computerized images that are perfectly injected into a real-life environment. Of course, you know Alita (Rosa Salazar) is the result of a hard-working graphic designer who has been sweating for hours behind his computer screen to project a graphic shell onto a real-life person. However, it didn’t bother me. Alita seemed like a lifelike person. Even though she had those unnatural large Bambi eyes. I admit that at the beginning, my eyes always wandered down to her derriere to see if there was such a sweet little wagging tail. But eventually, how strange it might sound, I thought the end result was quite meager. Poor in terms of atmosphere and narrative.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

Cheesy father-daughter story.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high. Or was it the cheesiness of the father-daughter story? There’s the all-consuming grief after the loss of a daughter. A search for a surrogate daughter to appease this sorrow. And that causes Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) scouring the dump of Zalem (the last air city that immediately reminded me of the movie “Elysium“) for discarded cyborg parts, so he could construct Alita. He’s a kind of Frankenstein. But this time using non-human parts.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Oh no. The romantic part.

Or maybe it was the romantic part. The last thing I needed. Really. The moment Hugo (Keean Johnson) came into the picture, I already knew that this rebel-looking hunk would make a romantic connection with this artificial being. And I really didn’t feel like witnessing romantic frivolities that make young teenage girls float. The only thing you aren’t sure about is the outcome. A happy ending? Or a catastrophic one?

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

The visuals are tremendous.

The only thing I regretted afterward, was that I hadn’t seen it on the silver screen. Probably it will all have been bigger and more impressive. Because frankly, the visuals are really amazing so to call (Not so hard when you see the budget they had). Great eye for details. A city that looks like a run-down anthill where metallic constructions stand next to remnants of the past. And a whole bunch of futuristic technologies and vehicles.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Past-paced, action-rich combat scenes.

And also, the action-rich combat scenes look great actually. Swirling images in slow motion and impressive choreography you might say. Especially the fight in the bar with Zapan (EdThe transporter refueledSkrein), the skirmish in an alley after she followed Ido and the underground fight with Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) appealed to my imagination. And finally, there are also the Motorball competitions. Action-packed, fast-paced and mouth-wateringly brought into the picture. It immediately reminded me of the old film “Rollerball” from 1975.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Impressive visuals, poor story.

But despite all the graphic power and hard action, I found it overall disappointing and moderate. Even though the fighting was extremely solid in terms of views, it was too safe and colored inside the lines. Perhaps because they were aiming at a young audience. But most of all I missed a solid and clear story. The so-called Great War was mentioned, but they didn’t do much more with it. The flying cities were also a complete mystery to me. There was no explanation. Beware, I had the same thing with “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets“. Also, a visually overwhelming film where the story is difficult to understand. This last film is also based on a comic, just like “Alita“. I can imagine that fans of these comics can empathize better with the story. But my biggest annoyance was that at the end I realized that I had watched a lengthy intro to the sequel that is probably already on the table at Twentieth Century Fox. And I hate sequels. Good advice Fox. Provide the continuation with a touch of humor, because that was missing too here.
Conclusion: a film that looks magnificent with a not so impressive story.

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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HORROR

Monster Party – The Acting Is Far From Amateurish Or Toe Curling Bad

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Them fucking yuppie scums
won’t know what hit them.

Perhaps it would be better that future burglars screen the residents of the targeted house first and then see if there’s something to get. That’s certainly a lesson those young burglars have learned in the movie “Monster Party“. After seeing the mansion they’re planning to rob, they’re convinced that the loot will be big enough. What they didn’t expect was an utter crazy company at dinner with a fairly dark secret. A kind of AA meeting. But not the “A” of alcohol but the “A” of aggression. And this with a capital A.

 

Monster Party

Oh boy, a humorous horror.

My expectations weren’t high at all. I thought the movie would be a second-class slasher once again. And what bothered me the most about the film, was the fact that it’s a combination of humor and horror. And let that now be the combination I least believe in. While watching most of these types of horrors I always get the feeling that neither of the two genres is completed. Most of the time the humor is so lousy that I can’t even smile. And at the same time, the horror story is usually only moderately worked out. Well, a person can be wrong. In the case of “Monster Party” I was completely wrong. Both the cynical, black humor (the kind of humor I like the most) and the bloody and creepy parts weren’t that bad.

 

Monster Party

 

It certainly is a hornet’s nest.

When the three juvenile criminals Dodge (Brandon Michael Hall), Casper (Sean Strike) and Iris (Virginia Gardner) choose this larger target where they can demonstrate their burglar’s talent, they aren’t realizing that they are plunging into a hornet’s nest. The Dawsons are a wealthy family who organizes a dinner party at their large country house and Iris happens to work there as a waitress for the appointed catering company. The three youngsters all have a good (financial) reason to take the risk. From the outset, you have this feeling that the members of this company aren’t functioning normally.

 

Monster Party

 

Just wait till the madness starts.

Have you watched the trailer already? Well, then you already know how it unfolds. Impatient gore fans most probably will be waiting nervously for that moment when the madness starts. And that waiting will be rewarded. Not only because of the bloody situations (and they were reasonably inventive as to how some were slaughtered). But also because of the extraordinary acting performances. Especially Kian Lawley, as the crazy son Elliot whose gaze is a mix of madness and sadism (and he enjoys it), and Julian McMahon as host Patrick whose ultra-calm appearance is really nothing more than a masquerade. Virginia Gardner also acts excellently at specific moments. And for the first time, I even thought that these bloody events were amusing. And there’s more. Director Hoffman has a little surprise in store. Normally I would say this type of surprise was a bit exaggerated. Not now. I thought it was a nice contribution to the movie.

 

Monster Party

 

A noteworthy low-budget slasher.

I’m pretty sure “Monster Party” was made with a micro-budget. The number of locations in this film is fairly limited and the massacres usually take place off-camera. But the main characteristic of a low-budget film wasn’t present here. Mostly the acting-part is rather tedious and crappy in low-budget movies. But in “Monster Party” the acting is far from amateurish or toe-curling bad. On the contrary. And they acted with noticeable pleasure. Cinematographically it looks slick. The pace is just right. And there’s even a feeling of tension as the plot unfolds. In short, a noteworthy film you definitely don’t need to avoid. Watch it when you get the opportunity.

 

My rating 6.5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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