Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Like daggers to the eyes

OCULUS had so much potential all the way until it revealed that it was nothing more than a bunch of parlor tricks to jerk the audience around. It started off a little gimmicky but the kid performances held up and there were some decent scares. It built this engrossing puzzle with all these rules but then it gradually became apparent that the film had no intent to solve anything or justify anything or even abide by its own rules - a complete cop-out and an unfortunate let-down that turned into a logistic mess. Apparently this was based on a short film and it really felt like an underdeveloped conception - though I'll give the director credit for maintaining momentum throughout the film. Not bad, but frustratingly unsatisfying.

#sse #gnetx

Oculus (2013)
Directed by Mike Flanagan. With Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane. A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed b

Monday, September 29, 2014

Point of No Return

There's usually a point in writing a feature script where you know for sure that you're going to finish it and that it's actually going to work (unless you have a solid outline or a drop-dead deadline). Well I'm almost there with this current one - just a dozen more pages and a couple more scenes and I'll know for sure that the plotting and characters will be able to hold their own until the inevitable climax. No more moonlighting on other scripts, no more tangents with random ideas, no more fears of failure - just a straight shot to the finish line. But it's still too early to celebrate. #gnetx

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Being True to the Detective

I'm glad to have seen the "True Detective" series not too long after "The Killing." Their stories are similar but the former makes such a stronger case in almost every conceivable way whereas the latter meanders, whines, and contradicts itself with every step. Ironically "True Detective" creator Nic Pizzolatto was a writer on some early episodes of "The Killing" when I had hopes for the series. Granted the finale of TD is less of a shocker and more of a showdown long coming, but it cares more for the characters it establishes over cheap thrills. TK makes everything and everyone disposable to make hard, unexpected (and unjustified and unmotivated) plot turns for the sake of entertainment. Being that the strong performances and textured locations played such a big part of the appeal of TD, I'm curious how season 2 will play out with its new cast and new setting. #sse #gnetx

True Detective (TV Series 2014– )
With Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts. The lives of two detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, become entangled during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana.

Friday, September 19, 2014

True Dick

I'm not a fan of watching "detective" TV dramas (I'm more forgiving when it comes to films) & "The Killing" reaffirmed those inclinations. But I just caught the 1st episode of "True Detective" & was floored by how captivating it was - even the opening credits caught my eye. Really great character insight and regional texture wrapped around a peculiar murder investigation, whereas the dicks in "The Killing" waffle in their convictions and yet feel emotionally grey and at the mercy of the plot mechanics.

#sse #gnetx

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mainstream horror films are like f***ing soap operas!

Put horror in space, put horror underwater, put horror in the past or future, just stop putting horror in f***ing melodramas already! BYZANTIUM ends with decent performances & interesting set pieces but it takes forever to go anywhere & the totality of it is just a retelling of the vampire lore without adding much. If I see another brooding Nosferatu, I swear I will just punch it in the effin face (male or female). 

But then I saw CURSE OF CHUCKY and I was reminded of why 80s horror films kicked a**! It doesn't miss a beat in entertaining you from the get-go with either humor or tension, and some of the camera moves/angles in this film are f***ing genius. Really great film that's not desperate to be overly clever or or serious or relevant or even shocking - it just entertains as it should.

#gnetx #sse

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Horror Film Recollections (copied from Facebook comments I made)

AT THE DEVIL'S DOOR which I previously listened to the Q&A podcast with the writer/director. One of the producers produced THE STRANGERS (which I really liked) and in the podcast the director was a little snarky about defying this producer - so I thought maybe this director has a unique vision. DEVIL'S DOOR was really boring with monotonously cheap scares and severely underdeveloped characters - horribly unmotivated ending (WE ARE WHAT ARE had a similar "from left field" character flip ending which some people seem to think is "clever"). Completely unsatisfied I went on to watch Jeff's recommendation of ALTITUDE which painfully starts like every other straight-to-video horror with a group of youngins going on a wild adventure in a small plane until something goes horribly wrong... But then some of the tension was actually decent - somewhat reminded me of FROZEN (the Adam Green film, not the Disney musical). But then things get so retarded and seemingly random that the ending completely blindsided me because it kind of made sense and was kind of cool. So ALTITUDE proved to be so much better than the in-flight horror film I recently saw 7500 (by the director of THE GRUDGE) which was based on the intriguing story of Helios Airways Flight 522, but poorly executed as a cinematic regurgitation.

Oh and I also saw AFFLICTED, the found footage horror recommended by the other David Chen (/film). Wanted to like it but it doesn't do anything interesting beyond a handful of found footage stunts - the plotting just gets tedious with no real pay-off. REC is still the gold standard for these type of films.

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The Horror Grouch

Insomnia and watching mediocre horror films till 3am means I'm going to be grouchy for the rest of the day - consider this your warning.

#sse #skyguy76 #gnetx

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Good Day

Out of the blue I felt the need to write this morning and I sat down and pounded out a few pages. There were a few of the usually morning distractions and even a matter I had to address immediately but as soon as I finished I went right back to writing which can be hard. But it just goes to show that when you have that urge it's best to ride it and milk it for what it can give you. No doubt part of that urge stems from a few movies that I saw this past week - my mind had been churning thoughts on what the films represented and how I may have approached the subject. That neural activity is so vital in getting the brain set to write. #gnetx

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lightning Movie Recollections Round

EDGE OF TOMORROW was really great even after hearing so much about it - plays with gaming respawn warped sense of reality but ending was flat. NEIGHBORS was mildly funny, fragmented, & predictable. CHEF too felt fragmented & at times conventional but I could sense the drive to do food justice (RATATOUILLE is a better foodie movie). ONE MILLION WAYS TO DIE comedy & story felt like oil & water - I just couldn't resolve the two & quit watching. TRANSCENDENCE was big ideas riding on such a small underdeveloped & uninspired love story. 7500 had me endure random & ill performed dialog in anticipation of a surprise ending but sells you short.

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Cap

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER had some really fluid action choreography with camera work and editing to go with it. But the MINORITY REPORT style gunships going around sniping potential wrong doers was a bit silly - like a hammer swatting a fly.