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Saturday, 10 March 2012

THIS WEEK: A Tale Of Two Sisters/Dark Corners/The Living and The Dead/Warrior

So because the cinema this week was pretty poor and I didn't see anything, I stuck to some home-viewing.  The following can all be found to rent, if any take your interest.


Apparently inspired by Korean folklore, this is a twisted little beauty of a horror.  No doubt more terrifying for some than others, it at least makes a tremendous effort to suck you in and put you right on edge.  To detail the story is to spoil the twists and turns the film takes you on; part of its allure is the smart way it sets you up to think you're going this way, and then turns in on itself and confounds your expectations....numerous times.  You think you have the film pegged, but you don't.  At no point until the very final moments are you fully sure you understand what has happened, and even then, after just one watch, it can still seem confusing.  My only real criticism is in fact that his desire to keep you guessing means that he turns the final act into perhaps a bit too much of a puzzle that drags on just a little too long, but I don't think that is enough to damage your enjoyment.  The nature of the storytelling, and the use of sound to create one hell of an unsettling atmosphere makes it well worth your time; whether you choose to go back and watch it again to make more sense of it is down to you.  If you think you're going to get something like The Grudge or The Ring, don't be fooled, this is a very different animal, working in a very different way.  I guarantee that if you go with it, you will find at least one scene that will rattle your nerves in here.  4/5

Catch it if you like: Ju-On, Ringu, The Eye


The good comes in the form of a reasonable effort to lay out a mystery in a way that doesn't spoonfeed the audience, and the lead Thora Birch, doing her absolute best with these women.  Yes, women, will make sense if you choose to watch it.  It is described as a "bloody puzzle", and takes its cues from David Lynch.  Therein is the problem, if you have seen any of Lynch's most surreal work, you have already seen this sort of thing done better.  He has never dealt with this idea, but the techniques here used to create the proverbial rabbit hole, keeping you intrigued and guessing, are all tried and tested by him, and here, thanks to some bad performances and a delivery that really brings to mind the later Nightmare On Elm Street movies, they just look amateur.  Ironicially, here we have a tale that does actually tie up more concisely than any of Lynch's work, and yet it just isn't as polished and masterful.  It's a shame, becase in here somewhere is a neat little thriller trying to get out.  Sadly, I just felt it drag and was glad when the credits rolled.  2/5



Dismiss any first impression of a film about zombies or monsters; this is a fairly unsettling story concerning a mentally ill young man, who is left to take care of his mother while his father, a Lord, deals with business away, unaware that the nurse who is supposed to be taking care of his wife is locked out of the house.  Whilst not wholly successful, and certainly an idea that could have been better-executed in somebody else's hands, this is nevertheless a film you don't feel you can switch off; you have to see the end, despite it possibly not being completely satisfying.  A lot of the credit must go to the cast, notably Roger Lloyd-Pack, who very quickly quashes any expectation of comic delivery more akin to his character Trigger from TV's Only Fools And Horses, and Kate Fahy, also most commonly seen on TV, is the ill mother.  Then there is Leo Bill, who gives an astonishing performance as the son; he is that actor you know you should know, but you can't place.  After graduating from R.A.D.A in 2001, he has popped up in various roles we will have all allowed to blindside us, to our shame: 28 Days Later, Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane, Me And Orson Welles, Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Alice In Wonderland, and from TV, Midsomer Murders, Spooks, Messiah, Silent Witness, Ashes To Ashes and Doctor Who.  No wonder I recognised him :/

Another film with a lot of nods to Lynch again, as well as many moments that would not be out of place in a Darren Aronofsky film, whilst not being as good as either, this is still worth a shot.  3/5

Catch it if you like:  Requiem For A Dream, Trauma.  


 A film that many, myself included, agree is an overwhelmingly powerful family drama, very well disguised as a typical, predictable sports movie about MMA wrestling. Yes it adheres to some cliches and "movie moments", but superb, heartbreaking performances from Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte (legend), complexities of characters that make them far more realistic than those you will find in other films like this, and well-executed violence make this a hugely underrated film of 2011.  If you think you've seen it all before, this is definitely for you.  You will be moved.  4/5

See it if you like:  Hard to say.  How about, Nick Nolte surprisingly at the top of his game, or Tom Hardy practicing for Bane this year.  Just see this!

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