JULY 29 — I read somewhere on social media that going to the cinema is sexy again this summer, thanks to the steady stream of big movies being served up by the Hollywood studios.
Judging from the excitement surrounding the simultaneous release of Barbie and Oppenheimer, with audiences dressing up in pink to see the former and IMAX screenings frequently selling out for the latter all over the world, going to the cinema is indeed sexy again.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen people make this much effort to go see a movie in the cinema, especially since the pandemic hit us almost four years ago.
Just getting people back into the cinema to watch a movie, like we used to before the pandemic, has been a challenge for the movie studios, with lots of expected blockbusters tanking at the box-office.
To see casual audiences making this much effort, like dressing in pink to see Barbie or discussing which IMAX seats would be the most optimal ones to see Oppenheimer, really warms the heart for someone who loves movies as much as I do.
A pretty busy schedule meant that I’ve yet to find the time to see Barbie, which I feel deserves to be in the same piece as Oppenheimer (which I’ve managed to see, but not on IMAX unfortunately), so these two will have to wait for maybe next week.
However, what I’ve accidentally stumbled upon, thanks to the wonders of streaming and VOD, are two new independent low-budget genre films that seem to have flown under the radar and escaped the attention of most people, especially those who like to discuss or talk about movies on social media.
So yes, let’s enjoy this wonderful summer of Hollywood movie magic, but don’t forget to also keep an eye out for humble independent fare like these.
The “screenlife” sub-genre of found footage flicks gets another solid entry, courtesy of producer Timur Bekmambetov’s production company Bazelevs (which produced one of the first major hits of this sub-genre, Unfriended, and subsequent hits like Searching and Missing) and director Egor Baranov.
This “screenlife” sub-genre is basically where the whole movie unfolds through either computer or smartphone screens, if you’re not familiar with the aforementioned films.
Available to purchase on VOD now on the usual platforms like Apple TV and Amazon Prime, Resurrected posits a world where the Catholic Church has somehow managed to figure out how to resurrect people, which is already a very interesting starting point, made more exciting by the screenlife format.
The first one to be resurrected is a young boy named Nicholas, who was involved in a car accident during the movie’s beginning, and whose mother blames his father, Stanley (Dave Davis, from the Jewish horror flick The Vigil) for the accident.
After the success of Nicholas’ resurrection, the Catholic Church opens up this opportunity to anyone interested, as long as they’re Christian, resulting in thousands of resurrected people (termed as “RP” in the film) now back among the living.
Stanley, who’s now a priest who also gives counselling sessions to RPs, of course will stumble upon a conspiracy involving these RPs, after one of his flock goes on a killing spree, and the movie doesn’t let up on the mysteries and thrills that this plot summary promises.
But it’s the movie’s basic premise which will keep the audience thinking about the ethics of bringing people back, about who deserves to be brought back, and even about whether the RPs want to be brought back in the first place.
A slick, yet thought provoking piece of entertainment, Resurrected, despite the low-budget, is definitely worth checking out.
Imagine this, in 2021 a stack of old celluloid is found in a country house in Sussex, belonging to sisters Martha and Thomasina Hanbury (played by Stefani Martini and Emma Appleton), and it’s apparently a sort of documentary/home movie about the two sisters, made by Martha, as a message to her sister Thom.
In it we discover that in 1941 Thom had invented a machine they called LOLA, which can intercept radio waves from the future, which means that the sisters can listen to and watch broadcasts from the future.
At first this was used strictly for pleasure (with Martha being the arty one falling in love with future artists like David Bowie and Bob Dylan) and to make money, Back To The Future style.
But as World War II gets more serious, with England being bombed frequently by the Nazis, the sisters realise they can help by listening to the next day’s broadcasts and then warning people which areas will be bombed and at what time.
This leads them to being called the Angel of Portobello, as thousands of lives were saved.
Of course, it’s a matter of time before the army and the government get involved, and with every bombing and attack averted, surely there will be complications ahead as the enemy would ultimately manage to figure out their disadvantage because of LOLA and try to turn that into an advantage.
How this unfolds I will leave it for you to discover, but let’s just say that there’s a pretty awesome and scary case of alternate history going on here, not least being the disappearance of David Bowie as a major star in this alternate future, replaced by some guy named Reginald Watson with hits like To The Gallows and The Sound of Marching Feet, both songs composed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy. A thrillingly inventive and touching sci-fi fantasy, the future looks bright for debuting director Andrew Legge.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.