NOVEMBER 11 ― With the summer movie season long gone and the Oscar season yet to really kick off, even if traditional Oscar season launch platforms like the Toronto and Venice film festivals are already done with this year’s editions, things are starting to slow down when it comes to big or interesting movies opening in local cinema screens now.
But with December just around the corner, which means the start of both the Oscar and Christmas movie seasons, this lull will definitely be a short one, which means that we’ve got our trusted VOD/streaming platforms to tide us over with some much needed new movie diet, and where else would a fan like me go to other than the hidden corners of genre and horror for something interesting and slightly off the beaten path, right?
That search has of course yielded its share of disappointments, like the Antonio Banderas star vehicle Acts Of Vengeance, which even action movie maestro Isaac Florentine couldn’t save from being the Taken-wannabe that it is, or the well-reviewed but truly boring Wolf Mother.
But still, you can always trust some up and coming genre film-maker out there to somehow transcend their budgetary and formulaic genre constraints to deliver something that is at the very least a memorable 90-minute ride, and I’ve found just that in a few more films this week.
Found Footage 3D
It’s a real pity that nobody brought this film in, not only to be shown in Malaysian cinemas but also to be shown in 3D, for it might just make for a unique viewing experience, because it is after all a found footage film shot in 3D, and there aren’t that many of those floating around right now.
A movie about a film crew trying to shoot the “first ever 3D found footage horror film”, which means that we’re basically watching the “making-of” or “behind the scenes” footage of the making of that 3D film, the real delight in watching this film is in the fact that the film-makers are painfully aware of all the clichés surrounding horror and found footage films, and have decided to embrace that fact by literally pointing out the clichés in this film, but giving it that extra ironic kick with comic punch-lines that basically reaffirm those clichés.
They’ve even managed to get influential genre film critic Scott Weinberg to appear as himself in the film, and it sure is fun to see what happens to him during his brief but memorable cameo.
An obvious but still very entertaining horror romp, this one’s a minor gem that’s more than worth 90 minutes of your time.
Originally called Two Pigeons (which I think makes more sense as a title), this debut film from commercials director Dominic Bridges is a blackly comic delight that’s full of sly social commentary, especially regarding the current economic climate in Europe and the class divisions that are a result of income inequality.
Far from making a boring and preachy film, Bridges has managed to craft a tale that’s sort of about what might happen to one of those amoral estate agents in 99 Homes if he’s somehow trapped in a home invasion film a la Sleep Tight or Hangman, with the invader being one of the victims of said estate agent’s ruthless dealings.
An already interesting concept is given even more colour by virtue of the protagonist being of South Asian descent (I’m assuming he’s Pakistani, since he’s a Muslim named Hussein, albeit a non-practising one), and the invader being played by noted creature performer Javier Botet (whose thin and lanky body frame has stood in for all sorts of creatures in movies like The Conjuring 2, The Mummy and It), who gives a performance of striking physicality.
It’s really just a simple revenge scenario where the invader hides in the house, and methodically screws with the protagonist’s life in all sorts of disgusting and hilarious ways.
You’ll never look at your toothbrush, mouthwash, teabags, underwear and various other normal household items in the same way again after you’ve seen this film, especially if you live alone, or you think you live alone!
Although not exactly possessing the same storyline, the aforementioned Wolf Mother clearly harbours the same ambitions as 68 Kill, which is to be one of those post-Tarantino crime movies with a cool and blackly cruel sense of humour to make the whole enterprise entertaining and fun to watch.
Where Wolf Mother fails miserably is in having two miserable lead characters who are just no fun to watch at all, which is something that the hugely entertaining 68 Kill can never be accused of.
In fact, 68 Kill is filled with so many interesting characters that writer-director Trent Haaga (who also wrote the awesome Cheap Thrills) could even make a few spin-off movies out of them if he wants to.
The lead character is a sweet (too sweet actually) and weak-willed guy with a strong-minded girlfriend who knows she’s got him under her thumb.
To make her happy, he agrees to follow along with her plan of robbing her sugar daddy of US$68,000 (RM285,076).
In movies like this, of course things are not going to go to plan, and soon our hero will find out that he’s way in over his head.
Where Haaga then takes him and the viewers is a delightful (and surprisingly unpredictable) journey that I’d rather you experience for yourself.
All I can say is that this one’s an unexpectedly fresh watch, and it totally lives up to its tagline as “a punk-rock after hours about femininity, masculinity and the theft of US$68,000.”
I shall be keeping a close watch on Haaga’s name from now on. He’s destined for big things, that’s for sure.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.