Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review - Punisher War Zone (2008)

“If I see you anywhere near Hell, I'll kick your ass out.”

Director: Lexi Alexander
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchinson
Writers: Nick Santora, Art Marcum

A while back in the past I made mention of the three Punisher films and trying to keep the plot of movies simple. Having not seen this particular one at the time, I made a note that introducing one of Franks comic villains may not have been the best thing, if they haven’t made a good Punisher movie so far. Today having watched the movie I can say my comments were warranted.

Normally when I do a review I try and weigh up both negative and positive points, and try and find said points no matter how I overall feel about the movie. With this one it’s very hard to find positive points because at the end of the day this movie is ridiculously stupid. I thought the action was okay then something would happen that would just blow any credibility.

Let’s start with the acting and Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Well he looked the part, yet all he had to do was look mean. However throughout the movie I was just never on his side. Not that I was barracking for the villains it was that I just didn’t care. Honestly to me it was as if this was a Shade of Frank Castle and had non of the complexities of the character. The being said the acting was better than the two main villains. Doug Hutchinson as Looney Bin Jim is a lesson in over acting. At first I was interested in the character but was quickly bored. When you always play it at eleven people will tire. Finally there was Dominic West as Jigsaw. Before the transformation into a villain he wasn’t too bad but then when he became Jigsaw it was a one way ticket to ham city. Also dear reader I bet you didn’t know this but having your face torn off grants you super strength.

Story wise I think they really missed the trick. This was supposed to be a reboot from the Thomas Jane movie so I think they truly should have started from scratch. Have Frank hunting down the mafia that killed his family. That’s it end of story. I don’t know why both the Jane and Stevenson movies have to have someone coming after Frank. It’s ass backwards. Sure have them mount a defence but why can’t they just tell this ready made simple story? Having Jigsaw in the picture really does confuse the issue and I didn’t care for his story. Dropping Micro into the plot (character from the comics) also just muddied the water. It’s simple. First movie should be all the set up (and we are talking set up as it’s obvious the people behind this want a franchise), have him kill the mafia families responsible, let the audience get to know the character of Frank Castle, then in the second movie introduce the new elements.

Visually I will say it didn’t look to bad, the use of the neon lights and the dark city did create a world that was grimy. It would be a place that Frank existed in. Even some of the action set pieces were pretty good and weren’t edited to a fraction of their lives. However there were just some things that were over the top and pulled me out of the movie or just screamed stupid. At one point we have Frank walking the streets of the city, silent, wounded, and returning from a successful mission. Oh yeah he was also walking through inhabited streets with guns fully out in the open. Sorry no matter how bad the city is someone would have called the cops. There is a bazooka scene that comes from no where and is just over the top. Finally spoilers but at one point Frank literally puts his fist through a guys face. Just tonal wise the gore was at war with camp acting which in turn was at war with some gritty scenes. Nothing gels and it’s all a mess.

I’m glad I’ve seen this movie because now I can positively say that the Thomas Jane Punisher is the best so far. Take that Stevenson and Lundgren. Now I could recommend this movie to people who like the so bad it’s good stuff but all the same you should probably just avoid. I only got to see this because my dad had it, and he only had it because it was a two pack with the Thomas Jane movie. If you want to see a good Punisher movie then go watch Death Wish. Bronson is the man.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review - Megamind (2010)

“Is there some kind of nerdy supervillain website where you get Tesla coils and blinky dials?”

Director: Tom McGrath
Starring: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross and Brad Pitt
Writers: Alan J Schoolcraft, Brent Simons

Well I had no expectations going into this one, was just looking for a fun movie to pass away the time. Low and behold what I got was a film that had me laughing from beginning to end and really managed to surprise me with how much I dug it. Seriously getting this close to the end of the year I didn’t expect such a pleasant surprise but there you have it. So let’s get a little bit in depth and see why I dug it so.

If anything this is just one of those animated films that get the voices so right for their characters. In the beginning I was thinking oh look, its Will Ferrell doing a voice, after about ten minutes all I was hearing was the voice of Megamind. That’s how you really know you’ve hit the jackpot. When character over rules the star you are doing something right. In fact everyone is just so perfect I wasn’t thinking of the human counterparts once. Tina Fey is just awesome as Roxanne Ritchie and really made the most of this interesting character. Maybe the weakest link is Brad Pitt but I don’t think this is too much a major thing. He does the hero thing pretty well and if I had to imagine a celebrity as a superhero I think Brad Pitt would be on the top end of the list. David Cross as Minion does manage to steal the show many times and seemed to have a really chemistry with Ferrell and make me wonder if they recorded their scenes together.

A complaint I’ve read from other reviewers is that it isn’t very original in the story department. Honestly I think this is a false argument as the stories comedy comes from slightly twisting what we’ve seen before hand in other movies. Saying it’s not original is kind of missing the point of what the movie is trying to do. This makes me come to a weakness in the movie; if you are not familiar with some of the comic book villain and hero beats then you won’t get as much from the movie. In the audience I may have been laughing more than the kids present because I was seeing things that were subtle jabs at the hero and villain dynamic present in many comics. I also thought the message of the movie was nice and simple and didn’t seem to be crammed down the audiences throat like some company’s tend to do. (I love you Pixar but I’m mainly looking at you)

One of my biggest pet peeves with animated features is also the constant pop culture references that are often replacing proper jokes. I’m glad to say while this movie does have its references they are normally in the background and the comedy is mostly derived from the story. This combined with the great voice acting allows for a movie that stands out from the rest of the pack that is getting very crowded at the moment.

Visually I loved the look of Megamind and I thought that it was very pretty. Now I managed to go and see the 2D version of this movie so I’m not sure what the 3D is like. But I must say the 2D version in my mind is a good call for not having movies always in 3D. I’m not sure what the added dimension would have added to the movie honestly. Also just a weird aside but I couldn’t help but notice the eyes of the all the characters. They seemed to express so much emotion yet I know it’s all digital trickery. Technology is really taking a leap forward.

At the end of the day I should probably stress that the reason i'm so high on this movie is that it beat the expectations I had for it. It doesn’t have the emotional heft like some of the more recent animated features but I was laughing pretty consistently so that in my mind is a great recommendation. If you’re after a decent animated feature that has some great voice acting and some laughs then go see Megamind.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Review - Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

“Your friends have a high mortality rate Frank. First three, then two.”

Director: Sergio Leone
Starring: Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Henry Fonda, Claudia Carindale
Writers: Dario Argento, Bernado Bertolucci

Tough, silent hero gets on his horse and starts riding into the sunset, he is leaving people that care for him behind but he has no business staying in town. This is the final image I always have of a western. It’s an image that is deeply embedded in my head. There is just something about the western that gets me every time. It could be the scenery, the acting, the music but there is always something that manages to hit the right chord with me. So why the long introduction? Well Once Upon a Time in the West has to be one of the best westerns I’ve seen in a while and makes me just wish I was a cowboy. Well a ghostbusting cowboy but that’s an entirely different story.

So where to begin with this classic, well I reckon the man, the legend Segio Leone. The man knows what he’s doing and this is just a master class for any directing. Tight close ups to amp up the emotional tension of scenes, or the wide scenic shots that just let the landscape engulf the viewer in all its beauty, the Leone has tight control on what he wants to show people. Not only is his eye a wonder but also his use of the actors always plays to their strengths. Charles Bronson isn’t the greatest actor in the world but under the guidance of Leone you can’t help but be pulled into the performance. I think a lot of directors now a day tend to let actors run wild a little more which is fine for likes Daniel Day Lewis but when it comes to those mid level actors a steady hand like that Leone offered is called for.

Acting wise everyone is excelling, as stated before Bronson isn’t the greatest but thanks to playing to his strengths as Harmonica (or at least that what I call him) not only can you feel the rage and lust for vengeance exude from him but this deeply calculating tact on how to get to his goal. Jason Robards as Cheyenne brings a wonderful charisma to the desperado that joins forces with Harmonica. He’s tough yet you see that out of the three male leads he is the most compassionate. Finally Henry Fonda as Frank rounds out the three with a steely eyed performance as the movies chief villain. He’s a bastard through and through and with just a glance of his eyes he can make men back down. Then there is Claudia Carindale as Jill McBain the woman who is caught between all three men. Jill is a tough lady who forges on despite tough times. Claudia manages to bring across maybe a slight sense of being out of her depth yet never at the expense of seeming vulnerable. It’s a hard line to walk yet she does it perfectly.

The story itself is a simple tale of revenge and greed and yet the story is well paced and never seems to lag which is saying something as this is a long movie. In the beginning we have three men waiting at a train station for Bronsons character. It’s a pretty long scene but in the hands of Leone it is just ratcheting up the tension as there seems to be a certain sense of doom coming. It does remind me somewhat of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds another long movie that doesn’t seem it as every scene is an excuse to play around with the tensions of the audience. Having a simple story allows for the audience to not be caught up with too many details and instead feel the full emotional heft each scene offers.

Over all I adored this film. The only negative or warning to possible viewers I would say is that if you don’t like westerns then move along. This movie is steeped in what people now come to recognise as the western and why not this is one of the best back in the era where westerns were king. But if you’re after a great western or just a great film in general then give this movie a shot. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Those 80's Movies

2010. Woo. What a year it has been. Like many soon I will be unleashing my Top Movies List on the general populace but before that I thought I would look back at a more innocent time in movies. Back to the 80’s, back to when I was born. I went to Flickchart which I use for my entire movie list making needs and looked back at the top 10 movies that I dug from the 80’s. By the way I know Tron isn’t on this list. Shut up.

10: Batman (1989) – I love me some Batman when I was just a little kid. Come to think of it I still love me some Batman. As a little kid this was one of those cinema going moments that made me fall in love with movies in general.

09: Return of the Jedi (1983) – Okay sure this movie had the Ewoks. Sure it had Boba Fett screaming like a little girl as he died. But for me there is one scene that gives me goose bumps every time and that’s when Vader mentions Luke’s sister, cue Luke going berserk, almost falling to the dark side; all because he wants to protect the one he loves.

08: Robocop (1987) – Future of law enforcement. I’ll buy that for a dollar. I want a recount. Dick you’re fired. I love this guy. I could go on but I’ll save you from the horror. This movie has engrained itself on to my brain.

07: The ‘Burbs (1989) – I think I’ve watched this movie more than any other. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person. Love it so much I would want to have its babies. Every time I watch it I thank that Joe Dante exists.

06: Aliens (1986) – Back in the day when I respected James Cameron. This movie proved that sequels could be good. He also created a movie where the marine archetypes he had are being replicated over and over again; or at least in my opinion.

05: Phantasm 2 (1988) – The Tall Man is my favourite villain character from this period. Sorry Freddy, Jason and Michael. Just the way he can be intimidating with just the way he walks and looks without resorting to costume and make up gets the big thumbs up from me.

04: Beetlejuice (1988) – I think what makes this movie so special isn’t Tim Burton but that helps. It’s the cast they have. Everyone just works so well and get the humor. As much as at one point I though Keaton was the best Batman (that honor now belongs to Christian Bale), to me Beetlejuice will be how I always remember him.

03: Blade Runner (1982) – Some may say that I’ve seen too many version of this movie but there can never be too much Blade Runner. Everything about this movie just screams attention to detail and taking a look at the 3 hour long making of you can see how insane it all was.

02: Escape from New York (1981) & The Thing (1982) – Okay it might be cheating a little but I love these movies equally. Both have Kurt Russell in the lead and both are directed by John Carpenter. On a side note to The Thing, that beard Kurt Russell is sporting is everything that is man.

01: Ghostbusters (1984) – And the number one 80’s movie is a movie that probably appears on many many peoples lists. What can I say that hasn’t been said before? A gentleman I listen to on the Sarcastic Voyage podcast (shameless plug) said that when he was a kid he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. It was the same for me.

So there you have it. The 80’s wrapped up in a nice bow tie. I’ll leave you with an appropriate picture.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review - Jonah Hex (2010)

“Jonah Bloody Hex! I’d know that Half-Baked piehole anywhere!”

Director: Jimmy Hayward
Starring: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich
Writers: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

When I heard that Jonah Hex was being turned into a movie I was kind of buzzed. I have a weak spot for Westerns and with Jonah Hex I saw a great potential for a solid Horror Western film. Then the casting was announced and we had Josh Brolin and John Malkovich I was even more excited. Josh Brolin in my mind was a great choice for Hex and Malkovich is a good bet when it comes to villains (we don’t mention Eragon). Then word got leaked out that a lot of the film was being reshot due to ‘problems.’ I’m not sure what these problems were; I didn’t want to delve into it. Trailers were released and it looked okay, but my faith was wavering. Then negative reviews hit and I don’t think it was ever released in Australia. Sound the death bell. Well I’ve finally caught up with Hex and I’m ready to deal out some rough justice.

Ouch man. That’s all I got to really say about this movie. It’s sad as there was so much potential but instead of sticking to one idea and running with it they tried to please way too many people. Also watching the movie I couldn’t help but feel how incomplete it felt. The origin of Jonah Hex is done in a cartoon that just doesn’t gel with the rest of the movie. I guess that’s the major complaint of this movie, nothing gels together; it’s a patchwork of a movie and instead of something good the film makers have created a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie that will surely throw many children into various water sources.

Acting wise Josh Brolin is actually pretty good if maybe over doing the growling at times. He does seem to be acting a little more serious than the film demands and as such when you have cartoony characters rocking up into scene it just doesn’t work. John Malkovich just seems bored, or at least I was bored with his performance. I didn’t care about the villains motivations and only wanted him dead as it meant the movie wouldn’t be far from ending. Megan Fox as Lilah the tough prostitute with a heart of gold is yet another nail in her careers coffin. Yet if anything this time it isn’t her fault as she is given absolutely nothing to work with, her character is so underdeveloped I feel sorry for her. Finally I will give a shout out to Michael Fassbender as the character Burke. As John Malkovich’s right hand flunky his character at least interested me and I was more excited to see him and Hex throw down than any other clash.

Story wise we have a plot that has both Steampunk elements and Supernatural elements and it doesn’t seem to know what to do with both of them. In fact the entire story just seems overly complex for something that should have been a straight revenge story with maybe a tinge of the supernatural. Why add the Steampunk elements if you are not going to use them? Why over complicate a simple story with weird deviations? (Weird deviations like snake men. Yeah I don’t get it either) One of the writers (Mark Neveldine) was the man behind Crank, Crank 2 and Gamer. Love these movies or hate them but they had a simple story that drove the plot forward at a rapid pace, oh and they also dealt with revenge elements.

Finally the entire look of the movie is pretty decent, but as with most of the movie it gets hurt thanks to the inconsistent tone. Some scenes can be playing up the goofiness yet then we cut to a cemetery where it’s obviously trying to play up the serious tone. I’m not sure who is really to blame for it all. But there is a sense that something’s were added just to make the scene seem cool rather than add anything to the story.

Okay I’m done with talking about Jonah Hex or that Western Mess. What could have been a very cool movie; something a little different; instead turned out to be a lame knock off of Wild Wild West. Please note what I just said, let those words sink into every cell of your being. I don’t recommend anyone watch this. People looking for the horror or steampunk elements aren’t going to get enough, those after the revenge story are probably going to be bored and those who love westerns are just going to want to watch some Sergio Leone movies to scrub their brains clean. I judge you Jonah Hex and I find you lacking.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review - Tron: Legacy (2010)

“Change the scheme! Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you'd be so kind.”

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund,
Screenplay: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz

So I guess most people have the same question. Was the movie worth the mammoth amount of hype that was generated? The answer is obviously no. I doubt any movie could really live up to the hype that was generated with Tron Legacy. Second question, is it a good movie? The answer in my opinion is yes but as much as I want to gush about the film it does have its flaws. I think this review is going to hurt me more than you readers.

Visually this film is spectacular and the look of the world inside the computer is just beautiful. While the colour pallet is limited it does bring to mind the original and that this grid is just the upgrade. If it wasn’t for Tron Legacy probably Jackass 3D would be the only movie this year that used 3D to its fullest potential. Joseph Kosinski also really has an eye for what to show and how to show it. You can see what is happening in the action scenes and the city shots really let the audience immerse themselves. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the movie, so much so that you might bypass all the flaws the movie has.

Acting we aren’t really at the decline but some flaws start sneaking in. Both Garrett Hedlun and Olivia Wilde are a little bland in their respective roles, they aren’t exactly bad but they don’t really do anything to stand out. Olivia actually is the more memorable of the two, she does a few subtle things that do build on the character, the little giggle when she pilots, the embarrassed looks when she screws up understanding Users, she makes the most of a paper thin character. However the big draw in acting is Jeff Bridges who reprises the role of both Clu and Flynn. Some have said that with Kevin Flynn he’s channelling The Dude in his performance, but having the benefit of seeing the original before hand this performance is just pure Kevin Flynn. All the mannerisms are there, the language, it’s brilliant to see how easily he can slip into the Flynn character and add in the depth of being slightly beaten down from being trapped in The Grid for so long. As Clu he makes a credible villain, his motivation is interesting, his anger palatable. Another performance worth mentioning is Martin Sheen as the program Castor. As the owner of the End of the Line nightclub he goes about chewing on as much of the scenery around him as possible and thankfully comes off very entertaining.

Now speaking of the actors and more importantly Jeff Bridges much was made about the special effects in regards to Clu being Jeff Bridge yet made youthful. In a fair few scenes it seems to work but in the more intense stuff things did come apart slightly. It’s a huge step forward in regards to this kind of technology but there are still a few kinks to work out to stop the weird computer look.

The story in Tron Legacy is where things really collapse. Now there are interesting ideas, themes of the links between parent and child, religious themes of creator vs creation, even some debate about the need to keep some computer systems private over allowing free access. But these are all dealt with lightly and the story really does lose a lot of steam from the get go. Events happen but there just doesn’t seem to be much forward momentum. Or maybe that is the wrong way of putting it, sure there were scenes that I really dug, I mean I have watched the movie twice already but for the average movie goer who isn’t a huge fan of the original I don’t see them really caring about what is happening on the screen. Honestly I don’t think the script works hard enough for the emotional pay offs that occur and there are some plot elements that just seem under developed. At the end of the day this means you’ve got a pretty picture with no substance what so ever unless you’ve watched a movie from 1982. It’s a shame as I said there were some interesting ideas.

With the awesome soundtrack of Daft Punk accompanying this movie, everything seems little more than the music video. I loved this movie but to be fair I also love Tron. For someone coming in cold I can’t help but think that while they will visually be pleased, most likely they will forget the viewing experience pretty quickly. However if you like Tron then by all means get out there and watch this movie, you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Disgruntled Monkey's Top 6 Movie Soundtracks

Greetings on this holiday season. Oh what am I doing you ask? Why listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk. I tell you what those French Robots sure know how to put together some groovy tunes. I can’t wait to see the movie. But this does make me think about all the soundtracks I’ve listened to and enjoyed over the years. They truly can make or break a film.

So to celebrate the awesomeness that is the soundtrack I’ve decided to do a Top 6 List of my favourite soundtracks. Afterwards I’ll also put a list out there of soundtracks other people like. I’ve done this through the most stringent of surveys, i.e. I just asked people on Twitter what were some of their favourite soundtracks.

Before I get on with the list I will mention I’ve deliberately left off Inception and Tron: Legacy soundtracks as they are pretty recent but they would be heavy contenders for this list. Anyway on with the show.

6: Plunkett & Macleane – Craig Armstrong

I find this soundtrack just really fun and different. It blends the classic score with some techno themes. This really allows the score to amplify the movie which also took a period piece idea and tried to infuse it with a modern sensibility. Off the top of my head my favourite songs from the soundtrack are Hanging, Escape, Ball and Childhood

5: Ink – Jamin Winan

Yes I know I just reviewed this movie but I’ve been listening to the soundtrack since last year. Ink’s soundtrack is just a beautiful piece of work that truly shows how story can be improved thanks to its soundtrack. As a separate entity the music is haunting, chilling and at times beautiful and aptly reflects the dream world it is trying to enhance. Who You Were would have to be my favourite track of the lot.


4: The Fountain – Clint Mansell

Okay I’m going to level with you all; at the end of The Fountain I was wrecked and crying. Much of this was due to the emotional impact delivered thanks to the music. While I love the movie I can’t help but feel that this score is the true hero of what captured me long ago. For my money the track Death is the Road to Awe is basically everything this soundtrack is working up to.



3: Blade Runner – Vangelis

I can remember looking out of my unit at a dark grey day, the rain creating a haze where you could barely see the neon lights of the city, and there I was sitting back drinking coffee and listening to this soundtrack. Perfect is the word that comes to mind. Blade Runner was the first soundtrack I purchased and will always have a place in my heart. Magical, beautiful, melancholy. Memories of Green would be my pick of the bunch though it’s hard to do

2: Southland Tales – Moby

Yes there is more than just Moby doing songs on this soundtrack but Moby does give us the brunt with many songs. When it comes to Soundtrack Moby knows what he’s doing and this is not different. While you can argue over the merits of the movie I’m just transfixed by the score every time. It’s not overpowering, it just sits in the background adding to the oddity of what the movie is about. Best track for me is Memory Gospel which is laid back yet also a sad piece.

1: 28 Days Later – John Murphy

This is my favourite soundtrack because like most of my choices on my top 6 there is a sad quality to it but there is something slightly different at least in my mind. Without a doubt what I’ve imprinted on is the reprieve from the despair in the soundtrack. Key songs throughout the soundtrack bring warmth and hope that most of the soundtrack/movie is lacking. Looking over most my choices I can see similar themes but at the end of the day two songs trump all the other players on this list; Franks Death and In the House – In a Heartbeat. I think I’ve written more work or created more story ideas to those two pieces of work than any other song.

Before We Call This:

I would just like to speak a little on a man called Hans Zimmer. Now while none of his albums hit my top 6 he has to be my favourite composer at the moment. I’m pretty sure given time you’ll see Inception rock up the charts. But looking through my iTunes collection I can see I have 6 of his albums which is more than any other soundtrack composer and I do listen to them on a fairly regular basis.

So on the note of Hans Zimmer I end this blog entry. Please find below the many other recommendations from myself and the people of the Twitterverse. If people have suggestions of their own that don’t show up please feel free to write down in the comments. I’m always looking for more movie soundtracks to listen to.

Other Soundtrack Recommendations:

Highlander, Pulp Fiction, Top Gun, Joe vs the Volcano, The Crow, Gladiator, Blues Brothers, The Big Chill, The Last Samurai, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, 300, Sweeney Todd, Spawn, The Fountain, Resident Evil, Lord of the Rings, Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Unbreakable, Inception, Tron: Legacy, The Thin Red Line, Sunshine, The Book of Eli, The Social Network, Donnie Darko, Fight Club, Requiem for a Dream, Road to Perdition, Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review - Ink (2009)

“A man has a weakness, he's flawed. That flaw leads him to guilt. The guilt leads him to shame. The shame he compensates with pride and vanity. And when pride fails, despair takes over and they all lead to his destruction.”

Director:
Jamin Winans
Starring: Christopher Soren Kelly, Quinn Humovnchar, Jeremy Make
Screenplay: Jamin Winans

Plot: When the world falls asleep agents of Dream and Nightmare walk the night, Dream trying to infuse hope in people, Nightmare despair. One particular night a young girl called Emma (Quinn Hunchar) is kidnapped by a monster and dragged into the world of a dream. Her only hope could centre on her father John (Christopher Soren Kelly). Thus begins a battle between the beings of Dream and Nightmare as Father and Daughter have their very souls at stake.

Every now and then a movie comes along that just makes me want to sing its praises and get more people to watch it. I had seen the trailer for Ink a while back and I really liked the look of it. Unfortunately it was an independent production and I never got to see it at the cinemas, it took me a while but finally I got to see it. With nearly a year of anticipation for the film I braced myself for it not living up to the hype that had built in my mind.

I was completely blown away by the story, some of the acting, the look of the film, music. Everything just comes together so right this has become one of my top ten films of all time. The fact that this movie was made for $250 000 just shows that millions don’t need to be spent to craft a movie that is entertaining and able to wow people with its visual style.

So let’s start with who I feel is this movies biggest star. Jamin Winans has shot this film with such a wonderful style it invokes a dream like aesthetic, with some simple editing techniques he amps up both the nightmare and dream worlds. Also because he wrote the screenplay he truly creates poetic flow from scene to scene. This is his story and he knows exactly what he wants to show the audience. It’s this sure hand that allows for the emotional impact of the ending.

If writing and directing weren’t enough he was also editor, co-producer and most importantly composer of the soundtrack. My goodness is the soundtrack just a wonder. Yet again thanks to him being a unified force on the film the soundtrack just blends into the movie and allows for this perfect poetic flow that I’ve mentioned previously. Emotional highs and lows are just given that much more credence thanks to the music.

Back to the visual look of this movie; it’s amazing. For the small amount of money the world that is created is simple yet breathtaking. Filters, lighting, easy special effects and an eye for detail are just used effectively time after time. Watching this I just keep thinking of the old idea that if you have limited resources it forces you to be more creative.

Acting wise we run the gamut from excellent to bad. Thankfully the main characters work really well with Christopher Soren Kelly as John being such a sad figure. His journey throughout the movie tore at me and much of the emotional heavy lifting is on his shoulder. Jeremy Make as the blind character Jacob is interesting and at first his acting choice was a little weird but I got used to his and while hammy in the end really liked his character. Some of the minor characters do seem a little lacklustre or trying to hard but it’s a very minor niggle in an otherwise superb film.

I don’t normally say that everyone should give a movie a try, mainly because I do understand that people don’t like the same things. But honestly a year on I still want to beat the drum and get as many people as possible to watch this movie. It’s beautiful, emotional and a true triumph on what can be achieved when you have a vision. Please people find this movie and watch it.