Oct 17th

[REC] 2

By Davor Mamuzic

Toronto International Film Festival in Review 2009

[REC] 2

rec2_01.jpg

Directed and written by the Spanish duo Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, this sequel to the Spanish horror film which was unfortunately remade into a Hollywood's version called Quarantine that features the same storyline, same shots with English dialogue.

[REC] has finished with the unhappy ending, and [REC]2 follows that same plot fifteen minutes after the first story has finished. But this time, the story is viewed through the team of a SWAT and a medical officer's point of view as they try to uncover the possible survivors. The concept doesn't change within its primary set boundaries with the first person point of view and mocumentary style of shooting, while the story itself changes 360°.

This film features the dramatic build up and the pay-offs with the in-your-face type scares which work effectivelly within its limits. And, needless to state, the special effects makeup department have pushed their limits of European cinema with this feature.


Trailer: (caution, graphic images)


IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1245112/fullcredits#writers
Rating:  4  / 5

Oct 17th

The Day Will Come (Es kommt der Tag)

By Davor Mamuzic

Toronto International Film Festival 2009 in Review

The Day Will Come
Es kommt der Tag



The Day Will Come is a film directed and written by Susanne Schneider which highlights the impact on decisions we make in our rebellious youthful lifestyles and the damages it could bring which will affect us in the future.

The story is set in France, as a young lady played by Katharine Schüttler intentionally damages her car and stumbles upon a vineyard owners played by Iris Berben and Jacques Frantz requesting refuge for a few days. As the story unfolds, Katherine's agenda becomes more clear as she holds a secret 30 years in making.

This film unveils intense acting and scenes between Katherine and Iris, but unfortunately the story brings in the rollercoaster of events which end up repeating throughout the film and eventually come back to the same starting point, as the audience just waits for it be restarted again with the same plausiable outcomes.


Trailer:


IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1458550/
Rating: 2 /5

Oct 17th

Prince of Tears

By Davor Mamuzic

Toronto International Film Festival 2009 in Review

Prince of Tears



This classic, true story is set in Taiwan during the 1950s which takes a journey of happiness in one light and bitter darkness in the next. This time period is known as the White Terror as Taiwan swept through its nation with the anti-communist campaign where people were inprisoned and some simply dissappeared without any trace.

The story follows a fighter pilot who served against the communist in the Mainland China who moves to the island of Taiwan with his wife Ping, and two daughters Li and Zhou. As this looks as a promising new life to his family; the darkness unveils onto them as Li and Zhou return home to find to house ransacked by military police and both parents inprisoned on suspicions they are communist spies.

Cinematography and costumes speak out and bring the White Terror to a chilling and realistic horrors of the Taiwanese 50s through a beautiful vision of Yonfan as he remembers it through his childhood memories.

Trailer:

IMDB  - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1498834/

Rating : 4 / 5

Jul 4th

Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen

By Davor Mamuzic

Highly anticipated action film of the summer hit the theatres June 24th and swept the box office with $112 Million in the first week of viewing. 

Michael Bay returns as a captain of the ship as he takes on to direct the next installment of the Transformers franchise.  This time around, Michael tries to supersize the world, and comparing to the first film where only fourteen robots were present, this film brings in fourty-six. Someone needs to pass the message to Michael that three times more robots and explosions will not make the film three times better.  But, in this supersized world, one thing that stood out was that Optimus Prime is life-sized on IMAX screens during the forrest fight scenes.




Instead of taking time to make special effects into something extremely over-the-top, Michael as a director should've taken the charge into polishing the storyline. There are many dead-ends, unnecessary characters, predicted plot points, and action scenes that drag on to eternity.

Shia LaBeouf finds out the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers, which sets the whole movie into motion. Sadly, after the discovery, the film turns into Indiana Jones type of adventure, with Shia travelling to Middle East alongside the Autobots in order to save the world.  Other than similarities in the adventure typed genre, both Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade) and Transformers 2 shared the same location for the shoot, which is located in Petra, Jordan.

Dissapointment of this summer blockbuster carries the Megatron weight as it sinks deep into the "I saw it once, no need to go see it again... for awhile" pile. 

Hopefully next time transformers will "transform and roll out" with a better storyline other than ending it with the big bang theory.

IMDB
Trailer
2/5

Jan 10th

The Unborn

By Davor Mamuzic

The Unborn
By: Davor Mamuzic

Unborn

World wide cinemas like to build the terror of the unknown by focusing more on the story and less on the visuals, while North American audiences anticipate extreme gore shots, fast close-ups and in-your-face "quick frights". The Unborn, set in Chicago, stays true to its North American roots and delivers just as expected.

The story jumps all over the place (from evil entity of the unborn child, to Holocaust, Nazi experiments, and a bit of recycling The Exorcist ideas), while "quick frights" quickly erase your short term memory of the bad dialogue which sounds as though it was written by a group of high school students.

The story focuses on Casey, played by Odette Yustman , as she is confronted by an evil spirit and it slowly tries to break her down and take possession of her. The spirit itself gets stronger as the story gets weaker. The spirit's growth in strength is the only growth in the character as it is the only character that actually has a purpose in the storyline, and we are more focused on cheering for the actual evil spirit rather than the protagonist itself.

Other than the creepy next door neighbour's kid (Atticus Shaffer), Odette and Gary Oldman are the only ones that keep the acting real.  Even though it is hard to connect Gary as a Rabbi, he still did a great job doing it.

If you are looking for gore, anticipated closes up and bad dialogue, then this might be up your alley.

2/5

Trailer
IMDB

Released Jan 9th in the North American theatres.

 

Jan 9th

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

By Davor Mamuzic

  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

By: Davor Mamuzic



People everywhere could debate for hours if films they’ve seen are better than the actual books, and in most cases the literature would stand victorious in this battle.  Your mind is a highway to infinite imagination when a great book is in your hand taking you across worlds and fantasies, even adding different emotional stages to the reader. 

Since most of the films in today’s cinemas worldwide are, sad to say, remakes or comic book superheroes.  It seems that the only original storylines or even concepts are witnessed in today’s computer animated films distributed by Pixar, DreamWorks or Blue Sky Studios (to name a few). But, every once in awhile we come across something new, something original, something that keeps you quiet, or smiling as you are exiting the cinema.

 Eric Roth, who already won an Academy Award for his screenplay of Forrest Gump, brings us a coming of age story, literally, adapting it from the 1920s short story by F. Scott Fitzgerarld. The story is retold by Daisy (Cate Blanchett), hospitalized on her deathbed, with her daughter Caroline (Julia Osmond) by her side.  The diary in Caroline’s hands focuses on the life story of Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), who was born at the end of the World War One in the heart of New Orleans.  His disadvantage: he was born as an eighty-year old man, and as he ages, his body gets younger.

Benjamin was raised by Queenie (Taraji Henson) whose kind heart takes him in after she finds him on the doorsteps of the old age home where she lives and helps out. Benjamin as a young kid, but really an old man on the outside, blends in with all the residents off the old age home. This is the place where Benjamin also meets Daisy.

Directed by David Fincher, who already had a chance to explore Brad’s acting abilities and transformations in Se7en and Fight Club, now has a chance to add better makeup and special effects to Brad’s looks. At one point, as Benjamin and Daisy both enter their 60s, Brad, thanks to the digital re-touches, looks seventeen years old, somewhat close to how he looked in Thelma and Louise.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will stay with you for years to come. The film itself flows as if a great book just landed into your palms, packing great dialogue, as well as comedic, dramatic and suspenseful moments.  

5/5


Trailer -
http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/thecuriouscaseofbenjaminbutton/
IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421715/

Released in North American theatres December 25th, 2008

Jan 3rd

Valkyrie

By Davor Mamuzic

Valkyrie
By: Davor Mamuzic

Valkyrie, Tom Cruise

Films made on the war themes usually carry their own propaganda agenda, glorifying one side over the other, but Valkyrie offered the inside look at the German SS army, and how not one, but thousands officers, staff, or even soldiers didn't agree with Germany's politics, and wanted a change for better.

 Valkyrie, directed by Bryan Singer (X-men, Usual Suspects) is a classic story of good versus evil, and choices made by individuals who believed in the light at the end of the tunnel. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, played by Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds, Mission Impossible), who saw that light, and took it into his own hands as he was followed by a small team of high-ranking officers plotting to assassinate Adolf HItler, and hopefully end the war of all wars. Hitler, played by David Bamber (The Bourne Identity, Gangs of New York) gave a perfect performance as he painted Hitler's potrait of being extremely misterious, but yet, very intimidating character. His presence on the screen is almost as chilling as the opening sequence as Nazi soldiers are giving their oath to the great "Führer".

Fortunately, this film did not feature any fake German accents, and having the over-the-top performance by extremely great talents, such as Bill Neighy (Pirates of the Carribean), Tom Wilkinson (RocknRolla), and Cruise helped this dialogue-driven film to be extremely intense and suspensful.

Trailer
IMDB
 
This film opens in the North American theatres December 25th.


Rating: 4/5