April 29, 2012

The Quick Word- The Raid: Redemption (2012)

(aka Oh, Hell Yeah!)
Release Date: Click HERE for release info by country.
Written and Directed by: Gareth Evans.
Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, and a scrappy lil' son of a bitch named Yayan Ruhian.

The Raid: Redemption is purely an action movie, no Horror involved at all (unless you count gratuitous violence and copious amounts of blood), but we just had to take a minute to give it some love.

In Horror terms, it's reminiscent of The Horde; where a small group of people are trapped in an apartment building and are forced to fight their way through a crazy horde of zombies in order to escape the death trap they're in. In The Raid, the Zombies are replaced with some vicious Indonesian gangsters, and the people that are trapped and forced to fight their way out are Indonesian Cops. It's also way more violent and bloody, and by the end, I think there were more corpses lying around... more corpses than a Zombie movie. Think about that one for a second.

They have guns, should be no problem...
It's not often that a movie comes a long and just blows us away, especially when we're talking about the action genre; most action flicks are good, but don't really tend to dazzle or excite us. We've seen so many action movies over the years that we're fairly jaded on the subject. I takes a lot to get our fists pumping and even more to get us to hoot and holler during a movie, especially in public... we generally try to behave and not look like super nerds when amongst strangers.

The Raid: Redemption was so awesome that it made us stand up in the theater and throw karate kicks into the air, while yelling "Hyah!" (*That didn't really happen, but in our hearts it did.)

It's really hard to explain how crazy and action packed The Raid truly is, because at some point while trying to explain it, we'd end up sounding like we're just way over exaggerating things. A week removed from seeing The Raid, with emotion taken out of the equation and our heads calm and clear, we can say that the movie was so full of insane, bloody, mind blowing action, that we honestly can't think of any other movie in recent memory that comes close to its level. Not even kinda close.

It's honestly one of the best martial arts flicks we've ever seen. Ever.

The little guy on the right, Mad Dog, not only kicked crazy amounts of ass on screen, but was the movie's fight choreographer too. We love him.
So intense, unrelenting and overtly bloody and violent was The Raid, that a woman in our small screening audience said "I can't take any more, it's exhausting!" She wasn't being dramatic at all. The level of graphic violence in this movie is through the roof, and by the end, even we the audience felt as if we'd been through the same hell that just unfolded on screen.

It seems as though lately if we're in the mood for a really good thriller or action flick, that countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, HK or Japan (among other Asian/Pacific Island countries) are doing them better than anyone else in the world. For an American viewer like me, they films from these countries seem a bit odd or different in some ways, but they always seem to find a way to entertain, dazzle and often times disturb me in great ways. They do it different there, and Hollywood really ought to take note of what makes the average Asian flick so good, and maybe try to emulate them a bit more, instead of remaking already great movies in a sub par way. I shudder to think what Hollywood is going to do to Oldboy, even with Spike Lee at the helm.

Indonesia just gave the world an action masterpiece. You really should go out of your way to find The Raid and enjoy the hell out of it.

Does every guy with dreadlocks always have a machete on them?
One of the best and most exciting action movies we've seen in many moons, The Raid: Redemption satisfies on just about every level that a movie like this possibly can. It's definitely more focused on the visuals than it is deep character development or narrative, but that's not to say it lacks in those areas at all. This is about a perfect as an action flick gets these days, and it really is one that you owe it to yourself to go and see.

Since there are no women in The Raid at all, here are a few pics of some random hot Indonesian actresses... because you deserve to see them.

April 27, 2012

Livide (2012)

(aka Not Inside part II)
Release Date: On DVD now (Germany.)
Written & Directed by: Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury.
Starring: Chloe Coulloud, Catherine Jacob, Marie-Claude Pietragalla and Chloe Marcq.

We've been waiting for Bustillo and Maury's follow up to their 2007 French classic, Inside, for years now. Inside was a nasty little movie that stuck with us long after we had seen it, and we we're hoping to be equally as disturbed by their newest offering, Livide.

Well, we were and we weren't.

What is this I don't even.
Lucie is a young, hot French chick who just got herself a job as a traveling nurse. She's got two different colored eyes (which is foreshadowing about having two souls or something), and can't follow directions very well. While traveling around visiting patients and learning her new routine, she's told to stay in the car by her trainer, Mrs. Wilson, because "she's not ready" to handle the likes of their last patient of the day. Of course Lucie doesn't stay in the car and wanders into the creepy old mansion of Mrs. Jessel, which pretty much seals her fate.

Creepy tea party from hell.
Lucie finds Mrs. Wilson attending to the comatose Mrs. Jessel. Her trainer tells her of a secret treasure rumored to be hidden somewhere in the creepy house, and that the old Jessel whore had a Daughter who died under mysterious circumstances, many years ago. Those two plot elements should be enough to terrify most people into never wanting to come back into the house, but not Lucie, because she's not very bright.

Relax, it's just a doll.
Lucie hatches a scheme with her boyfriend and another nitwit to break into Jessel's house, find the treasure for themselves, and live rich and easy for the rest of their lives.The problem is that the treasure involves a bunch of Vampire ballerina kids, teleportation mirrors, a floating house, and plenty of nuance. Needless to say, the blood flows and people die in horrible ways, and we're not exactly sure what in the hell happens at the end.

Flashdance!
Livide is a gorgeous and very atmospheric movie, which is really quite something to behold. While not as effective as their first film, Inside (2007), Bustillo and Maury absolutely know how to craft and direct a movie that pulls you in and pushes your fear buttons. The movie felt a lot like Suspiria at times, and in fact was an homage to the Argento classic, although there were definitely differences between the two, both technically and aesthetically.

Think of Livide as a new twist on the Vampire mythos, with some elements of Witchcraft and serial murder thrown in, all wrapped up in some odd sort of fantasy blanket. It's thematically complex at times, and overtly bloody and gory at others. It's definitely a mixture of a lot of elements, all of which work or fail to varying degrees. It did lack focus and felt anything but linear, which detracted a bit from the overall great quality of what we saw on screen.

There's always some sort of eye torture in these Italian-inspired French Horror flicks, isn't there?
The whole subplot involving the two guys convincing Lucie to rob the house really should have been left out of the movie, as it only truly served to get them into the house so that the rest of the movie could happen. It felt sloppy and unnecessary. Why couldn't they have explored the other subplot with the creepy chick abducting kids and draining them of their blood... that would have been more satisfying and effective, in our opinion.

Why the hood?
What exactly was this movie trying to be? At first, we're given a creepy and atmospheric Horror flick that showed signs of being truly great, but then as the film wore on, it became more of a Dark Fantasy movie. By the end, it felt like some sort of spiritual meditation of the freedom of the soul or something. Maybe it was the ending itself that made things so awkward, because it was a little bit... out of place. Metaphor and sentimentality twisted this movie into a bit of a confusing mess at times. The movie was too ambitious for its own good.

There's plenty of bloody and disturbing elements to be found here, most of them involving Vampire shenanigans of some sort. Lots of kid violence too. It wasn't as visceral as some other French 
Horror offerings such as Inside or Martyrs, but it was visceral enough.

Maybe she fell down in the tub?
Nope, but we do get to see a creepy old lady laying in bed wearing an oxygen mask, if that's your thing.

Dance lessons lead to nothing but death. Also, you really shouldn't ever try to steal from a helpless old woman in a coma, because it's a trap.

Fun times at the Dance Academy of Death.
Livide is a movie that falls into the B-range because it's a well made, mostly effective and gorgeous film, filled with enough gore and menace to satisfy the average Horror fan. If it would have been a bit more focused, lost the jump scares and made a bit more rational sense, it could have definitely been an A-range affair. As it stands though, Livide is a solid effort that you should check out when you're able, just don't be surprised if you find yourself saying "what the hell just happened?" afterwards.

B

Chloe Coulloud is one hot French girl, as evidenced by her facial features and nice figure. We don't make this stuff up, that's just how it is.

Theatrical Trauma for the Week of April 27th


The end of April is nigh, and the beginning of the summer box office is right around the corner, which means that every week from now until the fall we'll be bombarded with big budgeted Hollywood movies. Hooray, right?

This week's best bet is definitely The Raven; The story of Edgar Allen Poe who is forced into a battle of wits with a serial killer. Alright, so the premise is a bit odd, but the trailer looked darkly promising, and John Cusack is the man. Plus, Alice Eve and her boobs are in it, so we're there.

Safe also looks good, because who doesn't want to see Jason Statham take on corrupt cops and evil triads all to save the life of a cute little Asian girl? It sounds enough like Man on Fire and Taken to get us to take our happy asses to the theater and watch it.

So two promising movies. Let's hope at least one of them is good.


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April 24, 2012

DVD Releases for April 24th


This week's best bets begin with Contraband, which was decent enough if you like the average Mark Wahlberg flick; The Inkeepers which despite its ending, we truly loved; and The Theatre Bizarre, which was interesting and... bizarre.

This week's ?'s are Fetish Dolls Die Laughing, The Fields, Indemnity, Hellcats, Killer Nun, Ms. Cannibal Holocaust and Wreckage, none of which we've seen.If we had to blind buy one or two of these unknowns, it would be The Fields and Karate Girl; The Fields looks as if it could be good, and there can never be enough Japanese schoolgirls doing karate in our book.

This week's worst bet is The Wicker Tree, which was a big disappointment to us.


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