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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Beyond

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One of the finer installments in Lucio Fulci's works as for the good old controversy surrounding it firmly and intact, The Beyond is the cheesy '80s horror that is either quite easy to appreciate for the relentless, "You Seriously Think I Give A Dime With Two Lost Holes In It?" exploitation attitude it exhibits, or you simply take this flick for the massively sorrowful testament other enjoyers consider it to be: a Black Hole beacon where Fulci's movie language permanently compromises by, an unfortunate development fueled throughout a suspected urge of the director to satisfy the era's hunger for gore gravitated brainsplatter suffering. We are in 1980, one year after Zombie - Flesh Eaters on the chronological filmography, mind you I - though I still think we won't ever see a crappier Fulci or Zombie movie than the one we just mentioned.

The interesting thing is this: The Beyond might rely on but a massively limited tool set for storytelling considerations, yet I would not agree with the view that the piece delivers significantly less and/or noticeably weaker in this regard as similar outputs of the era do. In fact, some cautious parallels could or even should be drawn between this particular movie and The City of the Living Dead, also between The House by the Cemetery. These three installments have a loose yet noticeable interconnection between them, giving you some Hellgate-Fixation from Fulci's part that is similar to Dario Argento's Suspiria cycle with the sinister witches all around. Both buildups are weighting in as trilogies in the long run, though La Terza Madre to conclude the Suspiria saga certainly reformed my reality tunnel via the most improbable ways I dared, even better or worse: feared to anticipate.

Strangely 'nuff, the onion is even to oppose the statements of the Fulci Thing himself, who voiced his views about how he had no intention whatsoever to deliver plot - he wanted to deliver gorefest excellence, rampant, blatant. He managed to come up with an acceptable/accidental story buildup in the process nevertheless, do NOT listen to what he is saying in the related interviews. Yet bear witness to The Beyond, as this one has a definite charm to it, and boosts an end sequence that multiplies the effectiveness of the movie by a number of 666, at least.

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- Dude, you ARE weary! Bring ya anything?
- Naaah, nah! I'm GOOD, thanks!

Assumptions are nice and easy: we have our causal protagonists personified by an average beauty of the '80s and a rather mediocre Clint Eastwood imitator. The girl inherited The Seven Gates Hotel, - marketing is a DEFINITE factor by the era - yet customers of the establishment have a tendency to not to check out after they started to spend their first night in their rented shelters. Probably will shock you considerably when I am to inform you that the establishment is silent-ancient beholder and relentless keeper-concealer of terrible, gruesome happenings and the most frightening secrets, Fulci even gives you a nice method to cautiously voice these warnings unto present day reality. A contemporary timeflow characterized by the rather fruity presence of the new owner and two highly traumatized, similarly ancient employees. You can't get rid of them: they came as extra, and extras are hardly options you can choose among or live without.

The best aspect of communicating highly sinister supernatural workings that are about to claim manifestation is delivered by a strong supportive character pair. A blind young lady and his guard dog is often to haunt the proprietor, delivering the classical warning messages about grave dangers that are imminent and must be avoided at all cost. By this time we already had the chance to witness oldschool prophorror committed against unsuspecting crash test dummies via acid and trademark Fulci violence, - that equals: you get a superclose zoom on every single wound the assaulted suffers - thus the warnings have both legit content and an inventive voicer to them, as well. The scene where the young blind lady firmly stands at the middle of the highway to voice her supercrucial messages is quite memorable, and it looks like this:

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Fulci at least lives up to his statement when chooses not to elaborate way too much with and on further plot elements once some dead bodies were successfully produced. The Beyond massively utilizes dead bodies as fuel cells to sell out the program time, pair particularly inventive creative death sequences to the aforementioned trait and you have a pretty firm general idea of what this statement has to entertain you with. You could easily approach The Beyond as some hilarious horror video clip, - I mean like The Beyond would be the horror video clip, not you, but you are free to converge in case you see fit - in which a very easy plot reigns firmly, yet possesses no particular importance or aim to it than to interconnect the horrific attractions Fulci cooked up and you signed on for to taste.

Acting let alone dialogs are therefore so massively redundant and virtually irrelevant that you remain absolutely good to go with the basic assumption intact in your mind, fortunately though: Fulci does not subject you to all too many of the talkative air molestation either, instead he offers some subtle, yet rather elegant connotations to confidentially hint at Lovecraftian horror creation, and chooses to manifest peek moments via massively casual/methodical - I know, oxymoron, I will explain - visual terror. The Lovecraftian aspect is quite easy to spot and appreciate, thankfully for it's decent realization. A little, a minor thing, really, represented via the cellar system of the hotel, in which Many'O Walls do conceal Many'O Dark Secrets. And thus: many of walls will be foolishly assaulted and forced to give out secrets better off if never revealed.

Fulci's terror in The Beyond is casual, as he shows za groozzzomm ztuff as it would be as natural as grinding chocolate flakes to your massive ice cream balls - and it IS methodical, as he is immensely interested in every single microtrauma the affected skin tissue or organs do suffer.

Fulci's camera is STUCK to trauma.

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This particular aspect is the most relevant The Beyond has to offer, not particularly for the enjoyment (?) it delivers, rather because it's trait of showing deconstruction in an absolutely shameless, cozy, senselessly detailed manner. It is truly at the verge of ending up hilarious - you could even say that it DOES step over the border. So if it does - what then? You truly couldn't possibly think that Fulci gives that mentioned dime of ours with the two lost holes in it, yes?

One easily gets under the impression that Fulci makes a fool out of his horror-craving viewer, literally overfeeding him with the much-longed-for input, depicted and served via unprecedented detail, also on a rather thorough timescale. In The Beyond's trademark death sequences you will spend several minutes watching exquisitely sweet, oldschool prop terror punishment, also, rather inventive ways to die we are talking about here. Unprecedented it was until the day it has been created, and I can not recall seeing anything similar, either. Visual terror itself gets exploited here while it's intaker inevitably gets affected via one way or another. Your options are clear: appreciate it's senseless visual stoicism - "bravery?" - and offer the thumbs up for Fulci, or be outraged by the sick atrocities - fact of the matter: either way, Fulci have won already.

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- OK. Now EVERY Napoleons - two steps FORWARD, please!

In the long run there are some nice surprises offered via the creative death scenes depicted, the fate of the blind young lady is particularly inventive - at least would be, if Dario Argento would have had NOT deliver a very similar narrative punchline in his trademark effort Suspiria, years prior to Fulci's installment. But he did, and Fulci evidently copied him. Yet this act is so massively crystal clear this time around that it seems rather OK to account this moment as a tribute to Argento from Fulci's part, I think even he would agree with that.

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- You should at least take a goddamn BATH!
- I Just DID!

Having no significant qualities as a legit effort as far as storytelling considerations, The Beyond would inevitably weight in as a stable routine horror for an era that had a high curiosity factor for stuff dead and having no clue. As we were hinting at it, Fulci's touch to imbue meritorious traits unto a mediocre narrative buildup resides in the ability and willingness to present the negotiation as a merely casual matter to interconnect the memorable scenes, those that are massively determined to offer death via rather surprising ways and depict related horror via a refined degree of passive, yet, paradoxically: hyperactive attention.

With it's extremely stoic, curious stance towards deconstruction not just shown but thoroughly exhibited and served, The Beyond remains an interesting station not just in Fulci's career, but represents a rare motion picture category in which the dialectic inspection process of trauma administered creates and offers a massively sterilized channel for the free, ultimate, pure interpretation of horror.

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- ... and here me do keeps me Weird Tales collections!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre

Won't Stop No At Marshmallow Planets

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Tadlow Music, 2006

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It is not for sure, but not entirely uncertain either that recent team-ups of popular music with a classical environment left Ancient Synthwizard Jean Michel Jarre quite: motivated. I figure, he figured:

"I CAN'T call myself an up-to-date Music Creator and possess NO record with a Symphonic Orchestra under my Ancient Synthwizard Butt! Nons ways, NONS WAYS at ALL!"

So Tadlow Music delivers. Tadlow Music delivers you The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre, and, fortunately enough, this double disc release brings a rather stable selection of the strongest elements Jarre had to offer to this day.

I would be curious to see what - if any - weaponry Jarre fans would choose to punish me with if I were to tell: Jean Michel usually relies on supersimple compositional methods, and comes up with output that is risk free to offer and similarly safe to appreciate, yet his recent efforts do not necessarily possess the creative power that fuel such classic composition of this author as Magnetic Fields 1. You couldn't watch a science TV show and miss out Magnetic Fields 1 for many many years. It is interesting to observe that even the song in question is clear and simple in it's structure, yet entertains you with such rampant power and elegant beauty to itself that it can go for eight minutes without you being bored for a moment. Very powerful vibe. Ah, did I mention that Magnetic Field 1 is included on The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre? In a symphonic arrangement, as well. Definite peek moment.

This is all cool. No doubt. Yet Jarre sometimes exhibits a tendency of judging the musical significance of his own ideas incorrectly. He seems to fall in love easily with his invocations, which is probably acceptable. What is not particularly OK in my opinion is that he usually satisfies with the naked, raw idea and chooses NOT to entertain the musical thought further on. Thus there are risks that you will have the Iron Maiden Experience. The Iron Maiden Experience is this: you have some casual wind-blows-me-hair guitar riff and a galloping bass and rhythm section in the background. The wind-blows-me-hair guitar riff then collides with various powerchords to fill in your 4/4 and you are good to go. I am aware that Iron Maiden has some quite significant songs, but I am pretty sure they can deliver two blatantly boring pieces for each classic they wrote. The method and related experience I was outlined is clear manifestation of musical bullcrap, you see.

"We have to sell out 4*4/4 there, guys."

"Can you play like - some stuff in the foreground?"

"Like: "Pariramm-paaaa-pappppiraraaaa!" ??"

"Ye, OK. You do that and I'll go like: "TAN-dada-TAN-dada." Ye?"

"Ye. This for four by four times?"

"Ye. They'll fall for it. They always do."



A similar approach, say that I herein, unravels in the music of Ancient Synthwizard Jean Michel Jarre from time to time. When it does not, then he is very good. Alas, he should publish music that came by just THOSE moments, in my opinion. Remember his latest studio release? That one was particularly lacking any inventiveness and sounded more as a collection of thrown away ideas. My impression truly was that Jarre sold even his failed attempts to come up with new compositions. I am so sorry I forgot the name of the record as now it is quite hard to identify in the massive release palette he has even in a quite brief period. This is yet another strange aspect. If I see things correctly, Jarre releases a record virtually every next Sunday - sure, I am exaggerating a bit, but not THAT much, mind you I. To elaborate my prior implication about Jarre having definite uncreative periods, I can recall his 2004 album Aero though. Man. That sucked. That sucked badly. All in all, in my experience and opinion Jarre usually weights in as highly acceptable via seven songs out of ten, as far as the remaining three go: two will be brilliant and one will be silly, or vice versa.

Now having our almost stupendously lengthy introduction section ruthlessly concluded, let us start earing out what the Jarre Thing exactly has to deliver if surrounded by an orchestra, instruments and synthetizers all pointing at you.

Disc 1:

The opening track Chronologie 1 is the perfect opening statement to start up an installment with electro-orchestrated aspirations. I mean it is the perfect opening track if and when "electro-orchestratism" - sorry 'bout that - is of focal importance. Chronologie 1 delivers you a nice, thick string fabric to lay down on and supports this simple yet elegant buildup with some massively effected digital cellos to offer nice, casual solos - summoning a sci-fi buildup that is quite pleasant to relate to. Enjoy that 3:00 minutes flat you have without the senseless human choir kicking in. Surely, it is not their fault, they even do a wonderful job as far as the actual job goes, but the nice sci-fi buildup is dead gone as Jean Michel Jarre points his mighty fingers to the First Pink Marshmallow Planet you will encounter. An elegant, brief, cautious sci-fi statement is chased away and unravels unto silly, overwhelming choirfest characterized by a supersmiple musical idea. All is not too bad though: at the climax some thick throated opera singer claims her presence and renders a nice little monologue to the magnificent stars to surround Jarre's Pink Marhsmallow Planets, even better: the ending portion makes elegant fun of basic compositional methods utilized in classical music. Jarre borrows emotional building blocks from Offenbach's Kan Kan, and places sci-fi psychedelics atop of them - the resultant sensation is cunning and stable, also a nice and effective way to wrap this one up. At the end up of the day, you can't help but notice that Jarre eventually arrived at quite interesting places with his seemingly redundant choirs to pose as the focal negotiation of this piece, yet I still tend to think that the very beginning of Chronologie 1 is strong and autonome enough so it could be work way better and way more functional as a stand alone statement than the intro section it gets semi-clumsily utilized as here.

Amazingly, the follow-up statement is entitled Chronologie 2. I notice Jarre has some exquisite fixation towards certain pathos-filled words, I am not entirely sure, but I recall as I would have seen stuff like Oxygen 13, even. Hm. Chronologie 2 is such blatant, shameless and hilarious of an effect craver that you suddenly fail to show a blaming factor of all this and decide to keenly follow up the pathos filled melody offered as focal theme instead. This is a funny piece: it is hard to decide whether Jarre takes you for a complete imbecile, anticipating you to live through Chronologie 2 as a serious "symphony??" or does he indeed make quite serious fun of the basic concept of symphonies? Hmm, I am not entirely sure of the correct answer, and this is why Chronologie 2 is kind of: kind to me.

What about yet another Chronologie statement, this time by the title Chronologie 3? I must admit this is a very intricate placement from the Jarre Thing, as this third piece to conclude the Chronologie trilogy speaks in fluent, flawless classical registers. A gloomy, cunning composition, exhibiting a nice, reoccurring focal period in which pathos grows so massive and strong that the buildup collapses under itself, finding a logical and elegant way to reoccur again. Why this placement is so original? I think it is because the prior installment left you wondering if you were taken for a fool or were just entertained. During Chronologie 3 though, your impression that you picked up the correct Jarre record to date solidifies steadily.

Oops. Now me sees Gloria, Lonely Boy is to follow up. I have no clue what this "Lonely Boy" business is, yet the song itself is blatantly peaceful and beautiful. A lady is singing about this particular Gloria character of whom identity I have not the dimmest idea, but I do hope she/he feels better after hearing this. The song pretty much feels like an attempt to calm someone down deeply hurt. Very strong, lazy - in a good sense - composition and a very nice, integral performance from all participants. A supermassive, memorable peek moment.

Equinoxe 4 is the piece I can so passionately scratch my face off listening to. A cautious, nice opening vibe to start up the piece, blown the hell away by a 2nd theme that flattens everything out that comes contact with it. Blah! This time the opening vibe is way more powerful than the senseless focal melody eagerly and ruthlessly voiced by brass instruments, but who cares, truly. The focal melody is Jarre's selfish personal fixation this time around, an idea he refuses to admit not being strong enough to worth showing around for several minutes. Equinoxe 4 has definite aspirations to exhibit meritorious emotional elements invoked by Magnetic Fields 1. By the calm starting vibe and the sinister mid section - yes, even the structure is similar to Magnetic Fields 1 - it has some degree of success, yet the focal, big-ass brass theme flattens the elegant buildup out hopelessly. This is not too bad, not too bad - but not too good, not too good, either.

Fishing Junks at Sunset is an oriental stroll around. It's cute. And, above all: it's truly cute. Did I mention how cute Fishing Junks at Sunset was? It is, trust me.

Souvenir De Chine is the gloomiest and one of the strongest moments of the double release. A superthick string section and a nice rhythm pattern are the focal elements here. Amazingly, the Jarre Thing yet again exhibits modest musical sanity here: he recognizes the massive layer of stringed instruments as strong as it is indeed, and spares them the upper solo registers, the register that would surely compromise this buildup, mind you. Souvenir De Chine is basically a rhythm section, yet such a melodic rhythm section it is that it does not need any solos to - I dare say this - filth it. An exquisite piece.

Magnetic Fields 5- The Last Rumba is some Rumba. It IS a cool Rumba, too!

Industrial Revolution - Overture is an easily approachable piece to represent and manifest Jarre's compositional skillset when the author is free to rely on a supportive orchestra and synths. It is a stable piece with a constant pulsation to it, offered for you by hammers to emphasize the modal atmosphere the title suggests. It is beyond questions that every instrument gets a role here, and gets a functional one. Apart from that: nothing more to unravel or to remain here.

Industrial Revolution - Part 1 is a quite subtle, cheerful piece. Massively, yet - should we say? - haughtily classical, with a cunning tendency to interchange between the delightful and the determined registers. This piece is organically connected to the follow-up statement, Industrial Revolution - Part 2. The resultant mood here maintains it's accessibility while opening up to a massively cinematic scale. A quite significant fabric of two connected statements to show off Jarre's evident capabilities to write music once he is serious about that.

Disc 2:

While I basically find Eldorado a pretty good song to provoke massive flows of saliva out through the corners of your mouth, I must admit that it has it's supersilly charms to it, and I tend to think that Jarre himself had not much more intention with it than to clearly include and reveal those. I dare to say that the song has elements and moments quite similar to the compositional methods utilized by guitar god Steve Vai on HIS symphonic statement.

I fail to pick up on Oxygene 13's originality which might be existent yet it is extremely well hidden. Some melancholic stuff it is, I suppose - but seems to have no intention to going anywhere, and, throughout this recognition you wish for it's end to arrive via that senselessly fast yet oh so! relieving manner.

Fortunately, the symphonic rendition of Magnetic Fields 1 has ended up as a quite firm and solid statement. The supportive synthetizers are now substituted by stringed instruments and focal solo synths are rendered via thick, clear brass instruments. A trademark effort in Jarre's career, Magnetic Fields 1 still has that paradoxical, fresh (!) retro sci-fi feel to it, while the fact that makes a quite special piece of this musical statement is that it has nothing more to it than this ever-present, fresh retro sci-fi feel. Then again: what more could you ask for? The fact that it offers nothing more or different than retro sci-fi feel is what we are so grateful for and signing on for here.

Emmigrant is yet another faceless, overwhelming stare-to-nothingness via senselessly overblown tones of Symphonic Orchestra Overkill. Immensely tiresome to relate or listen to, I figure Jarre tried to summon an atmosphere similar to Richard Strauss's improbably powerful Thus Spoke Zarathustra. My opinion would be that either you go for that particular majestic-space-sensation via senseless power as Strauss did, or you better off staying: SILENT.
You with me here, Jean Michel? SI-LENT. All in all, Emmigrant is one of Jarre's numerous failed attempts to create majestic space music, but it still remains a nice depiction of the Pinkest Marshmallow Planets you ever witnessed, nevertheless.

"This: Stinks! This Also: Sucks!" - Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Richard Strauss nodded. Jean Michel Jarre Hid Away. And Their Words And Gestures Made Perfect Sense, Indeed.

Oxygene 4 is both cute and persistent enough to successfully convince you about the meritoriousness of it's musical assumptions, also a funny testament of how easily Jarre ends up being overly fascinated by his own ideas. Oxygene 4 introduces a nice little chord harmony and feeds it to you till the end of spacetime or a highly illegal blackout process. The brass instruments make a nice modal interchange this time around, emphasizing the harmonies from time to time. Cute, simple, easily approachable and filled full by a casual, funny mood: Oxygene 4 is: actually good.

Rendez-Vous 2 kicks off powerfully, just to arrive to a strange spot characterized by some crazy-ass synthetic choir to rape out further pathos (??) out of a buildup that is filled with it already. Apart from this particular moment, Rendez-Vous 2 relies heavily on a nice, narrative musical language. Cinematic touch becomes evident. At the midsection though, the entire song pours down to an entirely different dimension. A superthick, dark synthetizer gravitates this tense period as paradoxical guiding light in a secret tunnel, where other instruments including choirs are just supportive elements and serve the welcomed purpose of musical secrecy rather pleasantly. Later the cinematic buildup introduced earlier comes back, and, amazingly enough: Jarre spares you the highly redundant synthetic choir section this time around, wrapping the statement up with some seriously intense opera chick instead.

Rendez-Vous 4 is quite weightless and silly in my opinion, but these qualities are the appeals at the same time. Definitely not an unpleasant piece, yet it's significance is superscarce at best. This is the proper music for some bubblegum commercial, or for some Space Travel Agency, organizing Trips With No Return to the Pinkest! Biggest! Marshmallow! Planets! Your ticket-checker is the Jarre Thing!

Acropolis offers a rather peaceful, elegant fabric with a tint of secrecy in it, and, fortunately enough, Jarre refuses to summon massively molested sci-fi pathos to compromise a stable structure. That particular sequence where two neighboring notes are colliding to form the chord harmony on is the focal attraction here, the moment you wait for, the moment the song gravitates to as a focal statement. A rather nice buildup at the end of the day, though I would be probably left even more happy with choirs absent.

The concluding piece Computer Weekend is some huge huge + sign on The! Pinkest! Sky! You! Ever! Witnessed! To! Surround! Your! Favorite! Pinkestest! Marshmallow! Planet! Featuring the all-time superclassic harmony progression to fuel such popular statements as La Bamba or Wild Thing, Computer Weekend is a big Yes! for life and stuff related, also a strange, but no doubt, somewhat humorous way it is to conclude a double disc release fueled mainly by mild secrecy, gloom and pathos.

At the end it seems safe to say that a rather eventful, integral series of statements you hear and witness with thy magnificent ears. Jean Michel Jarre once again proved to be a significant factor in the musical game, erasing the memory of a period in which he had considerable problem to produce evident quality. With The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre you can't possibyl go entirely wrong, though your best option is to spot your own personal favorites for time to time and listen to them as stand-alone selections surrounded by neighboring musics of different origins.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cloverfield 3 - The Reckoning

Fear Constructed - > Served - > Consumed

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City, Monster, Terror, Popcorn. Fear Constructed - > Served - > Consumed. Sure, I admit I was going for a media hack attempt when chose the title of this Cloverfield review. After all, it might be interesting to read about the third Cloverfield installment when there is just one episode out and a second one hangs in preproduction state. It seems we have to wait for a while indeed, as the very next scheduled monster of the series is due to arrive in 2009 via J.J. Abrahm's enigmatically titled Untitled J. J. Abrahm's Cloverfield Sequel.

SERIES? Now what could give me THAT particular idea? No one ever said that Cloverfield will be a series - so today seems proper of a time to form and voice this curious suspicion. I think it WILL be a series, even better/worse: will be a highly successful one. From a profit point of view, nevertheless. As far as the cultural impact carried and delivered by Cloverfield goes though, I am pretty sure it already told all about itself that was worth telling via the narrative decisions it currently and steadily (SIC!) relies on.

I truly don't like accounting films via naming their inspirators, yet now those are so important and evident that I decided to form an exception to solidify a rule. Mix The Blair Witch Project and the Godzilla myths, add a bunch of everyday average normal guys armed with some everyday average normal camera, then sit back and behold Cloverfield revealing itself as highly calculable of an output as a person with prior knowledge about the inspirators would anticipate it to end up as. I found this installment not a tad better or a tad worse than I expected it to be - though there were no surprises for the onion, let us soak into the mathematically constructed excitement via Godzilla's now-absolutely humorless canvas debut.

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Cloverfield is a quite cunning, legit recipe actually as far as commercial coherence goes, yet even this promising consortium of the Godzilla genre with fakeumentary appeals - hick! - is compromised massively by the sickness all similar movies have exhibited to this day. If you have a fictional monster to tear a city apart and a camera just to backup epic memories, then fun is imminent - yet I have a mild suspicion that the creators of Cloverfield had absolutely no clue about how to fill in 69 minutes with the Monster Mayhem and keep you interested all the while.

A harsh statement? Of course. Now let's inspect why these fakeumentary installments - except for the Prime Fakeumentray Originator The Blair Witch Project - suck like: baaaad.

The focal element a handycam narrative usually relies on is: instability. Instability and constant panic, as the constant panic is the primal element to summon and solidify instability - < - notice the nice noise here - itself, no? Notice also how these panic-based fakeumentaries tend to massively rely on modal chaos and uncertainty to claim - I would say: crave, rather - meritorious appeals. Almost nothing beyond panic was presented in narrative fakeumentaries, yet makers of Cloverfield probably thought that panic was shown already, indeed - but not quite enough of it, and not for long enough, either.

The effort possesses quite a limited tool set in my opinion, in which you can find narrative components to rely either on:

1. Panic

2. Terror

3. Both

Surely all this sounds as a narrative buildup with potential, but trust me: once panic is endless, then panic is pointless. Confirmation: what reason do I have to maintain my panic when I am steadily having it since HOURS?
A panic you have since hours is not a panic, and a panic shown for loooong long doses of 10-minute blocks just to be occasionally interrupted by blatantly bland word trades gets surprisingly boring. This is why it seems so easy to catch panic-related fakeumentary efforts red handed, Cloverfield is a precious archetype for this symptom. Panic, Panic, Panic. Omigod, Omigod, Omigod.

The attraction itself tries to convince you of it's own blatant power via this here concept I shall elaborate on cheerfully: the handycam tells you that you are PRESENT, INVOLVED and AFFECTED - yet intensity usually teams up with a not quite appealing clumsiness factor, a phenomena which you might even consider as an intentional, a necessary design decision. In some other reality though, these clumsinesses are the negative aspects of fakeumentaries: constant panic shown in a constantly instable manner quickly boils down to deliver a generally average excitement level at best, then, from that point on: you slowly yet surely will start to lose interest, trust me. The most significant problem with Cloverfield is that it does not add anything at all to itself when not involving you in the chaos and rampant fear it focally attempts to reveal and capture. Let me tell you this: I am more afraid of the protagonists than of the monsters.

By the casual peace periods you see these bunch of everyday average normal guys taking their oh! so trivial breaths, mind you, now these are highly traumatized everyday average normal guys. Their words represent as much significance or legit narrative input as - sorry 'bout that - a fart in the elevator. Narrative sections The Blair Witch Project fills in by quality fear and exquisite tension gets shamefully wasted or not even touched upon by Cloverfield. This is a Bah!, even a BAH!

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Remember the horrible Spanish fakeumentray [REC], a gruesome, blaming index finger to molest the mighty nose of the zombie genre - in my opinion, you simply fail to maintain stable interest towards those shouting people. In this here movie Cloverfield - the general output seems and feels very similar. For the majority of the program time you see frightened masses of people having no idea what is going on, also, your view is necessarily constrained to THEIR point of view. All this consorts with a nice tone of narrative rawness in the earlier sections, yet the creators probably considered the method so powerful on it's own merits that they make no noticeable effort to offer even a vague versatility of some kind which would reign beyond panic.

Narrative constraints are becoming slight or more profound hindrances while these constraints were supposed to be the focal attractions here. Surely, these aspects do not necessarily form a problem group - especially not if you have more stuff to show than constant panic. Make no mistake though: Cloverfield shows nothing but constant panic. There is a quite sorrowful aspect of this depicted phenomena, unfortunately. It becomes very hard, and frankly, extremely tiresome to relate to after a while. And "after a while" usually equals half an hour flat, at best.

Flashy, blurry images for half a minute that you can't make a crap out of, then:

They go like: "OMIGOD!"

You go like: "OMIGOD!"

Flashy, blurry images for 2 minutes that you can't make a crap out of, then:

They go like: "OMIGOD!"

You go like: "Yeah! OMIGOD!"

Flashy, blurry images for 5 minutes that you can't make a crap out of, then:

They go like: "Vhoooooonnnooo! OMIGOD!"

You go like: "Yeah."

Flashy, blurry images for 2 minutes that you can't make a crap out of, then:

They go like: "Aaaaaaah! Vhaaaaaa! OMIGOD!"

You go like: "...zZzZz...zZzZz....zZzZz..."

Cloverfield indeed relies on massively blurred and uncertain images to present the peek moments, the intersecting sequences are governed by the quite tiresome acting delivery of the little party you forced to be a participant of. The movie starts out with a similarly tiresome, somewhat supertasteless and colorless birthday party, a scene you are to watch for 20 minutes of All Eternity, prior to the monster's

Highly Welcomed Arrival

All this should converge our attention to the mere fact that even the creators of the movie considered their ideas to sell out totally and completely in 50 minutes flat. You will get 'nuff of handycam terror and monster(s!) from that 50 minutes, have no doubt about that. Cloverfield has some nice scares and scenes in it, a couple of moments to stand out from the fluctuant, chaotic fabric to massively characterize the final output. As of today, we surely should not anticipate anything different or anything more from the upcoming Cloverfield installments than monsters to traumatize a whole city, yet fortunately the first episode delivers so much of these attraction that developments are immensely needed and hopefully will be delivered via the follow-up(s).

In the meantime, point a camera to a Foul Sky and sing a One Note Song of Fear.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Mist

Is There Anybody - Out There?

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Stephen King's short story The Mist was first published in 1980, now having a slightly edited version from 1985 and a recent novel form specifically tailored to accompany this here motion picture adaptation by director Frank Darabont. According to King, he came up with this story inspired by real life events when dense fog settled on the city he and his family was living in, following an intense storm that rampaged over the region the night before. By the time he and his son were waiting in line to pay for the groceries in the local supermarket, he could see how nice of a show monsters could put up if to surround the building and be concealed by the thick fog, stopping everyone from leaving the site. Question arises: whom are to pose as a more significant danger? Monsters outside? Or maybe there is a pretty-much-monster standing beside you, wearing though the face of a human, ready to judge you and pass that -

proper sentence

Smooth, legit questions and components to construct strong horror of sterilized entertainment value on. This welcomed collaboration of Darabont and King brings you the classic lockdown situation, spicing up a stable base assumption with cunning microcommunity drama and a solidly presented monster threat. Funny thing is: you could certainly interpret these elements via a certain layout THEN turn it around, as the monsters outside are probably having their own microcommunity drama too, while the spiritual dead ends and profane ignorance people are forced through and pushed to in the supermarket by the monster inside are certainly as grim as the monsters outside. Even grimmer, baby. Even grimmer.

Supermarkets are classic places to stuck in since Dawn of the Dead, an elementary zombie statement from 1978 that many consider a ruthless social commentary, regardless of how director George A. Romero voiced that he did not have such aspirations, though has nothing against if and when someone interprets his work on this register. Indeed, it is comfy to inspect these stuck-in-mall statements through a lens of surficial consumerism. There are different ways to do this, let me offer a certain angle to look at that.

When a zombie/monster militia forces people to establish a safe (?) haven in a supermarket, then suddenly all participants- zombies and humans - are zombies. How come? Surely, the undeads are undeads already, but the humans to stuck inside are effective prisoners both of the supermarket and of the goods it houses. Their stable, immense dependency on the products to maintain a survival factor poses an elegant implication about the essential similarity between human and zombie. Both factions are to survive. For the zombie, the human is the product - the leftover? - to devour, while consuming flesh is the primal agenda. On the other hand, human is similarly constrained to consume the products inside to maintain her/his functionality, thus the inescapable conclusion of being hopelessly dependent and attached to consumption unravels as sour unity between human and zombie. Funny, yes?

Welcomely enough though, King draws this parallel utilizing monsters, while the elements to form a nice extra confrontation on are of humane origins, thus conflicts are imminent to rise even between human characters, let alone the evident treat the creatures outside represent. The monsters have no other function or interest than exhibiting constant terror, and they do that via ruthless, much welcomed efficiency. These creatures are not slow, are not constrained to consume humans, they neither are of this Earth. A multiform of vivid, alien existence, having absolutely no relation to human as the mere concept of relation is probably insignificant/nonexistent to them. They are a breed similar to the Zerg species from the Starcraft video game, and their most frightful aspect a human can encounter with is the fact how blatantly different and lethal they are compared to our specie. Human might be the more sophisticated on the intellectual basis. What this benefit is capable to give him? It gives him the ability to recognize the profane threat the monster represents.

It gives him the ability to fear.

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- Can't see a damn THING!
- Oh, they have that in the Rental section.

Darabont summons this atmosphere steadily, creating a vibe in the air where people in the mall must realize that the threats ancient fears were whispering about just claimed factual reality to them. Fortunately enough, King recognizes that the only way to develop the story further on is by accounting how different human personalities are reacting to Fear Unleashed, and surely, he had the cunningness to offer you a monster right beside you, a monster even more dangerous than the breed of species outside.

Meet Mrs. Carmody, masterfully personified by Marcia Gay Harden. Possessor of a radically stable belief system composed of the firmest and darkest convictions about

The Vengeful God,

this woman recognizes humans as - well, it would be not correct to compare humans to micro existences like bacteria, as Mrs. Carmody would certainly state that bacterias are better than humans as they did not commit such blatant sins against the Almighty as us, obscene infidels. For Mrs. Carmody, there are two types of human: the one who have sinned, and the one who have sinned on numerous occasions. She passes judgment on all she encounters like you pass greetings when meeting friends, while the name of the true problem here is that her convictions are rampant enough to utilize consensus fear to form sorrowfully fluent channels that her senseless, dangerous broadcast can travel contagiously on. It is amazing indeed, how existentially - in the physical/spiritual sense - traumatized people are willing to accept an evidently false interpretation of something they can not comprehend IF and WHEN this circumstance to threat them has all chances to eradicate them. The false conviction of having some understanding, some proper relation about/to the nature of the monsters is needed to maintain the sanity that otherwise would be certainly lost. Thus man has no further interest about keeping an autonomy that just have failed and left him clueless, not even if his conviction is evidently false. A conviction he needs, a conviction to comfortably relate to, it's quality is no longer of primal importance. Not when the entities man must sew his convictions for are so alien, so lethal and so mighty.

From that point, Mrs. Carmody's Kingdom is free to claim by the Judgmental Mistress. Nothing, absolutely nothing is way too expensive if someone claims to be aware of the solution, just make the fear stop, just make it nonexistent.

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The Mist is a monster movie indeed, though there are no monsters in it, just one: Mrs.Carmody. The species outside are probably having their confused roam-around in the mist, probably possessing no recollection of how they ended up here, though King will account on that in a brief, yet satisfactory fashion. The species are components to firstly outline, then to essentially substantialize fear among the mall people, the fear Mrs. Carmody is able to forge her crown of, and that, she does to the point where other protagonists are lethally endangered by her massively deranged way of thinking, a supernegative vibe to claim and greet allies among the spiritually weak. We shall even say: spiritually semi-blind.

Notice: all this could be a very cool theater play, even without the monsters shown. One could invent her/his own, no? Fear not, or do just that though, as in The Mist, Darabont does show you the monsters, and I must say the creative team did quite nice of a job on them. The species are exhibiting intellect and rampant aggressivity, also you will have the chance to witness a whole series of variants on them. Small, medium, large, extra large, You Gotta Be Kidding Me-sizes are all included and nicely accounted on via visual and narrative registers. I particularly liked the first occasion we are to witness a representative of the breed via a probably quite big monster with tentacles. I found this creature to be very well researched and well presented with it's multifunctional limbs, an asset it could reach distant, even tiny places with and attack anything at those places via the vicious fangs it possesses all through the tentacles. The brief sketch where the monster proudly shows off his tentacle fangs is a definite OMG! for me. A vivid, intelligent, rampant, organically legit creature you witness. What more could we anticipate from a decent monster flick? Oh yes, we could anticipate more of vivid, intelligent, rampant, organically legit creatures, I think. The fact that The Mist comes up with such creatures - because it does, you will have nice surprises - is a rather fortunate circumstance to encounter, also a design language of seriousness that I'd like to remain to fuel further monster movies.

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SOME hitch-hikers ARE persistent!

The Mist delivers a stable actor palette with but occasional glimpses at sorrowful verges of overacting primarily on Thomas Jane's part who gives you the focal character to narrate the story. I particularly disliked the constantly reoccurring scenes to depict Thomas Jane hugging his little boy, assuring him how much he loves him and how OK everything will be and bluhbluhbluhbluh. Laurie Holden gives you a stable supportive role as female sidekick, while Toby Jones as Ollie, an employee at the mall offers a very authentic, likeable rendition of your everyday, friendly, "normal-little-guy". Jim Grondin is of special note, as well. The hardened, proud overall worker is among the starters to fall in for and support Mrs.Carmody's judgmentmania, giving you a nicely outlined inner breakdown taking place in this fluently working archetype character.

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- Yegoddaaaaaatrite, missssstressssss.

The Mist has a different ending to it than the written original. While many consider it a "wrong" conclusion, I must say I liked it very much, and felt that way through the unbearable emotional state the protagonist ends up in. This is a highly effective twist to wrap this story up with. That very final scene-buildup with the small party of protagonists driving into the mist AND the final conclusion they arrive at do embed a massively strong final touch into the narrative structure in my opinion. A much more significant final touch than the one you would end up with via a mist to vanish. The mist DOES vanish in the end, by the way. What you see to remain right beside you is not necessarily a scenery to please you immensely though.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Eye

Lack of Horror - In The Eye
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It took not one, but two (!) directors and the feature presentation of nice specie Jessica Alba to deliver you the American variant of The Eye, A.K.A. Yet Another Tiresome Hollywood Remake of a Successful Asian Horror. The source is of Chinese origins this time around, and hit the market in 2002 by the title Gin gwai. Oriental frights are a treasury the dream factory seems quite keen to purchase horrific ideas from these days, doing whatever they want with the "payed-for" mental inventions that drive the eastern originators. As of today, these Hollywood workshops do little more than exploiting their hosts in an abrupt manner, depriving the Oriental Snake of it's nice, vicious venom teeth, seemingly having no clue that the most frightful circumstance concerning venom teeth is when they are STILL part of an operable serpent which is about to leash out.

Though revealing, interpreting these particular horror ideas via a different narrative culture language should pose as focal aspiration for these efforts, they still tend to exhibit an urge to sell out the bought thought as soon as possible, with but the least demanding modal resources realized to support, to fuel the key elements. The Eye is a perfect example: this movie may have bought it's soul from an Asian flick, but it makes one hell of a bad decision being so proud of it.

All is not too bad though as Jessica Alba gives an acceptable, steady performance in The Eye, no doubt. She personifies a blind young woman who lost her eyesight when she was five years old. She undergoes an eye transplant and regains her ability to see. Let us take a deep breath and ask cautiously: is this development surely for the better though? Naaah. You know it is not. Alba's character starts to hear, and eventually: see things. Shadows. Whispers. Groans. Then suddenly: Shadows! Whispers! Groans! When her new organs are to adept perfectly she can even see frightfully real beings whom others can not. The Eye's focal premise unravels in the early period of the buildup, giving you the recognition that the girl can see both the realm of the dead, yet even possesses an ability to visually inform her about imminent future events to take place, though all of these precognitions seem to concern grave dangers or inevitable deaths due to most unfortunate accidents.

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- Ghosty! You're NOT leaking in there, right??

Interestingly, The Eye commits the biggest mistake by trying to widen it's field of operation. The original film recognized the meritorious presentation value of an inner, personal horror only the protagonist could relate to, as she had no doubt that everyone would consider her psyhotic if to tell about her perceptions. This gave the originator a nice extra appeal, a sensation of bitter conviction that the girl has to deal with this all on her own. Not Alba, of course: she breaks down hastily and spends a massive chunk of the buildup denying/accepting the inputs she experiences, telling all about them for her doctor, some very mediocre actor whom name I am not in the mood to dig up, sorry. Giving these fears away to consensus reality is the act The Eye commits narrative suicide by, yet presents you a nice testament how clueless a movie ends up as when it devours most of it's interesting horror charms voluntarily.

Amazingly enough, her doctor considers her as a basket case for a while - then Alba comes under a strong impression that she sees what the previous, original possessor of the eyes were seeing, and, in fact: sees still through these perfectly operable eyes. One must admit this realization process is quite nicely presented, as Alba sees a totally different person - the eye's proprietor - when she stares into the mirror. Suffice it to say that they team up to unravel the original possessor of the eyes, and they arrive to places permanently hunted by the unpleasant vibe of Latin American supernatural, even better: you will have a chance to see how thing were going to Rachel Ticotin during the previous 18 years, as 1990 was the latest occasion I seen her perform by as Arnold's female sidekick/rebel in Total Recall. My following sentence will be a superlow blow, yet I can not resist to record it. Looks like Ticotin had some Nicotine.

The Eye heavily relies on "boo-scares" of course, now the massive problem with this kind of effect creation these days is that you can smell them in the air prior they leash out at you. One can master a totally working method to resist pretty much all boo scares except the very good ones, I guess we should say: the ones we are looking for. The method to resist boo scares itself is easy. Pretend you are a phobiac. Let me elaborate. Everyone can fear when danger seems to be evident or imminent, the mind reacts to these signals by tuning your awareness receptors to a more intense domain of operation, a domain you are less likely to encounter unpleasant surprises on, as you are anticipating them already. A phobiac anticipates them all the time, must be pretty tough, no? Try it and see for yourself how superbly this method works: whenever you smell a boo-scare in the air - and you sorrowfully will, this is the first and biggest problem with recent boo-scares - anticipate them to kick in continuously. When they kick in, you will laugh your ass off of them instead of being scared. This is not good, not good. Boo-scares need definite development.

Definite development like The Eye could come up with. Main reason the onion chose to offer a review of this flick is a boo-scare, as there IS one particular scene that I found extremely powerful in this movie. I will not give that away, but will give you a hint: the "I told you I was gonna do it" scene with the strange male in female clothing in it is supercool. This particular boo-scare works masterfully, as it's structure allows your terror-registers to calm down, and attacks you by the time you truly not anticipate anything. That scene is a killer.

Ultimately The Eye is not an unwatchable piece of cloneware, though weights in amazingly shallow as a motion picture presentation. This remake would be a somewhat stable effort when searched and found at a DVD Rental's "B-films to Video Market" section, but definitely not a flick you end up satisfied with and convinced by in a theater environment.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Appleseed Saga - Ex Machina

Gem from Japan

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Director Shinji Aramaki made a significant statement in 2004 via a remake of Appleseed, a direct-to-video anime classic from 1988. The fresh variant presented traditional anime design choices with high-end computer graphics unleashed on the buildup, the first occasion we could witness excessively detailed 2D anime vision claiming and successfully conquering a grateful third dimension.

Appleseed is quite massive of a saga already, as a series of thick graphic novels are accounting the events to take place in Olympos, the utopian city that gravitates this future vision. The tale has it's trademark characters and assumptions, while these new generation animes by Aramaki do sew independent narratives one could intake and enjoy immediately without prior knowledge about this fictional anime universe. The second CG installment is meaner, rawer, and bites tighter than it's predecessor: having the world and it's highly usual melodramatic philosophical issues precisely accounted on via the prior episode, now Olympos and the main characters are to face not just questions, but a blatant threat to endanger the integrity of the utopia.

The Appleseed universe depicts the grimmest future conceivable, in which humanity permanently damaged and desolated almost the entire Planet via generations of warfare, yet managed to establish it's last sanctuary in the form of Olympos, a high-tech bubblecity to feed and live through on and by a rather classic cyber ideal. The reason Olympos is capable to maintain it's functionality is Gaia, a supercomputer which's calculations and recommendations are closely monitored and usually accepted by the brightest elders of the community, though the focal points Gaia is able to rely on are the bioroids, the new species the Appleseed universe introduces.

Bioroids are very reminiscent of humans, yet they are incapable to feel emotions. Wow, how morally intriguing, yes? Some Japanese creators tend to pass quite simplistic, half-dimensional moral judgment on humanity, as all this conclusion to fuel Appleseed of how mankind would be better off without it's emotions does seem more of an effect craver than a truly meritorious fictional input, nevertheless the prior episode could deliver a stupendous eye-candy marathon with but a tolerable amount of a blaming index finger in your face to it. Fortunately though, Ex Machina puts emphasis on totally different aspects, and handles bioroids at their "proper place": transfers them to the supportive department to enrich the narrative, and it does enrich it via cunning possibilities, indeed.

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The trademark Appleseed characters are Deunan and Briareos. Beauty and the Beast, though they love each other as brother and sister from the very start. Better yet: you are free to develop your impression that there were times when they maintained even a massively intimate relationship during the endless foams of war, yet, unfortunately: handsome Briareos's ass got like - fried badly during a firefight, - he was saving Deunan if I recall correctly, though if he was not, then this is a definite mistake from the author - and the only way to save him was to install his remaining body assets - absolutely intact psyche included - to a top-level, permanent combat suit, making an actual cyborg of the protagonist. Now Briareos is in a state where feelings of intimate love are very circumstantial to live through for their fullest extents, so Deunan and him are forced to keep their relation as a friendship scheduled for all the times they take part in consensus reality. In the afterlife though - who knows what is to unravel, if an afterlife you would be OK with at all?

As we were hinting at, Ex Machina generally speaks in a more raw and more fluent narrative language, and fortunately lost all intentions whatsoever to entertain you with exquisitely strait moral directives - it is instead recognizes how stable a fictional universe it has at it's disposal to present a clever story in. Yet, even the bioroid aspect is smartly utilized during the story, as Deunan has to face quite a massive bioroid-issue in the buildup. Let us see into this.

Ex Machina develops the fiction in a sane way by informing you briefly that bioroid responsibilities are scheduled to unravel on an even wider scale, thus mass production of elite superforces made up from emotionless biorods could commence to ensure Olympos's defense. Deunan, a peacekeeper herself, is assigned to team up with a prototype bioroid, so she could inform the government if she found the soldier ready to be cloned. The narrative goes for an intriguing turn, as the best soldier the Appleseed universe ever saw was:

You guessed that correctly. It was, and, in fact, still is: Briareos. The bioroid constructed from Briareos's DNA though naturally lacks the damage the originator suffered, thus this artificial creation stands there in full 3D flesh and bone glory, looking 100% as the "yet-human" Briareos, informing Deunan that he is ready to follow directives. Cool design, yes?

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- YOU stay the HELL away from me, you hear!
- You got yourself a DEAL.

Times are scarce to face ensuing inner dilemmas, yet by the moments Ex Machina submits to inspect these aspects, it does a super job, and, more importantly: does not OVERDO it. These are the periods in which you have an immense chance to feel for Deunan as her reaction to this wicked situation is totally human and totally disciplined, also a very believable it is.

Crysis hits in out of nowhere: electronic military forces and even human military personnel go insane for short periods of time, causing both casualties and excessive damage in public property. These events are taking place by the time the countries of Olympos are negotiating about the possibilities of the installation of a shared satellite system to monitor the Planet mutually, thus ensuring peace and harmony. And you got that: immense privacy, too.

The Prime Minister of Olympos is a masterful anime character, this female radiates sane, authoritative dignity only her sober decisions and beauty could reach up to, also, the somewhat-sly yet simultaneously extremely strict and honest character of a Poseidon Representative - Poseidon is a huge conglomerate to manufacture military hardware, they would be very happy to produce satellites for some benefits not necessarily of paper origins- is a superbly realized figure, as well. Similarly female, similarly beautiful and well-operated, though in a much more secretive, dare we say: sinister way. All in all, the characters have definite, legit personas, content and agendas to them, a figure palette you are quite ready to watch a nice story unfold through.

Following pleasant anime traditions, you won't leave the Appleseed universe without a terrible secret unraveled, even better: the archenemy of this particular buildup has a very logical, though surely very radical aspirationfoam to fulfill in the name of a transhumanistic ideal. He is a very dangerous character as he possesses a belief system no one could hope to modify, and has the tools at his disposal to realize his ideal of mutual existence. Or, more precisely: "just" existence. Via it's archenemy, Ex Machina offers you a quite legitly presented character who assumes he could be able to invent a much better universe than it's originator, and even has powerful statements and powerful instruments to backup his demands, mind you I though: his words are immensely dangerous only if you ever fall in for them, but they possess weight and posses a massive amount of it, nevertheless. Enough weight to force you to object against his claims via your own defendable prospects. See if you can come up with one.

So, heed his words, and express your own personal answer of why the archenemy stuck in the darkest corners without a flashlight in hand. In case there are not many of us remain to come up with an answer, then his idea could be realized, and probably will be. If you do have an answer, then the mere consensus of finding and possessing one connects us nicely and cleanly all the time, and we certainly should anticipate some more sophisticated forces to form us further later on, by any means they see it fit and useful.

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Let me wrap this review of Ex Machina up by assuring you that you won't leave without a good old Boss Fight, either - Shinji Aramaki and his immensely masterful team deliver possibly the most fluent feature film anime to date, one that is superfresh and reigns free both of misplaced melodrama and of the bitter taste in the mouth. Via Ex Machina the Applesseed universe finally accepted itself for what it is, and grew twice as powerful throughout this much welcomed recognition. No matter if you are an anime geek or a huuuge, huge anime geek: missing this one out is a waste of state of the art eye-candy with a very strong story to legitimize a blatantly powerful, superintact presentation foam.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Immortel (ad vitam)

Horus Underrated

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There are Rated, Overrated and Underrated. French creator Enki Bilal's effort falls into this sorrowful category according to the onion's considerations, as this here 2004 sci-fi installment declares it's agenda in a crystal clear fashion and manages to live up to all the cautious expectations you would associate to a rather fluent high-tech fairytale. Based on Bilal's various comic strip series, Immortel depicts a 2095 New York and unleashes ancient Gods - now definite oximoron there - on a blue-gray sky. The entire movie is blue-gray, and feels rather good about it. My suspicion would be that the world population already was longing for The Revenge of the Sith when Immortel had it's theatrical release, a timing not too fortunately chosen from a marketing point of view. It is very easy now to forget about this solid flick, though you miss out on a highly defendable eye-candy effort if you were to do that. So, I urge you herein: do that not, and let us instead stare into the Eyes of Horus - regardless how this Egyptian God wears his optical organs on the side of his magnificent head. Worry not though, as his English is perfect, and he is in a talkative mood today.

Immortel delivers a sci-fi atmosphere quite similar at it's core to the visual output of another flick of French origins, the Fifth Element, though Bilal's work utilizes sane ideas to spice up elements - sic! - you already had chance to witness. This future New York also is very reminiscent of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, you know, the first major sci-fi movie, the one you can earn a living writing about. Sane ideas are of key importance if to give stable narrative purposes for an atmosphere blending components of Metropolis and Fifth Element in a rather pleasant, though somewhat shy manner. One of these particular ideas, Bilal is stupendously pride of. Or, it is more likely that he is simply constrained to it due to practical considerations. Let us elaborate.

The idea itself would be the huge, complex wire system in the air, forming a traffic route above the city that hover vehicles are able to use. In a while you can't help but notice that Bilal accounts the city primarily in the air to show off semi-static background architecture and vehicles to hover by, (uhm, it is like the vehicles are hovering by, though Immortel features a building to fly, as we will see) so it is rather fortunate that the vision is strong enough to maintain the appreciation even towards a semi-static nature of city strolls. Postcards?

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To further and finally describe the environment palette Immortel delivers and takes place in, let us say you will have plenty of well thought minor interiors to support the postcard appeal, these inner portions do render a clever mix of supercautious Star Wars and modern architectural charms. The element to start things moving comes from the Sky, as one particular day some crazy-ass Pyramid invades clueless air molecules above cloud level, and we are quickly subjected to the graphic presentation of the quite significant inner events the monument conceals. Perhaps we should say computer graphical presentation instead.

Immortel gives you the rendition of three Egyptian Gods: Bast, Anubis and Horus. Of these three superbeings, Horus is the one the story will largely elaborate and sew itself upon, thus now it is a splendid time to account a brief synopsis on Immortel's narrative assumptions.

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- Hey Horus, what up!
- What up!

It is not known to humanity what purpose drives Egyptian God Horus to return to Planet Earth, neither will I tell you that, as the God's agenda is to unravel only by the mid section yet serves as focal driving factor for the entire movie. One thing is certain though: he needs a human host to contain his God-Spirit as Horus's True Form would be quite enough to shock people tremendously. He quickly teams up - not as the teammate would have any choice - with an ex-convict by the name Nikopol, personified by Thomas Kretschmann. That way Horus can command and inhabit Nikopol's body, though the God is generous enough to offer some leftover of an autonomy for the human male protagonist.

Immortel uses the classic approach of intersecting two different perspectives at a certain time to establish a negotiation, thus comes your second storyline concerning a mutant by the name of Jill. She is given you by Linda Hardy, Miss France 1992. Her mutant character is highly original. Sheds blue tears that remain on skin like paint for good, can read minds like books and has a very unorthodox inner anatomy as far as the layout of her organs. She, her very being is the top-notch issue to conduct inspections on for the local scientific interests, a supportive aspect rendered mainly by Charlotte Rampling and a CG character, both are giving you researchers. It is good that Rampling got a sidekick to support her half-dimensional performance, as her current abilities as an actress are harshly limited, and seem to maximize out via the tiresome exhibition of the silly, "oh-I-know-too-much" smile you will spend watching when she is to claim her extremely boring canvas presence.

Rampling's character is deeply interested in Jill's nature as a specie, yet events are starting to take solid narrative turns when it becomes evident that Horus himself has his own plan arranged concerning the mutant. While Horus's character easily could be regarded as one of the strongest components Immortel delivers due to the God's excellent voice acting/general temper and his interesting physical buildup, other organic CG creatures of the movie did not have a pleasant time since their canvas debuts: animation is a little clumsy, the characters do possess that rubbery feel to them, the one you could see in video game intro sequences years back from today. Now those intro sequences surpass the quality of CG appeal Immortel is capable to entertain you with.

Though, interestingly enough, all this does not take away much from the good old fun, as Bilal seems to be aware how the CG characters are above-average at best, yet the director exhibits no evident intention to blend them desperately into/beside real life environments or real life persons. So one could certainly say that CG is superevident this time around, but the acknowledgement of the matter and the degree of willingness Immortel is ready to rely on them nevertheless eventually weights in as a funny trait of funny merit, opposed to source of unpleasant shock.

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- Got a smoke?
- Uhm - left it inside.

Real life acting is stable without any grim moments save Rampling's ever-present, vacuous smilearounds, while the story unfolds into a nice, solid fairy tale conclusion to enrich narrative buildups keen to maintain a massively strong relation for curious ideas such as faith and pizza with triple cheese. Immortel certainly deserves credit and a refined attention for creating a world which's workings are pleasant and fun to watch, even better: Bilal had no problem offering you a time without shallow periods to compromise it. If you like easy, risk-free science fiction tales highly compatible with a bucket of popcorn and eyes eager to watch well researched, stable sci-fi environments, then this one is for you. If you don't, then you surely have had a rough time reaching this particular point in this here review. In that case, I feel for you. And so does the Horus Thing, too.

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