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OVERDRIVE (2017) - REVIEW

Overdrive (2017)


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Two car thief brothers, who journey to the south of France for new opportunities, wind up in the cross hairs of the local crime boss.

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The story centers on two car thieves, brothers, who journey to the south of France for new opportunities and wind up in the cross hairs of the local crime boss. Andrew and Garrett Foster (Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp) are thieves who specialize in luxury cars, only the most expensive cars. They've been hired to steal a gorgeous Bugatti 1937 valued million euros, so they head to the south of France for the job. But they get caught, and Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian), the local crime boss who owns the Bugatti, doesn't take it lightly. In exchange for their lives the two brothers will have to steal a car from Max Klemp (Clemens Schick), Morier's arch-rival, and not any car, Morier wants them to steal Klemp's 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, his most prized car.

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28 June 2017 (Philippines) 

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Bas Gaza 

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The phenomenal success of the Fast and the Furious series has inevitably spawned a spate of rubber-burning copycats, from the deluxe nerd porn of Edgar Wright’s wildly overpraised Baby Diver to more nakedly obvious cash-ins like this glossy French heist thriller. Parallels with the multibillion-dollar car-chase franchise are more than cosmetic. Overdrive’s American screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas scored their first hit with 2 Fast 2 Furious, while leading man Scott Eastwood had a minor role in the most recent blockbuster installment, The Fate of the Furious

Colombian helmer Antonio Negret is mostly known for his TV work, but producer Pierre Morel is the key name here. A graduate of the Luc Besson school of French-set, English-language action thrillers, Morel directed Liam Neeson in the first Taken movie back in 2008. Currently in U.K. theaters ahead of its French debut later this week, Overdrive is receiving a staggered European and Asian release before its U.S. launch. This kind of rollout is usually reserved for dead-in-the-water duds, but it worked for Taken and may yet help turbocharge the commercial prospects of this formulaic adolescent-male button-pusher, which is witless and brainless but not entirely joyless.

Eastwood and his vapid pretty-boy Brit co-star Freddie Thorp play transatlantic half-brothers who finance their international playboy lifestyle by stealing high-end classic sports cars for shady clients. Their current base of operations is the sun-drenched French port city of Marseille, where they make the grave error of hijacking a 1937 Bugatti Type 57 that has just sold at action for $41 million to a notorious local crime boss, Morier (Simon Abkarian). To avoid lethal punishment, the brothers rashly promise to purloin a priceless 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO from Morier’s even more brutal German rival Klemp (Clemens Schick). With French cops shadowing every move by both the thieves and mobsters, what could possibly go wrong?
Overdrive comes with all the standard features for this kind of cheerfully inane auto-erotic escapade. The twist-heavy plot is totally preposterous and the trite dialogue could have been written by a computer algorithm, but the breakneck car chases are staged with kinetic efficiency, making excellent use of the dramatic gorges and mountain roads north of Marseille. The two stars are blandly attractive eye candy, the villains cartoonish ogres with fortress-like villas and the female leads supermodel-pretty male-fantasy figures with implausibly geeky interests in cars and gadgets. Mechanic Pixie Dream Girls, in short.
That said, Cuban-born Ana de Armas (soon to be seen in Blade Runner 2049) radiates more kick-ass charisma than her thankless sidekick role might suggest. And Eastwood’s increasing resemblance to his superstar father lends a kind of eerie second-hand cool to his sardonic squint and unruffled manner, adding a vague approximation of depth to a resolutely shallow screenplay, just as Clint himself brought a touch of class to his own mid-career Eurotrash vehicles like Kelly’s Heroes or The Eiger Sanction. Fans of vintage Ferraris, Porsches, Bugattis, BMWs and more will also find plenty of buff bodywork to drool over here, since the film’s four-wheeled stars are lit and shot with more devotional attention to detail than even the most demanding Hollywood diva.

Untaxing as drama, thin as entertainment, but modestly enjoyable as a revved-up caper movie, Overdrive is pure escapist fluff with a light French accent. Which still makes it smarter, leaner and cooler than any of the Fast and the Furious films it shamelessly mimics.
  

5.5/10 genre

4/10 overall


Thanks for reading and have fun watching movies.

GEMINI (2017) - REVIEW

Gemini (2017)



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A heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant and her Hollywood starlet boss. As the assistant unravels the mystery, she must confront her own understanding of friendship, truth, and celebrity.

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12 March 2017 (USA)  »

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Playing the personal assistant to Zoe Kravitz as an impulsive Hollywood star, Lola Kirke becomes both suspect and investigator following a violent crime in Aaron Katz's Los Angeles-set neo-noir.
The flipped opening images of palm trees against an indigo night sky signal from the start that the Hollywood canvas of Aaron Katz's compelling mystery, Gemini, will be a disorienting jungle, not a La La Land of glittering dreams. The architecture and geography of Los Angeles are intriguing characters in this densely atmospheric neo-noir, which channels a seductive female gaze to consider questions of identity, celebrity and intimate relationships. While the payoff could have used some extra punch, the teasing path that leads there is bewitching, with Lola Kirke serving as an enigmatic guide.

Continuing something of a mini-trend started by Olivier Assayas in Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper, Gemini explores the ambiguities of the dynamic between female star and assistant, in this case blurring the lines separating professional service from co-dependent friendship, duty from devotion. As such, it represents a moody fusion of genre strands with a probing study of women's relationships, which should help draw a female audience to streaming platforms and perhaps some limited theatrical play.

Giving off a sleepy-eyed but smart vibe that recalls Chloe Sevigny at her best, Kirke plays Jill, whose skills with organization, mediation, damage control and conflict resolution are being put to the test by the impulsive behavior of her boss, Heather Anderson (Zoe Kravitz), a Hollywood starlet seeking a spell from the exhausting spotlight and the all-seeing eye of social media.
As the movie opens, Heather has bailed on boyfriend Devin (Reeve Carney), another celebrity tabloid fixture, in whose swanky Moroccan-style villa she's living, and is deep into a secret relationship with slinky female model Tracy (Greta Lee). Sending Jill to do her dirty work, Heather at the eleventh hour drops out of a feature commitment, making writer-director Greg (Nelson Franklin) insane and her agent Jamie (Michelle Forbes) furious. She's even refusing to do reshoots on a previous project. There's no shortage of pissed off people openly wishing they could kill the elusive Heather.

Meanwhile, Heather does her best to shut out the drama, hiding behind the shield of her mellow best-girlfriend rapport with Jill, who has her own ambitions to move up in the industry, possibly developing projects with her boss. Heather's need to shrug off responsibility may partly explain why she's so willing to indulge the attentions of look-alike superfan Sierra (Jessica Parker Kennedy), a borderline-stalker who ambushes her idol with Jill at an Eagle Rock eatery and is quick to post breathless Instagram evidence of the encounter.

Paparazzo Stan (James Ransone) is sniffing like a skeevy bloodhound around the story of Heather's seismic love life, and the pop of a flash convinces her that someone captured a shot of her in a smooch with Tracy. Confiding that she feels unsafe, Heather asks to borrow the .22 snub-nose revolver she's seen at Jill's apartment, which sure enough, not long after becomes the weapon in a bloody homicide.

All that happens in a superbly paced first half-hour or so, unfolding most of the way in richly textured nighttime scenes captured by cinematographer Andrew Reed's sinuous camera with splashes of neon color and pools of burnished low-light glow amid the inky blackness. Keegan DeWitt's electro-jazzy score adds to the unsettling effect, communicating from the start that danger pervades the air. Even a boozy moment of reprieve, in which Heather, Jill and Tracy escape reality with some private partying in a K-town karaoke bar, has a surreal, dream quality.
John Cho shows up in an initially promising role, though he ends up being underused as Detective Edward Ahn, who sidles up to the visibly traumatized Jill without making it entirely clear whether she's a serious suspect. But her self-protective instincts prompt her to keep giving him the slip as she begins pursuing her own trail of clues. That leads to testy encounters with cool-headed Jamie (the always-excellent Forbes is wonderfully brittle in her single scene), irrational Greg, volatile, douchy Devin and inscrutable Tracy, who conveniently keeps a hot motorcycle and fabulous leathers in her garage to provide Jill with a fast and furious exit.

There are droll meta aspects in Greg's reflection that if he were writing the screenplay, he'd be looking for motive, opportunity and capacity, making Devin the too-obvious culprit. But despite ably littering Jill's investigation with suspect characters and false leads, indie writer-director Katz (Cold Weather, Land Ho!) parcels out a few too many clear hints to make the eventual outcome either surprising or completely satisfying. The big reveal happens with a casual indifference that would have benefited from a tighter-coiled release, and a leap forward in the wrap-up scene (with a cameo from Ricki Lake) seems a tad thin in its commentary on obsessively scrutinized celebrities taking back control over their image. The sardonic twist doesn't quite pay off.
While it's consistently involving and often wryly amusing, the film works best as a character study of an observant outsider — Jill, like Katz, is a transplant from Portland, Ore. — navigating the Hollywood fishbowl, albeit in the far-reaching shadows. Seen often in mirrors or reflective windows, Kirke is terrific, maintaining just enough of a sphinx-like air to keep us questioning her behavior, while Kravitz also makes a strong impression as a flaky beauty whose entitlement doesn't exclude genuine affection or need.

Katz deftly manipulates mood and tension throughout, making expert use of locations in and around Los Angeles, from ultra-modern real-estate porn to vintage settings from an earlier era; from funky hideaway bars to sprawling exteriors overlooking the glimmering city below. He creates a sleek package that remains highly watchable, even if its denouement disappoints.

ANNABELLE VS. HALLOWEEN - FRIDAY CLASSICS SPECIAL

SPOILER ALERT, PLEASE DON'T CONTINUE TO READ THIS POST IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED YET ANNABELLE CREATION AND IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE BEST TWIST EVER IN THE HISTORY OF HORROR MOVIES

Left, courtesy of Warner Bros; Right, Photofest
'Annabelle: Creation' (left); 2007's 'Halloween'
 
No matter how good a film like 'Annabelle: Creation' is, unraveling the mystery behind its antagonist makes it less scary.

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Annabelle: Creation.]

Less really is more when it comes to horror. And with Annabelle: Creation, something is lost by exploring the backstory of the haunted doll first introduced in 2013's The Conjuring.
Director David F. Sandberg's contribution to the burgeoning Conjuring shared universe is to date the recipient of overwhelmingly positive reviews and strong box-office returns, admittedly for good reasons. The film, like most of its counterparts in the Conjuring franchise, is handsomely shot and effectively choreographed. It marries off-center compositions with generous negative space for staging inevitable background spookiness; for its first hour or so, its scares work, a collection of small, spine-tangling pleasures doled out judiciously and with obvious assurance.
After that first hour, though, we learn the truth of the doll's sentience, and we learn, as with 2014's Annabelle, that a hellish fiend has taken up residence in said doll, and suddenly the doll itself becomes a lot less scary. Its frightening hold over us dissipates. The movie is reframed entirely as a fairly stock demonic visitation story, and slowly we begin to wonder why we were ever afraid of the Annabelle doll to begin with (aside from its inexplicably eerie craftsmanship). In retrospect, that might not take away from Sandberg's efforts behind the camera in Annabelle: Creation, and it might not make the Annabelle sequence in the original Conjuring film less experientially nerve-wracking, but it does divorce the series from the intrinsically chilling efficacy of the concept. Such is what happens when you take franchise maintenance a step too far.
Horror movies function best the less their viewers know about their subjects. Think, for example, of the dapper aberration in Jennifer Kent's The Babadook, or the faceless entity from David Robert Mitchell's It Follows; both monsters in those films have defined rules of behavior, and more importantly, an absolute dearth of backstory. If you want to go classic, look no further than Pinhead (Douglas William Bradley), who lacks an origin story for the better part of two movies, until we learn that he used to be human in Hellraiser II: Hellbound's climax. Once we're privy to a snippet of Pinhead's background, he loses his oomph as a villain, arguably not just for the rest of the movie but for the rest of the Hellraiser series. (And if you want to straddle the classic/contemporary line, recall how Rob Zombie's Halloween films' attempts to humanize Michael Myers take away from the character's driving unfathomable qualities. He's supposed to be evil without reason.)

That's the case with Annabelle: Creation, too. We're led to believe at first that the Annabelle doll is a receptacle for the spirit of one Annabelle Mullins, the daughter of dollmaker Samuel Mullins and Esther Mullins, his disfigured wife; the varying signs of haunting accounted for as the movie commences point to the presence of a ghost rather than a devil. As creepy things go, ghost children outweigh devils even when we see the precipitating event that shuffled them off their mortal coil. It hardly matters that we know how Annabelle died; the very thought that she's still around, tormenting a gang of orphans to boot, naturally fosters disquieted response. Eventually, it's revealed that when Annabelle died, Mama and Papa Mullins made the bonehead move of praying to whatever dark forces would listen to their pleas and give them their beloved child back. The dark forces listened, but the dark forces also lied, and that's where we end up in relation to the film as its audience — hoodwinked.

The problem of too much backstory would be less of a problem if not for the existence of the first Annabelle movie. Annabelle: Creation marks the second film to take a deep period dive to explore the backstory of Annabelle the doll. When filmmakers, writers and producers give us the tools to comprehend a monster, the monster becomes perceptible, and, in becoming perceptible, it becomes considerably less, well, monstrous.

PET (2016) - REVIEW

Hi guys,

while the summer break is on in the cinemas and all countries have their national movie weeks I thgouht about looking back to those movies which impressed me most during the past 365 days.

So I will do some reviews about movies from 2016 - 2017, without any rating because they are out of competition, they shoud stand for tips for you, what you can watch during the summer break.

Enjoy.

So the first movie is a psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old crush and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works. But what will the victim have in store for her captor?

Pet (2016)

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2 December 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Animal de companie  »

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 See enough horror films and you’ll find it easy to believe that just about every home and business in America features a basement in which a comely young woman is being held prisoner. That familiar scenario is rehashed in Pet, director Carles Torrens’ (Apartment 143) sophomore feature starring Lord of the Rings veteran Dominic Monaghan as a seemingly mild-mannered, lonely man who resorts to a drastic solution to win the love of the object of his desire. Or, that may not be his goal at all.

The question comes up because Jeremy Slater’s ambitious screenplay seems determined to provide as many plot twists as possible during the course of the film’s brief running time. Viewers’ perceptions and expectations are constantly being upended, and not necessarily in a believable way.

Still, the film is engrossing, thanks to the director’s skill at delivering sustained tension, and the excellent performances. Monaghan plays Seth, an animal shelter employee who while riding on a bus runs into the beautiful Holly (Ksenia Solo, Black Swan), on whom he had an unrequited crush in high school. He attempts to makes small talk, but although Holly responds politely, she’s clearly not interested.

Seth soon shows up at the coffee shop in which Holly works, but she again rebuffs his advances. When he later shows up when she’s at the bar in which her clingy ex-boyfriend (Nathan Parsons) works, Seth receives a beating for his trouble, to which he strangely reacts with uncontrollable laughter. Before making his getaway, he does manage to purloin Holly’s diary.
Holly’s next encounter with her apparent stalker doesn't go as well for her, as she winds up unconscious and is then brought to the animal shelter’s basement under the nose of Seth’s security guard colleague (Da’Vone McDonald). There she’s confined in a small cage, clad only in her underwear, with Seth telling her that he intends to “save" her.

The resulting cat-and-mouse game reveals more of an insidious power struggle than it initially appeared. Suffice it to say that some characters meet horrific fates and others, including Holly’s supportive best friend (Jennette McCurdy), are not quite who they seem.
While Slater’s script is overly manipulative — he can’t even resist one last climactic shock — the lead performers manage to sell it. Monaghan provides interesting variations on what could have been a stock sicko character, while Solo is compelling as the victim who proves more than a match for her captor. Pet is unlikely to cross over to general audiences, but it’s bound to satisfy fans of more extreme horror.

 It is really surprising end. It is movie which made interested in those people who always have to fight their personality and character because I am interested in that psychology and I always try to understand what is in their mind. I really can recommand this movie if you are the same kind of person.

Thanks for reading and have fun watching movies.

NAKED (2017) - TRAILER

Naked (2017)


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Nervous about finally getting married a guy is forced to relive the same nerve-wracking hours over and over again until he gets things right on his wedding day.

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, (based on an original story by) | 3 more credits »

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11 August 2017 (USA)  »

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Gol in ziua nuntii  »

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Regina Hall and Marlon Wayans previously worked together on Scary Movie (2000) and Scary Movie 2 (2001). They even worked together with Marlon's brother, Shawn Wayans on the movies and both Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans even made the Scary Movie (2000) film series happen. 

 I am sorry but currently there is not a lot to blog because the summer season in on in Hollywood and a lot of studios are in production mode rather than to publish stuff.

So that is why I am also taking some time off, but soon there will be great more stuff to talk about.
If you like to have a look around the blog, there are many movies, trailer, reviews already online.

Thanks for reading and have fun watching movies.

LYCAN (2017) - REVIEW

Lycan (2017)


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When six college kids in a sleepy Southern town are assigned a group project to rediscover a moment in history, one of them sets in motion a horrific fate when he proposes they head into the Georgia backwoods to tackle the legend of Emily Burt, the Talbot County werewolf. "Lycan" is a Hitchcockian tale of horror set in 1986 that delves into a hundred year old fable where our students are met with very real consequences that go beyond any classroom lessons.

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4 August 2017 (USA)

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$250,000 (estimated)

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A half-dozen students pick the wrong subject to research for history class in Lycan, a stuck-in-the-woods slasher film that flirts unsatisfyingly with werewolf themes. The debut feature for director Bev Land, husband of the picture's star Dania Ramirez, it intends to introduce novelty to its overfamiliar setup, but uneven casting and a very thin script get in the way. Commercial prospects are slim, even among horror die-hards.

Ramirez plays Isabella, a campus misfit randomly assigned to a group of students for a class project. Told to select a historical subject that needs reevaluation, these six pass over the opportunity to prove a black felon was wrongly convicted in favor of exploring a lurid old newspaper story about "The Werewolf of Talbot County." It appears that the gravesite of the suspected werewolf is on property adjoining the farm where Isabella lives; over her protestations, the team sets out on horseback to camp in the woods until they can dig up some evidence.
Land and co-screenwriter Michael Mordler offer the usual Breakfast Club hodgepodge of campus stereotypes — jock and smart-ass stoner, preppy grade-grubber, prissy sorority girl and her fashion-obsessed sidekick. Their banter is less clever than bitchy, ensuring that we won't mind much when they start dying off; trouble is, there might not be one of these kids we care enough about to root for.

The intentionally mixed signals sent out by the picture from its first scenes — is Isabella mentally ill, the victim of an ancient curse, or both? — are more muddy than tantalizing, and adding a romantic angle doesn't change that much: Hunky Blake (Jake Lockett), rather than hooking up with one of the sorority girls, longs for the troubled Isabella and can't understand why she's so skittish.

He'll find out soon enough. But not until after a series of violent encounters in the forest, nighttime scenes staged and photographed unappealingly by Land and lenser Colin Michael Quinn. Genre-savvy viewers will know to expect the eventual return of Isabella's landlady, a "crazy cat lady" played by Gail O'Grady. But while that resolves some of the plot's questions, it does little to raise the emotional stakes or make us more invested in these bland campers' survival.

5/10 genre

5/10 overall

Thanks for reading and have fun watching movies.
 
 
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