Archive for the 'Sci-fi' Category

11
Mar
09

Blots on the Canvas: An Ink Update

INKmovieposterAs many of you faithful followers of Midnight Showing might have already noticed, there’s a movie that has taken me completely by storm and it is called Ink.

For a look into what the film is about, here is the preview I did for the film including trailers for the Ink and a short by director Jamin Winans.

If you haven’t already, you can read my full review here.

So now that I have you all Inked up, here’s where I tell you how WE can help, by doing very little.  Double Edge Films is in the process of trying to secure some distribution, and is trying to promote their movie the old fashioned way, great looking trailers, direct contact with movie-goers and bloggers (like myself), and word of mouth.

Are you on facebook?  Sure you are you bastard, don’t lie.  My mom’s on facebook, which means so are you, so become a fan of Ink, it takes like 3 seconds, and chances are you already signed in.

Ink’s Facebook page

Are you on Twitter?  Probably.  Add them. They are respectful and smart filmmakers, those Winans, so you won’t have to worry about a bunch of silly, non-sense texts, just the important stuff.

Double Edge Films (the people who made Ink) twitter page.

How about youtube?  Oh, I know your on youtube.  My dad gets on youtube, the same man who leaves his keys in the door when he comes into the house and can never find his glasses, wallet, etc.  That means your on youtube too.

Double Edge Films youtube channel

Do you like blogs?  Of course you do silly head, your on a darn blog right now.  So how about following a blog connected to Double Edge Films?  Whats that?  You don’t want to?  Who said I was giving you a choice? Just kidding, but seriously, its a quality blog.

Double Edge Films Blog

Follow, fan up, do whatever you gotta do, but we as a movie loving online community got to team up and support flicks like Ink.  We can’t just sit around and bitch about how movies suck now a days and then not support the ones who truly deserve it.  Plus, all the things above cost you only about 3 minutes of your life…combined.

Stay tuned to Midnight Showing for more coverage of Ink, and my somewhat delayed Watchmen review.

This is Alex signing off.  Have a pleasant tomorrow.




09
Mar
09

Ink Review

ink2A question that’s rung in my head since first hearing about the movie Ink, was what relevance the title of the film held. From the first moments of the trailer, and subsequently the film, I knew I was in for a movie that had calculated its’ steps carefully, creating something in between an eloquent waltz and an algebra equation. I knew that the title was another vital part of the whole experience, and that deciphering it’s meaning was another key to unlocking the many mysteries that lay inside the delicate layers of Ink’s story.

That story, written by Jamin Winans, is a tale of multi-dimensional dream weavers, consisting of one bad stable and one good one. The good ones, dubbed Storytellers, give us good dreams by visiting us in our rooms once we’ve fallen asleep and gently waving there hands slowly by our heads. The bad ones, called the The Incubi, give us the nightmares. Beyond the ability to grant dreams, these people also battle over the souls of those who are sleeping.

Ink's spectacular makeup and look.

Ink's spectacular makeup and look help solidify him as our complicated, yet menacing antagonist.

This is more or less where our story begins. A drifter, one who is stuck in between life and death, named Ink is propositioned by the Incubi to steal the soul of a seemingly insignificant little girl named Emma, in exchange for the ability to become an Incubi himself. Emma’s estranged father, John, is also battling staggeringly high odds, both physically and emotionally, due to a demanding and stressful job, and the weight of his own guilt and shame. The rest is quite simply too exciting and emotionally propelling to spoil for the sake of this review.

The first thing that one notices about Jamin Winans film Ink, is that it is in an entire league of it’s own in terms of visual style. While some influences are noticeable, Jamin takes the idea of kinetic and potential energy in a movie to new heights. The pace is fluid, only jumping a beat to drive home a scene or a moment, then quickly snaps back into place, driving the narrative along briskly enough to demand a viewers full attention without overloading and confusing them. The editing is so precise, so flawless, that it begins to feel almost euphoric. Jamin manipulates the order of certain events, in order to keep viewers on there toes about where the story is heading. There is no point in the movie where I could clearly say what was going to happen next, and that feeling of wonderment and vulnerability is something that has stuck with me even through writing this piece. It’s a hypnotizing film, and it never sacrifices the gravity of what’s happening on screen in favor of giving you a flashy, “Hollywood” shot that only looks great on movie posters. This film exudes an aura of tremendous planning brought to life by even more impressive execution.

The cinematogaphy is remarkable, looking even better while in full motion.

The cinematography is remarkable, looking even better when in full motion.

Hand in hand with the visual buffet, is the equally sublime audio package. From the old-timey camera snap-and-flicker sound effect used for when storytellers teleport in, to the visceral crunch of a perfectly placed uppercut, to the appropriate tinkering and manipulation of certain voices to help give them an other worldly feel, the effects are all nothing short of innovative. Everything sounds crisp and distinctive, and every action is accounted for. Holding all the aforementioned technical elements together is a subtle, oceanic, and deeply emotional score, written by Jamin Winans. The score is reminiscent of some of John Muprhy’s work, as well as some of Danny Elfmans’ dreamier, calmer material. But Jamin really shows he has the patience, style, and talent to not only create a great stand alone score, but also one that personifies and amplifies perfectly everything his film has to say. Not enough can be said about how much the score adds to the entire feel of the film, something not seen enough in the days of soundtracks where popular artists write a soulless song that supposedly represents the movie.

An Incubi, who brings nightmares.

An Incubi, who brings nightmares.

Along with the groundbreaking special effects (see the reconstructing furniture fight scene for evidence of this) there is the cinematography of Jeff Pointer. All the different planes of existence in Ink’s world are accompanied by a strikingly different palette of colors and lighting techniques. It not only creates the appearance that they are entirely different dimensions, it becomes other dimensions altogether. Due to the digital filming techniques I am almost sure Jamin Winans used extensively while shooting Ink, he gains an incredible amount of control over lighting, filters, color correction and saturation, which he uses to great dramatic effect. They also function perfectly as cues that we have begun to look in on a different scene, and helps indicate silently where we are, who were are with, and with whom there alliances lay.

But if Ink is anything, it’s a damn good story. The story is so luminary, so rife with honest humanity and emotion that it’s near impossible not to invoke some kind of serious, introspective moment within you while watching. It’s not the kind of emotion that make boyfriends not want to go see the romance flick with their girlfriends, it’s the kind of emotion that’s intrinsic within the human conscious. It’s about loss, innocence, desire, motivation, and possibly above all, hope. The film makes some very philosophical observations on the sordid perils of everyday life, but it makes them in a passive, courteous way. It acknowledges that we are, to a degree, the sum of our parts and past experiences, but it also points out that there is always the opportunity for radical change. Jamin manages to ease his way into some very heady, intellectual space without losing sight of the plot and the characters I found myself heavily invested in. This alone is quite an achievement.

The sunny, surine dimension of the Storytellers.

The sunny, serene dimension of the Storytellers.

All those points wouldn’t have been so well conveyed without actors who really seemed to understand the vision of Jamin. Consider that a non-issue though, as all the actors and actresses playing there roles without incident, with no one seeming out of place or terribly miscast. Extra credit must go to Chris Kelly for playing John and Jessica Duffy for playing Liev, whose performances were simply to sensational not to mention. There isn’t really much else I can say about the cast other then Jamin Winans must’ve have had at least some, if not all, of the actors and actress’s in mind when he wrote the script, because the roles seem tailor made for the individuals playing them. They are always shown in their best light, the emotion that Jamin squeezed from them seems as genuine as anything I’ve even seen. If there’s one thing that’s evident in independent film making, it’s the passion of those involved. It’s the whole reason independent film making still exists, because I assure you, it isn’t for the money. In Ink’s case, the movie is overflowing with determination and fire, which helps envelope the viewer in the vibrant, awe-inspiring world that this magical yarn is spun in.

The only obstacle I can see any audience having a major problem with, would be the sheer emotional investment and outside the box thinking a movie this cavernous can require for full enjoyment and understanding. It’s all about invading the comfortable areas of your life, it’s about turning the mirror on yourself, and it’s about the stuff all of us have deep inside, regardless of whether or not we pretend it’s not there. It’s story is not only timely, but timeless. There is no restriction on when a tale like this could be told.

Our Storytellers along with their quirky, philospoical guide, The Pathfinder.

Our Storytellers along with their quirky, philosophical guide, The Pathfinder.

In the end, I think I’ve found the answer to my original question, and that the answer may be that we are all Ink. We are all different colors, different viscosity, and different blends. We are the instruments of change, both good and bad, but we are not immune to them ourselves. The randomness of life can be extremely disruptive, and seem devoid of pattern, reason and predictability, but just because the last few moments, days, or years have blindsided you, it doesn’t mean you are lost forever. At least, that’s how I saw it.

Jamin Winans has concocted a potent narrative, one that is as focused as can be, while still leaving enough room for individual interpretation. It is assembled in such a way that not only promotes, but encourages multiple viewings. Technically speaking, there is nothing that could be done better within the budget, and the acting is all fitting, bringing believability and heft to each role, while naturally allowing the main figures to steal the show. Ink deserves a special place inside the hollowed halls of great intellectual cinema, here’s to hoping it takes its rightful places in that gallery one day.

Love

08
Mar
09

Japanese Spiderman – Episode 1 for streaming (and downloading)

You didn’t even know there was a Japanese Spiderman TV series? Shame on you! Well, okay, most people don’t know it, but there was indeed a Japanese Spiderman and, truth be told, it whooped the ass of the US TV series.

Produced by Toei Company in the late 1970s, the series follows the exploits of motorcycle racer turned super hero Takuya Yamashiro (not Peter Parker), as he slings and swings, battling the evil Iron Cross Army along the way.

Some Japanese Spidey goodness:

Japanese Spiderman - episode 1

Japanese Spiderman - episode 1

Not only does he kick ass, he has a mech too!

Not only does he kick ass, he has a mech too!

Anyway… head over to the Marvel site (below) to watch episode 1 in all it’s 70’s glory and with subtitles!

Source: http://www.marvel.com/news/moviestories.7114.Watch_Japanese_Spider-Man_on_Marvel

05
Mar
09

INK: The movie you haven’t heard about and can’t afford not to.

Movies come and movies go, for the most part.  We may see an awesome trailer, an awesome movie, tell all our friends about it, say it’s your favorite movie the season, month, year or all time, but usually, once the next big thing comes along, we forget about what we loved yesterday, and feverishly care about whats coming next.  Sometimes though, movies come along, and either with a bang or a whisper, they shape what’s next through innovation and imagination.

So, without further delay, here’s what’s next.

Having spoken with the Director, Writer, Editor, and music composer Jamin Winans, I can tell you that this movie is coming from the heart and soul of a true fellow movie geek, and if The Wachowski Brothers, the Coens, Zack Snyder, and a slew of other directors have taught us anything, it’s that the underdogs are shaping where this industry is headed next, and that the money, respect, and credulity is coming mostly from those personally in touch with the fans from their experience of being a fan.

We all know the Watchmen is coming out, as well as the other big budget movies like G.I. Joe and Transformers.  But take a minute to check this little flick out, because you’ll probably see its style, among other things, duplicated for years to come.
And for good measure, a very slick short he made.




11
Feb
09

Internet Oddities – Feburary Edition

While I put the finishing touches on my Friday the 13th retrospective in anticipation of what be the most hyped up and possible disastrous remake of all time, I will share with you my recent Internet video findings.  This will be a mix of both upcoming horror trailers, along with some funny stuff.  Enjoy!

YEAH I KNOW YOU ALL HAVE SEEN THIS TRAILER BUT I DON’T CARE.  I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT FOR WATCHMEN!

GET PUMPED KIDS.  FRIDAY THE 13TH IN 2 DAYS, QUICKLY FOLLOWED BY THE WATCHMEN MARCH 6TH!


09
Jan
09

Internet Oddities January 2009

It may be a new year, but there is no shortage of viral lunacy circulating the Internet.  So, while we cook up some new original material behind the scenes, have a gander and kill some brain cells from this garbage, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.


P.S. I also included some trailers for upcoming flicks I think we should have on our collective radar.




06
Jan
09

The Substitute 2007 (a.k.a. Vikaren)

This trite cover does nothing to convey the genuine charm of this film.

This trite cover does nothing to convey the genuine charm of this film.

First off, let me commend the fine job Ghost House Underground has done collecting and distributing indie horror films in their first year in existence.  So far, I’ve only seen Dance of the Dead and The Substitute, which makes up for 2 of the 8 total films released through Ghost House in 2008, but they have both been dynamite little films.  And even if they wind up being the only 2 good ones out of the bunch (8), it’s still an impressive batting average for a company in it’s rookie year.

Now, onto to the review.

What happens when you combine The Faculty, The Goonies, The Witches and Monster Squad?

If you answered ” a big pile of mish mash poo poo” I totally would’ve agreed with you.

The “young kids vs. a real “monster” their parents don’t believe is real” genre has been around for almost 30 years now, yet it really hasn’t had a shot in the arm in quite some time, and has been done both very well and very poorly in the past.  It has laid fairly dormant for a while.  That is until now.

Leave it to a writer/director from Denmark, Ole Bornedal to breathe new life into a genre that Americans pioneered.

Our story concerns a small 6th grade class that gets the best news a 6th grade class can hope for.  There main teacher has been struck ill, and they will be getting a substitute.  For those of us who remember school, you probably know how exciting this can be.  Little did the kids know however, that there new teacher isn’t some lenient push over they can run rampant over, but instead a woman of immense power and inhuman abilities, who seems to be not of this world.  While there is a little more to the story than simply the young class matching wits with the nefarious new teacher, I’ll leave the details and subplots for you to explore on your own viewing.

Paprika Steen, who plays Ulla, the new mysterious teacher, really steals the show here, alongside the rag-tag, but never annoying, class.  Her performance is a bit of a combination of Famke Janssen’s role in the Faculty, mixed in with The Terminator.  Robotic motions and piercing eyes combine with a forbidden sexy charm and aloofness to make her a villain your never really sure you want to hate, because the “mission” she is here to perform is actually fairly noble.  Her class, led by Carl (Jonas Wandschneider) are also impressive, each filling out roles like the bully, the computer genius (an obvious nod to Data from the Goonies complete with the nerdy specs) the pretty girls, and the love interest for Carl, and so on.

They teach rope bondage in Denmark in the 6th grade.  Awesome.

They teach rope bondage in Denmark in the 6th grade now a days. Awesome.

Aiding the the solid performances by the main and supporting cast, is Ole Bornedal’s competitent directing.  He never gets in his own way in the pacing department, and when he has to use CGI in order to create a specific effect, he always hides it well, meaning you’ll see no “effects” in broad daylight where you can easily spot, and the make fun of, the lower budget computer animations.  Along side this knowledge, he creates a great auditory mood and visual atmosphere, and while he could have used some colors other than black, grey, white and blue, the style of the film matches the tone and subject matter, while never becoming the main focus.  Something more horror film makers should note, just because a of a scene looks good (well lit and etc.) doesn’t mean it’s a good scene.

Ulla (Paprika Steen) says Stop! In the name of love.  You'll think that joke is hilarious once you see the movie.

Ulla (Paprika Steen) says Stop! In the name of love. You'll think that joke is hilarious once you see the movie.

My only complaint is a bit of an unexplained hiccup torwards the finale, by which no means ruins the film, but feels kinda like getting a rug burn from a classmate for no reason.  Other than that small, but completely noticeable wrinkle, the only hump to get over is how willing are you to watch an R-rated kids vs. monster movie with no gore to speak of, that is driven by clever cat and mouse games, unique takes on the war of wits, and easily loved characters.  The answer to that question should be a deafening yes.

Charm, heart, and originality can all be debated, considering that a film like this couldn’t possible exist without the its obvious predecessors, but I feel this gem has those intangible qualities in spades.  With every flick trying to be the next Saw, the next big souless “Boo Scare” hit, or the next big money remake, The Substitute quietly walks into the fray, sits down, and and nearly aces the test without having to cheat off the smarter students.

I told you the kids in the class were cool.

I told you the kids in the class were cool.

Don’t be shocked when this is remade in 2 years.  The picture above expresses my feelings towards that inevitability.

28
Dec
08

Alex’s Top 10 Movies of the Year!!!!!!

Greetings fellow Midnighters!!!!  Here is my video of my top ten films of the year.  Sorry it turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, but I had a lot to say.  DIG IN!

27
Dec
08

Tokyo Gore Police

Tokyo Gore Police

Tokyo Gore Police

Oh yes, it’s here!

Tokyo Gore Police!

If you’ve seen The Machine Girl, then it’s more of the same crazy gore-fest goodness.

The basic story is as thus: (from IMDb)

Set in a future-world vision of Tokyo where the police have been privatized and bitter self-mutilation is so casual that advertising is often specially geared to the “cutter” demographic, this is the story of samurai-sword-wielding Ruka and her mission to avenge her father’s assassination. Ruka is a cop from a squad who’s mission is to destroy homicidal mutant humans known as “engineers” possessing the ability to transform any injury to a weapon in and of itself.

Sound crazy? Kinda. But you’ve really got to see it to believe it.

Some parts of TGP remind me of Robocop. There are parts in the movie where it suddenly switches to a TV advert, one in particular (which I thought was hilarious in this day and emo-age) was for special cutter blades, where emo-kids could use these fancy blades to cut cool shapes in to themselves, all done in over the top TV ad style. Very funny.

Tokyo Gore Police - she's the radio control chick

Tokyo Gore Police - she's the Police radio controller chick

Other parts of the movie are just plain mad. We often cut to scenes where a woman with an old 1950’s style microphone announces, in her best radio voice, incidents that are occurring. I can only assume that she’s the radio controller for the Police!

In other scenes we see a maniac murdering a woman and stuffing her remains in to a cardboard box:

She's a boxer. Hah! Geddit?! I made a funny!

She's a boxer. Hah! Geddit?! I made a funny!

In a rather fetishistic scene we see odd looking mutants dance across a stage with a skin covered, still breathing, chair that pees on people! Behold:

It's a living, breathing, peeing chair!

It's a living, breathing, peeing chair!

But there is some inventive stuff here. When the engineers are making other people engineers, they hold an organic key to the persons skin and a little keyhole appears, they pop the key in and turn it and a part of the person just pops open, unlocked, for the engineer to stick the key in to. I’ve not seen that done before!

Crazy/gory/mutated scenes are ten a penny in this film, too many to capture for here, but TGP is definitely a beautiful film. It’s well lit (colourful), the effects are pretty much all latex (yay! No CGI!) and there is a story.

I’ll be honest with you people. I downloaded a DVD-rip of TGP with subs, but I’ll tell you: if this comes out on DVD as a Directors Cut I’ll be all over it like a rash. You mark my words!

Tokyo Gore Police… it’s your DUTY to watch it!

Behold, the trailer… bow before it’s greatness!

23
Dec
08

Lao Mao (1992) aka: The Cat

The Cat

Lao Mao, aka: The Cat

Lao Mao (aka: The Cat) is a Cantonese film which is completely and utterly bonkers.

It starts off with some guy writing. I’ve no idea what he’s writing as the subtitles don’t display anything until about ten minutes in to the film (helpful) so from what I can gather he’s telling us this tale (no pun intended) of how this little fat guy can’t get any sleep because of his neighbours upstairs always hammering stuff. The little guy reaches breaking point, storms upstairs and bangs on the neighbours door. An old guy opens the door slightly and apologises. Our little fat perv notices a beautiful younger woman inside the flat holding her pussy. Oh, sorry, holding her cat.

A few days later the old guy, and young chick, move out. The little fat guy goes to investigate, lo and behold the door just happens to be open, and he explores the place, see’s some nasty gore and calls the cops. Turns out it’s animal guts, and they all call him a dumbass.

It’s about now it goes a tad South of sanity. We see, what I assume to be a dead, tramp lying in the sewers with goo going into him, next thing he’s plodding through the sewer like Night of the Living Homeless.

Next in a museum we see the young womans pussy again, this time the sneaky feline is eyeing up a relic. It breaks open the glass case, inspects the relic then they get busted by a museum guard. But he’s taken out by some old guy who dives through the window thinking he’s a ninja. But then the zombie tramp appears and… well, quite frankly does bugger all but try to frighten them through a window.

Run away! It's the Zombie Tramp!!!!!

Run away! It's the Zombie Tramp!!!!!

But then the zombie tramp pulls out the Ace card: he turns into a big pile of spaghetti, flies in the window, eats some museum guards, and turns in to, what looks like, a giant mushroom type thing.

Next we find out that the girl and the cat are in fact aliens. No, seriously. One of the cops investigating this madness goes to a location, sneaks about, nearly gets caught so hides, the cat senses him and pounces on him (well, not the actual cat, it’s an extremely bad, stuffed, stunt double cat) the cop is about to pan it’s brains in with a chair but, through the window, comes the old I-think-I’m-a-ninja guy who knocks the cop out.

Then things get a bit saucy with the cop’s wife coming home in a tiny tennis outfit and covered in sweat. They watch a news bulletin talking about the museum stuff, and he’s off on the trail of the pesky moggy once more.

Gotta love the accurate subtitles...

Gotta love the accurate subtitles...

Cat hairs are found in the museum so with that clue (probably their only clue) they do what any other cop would do. Send it off for analysis? No, they visit some weird guy and ask him for a loan of a big huge dog.

A group of cops investigate a location and come face to face with the big pile of spaghetti and it kills most of them, taking over one guy. He gets some guns, becomes a one man army and is trying to get the girl and the cat. Meanwhile the big dog and the cat are having a big fight in some sort of junk yard. No idea why, but they are, and the cat leaves the dog for dead.

But fear not, the dog isn’t dead. He’s too big and strong for that death stuff.

After the possessed cop waging war on the good cop, his wife, the chick, the cat and the old ninja guy he turns in to a large wad of playdoh. Or that’s what it looked like to me. While the special effects up to this point were pretty crappy, it was here they hit an all time low and became, quite literally, claymation.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

The alien cat dives in to the mouth of the claymation beast, blows it apart and, in short, they all get to live happily ever after.

I was not on any legal/illegal substances, and all of the above happened. I swear!

The film is utter rubbish, but it’s worth watching it just to be able to tell people about it, and watch their reactions…