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Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) [16 Mar 2004|02:32pm]

Thomas Hewitt lies in the corner behind a wall as he hears his parents fighting once again, his father holds a young girl in his hands as he’s throwing her back in forth. She is in tears and pleading to go. Thomas hit’s his head over and over again in frustration as his mother screams out to him, “Thomas Hewitt get this girl out of my sight!” He obeys. This is something you would expect to see in a late night drama, except this drama is much more twisted. Thomas obeys only to throw the girl down a flight of steps. This isn’t a late drama, but instead the reimagining of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Thomas, is the name of the infamous Leatherface and his family is more the center of attention in this film. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes something well known to fans and makes it an archetype known to the general public. Dysfunctional families.

The story for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not a usual one. Somewhat based and inspired by the events involved with Ed Gein, the story plays out like the Blair Witch. Being told about actual events and then the film consisting of footage or reenactments. With that in mind the opening does grab attention and interest as an evidence footage file of a police officer investigating a crime scene is shown, we feel that it touches in too close to home. No jokes are made, only observations and it’s all very serious. The film continues with a reenactment that’s pacing is somewhat slow as casual conversations are shared, allowing us to distinguish personalities of the characters. Then everything is thrown off course as a psycho hitchhiker is picked up and the pacing speeds up from there. Crazy events and characters fill the screen as the five teens try to report a suicide to the sheriff. The only thing that moves the story along is the interactions, as if watching a mystery unfold. Situations are thrown into the loop of trouble and we watch as the teens attempt to solve them, only to have it be more puzzling then they or the audience think. This is the perfect setup for a strange solution, as we are introduced to the family. This is when the story gets confusing. The difference between good and evil is very thin with the family and inhabitants of the town, and since a lack of predictability is available it’s hard to follow what will come next. Only with close attention will the plot and characters be understood. The film somewhat stops short for a second, only to make up for it with narration, and builds up to an exciting climax that even beats out the original. So the story maintains a steady ride except for its bumpy opening, but remains to keep the audience on their toes by destroying all predictability. Rarely seen in today’s horror films.

In an interview with director Marcus Nispel, he said that when remaking the Chainsaw Massacre, he wanted to not focus on the gore as much, but more on the situation, the family and how sick that is. The family that Thomas lives in plays a very crucial part to the film and is one of the scariest elements in the film. The element that stood out was the acting and characters, funny in personality and reasonable; they do what most in a life situation would do. They run, seek help and do everything in their power to escape. It’s this realism that makes the situation even scarier, because with actual attempts, they still fail. Acted out to perfection with facial expressions of fear and terror, it’s almost as if the situation were really happening. That’s something to top in today’s films, since the characters seem to be in on the situation just as much as the audience. Though the element from the first film stood out in the remake. The teens are funny and somewhat reasonable in the relationship they have to each other, though when situations arise, they don’t realize all that’s happening, and everything they do is realistic. Yet they still fail. I think this made the film all the scarier, because they are smart. The main character Erin travels with another person and never does so alone, it’s safer that way. Though when one goes missing, she returns with another person, always keeping someone with her. Though that still fails. Scary that the buddy system doesn’t work. Another thing that stands out is the reaction to situations, one of the other main characters named Morgan, is being shouted at by a cop to recreate a crime scene, it’s to the point where he has a gun in his mouth and common sense says that something isn’t right, and he acts on that. So we don’t have to think for the characters since they think for themselves. This allows us to suspend disbelief, which is what allows the film to take a realistic tone.

To enforce the plot and characters, the other elements of the film must be just as great in order to get the seriousness of the film across. Music in the film was used as usual horror films have them, to express mood and incite excitement in scary points. The music did perfectly that, but was not used as a crutch like in most films. It was used to enforce the cinematography, where most of the mood and excitement came from. Daniel Pearl, the original cinematographer from the first TCM returned for this film and used the story and characters and surroundings like a painting. Texas Chainsaw Massacre being the title of the painting, the movie and images play out beautifully right before our eyes. Such attentions to detail, from dripping blood on the ceiling, to brown water in the bathtub, the sets are shown to their full potential. The woods with pieces of daylight shining through, to the van drenched with brain remnants. Pearl used everything in sight, panning through holes in the windows to even a corpses head. It made everything seem beautiful and more of a pre-industrialized area. Making the situations happening in the film differ, so your attention is fully devoted to both and towards the end of the film, the story and cinematography match, both being dark and dimly lit, it’s then that the film has us and doesn’t let us go till the end. Though still the images remain dark even to the credits to give no sign of hope of a happy ending. Both strong elements add to the film making the experience all the more memorable and don’t detract or disturb like other films.

Living up to the original, Marcus Nispel surpassed expectations and in a way created something he could call his own. Creating new origins while staying true to the story line, he thought outside of the box and created something just as beautiful and just as scary. Compared to other reimagining’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will stand out from the rest as one of the best composed. A real crowd pleaser.
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Mr. Sic #3 [12 Mar 2004|11:11am]

[ mood | Destructive ]

Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter isn’t specifically about a man hat is hunting deer, but about a man and his friends that enjoyed hunting until they enlisted in the military to take part in the Vietnam War. With Robert DeNiro in the lead role and Christopher Walken as his best friend, the filmmakers show us the mental state of what it’s like to be a Prisoner of War. The set up of the friendship between DeNiro and Walken is well developed, and when the action gets picking up and the thoughts of death set in to these characters one gets the feeling that something else has to happen and the characters can’t die, yet. I, as a filmmaker and an avid film enthusiast found this movie to be a wonderful depiction of the trials of friendship, and the mental stresses of war.
The friendship between DeNiro and Walken is one of those kinds of friendships, in which they were both friends since they were children. Both characters live in the same small town, they went to the same schools and pretty much did everything together all their lives. In the scenes where DeNiro and Walken, along with the other cast of friends, are deer hunting, the feeling of the movie takes a turn to the point where the audience gets the feeling that something bad is bound to happen, a kind of foreshadowing for the rest of the movie. It was in one of the deer hunting scenes in which the friends decided that they were going to enlist and do their part in the war.
During the part in the movie in which they were in the war, the power of friendship really shows through, by the way DeNiro and Walken react to each other in the heat of battle, and in the parts in which they are P.O.W.’s, and are finally rescued. In the scene where they are rescued, the P.O.W.’s all pile into a helicopter, as the chopper is flying over a river one of the other friends is thrown from the helicopter and he land in the water. Upon his impact in the water he hits the bottom of the river and breaks both of his legs and has to crawl his way to the bank. The chopper lands and the guys pile out to see their friend who is now already dieing from his injuries, the friends say their good byes and have to quickly leave.
The point in the movie were things get really bad in for DeNiro and Walken is shortly after the rescue, the Vietnam underworld grabs a hold of Walken and he goes AWOL. DeNiro’s character is returned home, where he has no other choice but to move on with his life and try to forget his best friend. In the time where DeNiro moves on with his life, he gets married and starts his life again. In the same time that DeNiro is starting his life after the war, Walken is in the dark underworld of Vietnam, suffering form identity loss, Walken begins to regularly participate in games of Russian Rolette. In the end DeNiro, finally decides to search for his lost friend in the underworld and upon finding Walken, he no loner has any reasoning left. The end of the film was absolutely amazing, because in order for DeNiro to prove to his friend that he is a really there to take him home, DeNiro sits down at the Russian Rolette table plays a game. The gun passes from man to man, and DeNiro’s 3rd attempt nothing fires, DeNiro looks into Walkens eyes and the look of realization sets in, the next pull of the trigger will be he last for Walken. After Walken pulled the trigger the crowed around them get’s angry because their greatest player is now dead, and the camer slowly pulls out to a slow fade to black.
Dang, I really like this movie.

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Paycheck [08 Mar 2004|03:17am]

Ben Affleck finally found his place in the sci-fi world, and it wasn’t with red tights. In Paycheck, the new John Woo/Phillip K. Dick film, the power of technology is once again scary as Affleck once again saves humanity. Different from the years other mindless action film, this thriller takes a smart perspective on technology and the power that truly does come from knowledge.

This film is different then most Dick adaptations because of the heart it has. Relationships from the past and the future are what keep the film interesting, and this is something even Minority Report lacked. We’re introduced to Affleck as Michael Jennings, a reverse engineer. Working to find out how technology works, by taking current models apart, it’s interesting because people in this Job* actually do this type of engineering. Phillip K. Dick always delivers on his stories and once again he was right on with the twist as there is a 6th Day likeness in how Michael’s memories are erased. Soon Michael has taken on a job that’s a lot more then it seems and 2 years later he’s on a track to find out why he’s screwed himself. It’s somewhat comedic, but that’s how all of Dick’s stories start out. They’re interesting and grab you in only to fall for the characters and get more involved in the story that unfolds. It’s a great story, with great excitement and what carries it is a great cast.

For a successful film that people care about, it has to be a down to earth cast that people relate to. In this case in order to suspend belief, you need a real relationship that carries the film. That’s when Uma Thurman and Affleck come in; finally in a film together, the chemistry between the two actually feels like reality. Uma steps up from her Kill Bill badass role to be a smart witty scientist. She has the friendly appeal of the girl next door you can play football with, but also holds a feminine appeal that’s the type of girl you would wish to marry. She pulls the film as an inspiration for Affleck to continue, she’s the reason he continues, he believes his past. He wants to work for the future that they have together, and this is always powerful because something is in jeopardy. You want them to work out, even though he doesn’t remember her that well. On the other half you have Ben, who audiences don’t consider an action hero. Though in this role he shows a wide variety of emotion, from love struck, to witty, and even anger. The role is no superhero like Daredevil, but he is a hero in what he does to save the world. It’s a role that any of us could play if we had the information he did. So you feel at home with his role and he fits in with his interactions with other characters, I feel this may be Ben’s best role out of a Kevin Smith universe. Aaron Eckhart steps in as the villain, the man who simply wants control of business, but doesn’t realize how his greed will end his business. His role is something common in Dick stories, the best friend/associate that hates for business to ruin the relationship but does what needs to be done. He does well for the role as a friendly man, who shows somewhat anger, but he doesn’t really give a full role. He doesn’t appear bad, he seems kind of there, like everything will work out in his favor, even though his character doesn’t even appear to think that way. Eckhart has the wrong type of motivation and cuts short of a roll that could have been as large as Ben’s. Besides that, the main relationship between Affleck and Thurman runs the film and adds the human feel.

John Woo is well known for action films he directs. Though like Ang Lee it’s always a fault to have breakneck action and heart in the film at the same time. With this film Woo left the heart to Dick and concentrated on the imagery. The cinematography is great in the film in how for the action sequences it doesn’t rely on the computers and simply films everything. The shots are simply in the scenes that don’t require too much, but a common theme of the shots are establishing. Always panning to reveal something unseen before, as the characters are always learning or remembering something, it helps put the audience in the point of view. Extremely fast editing put a quick pace on the film as if the world is going to end at the end of the day even though it’s years later, but it’s great for the type of information that needs to be introduced in a small amount of time. The film holds up on all aspects as Woo does a wonderful job with directing.

For once a good balance of action and heart, the film actually carries a good story and is a good adaptation better than Imposter and in the ranks with Minority Report. Affleck has created an everyman for the future, and stepped up his ranks and proved himself as an action star. Paycheck is a film that is a great contribution to variance in the action film formula and proves that a genre can be pushed to new levels.
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Welcome [02 Mar 2004|03:13am]

Welcome to Review Emporium. This is a community for the real movie reviews. With different perspectives. MrSic and I will be posting reviews on movies that range from classics to the new shit. Feel free to leave an idea or comment maybe even a recommendation of films we should check out. Anyway, lets begin the posts.
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Mr. Sic #2 [06 Mar 2004|11:21pm]


Broken Lizard’s Club Dread Where do I start? Well Broken Lizard is the amazingly funny comedy troop that’s responsible for the movie Sooper Troopers. Club Dread is them at doing yet another adult oriented comedy flick with a twist of horror thrown in. Right from the start one can automaticly see that this is going to be another “slasher” flick, but it’s purposely ment to be funny. Yeah the acting was pretty good, but I had a bit of trouble forgetting about all of Lizard’s Sooper Trooper roles. On top of starring Lizard, Club Dread also had Bill Paxton as Coconut Pete, who is an old musician from the late 70’s that wrote acid trip songs that make little sense but add more comedy to the already funny movie. Also dread has Brittany Daniel, who we recongnize as the chick from Joe Dirt, you know the one that was in love with him the whole time? Yeah you know you saw it too, but yeah she was hot, and yeah she’s hot in this too. Uh, well like I said before, the movie pretty much moves like the standard slasher flick, having the audiance sitting there trying to guess who’s killing everybody, and all these characters taht are on screen all suspect eachother, and then you suspect some other people, you know the ones that act all suspicious and then try to play off that nothing’s wrong? Well yeah but in the end you find out who the killer really is, and I have to say it was one helluva twist. I was impressed with it, because I really didn’t expect it. The directing of the movie was pretty good, nothing to fancy, which I guess could be said for the special effects too. Everything seemed to not be way over the top like Freddy vs. Jason, which I think is pretty cool. The special effects, were pretty much just blood splatter here and there, and then some neat little tricks(where you can tell most of the spec. budget went) which when is all put together was damn cool. For those of you that are able to get to this movie, go see it, because it’s a nice little comedy that does wonders for the mental stresses. In the theatres now we see mostly serious movies, and well, Club Dread is a nice departure from that.

p.s. Hey Jobe, let's see some shit from you now.

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MR. Sic #1 [03 Mar 2004|05:54pm]


An American Werewolf in London

London, when I think of London I picture "bad food, worse weather, fish, chips and Mary bloody Poppins." When I watch An American Werewolf in London, I see a gritty version of jolly ol’ England, and of course with a werewolf to cause trouble. Made in 1981 London was the brain child of director John Landis, who is more commonly known for his comedic directing skills(i.e. Animal House, The Blues Brothers, ect.) But when John was finally granted permission and funding by Universal, he then went and assembled a crack team of special effects artists, and actors. In the special effects department John got Rick Baker the man responsible for the make up in Star Wars, to do the amazing make up effects. As for the acting ability all were pretty decent portrayals of average people thrust into a not so average situation, as David our lead man with a hairy problem was David Naughton, as Jack, David’s friend who only he can see(because he’s dead) is Griffin Dunne and the leading lady was played by Jenny Agutter.

The story is really pretty simple, guy gets attacked by werewolf who then kills his friend, man survives attack, falls in love with girl who wants to help, man faces problems and then kills a whole lot of people. I feel that the story is indeed excellent, but the awesome-ness of the movie lies in the stunning effects and in the camera work. John Landis did a jaw dropping job of bringing the pain of a werewolf transformation to the screen. Landis took the camera and put it in David’s face so we the audience could see the little twitches that makes pain come to life on camera. With all of the camera movements that John Landis did, it took even more to make the transformation believable, and that meant Rick Baker doing some spectacular make up and costume effects. Baker made David’s jaw grow about 8 inches out to form a muzzle, making David’s hands and fingers stretch and crack, to show the entire body changing was just so awesome it allowed Baker to win the first Academy Award for make up effects.

With all of the horror elements that are in An American Werewolf in London, John Landis had to stay true to his comedic roots and the film has a few one liners that only seem to add to the scariness of the film. I think that the biggest joke John Landis put in the film was Jack, every time we see Jack he is a little bit more decayed and a little more of him seems to fall off on screen. Of course most of the one liners all belong to Jack, but I guess I’d be pissed too if I were dead and rotting, doomed to walk the earth until the werewolf that killed me is killed as well. I guess it’s the irony of being a werewolf, anybody you kill will be left for you to see until you are dead too. Oh well. To any person that is in the need to watch something scary or your just a fan of this genre then run out and grab this movie, it’s scary and it’s funny, it’s so funny in fact it’ll have you howling.

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