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Memorable, but Frustrating.
I've seen a fair few films from the Far East recently.....some were excellent (Battle Royale, Infernal Affairs, the Eye), and some were not so great (Versus, The Triple Cross). Then there are ones like Uzumaki and Returner, which while flawed I still enjoyed.
The basic premise involves the mysterious and horrific effects that a growing obsession with spirals has upon a community. Sound silly? Yeah, thats what I was thought. Firstly, the good stuff. Direction was top notch, sure a bit over the top in places but never the less interesting and stylish. Secondly the story, was original and like other writers commented very lovelace-esq...it was interesting. What it reminded me most of however was early Cronenberg; films like Shivers and Videodrome.
The acting wasn't great, but not too horrible either. To be honest I was actually bored on a few occations....I felt the pacing especially initially was a little slow. My main problem was that it was too silly and funny to be true horror, and yet not so enough to be considered a comedy. *SPOILERS* below.
*SPOILERS* Some good scenes (washing machine =)) and I liked the final shot/voiceover. At first I thought it ended far too abruptly but about 20 seconds later I realised the meaning and liked the end. However, because of the lack of seriousness in the story, combined with over the top scenes such as the news report at the school ment that I did not care for the characters much in the end. The final scene which was perhaps supposed to be a little poignent, while in reality I couldn't really care for the girl or her boyfriend. *SPOILERS END*
So overall I kinda did like this film, but it frustrated me and I think there was real potential in addition to some good scenes. Couple of other points, the main girl is quite pretty and cute, and the song that plays at the end is good too. I rated it 7/10.
The Faculty (1998)
I liked it
Seen this flick twice now. Okay, so its not original but its fun and solidly entertaining. Borrows heavily from 'The Thing' and 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' among others. Good teen cast, proficient director, excitement, frights...this film is strong all round, and better than most teen movies of recent years. The adult members of the cast including Famke Janssen and Robert Patrick definately seem to be enjoying themselves, while Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett have gone on to bigger (though not necessarily better) things. Recommended for the 'Scream'/'I Know what you Did' crowd.
Overnight Delivery (1998)
Enjoyable, Cute and Underrated
I really liked this film. Its really fun and amusing and definatly better than alot of similar teen comedies like 'Loser' and 'She's all That' which are better known and got released at cinemas. Rudd and Witherspoon are both very likeable, while the film has a good sountrack and is short so as not to become tiresome. Jokes mostly hit the mark and there are a few which are very 'Kevin Smith-esq', obviously remaining from his much edited original script. If you want to watch a largely harmless, light hearted, and above all a cute and funny teen romance then you could do alot worse than give this one a rent if you can find it.
Not as Bad as the first 15 Minutes Lead you to Believe
While I found this suspense-thriller to be rather mediocre in many ways, I am glad to say this film did manage to keep my attention for its hour and a half or so duration.
'Tangled' was a film I had never heard of before, but rented it on the basis of a decent cast (especially Rachael Leigh Cook) and the fact there was nothing else interesting at the store which I had not seen already. It has a very low budget feel to it, as if this could really have been a made for TV movie. It's basically a fairly typical teen film; light plot, suspect acting in places, and just about entertaining enough. The film in the most part is told in flashbacks and concerns a three way relationship between friends Jenny (Cook), Alan (Rhys-Meyers) and David (Hatosy) as told by David. The film starts with Jenny and David as close friends boardering on lovers, but things take a very different and sinister turn when Alan comes on the scene. The film was very, very similar to the 1995 film 'Fear' starring Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon. In this movie Rhys-Meyers essentially plays Wahlberg's character, Cook plays Witherspoon's character, Estelle Warren plays Alyssa Milano's character and Hatosy plays a similar role to that of Witherspoon's father in Fear, though his character is more jealous than overprotective. This is a little better than 'Fear' though.
There were a number of things I liked about the film. The cinematography was nice, and also varied - both warm and vibrant early in the film and dark and cold when things take a downward turn. The way in which the events are told through flashbacks of different times and using varying amonts of colour, though not particularly original (Usual Suspects, Traffic), does at least make it intersting and a little different from the rest of its market. I also liked the fact that Rachael Leigh Cook for once plays a relitively sexy character, rather than her usual 'cute but slightly dorky' ones which have become her trademark (She's all That, All I Wanna Do, Antitrust, etc). There were a few scenes where the director tries to be a little deeper and metaphorical (e.g. kite scene, sitting on car scene, and the story about the brothers), but I felt these scenes suffered from lack of subtlety, especially the kite scene. Still, I liked the fact he tried them.
I do have a number of critisisms though. Firstly, the plot can be a little slow at times which may not be to everyones tastes. Secondly, while the acting in the most part was OK, there were a few times (e.g. Cook's 'shocked and surprised' face in the first 10 minutes) which left me and the guys I was watching it with chuckling. Also the 'twist' ending is very predictable, and we had the whole second half of the movie figured out within the first twenty minutes. Still, theres at least a sense of contentment when things come together on screen how you predicted them.
Overall this is a mixed bag and not bad for a 1st time directorial effort - a mediocre but interesting suspense thriller which is worth a watch if you see it on TV.