Monday, January 11, 2010

Dream cinema to go see

Some recent movies I have seen I would recommend for dreamers

'Ink' is a small fantasy piece that has made it's own bottle-rocket-explosive legacy recently.
The most quoted fact about it that sums it all up; No big studio picked up the film for theatrical and home distribution. Double Edge Films pitched the movie directly to independent cinemas and to the DVD, Blu-ray and online distribution by themselves. After the release it became the most downloaded movies in file sharing torrent sites more accurately 400,000 times in a single week and exposed the film to a large audience, leading to higher DVD and Blu-ray sales in return. The independent filmmakers wrote in their newsletter that they had "embraced the piracy" and are "happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure.

Watching the trailer was grabbing (watch it, I dare you) and before it my sister's BF had a copy for us to watch.

The Verdict; better than I thought it would be, and I suspected it had potential.
It's strongest suite was they snappy editing was clean and lyrical, despite color shifts and film styles and textures and some energetic fight sequences. It dished out information about characters in flash backs that were punctual. It reminded my heavily of Vonnegutt's 'Slaughterhouse 5' jumping back and forth from fantasy and reality and different times. The director has a keen eye for telling a story, keeps several balls in the air without to many drops and only a few draggy periods, and there's a nice twist in the end worth the wait.
I was afraid that it would be too reliant on filters for atmosphere and cheap special effects for the most punch.
The shifts in color and tone were sometimes blatant, but at their best, they were nicely done.
The Special effects were small scale and aided in the story telling. Standout were things of reality flying back together if broken by dream people, the good dream people flashing into our reality, and above all, the incubuses. NOOO, I did not know the evil dream men would be incubuses! Nice surprise! The creepy smiling faces and wavering screens felt grandly nightmarish.

The best element was the nature of dreams and nightmares that I enjoyed the most. People's nightmares played out, as well as their best dreams.

The actors weren't bad either. SOme were slightly unbalanced with their characters, and clearly not everyone as good an actor as the best. THe main actor playing John is so unlikable at the start I was loosing my enjoyment for the film, but stick around to the end. He really was working hard.

And in all, if you need glossy acting and high production values, steer clear.
Otherwise, if you like dreams and nightmares, check it out quick.
It's downloadable on HUlu, I have been told, so why not?

The Fall
I love Tarsems film 'The Cell'.
No, maybe it's not 'Citizen Kane' for some people who believe music-video editing in movie styles is rubbish.
I relish 'The Cell' for it's visuals, it's an overload of more dreams and nightmares before my eyes, edited with diabolical pace of a music video.
The Fall has a good setup of a broken ( in every sense) suicidal stuntman stuck at a hospital in 1920's LA telling a young girl fantastic stories in order to get her to steal morphine to kill himself with.
On it's own, the actors and setup are well done. The main actor was convincing, and the little girl was remarkable.
Her dialouge and mannerisms felt natural.
Like when she's caught in a lie, she doesn't feel like she's acting, she really acts like a small child would.
Her moments of wonder, joy, fear, loneliness and frustration are so well done.
Plus her little box of things she likes that she is always carrying around? I would do things like that as a kid.

The cherry on top, naturally, are the fantasy sequences, and whoa are they stunning.

All on location around the wide world, whirling dervishes, people rising from the earth, Marwari horses, 20's x-ray helmets morphed into nightmare knights that howl and bark, elephants swimming in the water, silent-screen falls, Eiko Ishioka costumes, Birds flying out of peoples mouths, googly googly, Alexander the great, oranges with teeth, and hundreds of indescribable moments.

Tarsem sees what is redundant to say but is the only way to say it; the world as a dream.

It has much of the same feel of 'Pan's Labyrinth' with childhood, reality and fantasy, and the great big world one's imagination is.
And a grim sense of death and violence, not for kiddies, but anyone with a sense of imagination.

And on with even more dreams and nightmares, I finally got the directors cut of one of my all time favs; Dark City.
The movie was great before, now it's a masterpiece.
As I was saying the beauty of 'the Cell' and 'The Fall' were the brisk MTV editing and visuals and editing, the original 'Dark City'was so famously tight and shortly edited (it has one of shortest scene-editing of all time, with most scene at 1.3 seconds!) and was epileptic to watch.

This cut does what the original needs; a couple of loooong scenes to take in the scope and beauty.
The visual composition of this film isn't just done to stun or be mind-blowing, it's meant to evoke a hundred eras you are familiar with, and press them together in a gauzy gas-lite world.
The colors and tones are enhanced, and they are the their darkest shades of dark.
Thousands of great bits added make it grander and subtler.
The score is also toned down, which is welcome. I adore the quirky score, but it was overwhelming and loud and drowned actions and dialouge before.
Here, it creeps along and then flies out at the right instants.
Also on the audio aspect, notice that continual hum of the City through-out the whole film? ;-)
Schriebers opening narration is gone, and his character becomes more questionable yet sympathetic until the end; you don't know who he's working for.
John comes so much more lost and frightened. his first encounter with Emma is TOTALLY re-edited, and it makes he feel really lost.
Pace changes with John also seeing Schreiber and Mr. Hand talking is improved, you can let him feel belligerent and un-trusting of the Doc when they first encounter.

Bumsted's character gets the most screen time added, and it's welcome, Hurt owns the role.

And Mr. Hand gets in a few more moments, which is grand. ;-)
No more Mr. Wall, though, bugger all.

The air of mystery is higher and much more cloudy than before, and it pretty dark in the first cut.

See all these films, dreamers.

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