Lightning Round (week of 7/14-7/20)

July 14, 2013

lunarcy-theatrical-posterLunarcy! (2013)

Director: Simon Ennis

Starring: n/a

Runtime: 80 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

Lunarcy! is a 2013 documentary directed first-time documentary filmmaker, Simon Ennis.  The film focuses on a group of mostly-misfits who have one common interest: The moon.  These incredibly interesting characters are spellbound by our moon, and are dedicated to the habitation, mapping, and selling property on the moon.  The documentary is very light in tone, which helps make Lunarcy! a very interesting and fun, if not entirely important or relevant, documentary.  It is one that goes by incredibly fast, running just 80 minutes.  The subjects in the film alone are more than enough reason to see the film.  I recommend it to doc fans looking for something light and fluffy to settle down with for just over an hour.  7.5/10.

Cottage Country (2013)cottage-country

Director: Peter Wellington

Writer: Jeremy Boxen

Starring: Tyler Labine, Malin Akerman, Dan Petronijevic, Lucy Punch

Runtime: 90 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

After seeing 2011’s Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Tyler Labine had been cemented as a comedic force to be reckoned with.  Cottage Country is a sort of spiritual successor to the film, and hits most of that same notes that made Tucker and Dale such an enjoyable experience.  The film stars Labine and Malin Akerman as a couple looking to get away for a week, so they go to cottage in the woods in order to escape from their lives for a short time.  While there, Todd (Labine) plans to propose to his long-time girlfriend Cammie (Akerman).  Unfortunately for the two, their idyllic week at the cottage doesn’t exactly as planned.  The film is filled with hilarious dialogue, as well as many moments of above-average physical comedy (mostly from Labine).  It may not be as memorable as Tucker and Dale was, but it’ll be more than enough to tide me over until another Tucker and Dale-esque masterpiece.  Cottage Country is a blast from start to finish and a film I highly recommend, if only for the sheer entertainment value is possesses.  8/10.

July 15, 2013

urlDr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)

Director: Freddie Francis

Writer: Milton Subotsky

Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Bernard Lee, Donald Sutherland

Runtime: 98 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors is my first experience with Britain’s Amicus Horror production company, known mostly for their Hammer-esque films, and their many anthology horror features.  The film is told through five different stories, as well as a main segment that sets up our short horror anthology segments.  In the main segment, Doctor Schreck (played by Peter Cushing) reveals through the use of Tarot cards the futures of five men aboard a train late one night.  One man is terrorized by a werewolf while altering his former home, one by a creeping vine, Christopher Lee by his own severed hand, and more.  Most of the five segments are very fun and fast-paced, with the exception of the third (the voodoo segment), which slows down the film slightly.  Overall, Dr. Horror was a very fun experience, and one that has me very excited to further explore the world of Amicus Horror.  Recommended to horror fans, who will definitely get a kick out of seeing Lee, Cushing, and Donald Sutherlund all together on-screen.  7/10.

Watchmen (Director’s Cut) (2008)0600005030QAr1.qxd:0600005030QAr1

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: David Hayter, Alex Tse

Starring: Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode

Runtime: 186 minutes

Views: 2nd Viewing (1st for Director’s Cut)

What on earth could have possibly kept me from revisiting Watchmen for nearly five years?  I first saw it during its initial theatrical run, and even though I enjoyed the film, it didn’t seem to be an entirely memorable or special film for any reason.  Boy, was I wrong on that front.  Snyder’s director’s cut for Watchmen is easily one of the best superhero films I’ve ever seen, managing to be dark, satirical, grounded, over-the-top, and stylish all at the exact same time.  This is without a doubt Snyder’s greatest achievement to date, and shows exactly why production companies would choose him for films like Man of Steel.  Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley, and the rest of the principal cast do an incredible job at portraying the Watchmen, specifically Haley, who gives one of the most memorable performances of the 2000’s as Rorschach.  The music, the direction, the acting, and the amazing cinematography make Watchmen one of the most unique and misunderstood films of the decade, and one I can’t wait to revisit as soon as I possibly can.  9/10 (leaning towards 9.5).

July 19, 2013

broken-2013-poster02Broken (2013)

Director: Rufus Norris

Writer: Mark O’Rowe

Starring: Lily James, Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth, Rory Kinnear

Runtime: 91 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

Broken is a film I had heard a lot about after its limited release in 2012, and yet knew very little about.  I decided to watch it on a whim this week, and was not disappointed in the least.  The film is an incredible coming-of-age tale with a strong lead, Lily James, playing Skunk.  After she witnesses the beating of her neighbour, her life is drastically changed forever. Tim Roth is also incredible as Skunk’s father, as is Cillian Murphy as her teacher.  I can’t say a whole lot about Broken without delving into spoiler territory, but the film takes a turn for the bleak in its third act.  Many critics have pointed out the films third act as the weakest part of the story, but I have to completely disagree with them on this.  The last act of the film packs such an emotional punch, and comes completely unexpectedly.  I feel that everybody should see this film if they have the opportunity to.  This is a truly great coming-of-age tale with solid performances, a lovely soundtrack, and an emotionally-draining third act.  9/10.

July 20, 2013

A Separation (2011)

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Writer: Asghar Farhadi

Starring: Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat

Runtime: 123 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

I finally did it!  I finally managed to catch up with Asghar Farhadi’s 2011 Academy Award winning film, A Separation.  I had high expectations for the film, and it managed to exceed them in every way possible.  A Separation manages to completely blur the lines between truth and lies, to the point where even the viewer has a hard time deciding who is right and who is wrong during throughout the film.  The performances from Peyman Moaadi (Nader) and Leila Hatami (Simin) as a separated couple are absolutely stellar, as are the supporting performances from most of the films cast.  A Separation is littered with moments of moral ambiguity, and is a very challenging film is many ways, making it an incredibly rewarding experience at the end of the day.  I can’t wait to see more from Farhadi, and to revisit the film again in the future.  Highly recommended.  9.5/10.

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

the-night-of-the-hunter-posterDirector: Charles Laughton

Writer: James Agee

Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

Runtime: 93 minutes

Views: 3rd Viewing

It may be seen as a controversial pick to some, but Charles Laughton’s lone directorial effort, The Night of the Hunter, is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite films.  The lighting and use of shadows throughout the films short runtime is impeccable, as is the iconic performance by the legendary Robert Mitchum.  Mitchum plays Harry Powell, a reverend who is after two children, John and Pearl Harper, in order to capture the money their fugitive father hid away inside young Pearl’s doll.  Powell is easily one of the greatest villains in the history of film, making the most of every minute he has on-screen.  The soundtrack, lighting and cinematography, direction, and the performances by Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish make The Night of the Hunter stand out as one of the greatest and most unique films ever made, in my opinion.  It’s one I find myself drawn to, and even now I can’t wait until my next viewing of the film.  I highly recommend this stylish and creepy noir to absolutely anybody.  10/10.

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