Wasted Youth – Production Design W.I.P & Lighting test

Today- Ryanna-Mae Lloyd, our production designer for Wasted Youth, took some work in progress shots.  Following that, we decided to test out our lighting using Max’s crusty sen as a model.

Check out the pictures we got, below:

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Rent (2005) – Movie Review by Max Coulson

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Rating – 5/10

Yep, this is happening!

RENT is a 2005 adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, directed by Chris Columbus.

Now, before I dive headfirst into this review, I should add a brief disclaimer that this is not a genre that I have even a passing knowledge of.  I am one of those guys who just doesn’t get musicals, so it is entirely possible and fairly likely that many of my criticisms will apply not only to this movie, but the genre as a whole.

The film follows a group of bohemians living in New York in the end of the eighties/start of the nineties, as they struggle with money, their love lives, HIV, and drugs.

The film focusses predominantly on two roommates named Rodger and Mark.  Rodger is a musician whose music we never really hear despite this being a musical (though, given his resemblance to Jon Bon Jovi – I’m not complaining), and Mark is a documentary filmmaker.

We also follow university lecturer (I think – they keep talking about a university job throughout the film) Collins and his drag queen boyfriend, Angel, who is suffering with HIV.

Then there’s Mark’s performance artist ex-girlfriend Maurine, and her current girlfriend Joanne who has doubts about Maurine’s commitment to their relationship.

The film’s biggest issue is that it tries to bring all these characters’ stories to centre stage, which (along with the extended musical numbers) drags out the pacing, and leaves very little room for genuine character development.

The only believable characters in the movie are Angel and Collins, who do genuinely feel like a real couple dealing with the knowledge one of them is dying – right at the start of this fresh relationship.

The film dedicates a lot of its runtime to Rodger’s love/hate relationship with a stripper named Mimi.  We see that he wants to accept that he loves her but can’t, as she is a junkie and his previous girlfriend died from contracting HIV via dirty needles.  However, Mimi never really gets any character development beyond just being a junkie.

Maurine is painted as being a selfish commitment-phobe, who can’t be in a room with another human for more than a few seconds being without flirting with them – and yet, towards the end, the film seems to take the attitude that her and Joanne’s relationship is a two-way street despite us being given no reason to side with Maureen.

Each of these storylines could have worked as individual films but, jammed together into one narrative, they feel unfinished and messy.

Another example of this is, at the beginning, we are introduced to Mark and Rodger’s landlord (whose name I can’t be bothered to look up as he’s barely a character) who offers to overlook the previous year’s unpaid rent, if they stop Maureen from protesting.  They refuse, and he makes them homeless.  Not long after that, he lets them move back in.

This overcrowding of storylines also lead me to forget what was going on until each storyline was hastily tied up, often during extended musical numbers.

There were three separate occasions where I thought the movie was coming to an end only for it to keep plodding along.

Aaand then there’s the actual ending!  Ooh boy!  I won’t say it outright but…  okay, do you remember Hellboy?  Or the first two Matrix films?  Power of love heals all- that lark.  I…  that!  That happens.  My eyes rolled so far into my head that I could see my brain!

Other than that, there were elements I enjoyed.  The production design was interesting, and the dance sequences were all very well shot.  I also didn’t hate the music.  Wouldn’t play it while I do the washing up, but I wouldn’t switch it off if someone else put it on (mostly because that’s rude and you should really ask before switching off another person’s music).

While I did feel its length at times, and the storylines were draining, I wouldn’t say I was ever completely bored while watching it.

It also handled the subject of terminal illness very well and, while other parts of the film felt hamfisted, this was one element that felt completely sincere.

So, would I recommend this film?  Honestly, I’m not sure I need to.  This is a movie that has its own audience, which I am not a part of.  This audience will be well aware of the inherent flaws that you just sort of overlook while watching this type of film.  I do fully understand that, as I am a fan of exploitation and horror movies – which are about as flawed as film gets.

I doubt that there’s anything I have said about the story and its focus that would really bother fans of either musicals or dramas with ensemble casts.

So in summary, ignore everything I said and see this movie if it sounds like it would appeal to you.  Bet your glad you read all this, aren’t ya?

D-War II- Dragons and Dodgy Politics Unite!

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Shim Hyung Rae, the dude that made the weird live-action Dragonball movie (not Evolution, the other one) returns to his D-War franchise with Mysteries of the Dragon and, this time, the Chinese want a taste of the D!

State-controlled Chinese Culture Group will be contributing a reported $77 million to the making of D-War II, in the wake of South Korea & China’s free trade agreement.

While I am totally psyched to see a new D-War movie, I am quietly hoping that this sequel avoids pandering too much to China (something we have seen happen already with the partly Chinese-funded Transformers 4).

The film is to be set in 1969, during a war between the US and Russia in their race to put a man on the moon.  Well, fuck.

So, about that pandering…  Oh God, I hope this film isn’t going to wind up as cringe-inducingly propaganda laden as it sounds.  Mostly because the last thing D-War needs is political propaganda to further confuse the already insanely convoluted storyline!

On the plus side, if the movie does end up sucking, we still have Toho’s Godzilla: Resurgence to look forward to this year, and Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020!

The Green Inferno (2013) – Movie Review

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Rating – 7/10

The Green Inferno is an interesting beast.  A movie whose visual aesthetic is intrenched in the particular brand of modern horror Roth is so commonly involved in (or, at the very least, commonly associated with), inspired heavily by the work of Deodato and D’Amato, but with the pacing and even story beats of big budget Hollywood action-adventure movies.

Roth is a director who I have endless respect for, because of his uncompromising “fuck you” attitude to Hollywood suits who have utterly bled the horror genre dry over the years.  However, that isn’t to say I am the biggest fan of all his movies.  While I did enjoy Cabin Fever, I found the Hostel films to be little more than mediocre and, let’s face it, horribly paced.

The Green Inferno certainly improves upon the pacing from Hostel.  Ironically, the pacing is almost TOO good, now.  I mentioned before that it reminded me of Hollywood action-adventure flicks and, well, it does.  The pacing is snappy and very slick- which, as a plus, meant I never got bored.  The downside is that it doesn’t give a huge amount of time to build any suspense.  Some of the chase sequences managed to bring some very real tension to the plate, which was very much helped by the score- but there were a number of scenes that I felt should have been scary but just fell short.

I think the best way I can sum up my issues with this film is the phrase “missed opportunity.”  The film really did nothing wrong.  It was a very competently made film, with a fairly likeable, though believably flawed lead character.  However, I couldn’t help feeling that it could’ve been something more.

Roth really does very little to humanise the native tribespeople at all, save for one child.  In one of the more (if not the most) ridiculous moments of the film, one character is literally ripped apart by cannibals just using their teeth.  Honestly, it looked like something out of a zombie movie and, while it didn’t get a full blown laugh out of me, I did find it pretty funny.  Please don’t take that as a misstep in the filmmaking- it was the crescendo of an intentionally humorous scene in which the tribe accidentally eat a rather large amount of weed, and get the munchies.  Yes, this is explained in dialogue as what is happening in the scene – it’s all very silly.

Anyway, save for the aforementioned stoned scene- the cannibals in this movie are never really anything more than just crazed eating machines.  I was really hoping for that moment.  That moment where the cannibals really become the victims, and we start to feel for them or side with them on some level.  But, any time the cannibals are victimised, it more or less happens off-camera.

The film follows Justine, a college girl who joins a group protesting against deforestation.  The group is then mistaken by the tribe as the same people who were bulldozing the rainforest in the first place, so they kidnap and eat them.  Standard.  So our villains do have motivation, but there’s no attempt at an emotional connection to them, simply rationalisation for why this sequence of events takes place.

There were a lot of cannibal movies made over the years.  I mean a LOT of fucking cannibal movies.  But there’s a very good reason why Cannibal Holocaust is the only one that is at all well remembered.  Part of it is the controversy, of course.  But Guinea Pig 2 had similar controversy and yet it is nowhere near as infamous.  Cannibal Holocaust is well remembered because it did something different.  It shocked audiences, not only with its graphic and realistic gore, but also with its twist on the formula and its social commentary.

Now, that isn’t to say that The Green Inferno has no social commentary to it.  But it feels very tacked on.  I won’t insult Eli Roth’s intelligence by suggesting that he missed the point of Cannibal Holocaust (which this movie’s name is a tribute to, I should add), but I do think that Roth’s main goal was to make a film that pays tribute to Deodato’s horror classic, and others in the genre, more than it was to tell a strong story with some real social commentary to it.

This movie is a tribute film, through and through.  Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Tarantino has built his entire career around paying tribute to other movies- but those movies always end up carrying his own unique voice.  Not just adding his trademark dialogue, but by using old tropes to tell new stories.  To make points that those films never made before.

Roth’s entry into the cannibal genre’s point, while perfectly valid, isn’t daring enough or poignant enough to prevent this film from feeling like it’s treading too familiar grounds.

All in all, I did enjoy the movie.  It was a fun little horror film, with some genuinely effective scenes, and a pace that kept me engaged.  I can harp on all day about squandered potential (which I almost have), but at the end of the day, I can only really judge the film I have been presented with.  As such, I think this deserves a 7 out of 10.  As said before, it is well executed and a fun nostalgic tribute to an almost forgotten genre.

The last question I face is, would I recommend this film?  Honestly… yeah.  Obviously, only for gorehounds- someone who can’t handle more than PG13 violence might not be able to stomach the film.  But, for those into horror and exploitation, I would suggest it.  It’s fun, and the pace of the movie really keeps you hooked throughout its admittedly brief 100 minute runtime.

So, yeah- check it out!

Sightseers (2012) – Movie Review

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RATING- 7.5/10

“I just wanna be feared and respected – That’s not too much to ask of life, is it?”

Sightseers, a movie that definitely isn’t called “Daytrippers” as I kept wanting to call it, is Ben Wheatley’s sneering look at…  pretty much everybody.

The film follows a couple going out on holiday in a caravan, murdering people up and down the country for their various minor offences.

The couple, as with many (if not all couples) is made up of two people.  The two people making up this particular couple are Tina, a fairly slow-witted but seemingly nice woman, and Chris, a short-tempered and downtrodden man.

The first thing that you may notice when watching this movie is how it doesn’t fuck about!  While the first person that Chris kills may be accidental (it’s fairly ambiguous), more deaths follow very shortly afterwards, and there is nothing accidental about them.

One thing I immediately liked about the murders is that they make no real attempt at justifying them.  The first person that Chris kills with no level of ambiguity, is a fellow caravaner whose only sins seem to be a posh accent, a slightly snobbish attitude, and a solid concept for a book – something that Chris would like to do, but lacks the creative drive.

While the targets of the film’s sneering hatred are certainly varied, the film does revel in Chris’ hatred of the middle classes, new age hippies (the young and posh ones, anyway) and anybody who Chris feels may be looking down on him.

Tina seems to be far less prejudicial in her murders.  As a slower, more naive character, her reasons to kill revolve purely around getting Chris to pay attention to her — particularly in the bedroom.

Speaking of sex, the film certainly doesn’t hold back there either.  While there is no graphic nudity in the film (which also means no close-ups of diseased penises, a’la A Field in England), I can safely say it is the first time I have ever seen a character proudly lay out a pair of homemade, crochet crotchless panties.  It is also the first time I have ever heard a character loudly proclaim “This is not my vagina!”

The only major downside of the film is in its presentation.  Much like in Kill List, the cinematography is very safe and uncreative- giving it the look and feel of a Channel 4 drama, at times.  I will say that the editing in this film was far snappier and well executed than in Kill List, possibly due to the presence of Edgar Wright as producer.

Fortunately, by the time Wheatley made A Field in England, the cinematography and editing became far more inventive and cinematic in feel.

So, how to rate this movie?  It was very entertaining, and one of the funnier films I’ve seen in a while, but not an instant classic, either.  Still, I imagine this film will have plenty of rewatch value and I definitely recommend it to fans of bleak comedy, road movies, and horror alike.