Eureka! I have found it.
The 400 Blows (1959). Directed by François Truffaut.
Christof: We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.
We all humor the idea of an audience peeping into our lives, listening to our inner monologue and thinking about the possibility of someone watching, judging, enjoying, sharing. Imagine being born in front of an audience, raised in front of the world. Every day, at all hours, living in a lie with people that were forcefully placed into your life, secretly manipulating every single aspect of it. You’re not unhappy; not at all. But, at some level, you need to explore. Jim Carrey brings you deep into the world he lives in. The writing from Andrew Niccol and directing from Peter Weir bring this story to life in hilarious and heart-warming ways. As a lover of one lone protagonist with all odds against him, this film warms my heart every single time I watch it. The acting is spot on, and the pure spread of the film will easily get you involved.
The story of Truman Burbank is told with fantasy, comedy, and heartfelt moments. This film will always have a gushy place in my heart.
On The Air. Unaware.
Lester Burnham: It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.
This film is my favorite movie of all time, hands down. Here we have a dark, bleak comedy about what life is truly like behind “The American Dream.” These people don’t lack anything material, but all are unfulfilled, empty, and dissatisfied. Kevin Spacey is phenomenal as his portrayal of Lester Burnham in the midst of a midlife crisis that will lead him to an ending that no one expected to see. Sam Mendes brings Alan Ball’s writing to life, creating this beautiful, brooding story.
This is my favorite film, because in every scene, there is something done that you will remember, a gesture, a quote, a layout. The way this story is told with such grace and blatant truth is beautiful to me at no end. Kevin Spacey, along with the rest of the cast pull you deep in as the “American Dream” is picked apart and separated into tiny little compartments. Each character holds a separate broken piece, a separate story and set of issues. This film will make you laugh one second, and keep you silent with with uninterrupted attentiveness the next. These are the kinds of films that we need in our society today; the kind of shock value from scene to scene keeps people awake. The kind of film that leaves people feeling out of place after watching.
The Loved Ones.
Here is a film that surprised me. From Australia, writer and director Sean Byrne brings us the simple story of a girl getting turned down for prom and taking revenge. From first glance, I thought the same thing you’re thinking. “Wow…this looks…really cheesy.”
I adored this movie in all of its clever, comedic, sadistic glory. This film is gory, morbid, and beautifully capitalizes on a few real-life events and past horror films alike. While there is no perfect aspect of this film, my low expectations were completely shattered and I can see this easily becoming a kind of cult classic for future years.
The writing is clever and twisted as the film plays with torture, mental disorders, and gore; not to mention that the brilliant acting in this movie makes it all the better. While there are a few potholes in the plot in my opinion, I completely enjoyed this film. While this movie didn’t break through into the “mainstream” grouping of horror, I completely recommend this to any horror-lover out there for it’s suspense, gore, and raw attack on mental and social issues.
You don’t have to die to go to hell.
Starla Grant: Baby, what happened to your face?
Grant Grant: It’s just a bee sting.
In the world of the ever-so-classic B movie, Slither is hilarious, gore-packed, and full of clever writing and shooting. While this film won’t receive any points for originality, the overall feel of the film is fantastic, and the writing from one scene to the next is genius. Slither is The Blob meets Night of the Living Dead meets any cult classic alien invasion film.
In an era of such serious, straining cinema, it is truly invigorating to take time for a hilarious B-movie with a little aspect of every horror movie in recent times. The cast, including Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion, along with other easily-recognized actors proves perfect for the sarcastic, dreamy feel of the project, and Director and Writer James Gunn not only shows his endlessly clever and appropriate writing, but he shows a respect for the classic B-film, picking pieces from several classics as a kind of nostalgic love-letter not only to horror films, but horror writing as well (There is a small, but noticeable visual mention of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps).
This film was made for horror fans, and it delivers. While this film isn’t a relentlessly intense piece of ongoing, stretched-out horror, the comedy, gore, clever writing, and cinematography bring it all home into an enjoyable package for anyone who enjoys horror and sci-fi films.
From the people that brought you 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, Horror Has a New Face.
"I won’t let anyone come between us any more."
A foreign film released throughout varying countries from 2003-2005, High Tension is a new age horror film that pushes boundaries, common archetypes, and tell-tale plot twists that keep the audience always guessing.
Writer and Director, Alexandre Aja (a clear fan of classic pillars of horror), brings us our two main characters, Marie and Alexa, a lesbian couple going to see Alexa’s family in their unsurprisingly secluded country home. Night time comes, and what happens? The killing begins. This killing moves into kidnapping, torture, and the inevitable cat and mouse chase. The film has the look and feel of a horror film made in the 70s, and holds an extreme intensity that isn’t found often in present day films. The gore and raw macabre in the film is something that brings a viewer back to the days of Tobe Hooper, harshly providing scenes that are utterly shocking with violence.
The ending of the film is something that throughout, you would not have expected at all, and while the ending has been fiercely debated for its significance, appropriateness, and motivations, I appreciated this film too much to find any fatal flaws within it.
For anyone out there looking for a fresh, invigorating new horror film to pave the way for further viewing, I will always recommend High Tension.
Hearts will bleed.
"The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal." "It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards, return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals… and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise." —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Director and Co-writer Takashi Shimizu, also known for Ju-on (The Curse) 1&2, Ju-on (The Grudge) 1 & 2, and The Grudge 1&2, brings us a brilliant installation of neo Horror in 2005’s, Reincarnation. The story involves a young Japanese actress, Nagisa Sugiura (Yuka), who begins encountering strange, supernatural experiences after landing a large role in a horror film that surrounds the real-life murder massacre that took place in a local hotel over forty years earlier. She and her 10 other cast mates portray the 11 people that were murdered while being forced to directly place themselves in the environment and mentalities of the victims, at a disturbingly tangible level. This film is suspenseful, psychologically and philosophically challenging, and terrifying through out as the plot beings to progress towards a jolting, violent ending.
For those out there who enjoy Japanese horror films, apart from the Americanized counter-parts (which is simply subjective for each viewer), Reincarnation delivers. I had heard of this film for a couple years after it had released, and from a first glance, I never expected that I would have been so invested in the film. I was skeptical at the beginning, and then proceeded to spend the next 90 or so minutes watching with my mouth open. The writing, acting, and cinematography altogether bring this film onto a deserved place among my favorite horror films. After dipping my feet into the realm of Japanese horror, I can whole-heartedly say that any horror-fan would not be disappointed to dive in deep behind me. This film will spark thoughts in your mind that keep you thinking, wondering, and reflecting on your own perspective. That is what every film should be able to do. So, dive in.
Death Is Only The Beginning.
"When I looked into his eyes I thought I saw recognition. Now I know. You fake it. If you think you’re supposed to recognize somebody you, you just pretend. You bluff it to get a pat on the head from the doctors. You bluff it to seem less like a freak."
British director Christopher Nolan (noted for The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Inception, and more) paired up with his brother Jonathan to bring the story, “Memento Mori” to life in Memento, “the film filmed backward.” This modern film noir is threaded together outside of a progressive chronological order as Guy Pearce leads the cast as Leonard, a man suffering from a rare type of amnesia, seeking out to avenge the rape and murder of his wife.
The film itself provides an entirely new vibe to the older film noir movies involving memory loss and mystery, while still providing a satisfying touch of charm and irony throughout the plot.
Although Memento is often a film that leaves my heart heavy, I would recommend anyone who claims to love film both with modernism and nostalgia to watch and appreciate this film.
"We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different."
Hot Fuzz | Edgar Wright | 2007
The Place Beyond the Pines | Derek Cianfrance | 2013
Kaylie Russell: [after uncovering the mirror]
Hello again. You must be hungry.
Mike Flanagan, well known for the film he wrote, produced, and directed in 2011, Absentia, completely refreshed the maket with his newest film that recently came out in April of 2014. Oculus is a brilliant installation for any horror junkie’s collection. After personally seeing a ridiculous number of horror films from b films to the classics, there aren’t many movies that I won’t be able to predict from shot to shot. Oculus definitely mixed up the pot.
This film has many of the basic foundations for a monster-in-the-house story line, but, the real complexities are found within the running plot and cinematography. The characters are constantly being thrown back and forth between flashbacks, hallucinations, and reality, in such a way that the audience is lost with them. For me, that was completely invigorating as a viewer, and it offered a unique way to hold tension throughout the entire movie without resorting to pure gore and empty scares.
While there are a small number of hollow jump scares, as there are with any horror film that makes it to the silver screen across the U.S., the writing and photography of the film offer more depth and stimulation than most recent horror films altogether. Oculus is an excellent horror movie to see while it’s in theaters, and if you’re a horror fan, you’ll eat this movie right up.
You see what it wants you to see.
Last fall my fiction professor thought that our class wasn’t creating vivid enough characters, so he had us write 5 pages about one of the characters in our existing stories, or about a character that would be in an upcoming story. Basically all we had to do was describe the person, using…