Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Only God Forgives Review

Back in 2011, Nicholas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling gave the world "Drive," a stylish psychological thriller that captivated fans and critics alike. The duo's second offering "Only God Forgives" is the polar opposite. Where "Drive" was exhilarating, "Only God Forgives" is dull. Where the former was filled with humanity, the latter showcases actors playing automatons.

According to Refn's own admissions, the film depicts a battle between a man and god. The film attempts to tell the story of Julian (Gosling), a man who must get revenge for the death of his rapist/murderer brother. The problem is that Julian lacks the initiative. Enter his mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), who arrives to goad her son into battle. With her son becoming ever-frustrating, she sends out a bunch of her own cronies to get the job done, upsetting police officer Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) who seems to be the stand-in for God. Continue reading

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Conjuring Review

Over the last few years, the horror genre has shifted from focusing on films about torture and murder to stories about the paranormal. Despite the shift, the genre has continued to receive poor criticism from the media and has been received with tepid support from audiences. James Wan, coming off his financial hit "Insidious," manages to elevate the quality of the genre with his latest effort "The Conjuring."

The movie is based on the Harrisville Haunting, a case taken on by demonologist Ed Warren and his clairvoyant wife Lorraine. The two ghost hunters were controversial in their day and reportedly engaged in thousands of mysterious paranormal cases including the well-known Amityville Horror. The Harrisville case is said to be the couple's most daunting task as it follows the Perrons, a family of seven, and the excruciating horrors they endured in their new Rhode Island country residence. Continue Reading

Pacific Rim Review

With such hits as "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Hell Boy," Guillermo del Toro has turned into one of the great cinematic visionaries of the modern era. The director's films are known for their visual splendor, their ability to create expansive fantastical worlds, and their memorable characters. Experiencing a del Toro film proves to be more than just thrilling escapism; through his fantastical world, the auteur reveals our deepest fears and wildest dreams.

After a year hiatus filled with side projects, del Toro has returned to the director's chair to bring "Pacific Rim," a film set in the near future that showcases the battle between massive robots known as Jaegers and Kaiju, monsters from another dimension hell-bent on destroying civilization. The concept is novel and has a tremendous amount of potential, but the final product represents del Toro's first major directorial misstep with its superficial treatment of its characters and its over-reliance on repetitive action. Continue Reading