Rapid Retrospect 6/16- 6/22

Almost Human (2013) 4/5

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I’m usually not a fan of sci-fi horror movies. I don’t know what it is, but outside of the classics they just don’t appeal to me. I might need to rethink that after seeing Almost Human. We follow Seth and Jen after her fiance Mark disappears in an eerie blue light. 2 years later, Mark comes back…but he’s not quite the same. It is low budget, but they manage to set up believable chaos in such a short period of time. The dialog and acting comes off as amateur, but the effects pacing make up for it. This is actually the directorial debut for Joe Begos. You can see his style could use some polishing, but there’s no ignoring the talent he has. I’m looking forward to see what he does next.

That Awkward Moment (2014) 1/5

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Zac Efron and two other dudes navigate through dating and sex, and eventually find love or something. I’m guessing on that last part because I gave up after about 20 minutes. This is the first time in quite a while that I couldn’t finish a movie. This is just chauvinistic crap topped with penis and poop jokes. Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I don’t think every man is trying to live out his last hurrah when he’s only in his mid to late 20’s by banging anything with a vagina in the metropolitan area. I just don’t think it’s funny seeing a guy leave after sex just because his partner has “hooker signs”. I love my raunchy comedies, but there has to be actual comedy and not sex jokes every 1-2 minutes.

Battle Royale II: Requiem (2003) 2/5

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This picks up 3 years after the last “battle”. Previous survivors are part of a group led by Shuya Nanahara. A new batch of teens is sent after the group, which has been labeled as terrorists by the government. It’s an interesting plot, but the connection to the first film is a bit of a stretch. Also, there are more explosions and D-Day like scenes that look a lot like a Michael Bay film. Acting ranges from corny to telenovela. And then there’s the running time. It’s 173 minutes, but about 40% of that is philosophical filler. I don’t quite get the point. “Adults” are evil? You’re either a winner or loser? They had 2 hours to make sense of it all, and instead you’re just left with more questions. Check out the first Battle Royale if you haven’t seen it, but this is one sequel you should skip.

Eyes Without a Face (1960) 4/5

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A young woman’s face is disfigured in a car accident caused by her father. Her father then becomes obsessed with giving her back her beauty, by any means necessary. First there’s the white, emotionless, nightmare-inducing mask she has to wear. It’s locked this stoic grimace, but you can still see her eyes. That’s what’s so chilling. I have to commend Edith Scob for being able to emote so well. She’s able to still give a great performance just from the emotion in her voice and her eyes. Outside of the facial transplant scene (that gave me the willies), there’s no gore. I would try to find the original cut of this. It’s really creepy, but well done.

Stir of Echoes (1999) 4/5

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Kevin Bacon plays Jake, a skeptical man who agrees to be hypnotized by his sister in law. He is then haunted by the spirit of a local girl, and is forced to solve the mystery of her disappearance. I remember when this came on TV when I was younger. Even with all of the good parts cut out, my dad still wouldn’t let me watch it. At 26 years old, I now understand why. This scared the crap out of me. The DVD menu alone almost made me not watch it, but it’s very well done. It’s so jarring, and it almost feels like you’re losing your mind along with Jake and his family. It’s amazing, and if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out on a classic.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 5/5

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Speaking of classics, this is probably one of my favorite movies. We follow Francis as he retells an event him, his friend, and his fiancée had gone through. We’re then introduced to the creepy Dr. Caligari, and his carnival act the somnambulist Ceasare. But the sleeping man becomes a person of interest when random murders occur in the village. It’s a silent film, but it was done in the Expressionist style. The colors are a bit off, and the scenes are imperfect and odd. However, it creates a believable and beautiful atmosphere. Dr. Caligari and Ceasare look like corpses, while everyone else looks like they’re alive. The symbolism and color contrasts are unbelievable, but that doesn’t compare to the end of the film. I’m not going to give it away. But, I will say any horror fan should see where the idea of a twist ending came from.

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