Film Reviews by DT

Welcome to DT's film reviews page. DT has written 5 reviews and rated 109 films.

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Thirst

High expectations were not disappointed

(Edit) 02/08/2018

I'll preface this review by saying I'm not a fan of vampire films... at all. Not the modern sparkling in the daylight type, not the classics. I just don't understand the appeal of them, don't understand the metaphors often applied to them and don't understand why a character might want to become a vampire - as opposed to the zombie/werewolf films in which they have no choice.

I am however a huge fan of South Korean cinema. Somehow they manage to inject high intensity and emotion to an otherwise bland subject. Look at The Host or Train to Busan, in which monsters or zombies become obstacles to overcome in a family drama. Not to mention Park Chan-Wook's other work, which in other hands could easily just fall into the pulp erotic thriller category.

Thirst is no different. Yes, it's a vampire film. But at the core it's a love story entangled in a crime thriller. Much of the plot seems to follow the classic film-noir formula - a woman from an unhappy marriage starts an affair with a troubled man, and together they plot to "take care" of the husband - think Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice. There is even a particularly suspenseful scene involving a character communicating only by blinking to reveal a hidden secret, which takes many tricks from Hitchcock and other films from the classic Hollywood era.

The vampire metaphor also worked for me this time - essentially a priest dealing with temptation. The priest is infected with two different ailments - a virus which creates boils on the skin and leads to a slow painful death, and... vampirism, which gives him superstrength and instant healing powers. If he does not drink blood, he will not heal, and the virus returns. Meanwhile he meets a young woman who teaches him the pleasures of the flesh and his life becomes a struggle to balance his survival and his faith.

In writing this does sound like many other vampire stories, but with Park Chan-Wook and the amazing filmmaking talents in South Korea, this becomes much more.

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Chungking Express

Very enjoyable half of a film

(Edit) 01/08/2018

This is a film that was on my watch list for a long time, and if you watch the introduction on the DVD you'll hear Quentin Tarantino describe Wong Kar Wai as one of the most exciting and energetic directors to have emerged during the 90s.

Chungking Express involves 2 stories based around a fast food shop where the central characters spend much of their time. It contains many fun, emotional and memorable moments, but unfortunately almost all of them are in the 2nd story.

To describe the plot I would say Tony Leung's "Cop 663" breaks up with his flight attendant girlfriend who returns his key to the Midnight Express fast food shop that he frequents, and where Faye Wong works. Faye takes the key and secretly spends her time in his flat, cleaning, redecorating and just hanging out, while the cop is almost completely oblivious.

That's just the 2nd story. I saw this just 4 days ago and I can barely remember the 1st story. Something about pineapples? It's not to say it's bad so don't let me put you off. It just felt like it wasn't developed well enough for me to engage with it. Luckily the 2nd story has a longer running time and, as it's the 2nd part, the film doesn't peak too soon.

Supposedly there was supposed to be a third story, which was then developed into a stand alone film in Fallen Angels. I look forward to seeing this along with other work from Wong Kar Wai as I can definitely see potential when the plot is given room to breathe.

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The Cured

Interesting take on the zombie genre

(Edit) 02/07/2018

As the making-of feature states, The Cured begins where many zombie films end. A cure for the epidemic has been found and society attempts to return to normality. 75% of zombies have become human once again but still remember everything they did during the outbreak, and the humans also find it hard to forgive and forget.

The obvious metaphor is about racism, specifically towards immigrants from the Middle East. How can people who are different integrate into a culture where there is so much suspicion and fear of them? Would the isolation they experience encourage them to lash out and fulfil the perceptions others have of them?

The main character, Senan, goes to live with his sister-in-law and her son. When she takes him to school, another mother asks scornfully "how could you let one of them in your house with your son?", which is a direct quote I've heard in documentaries about the Windrush generation and in present-day regarding Syrian refugees. Senan's friend, Conor, who was with him during the outbreak, warns him that the humans still fear them and it's only a matter of time before they're rounded up to be killed. They must strike first. So Connor forms a terrorist cell comprised of former-zombies, putting Senan in the middle of this conflict between the two sides of himself.

An interesting and refreshing take on the zombie genre which entertained me throughout the run-time and kept me thinking way after the credits finished rolling - rare for a film of this type.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Marjorie Prime

Wasted potential

(Edit) 16/06/2018

This was a thought provoking story which unfortunately doesn’t quite translate to the screen. It made sense when I found out it was based on a play and it is probably best suited for that format.

The film is almost entirely shot as simple conversations - over the shoulder reverse shots, wide 2-shots - and not much else to pull the viewer in. I found the story interesting but only because I struggled and forced myself. The usually great cast is wasted here too. They feel synthetic and artificial both in human and AI form.

As for the story, the ideas presented had me thinking afterwards. The way memory works, how it fades with time and new, but not necessarily accurate memories are formed from the stories we tell each other. Traumatic memories are repressed but surface every now and then. This provided some satisfaction but not nearly enough for me to recommend. If anything, go and see the play.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Colossal

A big surprise

(Edit) 11/05/2018

I saw the trailer. I read reviews. Nothing made it stand out and if anything it all tipped towards the negative side. I put off watching this for a while and thought I'd give it a pass entirely. The only thing that made me add it to my list was that I'd seen the director's past films, which were silly but entertaining, and this film seemed the same.

I'm glad I changed my mind as it was surprisingly entertaining and, without spoilers, took a dark turn that I didn't expect and added some much-needed depth. While the concept of a woman controlling a 'Kaiju' type monster on the other side of the world is a bit far-fetched, and there are some obvious plot holes, you need to just let go, accept it and let the fun begin.

I can't say if the monster symbolised something or if there's anything worth analysing there, but that was all background anyway. The film is mostly focused on Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis in a small American town. What sold it for me was that it begins with a typical rom-com setup, then transforms into something much darker which hints at toxic relationships and perhaps domestic abuse.

All I wanted was a fun monster movie, but I got something more instead.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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