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When Worlds Collide: The Flash (2023) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 5 minutes ago on Entertainment

Images courtesy of WBThe current slate of DC films comes to a close with the long awaited and oft delayed iteration of The Flash. After lingering for years in creative hell due to production issues, a problematic main player, and the global pandemic, Barry Allen's solo movie is finally going to hit theaters and will likely be a huge financial hit for Warner Bros. and the former DC film universe. But big money (of course) does not equal quality film making. The resulting final product is a troubled one, filled with atrocious looking CGI, uncomfortably forced humor, and some undercooked computer generated superhero cameos that don't really move the plot along in the slightest. They're only here for the nostalgia factor and it ends up feeling kinda meh if not surprising. Even though it's fun to see them, it wears away at the already super thin production values and writing. However, some of the choices they make in that department are definitely an interesting route. There's some alternates that we never expected in a million years. With the off-putting and eccentric Ezra Miller the main focal point of the feature, The Flash is the final movie in the current line-up before James Gunn relaunches and reboots DC with new actors taking up many of the key roles. The return of Michael Keaton as the '89 Bruce Wayne/Batman is the absolute highlight of The Flash. In fact, he takes up much of the space that would normally belong to the central character. The dedication to recreating the sets from Tim Burton's classic are definitely worth the watch. And Keaton proves he still has it. He looks excellent in the suit and maintains the same physicality, even if the CGI action ultimately steals from his spotlight. The addition of Sasha Calle as Supergirl is another definite high point of the movie. Her pained version of the character adds some much-needed darkness to the film. As the multiple Barrys are making awful quips and finding humor during potentially life ending battles with an alien army, she's there to add a balance that would have been missing otherwise. It would have been great to have more of her character in this extended universe because she's a definite standout player. She could easily stand toe to toe with Gadot's Wonder Woman. 2023's The Flash is a version of The Flashpoint Paradox that's missing many of the key points of that story. Ideas are glossed over and much needed alternate heroes are missing. While Andy Muschietti (IT) rallies in an attempt to hit the reset button, it doesn't fully work. It's been said (even promised) that this movie would be the regeneration mark for this cinematic universe overall. It (in fact) does nothing of the sort. The Flash is just another symptom of studio toiling at its worst coming to one final head. This movie and its promotion feels like a lot of misdirection that WB will ultimately have to answer for. It's really too bad that WB had no idea what they were doing when they kick started this entire universe because there has been some good and some really bad. With the conclusion of The Flash and its lack of that expected reset button, it's good to look forward to what's to come. Maybe in their next alternate universe things can be a little bit more structured and have some continuity. See this movie for Michael Keaton and Sasha Calle, stay for Michael Shannon's highly edited return as Zod, leave knowing that it's finally over. I certainly hope we're not reaching the saturation point for multiverse movies because much of The Flash feels regurgitated. -CG

A Brand-New Retail and F&B Experience at VivoCity

Posted By ScribblingGeek 5 minutes ago on Entertainment - The post A Brand-New Retail and F&B Experience at VivoCity appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.Singapore’s largest mall has unveiled a new retail and F&B zone, one that comes with a mix of retail, beauty, and dining experiences catering to all.The post A Brand-New Retail and F&B Experience at VivoCity appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Khruschev Thaw: Three by Marlen Khutsiev (1956 - 1967) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 18 hours ago on Entertainment

Images Courtesy of MosfilmThe Khruschev Thaw, as it were, represented a brief periodin the Soviet Union lasting from the mid-1950s to the 60s where censorship inthe country relaxed somewhat during Nikita Khruschev’s tenure following thedeath of former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. A time of “de-Stalinization” which saw Khruschev visiting China,Yugoslavia and even the United States, restrictions on the arts, culture andconsumption of foreign media was lifted with the emergence of nationaltelevision in the country.  A number ofseismic sociopolitical changes radiated through the country until Khruschev wassucceeded by Leonid Brezhnev who swiftly rolled back the Khruschev Thaw and thecultural liberalization that influenced Soviet art at the time returned to itspreviously censorial self.   During this brief period of more open artistic freedom andcreative expression within Soviet Russia, a distinctive Georgian-bornSoviet-Russian cult filmmaker named Marlen Khutsiev emerged into thethen-transformative Soviet cinematic landscape with a trilogy of films that allbut captured on celluloid with empirical evidence of the effects of theKhruschev Thaw on the general Russian public. Spanning from 1956 with his debut feature Spring on Zarechnaya Streetto his 1965 postwar drama I Am Twenty before culminating in his 1967romantic drama July Rain, these timelessly modern ruminations oncontemporary Soviet Russian life represent the eventual 1986 People’s Artist ofthe USSR at his most incisive and keen on the revolutionary shifts in thecountry’s sociopolitical currents.   But Khutsiev’s work is more than just exemplar of theKhruschev Thaw in Russian cinema history. As it stands, all three films represent the country’s cinema at perhapsits most overtly Westernized period, incorporating music, decor, fashion andcultural customs previously absent from their films without ever losing sightof their indigenousness.  All three talesof disillusioned characters at crossroads in an ever-changing world usuallyhopelessly falling in and/or out of love while highlighting Russia’s modernity,the director’s trio of films depicting students, poets, demobilized soldiers orteachers earned Khutsiev numerous accolades at distinguished film festivalsincluding but not limited to Venice and Berlin. Moreover, Khutsiev’s work was championed by such cinematic artists asFederico Fellini and Jean-Luc Godard for his unfettered docudrama realism onfilm and his Antonioni-esque scenery of characters moving through distinctlySoviet architecture. Sadly however the poster child emblematic of the KhruschevThaw himself became a target of Khruschev’s ire who banned I Am Twenty outrightbefore censors cut several minutes from the film and the release of JulyRain symbolically marked the end of the Thaw altogether.  While Khutsiev was never branded a dissidentby Soviet authorities, the director’s output stagnated for almost fourteenyears while he was busy teaching master classes before quietly resurfacing todirect two more features.  Though hislast film was in 1992 and the director retired altogether before his untimelydeath in 2019, in recent years renewed interest in the oeuvre of the 1986People’s Artist of the USSR came about with Mosfilm’s restoration and 4K videoupload of July Rain.  Thoughremaining mostly unknown in the United States outside of film festivals, the workof Marlen Khutsiev stands as some of the finest examples of modern Sovietcinema the country has ever known and is all but ripe for rediscovery byadventurous filmgoers.  With this, letsdive into three indelible films by one of Russia’s most overlooked artistichome-runners.  Spring on Zarechnaya Street (1956) 1950s Russia in a small industrial working village marks thearrival of Tatyana Levchenko (Nina Ivanova) who takes up a position within the cityteaching the Russian language and literature to eighth grade students as wellas adults.  During her tenure, a boisterousand rambunctious troublemaker named Sasha Savchenko (Nikolai Rybnikov) whoworks as a steel-maker, repeatedly disrupts and trolls the classroom while hittingon his new teacher.  Swiftly rebuffinghis advances and even rebuking the young man, Sasha is initially perplexed bythe rejection having been the local ladies’ man but soon grows self-consciousof his own meager educational background and skills set and starts to resentTatyana.  Moreover, he mistakes herfriendship with engineer Krushenkov (Gennadi Yukhtin) as romantic and he stopsgoing to her class when he concludes he’s fallen madly in love with the teacher,a situation further complicated by his newfound inability to pass his certificationtest due to stopping class attendance.  Initially penned by Khutsiev in full for Odessa Film Studiobefore the project was rejected and had to be retooled by the co-author of histhesis film Feliks Mironer, Spring on Zarechnaya Street proved to be astarting point not only for Khutsiev but for his cast and crew as well.  Introducing the new screen talents ofGerasimov Institute of Cinematography graduates Yuri Belov, Nikolai Rybnikovand Gennadi Yukhtin as well as the street casting choice of non-actress NinaIvanova as the titular teacher, the ensemble piece shot in 1.33:1 academy ratioby two cinematographers Pyotr Todorovsky and Radomir Vasilevsky is a handsomelycomposed piece that is as interested in the characters and story as it is in themachinations of the terrain.  Whileostensibly a quasi-forbidden love story, Khutsiev’s film functions as asnapshot of then-contemporary Russia in the throes of the Khruschev Thaw.   Showing off much of Zaporozhye with factory scenes takingplace at the Zaporizhstal and Dneprospetsstal plants as well as the high-schoolclassrooms of Pavlo-Kichkas, the Dubovaya Roschcha park, the district militaryenlistment office and even the Palace of Culture of the aluminum plant, Springon Zarechnaya Street functions as a dramatic romantic travelogue of sorts.  For residents in the area, including GrigoryPometun who assisted Nikolai Rybnikov in developing his character beforebecoming a successful steel-maker himself, the film was a mirrored reflection ofthe shifting social mores of the time where people used to routine suddenly feltthe world drop out from under them. Though trained on the characters, Khutsiev and his cameramen take suchkeen account of the surroundings including factory smokestacks adorning thefilm’s opening credits that it feels almost like a tour with Khutsiev as ourguide. Filmed in 1953 before being approved and released threeyears later, Spring on Zarechnaya Street went on to become one of themost popular Soviet Union film releases of 1956 and was only just barelysucceeded by the Italian film A Husband for Anna.  A year later at the VI Festival of Youth andStudents in 1957 in Moscow, the film took home the bronze medal.  Though some have contested the film complieswith the conventions of the romantic drama, Khutsiev’s camera and his formallybrilliant use of editing which allows for scenes of characters moving throughcontemporary Russia marked the emergence of a major Soviet screen talent wholet his films breathe and radiate rather than simply moving onto the nextscene.  A movie about the gulf between sophisticatedintelligentsia and brick-and-mortar working individuals and their coexistence, oneof the strengths of Khutsiev’s aesthete is how he leaves things open ended soin a way we have to draw our own conclusions and place ourselves in the shoesof the film’s protagonists.  All in all,one of the major bullet points of the Khruschev Thaw and a stunning debut fromone of Russia’s greatest directors. I Am Twenty (1965) Just a few years after the breakout success of Spring on ZarechnayaStreet and following the release of his 1958 postwar drama Two Fyodors,Marlen Khutsiev began working on what would become not only the director’s mostfamous film but also his most controversial film that attracted the unwantedattention of Soviet authorities and marked the beginning of the end of theKhruschev Thaw: the near-Neorealist docudrama production of Ilyich’s Gate orLenin’s Guard before eventually being referred to as simply I Am Twenty.  Originally withheld theatrical release by Khruschevwho called out Khutsiev’s film for being “unacceptable” for “thinking thatyoung people ought to decide for themselves how to live, without asking theirelders for counsel and help”, the film was completed in 1962 before being heavilycut and released in 1965.  Aslice-of-life promenade through then-contemporary Moscow involving three young-demobilizedsoldiers who share a friendship and kinship in that their fathers were killedin the war, the film turns this trio loose in modern Russia which becomessomething of a more incisive continuation of the fixations the director beganrolling out with Spring on Zarechnaya Street.  Simply watching these youths (cast bynon-actors as well as directors including cameos from Andrei Tarkovsky andAndrei Konchalovsky) in their element as they traverse through dance partiesset to rock and roll music, the film is an apolitical snapshot of burgeoningennui within everyday life in 1960s Soviet Russia. Sergei (Valentin Popov) just got back to Moscow from a tourof military duty where he reunites with his friends after landing a local jobat the factory his dad worked at. Hanging out with his buddies Nikolai (Nikolay Gubenko) and Slava(Stanislav Lyubshin), he pursues a relationship with a young woman and thingsseem content for Sergei.  That is until avague, implacable sensation of existential crisis begins to soak in the bonesof the three men who seem to enjoy themselves but grow increasingly dissatisfiedwith the cards they’ve been dealt.  Meanwhileproblems on the new job begin cropping up and the once upbeat an

Carlsberg x GastroBeats 2023 Performances | Jun 8 and 15, 2023

Posted By ScribblingGeek 1 day 4 hours ago on Entertainment - The post Carlsberg x GastroBeats 2023 Performances | Jun 8 and 15, 2023 appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.Carlsberg partners with GastroBeats 2023 for a delectable fusion of beats and bits, with live performances on Jun 8 and 15.The post Carlsberg x GastroBeats 2023 Performances | Jun 8 and 15, 2023 appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

The World Will Know What You Did Here: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1 day 12 hours ago on Entertainment

Images courtesy HasbroIt was just five years ago that the Transformers film saga got a soft reboot in the form of a one-off solo movie about Bumblebee. The movie was a reset that sidelined the massive planet destroying themes of the six Michael Bay films and seemed to right the course for the franchise as a whole. The movie added a bit of heart that had always been lacking and brought a story based on a toy line back down to ground level that was heavily inspired by the Spielberg movies of the '80s while it also borrowed many elements from Brad Bird's amazing animated film, The Iron Giant. Here we are, one pandemic and numerous delays later with another Transformers movie that just doesn't add up. The first act of the Rise of the Beasts visits some familiar thematical territory by using music as one of the main characters. Much like Bumblebee, the soundtrack sets the tone for the movie, bringing us back to the mid-'90s with classic hip-hop tracks. In line with the excellent music choices, we're initially offered a plot about a family that's down on their luck with a sick little boy that needs his older brother's help and guidance. All the markings are there for another reprieve from the Michael Bay explosion fests and unending CGI nightmare fuel. But it all changes at a frenetic pace. Director Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II) has an obvious respect and love for the G1 Transformers. It's nice to finally get a proper Arcee on screen and a cool as ice Mirage doing his best to bring some balance to the action and mayhem. Sadly though, this latest offering from Hasbro quickly devolves into Bay-Lite action and destruction that misses the quality of its 2018 predecessor. Bumblebee was such a relief from what Bay had done for years that it was expected that Rise of the Beasts would follow suit by being a more character driven vehicle. Unfortunately, it's another step back for the Autobots and their enemies, the Decepticons. We're back to massive level interplanetary warfare that involves a giant laser in the sky that revolves around another new MacGuffin that's been hidden away somewhere on earth. The two warring factions and their human counterparts must find the device to either destroy the Earth or save it. Then we're set back down in a nondescript battle between the two where we can't make rhyme or reason of what's going on other than another grandiose speech from Optimus Prime about good versus evil. It's straight repetition that doesn't understand what its audience wants or needs. And we haven't even mentioned how unlikeable Optimus is in this movie. The main issue with Rise of the Beasts is that instead of making further strides into Bumbleebee territory, it resoundingly plants its feet in the universe of purified Bayhem, awful CGI and all. The core characters are eventually manifested as cardboard cutouts that really have no skin in the game other than to move from point A to point B to move the pointless story along. Sure, there are some fun moments and the human cast does a fine job with the little bit they're given to work with. But overall, it just feels like a retread that none of us really wanted or needed right now. There are far too many other great movies to see. Perhaps, the gloriousness of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has stolen any luster that this toy flick may have had. But coming off that high, this is a reminder of the lowest dregs of the Michael Bay Transformers series. There is certainly some good in here, but it's just too little too soon during a summer that's just getting started. -CG

Unearthed Films: Xpiation (2017) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 2 days ago on Entertainment

Images Courtesy of Unearthed FilmsRome based Italian extreme horror writer-director/effectsartist Domiziano Cristopharo has been steadily churning out graphic, gory bigand small screen terrorizers since the start of the 2010s.  With his indie horror debut House of FleshMannequins in 2009 followed by his video film Red Krokodil in 2012,the filmmaker quickly established himself as an unholy crossbreed of DarioArgento and Federico Fellini if they were kidnapped by Fred Vogel or JörgButtgereit.  Sometime around 2015, thefilmmaker embarked on a unique horror project aptly named the Trilogy ofDeath along with two other directors, resulting in Adam Ford’s 2015 film Torment,Poison Rouge’s 2017 American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice and lastly DomizianoCristopharo’s very own Xpiation. A plainly grimy “torture porn” film that’s secretly asurreal exercise in the revenge-feminist horror thriller, Xpiation startsout simply enough in a decrepit and worn Roman hallway where an aristocraticlooking middle-aged woman (Chiara Pavoni) sits in a chair across from a nakedHispanic man lashed to a chair as a nameless bald junkie under her influenceproceeds to torture the man in a variety of increasingly vicious ways.  Her camera looks on endlessly in numerousdialogue-free scenes as the junkie punches him, sandpapers his leg raw and laterstill takes a claw hammer to his nether regions.  All the while, a series of seeminglydisconnected flashbacks involving three characters gradually pepper theproceedings, filling in gaps which paint a portrait of a prostitute who was assaultedby a street gang, forming the crux of the film’s seemingly plotless narrative. Co-written by Hidden in the Woods screenwriter AndreaCavaletto, Xpiation while tedious and at times excruciating turns out tobe kind of an interesting spin on the revenge-feminist film with a tough andsadistic cougar at the epicenter.  Shoton high-definition digital video by the producer-director-effects artist himself,Cristopharo’s film is for all of its squalor and vulgar provocations is lensedgracefully and fluctuates in and out of dream reality often mid-scene so youget crimson reds laced with a heightened perspective.  Exchanges of dialogue and performances by thefilm’s brave cast are secondary to the director’s effects makeup and hissurreal sense of editing, often changing the costumes or makeup of the actorsmid-scene so you get the sense of psychological transformation.  The original electronic score by longtimecollaborator Antony Coia is serviceable electronic dread that will remind moreadventurous horrorgoers of Sky Wikluh’s dubstep soundtrack to A Serbian Film. Regular moviegoers or those looking for something scary areinclined to keep moving on and avoid this radioactive poison pill like theplague, but those who are tired of the usual jump scares and sanitized horrorwanting something that pushes outside of comfort zones, then Xpiation isfor you.  Mostly a one-set piece that neverquite goes full Marian Dora but comes close at times, this is the verydefinition of lean-mean indie filmmaking with the director himself doing mostof the production credits himself.  Thoughthis will only appeal to the extreme horror crowd Unearthed Films caters to,the disc specs are good and it comes with a blooper reel in case anyone neededreminding that its just a movie.  --Andrew Kotwicki

i Light Singapore 2023 | A New Wave Amidst the Colour Blue

Posted By ScribblingGeek 2 days ago on Entertainment - The post i Light Singapore 2023 | A New Wave Amidst the Colour Blue appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.Themed “A New Wave” and inspired by blue, i Light Singapore 2023 invites all to explore our renewed condition in an age of healing and advancement.The post i Light Singapore 2023 | A New Wave Amidst the Colour Blue appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

The Comeback Clown: The Original Terrifier Coming to Theaters in July

Posted By themoviesleuth 3 days ago on Entertainment

Image courtesy Epic Pictures GroupWith Terrifier 3 getting an update just a few days ago, it looks like Art the Clown is about to get a fresh run in theaters this summer. It's been announced today that due to the popularity of the character and the franchise, that the original Terrifier will be getting a theatrical release in July. The Hollywood Reporter released an article earlier today saying that the movie would be get a re-release in 700 theaters in the United States. The special release comes on the tail of Dread and Iconic Events pairing up. The two worked together on the theatrical run of Terrifier 2 and are attempting to get more eyes on the character of Art prior to the production of the third film. The Damien Leone directed movies have drummed up a huge cult following which in turn is getting Terrifier 3 an even bigger budget. "Every once in a while, a film genre spawns a generational talent who breaks the mold. Damien Leone is such a visionary director", said Iconic Events president Steven Menkin. -CG

Erotic Underground: Fatal Attraction (Limited Series)

Posted By themoviesleuth 3 days ago on Entertainment

 All Images Courtesy of Paramount+Adrian Lyne's seminal feature Fatal Attractionchanged the game on numerous levels.  Besides being an essential part ofthe Erotic Thriller genre, the film sparked intense conversations about genderdynamics, sexual politics, and its original, controversial ending being changedforever altered the landscape as Glenn Close's legendary performance was searedinto the American mind's eye of repressed sexuality while simultaneouslyopening the floodgates for every single Shannon Tweed potboiler to come.  Alexandra Cunningham and Michael Hynes' modern reimagining takes an interestingapproach to the iconic story and presents it as a slow burn mystery over thecourse of eight episodes.  Featuring an extremely talented cast,interesting twists and turns, and a progressive approach to the material, thisis one of the year's best surprises.  While there are flaws throughout,the journey is presented as an addictive story of deceit, lust, betrayal, andmurder.   The story begins almost right after the ending of theoriginal film, with some important changes, the biggest of which is DanGallagher is being paroled after fifteen years of incarceration for Alex'smurder.  Once released he dedicates his new found freedom towards findingthe person who may or may not have framed him.  Fatal Attraction is almost an anti-noir.  While the original was acigarette laced secret tryst between lovers in shadowed corridors, the modernseries is cast within a sunshine soaked world of privilege.  Dan's careerwas less important in the film, as it focused more on the initial affair andthen the aftermath.  The series does both, using a flashback andflashforward technique that not only shows how the relationship developed butalso how perception is important in deciphering various clues about the darkdeeds done throughout.  Ultimately, the scripts write themselves into acorner and the mystery's revelation will either attract or repulse, but beyondthe divisive ending is a refreshingly sexy update to the classic. Lizzy Caplan steals the limelight as Alex.  While thisembodiment focuses more on mental health and the concept of justice in apost-Metoo world, Caplan devours the material, drawing the viewer to her withease.  Her chemistry with Joshua Jackson's Dan is steamy to the point ofalmost jumping off the screen.  An interesting choice is that Alex andDan's relationship is a lot more dramatic than spur of the moment, albeitdue to dubious influences, but the sex scenes are both natural and clumsy whilealso being memorable due to both the commitment of the principles and hownatural they appear together. Now streaming via any apps with Paramount+, FatalAttraction is a solid update to the original film with an interestingapproach and deeply strong performances.  The fatal flaw is in the ending,both with lazy reveals and an oddly placed cliffhanger, but the journey is morethan worth it. Perhaps the strongest aspect of this reimagining is that itshows with a dedicated cast and talented crew, eventually the studio systemwill recreate a beloved work into something even more renowned.  Whilethis is not that, it shows promise for the future. --Kyle Jonathan

Trapped Between Different Worlds: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 4 days ago on Entertainment

The following review contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-VerseIn 2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse blasted onto the animation scene, dazzling audiences with its hyper-stylized look and heartfelt story. While Miles Morales had been around for years prior in the comics, he became a household name, instantly garnering a whole new fanbase. The film later won an Oscar for Best Animated Film and received many accolades from critics. The sequel for this film had a lot to live up to, and expectations were high. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) is here six years later. It has upped the ante on the animation of the previous entry and surpassed the original film aesthetically and thematically. Across the Spider-Verse picks up where the original left off: Miles (Shameik Moore) has embraced his role as the Spider-Man in his respective universe and has been busy fighting crime. He struggles to balance his life as a high-schooler and son with being a crime fighter, and he feels guilty for hiding his alter-ego from his family. After the first film's events, all of the other Spider-People have returned to their worlds, and he feels lonely. Meanwhile, Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) is living a similar lifestyle; hiding her identity from her father and feeling isolated from her peers. Their paths cross when The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) shows up and threatens the entire multiverse with his interdimensional powers.The central theme of Across the Spider-Verse is duality and self-actualization. Miles is biracial, half black and half Puerto Rican, and part of his identity is embracing both sides of his heritage. As a fellow biracial person, I fully empathize with Miles feeling like he is in a cultural liminal space, never entirely accepted as one or the other. This sense of duality is echoed in his existence as a superhero and how he has to compartmentalize his life as an average person and an extraordinary individual. Miles is looking for acknowledgment as a person and isn't finding it in his current situation. Finally, this concept is mirrored with The Spot, a villain who wants to be taken seriously but isn't because of his comical appearance.Later on in the film, when Miles is introduced to the Spider-Society (a group that has up to now purposely excluded him), he learns that he is considered to be an "anomaly" in the larger Spider-Verse, a mistake that needs to be contained and corrected. In a meta way, this ties into Miles Morales's reception when his character was first introduced in 2011. Peter Parker had been killed off, and Miles was introduced as his replacement. The internet and journalists went wild, and there was a lot of blowback, with people lamenting diversity and canon changes. While the reason for Miles being shunned in the film has nothing to do with his race, it stands as a critique of how comic book films and related media are beholden to canon and fan expectations and are often punished for any experimentation and deviation. The meta-commentary on comic book tropes has a Grant Morrison flair that isn't seen often in comic book movies.On the technical side, Across the Spider-Verse is one of the most spectacular-looking films in the history of Western animation. Each Spider-Person's world has a distinct look mimicking the style of their real-life comic book counterparts. Gwen's universe has an expressive watercolor-based look, Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya) looks like he was snipped out of a punk rock show flyer or zine, and through careful direction, all of these disparate styles co-exist without feeling jarring. Miles's universe is depicted the most straightforward visually, allowing the audience to have somewhere to ground themselves throughout all of the over-the-top visuals. The amount of creativity and attention to detail is incredible, and though it's not needed to enjoy the film, outside knowledge of the Spider-Man lore will add an extra layer of enjoyment for fans. Composer Daniel Pemberton crafted a rousing and compelling score that knows when it needs to be epic and when to pull back to allow softer emotions to shine through.Structurally, it's a middle movie of a trilogy which means it serves as the "second act," which traditionally will have more of the build-up. It seems anti-climactic in that sense, but it will feel better after it has the context of the third film to complete the story. The film has two protagonists, with Gwen and Miles's stories, respectively, and both of their character arcs are completed even if the film ends with a new conflict and a call to action. It remains to be seen how the trilogy will fare after the third film comes out.Superhero films have felt unfocused and blah as of late, but Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse demonstrates that with love and passion, amazing comic book stories can still be told on the big screen.--Michelle Kisner

Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E Review | The Scribbling Geek

Posted By ScribblingGeek 4 days ago on Entertainment - The post Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E Review | The Scribbling Geek appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.Reviewing the new Kobo Elipsa 2E. This 10.3” eReader is pricey but it works hard to be a premium eReader as well as an e-notebook. The post Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E Review | The Scribbling Geek appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Time to Clown Around: Terrifier 3 Sets Budget, Production Window and Tentative Release

Posted By themoviesleuth 5 days ago on Entertainment

Image courtesy of Epic Pictures GroupAfter the major success of Terrifier 2, it's no shock that they're ramping up work on a third entry in the Art the Clown cinematic universe. The clown was originally introduced in the All Hallow's Eve anthology film, then went on to his very own microbudgeted horror flick, Terrifier. Art then returned in the sequel which cost roughly $250,000 to produce. The film went on to be a box office hit and helped other smaller budgeted indie horror flicks become successful in 2022. Now, it looks like Terrifier 3 is making some real momentum. It's been revealed that the France based distributor, The Coven has begun it's marketing and sales for the third installment. They're reporting that the newest Art the Clown feature will be in production during the fourth quarter of 2023 and will be ready for audiences in 2024. Star David Howard Thornton (Art the Clown) and Lauren LaVera (Sienna) will both be back for Terrifier 3. It's being reported that the film will see a drastic increase in budget up to the "low-mid seven figure range".-CG (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

There’s a Thin Line Between Kind and Weak: Shin Kamen Rider (2023) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 6 days ago on Entertainment

 Shin Kamen Rider (2023) drops its audience directly into the action with a thrilling car chase as Kamen Rider zooms through hairpin turns on his motorcycle as SHOCKER agents chase him. After the hunt, his fists start flying as he punches the enemies to death, and they explode into a bloody crimson mist. Kamen Rider, AKA Takeshi Hongo (Sosuke Ikematsu), looks at his hands, covered in guts and viscera, and wonders, "What am I killing for?" This question ends up being the thesis for Hideaki Anno's reboot of the 1971 version of the beloved franchise. This is the third entry in the "Shin" series of reboots following Shin Godzilla (2016) and Shin Ultraman (2022). Out of these tokusatsu properties, Kamen Rider has always been the more abstract and experimental one, with surreal villains and an artsier style of directing. The 1971 series, especially, is heavily steeped in nightmare logic with strange asides, some of which were implemented due to a limited budget. Subsequently, this is the hardest to translate to film format as it relies on many high concepts and vibes over tight scripting. The film's first half suffers a bit from feeling disjointed, and a lot of connective tissue is missing. Fans of the series will be able to fill in these gaps, but those without that context will be left bewildered. Some of the tone switching doesn't feel organic, and the film cannot decide if it wants to go full camp or be taken seriously.Much of the film's first act is reserved for rapid-fire exposition dumping and Anno's penchant for technobabble. Hongo's situation is quickly glossed over, and he is sent to fight SHOCKER with his emotionally cold partner Ruriko Midorikawa (Minami Hamabe). As far as Kamen Riders go, Hongo is melancholy and wracked with guilt, uncomfortable with his cyborg body and the damage it can do to others. He reluctantly dons the helmet and gear, forced into a war he didn't start, and Ikematsu does an excellent job portraying his deep sorrow. Anno is no stranger to exploring themes of isolation and loneliness; the story shines when it focuses on these concepts. Later on, when Hayato Ichimonji (Tasuku Emoto), a second Rider, enters the fray, the audience is shown what it could be like with a balanced individual who embraces his powers instead of fearing them. These dual Riders are like two sides of the same coin, enforcing justice in their separate ways. It's fascinating that Anno took something that happened in real life outside of the show (a Kamen Rider actor getting hurt and the producers bringing in a replacement actor midway) and made it literal in the movie.The film fares better as an homage, as it's full of fan service. The sound effects and jazzy soundtrack are perfectly emulated, and the fight scenes are choreographed just like the original series, with shaky handheld cam shots, quick zooms, and low-angle shots of people doing flips. A few breathtaking action sequences use modern techniques that skew closer to modern anime style, and as much as they don't mesh with the classic fights, they are still exhilarating to watch. The film finds its footing in the third act, breaking down the character's motivations and the entire concept of Kamen Rider. It distills it down to the costumed fighters desperately dueling to the death, not only for themselves but for all humanity.Aesthetically, Shin Kamen Rider looks terrific, and the Rider suits have been modernized and tweaked. The most significant improvement is the monsters (called Augments in this reboot), the costume designers went all out on their makeup and costumes, and they look great. Some of the CGI effects are shaky, but that's always been the case with even the modern iterations of the franchise, and it is part of the charm.Of the three Shin movies, Shin Kamen Rider is the least focused, but it is still entertaining and touching. Fans will likely get more out of it, and it's an enjoyable modern interpretation of the story, even with the technical problems with the script and pacing.--Michelle Kisner

No Way Out of Here: John Carpenter Teases The Thing Sequel

Posted By themoviesleuth 6 days ago on Entertainment

Image courtesy Universal Pictures It's been over forty years since John Carpenter's The Thing became a huge cult hit. Years later the film still has a massive following and is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. In 2011, it received a prequel that didn't do well at the box office. Due to poor choices in the visual effects department, the movie was lambasted by critics and viewers. It didn't stick to practical effects and was virtually ruined by terrible looking CGI, despite being a worthy follow-up in the story department. Now, 41 years later, Carpenter has teased a follow up to his 1982 movie, which was a remake of the classic 1951 The Thing From Another World. In recent years, Mr. Carpenter has commented that he'd like to make a  sequel but nothing has ever come of his wishes. Now, when speaking at Texas Frightmare Weekend, the director and musician once again teased that he'd like a part two to his movie. When asked about the rather ambiguous ending, he had this to say:"I have been sworn to secrecy, okay, because there may be, I don't know if there will be, there may be a Thing 2."Whether or not anything ever happens remains to be seen. And Carpenter has been known to comment on this potential sequel in the past. In the meantime, we'll be waiting idly by enjoying the original.-CG

Cinematic Releases: The Boogeyman (2023) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 7 days ago on Entertainment

Images Courtesy of 20th Century StudiosOne of scare novel icon Stephen King’s oldest short stories TheBoogeyman, dating back to 1973 before becoming part of Night Shift, curiouslyremained for decades among the few literary works of the renowned horror authornot to be adapted to either the silver or small screens.  In 1982 King and television director Jeff Schirodid make a lower budgeted thirty-minute television episode adaptation of theshort story for his Nightshift Collection.  Circa 2018 however, A Quiet Place screenwritersScott Beck and Bryan Woods decided to tackle King’s tragic horror novella for20th Century Fox only for the project to be cancelled a year laterfollowing Disney’s merger with what became 20th Century Studios.  Then COVID-19 happened and film production ceased completelyfor a while until fledgling filmmakers like Rob Savage went the Unfriended routewith his Shudder produced webcam horror film Host.  Following the success of that film, Savagethen directed the controversial Blumhouse dashboard horror film Dashcam.  Somehow or another, the suits at 20thCentury Studios liked what they saw of the cinema verite styled filmmaker andoffered him the chance to effectively revive and direct The Boogeyman,now a multimillion-dollar project bringing screenwriter Mark Heyman aboard tofurther polish Beck and Woods’ screenplay. The question becomes, like most horror filmmakers starting out in thefound footage mockumentary subgenre, can Rob Savage make the transition fromshaky grimy digital video to polished 35mm widescreen Hollywood filmmaking? Withdrawn and depressed high-school student Sadie Harper(Sophie Thatcher), her little sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair) and therapistfather Will (Chris Messina) are still in the throes of grief after the loss oftheir mother with Will further getting lost in himself and neglectful of hischildren.  Unexpectedly, a disturbedgothic looking patient dressed in black comes to the grieving therapist’s home tellingstories about offing his wife and children, prompting a police call who arrivetoo late to find the man has killed himself. Soon after the incident, Sawyer and Sadie begin noticing strange paranormalpoltergeist phenomena occurring within their home and at nice are terrorized bysome sort of entity that thrives in the darkness.  With no one from her estranged friends to herdistant father believing them, Sadie takes matters into her own hands and triesto track down the origin of the entity before it kills everyone. One of many Boogeyman movies and easy to confuse withUlli Lommel’s 1980 Video Nasty or Stephen Kay’s 2005 Sam Raimi produced horror,this new PG-13 take on an old Stephen King story like Evil Dead Rise beforeit was originally intended for streaming before positive test screenings bumpedit up to a theatrical release. Reportedly some scenes were altered based on those test screenings andpresumably the trailers shown on network TV include snippets of audiencereactions which right away is a bad sign. Having sat through Rob Savage’s first time making a real feature filmand not just a V/H/S film, the end results are not unlike Come Play orLights Out or more recently Antlers where the screen cuts to blackwith a couple of stroboscopic flash glimpses of the monster followed by thesound mixers cranking up the volume for jump scares.  Point being, King penned or not we’ve seenthis film to death and despite nice production values nothing in it feelsaltogether new. Visually speaking the film looks splendid with some GasparNoe inspired camera rotations rendered by Eli Born of Hulu’s Hellraiser remake.  Much of the film resides in dark shadowsthough there’s also room for a few broad daylight scares.  Set pieces of ceilings being infected bydarkness like vines or roots of a tree compounded with lit candles on the floorlook remarkable and startling in panoramic widescreen and silhouetting becomesa prominent scare tactic in the film. Sound wise the moody and ambient horror score by Patrick Jonsson who didthe score for the Oscar winning The White Helmets and its an effectivelyunsettling soundtrack that helps augment the atmosphere and only taking centerstage when it needs to.   Sophie Thatcher as the film’s scream queen, fresh off of Yellowjackets,gives a strong horror performance with a lot of emotions onscreen including butnot limited to crying out in sorrow or terror. Equally strong is Bird Box child actress Vivien Lyra Blair, freshoff of Obi-Wan Kenobi as a child Leia Organa, as the terrified littlesister who is among the first to cross paths with the titular The Boogeyman.  Chris Messina is mostly fine as the grievingfather though special attention should go to Madison Hu as Sadie’s best friendwho tries repeatedly to reconnect with her but keeps getting caught up with thepopular girls at school and an attempt to bring them all together with theinvisible entity involved goes horribly awry. It’s a somewhat sympathetic character who tries unsuccessfully to meetour heroine in the middle while getting dangerously close to the firing lineherself. Intended for Hulu also ala Prey (which still lacks aphysical media release) before test screenings and a successful theatrical runof Evil Dead Rise changed the studio’s mind and further earned StephenKing’s endorsement, The Boogeyman is a mostly fine supernatural horrorthriller aimed at the teenage crowd while also quenching the thirsts of many aKing die-hards.  Being one of many movieswith the same concept and same title, it is somewhat hard to get excited orworked up about The Boogeyman especially when compared to some of theother screen horrors we got earlier this year (Infinity Pool; Scream;Inside; The Outwaters) as well as the further uncensored proliferationof horror on television.  Fans of thejump scare or audiences who have never seen a horror film in their life mightsoil their theater seats while the rest of us shrug and move on.  At best a fair King adaptation which the (nopun intended) King of horror himself seemed to enjoy.--Andrew Kotwicki

Cult Cinema: Butterfly (1982) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 8 days ago on Entertainment

Images courtesy of Analysis ReleasingThe novels of American author James M. Cain, usually workingwithin the hardboiled crime fiction subgenre, have made their way to many anumber of silver screen cinematic adaptations over the years including but notlimited to The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Serenadeand Mildred Pierce.  A beloved andpopular novelist, the author also contributed to a number of film screenplaysincluding but not limited to Algiers and Stand Up and Fight.  A few years after his death, renewed interestbegan in the author’s work replete with a Bob Rafelson remake of The PostmanAlways Rings Twice in 1981 and though critically slammed it neverthelessturned a profit and proved the writings of James M. Cain were still valuablemoney printers and could transition to a modern day and age. All of this led to The Witch Who Came from the Sea producer-directorMatt Cimber’s near inescapable career-killer Butterfly, among Cain’smost notorious novels and one of the first truly infamous Golden RaspberryAward nominees that is remembered more for turning its newbie starlet PiaZadora into a dartboard for critics angry over her husband Meshulam Riklis’efforts to more or less buy her Golden Globe win for Best New Star of the Yearin a Motion Picture.  Almost out ofprinciple, Pia Zadora became the first actress to win both the Golden Globe andthe Golden Raspberry for Butterfly before copping the Razzie again ayear later with the infinitely shoddier and tawdrier The Lonely Lady beforetrying her hand at the musical comedy with Voyage of the Rock Aliens.  Either way, Butterfly while not nearlyas bad as people have made it out to be is rather sleazy and just a little bitbonkers, an attempt at adapting a great author’s most controversial work andturning out more oddly funny than steamily provocative. 1937 Nevada-Arizona in the desert resides bearded miner JessTyler (Stacy Keach) who is the caretaker of an unused silver mine, abandoned byhis wife Belle Morgan (Lois Nettleton) and two daughters Janey (Ann Dane) andKady (Pia Zadora) who at the age of 17 reappears on Jess’ property.  Strutting about barefoot and scantily clad ina thin dress, Kady presents herself and explains her mother Belle is nowrunning a brothel and one of her clients impregnated Kady with a son.  Kady, driven by money, has in fact returnedhome to try and take a crack at the silver mine which her father Jess seems toagree to help out with, but not before she herself makes more than a few overt seductivepasses at daddy Jess with the awkward incestuous sexual tension thickening inthe air.  From here, other former figuresin Kady’s life begin showing up including but not limited to her wealthy beauWash Gillespie (Edward Albert) and mercurial figures trying to get a piece ofthe silver mine begin closing in, all the while Kady continues to ramp up herseducing attempts with Jess.Before digging into the mixed and kind of goofy tawdrysweeping epic historical romance sexing onscreen, it is important to note thisproject was financed in full by Pia Zadora’s husband Meshulam Riklisindependently roughly around $3.5 million and subsequently flew in severalmembers of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to Las Vegas to hear the actresssing the film’s title track It’s Wrong for Me to Love You.  Coupled with her Golden Globe win overElizabeth McGovern as well as Kathleen Turner, the fact that the award winswere more or less bought by Zadora’s husband instantly made Butterfly aparticular target of critical ire.  Despiteboasting arresting cinematography by Eduard van der Enden (Lifespan) anda more than overqualified moody score by Ennio Morricone and a mostly solidensemble cast including but not limited to Orson Welles in his final role, Butterflyfor all of its technical virtues is a beautiful looking and soundingmisfire. The same year, director Matt Cimber and co-writer John Goff,reunited with Zadora for another picture called Fake-Out which also got poorreviews but nowhere near the notoriety Butterfly stirred up.  After Pia’s “win”, the Golden Globes andForeign Press Association decided to do away with the category altogether.  While taking the credibility of the projectdown several notches with her sex-kitten nymphomaniac characterization andperformance, one wonders whether or not a scruffy crusty picked Orson Wellesappearance would’ve saved the film.  Forall the skillful supporting elements and a strong performance from the alwaysgreat Stacy Keach, the main reason to watch this movie isn’t for a daring Hollywooddrama but for some corny and kind of crazy sleaze.   Much of it stems from Pia in a performance that could sitcomfortably within the Cannon Film catalog. Despite the silliness and the amount of naked skin onscreen, Pia to hercredit does kind of attack the role with all she has and isn’t afraid to gether feet and hands dirty.  While treatedas a sex object in both this and The Lonely Lady, making one wonder whatthe real motives were behind her husband’s film productions, Pia holds her ownand seeing her inches away from Orson Welles during her “award winning”courtroom speech is a most rare screen opportunity.  Though objectively speaking Pia in the role repletewith the film’s dialogue is laughable, she makes this miscalculated andperverse dreck highly entertaining to watch unfold as she kind of bumbles from sceneto scene hobnobbing with major Hollywood talents. While understandably tarred and feathered before beingburned at the stake from the ground up, Butterfly did garner somemeasure of attention for the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that led to PiaZadora’s Golden Globe win followed by notoriety surrounding the curious objectthat is the film itself.  Just how did somany major names get involved in something like this?  Moreover, how do you take a renowned literaryprovocation and turn it into a camp laden hoot with more than a few perplexingif not unnerving artistic choices?  Inthe years since, both Pia Zadora and director Matt Cimber have long moved onwith Cimber’s next big endeavor being the co-creator of Gorgeous Ladies ofWrestling which was financed by Meshulam Riklis before Pia Zadora pulledthe plug after too many instances of Riklis ogling the ladies.  Looking back on Butterfly, the film is far from ineptwith some lovely production values and a soundtrack that, sans the Zadoratrack, is well worth listening to on its own. Pia Zadora might have the stigma of being one of the “Worst Actresses ofthe Century” but it is hard to imagine this movie being what it is withouther.  Whether she wrecked a potentialmasterwork is open to debate but her presence in the film is part of what makesthis a misbegotten crazy camp classic. Its most certainly not “good” per se but it is compulsively entertainingfor mostly the wrong reasons.--Andrew Kotwicki

Viddsee Storyteller Boot Camp | June 21 – 23, 2023

Posted By ScribblingGeek 8 days ago on Entertainment - The post Viddsee Storyteller Boot Camp | June 21 – 23, 2023 appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.Viddsee’s Storyteller Boot Camp for 2023 provides insights into the future of storytelling, with speakers and partners from Asia and North America.The post Viddsee Storyteller Boot Camp | June 21 – 23, 2023 appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Radiance Films: Cosa Nostra - Three Mafia Tales with Franco Nero (1968 - 1974) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 9 days ago on Entertainment

Images Courtesy of Radiance FilmsAfter brushing with the macabre Italian gothic horror scenewith his 1966 Richard Johnson starring chiller The Witch, Italianwriter-director-actor Damiano Damiani, that “most American of Italiandirectors” cemented his reputation as a provocative, politically chargedfilmmaker with his spaghetti western A Bullet for the General.  Soon after the director joined forces with Djangoactor Franco Nero not once but three times spanning from 1968 to 1974 todeliver three indelible crime dramas that sought to highlight Italy’senmeshment with the mafia: The Day of the Owl; The Case is Closed,Forget It and How to Kill a Judge.  Forming something of an actor-director team with Franco Nerowho all but sheds away his larger-than-life screen persona to play an everymanbeing pawned about by greater sociopolitical powers for their own mercurialneeds, Radiance Films and their aptly named Cosa Nostra boxed setpresents all three films in newly restored 2K digital restorations and aplethora of extras including but not limited to a 120-page collectible booklet.  The resulting trilogy of films tonally andthematically speaking are not that far removed from Vittorio Salerno’s own No,the Case is Happily Resolved from Arrow’s Years of Lead Italiancrime thriller box, highlighting the miscarriages of justice purported bymobsters in power from on high against unassuming everyday people.  With this, let us take a closer look atRadiance Film’s eclectic, handsomely restored collection of Italian mob dramasstarring the legendary Franco Nero in three of arguably his best, mostunderrated roles.  The Day of the Owl (1968) In rural Sicily around dusk, truck driver SalvatoreColasberna is driving a truck of cement to a highway construction project whenhe is besieged by an assassin who shoots him dead but not before being witnessedand heard within an earshot of the home of Rosa Nicolosi (Claudia Cardinale)and her husband.  As police captain Bellodi(Franco Nero) and crew start mounting their investigation, the captain uncoversa labyrinthine system of criminal mafia factions that are more than a littleinvolved in the construction project and may know a thing or two aboutColasberna’s murder, pointing to Don Mariano Arena (Lee J. Cobb) as the primarysuspect in what could be a corruption racket. Meanwhile Rosa herself falls under suspicion when her husband goesmissing while shirking off the reputation of being the ‘town tart’ while aneutral informant named Parineddu (screen legend Serge Reggiani) finds mercurialcriminal forces closing in around him. All the while, whatever actions the captain makes against Don Marianoand his empire get pushed back to where he started. Based on the 1961 novel of the same name by LeonardoSciascia after the success of Elio Petri’s adaptation of Sciascia’s novel ToEach His Own and adapted for the screen by Ugo Pirro and director DamianoDamiani, The Day of the Owl (released in the US as Mafia) kicksoff the Cosa Nostra trilogy of crime films with an especially sardonicand defeatist crime drama about the inseparability of mobsters with politicsand police.  As we side up with Captain Bellodi(an ever-powerful Franco Nero) and see one roadblock after another being put inhis way by gangsters hiding in plain sight who even make attempts on thecaptain’s life to his face, one gets the sense we’re not watching to see himsolve these crimes but to see how easily they sweep their transgressions underthe rug hiding in plain sight. Lensing the Sicilian countryside contrasted with the upscaleliving of the Roman cityscape with handsome clarity by Pier Paolo Pasolini’slongtime cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli and scored evocatively by L’avventuraand Hiroshima Mon Amour composer Giovanni Fusco, for all of itsmurder and corruption depicted onscreen The Day of the Owl looks andsounds lovely.  The ensemble cast led byFranco Nero including but not limited to legendary character actors Lee J. Cobband Serge Reggiani helps to boost the credibility of the production andeventual The Leopard actress Claudia Cardinale radiates onscreen as a seeminglysingle mom trying to protect her child while fending off leering and lecherous criminalstrying to take advantage of her. Initially released in Italy circa 1968, the film was bannedby the Board of Censors who objected to the film’s profanity, acerbic attitudetowards the subject matter and uncompromisingly bleak finale.  After a couple lines were changed however,the ban was lifted and the film went on to become a box office hit in Italy andhelped spawn what would or would not become a recurring working relationshipbetween actor Nero and director Damiani. A blistering critique of the cojoined dependency crime and crimefightinghave on each other, sometimes with the police force turning a blind eye to the mob’stransgressions, The Day of the Owl helped pave the way for morelike-minded sociopolitical critiques of Italy at the time and help beginushering in Nero as a more serious minded actor taking on more artisticallychallenging fare.  The Case is Closed, Forget It (1971) Dandy upstanding architect Vanzi (Franco Nero) finds himselfbehind bars over a petty traffic misdemeanor amid dangerous criminals andmobsters whom he quickly learns are the real figures pulling the reigns ofpower.  As he settles into hisconfinement, being shipped from cell to cell bumping into double-crossingmiscreants with their own self-serving schemes, he buddies up to a politicalprisoner whom, it seems, both the mob and those tasked with upholding the ruleof law are out to get him.  After aprison-riot results in the death of one of its inmates possessing a note thatwould’ve been an expose on the police corruption running through the policesystem, Vanzi grows more involved in trying to intervene for the politicalprisoner while putting his own safety and chances for parole on the line. An intense, claustrophobic, sometimes suffocatinglyoppressive and choking prison Italian prison drama that’s as much about thejudicial system as it was about the rise of corruption in Italian politics andlaw enforcement in general, The Case is Closed, Forget It is a hard-boiledadmission of defeat, a tough hitter that beats you down and kicks you a fewmore times before you’re back on your feet. Much of this comes from seeing Franco Nero inside the squalid andthreateningly dirty prison sets and how his own demeanor starts to becomeexhausted and strained over time. Initially the clean-cut architect certain his freedom is around thecorner, as more and more misfortunes and threats to his life befall him we seethe wear and tear taking a toll on the once formally composed family man.   Co-written by Damiani, Massimo De Rita and Dino Maiuri, forall of its rancid squalor The Case is Closed, Forget It is handsomelyshot by Password: Kill Agent Gordon cinematographer Claudio Ragona,expertly capturing the enclosed interior netherworld of the prison and renownedcomposer Ennio Morricone’s score for the piece is appropriately chilling andforeboding, suggesting a bleak fate for the film’s hero.  Co-starring alongside Nero is RiccardoCucciolla as the political prisoner and British character actor John Steinermakes a memorable turn as a flatulent sociopath.  The actor who really leaves an unshakableimpression is Ferruccio De Ceresa as the ruthless prison warden who will breakwhichever laws he can think of in order to maintain his ironclad grip on theprison morale. Searing and leaving an imprint on all who encounter it, TheCase is Closed, Forget It functions both as an indictment of thethen-fascistic judicial system as well as an uncompromising character study ofa man who comes to realize privilege may have more to do with freedom thanactual culpability.  Moreover, everyoneyou think you know might all be subservient to a greater implacable power andthe only ability you have is to recognize its evildoings.  A great companion piece to the aforementionedNo, the Case is Happily Resolved with which its title card bears astrong resemblance, The Case is Closed, Forget It is one of the bestItalian prison dramas you’ve never heard of and surely one of Franco Nero’smost surprising turns as an actor.  How to Kill a Judge (1974)  They say life imitates art, but if you’re a film directorlike Giacomo Solaris (Franco Nero) whose namesake consists of directing crimethrillers involving political corruption, what happens when one of your filmsengenders copycat crime?  That’s aquestion Solaris is forced to grapple with upon the release of his latestproject, a hit movie about a judge who gets whacked after buddying up tooclosely to the mob.  A disdainfulSicilian magistrate and his beleaguered wife demand the film be withdrawn fromcirculation, but then the judge turns up dead like one of the victims inSolaris’ film.  As the widow pins blameon the filmmaker, he starts to notice friends and colleagues in his circlestart dropping dead in increasingly nasty ways and soon realizes he’ll be nextif he doesn’t find out the truth behind the judge’s mysterious murder. Opening on a mournful cue by Riz Ortolani that sounds verylike his own score for No, the Case is Happily Resolved as La GrandeBouffe cinematographer Mario Vulpiani’s camera careens across the Romancityscape, How to Kill a Judge from the beginning implies a series ofinjustices and double-crossings will ensue before being conveniently sweptunder the rug.  More of a sociopoliticalcritique in the same vein as their prior prison drama The Case is Closed,Forget It than a straightforward poliziotteschi, the film is also acritique of the ways in which politics, the mob and the media go hand in handwith one pawn manipulating the other into action.  Over time it becomes less about who isresponsible for the judge’s death

Netflix Now: Soft & Quiet (2022) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 9 days ago on Entertainment

Images courtesy of BlumhouseThe evils of generational racism and cultural warfare come boiling to the surface in the horrifying tale of Soft & Quiet. This highly relevant story about a pack of women is a low budget thriller shot in long take form that captures modern naziism in the form of a 90 minute film from Blumhouse and their creative  partners. As a snapshot of Trump era attitudes towards race and immigration, this feature is one of anxiety and violence in all its various forms. This film could be panic attack inducing for the weak of heart. What starts out as an innocent school day quickly devolves into one of madness. A small group of women get together to introduce themselves into a weekly after-school meetup. All is revealed when we find out this isn’t some innocent get together. The crew is made up of white ladies, all from some varying background of racism and hate. Their discussion quickly turns to one of malevolence and hatred. The stage is almost immediately set for things to turn ugly. Horror films that could happen in our reality are typically the scariest of the bunch. Soft & Quiet is one of those movies. Everything about this could actually happen and is claimed to be based on a true life story. It’s almost unfathomable how mean spirited and aggressive this project goes. If there is a slippery slope, this one goes right off the edge, taking its audience to the brink of sanity. While it’s not necessarily graphic, it’s what you can imagine that’s happening off screen that’s even more disturbing. Nearly nothing is off the table. If you can’t handle implied scenes of brutal violence and sexual assault, this one may be one to set aside. This is a painful reflection of a humanity lost, one that’s been heavily armored by far right social media commentary, extremist narratives and cable talk show discussion points all manifested in a day of bloodshed. This is something we can all imagine being splashed all over our newsfeed almost any day of the week. We can also imagine the support that these criminals would receive as some sort of heroes. That in itself is a hard pill to swallow.  Things like this happen in our reality all the time. And these broken people would be celebrated for their actions. This film is just a delivery system that bears the weight of telling a tragic story that’s an uneasy and honest reflection of our world. Beth de Araújo’s Soft & Quiet is a skilled character study that digs at the skewed rationality and immoral code of racist and extremist groups. She handily processes a plot that couldn’t have been easy to tell. Her film making is tightly wound, capitalizing on tension and fear while she takes jabs at an inhumane sub-culture that's. Using a cast of unknowns, she’s able to keep a level of realism that isn’t distracted by big name actors or stars. Soft & Quiet is a modern home invasion horror film that’s not about slashers or some fictional evil. Not all monsters live in the dark. Some exist in our reality. Soft & Quiet sheds much needed light on this subsect of our society. -CG (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Singapore Father’s Day 2023 Gift Guide

Posted By ScribblingGeek 9 days ago on Entertainment - The post Singapore Father’s Day 2023 Gift Guide appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.Dads are hard to buy presents for, aren’t they? No worries. Here are some Father’s Day 2023 gift ideas to help you along.The post Singapore Father’s Day 2023 Gift Guide appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.