The Hateful Eight (2015) Review

Sam Kench reviews the 2015 film The Hateful Eight written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Demian Bichir.

This review is from about over a month ago with the film was first released. Click below to watch the

The Hateful 8 is set 6 or 8 or 12 years after the Civil War in blistering cold, snowy Wyoming, and a blizzard is coming.  Bounty Hunter John Ruth is bringing his bounty, Ms. Daisy  to the town of Red Rock where she’s scheduled hang for her crimes.  Along the way he and his wagon driver Olie pick up two strangers; another bounty hunter and former union soldier, Major Marquis Warren, and a former southern renegade who claims to be the new mayor of Red Rock, Chris Mannix.  The impending storm forces them to stop at Minnie’s. Rather than being greeted by the bubbly Minnie, four strangers have taken up residence in the shop/stage coach station to wait out the storm. As the storm takes over the mountainside cabin worlds collide. Who’s fate is it to make it out alive?

BUY IT NOW

 

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

kiss kis bang bang

kiss kis bang bagn

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a dark comedy with a strong noir edge mystery about a murderer being pursued by a gay private investigator, a thief mistaken as an actor and his childhood love interest.

Though this movie may be enjoyable to the casual movie going audience, it is especially appealing to those well versed in the medium of film. Film buffs will find great pleasure in this film as it takes the conventions you’ve come to expect and twists them around to great comedic effect. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” follows a somewhat generic murder mystery plot, but infuses it with genre defying dark comedy at crucial moments to steer the film into unexpected territory with the comedy forming to the point of perfection and hitting its mark every time.

two

While the comedy and some of the direction/cinematography stop “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” from being a true hard boiled noir, all the style is still there. The film has a great grasp of the noir style, with a lot of darkly lit sets, many washed over with heavy color as many neo-noirs do.

The music is also excellently noir and it is impressive how the often serious music manages to avoid clashing with the comedic moments that occur simultaneously. The music is all great and genre fitting, until the end credits where they used a horribly unfitting song. I’m one to usually read through the credits of a film if I like it, and the music choice stopped me from doing so. This isn’t a bad mark on the film itself, just a poor decision from the soundtrack department which up until that point had been so great.

The two leads are great. Robert Downey Jr. as Harry Lockhart and Val Kilmer as Gay Perry are both terrific. Each character is well formed, and though the characters never take on the buddy cop formula, they do have good back and forth on screen chemistry which makes the comedy work that much better. The excellent comedic writing is pulled off flawlessly by these two leads. The female lead, Harmony Lane played by Michelle Monaghan, is a different story. The threeactress did a fine job, but the writing of the character does not work to the film’s benefit . The only aspect of the film that didn’t work to me was the romance between Harry Lockhart and Harmony Lane. I really can’t see why she is worth all the trouble or why Harry would even want to be with her, she’s honestly quite a whore.

The film has one of the absolute best narrations of all time from Robert Downey Jr. as his character tells the story while having quite a bit of difficulty. He goes back to parts he forgot, criticizes scenes and gets off topic. All to excellent comedic effect. The film is very self aware which works in its favor and gives a feeling of true originality to the film.

The clever, tightly written script is the main reason to watch the film. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is hilarious but also manages to be very cool and stylish with a nice noir tone and even managing to have a pretty damn cool final shootout.
one

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a fantastic film. I highly recommend it to all fans of cinema. Anyone looking for a neo-noir, a comedy or even a low octane action film will likely find a good time wrapped up within “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, it can even work as an alternative Christmas film like “Die Hard” or “In Bruges“.

 

Movie Recommendation of the Week #9

The premise of Point Blank isn’t anything terribly original. A man’s wife gets kidnapped and now he’s trying to get her back. While the film isn’t wholly inventive, it is executed well.

Be aware that this is more of a soft recommendation than usual. Point blank isn’t great or even very memorable, but it is an entertaining french action thriller, that most people probably haven’t seen.

This is not something that you need to go out of your way to watch. It is currently on Netflix, or if you happen across it, then give it a watch. Point Blank is a harmless entertaining movie, and sometimes that’s all you want.

Movie Recommendation of the Week #6

assault on precinct 13 poster

assault on precinct 13 poster

Assault on Precinct 13

For some reason a lot of people seem to think that Halloween was John Carpenter’s first movie. It was actually his 3rd feature length film and it wasn’t even his first great film.

Assault on Precinct 13 was John Carpenter’s 2nd feature film and it came out in 1976, two years before Halloween in 1978.

The movie’s title is actually a big misconception. The assault doesn’t take place on Precinct 13, nor is there a Precinct 13 anywhere in the movie. The precinct in the movie is actually Precinct 9, District 13. John Carpenter’s original title was “The Anderson Alamo”, he later changed it to “The Siege”, but the movie distributors changed the title when they released it to “Assault on Precinct 13”, because they thought it sounded cool, and they were just not bothered to check their details.

Reasons to watch:

John Carpenter is in great form – Even though this isn’t a horror movie, it has Carpenter’s signature dark and foreboding style. It’s an action thriller (idealized as a western) that has a horror like atmosphere that works surprisingly well.

Great action – While there may not be a ton of action, what is there is great. The effects are fantastic. This is back in the 70’s so we have all the glorious assaultsquibs that sadly aren’t as prevalent in more modern films. The action is well shot, well performed, and is very intense.

Good characters – The acting is very good and the characters are very well rounded. The character development is done surprisingly well.

It seems like the kind of movie where you wouldn’t care about the characters, but John Carpenter did a great job as writer/director making the characters napoleon wilsonlikable and relate-able. They are believable in the situation and the good guys are fun to root for.

One character in particular is just so damn cool. Partially because of the excellent writing and partially because of the fantastic performance given by Darwin Joston. That character is Napoleon Wilson. This character is so Goddamn cool, he has to be on a list of coolest movie characters, but I feel he often goes overlooked.

It’s an overlooked classic – Assault on Precinct 13 is one of John Carpenter’s best films and it really is a classic.

Clone Hunt Level 1

This is a quick little action video done to test out some new editing moves. Check it out, if you want a Clone Hunt level 2 leave a comment saying so.

Max Payne: A Reason to Live – by Sam Kench

max payne title card

This is a short that I wrote, directed, edited, and did the cinematography on inspired by the Max Payne video game series.

The Max Payne games are fantastic and I highly recommend them, I might get around to an actual review of these games eventually but this is my tribute to the series. It’s not a recreation of the game, but more of a side story revolving around the title character.

We shot this a while ago, over the summer actually, but it got stuck in post production for a long time. Once I got After Effects and learned how to do the VFX I was able to get the muzzle flashes, smoke and blood dones. This is the first video I’ve done VFX, so there was a steep learning curve. Now it’s finally finished and public.

Max Payne is played by Emmett Morrill, I provided the voice for the narration, and Elias Redcloud played Walter Santiago. The goons are played by myself, Andrew Fortier, and Logan Frye. I hope you’ll all check it out and enjoy it and maybe leave some feedback.

Here’s a little background information about the making of the video:

  • This video was shot in one day coming hot off the heels of another larger scale project which I hope to be able to release in the future.
  • Max Payne’s costume was a joint effort by Elias Redcloud and the owner of Green Carbon 2112. The jacket belonged to Eli, and the Max Payne tie was custom made for the video by Amy Lyn.
  • The day before filming I sat down with Emmett Morrill who played Max Payne and we played the game. I had him pay close attention to Max’s mannerisms. The way he walked/ran with/without guns, the way he takes cover, and especially the way he jumps. The trademark of the Max Payne games is the slow motion diving and shooting and this is something that I strove to recreate for the video. It was important to me that we were faithful to the dives and that meant getting serious height and flying backwards into the ground. This is hard to do from a stunt person perspective as it is very hard to stop your body from instinctively putting your hands down and catching yourself. We used a crash mat for Emmett to dive onto to make it a little easier on him.
  • Max Payne’s signature emotion is his trademark hyper frown, it’s not quite a Dredd hyper frown but it’s pretty close. Max is a guy who has no joy in his life so we spent a great deal of time working on Emmett’s frown.
  • The video was filmed downstairs at the Gordon Nash Library in New Hampton New Hampshire which is where we held our film club meetings over the summer.

A sequel video is currently in pre-production but it could be a while before that takes off. The rate at which it happens depends largely on locations and actors as well as the editing, but if enough people are really itching to see the sequel I can make that priority.

 

Macabre Month of Horror #19 F.E.A.R 2

fear 2

fear 2 pooster

F.E.A.R 2 begins a short bit before the end of the first F.E.A.R game, however you play as a different character in a different location. Monolith still had a large part with making the game but now there is the addition of Warner Brothers.

Monolith still handles the horror elements which are in top form and Warner Brothers throws in some cash which makes the game much more polished than the first one was. The shooting is more modern and finely tuned. I loved the shooting in the first game after I got used to it, but the shooting is very good in the second game as well, but they are entirely different.

FPS fearThe first game had a lot of cramped corridors and droning offices but there were only a few locations and that meant you were looking at the same decor and art design throughout most of the game. Visually the game got a bit repetitive and stale.

They improved this greatly for the sequel. F.E.A.R 2 has a much higher quantity of settings as well as having more color and stronger more polished visuals which make the presentation of the game much stronger.

The horror works very well. There are some ineffective bits and relies on jump scares a bit too often, but there are still of creative, original, and ingenious scare tactics used to creep out any gamer. Alma is in full creepy mode, and though her transformation in the first game may have been a highlight, her figure in F.E.A.R 2 is creepy in it’s own right.

fear 2

The shooting is a great deal of fun. Once again the shooting takes some of the tension out of the moment and you feel safe from Alma when under fire, so the integration could still be improved upon.

F.E.A.R 2 is even gorier than the first game. You can shoot a guy with a shotgun and watch him completely explode leaving nothing behind save for bloody smears on the walls and ceiling. You can blow a guy in half at the waist and watch his upper half flail around in agony. You can blast a guy’s shoulder off and admire the gruesome ribs sticking out from the side of his chest. It’s a bloody good time. There is a wider variety of guns this time. Some useful and some not so much. The guns range from being awesome and cool, like the hammerhead which can pin people to walls, to being completely lame and not fun to use, like the napalm cannon.

There are some interesting set pieces in F.E.A.R 2. There are segments when you hop inside a battlemech type thing and fire machine guns and rockets. These parts feel out of place like they belong in a different game. At any rate they are not much fun and only manage to take you out of the experience. At times the action overall feels as if it’s on too grand a scale for a horror game, but the shooting is usually fun so I digress.

fear alma

*SPOILERS* The game ends with one of the downright creepiest game plot developments ever. Your character gets strapped to a chair and raped by Alma. That is pretty messed up, and disturbing to be sure, and further more she get’s pregnant, setting a wonderful stage for a sequel. *END SPOILERS*

F.E.A.R. 2 was a great follow up to the first game and furthered the cannon of the series. It was another great game being added to the eventual trilogy. Check back tomorrow to see if the 3rd could complete an entirely worthwhile trilogy.

CLICK HERE to order F.E.A.R. 2

Macabre Month of Halloween Horror 2013 movie review #3 ~ ‘John Carpenter’s Vampires’

John carpenter's Vampires poster
John carpenter's Vampires poster
John carpenter’s Vampires poster

John Carpenter is a master of horror. Sometimes he fails to deliver but he will always be known as one of the greats. He brought us a wide range of classics such as Halloween, Escape From New York, and Assault on Precinct 13.

Vampires stars James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, and none other than Laura Palmer herself: Sheryl Lee. James Woods tries his hardest to be a BAMF and sometimes he doesn’t quite pull off the tough guy act.

james woods
James Woods

The role could have been better cast, Michael Biehn would be my pick for the role. James Woods really does give it his all though, too bad he’s always just bordering on BA when the character deserves better. While James Woods isn’t always believable as a tough guy, the character is still really cool.

Sheryl Lee doesn’t have a lot to do in the movie. She mostly just looks freaked out or possessed, and Daniel Baldwin is interchangeable with a number of other actors, so the cast is not the strong point of the movie.  The strong point is in John carpenter’s impeccable direction. I will say that the guy who plays the young priest is awesome. His transformation is well done and he is about the only actor that I would not recast if given the option.

John Carpenter was actually thinking about quitting directing before making this movie. He said that it “Stopped Being Fun” This movie changed his mind and he decided to keep directing. That’s pretty damn cool.

Vampires has the look, sound, tone, and feel of an 80’s horror film, when it’s actually from 1998. Only 2 films ago for John Carpenter. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It resembles the sorely missed lost style of classic horror films. John Carpenter composed the music for the film and it is perfectly suiting and creates a strong style for the film.

vampire cross

John Carpenter’s Vampires is very similar to From Dusk Till Dawn. Both are vampire films with a Spanish flair and location. Both take inspiration from the vampire lore while twisting it around and tweaking it, and both have wild action scenes, killing vampires with really great gore effects. This is a movie that is proud to be rated R. Blood, swearing, and pretty much anything that can get you rated R. Vampires wears it’s rating like a badge and jumps at the chance to throw a motherf*cker in your face.

Vampires had two sequels the 2nd of which starring Jon Bon Jovi of all people.

Vampires isn’t “Scary” in the slightest, but it doesn’t really try to be. Instead it strives for being a cool action movie. The movie knows what it is and it just exudes cool. In a world flooded with terrible vampire movies like the whole Twilight franchise, it’s nice to know that there are still some cool vampire films worth watching that you might not have seen yet. It’s not a slow movie by any means, its 108 minute run time breeze right by. It’s entertaining without overstaying it’s welcome.

They’re not gothic vampires and they’re not bitchy brooding vampires either, they’re hardcore balls to the wall vampires that will tear you apart without pausing for a moment to think about Kirsten Stewart.

It’s not great, but it’s a decent little flick. It’s a fun vampire film in the vain of From Dusk Till Dawn. Definitely worth checking out.

Currently John Carpenter’s Vampires is available for free on Crackle so check it out if you’rd interested and keep checking back all October long for a new horror review everyday with this years MACABRE MONTH OF HORROR.

 

‘The World’s End’ wraps up the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy perfectly

the worlds end

the worlds end

The World’s End is the final installment in the Cornetto trilogy from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright.

the worlds end simon pegg

The first two films in the trilogy being “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”. Both were fantastic movies, so expectations were high for “The World’s End”. All three films in the trilogy star the excellent comedic pairing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who have to face off against a group of deadly enemies. In “Shaun of the Dead” the threat was zombies, in “Hot Fuzz” it was crazy cult members, and in “The Worlds End” it’s robot aliens.

the worlds end nick frostSimon Pegg and Nick Frost are best friends so they work great together on screen. They are one of the all time greatest comedic duos among the ranks of Abbot and Costello and Fry and Laurie. “The World’s End” has the two doing a little role reversal.

Nick Frost usually plays the drunk, slob, or unintelligent buffoon, and Simon Pegg usually plays the more professional one. This time it’s the opposite and each man delivers a great performance. Simon Pegg gives one of the strongest performances of his career. The character is well constructed and completes a surprisingly deep character arc for a comedy over the course of the story.

the worlds end martin freemanThe supporting cast is top notch. The supporting cast features a bevy of high level British comedic actors including Martin Freeman of Sherlock and The Hobbit fame. the worlds end paddy considineOther supporting cast members include Paddy ConsidineEddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike. All are very funny. There are some great cameos in the movie from people like Pierce Brosnan and Bill Nighy.

The World’s End pays homage to old sci-fi films from the 50’s and 60’s and manages to both satirize the genre while improving upon the formula.

the worlds end eddie marsenThere are a number of fight sequences in the “The World’s End” which was a little surprising but ultimately worked for the better. They are well choreographed and shot and are very inventive and original which is a big plus. The Cornetto Trilogy is also known as the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy and The World’s end shows a  severe lack of both blood and ice cream. The lack of ice cream is actually used for comedy while blood is replaced largely by blue ink, from robots. But the World’s End still definitely earns it’s R rating with plenty of profanity used in the traditional English humor sense.

the worlds end rosamund pikeEdgar Wright brings his trademark directing style to the film with his utilization of fast cuts, non-traditional editing, and inventive camera techniques.

The action is entertaining and the comedy hits it’s mark perfectly. “The World’s End” works great as both a stand alone film and as the final installment in the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy. There are many little references and homages to the other films and “The World’s End” stays faithful to the trilogy in both style and humor. “The World’s End” is a fantastic film. One of the best comedies in a long time.

De-Jango Unspoken (Fake grindhouse trailer)

Newfound Film Making Club is located in the Newfound Region of NH

Members of the Newfound Film Making Club recently made a couple of fake grindhouse style trailers to play during a double feature film event. The club was founded by Green Carbon 2112’s own Sam and “advised” by Amy Lyn.

Here is one of the trailers “De-Jango Unspoken” a parody of the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained.