What if I told you that you missed one of the best movies of 2014? What if I also told you that you never even heard of it? Luckily I didn’t make that mistake so I don’t want others to make it, either.
There’s only so much one can say about The Guest without starting to spoil the film’s many finely-crafted layers of plot revelation. But the setup in itself was intriguing enough for me to want to watch it, along with the knowledge that this comes to us from the extremely humorous, twisted, and subversive team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett who also brought us the excellent You’re Next (review).
I love all genres but I’m more partial to horror and that’s what I’m better versed in when it comes to film. There are some other genres that I’m quite knowledgeable about but I really lack when it comes to film from the ‘50s and ‘60s. There is just so much out there that it’s a little overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. Luckily, there are companies like Olive Films that are picking the great ones and bringing them to the table, sparking renewed interest in the films, and giving them new fans such as myself.
Watching filmmakers and writers grow is a beautiful thing. Through the past couple of years I’ve kept my eye on a few filmmakers like Adam Wingard, Ti West, Adrián Garcia Bogliano, Eric England, and many more. As far as more recent filmmakers, I’ve been following Jeremy Berg and John Portanova. A little while ago I reviewed their directorial feature debut, The Invoking (review). I was highly impressed with the direction they took with The Invoking and it falls into my category of “story horror” which I’ve described in detail in the past. So when I got word of them doing another horror film, and one involving aliens, I was down.
Every once in a while I watch a film that I enjoy quite a bit but I wouldn’t consider great or essential to see. I call these films “rainy day” films: when something is just mediocre but you can’t stop thinking or talking about it. The film may not be that great but it’s one that won’t leave you. Films like Red Hill, Home Sweet Home, No One Lives, The Colony, and Citadel are a few that I feel fall into this category. Now, I legitimately like all those films but I know a lot of people consider them “forgettable.” People throw that word around to describe films but I honestly haven’t seen forgettable films nor do I think they exist.
Throughout the course of movie history we’ve seen films that should have been good but failed miserably. I’m not talking about films we thought were going to be good and they flopped. I’m talking about the ones where everything was set up with the right actors, script, director, producer, and any other suit in Hollywood. All these elements that can almost guarantee success are in place, but the movie turns out to be a disaster. Last night I watched Skidoo. I went in blind to this film other than knowing it had one hell of a cast and a legendary director. Otto Preminger was the man behind it so I thought this couldn’t go wrong, right?
Remember PC games in the ‘90s that were very story based with a ton of cinematics and limited gameplay? For the most part, the cut scenes were actual actors and not animation and they were poorly acted. I was always a big FPS fan and I disliked the type of games that included just a lot of walking around, pushing buttons, and someone who popped up in your HUD and told you what you were doing wrong or right. I’m guessing this is why I disliked Day Of The Mummy.
As a cinephile I’m often asked the question, “what is the scariest film you have ever seen”? I have a list of scary films but not too many actually scare me. I’ve been watching horror films since I was 4, so I’m a little desensitized at this point in my life. I get creeped out of course, but it takes a little bit more for me to look over my shoulder at the end of the film.
Movies push the limits constantly. Sometimes I go into a film knowing that it is going to hit me hard, but every once in a while a film comes out of nowhere to punch me right in the face. A few years ago the controversial A Serbian Film screened at South By Southwest and word spread quickly on social media that it was “the most fucked up movie ever made.” I agree A Serbian Film pushes the envelope a number of times and I mostly agree that it’s fucked up. However, there isn’t any realism in for it me and I believe it’s realism that’s scarier and sticks with you more. Films like A Serbian Film, Martyrs, and The Human Centipede are brutal but I have to give up a big portion of my suspension of disbelief because there is no realism to these films at all.
Mark Raso makes his feature film directorial debut with Copenhagen, for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film was highly anticipated; Raso won the Student Academy Award (Oscar®) Gold Medal for his short film Under. Copenhagen had a very successful festival run, receiving six festival prizes prior to its recent US theatrical release. I eagerly offered to review the film, certain I would love an award-winning film with great viewer buzz and critical acclaim, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.