Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Phil's Horror Watch: SOME KIND OF HATE (2015) from RLJ Entertainment -June 28, 2016

SOME KIND OF HATE Blu-Ray (2015)
Starring: Ronen Rubinstein, Grace Phipps, Sierra McCormick, Lexi Atkins, Spencer Breslin, Brando Eaton, Maestro Harrell
Written by Brian DeLeeuw & Adam Egypt Mortimer
Cinematography by Benji Bakshi
Edited by Josh Ethier
Produced by
Directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer
Distributed by RLJ Entertainment

Once again the independent horror film world has provided us horror fans another cinematic nightmare with social commentary that today's youths can all too easily relate to. Today's film addresses an issue that has been plaguing our public school system for decades: bullying. This crisis has gotten so out of hand that teens have been committing suicide as a way to escape their hellish torment. Unfortunately, some of these teens have been lashing out against their peers as school shootings have now become the norm. It is in this unstable and uncertain climate that makes the film SOME KIND OF HATE that much more relevant to today's youth.

The film's official synopsis: Relentless bullying has turned Lincoln's life into a nightmare. But he soon learns the true meaning of terror when he is sent to a remote school for troubled teens and the harassments start all over again. Only this time, someone is watching - a teenage girl named Moira who was driven to suicide by vicious bullying years ago. When Lincoln accidentally summons Moira from the grave, he unleashes a vengeful and unstoppable force on a mission of blood-soaked revenge.

Festival Movie Poster (2015)
The movie is also another fine example of transcending the horror genre to new heights. In this case, the slasher genre. Not since Freddy Kruger has there been a more terrifying supernatural entity that has caused more teen deaths than our main antagonist Moria, played by Sierra McCormick. While we are supposed to dispose the villain, Moria is more of a sympathetic character. She was bullied to the point of committing suicide and how do we not feel sorry for her. But her thirst for revenge only fuels her hatred and she comes to the aide via a cry for help from Lincoln, played by Ronen Rubinstein. Both McCormick and Rubinstein have great on-screen chemistry as they are the young and yang to each other. Add the beautiful and talented Grace Phipps as Lincoln's love interest Kaitlin (whose performance in the film was absolutely incredible!) and the film rises to the next level of believability and terror.

Writer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer (along with co-writer Brian DeLeeuw) combines the look and feel of a classic slasher film while simultaneously addressing the issue of bullying, something that has been talked about a lot in the news as of late. The issue of bullying has gotten completely out of hand to where children today can no longer handle it and their only escape is to either lash out with violence or commit suicide. Mortimer does a tremendous job of combining this terrible issue with supernatural horror, much like his predecessor Wes Craven did with 1984's horror classic A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. His directing is a blend of hand held documentary and down and dirty grindhouse horror; meaning the camera doesn't flinch away from the gruesome gore and violence. Plus it didn't hurt that the film was shot with an authentic 1970's widescreen anamorphic lenses to give it that look and feel of a grindhouse flick.

Overall SOME KIND OF HATE is one of the best indie horror films of 2016!! If you are being bullied or you are bully, then you both should see this movie immediately! It will make you think twice about what you are doing! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

SOME KIND OF HATE is currently available on DVD at your local retailer or online at the Amazon website. It is also available on Video On Demand, digital download and Amazon Prime. To learn more about RLJ Entertainment, visit their website at www.rljentertainment.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Phil attends an exclusive advanced screening of THE NEON DEMON from Amazon Studios - June 20, 2016

Hello again everybody and welcome to a very special edition of Phil's Film Adventures! While I was going through my Facebook feed I saw a very interesting post from the Sacramento Horror Film Festival. They were giving away free passes to an advanced screening of director Nicolas Winding Refn's new film THE NEON DEMON, which wont be in theaters until Friday, June 24th. Now I was very excited because I haven't done one of these types of screenings in over two years. So right after work, I headed down to the United Artists Arden Fair 6 Mall to check out this cinematic special occasion!

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has in The Neon Demon, the new horror thriller from Nicolas Winding Refn. The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Super 8), Jena Malone (Inherent Vice, The Hunger Games series), Bella Heathcote (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dark Shadows), Abbey Lee (Gods of Egypt, Max Max: Fury Road), Karl Glusman (Love, Stonewall), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix series), Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men,” Drive), Desmond Harrington (“Dexter,” The Dark Knight Rises), Alessandro Nivola (A Most Violent Year, American Hustle), and Charles Baker (“Breaking Bad,” Wild).

Actress Elle Fanning gives one of her best performances ever! She commands your attention when she's on the screen. Her portrayal as Jesse is nothing short of riveting. We witness her character turn from a kind, sweet and naive young girl to a self-absorbed, arrogant and prissy supermodel. It's a slow turn that is utterly amazing to witness. It is an extraordinary performance! Jena Malone is also captivating, if not shocking, as Jesse's good friend and make-up artists Ruby. She goes the extra mile in the film and let me just say there's this amazing "Holy Shit!" moment that was freaking crazy! Then there's Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee, who portray Gigi and Sarah respectively. These superficial, super shallow and superplastic supermodels are the antagonists to our fair Jesse, who will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn't steal their spotlight and fame. Also, look for Keanu Reeves appearing in a very minor role as the jackass motel manager Hank, who spreads his time smoking cigarettes and breaking into the rooms.

Nicolas Winding Refn's directing is perfection at its finest! His compositions and camera panning are simple buy yet very effective. His eye captures the beautiful and the ugliness of not only our characters but also of the Los Angeles fashion world as well. Refn's framing is superb, documenting the rise and fall of Jesse with such captivating fluently. But what I really loved was the gorgeous neon lighting throughout the film. The last time I watched a film with this much colorful lighting was Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic SUSPIRIA. Now I would also like to address his partner-in-crime, which would be cinematographer Natasha Braier, without whom Refn's wouldn't have been able to bring his film to the screen. Exquisitely photographed by this very talented individual! Also, Refn co-wrote the film with two other talented writers: Mary Laws and Polly Stenham. The sparse dialogue enhances his unique vision but the story is so fascinating that we can't help but get swept into the lovely chaos of our characters.

Another aspect I loved about the film was the incredibly radical soundtrack! Music composer Cliff Martinez created a soundtrack that is an amalgam of 80's new wave synthesizer and traditional slasher music from like FRIDAY THE 13th. It's catchy, hypnotic and retro all at the same time. It's reminds of music that I would hear on the New Retro Wave website. It's new yet familiar at the same time, which is very difficult to pull off. I can't wait to buy the soundtrack and I hope it comes out on a totally awesome looking colored vinyl!

There are some who will say that this is not a horror film while some say it is an art house movie. Then there are those who will call it a thriller. Some might dare say it sucked and would want their money back. This is an experimental film; one that lies somewhere between an exquisite dreamlike state and a nightmarish plane of reality.

 THE NEON DEMON is my favorite film of the year thus far!! Words cannot describe how much I loved this movie!! It truly is a work of art and it must be seen on the big screen! So if you are bored of the typical Hollywood schlockbuster and the tired remakes/reboots/rehashes, then you must see this movie! 5 out of 5 stars!! Very highly recommended!!

THE NEON DEMON is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the United Artists Arden Fair 6 Mall. Check your local listings and theater to see if it's playing near you!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Phil's Horror Watch: THE GREEN INFERNO (2015) from Universal Pictures - June 19, 2016

Starring: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Sky Ferreira, Nicolás Martínez, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand, Ramón Llao, Matías López
Written by Eli Roth & Guillermo Amoedo
Cinematography by Antonio Quercia
Edited by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Directed by Eli Roth
Distributed by Universal Pictures

In 1996, filmmaker Eli Roth made his big screen debut with CABIN FEVER, his goretastic homage to Sam Raimi's 1981 horror classic EVIL DEAD. Then he went one to become one of the members of the "Splat Pack" in the early 2000's with his films HOSTEL and HOSTEL 2. Now, Roth has returned with his new movie that is, once again, a homage film. However, this time he's paying tribute to the great Italian director Ruggero Deodato and his infamous 1980 film CANNIBAL HALOCAUST. His new movie THE GREEN INFERNO follows in the grand tradition of the Italian cannibal genre.

The film's official synopsis: In New York, college student Justine joins a group of activists led by Alejandro and travels to Peru to protest against a timber industry that is destroying the Amazon rain forest. When the group is returning to civilization, the plane blows-up and crashes into the forest. Soon the survivors discover that they are not alone and they are abducted by a tribe of cannibals.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
What I loved about the film is that it shows how much Roth has grown as a director. His visuals, his style of directing and his vision are leaps and bounds from his first film. It's very grand and very large in scope that it's beautifully captured that you almost forget that it's a horror movie. Not too many of these kinds of films are still being made.

With talking about the cast, I'd have to start this off with our leading lady Lorenza Izzo, who portrays Justine in the film. Her character means well, wants to make a difference in the world somehow, and naively, joins an activist group to help save an Amazon rainforest. She's you're typical young college student who is not sure where she's going. Even though her rich dad is paying for her schooling, she wants to do more. Izzo's performance was fantastic as she and her character were put through some of the most extreme scenes and situations. Ariel Levy who plays out antagonist Alejandro, who is one of the biggest foreign douchebags to grace the silver screen since those other douchebags from Roth's HOSTEL films. He says he means will but his true colors are brightly shown during the film. 

THE GREEN INFERNO is a worthy entry into the celebrated and beloved cannibal genre! The film is a genuine and horrifying tribute to those great Italian cannibal films of yesteryear that captured our curiosity when we the fans would rent them at our local mom & pop video stores and haunted our nightmares after we saw them! I dare you to watch this movie with the lights off! 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommend viewing!!

THE GREEN INFERNO is currently available on DVD at your local retailer or online at the Amazon website. It is also available on Video On Demand, digital download and Amazon Prime. 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!