(ca) wrote: Surprisingly good indie film. For Matthew Lillard's first feature film, as a director of course, he has a good grasp of letting the heart of the characters shine through and the film tells a very sweet, perhaps too sweet for some, of the friendship between Troy and Marcus and how they both help each other overcome, in the case of Troy, his shyness and anti-social attitude. And Marcus getting help with his addictions to drugs and whatnot. The movie isn't really hilarious, while it does have some very funny scenes, does rely on the characters and their interactions with each other to tell its story. Somehow this film reminds me of Perks of being a Wallflower. Just the way the main characters are depressed and how they come out of their shell when they become friends with someone who accepts them for who they are. Of course it's not nearly as good or as heartfelt as Perks, but this film is still really good. The acting is more than solid. Jacob Wysocki, as Troy, is very likable. Matt O'Leary is, as his own character says, charming and fun, but he also has the most to hide emotionally. My favorite character had to have been Troy's dad because he's completely different than what you expect at the beginning. You expect this incredibly strict and unforgiving father, but it actually turns out he's the exact opposite of the army dad. He IS strict but he's definitely a fair and compassionate man, and Billy Campbell was excellent in the role to be honest. So yea, I really enjoyed this film. It's definitely very sweet, it's best described as a feel-good indie flick. Well-shot, well-written and well-acted. So I cannot complain at all.
(de) wrote: (tamil version) Directed by: Mani Ratnam This movie was just spectacular...in a weird way. I don't know why but it had such a "weird" tone all throughout the film...it was in a happy/wild/sad type of tone. Raavanan is the modernized re-telling of the Hindu God Raavanan's story, which I am not familiar with, as I am catholic but after viewing this film I became very familiar with the story. The story is about a forest-inhabited village and its folks living their lives with no fear and happily, but the village also contains many of India's most wanted terrorists, who are the leaders of the village. The terrorists capture the wife of a indian cop who lives outside in the city, and so the cop who seems to have a huge backstory with the main leader of the terrorists, Beera, goes on a manhunt with all of his forces into the forest to find his wife and also capture or kill the terrorists, mainly Veera. This is the film I have been waiting for a smart, epic, and sad tamil film, as most tamil films that have come out this year have all been no brain action films. Mani Ratnam is one of my favourite tamil directors and this film seems to be one of his weaker films. I think they should have edited some of the slow parts more, as they seem to just go on and an talking about one thing. Also, the story seems a little muddled, as I had a hard time trying to understand all of the little back-stories. The film contains alot of violence and gore, like in one scene where Veera captured his dead sisters husband who ran away, and so with anger for running away when his sister needed her husband the most, he cut off his hand and stiched him to a straw doll and hung him on a tree with his cut-off hand in the the other hand. Despite all that the film's amazing camera work, beautiful and exotic locations, well done acting, breath-taking dance numbers, stunniing finaly and acadamy award winning A.Rahaman's score all make the film "spectacular".
(ru) wrote: "The world was full of riddles, and mysteries, and puzzles. And I learned early on that I had a gift for solving them. I learned that careful examination of how, and what, and why, would inevitably lead to understanding, even to control. But what I didn't know, what I never could've imagine, was that one day my own life would become the most challenging puzzle of all." It really is a pity that Hellraiser: Inferno is not as poignant as it deserves to be. Admittedly, I was looking forward to the fifth installment of the Hellraiser series as I was kind of curious as to what tricks Pinhead would have up his sleeves. Also, despite reading a number of reviews slamming this movie, they could not impede my interest in this film. Well, Hellraiser: Inferno looked rather promising in the beginning as the viewer is treated to some stylish camerawork and a rather haunting melody as the credits roll. However, as the film introduces its anti-hero and a rather disconcerting plot, I had an intuition that this film was not going to cut it...and I was half-correct. Joseph (Craig Sheffer) is the detective you love to hate. On one hand, he claims that he believes in loyalty and fidelity. On the other hand, he has a habit of snorting coke, lying to his wife, and engaging in extramarital affairs. This rather corrupt detective has recently been called to solve a brutal murder case. The poor victim, who was apparently a former schoolmate of Joseph, was graphically mutilated by what appeared to be hooks. As Joseph searches for clues, he finds a child's severed finger near the grisly murder scene. While searching for more pieces of evidence, Joseph finds an enigmatic box at the scene of the crime. He will soon realize that this very same box will thrust him into a world of unparalleled horrors. Nightmare and reality will eventually collide when Joseph discovers the key to opening that box. After opening that said box, Joseph plunges into an all-too-unreal scenario where people around him start dying and elusive demons (otherwise known as "Cenobites") start haunting him. As if Joseph does not have enough problems, he must also search for a serial killer by the name of "The Engineer." Whenever The Engineer commits a murder, it always leaves a severed child's finger at the crime scene. As Joseph tries to connect the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, his life gradually begins to turn upside-down-and trust me, that is an understatement. Joseph is beginning to have plenty of trouble distinguishing reality from utter paranoia. The only person who is willing to help Joseph out is a psychiatrist named Dr. Gregory (James Remar). However, even a gifted psychiatrist like Dr. Gregory, who supposedly has first-hand knowledge about the abnormal, is helpless. There are plenty of great expectations, and disappointments. Well Hellraiser fanatics, I have some sad news to deliver. If you are expecting Pinhead himself to have a prominent role in this film, you will end up feeling sorely disappointed. It is kind of sad to see that one of the greatest villains in motion picture history has only a mere cameo (relegated to just a few minutes worth of screen time) in this fifth outing of the Hellraiser series. I might as well start by saying that the problem with a Hellraiser sequel (or with sequels in general) is that many (but not all) fans already have certain expectations going into this movie. Ardent fans in particular probably want the film to spotlight Pinhead and his Cenobites posse as the stars. However, at best, Pinhead has an inconsequential role and fans will most likely feel disappointed. Even I expected Pinhead to do a lot more Hell-raising. Let's face it, the video sleeve cover prominently displays Pinhead, yet Pinhead barely makes an appearance in this film. Talk about false advertising! I should also comment that the demonic box itself-a significant prop in the other Hellraiser movies-does not have much substantial influence here. In short, Inferno is such a radical departure from the other Hellraiser movies that it is difficult to believe that this installment is related to the previous four films. Though I must admit that it does try to capture some of the atmospheric intensity of the first Hellraiser film. Right now, I am having one hell of a time deciding how to rate this movie. I wanted to enjoy it, but the disjointed script and vapid pacing damaged my enjoyment tremendously. On the other hand, what is good about this film is that it indeed has some atmosphere and terror plus there are some rather apt themes dealing with morality and facing one's inner guilt. Yet, the actors deliver mediocre-at-best, terrible-at-worst performances and I could not develop any sort of sympathy for the main character. Inferno is high concept ambition hurt by low-budget filmmaking. Unfortunately, the film promised more than it can deliver. At one point during the movie, Joseph himself yells, "I don't understand!" Honestly, I felt the same way, feeling the urge to shout the same phrase while watching this film. I suppose that what is bold about Inferno is that this film does not follow a linear sequence. Often in the case of your typical motion picture, we know what is going on, we can connect the dots. In Inferno, that is not the case; we are just as perplexed as the detective himself. This aspect can either be a pro or a con depending on your disposition. If you are the impatient one who indulges in instant gratification, this film's non-linear sequence will drive you off-the-wall-just like the main character. If you have a lot of patience, you may very well find this aspect to be intriguing. So what is my verdict? For me, I like a film that challenges the mind about what is real and what is not (a theme prevalent in Jacob's Ladder and Dark City), but Inferno just crosses the line between intrigue and just plain confusion. Basically, the more the movie tries to sort everything out, the more you feel the need to press the fast forward button on your remote control so that the film could end. In Inferno, often you are better off not knowing the answers rather than suspending your disbelief just to understand what the answers mean.A decent thriller should keep the viewer riveted throughout. Unfortunately, sometimes Inferno suffers from the fact that it lackadaisically strides and moves at a tortoise's pace. The lax pacing often drains much of the suspense out of the film. For example, scenes are often padded with boring dialogue which reveals little then reiterate the fact that this so-called "The Engineer" may be behind the gruesome murders. Granted, the deliberate pace allows for the development of some suspense, but too often this thriller has a habit of stopping at a dead end. Consequently, the clumsy pacing turns a potentially interesting premise into a lethargic affair which will not hold the viewer's interest. Besides, where is Pinhead when we need him to enliven the whole affair? Well, I must give credit to director Scott Derrickson for trying to provide a hallucinogenic atmosphere in this fifth outing of the Hellraiser series. Hellraiser: Inferno manages to conjure up some genuine terror-such as a weird surreal sequence where the main character hears the echoes of a child. However, he instead encounters some rather nasty Cenobites...and Pinhead himself. Another scene that evoked chills was when Joseph was proceeding down a hospital corridor when suddenly he glanced at a patient whose grin was a little too...over-stretched. There is also an "ice-breaking" moment which, while not explicitly gory, will terrify your soul. Inferno also has its gory moments, though this film is not nearly as ghastly as its predecessors are. On another topic, I have to admit that the Cenobites were pretty freaky. Chatterer (from the original Hellraiser) is back in the flesh (or lack thereof)! Though he is reduced to only a head, shoulders, arms, and a torso. The twin female Cenobites who have slithering tongues-it gives new meaning to the phrase "tongue action"-are grim, yet fiendishly seductive. They just love to get underneath a person's skin. Still, compared to the arse-kicking Cenobites in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, the ones in Inferno pale in comparison. Of course, this film has its occasionally goofy moments-such as one scene where two cowboys beat up Joseph using martial arts. Seriously, I failed to see much relevance of that scene to the general story-line.Inferno had the makings of an interesting crime thriller with mystical overtones, but unfortunately, a lot went wrong. The greatest crime that this film has committed is creating an unsympathetic lead character. What makes a thriller truly memorable is that the audience can relate to the main character's plight. We are able to vicariously experience the main character's emotions and what he/she is going through because, in a way, we see a part of ourselves in that character. Unfortunately, that is not the case here with the film's main character, Joseph. Personally, I could not care for him at all. He is a very bright person as evidenced by his talents at chess playing in the beginning of the movie. I just find it pathetic that he is so morally corrupt. His character is, do I dare say it, a bona fide jerk.I really cannot comment on Pinhead because-okay, everybody together now-he barely makes an appearance. However, I thought that The Engineer was pretty creepy. He does not have much screen time in this movie though he loves to play mind games with the detective. In one such instance, The Engineer sends a videotape of a murder he committed via a chained cat-o'-nine tails to the detective in order to taunt him. As for the performances, they ranged from mediocre to not-so-hot. Actor Craig Sheffer delivered a rather flat, unexceptional performance as the detective-which makes his character even less sympathetic-though I have to give him credit for somehow managing to make his character sleazy and despicable. Still, Sheffer looked half-weary and half-bored throughout. Nicholas Turturro gave an honest, well-intentioned performance as Joseph's partner, and sad to say, he was the best actor in the whole movie. James Remar and Doug Bradley did what they could with the limited screen time they had. Overall, the actors generally get by and manage to weather the material. If I had to give these actors letter grades for their performances, I would have given them...passing grades (well, maybe I would have flunked Sheffer). Personally, there is a lot that has frustrated me while watching Inferno. Besides the fact that this film shares little in common with the other Hellraiser films, Inferno is so muddled that I feel almost compelled to shout curses. In spite of those foibles though, I commend this film's searing theme about a man's descent into madness and discovering that what he is experiencing is truly Hell-raising. As we witness the character trying to solve the most potent mystery ever, we begin to realize that his sanity is slowly deteriorating. His life is descending into a hellish nightmare; he does not know what the hell is going on. I also liked the concept of reality vs. illusion, and how the line between those two can blur easily. There is also another recurring theme about confronting the guilt inside. Thematically and stylistically, Inferno shares a lot more in common with Adrian Lynes's Jacob's Ladder rather than the other Hellraiser flicks. As a caveat, approach this film as if you are preparing to watch a "Greek Tragedy." Why? The way the plot is constructed and how the main character is developed evoke the essence of a Greek Tragedy. Ultimately, I found it to be a daunting task to rate a film like Hellraiser: Inferno. (I thought that reviewing Fight Club was the toughest assignment yet; looks like we have a new winner...) Unlike some conspicuously horrendous movies out there, I did not have as much fun deriding all of this film's shortcomings. Besides, it would be unfair to say that this is a film without merits because it does contain some. I do respect this film for being daring, for trying to break conventional film-making rules. Inferno can be unpredictable at times and the suspense will keep you hooked (for Hellraiser fans, yes that is a weak intended pun) if you happen to have the patience. I also really enjoyed the last few minutes of this flick and I even enjoyed some of the film's eccentric imagery. Ultimately, I found it to be a daunting task to rate a film like Hellraiser: Inferno. (I thought that reviewing Fight Club was the toughest assignment yet; looks like we have a new winner...) Unlike some conspicuously horrendous movies out there, I did not have as much fun deriding all of this film's shortcomings. Besides, it would be unfair to say that this is a film without merits because it does contain some. I do respect this film for being daring, for trying to break conventional film-making rules. Inferno can be unpredictable at times and the suspense will keep you hooked (for Hellraiser fans, yes that is a weak intended pun) if you happen to have the patience. I also really enjoyed the last few minutes of this flick and I even enjoyed some of the film's eccentric imagery. Still, Inferno is a botched experiment in morality play. An all-too-convoluted script plus bland performances and deliberately slow pacing are all strikes against this direct to video release. Another reason that I cannot rate Inferno highly is that normally, I like movies that can teach me anything whether it is about the human mind and what makes it tick or about society in general. In Inferno, I learned absolutely nothing other than the fact that Joseph was a mean-spirited character and that he *earned* what he deserved. Those who are looking for skin-ripping entertainment should go rent the first four Hellraiser films instead. Hellraiser: Inferno is intended to be more of a tense psychological crime thriller which is sometimes effective, but often fumbles. This film would have worked better as a stand-alone film rather than a Hellraiser sequel. For all I know, this film could have been an episode of NYPD Blue with a supernatural twist. As a final word of caution, Hellraiser: Inferno is an extremely difficult film to endure, and for many people, it may not be worth the endurance.