Friday, August 26, 2011
Soon Hector is brought into a lab by the man as he explains he's being chased by a crazy masked man. By this time, it's early evening, and eventually, the masked man catches up with Hector as the man tells Hector to get into a circlular pool-like (not a hot tub) machine that closes shut from the top. In seconds he is immersed in the liquid of the machine, and yet the machine opens once again. This time it is daylight outside. Hector stares in wonder as Hector stands by bewildered. he runs outside only to come to the realization it's not just daytime, it's the very same day he is about to live over again. The man explains to Hector that the machine is a time travel prototype, as the two of them try to put their heads together to avoid messing up Hector's life, let alone time itself.
"Los Cronocrímenes" (Time Crimes) is a low budget science fiction film that keeps its concept very simple. It manages to be that as well as a taut Hitchcockian thriller. The director was smart enough to isolate the characters. The less characters and locations involved in a time travel story, the better. The filmmakers create an interesting color scheme. Not so much through cinematography but through wardrobe and production design. Both Hector's wife and the nameless young woman are both wearing red and the van that hits Hector A causing his accident in the first place is . . . you guessed it; red. There's a play on this where Hector A's bandage and makeshift mask is pink from him getting in the milky liquid of the time machine. My suggestion is the red is trying to streamline the people caught in this time paradox, and Hector himself kinda weaves in and out of it for the majority of the film.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) (1946)
FRANCE --- fantasy
Dir: Jean Cocteau
I have grew up thinking "La Belle et la Bête" was another Charles Perrault or Grimm Brothers fairy tale, because it bore some resemblance to many other famous fairy tales, however it may have been inspired by those but is a fresh work on its own. Though Jean Cocteau borrowed the evil sisters directly from Cinderella, as the original tale had two brothers. Jean Cocteau's visionary masterpiece took unique practical effects to create a world where one can truly believe in magic and the triumph of love. Cocteau succeeds in correctly contrasting the sunny yet drudgery-soaked real world full of bickering, back-stabbing sisters a father at the end of his rope, and a vain suitor who seems to mean well, but can't really offer Belle the true escape she deserves. It's a story that has gone on to inspire countless other classic tales such as "Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Phantom of the Opera", and of course "King Kong".
Friday, August 5, 2011
CANADA --- science fiction/ horror
Dir: Vincenzo Natali
We've all seen this kind of minimalist psychological character study. I usually notice most of them are based on stage play with a very small cast and contained space of people. Stuff akin to Samuel Beckett's work, but these are often very well done character pieces designed to get into the human psyche. Alfred Hitchcock gave us "Lifeboat", we also had the excellent "Twelve Angry Men", and even the johnny-come-lately gore porn horror films of the "Saw" series get in the act. I came name more, but one such entry took the inventive and cheap low budget idea and took it into a very creative direction in "Cube".
Canadian director Vincenzo Natali locks us in the "Cube". The opening teaser features a man who attempts to escape a cubical room and is suddenly sliced and diced to pieces. Next we see a group of individuals come together to one room, all trying to find their bearings as they admit to just waking up. They all are dressed in plain grey clothes with their name on them like prisoners. There's Quentin an ex-police officer, Leaven a student, Worth a mysterious young man, Holloway a female doctor, and Rennes a serial escaped convict. Rennes appears to be the veteran of the group as he knows how the place operates, explaining that some of the different rooms are booby-trapped. Quentin is the first to recognize that Rennes is in actuality "The Wren", a kinda Robert Stroud "birdman" of several prisons, so they follow his lead as he tosses boots. Soon, Leaven begins to notice that the rooms are numbered at the hatchways, and they can't be there for no reason.
Clearly shot on a low budget, "Cube" is a tiny little thought-provoking sci-fi masterpiece. As mentioned earlier, it is done in the style of a small ensemble stage play, focusing on character study. This particular piece, however, appears to be directly influenced by a classic episode of the American TV series "Twilight Zone" titled "Five Characters In Search of An Exit" by Rod Serling based on a short story called "The Depository" by Marvin Petal which in turn was inspired by a philosophical play by Luigi Pirandello called "Six Characters in Search of an Author". It is not without it's own inventions, like the fact the characters are all named after prisons. Quentin is named after San Quentin, Leaven and Worth are collectively named after Leavenworth, Kazan after a Russian prison, Holloway is named after a female prison in England, as too is Rennes after a female prison in France. All in all, "Cube" is an interesting film full of suspense, character arcs, and even a little action.