There’s something fun about predicting the world of the future. We know our guesses will be massively off, but through our visions clouded by our favorite works of sci-fi, we think forward and see a world dramatically different from our own.
From the unmistakable vibrant colors that adorn its fully realized characters (all played by real Spanish-speaking actors) to the soundtrack bursting with guitar-plucking, toe-tapping flavor, Pixar surprises nobody through its unwillingness to compromise and to let Coco stand out as the one-of-a-kind film that is (although it begs the question of why such a cultural touchstone would need a 21-minute lead-in by the “whitest” of Christmas specials in the grating Olaf's Frozen Adventure, but I digress).
With Paul Taylor being a cinematographer, working on recent releases such as The Winds That Scatterand Wake Me When I Leave, it is not surprising that his first foray into directing would focus exclusively on visuals in order to convey his narrative, ridding the film from the constraints of dialogue effectively redirecting all focus onto the movements and body language of the actors in an attempt to present an unadulterated production of visual storytelling, stripped bare of the extraneous proving the power of purified imagery.
Tension abounds in writer/director Theodore Collatos’s latest feature, Tormenting the Hen, as nearly every discussion and/or interaction is laced with potential avenues providing offense and/or judgments, even the more inconspicuous and trivial subjects up for discussion harbor the possibility of illuminating surprising truths and viewpoints. With his script, Collatos has crafted a proverbial minefield for his characters to navigate, one that is laden with opportunities to weaponize any and all words and the hazards of crafting conclusions about others with incomplete information.
There's no experience quite as enriching as watching a film that allows its surface narrative to betray a loaded and mystifying interior meaning that's both elusive and begging to be milled for interpretation.
Murder on the Orient Express winds up on that mid-level ground: mixing vivid visuals with a obligated script, quick line readings with sluggish storytelling, and a crackerjack caper with an uninspired mood.
Loud, violent and inexcusably brash, Joe Lynch’s latest foray into grindhouse cinema plays out like Office Space, if all the characters were coked-up ’roid heads trying desperately to end each other in the most brutal way possible.
Way back in October of 2013, we covered this little slasher flick called Slaughter High for our Grindhouse Weekly feature, and while I recognized then, and still do now, that this isn’t a very good film by any stretch, it’s easy to see why it garnered a bit of a cult following over the years.