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Saturday, February 16, 2019

THE HOLE IN THE GROUND by Lee Cronin

The Plot: Sarah, who left her husband, and her little son are trying to build a new life in a rural town. In the woods near their house, they find a strange big hole in the ground that kind of scares her. Days later, her son disappears for a few hours and when he returns, she feels that Chris isn’t really her son, that something happened to him.

The Movie: In the line of THE BABADOOK and UNDER THE SHADOW, here is another story about a relationship between a mother and her child who are confronted with strange forces and creatures.
From the first images, we can feel that the relationship between Sarah and her son Chris is kind of strange. It seems that she’s a little bit afraid of him or that she is with a depression. That feeling grows as the movie goes on and director Lee Cronin manages to give a movie an atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia. The slow pace may put some horror fans in the defensive, but the suspense grows until the scary climax, where Cronin is smart enough to keep the creatures in the shadows and let our imagination feel in the blanks.
As Sarah, Seána Kerslake is a frightened strong woman, but she failed to get my empathy. James Quinn Markey is the sweet and scary Chris. Together they share the spotlight with the strange living hole and the haunting woods. I recommend it for fans of the genre.

My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)


Sunday, February 10, 2019

VELVET BUZZSAW by Dan Gilroy

The Plot: A large number of paintings by an unknown artist, who last wishes were for all his work to be burnt, are discovered by accident and soon art dealers are trying to get them. But supernatural forces are at work and soon mysterious deadly accidents start to happen to everyone who wants to make money with the paintings. 

The Movie: Director Dan Gilroy has previous directed Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in the dark and terrific NIGHTCRAWLER, so I had high expectations for this new movie. The trailer left me intrigued and I could hardly wait to see it. Well, this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.
The movie has a dark and cold heart, and a disturbing sense of humor. It’s visually interesting and there’s no doubt this isn’t to take seriously and that the idea is to give a satiric look at the art world. But it should have a little suspense.
The talented cast, that also includes Zawe Ashton, Toni Collette, Tom Sturridge, John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Daveed Diggs and Natalia Dyer, gives life to the most irritating and pretentious group of characters I have ever seen and, even with all their efforts, there’s no way for us to feel any kind of empathy with any of the characters.
Like Stephen Sondheim wrote in one of his songs, “art isn’t easy” and here art is deadly, but creative. The creepiest moment happens with a painting with monkeys and the scene between Gretchen (Toni Collette) and the sphere is very artistic. Strange is the best adjective to give to this movie.

My Rate: 5 (from 1 to 10)


GLASS by M. Night Shyamalan

The Plot: David Dunn, a security guard, tracks down Kevin Crumb, a dangerous guy with 24 personalities who has kidnapped a group of teenager girls. But both are caught by the police and taken to a psychiatric hospital, where Elijah Price is also incarcerated. The three of them believe they have supernatural powers and Dr. Ellie Staple will try to change their minds.

The Movie: For his next supernatural opus, director and writer M. Night Shyamalan mixes the characters of his UNBREAKABLE and SPLIT. The result is a dramatic super-hero movie with elements of thriller and horror. It’s a good and interesting, but the two previous movies were better and more intense. Anyway, it has an original approach to the world of super-heroes and it’s very entertaining.
More than special effects and action scenes, the focus is on the characters and the cast is perfect. Repeating their previous characters, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark and, specially, James McAvoy give their best and it’s a true show of their talent abilities. McAvoy, with his multiple personalities, is even better here than he was in SPLIT; he is simply brilliant! New to the story is Dr. Ellis Staple, to whom Sarah Paulson gives an intense and kind of mysterious life.
If you enjoy great performances and a little bit of fantasy, this one is up your alley.

My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)











Saturday, January 19, 2019

ESCAPE ROOM by Adam Robitel

The Plot: Six strangers are invited to participate on a “escape room” game, but soon they discovered that the game is for real and they must fight for their survival.

The Movie: I didn’t expect much from this movie; I thought it was a new CUBE or SAW, but, fortunately, it’s better than those movies. 
If, like me, you have been in an escape room you know you’re at a mercy of the people who’ll open the door when the game ends, and, for me, it was claustrophobic. Now imagine that, suddenly, you realize you’re at the mercy of people with bad intentions who don’t have any intention of letting you escape. That’s the premise of this horror thriller and, thanks to a group of interesting characters and a logic approach, director Adam Robitel manages to build some suspense and get our attention.
The cast lead by Taylor Russell and Logan Miller gives believable performances, making us care for what might happen to their characters. It’s not a new classic, but I enjoyed the ride.

My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)


Sunday, January 13, 2019

THE SKULL AWARDS – 2018

In 2018, opened in Lisbon 65 movies that can be englobed in the genres Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy/Fantastic. Of these I only saw 42 (65%) and it’s among these that I chose the best of the year. So here are my SKULL AWARDS 2018.







Tuesday, December 11, 2018

SUSPIRIA by Dario Argento – A Poster Gallery

The first time I saw Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA was on the 25thof June 1983, exactly one month before I turned 19 years old. I saw it on a midnight session on a cinema and I remember that I didn’t like it very much. I loved the sets, but I hated the dubbed soundtrack and the story didn’t make much sense. With time I come to appreciate it, especially the way it looks: the strong colors, the claustrophobic atmosphere, the theatrical set designs and the music. 

Now that the remake of Argento’s classic is possibly playing at a cinema near you, seems to me a good time to remember the original through a gallery of posters (including the one of the opening of the movie here in Lisbon, Portugal) and lobby cards of it. I hope you’ll enjoy it. 

Just click on the images to see them in bigger size.