Sunday 20 September 2009

Review: Baby Blues (aka Cradle Will Fall.)

Year: 2008 (U.K DVD release 2009)
Director: Lars Jacobson & Amardeep Kaleka
Screenplay: Lars Jacobson
Starring: Colleen Porch

Based roughly on the true story of Andrea Yates, Baby Blues is a psychological horror film which gets an A for effort but unfortunately comes up short when it comes to true shocks.

The film is co directed by first timer Lars Jacobson and the slightly more seasoned Amardeep Kaleka is visually interesting for the most part. For a made for DVD movie the film has a very polished feel to it, with much of the film drenched in some colourful hues. The two directors clearly know how to craft a film and isolated scenes do cause a considerable amount of tension.

Unfortunately the film falls down on it's lack of ability to engage in it's central themes of filicide (to kill one's children) and mental anguish instead concentrating on creating a subverted hack and slash feature. This is a shame because it's not as if the actors couldn't pull of the more complex aspects of their characters. In fact praise should go to the films lead Colleen Porch whose manages to hide the fact that she is quite attractive and give her mental break down a respectable amount of pathos.

The film gives it's secrets away far too quickly and fall into the trap of becoming a mundane film that hardly stands out from it's predecessors. With this said, this does mean that I get to recommend to you the even more demented Frailty by Bill Paxton which travels similar paths but is far more confident in it's craft. Baby Blue had an interesting idea, but unfortunately it decided to play it safe, something that many wouldn't want to see in a horror film.

Review: Gamer

Year: 2009
Director: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Screenplay: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Starring: Gerard Butler, Micheal C Hall

There's a brief moment in gamer where a dog is pissing on a women who grins inanely. It's an blink and you miss it shot but it talks in spades about the mind set of the filmmakers of this film.
Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor have been accused of crossing the line of bad taste in their last film Crank 2 and while I unfortunately haven't seen that yet. If Crank 2 talks about women like Gamer does, I'll probably not watch it.

Gamer is the closet thing to cinematic rape I've seen this year. It's Misogynistic, puerile trash dressed up as sci-fi and it really shouldn't exist. I'm sure the film will have it's fans (it's at 6.2 on the imdb at this moment) but I however, will not be one of them.

Gamer has all the problems I have with many films bad plotting, no characterization, no tension etc. But it also has the added issue of a dislike for women. I haven't seen women degraded like this since Bride Wars. Gratuitous half nudity is one thing but some of the things that are said to and done to women in this gives a nasty vibe. This vibe stems from the fact that there's hardly any reason for this treatment of women other than the fact that the filmmakers can.

The treatment of women is as nasty as the depiction of gamers themselves is lazy. Once again this is a film which shows us that gamers are either mouthy teens or fat greasy slobs, despite the millions of Wii's sold. The two factors combine to show that gamers view women not as other people but as sex objects. Not what I needed to see on a Sunday morning.

Neveldine & Taylor's OTT style of filmmaking is of course one to be taking with a pinch of salt. But of course that's when the film has a sense of humor. I enjoyed Crank as the film clearly didn't want anyone to take it seriously. Gamer however seems to have missed out on the joke and plays it's cards poker faced. Strangely this doesn't help the films script or quieter moments which are ridiculous to the point of unintentional hilarity. Of course Neveldine & Taylor does care about quiet moments because it's all about the violence which is doled out ad nausea. I don't mind a bit of the ol' ultra, but usually only when there's context. Gamer is a film which makes Micheal Hanke's Funny Games even more smug than it should be.

The acting? Bland. Gerard Butler does his best Russell Crowe impression but has nothing to grab hold of considering the matertal. I won't comment on any of the female performances because most of them are the bravest in the world for taking a role in this piece of divel. Micheal C Hall is wasted, while Ludicris appearz in dis movie 4 da kidz.

Like a Micheal Bay movie, Gamer doesn't seem to have any clue how to pace tension or bring about any sense of tone. The action is cut to ribbons so you have no idea whats going on and the kernel of an interesting idea that lies in Gamer is submerged in horrible overkill. Not that it's matters because David Cronenberg had already aced this material ten years ago in eXistenZ.

I didn't expect much from Gamer but then who would? To say it's mindless plays into the filmmakers hands so I'll end with saying it's dull, over edited tripe.

Note: If you really need to see a film like this check out Mamoru "ghost in the shell" Oshii's stunningly beautiful Avalon. It may be a far better use of your time.