Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"Dilly" stands out on Band of Horses third album INFINITE ARMS for one simple reason: it's easily the catchiest song. That doesn't mean it's the best song, it doesn't mean it's a good song. It just means that this is the one song off that album that you can listen to once and have it stuck in your head for days and days. The song seems to be more of a songwriting experiment rather than selling out. To support the argument that BOH hasn't sold out is this very unforgettable music video. The desert setting and the violent climax makes the video appear to be archive footage from an old biker film from the '70s; something that has inspired the works of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Pleasant to the ears, and gripping to the eyes. The absence of the band members makes it have an even more raw and amateurish feel, and that's something BOH fans will commend.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2

Prequel to the 2007 (2009 nationwide) smash horror hit, this time concerning Katie's (Featherston) sister Christie (Grayden) and her family. Many scares, perhaps more, to get your heart pumping and keep you on the edge of your seat; but its sadly obvious that this follow up has gone Hollywood. Where the cleverness of the original is absent here is within the story, not the scares; is it that appropriate that the story from the first has to tie in with this one, and it can't be its own story? If not, why? Something Paramount and the filmmakers probably won't be able to answer. But if you're out for some scares, you'll find plenty in this flick.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Splendid Lynch-like short about a man held captive by surrealistic imagery. It's impressive that such a film can make the viewer appreciate what a moviegoer generally takes for granted when watching a Hollywood feature--camera angles, set design, sound. "Smoke" has it all and then some. Unfortunately, the film begins to wonder into a collage of vivid shots instead of progressing a plot. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you have to do it. Less sights and more story would've given this one a boost. Regardless, a well-done little picture. Anyone who can appreciate how to bring such dreamy-nightmarish happenings to life will love this one!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Third installment, easily inferior to the first two, is a massacre--literally and metaphorically. John Kramer (Bell), now on his death bed, is having second thoughts about his apprentice Amanda (Smith). Despite his pain and weakness, he still has one more test to give as Jigsaw. If you look closely, you know this isn't the last installment. One of the film's biggest weaknesses is that the story arcs as if it's concluding, a completely unnecessary action since just by watching the film you know it's not "the final chapter". Bahar Soomekh wins the title for the worst acting of the series. The film can sort of be commended as one of the most ruthless of the franchise, but still weak in comparison to some of the films that followed and definitely the ones the preceded.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saw IV

John Kramer (Bell) is dead, but Jigsaw is still alive, and Detective Rigg (Bent) is being tested. Did the torture need to continue? No. Fortunately, this outing isn't nearly as big of a waste of time as "Saw III"; in fact, it's actually quite good in comparison to the third installment. The fans will probably love this one. Plenty of twists and interesting traps to go around, plus an interesting backstory with John Kramer and Jill Tuck (Russell). This film has the most returning characters (not counting archive footage) of all seven films. Some plot holes and continuities are patched up--others are created (hint: brother of Mark)--but if you're willing to move on you'll be wonderfully grossed out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Saw VI

After the series suffers its worst with "Saw V", the sixth installment lifts the franchise back up to its peak with a slam dunk of a film, this round about settling the score with a shady health insurance company. Useful reprising characters back for more than just a cameo to be killed off, and new characters that seem to be somewhat likable even though the audience just met them. Mandylor finally shows us some talent with Detective Hoffman, who actually has expression in this one! Hoffman has now come to be a memorable villain of his own rather than just a cheap copycat following in Jigsaw's footsteps. Characters and story are terrifically developed in this outing, including John Kramer's (Bell) flashback storyline despite being dead for three films.

Saw V

The most useless installment of the series, and includes the least amount of twists. Fails to justify its existence or its contribution to an already overlong franchise. Violent for the sake of being violent--nothing else seems to drive the story, and there doesn't even seem to be much of a story. So, Agent Strahm (Patterson) suspects Detective Hoffman (Mandylor) is Jigsaw, and we know this series doesn't know when to stop--hmm, I wonder who's going to win? The film's most interesting line, "You were supposed to be the hero!" fails to have the impact it's supposed to. They should have made the characters played by Mike Realba and Al Sapienza, two very talented actors, more useful.