Yes, I know I have to get better at posting these. As more stuff is coming in the mail, it seems the busier my lief outside of movies seems to get. Nonetheless, May was an interesting month for movies.
eXistenZ/B-Monkey/Malevolent Triple Pack – These Miramax titles come packaged on a single Blu-ray disc from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. ExistenZ is one that’s managed to slip by me over the years, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sci-fi thriller is much reminiscent of titles like The Matrix and the more recent Inception, but with what I’d assume a much lower budget than the two. One thing I was worried about with these releases was that the quality might be compromised due to there being three movies packed onto a single disc, but I didn’t notice any major flaws.
B-Monkey was one I haven’t heard of, but ended up being a cool drama. While the box art was quite misleading on this release, the film (starring Asia Argento) had a good story. The editing and pacing seemed a bit rushed though, as I felt left out from parts of the story that otherwise had me interested. Either way, the picture quality was also good and it was overall a good watch.
Malevolent is a very 90s-feeling cop thriller starting Lou Diamond Phillips. This one was a big surprise for me as I felt myself pulled into the story. The story is fairly formulaic for the genre, but it was still exciting and full of great acting and good effects. Lou Diamond Phillips should be getting more mainstream roles these days. On a side note, I have to point out my annoyance with misleading cover art. This three pack features cover art promising fast sports cars, none are seen in any of the films. Maybe just a small detail, but I felt the movies were good enough to not have to need misleading cover art. This is definitely a cool release regardless as it brought three very interesting flicks to my attention.
Playback – Though the advertising heavily plays off the fact Christian Slater is in the film, he really has a minor role. In any case, I was surprised by this one and thought the story was good and the concept was fairly unique. The acting was a little mixed all around on top of the fairly stereotypical characters, but the film is held up by the story. It reminded me of bits of The Ring and My Soul to Take, but Playback doesn’t come off as a ripoff. The Blu-ray looked and sounded great, though in regards to the film itself the noisy static film transitions, in terms of both sound and video, were a little overused. It’s still good to see a modern horror/thriller with a fairly original concept. Playback is put out by Magnet releasing.
Cool and the Crazy – This one again comes from Echo Bridge, and again is one I hadn’t heard of before. It stars Alicia Silverstone and Jared Leto as a young newlywed couple in a 50s backdrop that begins to have second thoughts about rushing into adulthood. I really liked the concept of this film, but it fell short in several areas. Some parts seemed as if they were directed by different individuals, and the acting was a mixed bag. However, It’s cool seeing the two leads in their younger days, and the film itself does provide a lot of campy laughs so it wasn’t all bad.
Immortality - Also known as The Wisdom of Crocodiles, this one is a unique vampire romance starring Jude Law and Elina Löwensohn. This was a pleasant surprise. While I was expecting more of a horror film, it surprisingly was more a drama. The movie also leaves a lot of mystery and questions with the viewer. I always appreciate unique and offbeat vampire flicks, and this is one of them. Thanks again to Echo Bridge for this one.
Karen Cries on the Bus – Taking place in Bogota, Colombia, the film follows the title character as she ventures into independence after leaving her husband. The film feels very organic and personal. We really feel for Karen and really feel a part of her experiences. Being a Film Movement release, I knew I’d enjoy it and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The short film included is called Lessons from the Night, which is a quick and interesting look into the life of a nighttime custodian. My only mild complaint is that the short film did not contain subtitles, which would have been helpful for me personally as the narrator had a strong accent.