Saturday, February 24, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: It's Great...It's Grand...It's Glorious!

Flatliners (2017): The best thing I can say about this remake of the Joel Schumacher joint is that it does make the original movie look quite a bit better than it actually is. Schumacher’s film does at least have a sense of style (even if it is tacky and pretty nonsensical) whereas Niels Arden Oplev’s version of the tale of insipid supposed medical students making deeply idiotic afterlife experiments they wouldn’t have gotten away with in a 60s Italian Gothic is just boringly slick – generally boring too at that – without much of a point beside some hand-wavy moralizing that comes over about as convincing and honest as a used car salesman, and lacking in any kind of personality. This is the sort of film that could have been written and directed by basically everyone and comes as close to anonymous filmmaking as you’ll get. It is also just not very interesting.

Hotarubo no Mori e aka Light of a Firefly Forest (2011): Ironically, enough, the two drawn main characters in this short anime by Takahiro Omori, are much more convincing as people than the underused cast of Flatliners 2017. At its core this is a melancholic story about unhappy love, a girl growing up, and yokai, filling its forty minute running time with a soft sense of visual poetry and light, and actual emotions that aren’t at all in conflict with the magic at the core of the tale. It is very much inspired by folklore, suffused by a nostalgic longing for the wonders of the countryside but where this sort of thing could easily feel conservative and a bit lifeless, Omori reaches an air of timelessness without even seeming to have to try very hard.

The Harrow (2016): Not bad at all is this Southern low key psychological ghost story directed by Kevin Stocklin. It’s clearly made on an actual indie budget (I’m not talking Miramax here), but the acting is always at least decent, often better, the pacing is slow but in a properly thought-through manner, and the script – even though it contains a plot twist – is intelligent if not overly original.

It’s the sort of film that seems perfectly knowledgeable of which of its potential ambitions it can actually fulfil and goes for that, and only that, ambition with the kind of focus that gives a film grace even if its budget is showing from time to time.

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