Commentaries

Friday, September 22, 2017

FRIEND REQUEST



SWING AND A MISS

Film review by Fiore


FRIEND REQUEST begins with an interesting concept; Medieval witchcraft through modern digital coding.  Demons and ghouls are finding their way through all types of technology these days, the curse of a truly digital world, but this blending of ancient black arts and digital coding is a nice twist.  However, after establishing the twist, FRIEND REQUEST falls flat on its face.  There are only a few decent jump scenes and the visual factors for an R rated horror film are lame.  The film basically lacks punch; like a boxer who can drive his opponent to the ropes, but doesn’t have enough to put him down.

PLOT AND STARS:
 
Laura, played by Alycia Debnam-Carey, one of the dread three named people, despite the hyphen, is one of the popular girls in school, and immersed in the popular clique.  Out of pity, she friends an awkward loner, Marina, played by Liesl Ahlers on Facebook, unaware that Marina has subjugated her soul to witchcraft.

Once she has a friend, Marina begins to stalk Laura, intruding on every aspect of her life.  Laura realizes it was a mistake to friend the weird girl, but when she tries to undo her mistake, the members of her clique begin to die.  It’s never really clear whether Marina wants to cost Laura all her friends, or if she just wants to spread her evil to another soul.  

Starring with the two girls are Sean Marquette, Brit Morgan, William Moseley and Connor Paolo.  The kids do a fine job acting through a midland horror tale, but they are dealing with a script that leaves much.  For example:  While Paolo fills the part of Kobe well, there is no rational explanation why he suddenly turns to the dark side.  His transformation is not justified by his previous characterization.
 
PARTICULARS:

The Horror Workshop, based out of Berlin, provides intriguing special effects.  FRIEND REQUEST features a demon, a witch, two faceless boy ghosts and black wasps.  There are also macabre videos posted on Facebook by Marina.  All of the Horror Workshop’s endeavors are sabotaged by the Wiedemann & Berg Production Company.  They cut the scenes short as soon as the SFX take hold.  As a result, what could be scary, ends up as only a tease.

REPORT CARD:


ACTING = C
CINEMATOGRAPHY = C
SOUND/MUSIC = C
EDITING = F
LIGHTING = B
SCRIPT = D
SFX = C
ACTION = D
 



SUMMARY: 

There was strong potential here, emanating from a unique concept; however, the film consistently misses its mark in most aspects.  It refuses to take an adult approach to horror, even with its rating, and seems conflicted whether to make social media or witchcraft the true culprit.

It’s disheartening to see something so consistently shot itself in the foot.  Every aspect of this film is in need of a reboot and a redo.

REWATCHABLE INDEX:  NONE


Thursday, September 21, 2017

KINGSMAN THE GOLDEN CIRCLE



SEQUEL NOT AS SLICK
 
Film review by Fiore

It’s never easy to make a sequel as compelling as the original.  KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE makes a most valiant effort, but cannot live up to the level established by the first.  To be sure, it’s chock full of action sequences, over the top storylines, a bevy of new stars and characters and eye-goggling special effects, but the movie suffers, as most sequels do, in repeating too many of the ploys and gimmicks that made KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE one of the top films of the year.

PLOT AND STARS:
 
Eggsy, again played by Taron Egerton, is living an idyllic life with Princess Tilda, played by Hanna Alstrom, when a former Kingsman trainee, Charlie Hesketh, played by Edward Holcroft, unleashes a vicious attack on the Kingsman organization.  The maneuver forces Eggsy and Merlin, again played by the uber talented Mark Strong, to join with their American counterparts, the Statesman. 

With the introduction of Stateman, new stars enter the espionage world of the well-dressed, well-mannered spy.  “Champ” is played by Jeff Bridges, who seems to be having a lot of fun in his role, playing a lighter version of his character from HELL OR HIGH WATER.  Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal play his top agents.

The villainess in Poppy, played by Julianne Moore.  She has taken over the illegal drug business, and is holding all drug users hostage for an antidote, only she can provide.  Julianne, whether playing protagonist or antagonist, is always delicious on screen.
Most surprising of the newcomers is Sir Elton John.  He appears as himself, but in a completely unexpected fashion.  Poppy kidnaps John so he can perform constantly for her.  John, like Salma Hayek in HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is so over the top, he steals the show.  His fight scene is particularly funny.

PARTICULARS:

As established in the first film, KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE is filled with parquour and gymnastic techniques, cleverly mixed with slow motion cameras, to enhance absolutely impossible physical feats.  The cinematography is first rate, with the exception of the snow lift sequence where the matting is suspect.

The film’s biggest flaw is its length.  While old characters are reestablished and new characters are introduced, the film endures for two and a half hours, which is a good 45 minutes too long.  Poor editing results in unnecessary and over extended scenes.

REPORT CARD:


ACTING = B
CINEMATOGRAPHY = B
SOUND/MUSIC = A
EDITING = D
LIGHTING = C
SCRIPT = B
SFX = B
ACTION = B
 





SUMMARY: 
 
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE is a solid popcorn movie.  It is just the ticket for a few chuckles and Sir Elton is worth the price of a ticket alone.  It’s not a bad follow-up to the first, but it is certainly not as smooth.  There is a rather disturbing pro-drug theme carried throughout the film, especially its endorsement of recreational drug use.  It is a bit grating.  Overall, though, KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE is an enjoyable time in the theatre.





REWATCHABLE INDEX: AVERAGE