Friday, July 13

Film Friday: Jungle


Yes, just in case you are wondering, I am doing a bit of a Felton/Radcliffe theme right now. Because I can. 

Yes, I am going to confess. I am one of those people, in that I would probably not have bothered to watch this film if it wasn't for the star. I feel like I should be sorry that I'm not a person who gravitates toward dramatic and important films on the regular. There is a part of me that feels like a better person would. So yes, I confess. I watched this movie because I think Daniel Radcliffe is an enjoyable actor, not because I was so enchanted with the idea of the story in and of itself.

With that out of the way, let's explore Jungle, shall we?

It's based on a true story. (And it important to make that distinction, because "based on" a true story is far different from "inspired by" a true story. [Based on is meant to be more accurate.])

The summary of the story introduction sounds like it belongs in the "stupid tourists" sub-sub genre of horror films: backpacking friends meet a shady dude who offers to take them deep into the Amazon Jungle for real experience and shit. Which they go, because they want to REALLY EXPERIENCE life and The Jungle and such. (Incidentally, the director of this film also directed Wolf Creek.)
And shit goes down.
It starts slowly and continues and eventually through various events, Yossi winds up on his own.
For three fucking weeks, yo.

I have to admire Radcliffe's dedication to...destroying himself? Ugh. He starts off the movie handsome and adorable and by the end he looks like utter shit. I admire that because he didn't have to. CGI could have been used. (Probably to ill effect, but still. It was a possibility.) However, I admire it because hunger in itself can be such a demon. And this was obviously a very physical movie to make. But I admire authenticity and dedication. (Okay, there are some actors who go off the deep end and pull the whole "dead animals and used condoms" shit.) But that wasn't this. You get my point.

The movie is a MOVIE and therefore a lot of the psychological transformation happens through visual things, because film is a visual medium. (Apparently some critics felt too much was done through visual work, not enough...I don't know? Well, if that's what you want - read the book.)

There were things I wished I could know more about.
❖ I wanted to know more about Yossi's relationship with Marcus. How close of friends they were, how long they'd been hanging out together before this happened.
❖ There is a scene where Ghinsberg runs into a jungle woman, and I'd like to know if that was real or another hallucination. (Though perhaps Ghinsberg himself doesn't know.)
❖ I really wish I could know more about the guide, Karl.

Ultimately, I have decided to read the book, because I am genuinely curious to know more about the whole ordeal and perhaps be able to get the answers to these and other questions I have.

And of course, I was impressed that even though I knew the ending, I was still on edge and worried and even though I'd already watched the "behind the scenes" and such before watching the film, I was still grossed out at certain points. Which takes some doing, let me tell you.

I would liked to have seen just a bit more detail as to the relationship of some of the characters, the push and pull for leadership, what was going on in the heads of the three friends.

And finally, though about half to two-thirds of the movie is Daniel Radcliffe in the jungle by himself, I was never bored. And not just because of it being Radcliffe, but because my attention was genuinely held.


Heads Up: Language, Some Drug Use

Friday, July 6

Film Friday: The Apparition


Let's start with the tagline, shall we? 
"Once You Believe....You Die"

They do make a cursory "blink and you'll miss it" nod to the concept of belief being the catalyst which allows the spirit to attack, an idea which has been used (to much greater effect) in several other movies, notably The Skeleton Key, which is a far superior movie.
          ◆ The movie stars primarily Ashley Greene, most famous for her role as Alice Cullen in the Twilight films. (Groan.) And her boyfriend, Bucky Barnes Sebastian Stan. (It is worth noting that I have never seen any of the Captain America films, including Winter Soldier, so I cannot speak for the quality of Stan's acting as a whole. What I an say is that in THIS movie, he could have easily been replaced with a scarecrow and the performance wouldn't have lost anything. 
So yeah...the acting is shit. (Except for Tom Felton, who is drastically underused.)

 1.) There are a few scenes of "found footage/home recording" that is all shaky and jumpy with lines and stuff, as if it had been filmed with a shit camera in the seventies. During an alien invasion.
(I believe - especially with the !science! angle - that the presence of the supernatural is supposed to be creating interference. But they never say that, and the interference was there before the experiment was started, so no points for that round.
2.) The film starts off at point A, and then some shit goes down and then it suddenly goes to point...? C? F? There is little use of names, and even more egregiously, after point A skips to point ?, there is no "two years later" or whatever. So timeline establishment is poor, to say the least.

        ◆ I don't know if it's because the writer/director is a fan of horror and deliberately did it, but there are a handful of scenes that are wildly reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead 2004. Perhaps it was done as a shout-out? If so, it was a poor choice on several levels.

        ◆ Several things are spoiled in the trailer. Like, LOTS. 
        ◆ The entire ending is stupid. Just stupid and pointless and all-around lame as shit.

        ◆ The entire movie is Paranormal Activity but without being entirely found footage, and much less cohesive.

I could continue to rip this movie apart, but the fact that it currently has a rotten tomatoes score of 3% and only 24% of the audience giving it 2.5 or higher, is telling enough.


Heads Up: Language? Maybe? Ashley Greene spends plenty of time running around half-dressed, but there is no nudity. (Or scares.)