Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Ones Below (2016) - “Your paranoia is real”

The Ones Below is a suspicion thriller by director David Farr, about a couple living in a tenement that find out their new downstairs neighbors have something else in common with them, they too are with child. 


In The Ones Below David Farr tackles certain themes as in movies like Basic Instinct, Single White Female and Fatal Attraction but takes it down a more artful direction that leads to some scarier results. Using color tones to convey emotions and physical deterioration, adding a warmly charming baby themed film score that becomes increasingly ironic as the film goes on for a creepier experience. David Farr has a great sense for the tenement location, making it seem open yet claustrophobic constantly in sharp cornered up close shots, flawlessly done. Paired with cold quick scene cuts and character movements, paranoid flights of fancy and rollercoaster like emotional dread is accurately portrayed.


Clémence Poésy (the protagonist) does a perfect job, seeming sweet, demanding and naturally curious and all the while tortured without notice of trying. Laura Birn (the antagonist) is frightfully malicious while holding a defeated tone throughout the movie all the same.


Now even though The Ones Below is another entry in skeptic horror brought up with the same traits, the urgent acting and intriguing direction makes it all feel fresh as can be and you won’t be able to take your eyes off the suspense.


…….neighbor beware…….


-          Maurice Jones

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Nothing Personal (2009) - “Nobody wants to admit they’re lonely”

Take a lonely girl, an isolated farmer and the outskirts of Ireland and you’ve got quite the hang-out movie. 

Nothing Personal is an Irish produced film about a young girl from Holland, whom recently gets out of a bad public break up and finds relief in hitch hiking the Irish coast. Under estimating the elements of being homeless, cold and alone, she finds refuge at a random farm house, in which she meets middle –aged widower by Martin. At first their encounter is rocky, as Martin see’s her as a privileged intruder and the girl seeing him as an old curmudgeon, but more and more they notice their presence is all they have at the moment to remain sane.


Nothing Personal is a perfect depiction of stubbornness over course of a character study. Both characters pretend not to need each other emotionally but physically do the opposite, giving a sense of passive aggressive freewill some of us know all too well. You get the sense Martin pines for the girl’s beauty as the girl pines for Martin’s belongings, but their relationship becomes more meaningful as the reality sets in that they have one ultimate thing in common…………………….loneliness.


Now despite the fact, that the development of the relationship could be slower and more graceful, and that there’s unnecessary moments of gratuity. Nothing Personal is a calming experience and when it ends, it leaves one with the feeling of loss and strict end. It’s a movie about appreciating what you have before it’s gone.

And as a side note, Lotte Verbeek who’s the protagonist of Nothing Personal is a wonder to look at and she’s painstakingly real in this film. She needs to be in more stuff, preferably American stuff.

-          Maurice Jones

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Spring (2014) - “The Before Sunrise of the Horror genre”

I rarely get to see Lou Taylor Pucci anymore in movies. Maybe ‘cause I don’t look for him or maybe ‘cause I thought he’d be a major star and be in everything, but thank God he’s not ‘cause then I get to see him do his best in forcefully interesting fair like Spring.

Spring is a horror movie with a twist focus…………………it’s really a romantic drama. Shot in a beautiful up close modern day whimsical lens, it allows itself to be more captivating than constantly repulsive. Lou Taylor Pucci plays Evan, a down on his luck American man who takes time off school to take care of his cancer ridden mother. When things go awry Evan decides to travel to Italy to find solace and a piece of mind, where he surprisingly meets Louise (played by Nadia Hilker), an Italian native who Evan all but resists pursuing. As they get to know each other, things seem more than perfect and all too perfect, as it turns out Louise has a deadly hidden truth of a nefarious nature beyond her control.

What’s important about Spring goes beyond its plot, as the writing is where this movie really shines. Every word written is played for real as it strikes from a far too familiar place. You feel Evan’s pain through what he says and does. His friends respond to him in a way that they should, and most of all his relationship with Louise is exactly how it needs to be. Most romantic comedies/dramas try to make everything stop and start, and convolute relationships with quirky behavior and scenarios while trying to make it impossible for two characters to exist, but Spring allows the characters to just be in a realistic world without having to try. It goes so far to even make the dialogue about the Horror mythology of the plot feel romantic, ‘cause instead of both characters being devastated or freaked out they talk it through. The dialogue about the matter at hand is actually complicated but intriguing without pretention and unlike the 80’s Fly, both Evan and Louise are considerate about how they both feel about the situation and are up front but respectful which really brings out the effect of their fondness for each other.

If Richard Linklater were to make a Body Horror film Spring would be it. If Lou Taylor Pucci continues to make movies like this, that would be perfect. And if Nadia Hilker doesn’t become a big star, then that’s too bad, she’s a naturally bold actor.

Spring is scary in what we don’t know about Louise but also delightfully warm and intriguing for the same reason.

-          Maurice Jones