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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Profile of a Killer (2012)

Once in awhile, a movie comes along from an independent film maker that just makes your breath catch in your throat with how skillful they are.  One such movie was sent to me recently by Jasmine Reid- the Producer of Caspian Tredwell-Owen's "Profile of a Killer"

Saul, an ex-FBI profiler is called in to consult on a case, only to find himself the target of the killer.  Soon, he finds himself face to face with the ruthless murderer, and engaged in a game of wits as he is forced by his captor to profile him.  If he's wrong, people die... and if he's right?

I was really impressed by "Profile of a Killer".  The story is tight and flows smoothly throughout.  It's not intense, but certainly enough to engage you in what is happening on the screen.  There is hardly any wasted puzzle pieces in this plot.  The story is more character driven than action driven- which is something I really liked about it.

The characters really helped propel the story.  I liked Saul, and found his quite believable, and relatable.  The same could be said for David- the killer.  But only because we all ask ourselves the same thing as he does at the end.  Rachel, while a cold, emotionally distant character (her expression hardly EVER changes throughout the course of the movie), was still interesting.  I would've liked to have seen the relationship between her and David (the prey/hunter relationship) fleshed out as much as the relationship between Saul and David.  I think it would've added more depth to her, and made her a little more sympathetic and less flat.

All I can say about the acting was that it was fantastic.  I was pleasantly surprised, and quite pleased with the quality of it.  Gabriele Angieri as Saul really brought warmth, desperation, and poise to the character.  His face was so expressive, and his voice just a great match for the role.  I liked Emily Fradenburgh as Rachel- even if the character herself didn't feel completely formed.  You could tell though from her acting that her character had some serious issues in her past- and made you want to learn more about her.  Teamed up nicely against Angieri's character, Joey Pollari as David was just amamazing.  He covered the gamut from uncertain and scared to chilling delight in what he was doing.  Few actors can make their eyes look dead and bottomless, but Pollari did it wonderfully.  His acting balanced nicely with Angieri's more understated style.  Just a great cast.

I was also quite pleased with the camera work.  Director Tredwell-Owen would make for a great TV director, as his shooting and editing style is very much in that vein.  I didn't feel like I was watching a two your movie.  Instead I felt like I was watching a high quality TV show, and didn't even notice the time passing by.  The lighting is very natural and subtle- unlike the rather glossy look that so many big budget Hollywood films have.  The editing flowed nicely and smoothly, with some nice examples of creative cutting, angles and even visual effects.  It is a beautifully shot movie.

I had a hard time finding negatives in "Profile of a Killer", because I got sucked into it nicely.  I would certainly watch it again- AND I recommend watching it to everybody.  I want to thank Jasmine Reid for sending me this movie so I could put it in The Good!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Friday the 13th (1980)

In this era of remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, remixes and rehashes, I like to go back and look at the original version of many of the films being made these days- like 1980's "Friday the 13th".

Twenty years after the death of a some camp counselors, Steve Christy hopes to reopen Camp Crystal Lake- despite the claims made by "Crazy Ralph" that the place is cursed, and that him and the rest of his staff will die.  While getting the camp ready, staff members start to disappear...

What can I say about "Friday the 13th"?  Just this: iconic movie.  Pure and simple.

While, the plot is basic and simple, it is still enough to allow the movie to develop the characters- and give us a movie twist that- at the time of release, was unexpected, and unprecedented.  It is this twist that helped to differentiate it from John Carpenter's "Halloween".  It also helped to keep it from simply being another slasher film.  A great little bit of storytelling.

The characters were decent, and helped to serve as the basis for slasher films of the future, by having the different "types" of characters.  I actually LIKED the characters- which is a rare thing for me to say about most of the more recent horror movies.

Of course, the characters wouldn't have been as likable if the acting hadn't been really good for a low budget horror movie.  Adrienne King as Alice was great.  She really brought her character to life, and made you want her to survive.  It was also fantastic to see Keven Bacon in one of her earlier films (it was his fifth movie in a two year span- starting with "Animal House" in 1978).  I absolutely loved Crazy Ralph- played by Walt Gorney.  The joyful expression on his face as he pronounces the camp staff as doomed was just an excellent touch.  He made that small role a memorable one.  Of coruse, we certainly can't forget the wonderful performance given by Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Pamela Voorhees.  Once she appears, she OWNS the screen.  She gives us a great example of "Crazy Eyes" in this movie.

I have to say that I also really quite enjoyed the kills in "Friday the 13th".  While not all of them are on screen, and there isn't a whole lot of grue shown, they are still good.  Kevin Bacon's death was especially good.  The first time I saw that years ago, my jaw dropped.  And the "banana death scene" was also a great one to see too.

The camera work isn't superb, but was certainly enough to frame the action in unique and interesting ways.  There are some stills that are just great to look at.  I loved the way the lighting seemed so natural, while still allowing us to actually see what was happening.

When all is said and done, "Friday the 13th" is a great film to watch by yourself, or with friends.  I'm putting it in The Good.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Glint in the Dark (Lori Kay)

Welcome to the first review for 2014!  Woo Hoo!

I was approached by Lori Kay about review her book, "Glint in the Dark", and she even sent me a nice hard copy version of it.  It's taken a little while due to one thing after another happening in my Life- but I've finally been able to sit down and write up the review.

Glint is a rock star with a dark past.  Unexpected coincidences soon bring him to the attention of radio station owner Grant Templeton.  Grant begins a journey to find out the source of Glint's success... and what connection he has to the death of his daughter years previously...

While there are some horror elements in this story, it's more a dramatic one than a simple horror story.  It's about finding closure after the tragic death of a loved one, and the path that Justice can sometimes take in order to be served.  Those two themes add a nice depth to the story, and puts it above most in the genre.

The writing style is fairly smooth and easy to follow.  It flows nicely- with only a few spots where you might be jarred out of the train of thought you might be in while reading.  This isn't so much a real style problem as it is minor errors in grammar and spelling.  Despite those small issues, I still found myself not wanting to stop reading.

I really liked the protagonist, Grant.  He was a finely crafted, and almost a complete personality.  He had depth to him, and felt quite believable and likable.  The same can be said for the rest of his family as well.  They were all well written, and served a purpose within the story.  Even the antagonists were good to read.  You wanted to learn more about Glint and his band- especially his girlfriend Mercy.  Just a great job of bringing the characters to Life.

Since the horror element is more just window dressing, and there were a couple of moments that knocked me out of the world on the pages, I can't put "Glint in the Dark" in The Good.  Despite putting it in The Bad, I WOULD re-read it, AND I would recommend it to others for at least one reading.  I would like to read more of her work- especially if she were to bump up the horror content.