Archive for November, 2016

You are so deeply in bed with the tea party, you’d let Bill O’Reilly teabag you.

Year Released : 2014boy_meets_girl_2014_film_poster
Director : Eric Schaeffer
Cast : Michelle Hendley, Michael Riley, Alexandra Turshen, Michael Galante, Randall Newsome and Joseph Ricci

I delved into Netflix again recently and found many films based on the LGBT genre, and I found something that I’d never thought I’d see, a film that shows the being transgender has nothing to do with sexuality, which is something that I’ve always found strange about the term “LGBT” as it makes it seem like it is linked. The reason I say that is because you can be transgender without being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and yet the term seems to lend itself to appearing as though they are inexorably linked.

The reason the term frustrates me so much is that being transgender, I have never found myself attracted to men, and yet people make that assumption all of the time. Sexuality is not linked in the slightest to being transgender. It is something that does annoy me beyond belief, and so I was intrigued by the premise of a film that breaks that perceived element of transgenderism.

That being said, that was something that looked mighty predictable, and that somewhat bothers me, but I have been wrong in the past and I hope that it’s the same this time around.

If you wish to follow my personal journey from male to female, please visit my personal blog.

Plot

Ricky (Hendley) is a young transgendered woman living in rural Kentucky. She dreams of moving to New York to follow her ambition of being a fashion designer, and she has the full support of Robby (Riley), her best friend since she was six, although it’s obvious to everyone that Robby is poorly hiding that he wants more.

One day Ricky receives a customer into her coffee shop named Francesca (Turshen), and despite being excited about her engagement to David (Galante), she again poorly hides that she is attracted to Ricky, and the two eventually have a steamy sexual encounter. Francesca tries to hide this from David, but he is less than pleased by the fact that she is simply hanging around with Ricky after the two went to school together.

Yo-yoing between how they feel about each other, Francesca eventually invites Ricky to a party, but she is shocked when David returns home from Afghanistan early, and he eventually figures out what has happened in his absense. Already being shown to be a hot-head, how will Ricky react to this new revelation?

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So, predictable or a breath of fresh air?

I’m not going to lie, there were some parts of this film in which I was able to successfully predict what happened, but the vast majority of this movie felt relatively fresh, and at times I didn’t feel that I was actually watching a film. At times it was almost like I was watching a TV movie rather than something that was intended to be more, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

This is a very humble approach to film making and uses many elements that I found refreshing in the genre. For example, the use of music is something I have referenced in others and in particularly, Zerophilia. That film uses music a LOT, and at times it doesn’t really feel appropriate, but there wasn’t a single moment when I thought that the music in “Boy Meets Girl” was out of place, or poorly used. It enhanced the scene without dominating it.

The acting is relatively decent throughout the run time and I genuinely believed the performances were done with the utmost respect to the subject matter, rather than it simply being a payday for some, which isn’t the case with a lot of films in the LGBT genre. If you can make it through the strong Kentucky accent that every single character seems to have, there is a lot to take it.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a fast paced film and is all about the characters. It’s a wordy film, meaning that a lot of conversations take place. It’s one that takes a significant amount of time to build it’s three central characters, and the three secondary characters to the point where you feel emotionally involved in their lives, and I’ve always said on this site that I will always give props to films that do that.

My only two real issues are that the film does drag somewhat and it does start of outstay it’s welcome at times, and the character of Ricky is horrendously one-dimensional and seems to be the type of transgendered person that somehow finds a way of bringing the fact that she is transgender into every single conversation. Admittedly it is 24 hours since I watched the film, but there isn’t a single time that I can recall five minutes going by without the character being transgendered is referenced in one way or another.

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Summary

I know this was a much shorter review than normal, but ultimately there wasn’t really a lot of say about it. approvedI genuinely enjoyed “Boy Meets Girl” and it’s relatively unique take on sexuality. The acting is decent and no-one stands out as better than anyone else, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Don’t go in expecting a masterpiece, but it’s certainly worth a watch and it’s current rating of 7.1/10 on IMDB is about right, which is something that I don’t say often.

Out of all of the LGBT films that I’ve reviewed for this site so far, this is certainly one of the most unique and enjoyable, and I happily give it my stamp of approval.

 

I can come in anytime I want. And I can get you, anytime I want. But I’m not going to. Not until it’s time. When you wish you’re dead… that’s when I’ll come inside.

Year Released : 2016hush_2016_poster
Director : Mike Flanagan
Cast : Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr, Michael Trucco and Samantha Sloyan

So I was browsing Netflix a few days ago and noticed that a film that I’ve wanted to watch for a while had been uploaded, “Hush”. I first saw the trailer much earlier this year and liked the gimmick of having a victim that can’t hear what’s approaching or even scream for help, something that I can’t say that I have seen before, so it instantly grabbed my attention.

There are a lot of films on Netflix that most won’t even know are there, but it seems to have pushed “Hush” into a far more mainstream feel than you would expect me to review on this site, but it’s on the border line at this very moment, so I thought that it was worth going for.

Let’s just hope it lives up to the interesting premise and trailer.

Plot

Maddie (Siegel) is a successful writer and is in the middle of her next book and she lives in seclusion in the middle of the woods as a way to escape from the city, especially as she is both deaf and mute following a bout of meningitis during her teens. She is visited by Sarah (Sloyan) and the two chat about numerous things, although it isn’t long before she returns in terror as she is being chased, and eventually killed, by a masked man (Gallagher Jr).

The man quickly realises that Maddie could be a potential witness, but also soon deduces her condition and after stealing her phone, he sends Maddie a text to her computer and then proceeds to try and force his way in. Maddie manages to keep him at bay at first, but he quickly cuts the power to the house, meaning that Maddie has no way of communicating with the outside world.

Everything she tries to escape ultimately fail, and her last chance at help fails when Sarah’s husband John (Trucco) is killed by the man. Running through the scenarios in her head, Maddie soon realises that her only option is to fight, but how do you fight someone who you can’t hear coming?

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Was this worth waiting for?

It’s not often that I enjoy horror films, very rare infact. I’ve probably reviewed more horror films than any other type on this site, and there aren’t many that I have given the approved stamp to, but this is going to be one of them.

I love the cat and mouse nature of the sub-ninety minute run time, and that the man (who is never named throughout the run time) is a genuine threat. There are many points throughout the film in which you question how Maddie is possibly going to stop him, especially as he isn’t just your typical killer, like a Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees type. He is a genuine threat because he can not only outstrength and outrun Maddie, but he is a very cerebral killer, as seen when he relatively easily takes John out of the equation.

My favourite scene in the film’s run time is just after that murder, with Maddie thinking through all of the scenarios and figuring out that her only chance is to fight, because as smart as she is, she quite is clearly outmatched in each and every department. She is shown to be quite intelligent throughout the movie, but even when she tries to outsmart the man, he quickly adapts and turns the situation on it’s head.

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The movie most definitely isn’t a slasher, even though there is a small body count. With a cast of only four people, two of whom are in the film for no more than a few minutes each, this was always going to just be a battle of two people, and the enclosed environment is what makes it different from most others. There is practically no easy way to escape due to the surroundings of the house, such as branches, twigs, etc, and no matter which way she moves she will create a noise, and as is pointed out by the aforementioned scenarios sequence, the only room that she can hide in and barricade herself in effectively, is also requiring her to practically kill herself as she won’t have any method of escape.

That’s not to say that the film is perfect and it is obvious that they go some sort of funding from Apple given that she uses an iPhone and a MAC, and that the link between the two is clearly marked throughout. And there’s also the problem of lip reading, or more specifically man takes his mask off, he asks “can you read my lips?” without really moving his lips.

For me the film does someone lose an element of creepiness when the man does take off his mask, and it probably would have been more terrifying if he had kept it on, afterall, there isn’t a lot of dialogue between the two for obvious reasons.

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Summary

“Hush” is a very decent cat-and-mouse style horror film, and one which is far above the majority of other films that involve a serial approvedkiller. I’m not say it’s perfect, but it is definitely worth giving a watch. The run time is excellent for the film and it never feels like it overstays it’s welcome, which is a rarity in horror films.

With acting that is fairly decent, all it needed was a good plot and it got though. It’s not complicated, it’s not contrived, it is simply a story that has heavy cat-and-mouse elements, and I loved that.

Definitely give this a watch if you can.

Never, never EVER, grab another man’s balls, in a fistfight. It shows low character.

Year Released : 201510911315_851903121529059_3486466075104065835_o-578x851
Director : Kiah Roache-Turner
Cast : Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradley, Keith Agius, Cain Thompson, Berwyn Schwerdt, Catherine Terracini, Meganne West and Luke McKenzie

Ahh, The Horror Channel, you lovable rogue. For those of you that don’t live in the UK there is a channel that specialises in low budget horror films that is simply called “The Horror Channel”. If I wanted to I could simply dedicate this site to the movies that are on there and I would virtually never run out of material as they’re always showing some random film from the middle of nowhere, and chances are that they’d be rubbish.

Don’t get me wrong, down the years it has shown some decent films, and even some big, Hollywood films, but they are definitely few and far between. However, it’s not for the big films that I watch it, it’s because I hope that I find a hidden gem, and when I saw that there was an Australian zombie film I thought I’d give it a chance, afterall, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a zombie movie from Australia.

I’m also relatively optimistic going into it because it has a reasonable score of 6.3/10 on IMDB at the time of writing, which is far bigger than a lot of the other films that I have liked, so there’s hope yet. Having said that, this is a zombie film, and good zombie films are few and far between.

Plot

Barry (Gallagher) is with wife Annie (Terracini) and daughter Meganne (West) are all living their lives when a meteor shower happens when he receives a call from his sister Brooke (Bradley) following an attack from her colleagues. She has noticed that a lot of people have turned into zombies and warns them to get out of the city, a warning that they take seriously as they leave. Everything seems fine until Meganne and Annie remove their gas masks and both quickly turn, with Barry left to kill them.

One failed suicide attempt later and Barry asks another man named Chalker (Yovich) to take him to Brooke, although he is quickly killed by a further man named Benny (Burchill). Despite being pissed off at Benny for killing someone who was quite useful at killing zombies, Barry soon pairs up to rescue Brooke, but little do they know that she has been kidnapped and is currently being experimented on by a doctor (Schwerdt).

Along the way they stumble across more survivors, but it’s just a matter of time before their struggles seem insurmountable.

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Worthy of such a relatively high score on IMDB?

There are a lot of varying entries to the zombie genre. There are the classic George A Romero franchise “of the Dead” and the reasonably good “World War Z” and “28 Days” franchises (although the latter isn’t technically a zombie film), this is followed by those that aren’t really that good but at least tried, and then there are those that are just nonsense, “Wyrmwood : Road of the Dead” falls very much into the latter of those three categories.

I was sat watching this and it was only when I was reading the Wikipedia summation that the plot started to make sense, as if you tried to follow it whilst watching the movie then you’re going to struggle. It’s just nonsensical throughout it’s relatively long run time and what makes it even worse than a ridiculous plot is that the characters in general are stupid. If you imagine everything that you would do if you were in a zombie apocalypse, i/e run, hide, etc, now imagine the exact opposite that is precisely the thought pattern of most of the characters within this film.

The problem, aside from the plot, is that the film is very poorly acted, especially from Leon Burchill as the character of “Benny”. I’m not sure whether he took inspiration from Tommy Wiseau’s performance in “The Room”, or anything Dakota Fanning has ever done, but for me it was one of the most cringeworthy, over-the-top performances that I’ve seen from someone who quite clearly has no acting ability. I mean I have no basis for comparison when it comes to his acting in terms of other films that he is in, but it’s one of the rare occasions from films I’ve reviewed for this site in which I can confidently say that if I saw his name on the cast list of a film in future, I would actively avoid watching that film. It was that bad.

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I like to come up with at least one positive for every film, but I can’t think of a single one from this lengthy movie and that’s a big shame as I was waiting for something remotely positive to happen, and yet I was still there at the end with nothing redeeming that would encourage me to want to watch it again in the future.

Normally one positive I would look for is the secondary characters, because some times I have disliked the main character but found the secondaries to be quite enjoyable, but that wasn’t the case with “Wyrmwood” and this isn’t the fault of anyone in the cast, but the problem is that other than the odd exception here and there, secondary characters are killed off within minutes of appearing on the screen. There’s no effort put into developing the majority of them, or even giving you the slightest inkling as to what they are like, not even so much as a back story. They are there pure and simply to increase the body count.

There is more to a zombie film, or any movie in the horror genre for that matter, than simply having a large body count, and the true classics that involve numerous deaths in not only this genre, but also pretty much any genre, build their characters up so you at least care about them to some extent, not just have them there to increase the amount of deaths you can show on the screen.

Unfortunately the film has virtually no redeeming features.

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Summary

“Wyrmwood : Road of the Dead” is not a good film and full of nonsense moments from start to finish. The acting is comically bad throughout and there are very few, if any, redeemable features throughout it’s lengthy run time.

Whilst there are far, far worse zombie films out there than this, there are definitely far, far, far better ones and ones that are more worthy of your time, time that the I strongly advise you would be better suited and spent elsewhere.

Don’t waste your time.

I’m not afraid, Hector. People who are afraid of death are afraid of life.

Year Released : 2014hector-and-the-search-for-happiness-new-smiley-poster
Director : Peter Chelsom
Cast : Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno and Ming Zhao.

I commented recently that one of my favourite actresses is Rosamund Pike, who also happens to be arguably one of the most underrated actresses in the world. So when I saw that she was in a film with Simon Pegg, himself a fairly underrated actor, I knew I had to watch it. I’ve been a fan of Pegg since his days of being in a BBC comedy called “Big Train” at the back end of the nineties.

Despite reading a few reviews here and there, I haven’t watched the trailer as I want to do into it with a pretty much blank canvas. I don’t want to go in knowing everything, which is probably a mistake that I have made far too often since starting this website some time ago. Having said that, if that was entirely true then I wouldn’t have read other reviews beforehand.

The one thing that I certainly get the vibe of though is that is a less likeable version of another film that I won’t mention unless it turns out that this film isn’t very good. I sincerely hope it is, but I get the feeling that it’s not going to be.

Plot

Hector (Pegg) is an exceptionally successful psychiatrist and is in a great relationship with Clara (Pike), but despite that he is unhappy with life and feels like he has no meaning. One day he gets a reading from a psychic about going on a journey, but he refuses to believe it. He soon loss his patience at a patient’s small problems being blown out of proportion and launches a scathing rant at him, and his anger and impatience runs into other aspects of his life. He decides to travel after all.

His first destination is China, and on board the flight he meets the very rich Edward (Skarsgard) who invites him to stay with him for a few days. Hector soon meets Ying Li (Zhao) and falls in love with her, all before discovering that she is a prostitute hired by Edward. Hector sets off for the Himalayan mountains to talk to monks in a monastery.

Soon afterwards he sets off for Africa and helps one of his old friends in a clinic, but as time goes on Hector continues to find out how other people become happy, he still struggles himself and feels somewhat lost as he can’t truly open up. How long can he keep on this journey, and more importantly, can his relationship with Clara survive on purely Skype conversations?

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A worthwhile venture?

Whilst “Hector and the Search for Happiness” is great in the aspect that you get to see a lot of places around the world that you don’t often see, such as the Himalayan mountains and the Buddhist monastery within, unfortunately there isn’t a lot more going on that’s worth while.

It is very similar in many ways to a film by the name of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in that it sees a sheltered man that is comfortable in life going on an unexpected journey, but the difference is that that film felt more natural and less forced. The character of Walter Mitty is someone that is instantly likeable and you appreciate his journey more than you do with that of Hector. Hector’s journey feels more forced whilst the character is likeable, he never really seems to face the same struggles as the aforementioned Walter. This is due to virtually everyone that Hector meets is actually quite nice and goes along with everything, whereas Walter has to deal with people across a variety of different temperaments and languages.

Simon Pegg is decent as Hector and he continues his likeable nature in films, but ultimately he is working with a script that doesn’t really lend itself to his acting skills, and I would argue that it is one of the worst films of his that I have seen. Pegg does have to carry the film pretty much on his own as despite having a large and impressive cast, very few of the rest of the cast really feel like they’re in the film for very long, and other than a few scenes at the beginning and the odd Skype cameo here and there, Rosamund Pike’s contribution to the film is fairly minimal. I don’t think the lack of chemistry between Pegg and Pike makes them a believable couple either.

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I don’t really have that much to say on the film really because it really isn’t that interesting. It’s just two hours of my life that I have spent watching a film that will be totally forgotten within a few days, and the moment I realised just how irrelevant this movie is was when Hector has a gun in his face when imprisoned by a militia group in Africa, and I didn’t feel any emotion to the scene whatsoever. There was no desperation for the character to survive, and I really wouldn’t have been disappointed if he had been killed at that point.

The movie keeps on blasting music out at you that is supposed to make you feel more connected to the scene, but it often feels completely forced, with situations feeling completely far fetched and something that wouldn’t happen to ten people combined, let alone a single person. That’s the main problem with this film, it doesn’t have a natural flow to it at all. Nothing feels realistic and it is a blatant attempt to invoke wanderlust in those that watch it.

Before watching this film I saw that had a score of 7.0/10 on IMDB, but generally “mixed to negative” reviews everywhere else, and I unfortunately I have to agree with the latter of those.

What makes it even worse is that when it tries to do jokes, the jokes are unfunny and unoriginal.

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Summary

A supposedly life-affirming journey of self discovery that is lacking an real emotion, desire or even anything remotely interesting. “Hector and the Search for Happiness” just plods on for around two hours without really seemingly going anywhere, which is amazing given that the character travels all over the world.

If you’re going to watch a film like this then your best bet is to go to the far superior “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Whilst “Hector and the Search for Happiness” is a well meaning movie that ultimately won’t offend anyone, it is very far from being enjoyable and other than the odd minor thing here and there, it just isn’t that enjoyable.

Don’t watch this unless you are absolutely desperate.

Just incase you haven’t figured it out, this game isn’t about helping each other. It’s about eliminating each other!

Year Released : 2013would_you_rather_poster
Director : David Guy Levy
Cast : Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs, Jonny Coyne, Sasha Grey, John Heard, Logan Miller, Charlie Hofheimer and Robb Wells

There is something to be said for the genre nicknamed”torture porn”, actually, before I go further I should explain what “torture porn” is for those of you that aren’t aware. “Torture porn” is a sub-genre of horror that basically involves people being mutilated, such examples of this include the “Saw” franchise, the “Hostel” films or various others. So there you have it in a nutshell, so if you’re not even remotely interested in this sort of thing then you might as well leave the review now.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not overly a fan of the genre for the violence aspect, however, some of the psychology aspects to it do intrigue me somewhat, and I think that’s why I watch more of them than I should, or indeed why any fully sane person would want to. Ultimately that is what has lead me onto the film “Would You Rather”.

The more frequent readers amongst you will know that I recently subscribed to Netflix and I have been exploring some of the quieter corners of it, and then I realised that if there is one genre that I’ve never really touched on on this site, it is “torture porn”. Don’t expect this to become a regular thing, but I figure as I have nothing else to do today, I might as well watch and review it.

Plot

Running out of money to support her brother’s medical bills, Iris (Snow) agrees to a dinner hosted by Shepard (Combs). There will be a number of guests competing against each other in a game, with the winner receiving enough money to cover them for the foreseeable future. The dinner starts innocently enough, with Iris (a vegetarian) being offered $10,000 to simply eat a steak, and Conway (Heard), a recovering alcoholic, earning $50,000 to down a full decanter of scotch. Shepard soon explains the game of simply choosing between two options, and you have fifteen seconds to make that choice. They are all given one final chance to leave but no-one takes that up.

Soon afterwards an electrocution device is brought into the room and Conway tries to leave, but he is shot by Bevans (Coyne), the butler. The first round involves straps with metal discs being attached to the heads of two people, one is given the device and has to choose between electrocuting themselves or the other. Everyone makes it through the first round, although some are electrocuted twice (some opt for themselves rather than the other person, whereas they also get chosen when another person has the controls). The next round requires each person to choose between stabbing one person in the leg, or hitting another with a large stick three times.

Travis (Hofheimer) speaks out and is singled out by Shepard throughout the round, but he finally gets a break when Peter (Wells) stabs Linda (Julie Squibb), but he accidentally kills her by catching her femoral artery. As time goes on, the numbers soon dwindle, how long can this go on for?

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Typical “torture porn”?

When I started watching this film, and indeed the trailer, I was not impressed. I thought this looks like your typical low-budget horror film, written with very little skill, afterall, there are a LOT of cliches in terms of the characters, but then it started getting interesting.

I will start with the one negative that I really have and that is the amount of cliched characters that there are in this film. You’ve got the incredibly selfish old woman that thinks it’s unfair people choose her to get the punishment, even if the other option practically kills the other person, a goth inspired girl that’s like “fuck this” and goes gung-ho on the situation, a war vet who goes “I’ve had worse” and so many others that it is a little tedious at times. As I say though, that is the only real negative that I can think of.

One thing that never really seems to get discussed when talking about this type of film is the morality behind pretty much everything. For example, in the “Saw” films it is basically about making the person in question appreciate their life, and in “Would You Rather” there is the moral question of what is worse, stabbing someone in the leg or whipping someone repeatedly over and over, and that’s why I hated the old woman in the film, she is happy for Travis to be whipped three times for what would be the fourth time, probably killing him, just so she can be fine. It’s an interesting examination from a psychological point of view.

This starts right from the first choose, which is the point that the film started impressing me. You’re asking such simple things, such would someone be willing to give up their moral beliefs (vegetarian) or something that they’ve worked hard for (sixteen years sobriety) in order to get some money, and I must single out the excellent acting of John Heard for the latter of those two situations.

I don’t really have much more to say to be honest.

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Summary

A surprisingly interesting torture porn movie that I genuinely enjoyed and whilst I won’t claim to want to watch it again, but I certainlyapproved wouldn’t say don’t watch it if you get a chance.

As far as this type of film goes, this is one of the better ones, and for comparison purposes, if this was in the “Saw” franchise then it would probably rank second or third, and certainly better than the second trilogy (four, six and six) put together.

If you’re not averse to this type of film then I’d say give it a try, there are far worse “normal” films out there than this.

 

 

 

He spent two bullets on eleven men. He saved your tax money!

Year Released : 2014man-on-high-heels-32390
Director : Jang Jin
Cast : Cha Seung-Wan, Oh Jung-Se, Esom and Song Young-Chan

Recently I reviewed a South Korean movie called “Train to Busan”, and it was surprisingly half decent considering it is a zombie film, a genre done to death in recent years. It was my first glimpse into South Korean film and I decided that if I were to get another opportunity then I would jump on it, and that’s what happened when I was browsing Netflix and found “Man on High Heels”.

For those that haven’t read the site before, I am transgender, and I am automatically intrigued by films about people with gender dysphoria, albeit I won’t just watch a film simply because of that. The film has to offer something that I haven’t seen before and this achieves that relatively well, as I’m never seen a film about a man that wants to be a woman but could comfortably kick your arse if he wanted to.

This does however give me a little trepidation when it comes to this as it does look like one of those typical films in which the protagonist breaks arms without breaking into a sweat. You know what I mean? Those characters who, despite the number and/or size of the enemy, you never doubt they’re going to win, therefore taking any real sense of tension out of the scene….think the majority of the Marvel franchise.

But anyway, we’ll see.

Plot

Unfeasibly good cop Yoon Ji-Wook (Cha) has decided to quit the police force to finally complete his dream, living as a woman, although hormones are not working as is hoped. Virtually no-one knows about his desire other than close friends and a former lover, mainly because he successfully separates the two aspects of his personality.

Soon, after going out as a woman in public for the first time, Ji-wook is visited by one of two gangster brothers, the Heo’s, but Ji-wook easily defeats Bul (Song) in a fight, and this leads to him placing the man under arrest. Bul eventually brokers a deal that will see his sentence halved if he sells out his brother, Gon (Oh). Gon is unsurprisingly unimpressed with the idea once he finds out, and his gang soon kills the prosecutor responsible for the idea.

Meanwhile, Ji-wook has actually gone to Gon to fund his reassignment surgery, unaware of the connection, but as soon as Gon finds out who Ji-wook is, and more importantly his secret, he decides that killing everyone in Ji-wook’s life is the only way to re-establish dominance in Seoul.

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A decent LGBT film?

“Man on High Heels” is certainly one of the more unusual transgender related films that I’ve seen in recent times, and certainly one of those that doesn’t fit the usual mould for films in the LGBT genre, especially given that the character of Ji-wook shows very little signs of femininity when not dressed in female clothing. The best way I could really describe it is if you imagine Neo from the Matrix franchise, and having kicking everyone’s arse, all whilst wearing a dress, that’s the summation of this film.

If you’re going into this film expecting it to be full on LGBT action then you’re going to be disappointed. The character spends around 95% of the film in fully male clothing, with only the odd scene here and there spent in more feminine attire, and whilst the obvious desire to be female is there, you could be forgiven for forgetting the desire to be female for most of the film’s over-two hour run time.

I suppose though that I can personally relate to Ji-wook. I am a male-to-female transsexual and yet I don’t act or dress in an overly feminine manner, and many ways the uncertainty in which the character approaches his feminine side, especially outwardly, reminds me very much of when I initially came out around four and a half years ago. There is one particular scene in an elevator in which Yi-wook realises that others are about to get in to ride down to the ground floor, and she cowers in the corner, facing the wall, because she is afraid of the reactions, which is understandable and very relatable.

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Presentation wise I loved “Man on High Heels” and it has that noir style that I find very appealing personally. Visually it is excellent, with great attention to detail given to each scene in order to make it look like the very vibrant city with a dark side that I’m sure Seoul is (I’ve never been there, or anywhere in South Korea…..or even Asia just for the record). In this sense it strikes me as a very similar city to Los Angeles, another place in which noir films are often set.

I do however have two concerns with “Man on High Heels”. The first of which is that the fighting scenes, whilst not plentiful, certainly don’t have a sense of tension to them as Ji-wook never feels like he is under a genuine threat of being beaten by his opponents. Even when it is ten-on-one at the end, you still get the feeling that he could easily defeat them, and it means that there is no real depth to the fighting. There is no real tension there because like a lot of similar fighting films, you feel that you could see this character against a hundred people at once, and they’d still win.

My other issue with it is that whilst I did largely enjoy the film, at times it is hard to follow. I don’t think this is to do with the language barrier as I watched another South Korean film last week and had no issues with that, but for the first hour, other than the odd scene here and there, I didn’t really get into the story and found it a bit hard to follow at times.

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Summary

“Man on High Heels” is a largely enjoyable film for what it is, but unfortunately it does lack of a bit of depth by not really having any tension in the fights, and more importantly, a story that at times is a little tricky to follow.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I disliked the film, far from it infact, but I couldn’t give it the approved stamp in all good conscience as, whilst enjoyable, I wouldn’t really recommend it to others, and I think that is a big part for me.

Certainly don’t avoid if you get a chance to watch it, but don’t expect brilliant either.

It took God six days to create the universe, you should be able to get your act together in five!

Year Released : 2016images
Director : Zach Clarke
Cast : Addison Timlin, Ally Sheedy, Keith Poulson and Peter Hedges

If there is one thing that I hate it is when a film tries to pass itself off as something that it is clearly not. This can range from comedies that say they offer original jokes,  yet you’ve heard them all before, or the word “unique” in a description of a film and yet when you’re done watching it, you feel an overwhelming sense of familiarity. That being said, I am prepared to give a lot of films a chance and that’s why I decided that “Little Sister” would be the next film that I reviewed.

I first saw the trailer for this a few weeks ago and thought that it looked relatively interesting, which makes a change from some other films I’ve reviewed in the recent past, but looking a certain way and being a certain way are two very different things.

For those that haven’t read this site before, I write this mini-section before watching the film, so please keep that in mind as despite being interested in the film, I am already anticipating giving it a negative review unless it lives up to the promise in the trailer of it being unique and interesting.

Plot

Colleen (TImlin) has purposefully separated herself from her family and joined a convent following on from her mother’s (Sheedy) attempted suicide and drug dependency. Despite claiming to be happy, the other nuns believe that she isn’t truly enjoying the experience and actively encourage her to consider her future.

One day her mother sends her an email advising that her brother Jacob (Poulson) is finally out of the hospital after returning from war, but his entire face has been burnt. Colleen returns home to find that nothing has changed, her house and friends are exactly the same as when she left them, but her brother is understandably reluctant to reveal his new self to the world.

Colleen decides that if nothing has changed but her, that she will return to her old look and she re-dyes her hair, and this helps her to finally connect with Jacob again. The two reacquaint with each other and this finally helps Colleen reintegrate with her family again, or so it would appear

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As quirky and unique as it is advertised as?

Films that advertise themselves as being unique and quirky are usually the complete opposite, and are infact remarkably dull, tedious and uninteresting….and “Little Sister” falls firmly into that category. It is remarkably dull and lifeless, regardless of it’s attempts to tell us otherwise simply because a character changes hair colour several times.

The main problem with “Little Sister” sister is that it presents itself in the trailer as being weird, imaginative, but this is far from the truth and this is caused by Colleen, a remarkably boring central character. If you’re going to claim to be something very different than everything we’ve seen before, that actually needs to be the case, but the character of Colleen is precisely the same as pretty much every angsty young-woman ever depicted in film.

Addison TImlin’s performance fits the role perfectly well, but the problem is that anytime the character shows anything that remotely involves reflecting any emotion other than sadness, TImlin appears to be well out of her comfort zone. There is a scene just after she dyes her hair for the first time in which she lip syncs to a metal song and does a weird little dance, but you can tell from the poorly-hidden look on her face that she is clearly not comfortable, and this happens a few more times throughout the film in which the character is trying to be zany, but you can tell TImlin isn’t sold on the idea.

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You don’t get a chance to take a break from the character as she is in nearly every single scene in the movie. The other characters aren’t given a chance to breathe, or indeed for you to really see their relationships with each when Colleen isn’t around. If you’re focusing primarily on one character, you at least need to see the others when that character isn’t there on a regular basis. For example, you virtually never see Jacob without Colleen, and the only thing that you see her parents doing when she’s not there is attempt to take recreational drugs whilst in the bath. Not allowing the characters to develop their own personalities means that you ultimately don’t care, and that sums this whole film up for me.

Whilst not awful, I found that this offered precisely nothing that I hadn’t seen before in other films, and ultimately it will be one of those films that in a year or two I will see listed on my list of reviews that I will remember very little about. It is a completely forgettable movie with unremarkable and one-dimensional characters.

At least it was only ninety minutes long.

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Summary

Despite marketing itself as something different, “Little Sister” is that the same bland, unimaginative, slow moving type of film that I have seen and reviewed numerous times before.

Whilst the efforts of everyone are not awful by any stretch, there is nothing about this film that will be memorable after a short amount of time, infact, give it a week and I probably won’t remember the name of a single character from this film. That is how forgettable this movie is.

At a mercifully short ninety minutes, if you do decide to watch this then at least it won’t take up a long portion of your day.