Friday, February 12, 2016

Film Review: Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Yakuza Apocalypse (Review)
Japan/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...an entertaining experience, offering something very creative and engaging."

Yakuza boss Kamiura harbors a sinister secret, which he passes on to his faithful right-hand man Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara)…

Yakuza Apocalypse primarily follows Kageyama. Kageyama is part of Kamiura's gang. Kamiura defeats his foes with his ruthless skills, but he does not harm civilians, which makes him very popular; Kamiura also happens to be a vampire. When he is killed, Kamiura passes the torch to Kageyama. Kageyama, unaware of his new blood, finds himself lusting for blood. In turn, he finds himself creating an army of yakuza vampires; I mean, they're really yakuza vampires. So, Kageyama sets out to exact his revenge. The story becomes a bit more muddled towards the end. This is because of some very strange additions to the story. There are some 'eccentric' characters that appear and some shifts in character that start to rattle the foundation of the film. The ending is not bad, but it also really wasn't satisfying.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Film Review: Wer (2013)

Wer (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...throws you into a tailspin with plenty of werewolf excitement."

After a family is savagely murdered in the woods, defense attorney Kate Moore (A.J. Cook) opts to defend the enigmatic suspect, Talan Gwynek (Brian Scott O'Connor)...

Wer follows Kate and her crew as they prepare to defend Talan. Talan is suspected of brutally slaughtering a family in the woods. The only living witness of the heinous crime claims a beast attacked her family and killer her husband and son. Kate, however, believes Talan has been unjustly arrested due to his appearance – Talan is tall and hairy. Evidence also points the murders could not have been committed by a human, regardless of size. Eventually, Kate finds out she's been defending a werewolf. (I don't think a spoiler alert is required, it's in the title and every other description out there.) So, a manhunt ensues – and plenty of people die. The film leads to a predictable ending. The ending was also a bit cheesy, really. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't as strong as the rest of the film.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Film Review: Tokyo Tribe (2014)

Tokyo Tribe (Review)
Japan/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...an uproarious extravaganza that should not be missed."

In a dystopian Japan, territorial gangs called 'tribes' reign supreme. War erupts when Mera (Ryôhei Suzuki), leader of the Wu-ronz in Bukuro, sets off to dominate Tokyo through violence...

Tokyo Tribe is a stylish, ludicrously quirky, morbidly humorous and action-packed rapping musical. Like that sentence, the narrative can be quite a bit to ingest, especially through a review. So, I'll keep it simple. Tokyo is dominated by several tribes; each tribe has its own style, in appearance, rapping, and message, and their own turf. You step into a turf that's not yours, you die. Under the lead of Buppa, a sadistic, cannibalistic gangster, Mera sets out to start a war with the other tribes. Particularly, Mera wants to kill Kai of the peaceful Musashino Saru tribe, due to an 'incident' at a sauna. There's a bit more to the story, like a runaway caught in the war, but that's the gist. The film leads to an action-packed climax and an excellent finale. I did not expect to laugh so much during the ending, but I couldn't help it. As absurd as it is, the ending delivers a big message.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Film Review: Ugly (2013)

Ugly (Review)
India/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"As the title states, it is a truly ugly reflection of humanity."

When his 10-year-old daughter vanishes, Rahul (Rahul Baht) spirals into a web of deceit, crime, and violence...

Ugly starts off a bit rough. Off the bat, the film introduces us to a large cast of characters – a husband, an ex-husband, a brother-in-law, a close friend... you get the gist. Fortunately, it does iron out after the rough introduction for a fairly smooth ride. The film primarily follows Rahul after his daughter, Kali, vanishes while he was picking up a script for an audition from his agent, Chaitanya. When she's not immediately found, Rahul is suspected of kidnapping his own daughter by police chief Shoumik Bose (Ronit Roy), who is actually Kali's stepfather as he married Rahul's ex-wife. (You see where it can get a bit complicated, right?) Anyway, when the suspicion surrounding Rahul dwindles, the pair get caught in a web of deceit. Rahul, Shoumik, and the rest of the police force continue searching for Kali, but find nothing. Further muddling the already complicated investigation, certain people begin to take advantage of the kidnapping for their selfish greed – the characters are about as ugly as the title. The film leads to a haunting ending – it leaves a very strong impression.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Film Review: Asylum Blackout (aka The Incident) (2011)

Asylum Blackout (aka The Incident) (Review)
France/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...effectively suspenseful and violent..."


The crew of an asylum for the criminally insane find themselves trapped when a storm causes a power outage and the inmate begin rioting...

Asylum Blackout follows George (Rupert Evans), a cook at the Sans Asylum, as well as his friends and coworkers, Max (Kenny Doughty) and Ricky (Joseph Kennedy). The trio play in a band together, but have had trouble pushing their musical careers due to the constant banter and other intimate relationships. Anyway, while working at the asylum, the power goes out, which traps everyone due to the electronic locks on the doors. The group try to keep control by locking the inmates in their rooms, but some rowdy inmates pounce on the opportunity. So, the fight for survival begins. The film leads to an ambiguous ending, open to more than one interpretation. Personally, I felt it was unnecessary and unjustified.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Film Review: Curve (2015)

Curve (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"There wasn't enough to make it a good film, but it was enough to make it engaging until the end."

Mallory (Julianne Hough) is on her way to Denver for her wedding rehearsals. When her car breaks down, she finds herself in the company of a charming hiker, Christian (Teddy Sears), who harbors some sinister intentions...

Curve is a fairly basic film. The film begins with a phone call between Mallory and her sister, essentially spelling everything out. (One of the first lines of dialogue is "Hey, sister." I don't know, I never answer my brother's calls and say, "Hey, brother." You get the gist.) Anyway, Mallory drives off and decides to take the scenic route. Her car breaks down and charming hitchhiker Christian comes to the rescue, so she offers him a ride. Unfortunately for Mallory, Christian has other intentions – violent intentions. So, noticing Christian isn't wearing his belt, she drives off a curve. She ends up trapped in the overturned car while Christian tauntingly roams freely. Most of the 'story,' which isn't much, follows Mallory as she attempts to survive the harsh conditions, starvation, and dehydration. It switches up for the final act, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. The ending was painfully generic, though.