Archive for the Foreign Category

Screened In Sundays: The Devil’s Backbone

Posted in Foreign, Horror, Screened In Sundays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by judsonw

One underseen gem every Sunday.

Before Guillermo del Toro brought us the magical tale Pan’s Labyrinth, the superhero chronicles of Hellboy, or almost took the director’s seat for The Hobbit, he made a little Spanish horror film called The Devil’s Backbone. Made back in 2001, the story takes place in an orphanage (doesn’t every Spanish horror movie?) set in 1939 and revolves around a young boy who moves in. Almost immediately, the young boy, named Carlos, starts hearing strange noises and even catches a glimpse of what he believes to be a ghost.

This story is much more complex and deep than a simple ghost story, which may explain why del Toro decided to reveal the ghost’s appearance so early on in the story. When Carlos starts to investigate the paranormal occurrences of the estate, he discovers some very dark secrets about the history of the orphanage. The Devil’s Backbone provides much more than a good scare – there’s a deeply affecting emotional story that may just catch you off guard.

Advertisements

Screened In Sundays: Fish Tank

Posted in Drama, Foreign, Screened In Sundays with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2012 by judsonw

One underseen gem every Sunday.

It’s rare to see a movie today with a strong female protagonist, let alone one who can fully take care of herself. In Fish Tank, Katie Jarvis plays Mia, a 15 year old girl who lives in the British equivalent of the projects. Mia has a lot of shit to deal with on a day to day basis, stuff that a normal teenager doesn’t have to deal with. Her mother is almost completely worthless, and her younger sister seems to be on a dark path. Mia’s relationship with the two of them is strained, to say the least.

Mia’s only vice in her loner life is dancing. She believes that one day she will be able to escape her sad life with her skills as a dancer, even though that dream is clearly a long shot. Her life takes a turn when her mother starts dating an Irish man played by Michael Fassbender. The two form a relationship that may or may not become inappropriate. Actions taken by both characters come the end of the film are both shocking and sad. It’s a great double performance by an acting vet and an inspired newcomer.

Screened In Sundays: Mother

Posted in Drama, Foreign, Screened In Sundays with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2012 by judsonw

One underseen gem every Sunday.

After the well received Korean monster movie The Host, it was no telling what direction that director Joon-Ho Bong would take with his next film. Mother, which in my opinion far surpasses The Host, was a creation that I was not expecting.

A beautifully filmed and powerfully acted tale about a mother who will do anything to prove her son is not a murderer, actress Hye-ja Kim gives a performance for the ages – possibly one of the best portrayals of a mother in the history of film.

The story plays out like a mystery. The Mother’s son is accused of murdering a young girl early in the film. She refuses to believe such nonsense – this must be a false accusation. What makes the accusation interesting is the fact that her 28 year old son is mentally challenged and very calm mannered. The story goes through some twists and turns until it arrives at its shocking conclusion. But along the way, as the tagline reads, “she’ll stop at nothing.”