Author Archive for Luis Mazariegos


Adam Green’s “Frozen” Review

Unique Idea but Should Have Been Done Better

Spoiler Alert

Frozen mostly takes place in a ski lift, with three characters stranded and facing the chilly face of death. Kevin Zegers is Dan Walker, who brings his feuding girlfriend, Parker O’Neill (Emma Bell), and best friend Joe Lynch (Shawn Ashmore).

Faced with being stuck on a chair lift for days until the resort reopens. The film is not so much about horror as it is about survival, as the temperature drops and the characters get hungry. Dan eventually jumps, but breaks his legs and is eaten by wolves.

Lynch and Parker must get over their differences while grieving Dan and attempt to escape the cold, not to mention the wolves.

The majority of the movie takes place in one setting: the ski lift, where the three characters try to consider ways to escape. The dialogue has a few jokes, and there’s even a nice recurring theme that becomes ironic: the skiing trip was seen as an escape from life’s mundane pressures, but afterwards life’s mundane pressures become an escape from the ski trip gone wrong.

This is good news since most of the movie takes place on the lift, it’s up to the dialogue and the acting to make us care about the characters living or dying. But the good news is far to sparse.

This is unfortunately where it falls apart: the dialogue can be promising but it’s never quite engaging enough, and though there is the beginning of fully-fledged out characters in Frozen, they’re never fully realized.

Plainly, we just don’t care if they freeze to death or are eaten by wolves. In fact, it’s easier to cheer for the cuddly wolves.


Matthew Kohne’s “Wasting Away” Review

Great Concept, So-so Execution

Spoiler Alert

Matthew Kohne’s Wasting Away (also called Aaah Zombies!) is an independent horror/comedy film about a group of five people who become zombies. It stands out because it follows the peril from the zombies’ perspective, and it gives a funny, sympathetic look at their problems.

The scenes from the regular people’s perspective are shown in black and white with occasional green, whereas the zombies’ perspective is in full color. Not only that, but normal people see themselves as normal and zombies as slow moving, groaning monsters. Zombies see themselves as normal, and normal people as ultra-fast, high-pitched freaks. It’s a compellingly clever touch.

Not only that, but drunk people view zombies as normal (probably because their brains are running at much lower capacity.) Perhaps it’s a bit too convenient, but it works to make the film compelling.

We follow the five zombies as they try to make sense of the world, and their horror as they eventually realize they are the zombies. It’s a bit reminiscent of I Am Legend (perhaps not the Will Smith version).

Unfortunately, the story along the way is just not very exciting. There is some weird comedy which is more weird than comedy. The people too frequently dismiss complete strangeness (when one of the characters eats a brain, the rest, not knowing they are zombies yet, are basically OK with it.) I suppose it’s because zombies are ridiculously stupid, but it’s more frustrating than funny.

They accept their ultimate fate as zombies too easily, and seem to be fine with it at the end. The last act has them trying to escape to create their own society, and when the action should ramp up, it really kinda doesn’t.

It’s a fresh concept with a great movie hidden somewhere, but it’s not quite there.


Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe”: Review

Not-so-thrilling thriller

Spoiler alert.

Atom Egoyan’s Chloe is a remake of a French film, Nathalie. It boasts an impressive resume of acting talent, including Liam Neeson as the husband, a professor, and Julianne Moore as the wife, a gynecologist.

The wife thinks that she is being cheated on, and hires a prositute (the titular Chloe, played by Amanda Seyfried) to tempt him and report back.

The film’s central conceit, that the husband is indeed cheating, is never quite believable. His crimes are: missing a flight, taking a picture with a student, and IMing someone.

So when Chloe says she so easily seduced the husband into cheating, it’s not really logical. The twist that she was making it up all along is actually quite predictable.

There is some weird, forced “sexual tension” between Chloe and the wife, which is mostly made up of Chloe recounting her sexual encounters with the husband. The wife is turned on by this. I am not- I really am bored and would rather not hear it for about 5 minutes.

Finally, Chloe’s master plan is revealed: ah, she wanted to sleep with the wife all along. First off, that’s a crazy, convoluted plot that shouldn’t work. But it works perfectly, and we are treated to a lesbian scene. Why not, I suppose.

Finally, the wife and husband find out about Chloe’s lies and tell her to shove it, and Chloe decides to seduce the couple’s son into having sex in his parents’ bedroom. They then fall asleep (for whatever reason) and the mom catches them (obviously).

The ending is too predictable, as Chloe accidentally plummets to her death. It’s almost the only way out by this point.

The film is shot well and it’s perhaps a credit to the actors that the movie never seems to fall to soap opera levels. Overall, it’s too predictable to be thrilling, and too cheap to be deep.

July 2018
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