Fantasia Festival 2019: Shorts

Fantasia Festival 2019 is over but as per usual, there were a lot of shorts showcased whether before feature film screenings (which is where all of these two segments of shorts were seen) or as a compilation (which I missed all of due to schedule conflicts). Regardless, there’s a lot of interesting selections to say the least.

Below are six shorts that I saw as opening during screenings.

Bar Fight (World Premiere, 2019)

Bar Fight

Director (and writer): Benjamin R. Moody

Cast: Aaron D. Alexander, Donald Brooks, Hector Gonzales, Nelson Nathaniel

When a machete-wielding cult walks into a bar, one bartender is in for the longest night of his life. – IMDB

Paired with The Prey (review) as a the opening short film, Bar Fight is 5 minutes of non-stop action. The premise of the story makes it feel like the world has fallen apart due to this cult as the constant pounding on the door above ends up with three thugs come into the bar. While the bar owner seems meek at first, he quickly fights his way brutally out of the situation. From the series of moves to how the short is done, its an impressive 5 minutes that is very entertaining to watch especially because its in a closed off space resulting in close hand to hand battles with some limited choices in weapons as defense and combat.

Bedtime Story (El Cuento, 2019)

El Cuento

Director (and writer): Lucas Paulino & Angel Torres

Cast: Nerea Barros, Miguel Galbin, Ismael Palacios, Alberto Sanchez

Opening for The Wretched (review) is this Spanish horror short about a family of three being observed by a witch living in an apartment across the street. As the kids settle into to bed, their mother comes in to tell them a bedtime story except it seems very similar to their current situation and bigger brother Lucas who is sleeping on the top bunk doesn’t know whether to look or not at who is telling the story.

No doubt that Spanish horror does really well. In the case of Bedtime Story, its satisfying horror experience. How its filmed and gloomy and darkness of the nighttime setup along with the mom’s unsettling behavior gives it a nice tinge of horror that blends well together. The whole element of being watched also is done very well with a decent twist at the end. Its a fairly complete horror experience for a short film.

Le Blizzard (2019)

le blizzard

Director (and writer): Alvaro Rodriguez Areny

Cast: Aida Folch

Le Blizzard is a 2018 horror short that paired with The Father’s Shadow (review) which tells the story of a woman waking up in the middle of World War II in a blizzard and goes looking for her daughter that has separated from her in the forest. Le Blizzard is not a bad concept to start with. It just feels a bit dragged out because it turns around in a circle. Somehow, it does have a fairly bizarre turn in events and has something of a loop element to it. There is an attempt of adding in a twist in there which does give it some intrigue but its an odd one.

Right Place, Wrong Tim (2018)

Right Place Wrong Tim

Director: Eros Vlahos

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Adam Buxton, Ella Purnell

A 90’s British sitcom is taken over by clones of the lead actor and descends into chaos. – IMDB

Perfectly paired with Daniel Isn’t Real (review), Right Place Wrong Tim is a horror comedy where a on-screen . Its bloody and funny and so over the top that it just fits together in the oddest way and still works. It also lingers on the part of how much of it is reality and how much of it is part of the effects of the show so the audience is still laughing as the scene gets more and more bloody and absurd and yet that just adds to the humor. Of course, this type of humor might be very unique to its audience and might not land for everyone but perhaps its the charm and talent of Asa Butterfield that I’d always enjoyed his acting and roles that this one worked for myself.

Lone Wolf (2019)

Lone Wolf

Director (and writer): January Jones

Cast: Joanne Booth, Charlotte Cook, Karla Hillam, Mackenzie Mazur, Izabella Measham-Park, Freya Van Dyke-Goodman

Opening for Riot Girls screening (review), Lone Wolf is a 2019 Australian horror short about a 15 year old social misfit called Sam who gets invited to a classmate Willow’s party and tries to blend in with her new classmates who happen to be a bunch of mean girls who are Willow’s best friends. However, she starts to go through some kind of inexplicable change and it just starts going out of control. Without ruining anything, that’s the best that I have for this short. Its tries to make fun a little of the situation because its really odd what happens. Sam’s transformation from a little decision of being accepted changes her as well. There’s not a ton to say about this. Its fairly on rails as to how the story progresses with what she gets made fun of as well as who comes to her defense and then we get a twist which explains her transformation. Lone Wolf tackles one of the horror subgenres that I feel is still fairly underused with a lot of potential to explore further so that was a great angle.

Cliché (2018)

Cliche

Director (and writer): Miguel De Plante

Cast: Anne-Justine Guestier, Lilie-Rachel Morin, Josian Neveu

Three young friends, a dark cabin, a wandering killer… You think you’ve already seen this movie ? You’re probably right… – Fantasia Festival

Cliché was the opening short for Aquaslash (review). I’m a huge fan of any concept that can make fun of itself. There’s a lot of really absurd moments here and it feels like the goal is to be over the top in presenting all the cliché moments in horror films and diving into those horror tropes that usually serious horror films would be criticized. Its not meant to be taken seriously and because of that, it dives into a lot of fun territory. It has some ridiculous ideas but then also embraces the idea of the final girl and challenging breaking away from the cliché moment. Its pretty silly and the comedy might not work for everyone but its not a bad guilty pleasure idea and really suitable for a short film.

That’s it for these 6 Fantasia Shorts!
A bit heavy and probably should have broken into two posts, but its what it is.

Thoughts? Which appeals to you more?

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Fantasia Festival 2019: The Father’s Shadow (A Sombra do Pai, 2019)

The Father’s Shadow (2019)

The Father's Shadow

Director (and writer): Gabriela Amaral Almeida

Cast: Nina Medeiros, Luciana Paes, Julio Machado, Eduardo Gomes, Dinho Lima Flor, Clara Moura, Rafael Raposo

The Father’s Shadow is a 2019 Brazilian horror thriller about a nine year old girl who experiments with sorcery to hopefully bring her family back together.

Following the debut feature of director Gabriela Amaral Almeida’s Friendly Beast (review), a movie that spirals into a lot of craziness of blood and sex, The Father’s Shadow tones down the physical crazy from her previous film, rather in this latest film hones in the mental breakdown and sombre elements especially of the father character. Dalva has lost her mother and lives with her aunt and her father. When her aunt moves away for her own life and her father has a few work issues occur, he starts falling apart and holding on further to his deceased wife and giving little care to Dalva. Because of this, Dalva starts experimenting with sorcery and trying to find the incantation that will bring her mother back and hopefully fill in the void needed to bring her family back together.

This story is slow burn and its a bit odd. Which is somewhat expected with Almeida at the helm if we use her previous film as a reference, in fact, this one feels more grounded in reality. There are some obvious nods to zombie horror films in the most literal way and inspires a lot of the actual story development especially the motivation of the little girl, Dalva (Nina Medeiros). She is the main focus of the story and she holds a lot of the attention because of the different ways she approaches sorcery, influenced by movies and her aunt as well as her best friend, who has quite the turn of events. This isn’t a wordy film, in fact a lot of the talking is from her aunt, Luciana Paes and the concern she voices. The opposite applies to her father (Julio Machado) who loses the parenting ability and has lessening concern towards of Dalva as he falls apart, its more shown through the lesser words and the isolation and the lack of care of the surroundings.

Every character in this story has their own scars. There are feelings of being replaced, unimportant and disposable whether in the family or at work. Its why Dalva becomes such a girl that feels leads the story with investment of seeing whether she succeeds in her endeavor or not. Looking at the horror elements, its more along the lines of subtle appearances of spirits and the uneasy feeling of expecting something to happen and some of the teasing still shots that make up for the subtle horror.  To be fair, the horror scenes here are done with a lot of care. It tries to break out from expectations at times and offers something a little different. At times, the horror elements do get drowned out by the drama.

The Father’s Shadow is a slow and doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. A lot of the story is told through the things that happen, the surrounding sound (or lack thereof) and how the characters react and take action. Its a good way to execute the film as it does give space for the audience link the story together themselves but at the same time, it does feel slightly lacking in pacing. Its not that there isn’t anything happening, more that the climax isn’t really quite there and then it just ends. The concept of sorcery and the cast, especially Nina Medeiros really does deliver, where it doesn’t quite hit the point is the execution.

Fantasia Festival 2019: The Incredible Shrinking WKND (2019)

The Incredible Shrinking WKND (El Incredible Finde Menguante, 2019)

Incredible Shrinking WKND

Director (and writer): Jon Mikel Caballero

Cast: Iria del Rio, Adam Quintero, Nadia de Santiago, Adrian Exposito,  Jimmy Castro, Irene Ruiz, Luis Tosar

The Incredible Shrinking Wknd is a 2019 drama about a girl going on a reunion weekend away at a cabin who ends up getting stuck in a time loop that decreases in time with each reset.

The incredible Shrinking WKND opens to a group of six friends who are having a reunion at the cabin. As they learn about each other’s current state and about their future plans, Alba (Iria del Rio) and Pablo (Adam Quintero) seem to be the couple who seem to be fine on the surface but after dinner, Pablo suggests to break up. As she goes for a hike the next day, she goes into the old weapons factory area, a point of interest for the group and ends up triggering a time loop where time freezes and she wakes up again on the car ride to the cabin. As Alba wakes up each time, she starts from enjoying what feels like an infinite time loop to realizing that it shrinks by the hour with every reset. What starts as a fun little time loop that she can be in control soon becomes a journey of self-discovery and  at 30, a late growing up to adulthood as she embraces her feelings, her friends and her love.

Let’s face it, time loop stories are tricky. They can get repetitive and they can get lost. Its hard to say that WKND doesn’t  get repetitive but the script remembers to always make each time a little different, especially in the first few loops and as Alba transitions in her different revelations from denial to finally wanting to make amends. It works through some of this by doing speed cuts of the crucial parts, putting more focus on the changes and the meaningful parts to see new discoveries and the character development for Alba. While the middle section does feel like it dwells a little too long and then picks some sections to focus on over and over again, it does try to put together the pieces at the end.

WKND is heavily focused on one character. While the other 4 friends and her boyfriend are very much present here and there in each loop in different ways, they all have their own new bits of information that gets revealed , Alba is the main focus. Iria del Rio is compelling in this role. Every reaction as she breaks down to her enthusiasm to her revelation and uncertainty of what will happen and trying to figure out how to escape the time loop becomes a journey that is satisfying because she becomes a character who grows and one that is worth fighting for as she strives to improve. Its a change from the girl that started this movie who didn’t seem to care about anyone, was insensitive, irresponsible and had no direction.

At the end of the day, WKND is a time loop movie with depth. It dials down to a good execution of the content and a close look at one character’s growth. However, all this is small compared to what makes this Spanish indie unique and that is its choice of how it presents the film. The constant narrowing screen is gradual and at first, might not even be noticeable. All the effect of time urgency as well as packing in the crucial details of the shot closer together gives it a somewhat claustrophobic feeling. Its a big question of what happens after, when there is no more hours of the same day to take away and how Alba will use that final hour. This final element makes cinematography stand out and is the truly unique element of this film experience.

The Incredible Shrinking WKND has an encore screening at Fantasia International Film Festival on July 22 at 4:35pm at the Hall Auditorium.

 

Fantasia Festival 2019: No Mercy (2019)

No Mercy (2019)

No Mercy

Director: Lim Kyoung-tack

Cast: Si-Young Lee, Se-Wan Park, Jun-hyuk Lee

No Mercy is a 2019 South Korean action drama film about a woman recently released from prison who takes revenge when her younger sister disappears the next day.

Revenge films definitely have a place in South Korean films especially after the Vengeance trilogy, Oldboy being one of the three that made it huge around the world. No Mercy is an entirely different beast of a film. With a central character Inae being a former security officer with martial arts training and clad in a feminine red dress paired with red heels, the main actress Si-Young Lee, previously known for her more romantic comedy roles shows off the contrast her fighting skills especially as she does almost 95% of all the moves herself without a stunt double. This is always a great point because the action choreography becomes more genuine and less camera cuts, making it a more immersive viewing experience. Adding on the fact that she also uses different weapons and the fact that as she learns more about her sister’s disappearance from one person to the next, her anger escalates causing each person to suffer her wrath just a step more intense  each time.

No Mercy attempts to make its audience feel Inae’s anger and pain with every reveal of her sister’s story. Her younger sister Eunhye, played by Se-wan Park in her debut role, is one that deserves praise as she takes on a intellectually disabled teenager. What starts with school bullies taking advantage of her ends up leading back to what caused Inae to end up in prison in the first place. Every reveal, maybe a little emotionally manipulative, does hit the same painful spot over and over again and its hard as the audience to not feel the same anger and frustration over the abuse of the vulnerable in the society.

No Mercy is not an easy film to watch. Its takes its subject matter far but also manages to balance out impressive action with a dose of thought-provoking drama. It all comes down to an intriguing script and a well-executed movie. It starts off in the middle of the film which sets the pace and what to expect. Unlike other South Korean action films, it has a shorter runtime and therefore has a well-paced script and well-developed contrasting characters: the weak and meek Eunhye, the fierce “heroine” Inae faced against a world of mostly horrible men and the most powerful of them portraying the most despicable.

Packaged as a revenge action thriller, No Mercy does deliver a more profound message. Its how society views its different members as a nuisance and treats them unfairly. Messages of female oppression, abuse of the vulnerable and the unfair treatment of the intellectually disabled are constant reminders in many scenes as some people find justifications through their power or through their ignorance. It is because No Mercy does such a convincing job that Inae’s revenge thriller, taken into her own hands because no one else bothered to care, as extreme as it is, felt more and more satisfying with each person she took down in a ruthless and unforgiving way.

TV Binge: Love O2O (微微一笑很倾城, 2016)

Moving on from Rush of the Dead Summer (review), I really liked Zheng Shuang as the female lead and went to look for her other TV series. Luckily, there was one on Netflix called Love O2O. The other title is One Smile Is Very Alluring, which is the title of the movie that was released which is also available on Netflix that I hadn’t seen yet. Love O2O opened up a ton of talented young actors and actresses that will lead to some of my future TV series choices (as you will soon find out).

Love O2O (微微一笑很倾城, 2016)

LOVE O2O

Director: Liu Yu Fen

Cast: Shuang Zheng, Yang Yang, Xiao Tong Miao, Jun Feng Niu, Ye Cheng Zheng, He Zhang, Bai Yu, Vin Zhang

Xiao Nai is a gaming expert who, courtesy of his basketball skills, academic excellence, swimming talent and game company presidency, also happens to be the most popular student on campus. When he first comes across the gorgeous computer science major Bei Wei Wei, the infinitely talented wunderkind immediately falls in love. But it’s not Bei’s looks that he notices; it’s the ridiculous mastery with which she is commanding her guild and owning everyone in an online multiplayer game that makes her impossible to forget. Now, Xiao Nai must use his skills both in real life and online to capture the adorable but dorky Bei’s heart. But does their love have the XP to succeed, or will this relationship never level up? – MyDramalist

If you want to check out Love O2O, you can find it with English subtitles on Youtube or its also on Netflix.

QUOTE/SCENE

love o2o

STORY

Love O2O is probably one of the more light-hearted and positive Chinese dramas that I’ve seen so far. While there is some drama between friendship, work and relationships, it never over dramatizes and drags out a situation for too long. Perhaps this gives it less depth but the story itself knows how to focus on the positives of each relationship and give its a positive way to solve some of the issues here. There are conflicts that show up especially when dealing with the MMORPG world where the online relationships also result to the expectations and rumors and bullying that happens as well. At the same time, the story is set in the second half on the game development world and the hurdles that they end up facing.

Love O2O

While the story lies mostly in the real world, a portion of it is still in the fantasy world, more the in-game world where they have a lot of computer graphics. They have fighting bits together and has a whole relationships that comes out of there as well as giving it a lot of fantastical elements of online dating via the in-game elements. Its pretty charming to say the least but also has a side warning of how sometimes there can be cases of mistaken identity or lack of communication or misunderstandings and the fragility of building your friendships online rather in-person. The story itself does blend itself well together and as the series moves along, less and less is hidden in-game and more in reality.

LENGTH/PACING

Love O2O has the fantastic length of 30 episodes which borders on my personal belief of the upper limit of where an idol drama usually should be.

The execution and pacing here is very good. 30 episodes with the amount of characters and story arc gives the story a sufficient amount of character development while also giving the story a chance to focus not only on the romantic angles but also touch of friendship, bromance, family, etc. The majority of the story is set over the happenings of a budding relationship that starts at the end of a university semester and the summer time and then jumps forward at the end to push forward the timeline and give it a proper ending. That is a good way to do it because life is always full of crazy events but sometimes its those first moments when its goes from ultra sweet to building a solid foundation. Its why Love O2O doesn’t drag at all and stays fun from beginning to end.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

love o2o

If we look at characters and chemistry, our main leads and couple is Wei Wei, played by Zheng Shuang and Xiao Nai, played by Yang Yang. They are fantastic today and probably one of the best TV ships that could happen (in my short Chinese drama time). What works for them is that their characters are almost perfect from the outside and we soon find out that they each have their similarities and balance between them. Its in their actions and their pure intentions for each other that makes them so charming to watch. Plus, their relationship sprouts of Wei Wei adoration of Xiao Nai and idolization as he is the good-looking and smart senior student in school who all the girls swoon over, while as the show goes on, you can see that Xiao Nai doesn’t care of those things but rather its love at first sight on his side that he knows that she’s the right one and doesn’t know how to be a good boyfriend and just tries his best to protect her and support her.

love o2o

On the other hand, the second leads are Er Xi (Mao Xiao Tong) and Cao Guang (Bai Yu) who are the opposite of the main leads couple because they start off disliking each other, which is the more typical way of how most romantic leads start out in these dramas. However, these two are very fun characters while both of their story arcs have a slight frustrating moments, both regarding each other as well as in terms of friendship and crushes.

love o2o

Finally, relationships can be bromances and Love O2O thrives in that department, whether its the bromance between Xiaonai and his roommates, which turn out to be his work team as the series moves forward after their graduation or the girl friends (who really do have less part here) of Weiwei. However, the bromance here is fantastic especially as the friendship expands to a fifth member of the group as they get into the work space area. They add the fun and comedy also which rounds out the story a lot to keep it very light-hearted.

Finally, we take a look at the “enemies”. Be it the love rivals or the schoolyard internet bullies or the competing companies for the projects, it falls into the tone here because as frustrating as they can be, they never feel that harmful especially when they always find some positive outcome or enlightenment for the characters, which is nice to see because it keeps the series in a very positive light and gives hope especially to the younger characters who find their way. Its in the details of the script and the writer for this series manages to keep a good balance and remember the tone that its going for.

OVERALL

Love O2O definitely is one of my faves because of its positivity. There are more tears of joy and happiness and swooning over cute and endearing moments as well as being touched over the perfection of Xiaonai as a boyfriend who thrives in communication and trust over Weiwei no matter what other people say and believes his own eyes and experiences. Its span of touching different modern day themes and issues especially as we navigate the online landscape whether in gaming or blogging. It manages to focus on the love here but also give it a good dose of friendships as well as the reality of school, work and the challenges in life overall. Its charming and fun, romantic and cute, inspiring and positive: all the things I like about TV series.

Double Feature: I Am Mother (2019) & Tau (2018)

Its time for the next double feature! This time we have a double Netflix Original sci-fi films. The first being 2018’s Tau and paired with the recently released I Am Mother.

Let’s check it out!

Tau (2018)

Tau

Director: Federico D’Alessandro

Cast: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Gary Oldman

A woman is held captive by a scientist in a futuristic smart house, and hopes to escape by reasoning with the Artificial Intelligence that controls the house. – IMDB

One location films are always quite alluring to watch. It needs to set its space and utilize its surroundings. While Tau is mostly set in one location or at least in one building for the majority of the film, the film doesn’t only manage to use its environment to its advantage but rather it uses the main character’s relationship with an AI. Its about the future where a scientist tries kidnaps disposable people for his experiments to test his technology. In the process, this woman ends up destroying a part of his lab and ends up in his living quarters which is controlled by this AI called Tau who manages the entire house from the scientist’s needs to being the security system and so on. However, it taps into the desire for higher intelligence to learn and their desire to become human. The need for more knowledge and the curiosity builds a connection is what ends up manipulating Tau into falling for the charms of this woman.

Tau lies heavily on its characters. While it stumbles a little in its set-up and even some of the logic, its not a bad film. Maika Monroe takes up the main female protagonist role and does a fairly decent job as she uses her observation to connect with Tau, voiced by Gary Oldman, using his desires as his weaknesses. Gary Oldman takes up the voice work for Tau in a very impressive way. In some ways, Tau is resembled to a child and his bonds and loyalties also become altered as he learns more information and of the “deception” around him. Ed Skrein takes up the role of the scientist who is in a time crunch to prove that his new technology works and of course, with the resistant subject, it becomes harder and ends up causing him a lot of trouble.

Tau plays around with not only the concept of control between the different characters as well as manipulation. At the same time, one of the downfalls is overusing the emphasis of how creepy the scientist is. Ed Skrein spends a lot of time simply observing Maika Monroe’s character from afar and it highlights on her playing on his desires to be close to her and being reluctant, which seems pretty unnecessary in the spectrum of things and feels like its done only for one purpose, making some of the scenes feel a little force in the flow of events rather than it being a more natural evolution. Overall, Tau has its better and weaker elements.

I Am Mother (2019)

I am Mother

Director: Grant Sputore

Cast: Luke Hawker, Rose Byrne, Tahlia Sturzaker, Clara Rugaard, Hilary Swank

A teenage girl is raised underground by a kindly robot “Mother” — designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news. – IMDB

Almost set in a one location throughout the entire film, I Am Mother uses the concept of a post-apocalyptic future where a robot is tasked with repopulating mankind starting with a girl. However, as the girl gets older, she starts suspecting what is outside the bunker especially after a stranger starts telling her that the robots are not what they seem. I Am Mother manages to drive its suspicions quite deep even with its tight cast revolving three characters, two humans and one robot. The thrills are quite good and to be honest, one of the most outstanding parts of the film is Mother, voiced by Rose Byrne, who not only grasps the tone very well to control the atmosphere in the bunker but also the robot design itself in its movements particularly is rather creepy especially in how it captures its speed.

While robot design and atmosphere takes a lot of credit for this film’s great execution, young actress Clara Rugaard and seasoned actress Hilary Swank does put in great performances. At the same time, the story itself is also quite clever. Its one that keeps its audience wondering along with the young girl who is telling the truth and who is lying and if so, what is the bigger plot behind it all. While questioning, what the outside world is like in this version of the post-apocalypse. Even the ending is well thought out and gives a good wrap-up to the story that addresses its many questions set out and even ties up some loose ends.

I Am Mother is definitely one of the excellent Netflix Originals to have been made. While I’m not quite a sci-fi fan, this one delivers on almost every element.

Double Feature: Tracers (2015) & Ultraviolet (2006)

DOUBLEFEATURE (58)

Its time for the next double feature! The alphabet Netflix is going a bit awkward and weird and it won’t look like the whole alphabet at this point with doubles and triples here and there for various letters. Anyways, this is the penultimate one before we finish up the 26 movies in this rundown. This time, for the T selection I decided to go with Tracers which looks like some parkour fun. I liked Brick Mansions even if the plot was a bit thin and I’m expecting a similar experience here. For the U selection, I went on to look at the Ultraviolet.

Suffice to say, the ending two movies for this rundown is going to be not the rest of the alphabet but cut very short, either way, it needs to wrap up so some other random pairings can happen. 🙂 Anyways, let’s check out these two movies!

Tracers (2015)

tracers

Director: Daniel Benmayor

Cast: Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos, Adam Rayner, Rafi Gavron, Luciano Acuna Jr., Josh Yadon, Johnny M. Wu, Sam Medina, Amirah Vann

Wanted by the Chinese mafia, a New York City bike messenger escapes into the world of parkour after meeting a beautiful stranger. – IMDB

Just as I’d expected, Tracers is an alright movie. Its not great because its pretty predictable in how things are going to go down but its also better than I expected because of the parkour and the setting. The characters are alright but they have quite a few so it also lacks some depth. In the choice between making it more action-packed and crime or giving it more of a character oriented drama, this one leaned more onto the former, which is a pretty good choice seeing as it took the twist of these groups of parkour youths pulling off some crime jobs like stealing stuff and whatnot.

Taylor Lautner is usually dismissed mostly because of Twilight, it feels but I thought he did alright in the few Twilight films that I saw. To be fair, the whole acting job here was a little meh but the parkour was fun to watch and everyone seemed to have the reason to be there even if the romance here felt a little forced and became like the pushing force for Taylor Lautner’s character to do this because, it always felt like while it was a perk to get to know the character of Marie Avgeropoulos, he did it for the fast money. So everyone has their agenda and it tried to do this twist with the leader of the parkour group which I guess makes sense to a certain extent. Talking about Marie Avgeropoulos, I grew to like her character in The 100 even if she is super stubborn and this character here is very reminiscent of that one where she’s a pretty tough girl.

Overall, Tracers was pretty middle of the line. Its not a very memorable movie because it played a lot of it by the books but it did exceed my expectations. Aside from all the nonsensical romantic angles that really just tried to flaunt some young bodies and romantic tension to give it more conflict, the parkour bits were pretty fun to watch. There’s some decent action in the escape scene near the end. The twist was alright as well even if it was a tad predictable. I didn’t expect much from it to begin with so it exceeded my expectations.

Ultraviolet (2006)

ultraviolet

Director (and writer): Kurt Wimmer

Cast: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, Sebastien Andrieu, Ida Martin, William Fichtner, David E. Collier

A beautiful hæmophage infected with a virus that gives her superhuman powers has to protect a boy in a futuristic world, who is thought to be carrying antigens that would destroy all hæmophages. – IMDB

Honestly, there’s not much to say about Ultraviolet. Its a pretty bad movie. If it didn’t have Milla Jovovich as the main character and then some competent supporting roles like William Fichtner, I probably would have shut off the film. The premise of the film isn’t too bad set in the futuristic work and the whole blood angle and hemophages and such. All that stuff works well enough as the background premise of the story. The main issue is that the movie itself is pretty bad. The computer graphics are absolutely outdated at this point which makes it very unconvincing to watch.

At the same time, there’s a whole lot of bad acting from everyone else. Milla Jovovich might not have great acting skills but she fills up the space because its her unique attitude that always makes her stand out (even in the Resident Evil), making her the best part of Ultraviolet. Ultraviolet is a pretty bad-ass character with some fun one-liners, very reminiscent of Alice in Resident Evil, and I guess that really makes it work for her. Playing alongside her is Cameron Bright as the boy who can destroy all of the hemophages. I’ve only seen Cameron Bright in one other movie (that I remember) in Running Scared which I really liked him and think that he’s a pretty decent young actor and he does pretty well here even if his dialogue is quite scarce.

Overall, Ultraviolet is pretty meh. Nothing really does good and unless you are a fan of Milla Jovovich like me, you might even dismiss her role as Ultraviolet as well. But seeing as I am a fan of hers, this movie worked because she held it up and kept me watching. I can almost guarantee that I probably won’t be watching this again though.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two? Thoughts?