Fantasia 2018: Nightmare Cinema (World Premiere 2018)

Nightmare Cinema is a 2018 horror anthology featuring nightmare stories told by five renowned directors. It was an opening film at the Fantasia Festival and the screening was preceded by the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Joe Dante, one of the five directors of this film.

Nightmare Cinema (2018)

Nightmare Cinema

Director: Mick Garris, Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Ryuhei Kitamura, David Slade

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Eric Nelsen, Sara Elizabeth Withers, Zarah Mahler, Mark Grossman, Richard Chamberlain, Maurice Benard, Elizabeth Reaser, Adam Godley, Orson Chaplin, Faly Rakotohavana

Are you ready to enter the world of The Projectionist in the old Rialto Theatre? This Nightmare Cinema brings 5 complete strangers where their darkest fears are the focal point of the story on screen. This anthology features five decent lengths short stories pieces that each have their homage to a nice variety of horror genres but adds in their own twist to make it more modernized or more entertaining or even more intense.

Nightmare Cinema

The opening segment takes no time to introduce us we follow a young girl into the theatre where she sees a movie with her name as the main feature called “The Thing in the Woods”. Directed by Alejandro Brugués, an Argentinian director known for his work in Juan of the Dead and The ABCs of Death 2 segment, this segment pays tribute to the 80s slashers that many still love. As with many slashers, there is a campiness to it as well as a dark humor that surrounds it with both great effects and well-timed moments. Probably the least serious and frightening of the five tales but also a great way to start off this anthology especially with this genre being one of the most popular in the horror subgenres. There is an artistry to the way it is filmed and even the way the story is written with a fantastic twist which honestly is what makes it stand out.

The second segment follows with “Mirari”, directed by the ever so renowned Joe Dante as he takes the audience to the horrors of plastic surgery and boy, do things go horrifyingly bad. While the story does keep you guessing for most of the film, it is the one that feels more mysterious and suspenseful because of the premise. It plays on the obvious expectations that the audience will have, knowing that there is no way that this plastic surgery won’t go wrong. What keeps the audience under the wraps is when it becomes apparent that the people around our victim all become rather sinister.

Nightmare Cinema

The third segment “Mashit”, directed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, known for The Midnight Meat Train among many films, enters the world of a Catholic school and possession. Its bloody and eerie. Some scenes brings up memories of The Exorcist if it was done in this day and age with some outstanding effects that will send a chill down your spine. There are a lot of elements that work here including creepy children and scary makeup. The best part here is the use of light with the hallways covered in sinister colors and then adding in this gloomy backdrop that highlights the bloody parts. However, some parts do get a little overboard and ticks those over the top boxes a little too much.

The penultimate segment is directed by David Slade, the man behind the disturbing indie film, Hard Candy as he presents “This Way To Egress”. Not surprising to see that this story follows a mother of two who visits a psychiatrist office who believes she is going crazy. Her world falls into this ugly reality. This is helped by the stylish black and white feature especially making it more psychologically disturbing as you wonder whether the world are full of monsters or her mind is turning everything into monsters. It straddles the line of truth and fiction while tackling some serious subjects as her story unfolds. While it never quite hits the disturbing levels of Hard Candy, This Way to Egress does pack an effective punch and amps up on the tension as we near the end of this anthology. Nightmare Cinema

The final segment “Dead” along with the intermission segments with The Projectionist is directed by Mick Garris. A great finale to wrap up the anthology as it takes a look at some The Sixth Sense area where a young boy wakes up from being dead for essentially 17 minutes to realize that he can see the lost souls. There is much more to the story than that but the dead are all creepy. There is a great amount of tension arising from the circumstance that he is put in. Dead ends the anthology packing quite the punch. However, the films merit is in creating this character, The Projectionist, portrayed by Mickey Rourke who is a mysterious fellow as we see him more and more in the intermissions between segments as he hints towards what this Nightmare Cinema is all about and well, the final scene shows that there is potential for these stories to just keep on going.

As with any horror anthology, it is about the sum of its parts as much as it is about the big picture. Each of the five stories here pack in some homage to a certain genre and boast the talent of the director and their artistry. Both the cinematography and the atmosphere is top of the line. The soundtrack also builds the mood and tension for each of these scenarios. Even when the story feels like it takes it a little too far or gets a little silly, these elements pulls it back into place. The structure of the horror anthology though is where it stands out because it goes from something more comedic like The Thing in the Woods and builds up both the seriousness and the intensity so that when you reach the final segment Dead, it is pretty much an intense segment from start to finish. With the vast amount of horror subgenres here, there is bound to be something for every horror fan.

Review also posted to That Moment In

Double Review: Sin City (2005) & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014)

Surprisingly enough, I got selected for a special advanced screening of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.  However, my memory of the first one was not that great especially since I didn’t remember much, so I decided to revisit it the night before I went.  The experience of being the first group to see the movie is definitely great and since I’ve been doing this little blog and diving into the world of movies, I’ve learned that I’ve changed a little in how I appreciate movies and that is the main reason why I wanted to revisit this.

Since I’ve been massively behind with everything, I decided to just go ahead and do a double review of these two movies. It baffles me that after almost 10 years we get a sequel for Sin City but still, lets see how it all went.

SIN CITY (2005)

sin city posterDirector: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez (special guest director: Quentin Tarantino)

Cast: Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jaime King

A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.-IMDB

I have no other way has to how to describe this movie but just use the synopsis in IMDB. I’d give it a shot but honestly, I think it all starts with this.  The first time I saw Sin City in theatres with some college friends, I thought it was THE most boring thing ever.  Why? Because nothing made sense and it was like a jumble of nothing.  It was beautiful and black and white gory and brutal.  Its not really not my thing and as I rewatched it a few nights ago, I saw it in a different light.  There is a brilliance to the jumbled-up story and I stayed awake for it and apparently, I only remembered two parts from the original viewing.

Sin City

What I absolutely love is the style.  The black and white and the interlacing of sharp colors: the red silk (and sometimes, blood), the colors in the eyes, the contrast in hair and that sort of thing.  It just makes an impression.  Then you have one of the bad guys, Yellow Bastard who is just a disturbing and ugly character that popped out because he was literally yellow.

sin city

The second thing that I love about it was the cast.  Bruce Willis is just amazing as Jack Hartigan.  Clive Owen is awesome as Dwight.  And then there’s the passion and chemistry between the characters. The stories gave time for the characters to grow and develop in exactly the space and time it needed.  Each of the stories had their impact and honestly, Basin City has some pretty impressive characters.  The Old Town girls are brutal, violent and fun to watch.

sin city dwight gail

As I sit here thinking about it more, its really starting to grow.  The third thing that works is the stories.  Everyone has something that makes it worthwhile to watch. It has exaggeration, sarcasm, darkness, violence, manipulation.  This town is full of ugly people in personality.  Its corrupt and dark but strange enough, its also covered in beautiful women who are almost as lethal as you can imagine.  There are boundaries and all that.  Its a pretty amazing set-up for a movie.

Sin City has the formula for a great movie and for the most part, it delivers.  The question is whether its your type of movie.  I love the comic book visuals, the sharp contrasts, the set up of the town and the stories of our main characters, and especially the fantastic cast.  It was well-balanced, brutal and very fun to watch. However, its not exactly my type of movie that I go for everyday so it took time for me to really see it through.  The second viewing definitely made me praise it a lot more.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014)

sin city a dame to kill for

Director: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller

Cast: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Bruce Willis

Some of Sin City’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants.-IMDB

On a lesser run time than the first one and having a few new characters, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For still lacks a little something.  I loved the style that was equally has beautiful as the first with the black and white and sudden colors to give it a great experience.  The music was awesome and matched the atmosphere.  I’m trying to pinpoint in my mind if there were 3 or 4 story arcs right now but they weren’t quite as fun as the first.

 

The characters were great because the cast is still very decent.  Mickey Rourke returned as Marv and is still as violent (and a bit stupid) as before.  The new additions of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green and Josh Brolin all bring something new to the table. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets his own story arc as a cocky gambler who never loses.  He goes to Kadie’s to challenge Senator Roark except in the corrupted sin city, he gets warned time and time again that its not a wise thing to do.  As much I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt in absolutely anything and he is very wonderful as Johnny, I felt his story wasn’t quite where I wanted it to go.

sin city a dame to kill for

The next story arc was for an older Dwight (previously played by Clive Owen) but is returned this time played by Josh Brolin. Dwight’s story is possibly the most elaborate.  He is trapped in a flame that he can’t shake off.  He tries to not respond to the attractive Ava, played by Eva Green who is now married to a rich man.  She comes back and he falls right back into her arms.  This leads to a game of manipulation, a trap, revenge and a lot of naked Eva Green scenes. This one was actually pretty fun to watch.  The chemistry, passion, manipulation all works out even if you can predict what will happen 😉

sin city a dame to kill for

I guess, the fourth story would be Marv retracing how he ended up where he was, except I’m wondering if there was anything for him.  Except, Marv, played by Mickey Rourke (like the first one) is the key to drawing everything together because he appears in all the stories in one way or another.  If anyone is easily manipulated, it would have to go to him. Plus, he is the action and the brutal violence.  There is no doubt that Marv is a great character and Mickey Rourke does a great job, even after 9 years he still has the essence of Marv in him and revives him on the big screen.

sin city a dame to kill for

I personally like the follow up with Hartigan’s death and the impact it has on Nancy the best.  The roles are both still played by the original two, Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba. Although Nancy and her dancing scenes are thrown around the entire movie and it lets the audience see how she’s completely broken by it all.  Its a mental struggle for her and she not only wants revenge that she can’t pick up the courage to do so she drowns herself in alcohol.  In her struggle, she sees glimpses of Hartigan, as if he’s never left her side.  Its really something to watch.  There was one shocking part that I never would’ve guessed and its pretty awesome the way they handled it.

Overall, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is not as good as the first one.  The stories lack the punch it had in the first one, even though there are two that particularly stand out.  However, the style and the music is still amazing.  The 3D is done extremely well and adds to the overall effects.  The cast does a great job at bringing everything they can to the movie and for the most part, they do a very good job.  Even the new additions, Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings a charm to his story (even though it falls flat), Josh Brolin has a compelling character and story and Mickey Rourke is fantastic once again as the ever so violent Marv.

I need to make a point of saying this: If you were a fan of the first one, the chances of you enjoying this one more than me is very high.  Keep that in mind when you decide whether you’d like to see this 😉

Are you a fan of Sin City? What makes it so great to you? Have you been anticipating the sequel? Do you think its been long-awaited or unnecessary?