The Glass Case

REviewlets: Into The Storm

If you’re going to call a film Into the Storm, then you need to do some impressive storming if the film is going to work. Unfortunately for Into the Storm, the windy bits are the only part of the film that really work, as it has a very weak script, a flimsy grasp on what constitutes found footage, and some poorly shot scenes that take the tension out of the story.

One of the biggest problems I had with the film was with a character called Lucas, who seems to appear out of nowhere halfway through the film (to the extent that I thought him being visible in the background of a scene inside a van was a mistake, that he was a crew member rather than an actor), only to disappear again in scenes when he should actually be helping the people he’s travelling with.

Another problem is the film’s extremely loose definition of what found footage actually is. It’s not uncommon for found footage films to cheat (I love Chronicle, but there are definitely ‘wait, how could they have access to that footage?’ moments), but Into the Storm often seems to forget it’s supposed to be found footage, and the way several scenes are shot make it impossible for any of the characters to have shot it.

There’s also a very lengthy ‘Wait, why are they filming this?’ scene, one that is basically a carbon copy of The Day After Tomorrow when Jake Gyllenhaal’s character calls his dad because he’s going to drown. Two characters fall into a hole in an abandoned factory when a tornado hits, leaving them trapped under rubble while water pours in. But they inexplicably set up a camera as they try to get out, as though they’ve thought ‘Hey, I need to film us as we slowly drown, so our parents can see us die’. Another problem with that scene is that it’s shot in such a way that it appears as though there are higher parts of the wrecked area that they could move into to give them more time to survive.

But despite all these problems (the film also has too many characters, none of whom are particularly interesting, and what appears to be a relatively small town also has a bizarrely large airport), the scenes of the tornadoes in action are reasonably well done, and entertaining enough to mean the film isn’t a complete waste of time. Basically, it could have been a lot worse, which isn’t a recommendation, but it is a little bit better than I was expecting.


REviewlets: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Back in 2005, the arrival of Sin City in cinemas was a genuinely exciting time. It was a unique looking film with a great cast, directed by Robert Rodriguez (with Quentin Tarantino guest directing a scene too). So it was a cool, hotly anticipated film, and it also managed to live up to the hype getting a positive critical response.

A sequel seemed inevitable, but for whatever reason, it didn’t go into production until 2012. It’s strange then, that with such a long gap between films, A Dame to Kill For feels so lazy and uninspired. Because A Dame to Kill For is a relentlessly dull film, with a big pile of underwritten stories clashing with each other, and fighting for space on screen.

The film just isn’t as much fun as the first one was, and none of the stories are entertaining or even particularly interesting. It’s so underwhelming that it’s like someone with no writing or directing experience managed to get the rights to the name and churned out an approximation of what Rodriguez and Frank Miller brought to the screen in 2005, like the idiots that made Easy Rider 2 made it instead of people with some kind of track record.

Ultimately, it feels like the first film should have been left as a one off, that it’s uniqueness could never be repeated successfully, like the way the sequels to Halloween fail to replicate what made that film so special. It’s no fun to watch and will quickly be forgotten.


The Expendables 3 Inches The Franchise Towards Alrightness

The Expendables 3 Inches The Franchise Towards Alrightness

The first Expendables film was rubbish. The 2nd Expendables film was slightly less rubbish. The 3rd Expendables film is even less rubbish than the second one, but unfortunately it’s not less rubbish enough to be anything other than a bit rubbish.

The problem with all three films is that none of them have been exciting or fun enough. Sure, there’s a big pile of sweaty action stars with daft…

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I Just Read A Book!

And it was this one:

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Lou Ford is a popular deputy sheriff in a small Texas town, but he has an very very dark side that he keeps will hidden from the public. But after learning to control that darkness after doing something heinous as a young man, it is starting to pour out of him again.

This is the first Jim Thompson novel I’ve read, and while it’s certainly not an easy read (because the subject matter is *very* dark), it’s a compelling one, particularly because it is written from Lou’s point of view, which gave me an increasing sense of loathing as he carefully details his plans to kill people around him, make scapegoats out of others to cover his tracks, and takes great delight in the authorities believing his lies about what really happened.

That’s also what makes the book disturbing, the very calm, measured way in which Lou details his ‘sickness’ and the satisfaction he gets from explaining how he plans to get away with it all.

So The Killer Inside Me isn’t exactly a book I can say I enjoyed reading, because there’s certainly nothing fun about it, but it does feel horribly real, like it’s been ripped from the pages of a notorious killer’s diary. What I can say is that I’ll be reading more Jim Thompson in the future.

Currently reading: Starman - Paul Trynka

Up next: Galapagos - Kurt Vonnegut


Boyhood

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Since it began showing at film festivals at the start of the year, the reaction to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has generally been ecstatic. It currently has a rare 100% rating from over 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers heralding it as a unique and bold film that can instantly be called a classic. So it’s fair to say that I went to see it with fairly high expectations, particularly…

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Beginning of the End

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Beginning of the End

agents of shield

You know what? I can’t really be bothered with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. any more. After an up and down (but mostly down) first season, its final episode is a further disappointment, despite the return of Nick Fury to save the day in a few different ways. The most frustrating thing about the episode is that it fails to set up anything particularly interesting for season 2. Garrett is killed having…

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Ragtag

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Ragtag

agents of shield

As we reach episode 21 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first season, almost all of my enthusiasm for the show has disappeared. I’ve said before that it’s been an extremely erratic series so far, with a great start in its first few episodes, followed by a repetitive lull before the great run of episodes as HYDRA tried to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D., and now it’s back to being repetitive and just a bit dull.…

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Nothing Personal

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Nothing Personal

agents of shield

I’m trying to think of a show that is more frustrating that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In its first season, the show has been wildly inconsistent, starting strong before settling into an increasingly dull routine, before bursting into life as HYDRA’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. became an uprising, only for the show to settle back into its previous disappointing style once again. And so it is that…

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I Just Read A Book!

And it was this one:

I have to hold my hands up and confess that until I noticed his books in Fopp (where I bought this), I hadn’t really heard of Ira Levin.  That now seems inexplicable given the strength of his bibliography, but having read The Boys From Brazil and enjoyed it immensely, I’ll be rectifying this very soon.

The Boys From Brazil tells a nightmarish story of a Nazi doctor trying to bring about a second coming of Hitler, a Fourth Reich to complete his twisted dreams, and it’s a gripping and inventive tale, set in South America, the United States and Europe, and is often horrifying in its detail.

It’s a book that I enjoyed very much, and such is the quality of the writing that you can almost imagine that it is something that could really happen if the wrong people had the knowledge and access to resources that would allow them to try and replicate it.  It certainly makes me want to explore Levin’s work further, and I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy it when I do.

Currently reading: Starman - Paul Trynka

Up next: The Killer Inside Me - Jim Thompson


Godzilla Looks Spectacular, But Needs More Action

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I’ve never seen any of the original Japanese Godzilla films, and I wasn’t a fan of Gareth Edwards debut film, Monsters (sure it looked great, but it was, well, a bit dull), so when it was announced that Edwards would be directing a new Godzilla, it wasn’t something that really got my attention. But the promotional campaign for the film has definitely changed that and from the moment I saw the…

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