“Tales from the Dark 1″ (2013): HK Horror

TALES FROM THE DARK 1 banner

“Tales from the Dark 1″ (李碧華鬼魅系列 迷離夜) is the first of two 2013 compilations of short horror films from Hong Kong directors. Horror stories by Hong Kong author and screenwriter Lilian Lee (Li Pi-Hua) — whose many writings include the novel Farewell My Concubine, as well as the screenplay for the film — are the basis for the screenplays of the six shorts in this double portmanteau. Continue reading

“Caught in the Web” (2012): VOD Review

Yuanyuan Gao stars as Ye Lanqiu in CAUGHT IN THE WEB (2012)

Continuing China/Hong Kong Month here on the Loud Green Bird blog, we consider a recently-produced film from China, “Caught in the Web” (2012). Directed by Kaige Chen, its premise has to do with the Social Web of the Internet, no doubt. It also deals with the much older, but still powerful web of conflicting emotions that links people together in real life. It also delves into the conflicts that play out on both webs due to the clash of old and new, be it old and new cultural traditions, old and new societies, or old and new relationships between people. As can be guessed from this ambitious list of themes, “Caught in the Web” attempts to cover a lot of ground. As a matter of fact, it requires almost two hours of run-time to capture its main story arc and its associated subplots. To tell the truth, it could use a more ruthless editor. However, within this film is a core romantic drama that is definitely a winner. Continue reading

China/HK Month: “Infernal Affairs” (2002)

Still from the third act of INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002)

In a little less than a week, I’ll be leaving for a tour of China, after which I’ll be visiting my in-laws in Hong Kong. I’ve been to the Chinese mainland only once before, but I have been to Hong Kong many times. In preparation for the trip (and in anticipation of difficulty posting while I am in China), I’ll be focusing this week on films from Chinese and Hong Kong cinema. For three weeks afterwards, I’ll be posting about China and Hong Kong when time and Internet access permit. Continue reading

INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3 – Cinema Review

The Bride in Black -- "something old" in INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3

“Insidious Chapter 3″ (2015) has most of the ingredients for a fortunate horror wedding. It has “something old,” “something new,” “something borrowed,” and “something blue.” What it lacks is the “silver sixpence in her shoe.” Without this last, vital ingredient, the marriage of viewer and film does not have as much of a shot at good fortune and prosperity as it could have had. What the heck do I mean? Read on and find out! Continue reading

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) final scene

“The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978) is based upon a durable story that first appeared in novel form, then in a feature film that has been remade twice. Continue reading

“Locke” (2013): An Intense, One-Man Show

LOCKE banner

Imagine a screenplay being pitched to potential backers by its writer-director. Almost the entire film takes place in an automobile traveling from Birmingham to London at night. While there are several characters, only one appears on-screen — in practically every scene. He speaks with the other characters through his hands-free mobile phone setup. Now imagine that you are one of the backers. After hearing the pitch, would you think that this film would play well on-screen? Continue reading

“Lake Mungo” (2008)

Lake Mungo banner

“Lake Mungo” (2008) is an Australian release that puts a different spin on the found-footage style of horror film-making. It is also a film for the more cerebral horror fan, as it is primarily psychological in its approach. Finally, it is more of a paranormal mystery than a hard-core horror film. Continue reading

Lianna Liew in “Other Halves” Video

Theatrical poster for OTHER HALVES, starring Lianna Liew

My friends at the OTHER HALVES indie horror production have released a behind-the-scenes interview with one of the film’s stars, British actress Lianna Liew (“Truth or Dare”). OTHER HALVES is a film about a dating app with murderous consequences. Continue reading

“Berberian Sound Studio” (2012)

Detail from the Berberian Sound Studio poster.

Written and directed by Peter Strickland, this film is liable to confuse and frustrate the viewer unless s/he knows something about Giallo films. The film-within-a-film, “The Equestrian Vortex,” has many characteristics of Giallo cinema (about which, incidentally, critics and film scholars disagree on the defining characteristics). “Berberian Sound Studio,” on the other hand, subverts many of these characteristics of the genre, while at the same time celebrating it. Continue reading

Indie Book Review: THE PHANTOM CABINET

The Phantom Cabinet cover

What if the afterlife consisted of a spiritual destination, the Phantom Cabinet, where the spirits of the dead were broken down and redistributed to create new souls for the newborn? What if this process could be resisted by those who don’t want to be obliterated? What if some of these recalcitrant spirits are those who are filled with anger and hatred caused by the events of their lives? And what if one of these spirits conceived a plan to return to the world of the living to destroy it? Continue reading