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Monday, September 27, 2010

Frontier(s) (2007)

Horror fans can be a curious beast. They will lash out a great film for the silliest of reasons. I know it is a form of elitism, and I have been guilty myself many times, with music and film. But sometimes a film is lambasted for no apparent reason, and it really drives me crazy, such is the case of the French film Frontier(s). I personally feel that this film is a classic, and it holds up to repeated viewings, and just might be the French's version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sure most of the criticism against this film states that the film just goes straight for the gross out, but I feel that all of the violence exhibited in the film, is well within the restraints of the plot line.

The story concerns Yasmine, a beautiful young French lady, her brother, and a couple of miscreants who pull of a robbery during a dangerous riot in Paris. Yasmine's brother is shot, and dies in the Emergency Room, and she and her ex-boyfriend Alex tear off in the French countryside to meet their other two cohorts, who are holding the stolen cash. These two find a hostel out in the country attended to by Gilberte, who looks like a trashy version of Uma Therman, and her sister and ultra-brutish brother Goetz. Within minutes they have sex with the sisters, and another of their brothers Karl, shows up and starts attacking the two travellers. One is shot and beat up, but they escape only to wreck their car in a deep ravine. They make their way into an underground cavern which leads to a huge facility that was a mine, before the Second World War. Here the rest of the vicious family resides.

Yasmine and Alex show up at the hostel and demand to know where their friends are, so Gilberte takes them to the abandoned mine/house where her family is waiting. We find that the father is a German war hero, who still harbours plans to make a "master race". He has been killing(and eating) people for years, with the families help, keeping the females to help in his plan to create. All of the robbers are killed in very grisly ways, leaving only Yasmine to figure a way out of this living hell.

What is stunning to me is the actress that plays Yasmine(Karina Testa), not that she is an Oscar-caliber actress. But, she handles the role very well, and honestly transforms in front of your eyes. She is tough in the beginning of the film, but through the violence that she endures, is reduced to almost a "raw human nerve". Twitching and shaking and acting like a wild woman, this upon my first viewing, was the only thing that I had a problem initially. But upon this second viewing, it's easy to see that a person who has been abused to such extremes, could turn into proverbial "wild-woman".

I can most definitely recommend Frontier(s) to you, if you are a fan of extreme cinema. There is a lot of violence, and very tense moments, so it's not for the "casual" Horror fan. If you are one of the many "haters" of this film, I would love to hear why, as long as it's not the usual message board garbage like "it sucks!". I definitely would call this "torture porn" either, like most detractors would. As I said earlier, all of the violence is definitely what a family this insane who perform on their victims. Check it out if you do not have aversion to French films, you should be most happily satiated.

The Gift(2000)

Yes, I may be a horror nut, but I would have to say that The Gift is Sam Raimi's most accomplished film. Sure, I worship at the altar of The Evil Dead, but these two films are from two different worlds. It's a shame that The Gift isn't more loved, because it's an eerie Southern Gothic tale of psychic ability, deceit, and murder.

The wonderful Cate Blanchett stars as Annie Wilson, a recently widowed psychic in a small Georgia town. She makes her living by giving "readings" to the locals open enough to trust in her abilities. One of them is Valerie Barksdale(Hillary Swank), a backwoods girl who is beat on a daily basis by her husband Donnie(Keanu Reeves). Swank is amazing in this role, and you wouldn't believe how well she masters the look and sound of a "smalltown" girl. Donnie is none too happy about Valerie visiting Annie for what he considers "witchcraft". He begins threatening Annie and her family on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the local school principal played by Greg Kinnear, is about to marry a local debutante, played by Katie Holmes. What he doesn't know is that Holmes is practically sleeping with the whole town. Annie witnesses this first hand at a party one night. So when Holmes goes missing, Annie starts getting visions of a dead Holmes haunting her. The local law enforcement comes to Annie for help, but they persecute her at the same time. Holmes is found dead, and they arrest Reeves character for the murder(wrongfully so). It's up to Annie to help figure out who and why that Holmes is dead.

The strength of the film lies mostly in the beautiful, swampy, locations, and the wonderful supporting cast. Giovanni Ribisi in particular is amazing, and the plight that he suffers in the film is horrible. I wish Raimi would make more films in this vein, if he is not going to continue the Evil Dead saga, because I feel that he truly made his master work with The Gift.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Freaks And Geeks(1999)

What is about American Television that cannot sustain a show that isn't totally brainless? Look at Twin Peaks, a show so smart and inventive, that it has became a cult phenomenon to this day. It only lasted two seasons. Freaks and Geeks is one of the best shows ever to be featured on Network Television, and it only lasted one season. It was a smart and honest portrayal of High School in 1980, and featured many stars before they became so. You had Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Phillips, Linda Cardellini and Jason Segal. I have no doubt that if the show was released now, in the age of "Apatow", it would be a huge hit. I didn't see it during it's initial run, but thanks to Youtube and DVD, it's now one of my favorites. If you haven't had the pleasure, I wholeheartedly suggest that you do so.

Vitamin Burger Is Back!!

I am now relocated in Charlotte, NC......so expect posts to start happening again, thanks for your patience!!

Mitch

Monday, September 6, 2010

Relocating.

Just wanted to let everyone know there will be a short hiatus at Vitamin Burger, while we relocate the headquarters. We are moving from the sunny, oily, all too hot, locale of Florida, to more beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina. There might be a sporadic post from time to time, but expect the site to pick up again in late September/early October. Thanks for your patience.