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This Week's Film Reviews (Sep 1, 2017)

31 Aug 2017

Nothing spectacular in terms of film openings this week.   A case of calm before the storm - in which case is TIFF opening Sept 7th.

 

Best Bets of the Week:

Best Film Opening: -

Best Action: VALERIAN and THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Best Horror: ALIEN: COVENANT

Best Family: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Best Foreign: GRADUATON

Best Documentary: AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL

Best Comedy: THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD 

 To find a review for a past film, type the title of the film in the SEARCH box on the front page of site.

FILM REVIEWS:

BLOOD HONEY (THE HIVE) (Canada 2017) **1/2
Directed by Joe Kopas

The change of title from THE HIVE to BLOOD HONEY is a wise decision since there are already too many films that come up when googled under the film title THE HIVE.  But THE HIVE also explains the ‘apparent’ closeness of the protagonist family in a remote northern fly cabin, but one that is forced rather than nurtured. 

The word gripping can be used to describe the film as gripping is the emotion felt strongly in just 15 minutes of the film.  A lot happens within the opening credits as well - a suicide,  a girl’s growing up into a woman and the displayed sibling affection.  The audience is set up for a Canadian film in which boring should not come into mind.

Tortured by the memory of a childhood trauma which is the witnessing of her mother’s suicide described in the earlier paragraph, a woman , Jenibel (Shenae Grimes-Beech) returns after a decade to her family’s fly-in hunting lodge to assist her siblings with their dying father, only to find herself stuck in a life threatening nightmare, where she must struggle to survive.  She obviously blames her father for her mother’s suicide and has managed to forgive her father prior to her visit.  But her father proves more than she expected. (She intends to forgive him but her father does not intend to be forgiven).  At the same time, he makes her promise not to sell the lodge or the land.  But her family feels otherwise.  Bees come into the picture when the dying father commits a grand exit from life by being stung to death by the bees.

Director and co-writer Kopas (with Doug Taylor of SPLICE, a film I hated) says that his film is influenced by by classic old school thrillers such as Rosemary’s Baby, Vertigo, The Shining, and Jacob’s Ladder.  This might be true but the film never reaches those heights or even remotely close, as these are high standards.  There are a few good elements in the story, like the woman discovering she is slowly being poisoned.

The film lags in the middle when the woman is unclear what is happening, and the film relies on too may flashbacks and false alarms.

The script also never makes it clear the reason the father behaves in such a way causing the wife to commit suicide.  His erratic behaviour is assumed to be caused by his guilt.  The woman’s final escape also leaves too many credibility gaps.

The film was shot in the small local town of Britt in the Parry Sound District of the Province of Ontario.  The film has a limited run beginning Friday September, 1st with a red carpet screening at the Cineplex Yonge and Dundas on Thursday August 31, 2017 6:30pm

The following talent from the film will be in attendance:

Don McKellar,

Gil Bellows,

Rosemary Dunsmore, 

Natalie Brown,

Ken Mitchell,

Krystal Nausbaum

Director Jeff Kopas

Producers: Rob Budreau, Ryan Reaney, Jeff Kopas

Executive Producers: Marina Cordoni, Douglas Taylor and

CoProducer: David Anselmo

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/217438652

FILM REVIEWS:

BLOOD HONEY (THE HIVE) (Canada 2017) **1/2
Directed by Joe Kopas

The change of title from THE HIVE to BLOOD HONEY is a wise decision since there are already too many films that come up when googled under the film title THE HIVE.  But THE HIVE also explains the ‘apparent’ closeness of the protagonist family in a remote northern fly cabin, but one that is forced rather than nurtured. 

The word gripping can be used to describe the film as gripping is the emotion felt strongly in just 15 minutes of the film.  A lot happens within the opening credits as well - a suicide,  a girl’s growing up into a woman and the displayed sibling affection.  The audience is set up for a Canadian film in which boring should not come into mind.

Tortured by the memory of a childhood trauma which is the witnessing of her mother’s suicide described in the earlier paragraph, a woman , Jenibel (Shenae Grimes-Beech) returns after a decade to her family’s fly-in hunting lodge to assist her siblings with their dying father, only to find herself stuck in a life threatening nightmare, where she must struggle to survive.  She obviously blames her father for her mother’s suicide and has managed to forgive her father prior to her visit.  But her father proves more than she expected. (She intends to forgive him but her father does not intend to be forgiven).  At the same time, he makes her promise not to sell the lodge or the land.  But her family feels otherwise.  Bees come into the picture when the dying father commits a grand exit from life by being stung to death by the bees.

Director and co-writer Kopas (with Doug Taylor of SPLICE, a film I hated) says that his film is influenced by by classic old school thrillers such as Rosemary’s Baby, Vertigo, The Shining, and Jacob’s Ladder.  This might be true but the film never reaches those heights or even remotely close, as these are high standards.  There are a few good elements in the story, like the woman discovering she is slowly being poisoned.

The film lags in the middle when the woman is unclear what is happening, and the film relies on too may flashbacks and false alarms.

The script also never makes it clear the reason the father behaves in such a way causing the wife to commit suicide.  His erratic behaviour is assumed to be caused by his guilt.  The woman’s final escape also leaves too many credibility gaps.

The film was shot in the small local town of Britt in the Parry Sound District of the Province of Ontario.  The film has a limited run beginning Friday September, 1st with a red carpet screening at the Cineplex Yonge and Dundas on Thursday August 31, 2017 6:30pm

The following talent from the film will be in attendance:

Don McKellar,

Gil Bellows,

Rosemary Dunsmore, 

Natalie Brown,

Ken Mitchell,

Krystal Nausbaum

Director Jeff Kopas

Producers: Rob Budreau, Ryan Reaney, Jeff Kopas

Executive Producers: Marina Cordoni, Douglas Taylor and

CoProducer: David Anselmo

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/217438652

PILGRIMAGE (Ireland/Belgium 2016) ***
Directed by Brendan Muldowney

In 13th century Ireland, a group of monks must escort a sacred relic across an Irish landscape fraught with peril.

PILGRIMAGE, a film written by Jamie Hannigan and directed by Brendan Muldowney

is about that pilgrimage.  The journey could be dull and boring but writer Hannigan has put in contrasting characters like the mute (Jon Bernthal) a violent man who displays both savagery and sensitivity, the newbie monk (Tom Holland best known for SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING) who shows brains and kindness and the over zealous Brother Geraldus (Stanley Weber).  In addition, the rugged and harsh beauty of the Irish landscape is effectively captured by cinematographer Tom Comerford.  The men have to work together on the common Christian faith that they have.  Their encounter with dangerous outsiders combine to make PILGRIMAGE a more intriguing film.

The Crusades and the Medieval Times were not pleasant times.  Director Muldowney is keen to emphasize the fact.  There is little lightl or happiness in his grim tale made even more macabre by scenes of torture and religious fanaticism.

The film begins with a stoning with rocks hitting the head of one of Jesus’s disciples, Mathias, as the film explains later on.  The last rock that kills the martyr angers the Lord, who destroys all the men that have stoned Mathias, with the rock becoming a holy relic.  Fast forward to the film’s setting where monks in Ireland keep the relic for safekeeping only to have to surrender it to the Pope for the sake of winning the Crusades.  A couple of monks accompanying a rider known as Geraldus are to do a pilgrimage across Ireland to delver the relic to the Pope.

“You disobeyed me.  You have no idea of the responsibility placed on me.  Our purpose has been ordained by God and it cannot be jeopardized by anything or anyone.  Your duty is to obey.”  These words uttered by Geraldus displays the worst of what religion portrays in men, in those times as well as the present with self-righteous false prophets proclaiming whatever they do is good and in the name of the Lord.  This appears to be the message of Muldowner’s film.

Though the film’s tone is down dead serious, there are funny parts if one look deeper into the scenes.  An example is in the segment where Geraldus threatens the newbie that no one listens to him (he always takes on the easiest target) when wanting to go over by boat and the next scene shows him sitting in front of the boat, getting his way like a spoilt kid.

If there is a good reason to see PILGRIMAGE, there are two.  One is the fact that there film is shot in part in Gallic, the Irish language that is dying a slow death.  The other is the magnificent  rugged Irish landscape that forms the film’s setting.

The film builds to an exciting action climax with Gearldus getting what he deserves at the end.  This should also satisfy the action fan in each of us.

On iTunes Sept 5th and similar platforms.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqh41LP7c3E

TULIP FEVER

(to be posted)

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