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The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)

Dan Stevens puts on a killer act in this movie, far exceeding anything I'd expected when I started to watch it. He arrives as "David", a soldier at the Peterson's, a family of a deceased son, and claims to have served with that son. He befriends everyone in the family quickly, except maybe Anna (Maika Monroe). As strange murders start occurring in the neighborhood she grows suspicious, eventually makes a call to the army base and is told that the so called "David" died in a fire. Soon the military police come knocking on their door, and the person they thought they knew turns into a real stranger.

It's a real thriller, with some intense action scenes amidst the brewing paranoia amd family trouble. Not much happens until a good way into the movie, but you are always waiting for something to start, and when it does it does so with style.

When they crash windows, I'm happy to see they're using real glass instead of that fake movie glass they so often use in modern movies, and that pretty much sums up the overall filmography: it's gritty, it's professional, it's accompanied by a strange synthy, moody, partially German soundtrack that supercharges the suspense all the while reminding of old classics, and each character shines with presence. Everyone you meet has a role to play. No loose ends. And if you haven't watched the movie, but clicked away the spoiler tags anyway: you'd better prepare for a killer twist at the end I thought I'd tire of cheap thrillers, but this was very nicely done.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Best Of The Best (1989)

Best Of The Best (1989)

Heeey, another movie from the year of years that I still hadn't seen! It's the story of a Taekwondo tournament (USA VS Korea... I guess this was a time when there was no North or South), featuring (amongst others) actors/fighters Eric Roberts, Phillip Rhee and Simon Rhee. Phillip Rhee is one of those guys that starred in one series of movies and then just disappeared, but he's a fighter (also director and producer)! As is Simon Rhee. Fighter, I mean. A level 7 Taekwondo black belt. I wonder if they're related...

The acting may not be the best, the training doesn't always seem the most serious (even it has an inspiring Rocky-type 'you-can-do-it' undertone) but the fights are for real. This at a time when martial art movies in general, or rather martial art movies in the US usually featured super-finishing-crane-kick-type Karate Kid super moves and not very hardcore martial arts at all. But I'm glad to see there were exceptions... even if they still dealt with certain stereotypes to cater to the American audience.

The final battle between US and Korea is one to look out for. Maybe one to skim for if you don't feel like watching the rest of the movie, but I did enjoy it all. The training is more corny than seriously straining, and the characters are stereotypes of their time and trade, but you do bond with the guys throughout their struggles! As they strive for the win, to become the best, of the best, of the best? It's a test! And this is the first in a quadrilogy of movies so I'm looking forward to those too. Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

As The Light Goes Out (2014)

As The Light Goes Out (2014)

Jackie Stan stars in a short apocalyptic commercial! But that's beside the plot. The plot is a small supposedly extinguished fire at a winery expanding to unexpected proportions when a power plant nearby starts heating up and power-hungry bosses place their positions before the people.

It's a story about firefighters, relations, and life. There's not so much fire as there's smoke, but the way it's portrayed it almost seems like it's alive - a ghastly breath of poison that slowly chokes the life out of everyone it touches. It's a sad and inspiring story, and I wrote a little song as the credits rolled. If it inspires a lyric, it's got to be a great watch! ;)

Filming's not bad, the sceneries balance between fiery explosions and barren hallways littered with ash and dust, the actors do a good job, fighting bad memories as they try to save lives, and the basic storyline doesn't take away much from the tragedy, even if it's a bit aggravating how the whole disaster could've been avoided if only some people had been a bit wiser.

The shaky cam is a bit much at times, and the sceneries occasionally seem fake and almost Silent-Hillishly hellish, but overall: it's good, it's gritty, it feels real. It's also dedicated towards all the firefighters out there, and it seems like there's plenty of thought put into the film.

I wonder what goes through their heads as they watch this, if they can relate to it; if this is, really, the life they live. Maybe it's as much a show for the world of the hardships firefighters face, as it's a call for them to stay strong and keep fighting the good fight. And that maybe it's never really that bad.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

As The Light Goes Out (1:18)


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