Tag Archives: Art

Deep Dark (2015)

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Horror films have been making a bit of a comeback in recent years, and I had heard some good things about Deep Dark, a little indie film with a bizarre premise: a struggling artist finds a talking hole in the wall that can fulfill his dreams for greatness — at a price.

I knew it was not going to be a spectacular horror flick given its low budget — and sure does look cheap — but I was hoping that there would be some intriguing ideas that I would find creepy or at least weird me out.

Unfortunately, Deep Dark fails to deliver. It is indeed an odd film, with a lot more moments of comedy than I had anticipated. However, the storytelling is weak, especially after the hole in the wall appears, taking us down a fairly familiar and predictable path despite the best efforts of writer and director Michael Medaglia to make the film stand out from the pack.

It also did not help that the protagonist is not likable, and neither him nor the supporting characters are well written or developed. The no-name cast is okay, I suppose, adequate but not providing particularly strong performances.

The idea of a talking hole in the wall is cool, though there was no feel of mystery to it. Most importantly, it simply wasn’t scary. There were times when I felt like the scene was building up to something with potential, but apart from a few clever visual gimmicks nothing genuinely horrific eventuates. Instead of a climatic revelation the film went for disappointing melodrama.

Ultimately, Deep Dark is one of those interesting concepts that wasn’t fleshed out effectively enough for a feature-length film (albeit a 79-minute one). Perhaps a short film would have been a better idea.

1.5 stars out of 5

Movie Review: The Monuments Men (2014)

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I have a feeling that The Monuments Men will go down as one of the strangest most disappointing movie going experience of 2014. It had everything going for it — an interesting true story premise about allied heroes who try and salvage priceless art stolen by the Nazis during World War II; an excellent director in George Clooney; and a superstar cast including Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Jean Dujardin. What could possibly go wrong?

As it turned out, a lot. Technically, The Monuments Men as well made. The performances, the direction, the sets and the cinematography are all strong. And typically, and story about going up against Nazis are well received. But shockingly, The Monuments Men turned out flat, slow and frankly, a little boring.

It was an interesting choice for Clooney to try and make an old-fashioned army adventure movie. It doesn’t have the farcical feel of say something like Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, but it’s also far from the gloomy tones of Damon’s Saving Private Ryan or the intensity of Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie. So the feel of the film is somewhat old, uneven, not comedic but not serious, generally light but occasionally solemn, and always eager to be “respectful” in its portrayal.

The result is just a bunch of guys who spend a lot of time discussing what they plan to do, but not a whole lot of time of them actually doing it. I had envisioned a rag tag team doing something very exciting and clever in the vein of an Ocean’s Eleven. Unfortunately, reality was a lot duller.

One of the problems is that there were too many characters involved, many of them split into smaller groups, meaning we kind of know them all a little bit but not enough to truly care about them. Clooney, in particular, was a leader but it also felt like he was in the background a lot. Instead, the focus shifted to the relationship between Damon and Blanchett, but there wasn’t enough time for anything substantive to blossom. I like all the actors in the movie — I just didn’t really like the characters they were playing.

Perhaps the true reason I struggled with the film is because I’m just not a huge art guy. The protagonists of the film are often asked the question — if any piece of art is worth a man’s life — and to me the answer is always simple: depends on the person who is giving their life up for the art. For them, it was obviously worth it, but for me it was difficult to feel connected with their noble ambitions.

Whatever the reason, I found The Monuments Men to be an unsatisfying, punchless experience. All the pieces were there but just didn’t fit together. An interesting premise blunted by the lack of memorable characters, relationships or dialogue, and a general dearth of anything to get the pulse racing. A shame, and a wasted opportunity.

2.5 stars out of 5