Las Elegidas (‘The Chosen Ones’) follows a fourteen year old who gets kidnapped into sexual slavery by her boyfriend who is himself under the duress of his people-trafficking older brother and father. The boyfriend begs his father but is presented with a stark choice: his girlfriend will be released if he finds another girl to fill her space. So we spend half the film with him seducing another girl, ultimately successfully. His girlfriend is changed forever, however, and is “released” but only to live with the family and under their supervision at all times.
The film was moving. The sex scenes were disturbingly shot, but featured no actual sex. But this made it all the more disturbing as the sex is in our minds.
However, the film ends rather abruptly. Just as a plotline develops about one of the patrons of the brothel being an undercover would-be liberator of the girls, credits roll.
© 2020, 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://pics.filmaffinity.com/las_elegidas-843242959-large.jpg
[we’re] parts of an essentially uncaring machine.
Prison Officer Martin (Javier Gutierrez) is driving across country to deliver a batch of prisoners to another facility when, suddenly, him and his partner Montesinos (Isak Ferriz) find themselves under attack by an unknown assailant (Karra Elejalde). Face almost certain death by leaving their armoured vehicle, or remain locked inside as the inmates threaten to riot?
Below Zero is an action-packed crime story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The ending, particularly the last moment where we see Martin look at his locker, brings home how everyone involved — officers and prisoners — are just parts of an essentially uncaring machine.
© 2021-2022 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://e00-marca.uecdn.es/assets/multimedia/imagenes/2021/02/03/16123551782700.jpg
Despite the unbelievability of the premise… entertaining
An action-espionage-drama following Anna, a poor woman from Russia with a heavy burden of suffering who is ready to give up on life. At her nadir, a man swoops in with an unlikely offer — become a spy, in exchange for a decent life.
Despite the unbelievability of the premise, the film is otherwise quite believable. The movie’s made up of several segments which end in a twist, the scenes then rewinding to show us what really happened. Entertaining and shocking, but this shtick begins to wear thin by the end.
An entertaining and exciting flick with good acting all round.
© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://fanart.tv/fanart/movies/484641/movieposter/anna-5e0022441661a.jpg
A kind of horror Flightplan
A troubled couple, Ray and Joanne (Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe), stop at a petrol station where their daughter’s arm gets Fractured in a fall. They rush to the nearest hospital, but something is terribly amiss. Pushy staff keep mentioning organ donation. And when daughter Peri (Lucy Capri) and Joanne disappear during an MRI, the hospital deny they checked in — or even exist at all. Ray must fight to save his family and prove his sanity.
A kind of horror Flightplan, we are kept guessing until the end: abducted family, or imagined family?
Unsettling, thrilling, but slightly shlocky. A good romp.
© 2020-2021 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://rue-morgue.com/framework/uploads/2019/09/Fractured_1x1-1024×1024.jpg
With a title like Unforgettable, this film is almost asking to fall on its face.
Julia (Rosario Dawson) has just clawed herself out of a violently abusive relationship. Her reward: super job and wonder-man David (Geoff Stults). But her new life is shattered by David’s “tightly wound” ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl) who cannot, and will not, accept that she has been replaced. Julia battles the demons of her past to overcome everyone’s doubt and her new foe.
With a title like Unforgettable, this film is almost asking to fall on its face. The truly compelling central performances by Dawson and Heigl stopped this being a waste of time, but a classic it is not. Trite, boring.
© 2020-2021 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/8kOFx8MjZZzBYcf85qfsf9UBsJD.jpg
check out the full-length review here
mind-bending … Beautiful
A foreboding storm is the backdrop to the sad tale of a boy who witnesses a murder and who in fleeing the scene is run over and killed. Twenty-five years later, an eerily similar storm forms which seems to create a link to the past. Can Vera save the boy? And what consequences will follow from this?
Mirage is a mind-bending mystery crime time-travel film. Beautiful in every way. The ending is shocking and totally satisfying; it doesn’t wipe out our journey as time travel films often do.
© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/asnozZh17f4Rv9Ro1rETAEEAFOt.jpg
A gut-churning slowburn … has her son really been replaced, or is it all in her own mind?
The Hole In The Ground is the remarkably well-accomplished debut feature from Irish writer-director Lee Cronin. Single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) has upped sticks to the countryside with her eight year old son Chris (James Quin Markey). After Chris goes for a mysterious midnight stroll in the nearby forest, Sarah begins to notice disturbing changes in his character. Is this even her son at all?
A gut-churning slowburn, this horror-thriller recalls 2014’s equally nerve-shredding The Honeymoon and shares DNA with The Babadook. Convincing central performances and potent sound design and cinematography.
We are kept guessing until the very end: has her son really been replaced, or is it all in her own mind? A true delight.
© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/w1280/wTnFy6B5QCeRgjgCGBGlZaDESJ1.jpg
altruism at its best — or is there an ulterior motive?
The Blind Side is the true story of a wealthy WASP family, headed by Mater Familias Sandra Bullock, who take in a seventeen year old homeless black kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Battling social prejudice, lavishing him with clothes and an education, this is altruism at its best — or is there an ulterior motive? A prestigious football scholarship is at stake.
This fish-out-of-water tale has plenty of heart. Success is never a foregone conclusion. Tight scripting earnt this flick an Oscar nom for best screenplay, Bullock herself won Best Actress for her subtle, humane, and convincing portrayal.
© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image http://truesportsmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/the_blind_side1.jpg
this generation’s Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Arrival sees a linguist tasked with making first contact with extraterrestrials. Based on an award-winning short story, the film can only be described as this generation’s Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Same epic feel, familiar dark featureless monoliths (spacecraft). Yet it’s no rip-off.
Truly alien aliens, a tension and uneasy terror that surely would accompany first contact, a disturbing sense of realism. All achieved without wobbly camcorder shtick.
Just like its illustrious spiritual forebears, Arrival is beautifully understated, deceptively straightforward plot-wise, and handles deep themes without pretension or pomp.
The anti-Independence Day. Found Contact snooze-inducing? Miss it. I say: instant classic.
(see the full-length review here)
© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://www.space.com/34783-stephen-wolfram-arrival-interview.html