APARTMENT COMPLEXITY: High-Rise


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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1The first third of High-Rise, the new movie based on the J.G. Ballard novel (he also gave us the autobiographical Empire of the Sun and the unautobiographical, we hope, Crash—no, not that Crash, Ballard gave us the one where people get turned on by auto accidents), has a nice quirky, what-the-hell sort of quality to its writing (Amy Jump, of Kill List and Sightseers) and directing (Ben Wheatley of ditto); they both seem to be having a great deal of fun, if nothing else.
Laing, a 30-something who likes to fall asleep on his balcony in the nude, moves into one of five of a set of state of the art apartment complexes that reach to the skies like the fingers of a hand. As he interacts with his neighbors, the conversation is realistic, yet off just a little. The actions of the characters are also realistic, yet off just a little. It almost feels like a kitchen sink version of a Monty Python sketch.
I more than suspect the whole thing is supposed to be allegorical with the high-rise an encapsulation of all the classes in England. Well, not quite, perhaps. The middle class live on the lower floors and the upper class live much higher, but the lower class seems restricted to a single building superintendent. While such dystopian allegories as Metropolis and Snowpiercer have no apparent middle class, High-Rise seems strangely void of a lower one. Continue reading

CUT THE CRAP: Snowpiercer


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
Warning: SPOILERS
snowpiercerThere is one clever and rather effective scene in Snowpiercer, the new movie about a train containing all the survivors of a global warming apocalyptic event that travels the world and can never stop.
Just as a battle royale is about to erupt, everyone is ordered to stop and wait while some of the participants count down from ten as the train passes over a certain bridge, a bridge the train passes over only once annually, meaning that it’s, wait for it…yes, New Years.
Once the countdown is over, it’s back to the bloodshed.
But outside of that, I’m sorry, but I have to say…no, you know what? I’m not sorry.
Snowpiercer is crap.
  Continue reading