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Friday, July 31, 2009

Tres días (2008) - (Three Days) Drama

Tres días (2008) - Listed on the cable as Before the Fall I think the translation should be "Three Days", This is a drama disguised as a Science Fiction movie; Or at least that is what you would think from the description. We Join Alejandro (Ale)(Victor Clavijo) on the day he learns that a meteor is going to hit the earth in three days. Governments have already tried the Armageddon and Deep Impact ways to stop it but they have failed. So now the governments of the world are telling the populous that the party is over. Ale is apathetic in general and this news only makes him more so. With him is his mother "The Widow"(Marilo Munoz) who brings him back to reality by immediately thinking of her grandchildren. She goes rushing off to another family members home through the chaos of the streets in the small Spanish city. Ale wants to say "fuck it" but it is his mother and he is compelled to follow her as already discord is everywhere. They make it to the family home as the last member is committing the suicide that goes with murder suicide. So sad. Rosa sees from the TV that the prisons are being taken over by inmates. This is where things get interesting. She use to have two sons and one helped stop Lucio (Eduardo Fernandez), a serial killer of children. The son dying as he did. The killer sent to prison for life, 20 years earlier is now sure to escape. He promised on his arrest to get the family of the young man who got him captured. Now Rosa thinks about the kids of her dead son out at the country house. She convinces Ale to drive her to see that they are alright. She is sure that Lucio is on his way there.
When they arrive through the fleeing masses to the isolated country house all seems fine except the parents who went into town never came back. The children not having a working TV do not know the end of the world is coming. Rosa against Ale's reluctance decides not to tell the children. The tension then builds as Lucio heads to the house, Rosa struggles to keep the news from the children and Ale does not know whether he should continue to contribute to the charade.
Lucio arrives and it is here I will stop relaying the plot. It is tension filled with action and worth every minute.
What is this movie about though? What would you do in the same position? Ale was ready to just give out and live his last few days on earth quietly at home. He instead though showed that family prevails for him and is compelled into action. Later he is confronted with the emotions of figuring out if he is strong enough to defend the children and if he can be as brave as his brother was. Rosa, reacts immediately for protection of family, even though in three days it won't matter. She is a true character with no doubt in her beliefs. Lucio even though he knows there is no future spend his final days stalking the family. His mental illness determining for him that what was started 20 years before must be completed. Is there a fight worth fighting and dying if there is no future? That is essentially the question this film asks us.
This movie was quiet in the first half with at times really over the top music. The second half is exciting thrilling.
Rating (8.3)

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Descent (2005) Horror

The Descent (2005) - The year before this movie hit theaters in the USA my family and I were spending a couple weeks in Cuernavaca Mexico, at the Encuentros Spanish school, and living with a family when not in class. We were really tired of the nonstop Spanish and needed to find some way to hear English just for a little while, you can only watch so much TV in Spanish before tuning out. We decided to go to the big fancy mall in the city to see a film. In English with Spanish subtitles. While the girls went to see some romantic comedy or something I found the movie The Descent. I already knew the director Neil Marshall from his great Dog Soldiers so I was excited that I was going to get to see a new movie from him. It was just what I needed to see, a claustrophobic, exciting horror movie with lots of gore. I love this movie, I have seen it seven times now and enjoy it each time. Smartly paced with excellent scares it build to an exciting action filled climax and then leaves you thinking with a ending that does not explain everything completely. This being the international ending, which is different than the US ending.
After loosing her family in a car wreck Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) rejoins her female adventure group for a caving expedition in the Appalachian mountains. Sarah is still feeling the effects of the deaths of her husband and daughter is taking medication and having horrifying dreams. Juno (Natalie Mendoza) who secretly had an affair with Sarah's late husband, struggling with the guilt of it wants to organize a special trip to bring the group closer together. She without telling the group leads them to a cave that has never been explored before. Things go horribly wrong when the way they just past collapses leaving the group stuck under the mountain. As they attempt to find a passage out they realize they are not alone in the cave. Living in the system is a group of humanoid creatures evolved for living in the dark. The bat people stalk and start killing the party and very quickly the women are in a fight for their lives.
Spoilers: The ending in the US version of this film has the main character escaping from the caves and pulling over on the side of the road. She sees her friend Juno (dead at this point) sitting next to her and screams, the movie ends. This is the happy ending, Sarah escapes being the only survivor of the expedition.
In the international version after Sarah screams in the truck she wakes up still in the tunnels. You hear the sounds of the creatures and see her hallucinating her daughter blowing out a birthday cake. In this ending you are brought back to some of the exposition dialog, where the effects of darkness can be hallucinations, paranoia, etc. It could be that the women were trapped and then Sarah broke and killed all her friends and the creatures and all were just her minds way of dealing with the craziness. Or that there was indeed creatures and although she fought then off and sacrificed Juno to them that she never found the way out of the caves and it ends with her still trapped.
Either way this movie kicks ass and I loved it. Even after seeing it multiple times I still sit enthralled with this one.
Rating (9.0)