Art & Design
"Catacombs" (2007) explores the maze of tunnels in the context of view of Paris' youth subculture: Main character Victoria is introduced to the pop-up party scene using the underground real estate for secret raves by her sister (played by the singer Pink) and her local friends. After getting separated from her group she comes face to face with an urban myth masked killer; and when the party gets raided by local police she finds herself on her own to make her way back to the surface past the horrors of myths and man.
"As above, so Below" (2014) reaches further to tie in the already saturated history of the catacombs: An archeologist team is led to Paris by clues on the search for Nicholas Flamel's 'Philosopher's Stone'. In an effort to locate a secret section of the labyrinth containing the hidden tomb and the stone she asks for the help of local catacomb explorers, her camera man and a specialist in ancient languages to find her way and solve the mystery of the stone. The further they venture, the more it becomes clear that the catacombs have a mind of their own and refuse to give up their treasure easily. Quickly, the descent is turning into a fight to hold on to reality in the quicksand of time and space in the catacombs.
The movie posters already indicate a general trend; "Catacomb" relies on the play of light and shadows to create most of its ambiance scare, but keeps the scare factor to a low and steady psychological simmer all the way through. "AbsB" focuses more on the claustrophobic nature of the surroundings, uses the "jump into the camera" shock tactic and adds surreal visual content to round off the stylistic method.
Generally speaking, if you liked movies like "Descent" and "The Cave" - "Catacombs" should definitely for you. If you prefer a more round-about psychedelic adventure with a mix of "Da Vinci Code" and reality twists a la "Sinister" or "They" you might enjoy "As above, so Below". In any case, I would recommend both. CJ
We finally got a hold of this little 'gem fatal' via Netflix today, being thwarted at the movie theatre last year by the surprisingly short time it was actually featured in the box office lineup: a record low playing time of 2 weeks! It is obvious that many big screen theaters are feeling the pressure to stick with the corporate blockbusters to maintain seat occupancy.
To the movie itself: It is, well, fairly original! It treads in the footsteps of "Human Centipede" (which is one of the very few horror movies I would never choose to watch a second time), but my main issue with it is that it suffers from an identity crisis. The premise could build on the style of a faux documentary, but Kevin Smith chose not to go that route. It has heavy gore and body modification, but also keeps Kevin Smith's elements of comedy - both of which fight and contradict each other rather than work together. The final stage of gore is revealed to quickly which kind of ruins the element of suspense. All actors are doing a marvelous job in selling their characters (with the surprising exception of Johnny Depp, who's heart was clearly not in it. And if I may add, who did his make-up??), Michael Parks and Justin Long taking a notable spotlight. In addition much of the side story line was superfluous and might have been left out, some of the conversational transitions in particular could have used some heavier editing.
So, here we are with a movie that is not not as scary as it should be, not as funny as it could be, and about 20 minutes longer than it ought to be. But then, it is about a man turned into a Walrus, so maybe that is 'nuff said already. Good thing I like even cooky films. Coocoocachoo. CJ
The plot: After an unexplained 'celestial event' an ant colony starts to show signs of newly acquired intelligence, building strange geometric structures, aggressively shaping their surroundings and eliminating perceived threats. Two scientists set up camp in a bio dome close to the structures to examine the new strain of ants by studying the colony's audio communication and direct interaction. Soon they find out how much of a threat a species this goal-orientated and self-sacrificing can be when coupled with superior intelligence and overarching long-term goals.
Apparently, the movie was not very successful when it first came to theaters, but all movie reviews from more recent watchers are rating it fairly high. ( See Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb ). Side note: According to Wikipedia the wildlife photographer Ken Middleham who shot the insect sequences for Phase IV also shot the insect sequences for the documentary The Hellstrom Chronicle.
Art in Hawaii
Living in Hawaii is an inspiring experience, both artistically and spiritually.