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Extracted (2012)


Extracted is director Nir Paniry’s feature film debut. The science fiction flick takes place in the near future where a scientist named Tom (Sasha Roiz) has created a machine that is able to read and display the thoughts and memories of another person. When a test demo goes wrong, Tom is trapped inside the mind of Anthony (Dominic Bogart), a prisoner convicted of murder. There’s much more to the plot than this but saying anything else would ruin the surprise.

For a feature film debut, this film is excellent. The writing is really well done and the story stays pretty well grounded within its own rules.so the resolution of the movie doesn’t feel like a cop out. The film seems to draw a heavy inspiration from other science fiction film, The Cell (2000) is one that instantly comes to mind. Having a fairly low budget, the director/writer focused on making a film that was heavily centered on story rather than on a visual spectacle and he delivered.

Being the heart of the film, the actors didn’t shy away from the spotlight. Both lead actors Sasha and Dominic gave excellent performances that helped the movie deliver its emotional core. Dominic Bogart’s performance as Anthony was particularly noteworthy because of how crucial his character was to the plot of the film. Even side characters like Martino (Frank Ashmore), Anthony’s estranged father, seemed excellent and pretty genuine for the most part.

Nir Paniry’s feature debut is a solid film and there is really not a lot of negative things that I could find in this movie. Extracted is an excellent example of what a good science fiction movie could look like without having to rely on flashy visual imagery. This film is far from winning any major awards but it is a movie that keeps the audience hooked with excellent storytelling. If you are tired of seeing the same type of big budget Hollywood movies, Extracted might just be the film for you.

TL;DR: Small budget science fiction movie that relies on story telling rather than special effects. A good movie to watch if you’re in the mood to see something on Netflix.

Rockit Raccoon Rating: 7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: n/a

Metacritic: 61%

IMDB: 6.5/10


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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


With a mega cast that includes Oscar nominated actors like Adrien Brody and Tilda Swinton, The Grand Budapest Hotel certainly promised an entertaining time. The movie is small chronicle of Gustave M. (Ralph Fiennes), a concierge at one of the most renown hotels in the world. Although it follows Gustave, the story is told by Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who worked as a lobby boy (Tony Revolori) in his youth and became the concierge’s apprentice. When Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), a hotel regular, is murdered, a series of events unfolds that has Gustave and his lobby boy on the run.

The Grand Budapest Hotel has a little sprinkle of everything placed throughout its story. Moments of humor, suspense, and romance are all carefully laid out and spread out enough to keep the movie fresh. Unlike other directors, Wes Anderson stayed focused on the story of the Grand Budapest and did not spend too much time giving screen time to the large amount of A-List actors that are in the film. Not only did this make the story run smoother, it kept the movie from feeling like it was dragging on too long. One of the more interesting choices that I noticed was giving Willem Dafoe’s character, Jopling, very little lines in the movie. As a villain, this limited dialogue helped emphasize the danger that the character represented to everyone else and worked wonderfully. The cast for this movie did not disappoint and no matter how small the role, it seemed as if every actor fit in perfectly into their roles.

Wes Anderson is a director known for his unique style of portraying characters and locations and Grand Budapest is not an exception. Just about every scene in the film looks as unique and interesting as the last. Everything from the hotel to the train that the characters are in have their own unique feel. This feel is not only because of the way the movie is shot but also because of the great score that Alexandre Desplat composed for the film. Every character, location, and event in the film has a certain charm that is not present in a lot of other movies.

It’s hard to watch a film by a director like Wes Anderson and not compare the Grand Budapest to the rest of his films but this might be his best movie. Of course, choosing his best movie comes down to preference but it is hard to deny that the Grand Budapest Hotel is some of his best work. With a moving story and his trademark look, Wes Anderson has created a story that is memorable and enjoyable to watch. Nothing feels out of place and for its running time of 100 minutes, it packs quite an array of thrills, laughs, and even a little heartbreak.

TL;DR: Some of Wes Anderson’s best work. Worth the price of admission.

Rockit Raccoon Rating: 9.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

IMDB: 8.4/10

MetaScore: 87/100



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The Green Inferno (2013)


The Green Inferno is Eli Roth’s return to the director’s chair after Hostel: Part Two (2007). Before its screening in the AFI Film Festival of Los Angeles, Roth requested something of the crowd. He asked the audience to keep an open mind and dispel any preconceived notions or expectations of the film. I felt obliged to set aside my expectations of the movie. This review is the fruit of my observations as I tried my best to set aside any biased opinions.

The movie follows a group of teenagers who want to stop a rainforest from being cut down. They fly over to Peru in order to chain themselves to trees and stop the crew from continuing to destroy the forest. The plan succeeds despite a small situation that develops.  On their flight back to civilization, their plane crashes in the middle of the forest. There, half of the teenagers die while the rest are captured by a group of cannibals.

To start off, I will say that there were some well crafted scenes in the movie and one major villain of the film is extremely well written. There was also one scene where the dialogue seemed to go deeper than just your average horror film. Despite this, most of the movie seems to fall flat. Characters are very bland for the most part, you have a stoner, a chubby guy, jock, and the innocent girl among others. This description alone seems to be sufficient grounds in which to describe most of the characters. Right from the start, the dialogue seemed clunky and the actors seemed robotic. Thankfully, this seemed to disappear only to be replaced by insane amounts of blood and gore.

It’s very clear that this movie is a tribute to all the cannibal films before it but it just seemed unnecessary. Eli Roth once again plays into his trademark use of carnage to make the audience feel queasy. I found myself laughing more often than feeling horrified at the actions on screen and this speaks to the root of the problem I have with this movie. This flick wasn’t funny in a clever way but in more of a this-is-incredibly-unbelievable type of way.

It’s always tough to write about a horror movie because everyone has a different sense of what scary is or what is essential to horror. Overall I thought that the movie was dying to make a political statement that never came. The characters felt tough to sympathize with and the “horror” seemed more laughable than scary (which I recognize is a trend with most horror flicks).  To add insult to injury, the one time the audience is meant to feel pity for the native cannibals falls flat. Instead of feeling sorry for them, I questioned why anyone would try to save them. Roth seemed to be trying to push the standard of a cannibal film which is not bad, it just simply didn’t seem to work this time around.

TL;DR: Typical Eli Roth movie. Other than being a tribute to cannibal films, a very generic B-movie.

Rockit Raccoon Rating: 5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 70% (as of Nov. 10, 2013)

IMDB: 6.5/10

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