ECLECTIC ARTS

Monday, May 10, 2021

HIGH GROUND Film Review May 10, 2021 Eclectic Arts


High Ground

Samuel Goldwyn Films
Reviewed: 5/10/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


HIGH GROUND is On Digital and On Demand May 14, 2021.


(Samuel Goldwyn Films)



The new film, “High Ground” is a very interesting film. It tells the story of the 1800’s version of Australia and the indigenous people. A specific tale of one young boy that is raised by white settlers who eventually grows up to hunt his own family member.


For those of us here in the U.S. I don’t think we’ve seen enough about the indigenous people of Australia. Depending on your age bracket, you probably think back to films like “Crocodile Dundee, which was a comedy and not a drama like “High Ground”.



(A still from the adventure/drama film, HIGH GROUND, a Samuel Goldwyn Films release. Photo Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)



I enjoyed the fact that both parties had equal screen time. This isn’t a film that is skewed one way or the other. It tells a story that is both interesting and educational. The drama is realistic and heartbreaking at times.


The actors all put in fine performances and the direction is tight and to the point.


I hope more films tell the stories of the indigenous people from countries from all over the world.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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MORGUE Film Review May 10, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Morgue

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 5/10/2021

Rating: 3 / 5


MORGUE Hits Digital and Blu-Ray on Tuesday 5/11!


(Well Go USA)



I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. If you’re making a horror film, and your story is fairly basic, you either have to load the film with scares, gore, or both. You can’t rely on a story that isn’t really there to carry it.


Unfortunately, “Morgue” started really promising. And the ending does tie the story together nicely. But the rest of the film just needed to commit to a vision of horror and stick with it.



(Well Go USA)



You can pretty much guess what’s going to happen inside a morgue where a security officer is stuck all night. But, then again, maybe you’d guess wrong.


The film sets everything up right but then fails to deliver a horror film to the audience. It is by no means a bad film. It just seems more like a wasted opportunity for a cool scenario to scare the shit out of the viewers and/or to gross them out.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

ABOVE SUSPICION Film Review May 5, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Above Suspicion

Lionsgate
Reviewed: 5/5/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


(Lionsgate)



I’m usually a sucker for a good film based on true events. The new film, “Above Suspicion” continues that tradition in fine fashion.


Based on true events from the late 80’s in the south when the war on drugs was in all of the news, the story revolves around Susan Smith (played by Emilia Clarke), who lives in a small Kentucky former coal mining town with no real options in life. She is caught up in the drug trafficking world and the feds are on to it.


An FBI agent Mark Putnam (played by Jack Huston) is sent to town to investigate and becomes entrenched in an affair with Susan.


And the story just unwinds from there.



((L-R) Emilia Clarke as Susan Smith and Jack Huston as Mark Putnam in the action/thriller/crime film, ABOVE SUSPICION, a Lionsgate release. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.)



The performances are solid throughout, especially Emilia Clarke as Susan. She is nearly every scene and she carries the film with the greatest of ease.


The story is sad but also told in a very engaging way. By the end of the film, the audience feels like they just went through the wringer just like Susan did.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

THE WATER MAN Film Review May 4, 2021 Eclectic Arts


The Water Man


RLJE Films
Reviewed: 5/4/2021

Rating: 3 / 5




It’s pretty rare when I get the opportunity to review a family oriented film. “The Water Man” definitely fits that particular bill.


First time director David Oyelowo (“Selma”) tells the tale of Gunnar (played by Lonnie Chavis) who sets out on a journey to find The Water Man who has the secret to immortality to heal his ailing mother (played by Rosario Dawson).


((L-R) Lonnie Chavis as Gunner Boone, David Oyelowo as Amos Boone, and Rosario Dawson as Mary Boone in the adventure/drama film, THE WATER MAN, an RLJE films release. Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard.)



The story is told well and the cast is engaging but there was something missing from this film. Perhaps it was the lighter family tone that I’m not overly used to. Or perhaps it was something else. For whatever reason it didn’t resonate with me but it’s still a very well put together movie.


Perhaps families will connect with it more than I did.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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INITIATION Film Review May 4, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Initiation

Saban Films
Reviewed: 5/4/2021

Rating: 3 / 5


(Saban Films)



The film, “Initiation” revolves around a university fraternity/sorority system where a killer is knocking off college students one by one. An exclamation point is left as the symbol and the audience is wondering who is responsible for the body count.


The cast is young and pretty/handsome. The killer is masked. And the ending is believable (which is a good thing as many times in thriller/horror films it isn’t).



(Still from the horror / thriller “INITIATION,” a Saban Films release. Photo Courtesy of Saban Films.)



I think some viewers may be turned off by the deaths in the film, if they were hoping for more of a thriller. For the horror fans, they’re not going to get enough gore in the film. So, “Initiation” is sort of trapped between two genres.


It was an enjoyable film, especially the second half of it when things start to intensify. If they had tipped the scales more in one genre or the other, I think the film would have worked even better.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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"To Kill The Dragon" Film Review May 4, 2021. Eclectic Arts


To Kill The Dragon

Reviewed: 5/4/2021
Rating: 3 / 5





The film, “To Kill The Dragon” has a really creepy character in the movie. This is a great thing as many horror films as of late can’t seem to create the right antagonist for horror.


The not so good thing is the rest of the film is all over the place.


If you’re going to do horror, and your story is flimsy, then you have to add in the gore or the spooky, or both. If you let your story roam around too long then the audience loses interest and the effect of the horror lessens.


This Argentianian production really could have capitalized on their horror character but instead it is wasted in the end. If they decide to do a part two - focus strictly on the horror character and you’ll end up with a much better film. Just my two cents.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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THE SLEEPLESS Film Review May 4, 2021 Eclectic Arts


The Sleepless

Reviewed: 5/4/2021
Rating: 4 / 5





The film, “The Sleepless” centers around two insomniacs in New York who meet each other one early morning at a bodega and end up walking around the city in random conversation.


The two characters of Zach (played by Nyambi Nyambi) and Sophia (played by Rebecca De Ornelas) spend the entire film reciting dialogue that is really interesting and very well done.




 

I could totally see this film as a play. I particularly liked Nyambi Nyambi’s performance as he made Zach likable without being too pushy either. Sophia got on my nerves at times but that’s what I feel the character was supposed to do, to show how insulated her world had become and that instead of trusting Zach, she is cautious, overly so at times.


“The Sleepless” will not put you to sleep. It will engage you and make you ponder some of the greater questions in life.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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BETTER DAYS Film Review May 4, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Better Days

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 5/4/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


(Well Go USA)



Every now and then a film comes out that really hits a nerve with me. The subject of bullying is something I’ve personally experienced. The film, “Better Days” explores this awful topic and the consequences of it.


Released in late 2019 in China, the film garnered acclaim for it’s realistic and brutal portrayal of bullying in schools across China.


(Well Go USA)
 


The performances by both Dongyu Zhou and Jackson Yee immerse the audience in their gritty and explosive worlds. At times it felt more than real and that is a testament to their performances. Director Derek Tsang really knows how to control the narrative to where it’s both personal and driven. The story could have taken a wrong turn into the melodramatic like a soap opera but thankfully it does not.


“Better Days” is a recommended viewing but be prepared for a serious drama about a serious topic.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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