Under the Skin (2013) ☆☆☆1/2(3.5/4) : Fascinating ambiguity under its SF skin

Undertheskin01 “Under the Skin” will baffle you and frustrate you with its cold, abstract style, but it is also a weirdly fascinating experience you cannot easily forget. The movie only gives us a few bits of vague information on what is going on and below its surface, and there are still many things left unexplained even after its final minute, but its glacial ambiguity has a way of drawing our attention to how it is about even when we are not so sure about what exactly it is all about.

During its opening sequence which is alternatively mysterious and ominous, we see lights and circles in the dark background as a voice of woman is heard on the soundtrack. Uttering the series of syllables during this uncanny moment, her voice sounds like an artificial machine practicing its communication skill before its full operation, and then we arrive at the shot showing a pupil, which seems to signify nothing but indirectly recalls our memories with “Vertigo”(1958) and “2001: A Space Odyssey”(1968).

And then we meet an anonymous motorcyclist(Jeremy McWilliams), who seems to be doing a covert mission in Scotland. After stopping at one spot on the road, he walks down from the road to somewhere, and then he comes back with a female body. He puts the body into a van, and then we see the body laid in a white blank space. Another woman, played by Scarlett Johansson with dark wig, comes into the scene, and, after a little moment of curious inspection, she takes clothes and other things from the body with no hesitation.

Driving the van around streets, the woman picks up guys whenever they look suitable for her hidden purpose. She approaches to them mainly through innocuous questions about direction, and then, after offering them a ride, she lures them to her house. As watching these guys entering that suspicious place with no question, I was reminded of those old folk stories about unlucky guys enticed into deadly trap by an attractive girl who is not what she seems to be on the surface. I thought they were pretty dumb, but it is not easy for guys to say no to a sexy, beautiful woman, right?

Undertheskin05 Of course, they never get out of the house after their entrance. They do not seem to have any slightest piece of doubt even when they go into a very, very dark space in the house, and then something quite bad happens to them when they go after her for sex. The movie is based on Michel Faber’s novel with the same name, and I heard that Faber’s novel describes a lot about this sinister process and many other things, but you do not need to read the novel to see that 1) the woman and the motorcyclist are aliens from the outer space and 2) their secret mission is not so pleasant to our species regardless of whatever their actual purpose really is.

This is an unconventional SF film which is mainly driven by atmosphere rather than plot, and the director/co-screenplay writer Jonathan Glazer, who debuted with “Sexy Beast”(2000) and then made “Birth”(2004) before this film, gives us a curious mix of surreal ambience and realistic touches. As shown in the movie, Johansson drove the van around Glasgow while hiding her identity and her ‘mission’, and that makes an amusing parallel between the movie and the filmmaking process behind it. The men approached by Johansson in the movie are mostly non-actors who did not know that they were being filmed by the hidden cameras installed in the van; they were notified about that later, and some of them got more time to act with Johansson if they were willing to participate more in the production.

With the creepy ambient score by Mica Levi and the chilly cinematography by Daniel Landin, the movie sticks to its ambiguous tone from the start and never steps back from it while maintaining its enigmatic attitude. Although a little amount of tension is added during its second half, that does not affect its slow, contemplative pace much, and the desolate wintry landscapes of the Scottish Highlands add another layer of cold, distant beauty to the film.

Undertheskin04 This can be a very frustrating experience to some of you, but the movie is not devoid of interest, and, if you are ready to go along with its pace and mood, it constantly engages your curiosity through its odd moments. There is a chilling scene in which an innocent baby is helplessly left alone on a remote beach while a terrible thing is happening nearby, and then we get a moment of small ironic poignancy during the chance encounter between the alien heroine and a man with disfigured face(he is played by a real guy suffering from neurofibromatosis type I, by the way).

Effectively dialing down her star presence, Scarlett Johansson gives a beguiling low-key performance which subtly suggests what is behind her character’s appearance through facial expressions and body languages. We sometimes sense what is probably happening to this nameless alien as observing her behaviors being gradually affected by her human disguise, but then we are also reminded of an undeniable fact that she is an outsider we may never understand well, as reflected by one brief scene featuring a piece of chocolate cake.

While reminiscent of several SF films such as “Lifeforce”(1985) and “Species”(1995) because of its fatal alien seductress, “Under the Skin” reminds me a lot of Nicholas Roeg’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth”(1976), an equally strange SF film about an alien who comes down to the Earth with a far less sinister purpose. Even though I frequently felt lost and confused during my viewing, I admired the offbeat spirit of that flawed but interesting cult film, and “Under the Skin” impressed me in similar ways through its pure abstract beauty open to any possible interpretation of its components. It surely requires a certain amount of patience, but you may find it absorbing if you are looking for something different.

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Cats during summer days (2014/07/07)

                     
It is hot, but it is still cool in shades…
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Confession (2014) ☆☆☆(3/4): A friendship cracked by noir

confession01 They have been close friends to each other since they were very young, but now their long friendship is threatened by a devastating incident which shakes them all. Calmy observing the guilt and torment resulted from that incident, South Korean film “Confession”, which is released in local theaters as “Good Friends”, tells a sad, gloomy story under its somber tragic mood pressing down on everyone in the movie. Even when they do not say a lot, what is beneath the surface feels palpable to us, and we even come to feel sorry about a certain character who can be labeled as the villain of the story.

At the beginning, the movie shows an unfortunate accident which happened in the past of its three main characters. When they are about to graduate from their middle school, Hyeon-tae, In-cheol, and Min-soo have their own special plan for the graduation day. Rather than attending the ceremony, they go to the top of a nearby mountain with a camera and their graduation certificates(they sneaked into their school and then stole them in advance), and they take photos together as best friends while enjoying their own private time on the mountain.

Everything looks fine to them, but then the weather is suddenly changed, and then they find themselves in a serious trouble. Min-soo gets injured due to an unexpected fall, and his friends manage to move him down from the peak, but heavy snow keeps falling on the mountain with lowering temperature. The time is running out, and it becomes harder for them to move further on the snow.

They luckily come across an empty cabin on their way, so they decide to stay there for a while. Because Min-soo is in a very serious condition and Hyeon-tae is also not in a very good condition, In-cheol decides that he should go outside alone for calling for help. After being left alone with Min-soo for hours, Hyeon-tae decides to take care of the situation for himself, so he takes Min-soo out of the cabin, but both of them soon become exhausted not long after that and then eventually collapse on the ground.

confession02 Fortunately, they are saved in time by In-cheol and others coming to the rescue, and the accident brings them closer than ever to each other. 17 years have passed since that, and they are still like brothers to each other while respectively living different lives. In-cheol(Joo Ji-hoon) works as an insurance agent, and Hyeon-tae(Ji Seong) works as a fireman, and Min-soo manages a small laundry while also running a retail beverage store.

We also meet Hyeon-tae’s mother(Lee Hwi-hyang), who has been estranged from her son due to his marriage she does not approve of. Hyeon-tae married Mi-ran(Jeong Ji-yoon), and they have been leading a happy family life with their adorable little daughter at their shabby apartment, but Hyeon-tae’s mother does not like that just because Mi-ran is a deaf mute orphan, and she and her son have only communicated with each other through In-cheol, who sometimes looks more like a son to her.

While insuring her small game arcade through In-cheol’s help, Hyeon-tae’s mother gets an idea for getting out of her current financial problem. She considers burning the game arcade for getting a nice big check from the insurance company, and In-cheol gladly joins in her scheme mainly because he is recently in a big trouble associated his own insurance scheme. Min-soo is naturally reluctant about this criminal plan when In-cheol asks Min-soo to help him, but he eventually becomes persuaded by his friend. After all, nobody will get hurt if everything goes well as planned, and, as In-cheol emphasizes, this scheme will benefit them as well as their best friend’s mom – and their best friend, perhaps.

confession04 I will not go into details about what will happen next, but I can tell you that the consequence will put everyone into a big emotional turmoil for different reasons. Shocked by this sudden happening, Hyeon-tae is determined to find who is responsible for that, especially after learning that the police is not very willing to investigate it for some reason. As watching their best friend in grief and desperation, In-cheol and Min-soo tremble in each own remorse and guilt, and they only find their situation worsening than before. There is a greedy mob boss who had some share in the game arcade, and there is also a fastidious inspector from the insurance company who has been focusing on In-cheol and is determined to get any evidence to incriminate him.

Maintaining the restrained tone throughout his film, the director/writer Lee Do-yoon draws good performances from his leading actors, and they are always believable as the characters who have known each other for many years but now have to hide something from each other. With Ji Seong as the stable neutral base in the story, Joo Ji-hoon and Lee Gwang-soo ably convey us the sense of implosion from their characters, and there are a number of emotionally tense moments between them as the camera closely watches their conversations which gradually become terse and awkward along the story.

Although its third act feels overlong and I do not think a flashback scene around the ending is necessary, “Confession” is an engaging drama with a touch of noir on the whole. Rather than resorting to cheap thrills or easy melodramatic tears, it wisely does not overplay the emotions churning behind its characters as steadily moving them into an inevitable point, and its understated ending is filled with bitter sadness over what can never be restored. Yes, they still do care about each other as before, but, sadly, they cannot go back to where they were – and they come to admit that with a price.

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The Raid 2 (2014) ☆☆1/2(2.5/4) : More of the same relentless extreme violence

small_theraid201Breaking legs, twisting arms, slashing throats, smashing heads, stabbing bodies, shooting anyone, crashing one car into another, burning face on hot plate, and, above all, kicking and punching hard each other. All of these acts of violence and mayhem are relentlessly served to us in “The Raid 2”, and I must tell you that there are a lot more of no-hold-barred extreme violence to jolt you during its running time of 2.5 hours. The movie is more or less than a broad exhibition site for its gritty, punishing action scenes, and they deserve to be appreciated individually for their enormous skills and prowess inside them, but I only observed them with increasing detachment mainly due to its messy plot riddled with many problems including the lack of characterization and the absence of strong narrative pull. It has the ambition to excite us with a bigger scope, but it becomes loose and unfocused as bulking itself up, and the result is a half-baked crime action drama occasionally punctuated by its well-made action scenes which are its major selling points.

“The Raid 2” starts its story not long after a disastrous SWAT operation which was the center of “The Raid: Redemption”(2011). Rama(Iko Uwais), a rookie SWAT member who managed to survive that hellish carnage initiated by a ruthless gang lord, is ready to expose the big corruption in his system through a crucial evidence he obtained from his estranged brother who happened to be that gang lord’s right hand man, but he soon finds that it is far more difficult than expected. He immediately goes to a cop he can trust, but the cop tells Rama that there are a lot more things to do for getting the justice he wants – and he wants Rama to be his undercover agent for exposing the connections between the local gang organizations and several corrupt high-ranking police officials including Reza(Roy Marten), who was briefly mentioned around the ending of the previous film.

Rama is not willing to be an undercover agent at first, but then he accepts the job later because of his personal reason. His mission is approaching to the son of one of the powerful crime bosses in the city, so he is put into the prison where Uco(Arifin Putra) is being temporarily incarcerated. After a spectacularly barbarous prison fight on muddy field which will definitely make many of you cringe for its sheer savageness drenched with mud and blood, Rama, who disguises himself as a criminal named Yuma, starts to gain Uco’s trust. When he is released from the prison two years later, Uco introduces Rama to his father Bangun(Tio Pakusodewo) and Bangun’s trusted right-hand guy Eka(Oka Antara), and Rama slowly begins to infiltrate into Bangun’ organization as a henchman they can rely on.

small_theraid202The movie keeps introducing the other underworld characters into its increasingly complicated plot. There is a Japanese gang organization led by Goto(Ken’ichi Endô), and then there is also another gang organization led by Bejo(Alex Abbad). Bejo has a number of killers who are a little more distinguished than other characters only because of their methods of killing; one young lady’s specialty is swiftly wielding two hammers at her opponents with no mercy, and her partner, who is as remorseless as she is, uses a bat and a baseball during his usual operations.

Eager to impress his father and ambitious to solidify his position, Uco wants to defeat the Japanese mobs, so he is naturally drawn to Bejo’s secret offer. They will break a long truce between Bangun and Koto for starting a war again, and Bejo promises that he will fully support Uco, though this untrustworthy guy clearly has some other ideas behind his back. As secretly watching on them, Rama sees what will happen sooner or later, but he also realizes that he may not survive the upcoming situation if he is not very careful.

While reprising some of the physical actions presented in his previous film, the director/writer Gareth Evans tries to top himself as making action scenes bigger, louder, faster, and bloodier on his broader canvass. Its fight choreography by Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian(he also plays one of minor characters in the film) is packed with ferocious intensity as expected, and the fight scenes in the movie do not feel choppy at all in spite of rapid camera movement and quick editing. The cinematography by Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono gives the movie a slick, polished look while never losing the gritty aspect of its actions scenes, and there are several action sequences which made me curious about how they made them.

small_small_theraid207 One of them is particularly mentionable because it simultaneously captures two different types of actions happening along the highway through a busy mix of well-planned camera movement and first-rated stunt performances. We have an intense struggle inside one vehicle, and then we also have a car chase action literally following after that vehicle, and this sequence rapidly shuffles between them without any confusion until it reaches to its finish line.

However, when action is not on the screen, the movie is bland and uninteresting as it struggle to roll its insipid crime story. The characterization is one-dimensional to say the least, and the plot frequently loses its pace while dully explaining the situations around its bunch of characters. We are not sure about what is exactly going on as losing our way amid the cardboard characters who simply exist for killing or being killed, and the movie just keeps throwing action and other things into its disorienting story without no particular focus or attention to story and characters. I am not so sure about what Rama’s boss is exactly planning, and I am also scratching my head on the motive behind one deadly action scene with a taxi.

I do not doubt that Iko Uwais is competent as a promising action movie star, and he and other stunt performers deserve praises for making their fight scenes look quite real without getting any serious injury in front of the camera, but his character still feels like a blank page as before. There are a few shots involved with his family members, but these obligatory shots do not add much to his character except informing us that he is a good family guy inside his dirty disguise. As the movie bloats its plot, Rama relatively becomes an insignificant part in the story, and its big climax containing his series of striking fight sequences does not compensate much for that.

small_theraid208 Mainly due to thin characterization, the other actors surrounding Uwais do not leave much impression unless they fight or kill. There are many conversation scenes between Rama and the other characters, but I think the most memorable line in the movie is “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” or “Arrrrrrrrgh!” – and I can assure you that these visceral lines are used again and again throughout the film.

I previously said “The Raid: Redemption” will be “the most single-minded and simple-minded action flick of this year”. Although impressed and excited by its single-minded ferocity, I was not very enthusiastic about it mainly due to its lack of substance to support its action scenes, and I was also bothered by its inherent vicious attitude toward its extreme violence.

While technically more improved and polished, “The Raid 2” continues that disturbing trend with more problems to block my entertainment. Its narrative is unnecessarily sprawling and ponderous, and I could not care about its clumsy plot, and I got quickly tired of its long, long parade of violent actions with a very little sense of fun or excitement. I understand well why this film is being regarded as an electrifying action masterpiece by many people, and I will not deny that its physical action scenes are certainly a lot more engaging to watch than that dreary CGI spectacles of Transformers movies. I still don’t think I will watch this movie again, but I may enjoy a documentary showing how they made its actions scenes – now that’s an interesting film I am more eager to watch.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) ☆☆☆1/2(3.5/4) : The Clash of Species

dawnoftheplanetofapes01 As the second chapter of the rebooted series, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” fully develops the potentials shown in the previous film which breathed fresh air into the franchise with a surprising result. As a blockbuster film, the movie certainly has a number of well-made action scenes worthy of your ticket price, but it does far more than that; it gives us another engaging story to hold our attention, and we eventually come to see a touch of classic tragedy behind the inevitable clash of species depicted in the movie.

As implied during the epilogue scene of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”(2011), a virus lethal to human species was spread all over the world not long after a big revolt by our ape hero Caesar(Andy Serkis) and his fellow apes, who acquired considerable intelligence through ‘simian virus’. With no cure for this virus, lots of people died as the human society got collapsed as a result, and now there are only a small number of people who have managed to survive among the ruins of human civilization since the outbreak.

After settling in the forest near San Francisco, Caesar and other apes have been leading a nice tribal life during last 10 years. They made their own primitive community on the top of a mountain, and we see them hunting together with sticks and other tools like our ancestors did a long time ago. I wonder where they acquired those horses which all look like Black Beauty’s descendants from(was there a horse ranch near their area?), but I guess that is a small nod to that memorable moment in “Planet of the Apes”(1968).

Although they usually depend on sign language for communication, they can speak while teaching rudimentary English to the younger members of their tribe(another question: how could they reproduce that much during a short span of time?), and, as musing on their progress, Caesar and his close colleagues believe that they will continue to prosper as they have since their revolution. Caesar’s dear wife Cornelia(Judy Greer) is sick and probably has not many days to live(she is always attended by her, uh, apes-in-waiting while saying or expressing little to her husband), but they have two children they love, and his son Blue Eyes(Nick Thurston) may succeed him someday although this young ape still needs much to learn for standing up for himself as a future leader.

dawnoftheplanetofapes02 And then their peaceful existence is disrupted by a bunch of humans who come into their territory on one day. Malcolm(Jason Clarke) and others accompanying him mean no threat to Caesar and other apes; their community residing in the downtown area of San Francisco has been facing a serious energy crisis which will put them back to that dark, chaotic time, and they need to find and reactivate a water power plant in the apes’ territory for supplying electricity to their place.

At first, Caesar throws a hostile response to Malcolm and other humans mainly for calming down his more aggressive tribal members including Koba(Toby Kebbell), but he eventually accepts Malcolm’s sensible request, so it seems things will be worked out well for both sides. Malcolm and others are allowed to go to the water power plant and repair it with some help from the apes, and Caesar begins to trust Malcolm, who is as decent as a few human beings he knew in the past.

However, as we have seen from many stories about two different groups in hostile conflict, both Caesar and Malcolm soon find the situation going beyond their control as being swept by that. The humans in San Francisco, led by their de facto leader Dreyfus(Gary Oldman), are ready to invade into the apes’ territory with the weapons from a nearby military storage, and some of Caesar’s tribal members are also determined to get rid of humans. Both sides come to follow that destructive tribal mentality represented by ‘it’s us or them’, and, through his misjudgment and mistakes, Caesar comes to learn a bitter lesson as a consequence.

The director Matt Reeves, who did an exemplary remake job in “Let Me In”(2010), establishes well the dark, uncertain mood along with the accumulating tension amplified by Michael Giacchino’s uneasy dissonant score on the soundtrack. In contrast to that dizzy shaky camera approach in his previous film “Cloverfield”(2008), Reeves shows steadier handling of the action sequences during the climactic part of the film(there are at least two fabulous tracking shots which you have to see for yourself), and they are supported well by a good story which makes us 1) understand the motives of its major characters and 2) worry about what will possibly happen due to their clashing motives and 3) care a lot about not only its ape hero but also some of the other characters in the movie.

dawnoftheplanetofapes03 When I watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, I was surprised by how much I came to care about Caesar’s plight even though I knew well that he was a CGI character, and Andy Serkis’ performance was one of crucial elements which made Caesar into a compelling hero. Serkis, who may deserve a special Oscar someday as an actor who has been the soul of many memorable CGI characters during recent years, is more prominent here as a well-meaning leader who believes a little too much in his fellow apes, and he and the other actors provided convincing performances to be transformed into their vivid ape characters on the screen. The drama between Caesar and his son is familiar to the bone, but they do feel like real characters in their interactions, and their quiet conversation scene later in the movie is particularly effective thanks to that. It is also welcoming to see the various ape characters we met in the previous film, and I was reminded again of my small personal affection toward Maurice(Karin Konoval), a wise, gentle orangutan who slowly becomes a friend to Malcolm’s son Alexander(Kodi Smit-McPhee).

Not so surprisingly, the human characters are less distinctive in comparison as the apes steal the show. Besides Jason Clarke, who earnestly holds his place in opposite to Serkis, most of the actors including Gary Oldman and Keri Russell(she plays Malcolm’s doctor girlfriend) are stuck with simple characterization, but the solid screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Mark Bomback treats its human characters as an equal major part of the story, and that is one of the main reasons why its climax, which revolves around a high-rise building virtually ready for one of the oldest villain clichés, works on many levels.

Promising the next story to come before its end credits, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” successfully moves the franchise into more potentials as doing nearly everything a good sequel should do. I cared about the apes as well as the humans in the film, and, as observing that there is not much difference between these two species entangled with each other in their ugly conflict, I could not help but think of the last paragraphs from George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”. They are still lingering on my mind as I am reflecting on the movie now, and Caesar will probably understand why: “Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

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The Signal (2014) ☆☆1/2(2/5/4) : They follow it, and then…

thesignal01 In my humble opinion, style and substance are necessary for making a good SF film. For drawing our curiosity, SF film needs some style to create its own mood and reality, and that will make us believe that something fantastic can happen in its story. For stimulating our interest, it also needs some substance to support its own ideas, and that will intrigue and entertain us while inducing other interesting thoughts from us.

As a small SF film, “The Signal” has style and substance, but it does not have enough substance to be a recommendable one. I do not mind that its premise is not so fresh, but, after the nice set-up process in the beginning, the movie moves its story in a very familiar and predictable way, and what will be revealed in the end can be easily guessed within its first 20 minutes if you are a seasoned movie audience. I felt dissatisfied to see that there were not many things to talk about besides that, and I eventually could not help but think of other several other SF films which handle similar premises better than this one.

Anyway, the movie starts with promising potential while establishing its characters and their initial circumstance. Because his girlfriend Haley(Olivia Cooke) is going to move from MIT to Caltech, Nick(Brenton Thwaites, who previously appeared in “Oculus”(2013) and “Maleficent”(2014) early in this year and will be soon shown to us again through the upcoming film “The Giver”) is taking her to California by his car along with his close friend Johah(Beau Knapp), and they are mostly in good mood although there is a growing doubt between Nick and Haley. As shown through flashbacks, Nick was a marathon runner before he got a permanent injury on his legs, and, as they become distant to each other after his injury, Haley naturally begins to wonder whether this road trip is his act of saying goodbye to her.

thesignal04 Meanwhile, an interesting thing draws Nick and Jonah’s attention during one evening. They once encountered a hacker named NOMAD, and this mysterious guy impressed them a lot through successfully breaking into the computer network system of MIT, while almost getting Nick and Johah expelled as a consequence at that time. When NOMAD contacts them again, Nick and Jonah succeeds in tracking down NOMAD’s real IP address, and their curiosity is increased further when they discover that NOMAD resides in some area of Nevada which happens to be near their road trip route.

Although Haley is not so pleased about their changed plan, Nick and Jonah want to know the identity of NOMAD, so they and Haley go to that remote area in question during the next evening. They only find nothing but a barren house on the spot, and the house clearly looks suspicious for good reasons, but Nick and Jonah make an unwise choice of going into the house instead of leaving the area as soon as possible(I guess they have not watched those horror movies about young guys getting into serious trouble).

It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that something happens while Nick and Jonah look around the house, and then Nick wakes up to find himself being confined in an unknown place which looks like some top secret government facility. Everyone wears white hazmat suit in this place just because Nick is assumed to be infected through whatever happened during that baffling moment he cannot remember well, and he is frequently tested and interviewed by Damon(Laurence Fishburne), who seems to be in charge of everything in the building.

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The director William Eubank, who co-wrote the screenplay with Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio, maintains well the claustrophobic feeling of paranoia on the screen as suggesting something insidious going on beyond Nick’s limited view. Damon does not tell a lot about what is exactly happening, so Nick naturally becomes more furious and frustrated as the time goes by, and he also realizes that there are many other things he should not trust besides Damon and other facility guys.

Along with the white sterile atmosphere surrounding him, Fishburne’s unflappably patient and authoritative attitude throws a certain chilling quality into the movie. Whatever cards his character is holding behind his back(or inside his hazmat suit, shall we say), Fishburne’s calm, detached performance always conveys us the sense of authority during his scenes and we begin to sense that he is the guy who always has the situation under control – no matter what happens.

Unfortunately, the movie becomes less interesting as going through its obligatory third act, and it was particularly disappointing for me to watch the movie taking a less intelligent route just for accelerating itself toward the expected ending. I do not mind about action as a part of story, but the action scenes in the movie just feel like being an artificial attempt to finish the story with bangs, and the movie leaves a little too many unexplained things around its ending.

Although “The Signal” was made only with a low budget of 2 million dollar, I can assure you that its budget was spent far more efficiently than the mega-budget for “Transformers: Age of Extinction”(2014), and the result clearly shows that William Eubank, who previously made a debut with “Love”(2011), is a good director with skills and potential. The movie is passable, but it is a commendable work to some degrees, and I guess we can accept it as a good signal for better things to come from its director in the future.

 

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Cats on summer days (2014/07/01)

                       

Besides a kitten belonging to one of my colleagues, I want to show you several new cat family members of KAIST.

 

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