A somewhat watchable but almost instantly forgettable horror film that lures its audience with VHS nostalgia and Barbara Crampton, "Beyond the Gates" never gets much traction. Focusing on a VHS-based game that finds its protagonists running afoul of some supernatural evil, the story sports an interesting concept but lackluster follow-through. Production value is limited, and the cast does what it can with what it is given. The film leaves little impression.
An American expressionistic cocktail of horror, comedy, and outcast allegory, James Whale's "The Bride of Frankenstein" is a crisp and handsome genre work. Finding the, perhaps, crazed Dr. Frankenstein God-playing once again, the sequel to Whale's own "Frankenstein" revolves around the doctor's coercion back into nefariousness by the dark and mischievous Pretorious. Whale's compositions are haunting, the film's performances are potent as the narrative, and a playfulness tempers the rich bleakness. That playfulness may, sometimes, detract from the overall experience, but there is no questioning the film's place as gem in the crown that is the Universal monster cycle of the 1930s and '40s.
"Inception," at its most basic, is two things. It is a heist film dressed in science fiction conventions; and it is a study of a man trying to free himself from a near-suffocating past. "Inception," at its more complex, is a cerebral pop-masterpiece. It is an enthralling combination of thought-provoking, layered story-telling and sumptuous aesthetics enhanced by near-flawless editing, sound design, effects, and musical score. Driven by a pitch-perfect cast and the confident directorial hand of Christopher Nolan, "Inception" is a brilliant and unrivaled piece of filmmaking.
"Whiplash," Damien Chazelle's 107-minute-long ode to mentors, musicians, and motivation, is a taut and mesmerizing piece of filmmaking. A quick-moving and engrossing drama that explores the roles of teacher and learner, parent and child, Chazelle builds a film that brims with energy and emotion, bursts with authentic character beats, and soars with a percussive and narrative brilliance.
With its powerful performances, crackling direction, and riveting story, "Whiplash" is a truly great piece of work.
Chazelle's story is built around Miles…