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Death Race (2008) and Antichrist - Reviews

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DEATH RACE (2008 )

Death Race stars Jason Statham as Jensen Ames, a man who is framed for the murder of his wife and is sent away to a federal prison called Terminal Island Penitentiary. The prison hosts a 'Death Race', where 'lucky' prisoners are able to drive their own custom created vehicles, plowing down, shooting, burning, and otherwise killing each other. The 'lucky' prisoner that is able to win 5 of these death races is able to gain their freedom and leave the prison. Donning the nickname 'Frankenstein', for certain reasons, Ames tries to gain his freedom, but has competition with 'Machine Gun' Joe (Tyrese) who is hot on Ames tail to make his way out as well. Okay, the story isn't the film's highpoint, at all. The races are. The races are what helps the film going even through it's slow pacing of a story, and brings it to it's high climatic (sort of) ending. The violence was decent, not too gratuitous, and not too brutal at times. The races were interesting, that's really about it. The characters were boring, and Ian McShane always had the 'What am I doing here?' look on his face, and Statham always had the 'If you look at me I am going to hit you' look. The characters were cheesy, the plot was cheesy, the names were even cheesy, 'Lists' for a guy that makes lists, and Machine Gun Joe for a guy that likes to shoot machine guns, and the whole rest of the film was just a cliche-fest. and Joan Allen is just weird and different as the warden. The problem that I did have with the car races was that the camera would shake so much that it looked as if the cameraman was having a seizure while filming, and I still don't get why action films these days always have to require a shaky cam for. I did enjoy the ending a little bit as it did bring some closure, but broke the fourth dimension wall with the audience, which is always interesting. Overall Death Race is mediocre, but has some nice gore and racing scenes that make up for the slow pacing and bad storyline.

2/4 stars

ANTICHRIST

'Antichrist', a film that is hard to chew, hard to swallow, and hard to not think about long after viewing, at least for me in this case. It stars Willem Dafoe as 'He' and Charlotte Gainsbourg as 'She'. While He and She are making love in their home, their infant son Nick manages to climb out of his crib and walks out of an open window, falling to his death. The couple is severely grief stricken, He just mainly mopes around while She collapses at the funeral and is put into the hospital for a month. He is a therapist and tries to use some of his own therapy to coax her out of her incredibly deep depression. She replies by trying to deal with the constant pain through vast amounts of sex. He disagrees with her and decides to treat her to exposure therapy. He discovers that her greatest fear lies at their remote cabin in a small place called Eden, where She had spent time with Nick the previous summer writing a thesis on gynocide. When He and She arrive there, however, strange happenings begin to occur, and She's depression state begins to worsen and take a tragic turn for the worse. I was told about this film from a friend of mine, but I was warned at how graphic the content was. I didn't take that part of the recommendation, and I managed to finally settle in to watch this movie. I definitely should have followed that advice about the content. First off I would like to say that the opening sequence is quite beautiful and stunning, though the death of Nick is tragic, and the love making between He and She is fairly graphic, fairly. It's black and white, takes place in slow motion with bottles falling off of cabinets, etc. and the love making sort of reflects a rebirth of death of Nick. The rest of the film is presented in a very creative sort of way. It is full of tons of imagery, symbolism, art, and incredibly coherent surrealism, which was well crafted and brought some inventive pieces to the film. Now, the content, the part I don't really like to reflect back on while writing this review, but I must since it may help pull the screamish far, far away from it. Mentioned in the plotline, She is incredibly sexual oriented since the death of Nick, and those scenes that she does share with He are fairly and often graphic in both what is shown and what is implied. While most of the violence doesn't happen until the last 30 minutes, the climax, it is shown as incredibly realistic around all of the surrealism. Some parts, surprisingly, had even me cringing a few times in my seat which rarely, rarely happens. There is one bit of torture, and some self mutilation. I don't want to say where, or get into the details since it might get this review kick off of my blog, it is that graphic. With all of these warnings and details, it seems pretty obvious to not, NOT let minors view this film as it just may disturb their little mind, and they would also be too young for the content as well. The real problem I had with 'Antichrist' was that it dragged on slowly, but was helped back up in a few spots with some interesting details and scenery, though it was also incredibly confusing and I really wasn't sure what was going on or what was supposed to happen, but that is where the surrealism comes in. Overall Antichrist is one truly beautiful film, though it is incredibly graphic, the outcome is great and the more I think about the film afterwards, the more it becomes clear and better to me. If you can stomach the content and the plotline then you may just enjoy this film. It's a bit hard to recommend this film because of what is entangled inside, alas it is also difficult finding a score to give this film since my ratings and views of it change almost constantly. This movie makes you think long and hard afterwards about what was just seen, and it may just shake you up a bit like it did with me. I am still thinking about it, but here is the score I felt it should receive after my first viewing of it.

3/4 stars

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