(fr) wrote: Five days into the new year, and I realized that I'd yet to review a bad film here on Rotten Tomatoes. Five days and I'd yet to give a horrible train wreck a much-needed thrashing. In fact, all of the movies I've seen so far this year I've actually liked. Maybe not a lot, but enough to give them a half-assed recommendation. Thank God for [i]The Singing Forest[/i]. [i]The Singing Forest[/i] is a bloody awful film. It consistently finds new and interesting ways to be awful, so much so that it almost takes on value as a genuine curiosity. Now, I'm not saying it's the worst film ever made like some of the folks on the IMDb, but that's because I've seen [i]Black Devil Doll from Hell[/i]. The Singing Forest isn't even quite terrible enough to be interesting. Let me get the plot out of the way first. Jon Sherrin, who looks like he just stepped out of a Joe Gage film, plays Christopher, a column writer whose wife is six months dead. After interviewing a psychic for a piece (apparently he's not a writer for one of those publications that rely on silly things like "facts"), he becomes convinced he's the reincarnation of a Nazi who helped hide Jews during WWII. Fine. Whatever. Christopher goes to meet his daughter and her new fiancee, Ben. Christopher tries to convince Ben that they were actually lovers in a past life, and while Ben is skeptical at first, he ends up naked in Christopher's bed after getting wasted at what appears to be the dullest bachelor party in history. Things get, well, awkward--more for the audience than the characters, though. Neither seems to think too much of this relationship, and while the daughter eventually discovers them in bed together, everything gets cleared up with a group hug. Okay, so it's pretty much established that the plot is terrible. The fact that the WWII connection is established only in quick footage of concentration camp victims and a title card that claims the war started in 1933 shows that the filmmakers did their entire research by reading faulty sugar packets. So it's automatically both incomprehensible and tasteless. Wait, I said "filmmakers." In fact, there's one man to blame for all of this. His name is Jorge Ameer. If you meet this man, please beat the hell out of him with a crowbar. But being incomprehensible and tasteless does not automatically a terrible film make. A bad film, yes, but sometimes such things manage to succeed anyway and be entertaining on their own charms. Fortunately for my urge to rip a film to shreds, [i]The Singing Forest[/i] has no charms at all. Let's take a look at its' features. 1. The dialogue is ridiculously overwrought. Lines like "Nature has a way of getting us here and then forgetting about us" can, conceivably, be spoken by good or even entertainingly terrible actors to provide something resembling entertainment. When it's spoken by actors ranging from mediocre to poor, it's just laughable. 2. The daughter's name is Destiny, which allows the first thing Christopher says to Ben to be, "How long have you known my Destiny?" In some countries, people get shot for writing that sort of shit. (It also leads to the unintentionally hilarious line "Destiny is sleeping on the couch," the film's high point.) It's a wonder the dead mother isn't named Faith so as to utilize "Ever since I've lost Faith..." lines. 3. The film begins with the intertitle "HIS VERSION," leading one to believe there are other versions--in fact, later in the film, the psychic tells them "There are three versions to an arguement.. your version, their version, and what really happened." This is then repeated as an intertitle, as though to say to the audience, DO YOU GET IT? THERE ARE MULTIPLE VERSIONS TO EVERY STORY. This would lead one to believe that we'd, you know, get other versions of the story. We don't. In fact, who is even referenced by "HIS VERSION" in the first place? Both of the lead characters are male, and both have scenes on their own without the other. 4. At some points, the background noise drowns out the dialogue. As the dialogue is awful, this isn't always bad. 5. At other points, they don't even bother to have the dialogue at all, which wouldn't be bad, except that things are clearly different between the characters after the fact, and we don't have any idea why. 6. At still other points, the dialogue is clearly not synched to the actor's mouths. 7. There are multiple points in the film with jump-cut montages... in fact, one segment features a jump-cut montage of Ben waiting for the psychic for no reason whatsoever. It's a movie, man, you don't have to have characters waiting around if they're not going to be doing anything. 8. After Christopher talks about concentration camps, Ben counters with "Sounds like a nightmare. Sounds like my childhood." Then he talks about how horrible life was when he was moved through a couple foster homes. That's it. Yes, dumbass, that sounds exactly like being in a concentration camp. 9. Christopher says "I would never do anything to hurt you. Ever." to his daughter AFTER HE'S SLEPT WITH HER FUCKING FIANCEE. 10. We never have any idea what the hell any of the WWII stuff is supposed to be about. 11. Neither Christopher nor Ben react at all in the morning after they wake up naked together in a bed. There's some half-assed mention about Ben temporarily being possessed by Alexander, his past-life counterpart, but this just kind of stops. 12. There is no singing. There is no forest. There is no mention of singing or a forest. Okay, I'm tired and I've barely begun to list the problems with the film. Well, clearly I've begun, but listing them all individually might take more bandwidth than RT can spare. So why even give it a "1?" Well, because (a) it's 62 minutes, and thus could have wasted a lot more of my time and (b) it has male nudity, and the guy who plays Ben is kind of cute. (The guy who plays Christopher looks like Edward Albert.) These factors immidiately raise it above the bottom 20 or so movies I've ever seen. Even so, writer/producer/director/actor Ameer (who manages to give the worst performance in a film full of clunkers) needs to be punished. Badly. He's directed a few other features, and I can only assume they're all as bad as this one as they haven't received distribution. (Being a gay film, [i]The Singing Forest[/i] has an automatic audience of folks used to terrible, low-budget pieces of shit, and thus got a DVD release.) I hate you, [i]The Singing Forest[/i]. Ahhhh, that felt much better. Good movie tomorrow again. I promise.
(ag) wrote: Death Sentence is a great movie that is one heck of a try from James Wan. It's refreshing to see James Wan to make a movie that is different than his usual horror genre, although it does have some psychological moments in there that are really effective. Kevin Bacon is amazing in this, and can really pull it off as an action lead. The plot is a typical revenge movie, but they do put in some scenes that I didn't know where it's going. The writing is really good, and I honestly thought the stuff they do made sense. The action scenes are great and filmed really good too. It's interesting, and the soundtrack by Charlie Clouser is really catchy and never felt like he made another Saw soundtrack. The characters are memorable enough that you actually feel bad for what they have to go through. The message of it at first can get skeptical as that's the wrong message to give out, but when it comes to the result, it changed the message a bit which I was a little glad they did. Death Sentence is James Wan's first action movie, and it's an enjoyable one that I'm glad that he's the new director for Furious 7.