FrameRate Reviews

Because you don't have time…and neither do I!

Guest Review– Eraserhead

I present to you all the first guest review for FrameRate, provided by my good friend and fellow blogger Joshua “Jammer” Smith! I let Jammer be a bit loose with the rules, as the guy laughs in the face of any and all writing restrictions; brevity is still key though, even if he’s gonna need those extra sentences with the movie he’s reviewing. Now, I’ll shut up and let Jammer say the rest—

Eraserhead is a silent movie made entirely of sound. Most reviews of the film say things like “It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” and that’s accurate but it doesn’t give the film the justice that it deserves. The film has a loose narrative: a man named Henry who lives in a ruined post-industrial nightmare world conceives a “child” with a local woman and the rest of the film revolves around him trying to care for it. That’s the only real “plot” of the movie, because otherwise the film is a series of impressions and dreamlike (or nightmarish) sequences of strange oddities that should be seen to be appreciated. I won’t lie, Eraserhead is not always pleasant to watch, but as I said at the start, the beauty of this film is that it’s like watching a silent film. Sound is constantly generating a nightmare background making the atmosphere. The movie is worth your time, even if it’s just once because there isn’t any film like Eraserhead.


If you like how Jammer writes and want to see him write many, many more words, roll over to his blog and read his analyses of books, movies, tv shows, current events, and all the like at White Tower Musings. Here, have this link to his article on Eraserhead

Interested in doing a guest review? Contact me at! 

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie

Before the review, a quick aside about the tricky continuity of Ghost in the Shell:

As you can tell from the poster, this is indeed animated and not starring an Avenger. Nor is it tied to the continuity of the original ’95 classic, or the other separate tv series, Stand Alone Complex. Instead, this film wraps up a series of four Original Video Animations–OVAs–subtitled Arise(OVAs are longer than a tv episode but shorter than a movie). In other words, it’s a sort of series finale for the Arise series, and really you should watch those first. All that said, here’s the review——

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie lacks a good deal of the philosophical depth of the other (animated) versions of the Ghost in the Shell series’, but more than makes up for that with some of the best character development we’ve seen so far. Usually the Major, Batou and Togusa are the focus, but interwoven with the complex political plot and excellent action scenes, we get a solid vision of the entire team and their feelings, the most realistic camaraderie in all the iterations of the group so far. The film is solidly made and very entertaining, with a few trip ups like a shoddy “body double” subplot, and I can’t recommend it enough to fans (although I recommend those new to the franchise start somewhere less…continuity-oriented). 


The Void

Since The Babadook I’ve had this idealized perception that indie horror was on the cusp of a revolution—and maybe it still is!—but a few films lately have dampened that view, The Void included. The film is visually creative in shots and designs, and the Lovecraftian elements are a nice change of pace from the standard “demonic” angle I half expected. But The Void is a failed pastiche where assembled elements of 80’s horror don’t feel creatively assembled together but yet sloppily assembled and ultimately derivative, and coupled together with some atrocious acting, makes for an experience which disappoints; my hope is another viewing could improve my feelings. 


About Time

I think in any other case I would roll my eyes at a movie like About Time, but I’m an absolute sucker for time travel stories, and although it’s use is very simplistic, the time travel is a very effective narrative tool which elevates the movie above the normal rom-com fair. The film is utterly charming from beginning to end, in a safe way, but as a purely entertaining work the “easiness” of the story can be overlooked, even if sometimes the film’s attempts at emotional manipulation can rub the wrong way. As usual Domhnall Gleeson is utterly delightful and awkward, star of the show, and Bill Nighy gives a fun performance with great chemistry with Gleeson (as does the rest of the ensemble), but what a trifecta it would’ve been had Rachel McAdams been given a less bland character to work with.  


The Assassin

Although certainly not the top of wuxia or Chinese filming, The Assassin is certainly a pretty movie, despite some snags. The movie is absolutely gorgreous, each frame filled with intricate costumes and sets, or breathtaking vistas, large and epic canvases in contrast of Shu Qi’s subtle performance or the quick but well choreographed fights. But the plot is muddled and confusing and the pace can be painfully slow, marring a wonderful movie of excellence but not making it a complete failure. 


Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell is, at its heart, a film with an identity crisis, torn between appealing to the original, superior source material and wanting to be its own thing. The result is some good, like the Major-Batou relationship, beautiful visuals, and cool designs, but a great deal of bad, too. From a hackneyed script with a weak villain, to the dull characters, and while always pretty some scenes feel like a cloying copy-paste of the original as opposed to an homage, which all culminates to a work that isn’t awful per se, but one that doesn’t live up to the name attached to it.  


I Am The Pretty Little Thing That Lives In The House 

This Netflix original movie had a promising and spooky trailer which immediately piqued my interest, but ultimately left me very disappointed. It’s strong part would be the odd, unusual main character, whose quirks make her feel more solid and real, and is very well played by Ruth Wilson. But despite how commendable the idea of a slow paced thriller is, I Am The Pretty Little Thing That Lives In The House soon goes from “slow paced” to “agonizingly plodding” by the end, trying to fill time with the sparse narrative more suited to a short film, likely the side effect of the director being more focused on pretty shots (which they are!) than what truly matters—storytelling. 


I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore

Pessimistic and cynical, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore finds a way to convey the darkness of this world with unforced quirkiness and dark humor, and most of all, managing never to be maudlin. Melanie Lynskey is the “sick of this crap” hero we all want to be, and Elijah Wood gives probably one of my favorite performances of his career. The film’s climax is truly tense and gut wrenching, but the conclusion cheapens the overall journey in the end. 


Power Rangers

I tried to go into the movie with an open mind, hoping Power Rangers would be good or at the very least entertaining but… I can’t say it was much of either. Minus a few glimmers of hope—the character Billy, the diversity of the cast, some designs I guess?—the film is directed by a man who longs to be Michael Bay, with a plot and acting straight out of the worst ABC Family/Freeform has to offer, and when the fighting comes, it’s haphazard and forgettable. Simply put, the movie isn’t good, either artistically or as a piece of entertainment, and unless 90’s kid nostalgia compels you to see it, I’d recommend you spend your money elsewhere. 


A Website.

Up ↑