Saturday, December 28, 2013

TWO ACTORS ACTING: AN APPRECIATION FOR THE BATTERY AND RESOLUTION

This year I tried something a little different and I reserved my "Top 13 Horror Movies of the 2013" list for Icons of Fright.  It's already up and ready for viewing so if you want to check out my "Best of the Year," you've gotta head on over to Icons of Fright and CHECK IT OUT
A still from THE BATTERY guaranteed to give you a case of the cinematic vapors.

A majority of the films I loved this year all had very small casts.  All throughout acting school it was rammed into our brains that "less is more."  Is it fun to watch an entire city run through the streets of New York City while aliens blast lasers through buildings topped with strippers holding "Welcome" signs? Hell to the yes! However, it's a lot easier to grab your attention when you have aliens, tall buildings, fire, cars flipping, and thousands of people running and screaming.  When you scale it back and have a film with less Michael Bay-esque action sequences and exchange stock characters for people with actual substance, you'll find yourself with an intimate cinematic experience far more impacting than a war of the worlds.  Two films that made my best-of list this year understood that movies don't need 'holyshitexplosions' to force a viewer to pay attention.
"This is the worst of it." from RESOLUTION
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's RESOLUTION tells the tale of a man named Michael desperate to save his meth addicted former friend, Chris.  When Chris refuses to go to rehab, Michael uses a taser to subdue him and chains him to a metal pipe in a home in the middle of the woods, forcing withdrawal.  There are secondary characters that make appearances throughout the film but it's when the lens is focused on the two men that the film contains its strength.  Justin Benson wrote the film as well as co-directed, but the dialogue given for these two men is absolutely dynamite.  The power plays between the two characters is fascinating to watch unfold and the strange situations that these two men are thrown into constantly keep audiences on their toes.  Without giving too much away about the actual film (It's on Netflix instant watch. Go watch it. No excuses.) had this film focused on society on a larger scale (ie: a city instead of two friends) the film would have been overwhelming and much to difficult to follow.  However, by showcasing a string of strange events and the way they affect two individuals, the overwhelming concepts are much easier to interpret.  This film could have quickly become a hot mess of ideas, but the performances from the two lead actors (Peter Cilella as Mike and Vinny Curran as Chris) are so compelling, they keep all of the insanity of the world around them in check.  These are characters the audience genuinely cares about and the second the audience allows themselves to become a spectator into the lives of these two friends, the film becomes all the more heartbreaking when RESOLUTION shows why it's a horror movie.  Ultimately, RESOLUTION utilized the power of two actors acting, and it was one of the most memorable films released this year.

Practical joking in a post-apocalyptic world in THE BATTERY
Part buddy-comedy, part zombie film, part character study, and all-around wonderful film, THE BATTERY is a film that completely revitalized what I love about cinema.  Shoe-string budget, minimal locations, two central characters with less than a handful of other people that show up for less than four minutes, and a some random zombies all combined to make one of the most interesting films I've ever seen, ever.  Every single aspect of THE BATTERY is enjoyable.  These characters feel so genuine that even the moments (brushing teeth, for example) that feel like they're going on for a little too long, are still enjoyable rather than frustrating.  The 'odd-couple' story has been done time and time again, but the dichotomy between these two characters isn't so much of "opposites attract" as they are "celebrating differences."  95% of this film is watching two characters try to survive the zombie apocalypse.  When I say "try to survive," I don't mean in in the sense of THE WALKING DEAD or even SHAUN OF THE DEAD, I mean surviving in the sense that these two people haven't seen a living being for months and encounter one or two zombies every once in a while.  Think about wandering the world with no sound, no phone, no internet, no television, no showers, no anything for MONTHS at a time and only having the companionship of someone you only kind-of, sort-of know.  This film could have been very, very boring (just two dudes walking around?) but the characters were crafted so well, every moment of the film was worth watching.  The two leads played by Adam Cronheim and Jeremy Gardner (who directed/wrote/produced the film) are wonderful to watch.  Gardner provides a majority of the comedic relief, but Cronheim's emotional rollercoaster is actually quite riveting. THE BATTERY took a massive risk and succeeded in every sense of the word.

Still from RESOLUTION


THE BATTERY and RESOLUTION are two of the very best films of 2013, and two films that valued quality over quantity.  RESOLUTION is available on Netflix instant watch amongst other viewing platforms and THE BATTERY is available for purchase HERE for $5.00 and all of the proceeds directly assist the filmmakers.

1 comment(s):

Jennifurla said...

I'm dying to see the battery.

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