Hostel Part II (2007)

Genre: Horror

Director: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth

Starring: Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips

Rating: ★★

Hostel Part II is the second instalment of a not so successful franchise by writer and director Eli Roth. His first and original, Hostel (2005), caused headlines to name It one of the most shocking American films made in the last ten years, with a mixture of extreme gore, violence and sex. Hostel’s sequel similarly follows the same trend, bringing again the gore, sex and violence but investing in a deeper story which replaces the shock previously created. It maybe horror to watch due to the nature of the film but at times the horror comes at the hands of a sloppy and poorly made film.

The story follows a group of three girls as they side-track from a trip to Rome, Beth (Lauren German) the “sensible” character and lead protagonist, who also has a bucket load of money and her friends, Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) the typical shy reserved girl whilst Whitney (Bijou Phillips), the third companion, is the typical whorish slut. As they are distracted by a young Slovakian Model telling them to travel to the outskirts of Bratislava for a spa weekend, they encounter the corrupt town and hostel which saw mass death and torture in the previous film. Unaware the girls are soon brought by three wealthy businessmen and woman waiting to taste their blood.

Hostel II attempts to give us a bigger picture, bigger than what we saw in the first instalment. We seem to have an insight into the way the “elite hunting” organisation is run, with a look into people bidding and those behind the murders. Although it is new and innovated by Roth, it does seem to be that we start to identify with the antagonists and follow their story too much, neglecting our victims. The shock is removed, after watching Hostel we now suspect everyone in the town and we just wait for the killing to start, however it takes a long time with the action only starting after the half-way point. The gore however is a lot more shocking, but less frequent, a way to beat the prequel for Roth seems to be, shoot a kid, chop of a man’s nob and play football with a head.

The effects are good, however we suspect it’s all fake and it just doesn’t have the same “I can’t look” factor, but instead a more comedic over the top element which for me resembled Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Hostel II again unlike the prequel doesn’t seem to be as clever, the directing isn’t as sharp and the cuts between shots which stood out in Hostel seem to be non-existent. A good aspect though, one of the very few, seems to be the sound effects which at times is the only thing which has a scare factor.

There isn’t too much to shout about with this film, everything is average. The acting for me is very average with most of the screen time being filled up with the three girls screaming and being incredibly whiney until a really dramatic change of character in the final scenes, which of course was realistic. The story seems poorly written, its ending seems laughable as it looks like Eli Roth wanted a really quick way to end the situation and move things on. Whilst the opening sequence which follows on from Hostel, is somewhat only there to stop the audience asking questions but essentially it makes the journey of Hostel look pointless, with Eli Roth somewhat shooting himself in the foot as he imagines the potential money he can make.

There is no surprise that Hostel III went to straight to a DVD release after the second instalment of the franchise showed no promising signs at all. Hostel II doesn’t have the same effect as Hostel and tries too hard to change, which essentially ruins its concept, whilst everything is average there is the standout of some gore and sound effects but that’s all. It is most likely a better comedy than a horror which is barely entertaining to watch, with this more than typical film being waste of time and for the most part the torture is afflicted upon the audience who has to watch such a mess unfold.

 

 

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Personal Favourite Film Soundtracks

It recently occurred to me how the films that I have been watching lately have had brilliant soundtracks and ones which I have been listening to over and over again. So here is a list of my personal favourite film soundtracks.

I re-watched the Tarantino Classic Reservoir Dogs not so long ago and it once again reminded of how brilliant the all 70’s soundtrack is which sees “Stuck In The Middle of You” be played in time to Mr Blonde cutting someone’s ear off. Sticking with Tarantino it is only fair to mention Pulp Fiction which sees some unconventional songs such as “Jungle Boogey” turn into a classic moment.

500 Days of Summer also holds one of the best soundtracks which is one of the main highlights to the unusual non-stereotypical rom-com, with song “Sweet Disposition” constantly being in your head after. Similar film Juno also brings to the table a very up-beat warm soundtrack that again is a highlight and credit to it’s film.

Most recently in cinema’s both Inside Llewyn Davis and Her have produced amazing soundtracks which I have not stopped listening to as well as a high standard to 2014 films. Inside Llewyn Davis really shows off folk music and Oscar Isaac’s talents whilst Her’s mixture of synthetic scores and songs such as “The Moon Song” is just beautiful and rather complimentary to Spike Jonze’s creation.

Two of my all time favourite films also hold two of my all time favourite soundtracks. Drive is brilliant with such a upbeat award winning score with songs “Night call” and “Real Hero” being amongst the highlights.  Donnie Darko my all time top film holds a great score which compliments and foreshadows every event with the famous and iconic “Mad World” being the highlight.

Do you agree? What are your personal favourite soundtracks?

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writers: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Edward Bunker, Lawrence Tierney

Rating: ★★★★★

Reservoir Dogs was Quentin Tarantino’s breakthrough film as it made a prestigious name at the Sundance Festival of 92’.  A mixture between cool, gruesome and fun it is one of my favourite films being somewhat flawless in form of story, directing, acting and soundtrack.  It is entertaining from the very first second and deserves its place as an all-time classic and one of the best films ever made.

The film stays mainly within a warehouse in the aftermath of a jewellery heist gone incredibly wrong after a police ambush.  As the story unfolds we are introduced to the infamous colour-coded gangsters as the four remaining survivors discuss who’s betrayed them and “what the fuck happened!” Mr White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr Orange (Tim Roth) charge into the warehouse, Mr Orange has been shot in the gut, blood everywhere, Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) shorty follows, screaming it’s a set-up. Shouting, swearing, screaming they’re clueless in what to do and who has betrayed them.  The film then switches showing the story of how they were picked for the job by leader, “the thing” look-alike Joe Calbot (Lawrence Tierney). Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) then strolls in; he’s psychotic and has a cop in the boot as a hostage; they attempt to find the rat again. Soon after Eddie (Chris Penn) arrives, the son of Joe, he’s angry, Joe is angrier, they go through the plan again together, the meetings, their history looking for the rat that has turned a robbery into a mix between a bloodbath and a western stand-off.

It is easy to spot the link between the pure genius in structure when looking at Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction as it is flawless. Starting completely with intriguing dialogue and introductions, followed by thrilling action which leads to “flashbacks” filling every hole and answering every question about each character and story; finishing in an amazing end climax filled with swearing, loud bangs and blood.  The script is hilarious at times with so many classic lines – “Why am I Mr Pink?” “Cause you’re a fucking faggot” –  “Don’t you think Mr Brown is too close to Mr Shit” – “Are you gonna bark all day little doggy or are you gonna bite?” – The dialogue is then complemented by classic scenes, including the famous and somewhat horrific ear-cutting scene which is filmed directly to the 70’s classic Stuck in the Middle of You as Mr Blonde decides to play games with his hostage, it is one of my favourite film scenes ever created.  The whole film, from start to finish is filled with fun and entertainment and rarely within in a film there is not a single boring moment you want to rush through.

The characters are excellently developed within the structure, Mr White is our main character somewhat, and we like him most. Mr Pink is annoying, selfish and pig-like, he also doesn’t tip waitresses. Mr Blonde is a psycho; however he’s cool mysterious and someone who you wouldn’t argue with. The stories are so well structured and planned out you learn and see into the personality of each character. The acting of these characters is also a faultless aspect, Harvey Keitel as Mr White is brilliant with the final and opening scenes really being his highlights.  Buscemi’s Mr Pink is also another standout, although annoying he deserves credit for some great moments especially when he’s calming down Blonde and White.

The all 70’s soundtrack is something which adds this fun and different element to Reservoir Dogs making it stand out.  Simply including it would have had a great effect within the film however in a master-class way Tarantino many times makes the music diegetic putting it within the “film world”. Shown in full extent as Mr Blonde cuts of an ear and then throughout as the gang plays K-BILLY’s 70’s classics driving around.

Reservoir Dogs is an unforgettable watch, one which you will go back to time and time again as the film is definitely one of the best and most definitely one of my favourites ever made.  Tarantino’s debut is simply faultless showing its own created style within every frame.  Classic dialogue, an excellently executed story, a cool soundtrack along with brilliant acting makes this an easily watchable, fully entertaining experience.