Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
5,381
Location
Arizona
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Panasonic UB820 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Lowlife


full?lightbox=1&last_edit_date=1534413438.jpg

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



full?lightbox=1&update=1534413438.jpg
Movie

IFC Midnight films is a bit hit or miss for me, but I still have a strange fascination with them. They are usually in the market for putting out grungy modern horror films, but they occasionally branch out to other markets, as they have done with Lowlife. Now, while Lowlife is more of a dark comedy wrapped in a caper about organ harvesting, it REALLY isn’t that much outside of IFC’s wheelhouse. The film is gory as all getout, shock jock style of Tarantino level violence (which could be why ever advertisement for the film compared it to Pulp Fiction nonstop), and a dark sense of humor that is more grisly than the average dark comedy. But even with those strange oddities, Lowlife manages to be a wild roller coaster of off the cuff humor, brutal violence, and a wild story line that had me hooked from beginning to end.

Marketing is the bane of movie watching right now. I really don’t envy the person required to market a modern film, as they just cram everything into the trailer and expect the audience to be surprised (even though you’ve seen half the movie just from the trailer). Lowlife hit the film festival circuit back in 2017 and got some really good buzz, but the marketing for the film was SOOOOOOO over the top that you knew that the movie could never live up to the hype. Even the print marketing was hyping up the movie as the next Pulp Fiction (that comparison is made from at LEAST a dozen different video and print sources when I was researching the movie), but somehow it actually IS really good. You have to leave the comparison with Quentin Tarantino at the door (besides the hyper violence, there’s not much of a corollary), but if you can, then Lowlife is an incredibly fun ride.

In the middle of Los Angeles (it’s always Los Angeles) there is a thriving criminal operation. Crime lord, Teddy Bear Haynes (Mark Burnham) is running an illegal organ harvesting ring right under the noses of law enforcement through his fish taco joint. With the help of scummy ICE agent Fowler (Jose Rosete), he is able to pick up disenfranchised illegal immigrants off of his taco join and down underground where he can hack them up and make some money off their organs. Not to mention trading in the pretty little chiquitas into street walkers.
full?lightbox=1&update=1534413438.jpg
Local motel operator Crystal (Nicki Micheaux) learns that her daughter Kaylee (Santana Dempsey) could be the source of a much needed kidney transplant for her deathly ill husband, which sets off a chain of events which will rock the little neighborhood to it’s core. They scheme to steal a kidney from Teddy, sparking off a violent war that includes Keith, a swastika covered ex con named Randy, and the help of local luchador legend, El Monstruo (Ricardo Adam Zarate) in a bloody battle for the lone organ.

As I said earlier, leave the comparisons to Pulp Fiction at the door. The marketing team was trying sooooooooooo hard to segue the two films together, but besides both movies featuring darkly comedic criminal hijinks, the comparisons stop there. However, Lowlife succeeds fully on it’s own merits, and the trailer really doesn’t do the indie film justice in how bizarre and hyper violent it really is. There’s an early on scene with Teddy rounding up his victims and harvesting organs that really does turn the stomach, and the battles near the end splatter the entire screen with gore and darkly comedy violence. The humor is wry and sharp, but never exactly laugh out loud funny. Instead, the humor is one that you kind of chuckle at out of the corner of your mouth, while you wince in your seat from the stupid levels of gore and blood.

While everyone does a great job with their roles, it’s the masked luchador, El Monstruo that steals the show. Being a folk legend you can surmise that he’s actually the descendant of the original El Monstruo, but has fallen on some hard times. Instead of helping the poor and downtrodden, he’s actually taken up being a bodyguard and enforcer for Teddy, ruining what legacy he has left. However, his sense of comedic timing is impeccable, making his presence the most visceral and exciting of the whole movie. Whenever El Monstruo is on screen, you KNOW things are about to get real.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4.5stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1534413438.jpg
Shot using digital cameras and SUPPOSEDLY finished on a 2K master (through a contact from IFC Midnight), Lowlife looks incredible on Blu-ray. The digitally shot film is fully of bright shiny colors, and a burnished look that belies its budget source. El Monstruo’s shrine to his forefather’s is full of rich primaries, such as his golden mask, or the reds and blues of the ornaments decorating the shrine. The city of Los Angeles is bright and slightly burnished in color, but showing off magnificent details. The opening scene with Teddy processing the organ’s is ooey gooey and full of bright red blood, and the shadowy environment he’s in never fails to impress. Darks are impressively black throughout, and artifacting (outside of some minor banding) is pretty much nonexistent.





Audio: :4.5stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1534413438.jpg
Scream Factory doesn’t disappoint with the audio either, giving the audience a choice between their usual 5.1 DTS-HD MA tracks as well as a 2.0 DTS-HD MA track for night listening. Both are great for their uses, but the 5.1 track naturally wins out over the 2.0 mix. The track is a mixture of English and Spanish (thus why I dubbed it an English/Spanish designation in the specs), and is a powerhouse of a track. This is not a quiet movie and the 5.1 mix makes full use of the 6 speakers, blasting the listener with tons of action oriented gunfire, and fisticuffs that rock you into your seat. The vocals are always crisp and clean no matter the language being spoken, and the rocking track makes great use of the surrounds and mains to make the film a truly encompassing experience. LFE is deep and punishing, adding serious power to the gunfire, as well as the throbbing low end from the intense score. Near perfect, it and the video are easily the highlights of the film.







Extras: :3.5stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1534413438.jpg
• Audio Commentary featuring director/co-writer Ryan Prows and cinematographer Benjamin Kitchens.
• Audio Commentary featuring Ryan Prows, co-writer Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson and writer/actor Shaye Ogbonna
• Making Of (
• Fiends Short Film
• Thugs Short Film
• Monsters Short Film
• Trailer








Final Score: :4stars:


I really wasn’t expecting to like Lowlife. It looked grungy, cheap, and full of comparisons to a movie that I KNEW it could never live up to. That being said, it’s a wildly energetic ride from beginning to end and thrives on its own merits. The movie won’t be for everyone due to the hyper violence, and the film COULD use some better editing, but overall it’s a dark comedy that really is nothing short of a lunatic roller coaster ride worthy of popping some extra popcorn. Scream Factory has given the film an AMAZING looking encode and a great audio track as well, but still left room for a hefty serving of extras that rivals some of their collector’s editions. Not for everyone, but worth checking out if you’re a fan of hyper violent dark comedies.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Jon Oswald, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Nicki Micheaux
Directed by: Ryan Prows
Written by: Ryan Prows, Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson, Shaye Ogbonna, Maxwell Michael Towson
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English/Spanish: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English/Spanish DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: NR
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 7th, 2018






Recommendation: Fun Watch

 

Asere

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,481
Location
Texas
More  
Main Amp
Denon AVR X4200W
Additional Amp
Parasound HCA 1500A
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103D
Front Speakers
SVS Prime Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Prime
Surround Speakers
SVS Prime Satellites
Front Height Speakers
Proficient
Rear Height Speakers
Proficient
Subwoofers
Dual Kreisel DXD 12012, PSA S3000i
Video Display Device
Samsung PNF8500
Screen
60"
Remote Control
Harmony Ultra
Streaming Subscriptions
Panamax M5300 PM, Monster HTS 3600
I will be watching this one. Thanks for the review.
 

tripplej

AV Addict
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
6,915
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
NAD T-777
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player
Front Speakers
7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers
Subwoofers
2 Paradigm SE Subs
Other Speakers or Equipment
Nintendo Wii U Gaming Console
Video Display Device
Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV
Remote Control
Universal Remote MX-450
Streaming Subscriptions
Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge
Thanks for the review. I will also check it out. :)
 
Top Bottom