Mary and Max (2009)

Director: Adam Elliot
Starring: Toni Collette, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana, Narrated by Barrie Humphries. Australia/USA. 1h 32m

It’s hard to summarise the movie in words and it just makes you think and feel of so many childhood moments and  nostalgia once again. If you’re someone who’s in a dark place I’d like to think that the two requited characters The are the scent of Elliot’s movie will help rekindle something in you as they speak to audiences on a universal level.

Two unlikely people. Two different worlds come together in a story about a most unusual friendship.

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Byzantium (2012)

Director: Neil Jordan
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, Caleb Landry-Jones  .UK. 1h 58m

Every few years vampires find themselves reinvented and they refuse to remove their fangs from our necks. Jim Jarmusch swung back with Only Lovers Left Alive, a revival of the romantic mixed with his own take on the eternal blood sucking genre, and it’s been two decades since Interview with a Vampire, the film that made millions swoon…

Byzantium switches between modern day and yesteryear through dreamy sequences and guttural gore as Gemma Arterton, often dolled up in numerous sexy outfits, and her supposed daughter Saoise Ronan play vampires who after years of running from hunters, end up in a dead end seaside town.  After shacking up with a timid hotelier, Daniel Mays, they set up their own brothel in his shabby establishment.

By the time the girls have settled into their new home, the authorities are taking an interest in them, but these agents have a good idea of the monsters lurking within the innocent faces and they are highly equipped to track down these undead wenches in order to make them more dead.

The strange unsettling drama will always been known as one of the new wave of modern neon movies, at times it sets itself among vibrant titles like Into the Void (20??), and yet there’s a creepy nostalgia when remote waterfalls turn into torrents of blood, but as the girls struggle through adversity in the 19th and 20th century, with and without corsets, the compelling story of power and hunger has a heavy feminist subtext that adds weight to the already fantastic adventure.  The girls are very unique from other vampires, while they are super strong and have acute senses, but their tool of the trade is a retractable fingernail which they use to kill, with this slightly feline temperament and talons the movie oozes yet another feminine thread.

” I’m never merciful, and knowledge is a fatal thing.”

-Clara

The story often stops and starts, falling over its own timeline, the girls seem to spend a lot of time sandboxing, falling in love with sick boys, updating their fries, struggling with the school system and the bittersweet gothic backstory determines why the girls hate men so much. But with such a long play time it seems to take a long time to describe what we have already guessed, and yet we still don’t really know where they are intending to go.

Certainly one for those who like a bit of mysticism and pretty visuals as much as a compelling story but don’t expect to have too many memories of the film other than pretty visuals as it frustratingly loses its personality along the way.

Rating: 6/10

TLDR

Related: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Enter the Void (2009)
Lists: Vampire romances Vol 1, Neon Cinema
Spotlight:  Sam Riley, Caleb Landry Jones

Post Discussion

Trailer

Peterloo (2018)

Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Roy Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Neil Bell, Philip Jackson, Pearce Quigley, Neil Bell  .UK. 2h 34m

Political riots just aren’t what they used to be, it seems like only yesterday innocent people were being shot with rubber bullets and tear gassed for arguing against the poll tax. WIth the Tories finally getting their wish to ban protesting it feels all that more poignant to remember our rights to speak out against matters we feel are unjust and wrong.

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An American Woman (2018)

Director: Jake Scott
Starring: Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul, Will Sasso, Pat Healy, Amy Madigan  .USA. 1h m

What starts out to be a melodrama about a woman, almost down on her luck but making the best of her life. Eventually turns into a homage to the resilience of all women, especially those mothers who have had to fight adversity and their own demons and manage to come out bigger and stronger on the other side.

Sienna Miller stars as Debra, a gorgeous thirty something year old single mother, who lives with her daughter and grandson, life is simple in their small town in Pennsylvania. Debra is forever young, she jokes around, enjoys her freedom and is more of a friend to her daughter, Bridget (Sky Ferreira), offering advice about men more than good wholesome patenting, but their bonds is strong, so when Bridget goes missing and Debra is left to look after her grandson Jesse.

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Post Discussion: Chemical Peel

I assume you’ve watched the movie.. so let’s talk! But if you haven’t, check out my spoiler free review here and check out the film, and then let’s talk.. 

The film revolves around a group of women who have gathered at a remote cabin to celebrate together, one of them is getting married, unfortunately she’s a self centered bitch and it’s clear that she still blames her cousins for an unfortunate car accident which caused the death of a mutual friend. The morning after their first night of partying the women awake to an unusual fog surrounding their cabin, with news stories about a strange chemical spill the soon realise they are in the mix of deadly chemicals. With help on the way the woman struggles to get along and then has to struggle to survive the apocalypse happening just outside the window.

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Pint of Bitter Scene – The Wolfman (2010)

The movie didn’t go down so well and I feel after the success of the Invisible Man  there might be a new remake coming soon to help solidify the return of the Universal Monsters. While there were a lot of ups and downs within the film, this was one of the subtle highlights.

Hugo Weaving plays Inspector Francis Aberline, a character who is based on Frederick Abberline, a Scotland Yard Inspector that investigated London’s Jack the Ripper murders in 1888. This fantasy version of him very much resembles the one in From Hell (2001).

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Spotlight – Tony Todd

Best known for his role in the cult classic Candyman that is still inspiring new directors to this day, the inspiring story from Clive Barker was really brought to life by the the 6’ 5”  gentle giant, Toddy Todd who, while not leading as many films as any fan would like, when he does appear in a movie , not matter how short to long his role, really makes an impact in any film and continues to support a thriving horror community.

06. Murder Set Pieces (2004)

Video Store Guy

Notable one of the more modern Video Nasty’s, Murder Set Pieces was a wildly banned horror. Directed by Nick Palumbo it features a deranged photographer (Sven Garrett) travels and documents his serial killer lifestyle. While he’s out slashing prostitutes and trying to bed underage girls he pops into an adult video store looking for a particular snuff movie named Nutbag (a reference to Palumno’s earlier movie) , Tony Todd happens to be the Clerk and the confrontation blows up in epic proportions! Tony is one of a few notable names however it’s generally slated for being disgusting, vile and disturbing, and this is why I love it so much!

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The Man With the Iron Heart (2017)

AKA HHhH AKA Killing Heydrich

Director: Cédric Jimenez
Starring:  Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Jack Reynor, Stephen Graham .UK. 2h 

World War II has a host of characters that will be eternally admired and despised, routinely Hollywood steps in to honour the brave hero’s with a rendition of their stories, just lately we’ve been finding more names of brave men who rose up to fight the evil tyrants of the SS. Hopefully these reminders will help remind future generations of the price of freedom!?

There seemed to be a race to release a homage to operation Anthropoid, this particular movie, with a working title of HHhH (Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich),  was put on hold and renamed to make way for a film released in  2016 which took the converted and obvious title of “Anthropoid” , starring Cilian Murphy but is this really the poor relation to the saga? Poor, no but an alternative perspective.. just maybe. Both cover the basics of the 1942 plot by Czech resistance who sent two young recruits from London to Prague to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the ruthless psychopath who came up with an evil plan known as the Final Solution. 

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Spotlight – Hugh Jackman

So I set myself challenge. List 5 awesome Huge Jackman movies and don’t mention any Marvel films..

01.Van Helsing (2004)

The framed monster hunter returns for some kind of gothic steampunk revival, looking and feeling much like another Underworld movie, the movie co stars Kate Beckinsale and features Richard Roxburgh as an unusual choice for Count Dracula but one that surprisingly works so well. Strangely the movie works on some levels. With comedy buffering each scare the movie was always aimed at being a family favourite and the cast get full marks for managing to keep a straight face through half of the ridiculous antics. Otherwise it is a fun and enjoyable adventure.

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Short Movie Roundup 4th July 2021

Technically this list should be about freedom as its the 4th of July a holiday that gets pushed aside more and more each year as we learn about what real freedom means… So I have just done my regular mix of Youtube and riveting shot movies…

Gutterwitch

Libby sells charms and spells to drug runners and dealers, her unique magical charms work in a similar way as Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo, she allows them to know which deals are dodgy and how to traffic, however it all goes awry when her sister turns up on her doorstep, proving that the witch has to look to her past before she can move on.

Harry Baker keeps his camera active as it follows Libber and her two helpers, it feels like a Found Footage movie as he bounces around rooms and hovers over shoulders. You’ll often find yourself holding a pensive breath as the tension rises through Libbiy’s spell crafting and once her sister makes an appearance and Libby begins to lose control over her powers there’s an epic shift in mood. The Sisters’ warning changes the soundtrack from new age to techno, the cool blue hues shift to a violent seedy red and the film ends with a bang.

It’s not clear what Harry  is trying to suggest magic has done to this girl but it’s clear that she’s been through some kind of trauma and is spiraling in and out of control. What a brilliant character study and terrible journey.

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