Victor Frankenstein (2015)

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Director: Paul McGuigan.
Starring: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay . UK/USA. 1h 50m.

Frankenstein steampunk extravaganza, with more attention paid to the look and feel than the characters and plausibility.

For some reason we’re meant to feel sorry for Victor Frankenstein as he’s often the forgotten part in this tragic story cue the violins bitches. Somehow the most iconic mad scientist is apparently a distant memory?? What the fuck? Anyway this film is supposed to rekindle our love for him, illuminate his persona and resurrect his memory, except it focuses in on igor… in this instance, Igor the  deformed circus clown, later to become Igor (Ratcliffe) with the brain of a medical uni student, manages to cross paths with the hard done by Victor who recognises his medical talents when they rush to the rescue of Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) the gorgeous acrobat and crush. Eventually the unloved intellectual clown is rescued from the circus and through a vile transformation turned from hunchback to gentlemen and given the identity of Igor, a useless student who’s supposed to be bunking with Victor. The two manage to reanimate some corpses and well we all know the story…

The movie draws on the modern fascination of Steampunk but then delivers on the mechanical sense of stunning visuals, detailed sets and costumes but shuffles around various ideas oh who Victor Frankenstein is without giving us the solid basis of a good story oh his character, instead it focuses in on Ratcliffs transformation I’m a romance between him and me acrobat,  eventually in the latter half of  the movie it remembers to chuck in a very brief scene and intro of Frankenstein’s monster and again whips us away on a different fantasy tale.

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While supposedly aimed at telling the story of Victor Frankenstein there’s no attempt to take the story any further back than his student days, there’s no childhood memories or anything different from what we have seen so many times before.  McAvoy plays his only character, and it’s neither new or inventive, and to be honest I’m getting sick of seeing it time and time and time again, along with this stale performance there is also Ratcliffe, who struggles to try and look like a responsible adult, something that he’s almost overcome now, but honestly two mature actors of this caliber could have done better. A small snippet from
Charles Dance was quite breathtaking when compared to the two leads, who together manage to pull off a victorian Laurel and Hardy as they bounce around making medical/acting fuck ups along the way.  They do work off each other in strong ways but without an independant original spark it seems clumsy.

Failing to really bring  anything new to the genre the film is passable but the dark fantastic atmosphere is just that with no real dark substance, it could have been a great gothic retelling but that all got dropped for Hollywood. The other kick to the balls is the inclusion of Igor. The film is supposed to take things back to basics and yet it immediately ignored the original story where Igor didn’t exist, yet it tells the story from his perspective…
It’s flawed but manages to rescue itself by being pretty, there’s a lot that doesn’t make sense and no pay off and with the visuals being stronger than the story itself, there would have been benefits by making it shorter.

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Rating 5/10 

R – I Frankenstein (2014), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Van Helsing (2004)
L – Frankenstein Movies, Five best Victor Frankenstein Actors
5S – James Mcavoy, Daniel Radcliffe

 

Run all Night (2015)

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Director : Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Holt Mccallany, Joel Kinnaman. USA. 1h 54m

quickflickLike his new typecast and career defining tough guy from the Taken series, Liam Neeson has the same set of very particular skills and he unleashes them into a film with a slightly different back story… from the minute he declares “I’ve done terrible things” we know what to expect. The biggest difference is how Jimmy “the gravedigger” Conlon appears for the first half of the movie, a comedy Irish drunk wrestle with the ghosts of his violent past and picking fights as a very dirty Santa. The estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) whose main objective in life is to be the opposite of his father, has become the target of a mob boss Shawn Maguire’s  (Ed Harris) as he in on the vengeful war path after his son is murdered and Mike is suspected.
Once Jimmy realises that his son is in trouble he attempts to help him out, after arriving after a dodgy takeover deal that his son only plays a minor role as a chauffeur he kills his best friends son in order to protect his son. A choice is quickly made, he has to betray the “family” who have employed and looked after him for the family he’s been exiled from. Blood is thicker than water… but the pair now have an entire mob network after them and they have to run all night.

I found it quite bizarre how his character changed within seconds, he went from the bumbling asshole drunk into well.. Brian Mills from Taken without any negative consequences. I think by this time the audience’s adoration for Taken and Neeson it was always just going to be another Takenesque film, and were willing to lap it up at off the big screen, so why pretend that this is going to be anything but another Taken flick. A bulk of the film is Liam punching and shooting people while looking slightly hung over while trying to protect and toughen up his son, their relationship being strained at tested at every point.

After the initial shock that this isn’t all that original and the familiar formula plays out it’s not actually all that bad when it comes to action, there are some brutal beat downs, suspense and great shoot outs. What it lacks in originality it does try to make up for by adding in a few fairly intelligent twists into the plot. It’s watchable if you’re ready to be entertained with the brain switched off and sometimes that’s a bonus.

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Rating  5/10

R – Taken (2008) , Unknown (2011),
L – Films like Taken
5s – Liam Neeson

The Legend of Barney Thompson (2015)

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Director: Robert Carlyle
Writers: Richard Cowan+
Starring: Emma Thompson, Robert Carlyle, James Cosmo, Ray Winstone, UK/Scotland. 1h 36m

I was totally misled by the adverts here, mind you they were far and few between but being a Scottish movie I should have known better than to trust the pleasant view that was presented. How often have the Scots just swung from left field and planted a big fat dirty fist in the face of cinema. Train spotting got us twice, not only being an amazing phonetically Gaelic masterpiece it also blew away cinema and OST records with a unique rawness that has never been challenged on that particular scale and really rocketed the careers of Ewan McGregor and the star of this brave film, Robert Carlyle. Continue reading The Legend of Barney Thompson (2015)

Where the sidewalks ends (1950)

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Det Sgt Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) just wants to be like his father,a decent upstanding member of the community and a good cop but he’s got some anger management problems and isn’t afraid to go above and beyond to enforce his own personal justice which gets him into all sorts of trouble.

The intro is brilliant, very clever use of names written on the sidewalk while a pair of feet stroll around, The film starts out simple, Dixon is a hot head, goes after a criminal and fucks everything up by killing the suspect by one banging him in the head, he scapers and then has to investigate the crime while trying not to incriminate himself and while trying to seduce Morgan (Gene Tierney). Continue reading Where the sidewalks ends (1950)

Wolf Creek (2005)

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Director:
Greg McLean
Writer: Greg McLean
Starring: Nathan Phillips Cassandra MaGrath, Kestie Morassi . Australia. 1h 39m

Regularly throughout cinema history, the beautiful continent of Australia releases a genre movie that breaks all the rules. Wolf Creek boasts a range of stomach churning and psychologicals nasties, as it constantly coughs up another gut wrenching fear based on a bizarre but true story. With constant nods to legendary films such as Duel (1971) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) the debut writer/director Greg McLean shows worldwide goreheads how things can be done more effectively, with a unique stark style this isn’t braved much to gain audience figures elsewhere. Continue reading Wolf Creek (2005)

5 Selected – Christian Bale

I’ve never liked Christian Bale, I dunno what it is about his muppet face but I just want to kick it, but in all fairness he’s a pretty dedicated actor but I wouldn’t want to have lunch with the man. His dedication usually comes in the guise of his body transformations for his roles and darn it, the boy can act, he ain’t perfect a English accent but he does put some effort into his numerous character roles and when he’s not taking himself too serious he’s top notch, but he just has a muppet face.. and in NO particular order here are 5 selected Bale flicks.. Continue reading 5 Selected – Christian Bale

10 Films that make me cry…

For me films aren’t supposed to just pass some time I do admire the fact that they can cause an effect on people, usually people chose comedies to help alleviate stress and to “av a laff” but there are a plethora of films which can cause some negative feelings and can be scary or disturbing. But despite this they are still enjoyable and here are a few films that tear me up…. Continue reading 10 Films that make me cry…

Dementia 13 (1963)

DEMENTIA131Director: Francis Ford Coppola.
Starring: William Campbell, Luana Anders, Bart Patton. USA. 1h 15m.

An early gem from a powerful director this early 60’s murderous thriller is both creepy and is it absorbing, it swings between being the supernatural and an episode of Columbo, an extremely dark and broody type of Columbo.. except columbo is more of a fastidious olde gent. So the film begins with a tragic accident that couldn’t have come at a worse time for the beautiful Louise (Luana Anders), her nasty partner  John Haloran (Peter Read) has a heart attack and drowns just after teasing her that if he dies she’ll not get any of his inheritance.. from the bottom of the river the creepy ghostly animated credits roll . Louise comes up with a cunning plan to pretend that John has been delayed then makes friends with his family in Ireland, especially his mother and try to weasel her way into some inheritance. To her luck the mother is currently going through a dramatic grieving process after losing her youngest daughter Kathleen to a tragic drowning accident, Louise devises another crafty plan to pretend that the girl is trying to contact her mother through her, so she collects some of her toys from the attic and aims to plant them in the pond where she drowned the aim is that they will surface at an opportune moment, but while planting the toys she notices movement in the underwater tomb and then she’s brutally murdered while trying to escape the water. Continue reading Dementia 13 (1963)

The Hearse (1980)

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Director:George Bowers
Starring: Trish Van Devere, Joseph Cotten, David Gautreaux . USA. 1h m

A newly divorced woman, Jane Hardy (Trish Van Devere) decides to spend the summer in a home left to her by her deceased aunt, on the way there she has a dangerous encounter with an old hearse and it doesn’t take long for her to discover that the house is haunted. The locals don’t take to her easily and it’s not just because of her being an outsider but due to the legacy that her late aunt left behind, no one openly wants to be around her or her home. After some poking around and several visits from the mysterious hearse she discovers that her aunt used to dabble in the occult with her lover, who is much like the kindred spirit Tom Sullivan (David Gautreaux) who has often turned up on Jane’s door, the only kind face she really knows and who she is highly attracted to, so much that she ignores any signs of him being the ghost of her dead aunt’s lover. Continue reading The Hearse (1980)

Below (2002)

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Director: David Twohy.

Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Holt McCallany, Bruce Greenwood, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Tim Plester, Zach Galifianakis, Christopher Fairbank. USA/UK. 1h 45m.

This was a curious film, an underwater mystery that take a while to get going but it does turn up the atmospherics in the later half.

A handful of survivors are plucked from a damaged ship and brought aboard the USS Tiger Shark submarine that’s on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean during WWII. A conscientious doctor a wounded soldier and a few others become welcomed guests on a sub with more mysterious than the Mary Celeste. Continue reading Below (2002)

Psychotronic Cinema