The Iceman (2012)

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The Iceman (Crime, Biography, Drama, Thriller 2012) (15) D: Ariel Vormen: W: Morgan Land (screenplay), Anthohny Bruno (book): C: Michael Shannon, Winoa Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans 1h 46m. USA.

 TAGLINE : Loving husband. Devoted father. Ruthless killer.

 Synopsis: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

Luke warm and sentimental melodrama of a heartless serial killer Richard Kuklinski. The original story of this ruthless mob based killer could write the most chilling and gritty crime film by simply details a disturbing childhood, and the various stone cold assassinations he preformed during the four decades that he killed over 100 people in many grisly ways. Unfortunately film encapsulates a mushy warm non eventful drama version in which Kuklinski emerges as a compulsive murderer who’s pussy whipped by the mob but takes on the role of their very own terminator to fulfill his need to kill.

Michael Shannon gives a solid performance in a character that is only similar to w Kiklinski, this doesn’t develop or grow as the movie plods through the timeline missing out most gruesome details.

Starting out not with the traumatic childhood but instead the life of Kuklinski as a quiet mild mannered decent guy, falling in love with Deborah (Winona Ryder) later to become his wife and mother of his two daughters. He keeps his psychotic dealings from her while his violent streak sparks interest in the mob namely wise guy Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) who gets Kuklinski into the distribution of porn movies for him then doubling up his wages through hit jobs. Soon he is out whacking people in partnership with Robert Pronge (Chris Evans) who is the tutor showing him how to freeze bodies and dispose of them later so the cops can’t determine the time of death.

There are various déjà vu scenes throughout detailing hints of a troubling childhood, possibly pointing blame in that direction. The odd change in haircut and clothing gives a hit of the times but there isn’t really any attention to details in this, no bother to link it with other historical events. The brutal slayings, family drama, mob bravado and dirty night clubs is a reminder of Goodfellas (1990 ) but without the depth in the characters, wit, or catchy soundtrack and it has no hint of the black comedy of other gangster style movies.

Iceman

Great attention is paid to Kuklinski’s character throughout, after all this is a movie about him, but the sinister nature of the iceman is translated into a the many stony faces Shannon, not giving much emotion or depth when dealing with killings or his family, makes the film stagnant. There is a lot more going on with the mob politics which is important but the interesting aspects about Kuklinski lie more within the beast inside the man, He kills people, a lot of people but there are only a few scattered death scenes, a montage or two would have been fierce, instead we are presented with an opaque peep into what we already know. If there is a movie to be made of this real life devil then it will deal with coarse details of the murders, and what happened outside of his mob instructions, real flashbacks of his antics as a child and more emphasis on the duality of his adoration of his family and his ability to switch that off in a second then back on again. He was cold but he had character a lot of it, but it’s lacking in this film.

Yet this film does demonstrate an accurate timeline of events, the acting is good throughout but it’s just lacking that kick to the gut, that real shock and horror of events. It is certainly effective and is one of the better serial killer recounts.

 06

Rating : 6/10

R: Bundy: An American Icon (2008), Ed Gein (2000), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas (2009)

Q: Mr Kiklinski, do you have any regrets about the things you’ve done?

BS: Ending Sequence where Michael Shannon re inacts part of the Iceman Tapes is the best acting in this film. He immiates Kuklinski perfectly.

L: Selected Serial Killer Films,

5B: Michael Shannon, Winoa Ryder

DGI: Chug a beer for every murder.

Grizzly – The Red Machine (2014)

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Grizzly – The Red Machine (Thriller, Action, Horror 2014) (PG-13) D: David Hackl: P: W: Guy Moshe, JR Reher +: C: Thomas Jane, James Marsden, Billy Bob Thornton, Scott Glenn, Bart the Bear 1h 34m. Canada.

TAGLINE : Hunt or be hunted Synopsis: Two estranged brothers reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan Wild. They set out on a two day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.

 Nature enforces it’s will over man in this soppy thriller, two estranged brothers who are tightly bound by memories of a bear attack on their father but separated by different lifestyles, begrudgingly reunite to fight a common for, a grizzly bear on the hunt for revenge. It’s not the most imaginative plot and is much like other hunt movies such as Jaws (1975) or the Edge (1997).

While Grizzly isn’t improved with such lovable characters such as Brody and Quint from Jaws, it does remain, man is pitted against the toughest unrelenting killer who cannot be bargained with. Joining the brothers is the seasoned hunter (basically the Quint of the flick) Douglas (Billy Bob Thornton) Once he arrives with his pritty horsey, and they are deep in the woods the pace starts to pick up, but don’t get too excited..

Expectedly this film revolves around beautiful long shots of the Canadian forests and is accompanied by a fitting score. While the bear attack scenes adopt a shaky rapid movement cut scene technique to the point where it’s hard to really see what’s going on but these are the stronger segments. On a personal note I admire any stunt actor who does up against a bear, even in a controlled environment. Sadly there does seem to be an irritating formula for every bear attack scene that dulls the movie a little With such a host of big named stars involved in the movie is as mediocre as the plot and the depth of the characters are just weak.

Director David Hackl, known for having a hand in the Saw franchise and directing Saw V (2008) seems out of his depths in a much larger out door arena and having to deal with real drama that can’t be enhanced by creepy traps. Everything is cobbled together in a bizarre mixture without any real tension. Something just doesn’t gel together here. Rowan (James Marsden) mistakenly picks up a hooker who gets stroppy and leaves, I’m pretty sure he could pull a straight guy, and the seasoned hunter tough guy Douglas (Billy Bob Thornton) misses with nearly every shot no matter how close up he is to the beast. I’ll also mention the example of the deaf girl who is camping and manages to escape the bear by using just the bear mace.

Grizzly is a sedated hunt movie, the frequent bear attacks could have been substituted for fewer more intense attack scenes with better cinematography and maybe some artistic flare, there aren’t many bear movies out there, but it’s about time we got creative with this theme. We know bears are intelligent creatures I’m sure they are use tools or do I dare suggest a zombie bear? Overall Grizzly doesn’t deliver on excitement, suspense, tension action or gore, it’s just very average all around.    

05


Rating : 5/10

R: Grizzly (1976), The Edge (1997, Grizzly Man (2005) Grizzly Park (2008) Night of the Grizzly (1966) Bear (2010) Orca (1977) Jaws (1975)

BS: The scene where billy bob gets swiped by the teddy bear and gets a cool haircut. How he survives that I just don’t know.

L: Bear Films, When animals attack

5B: Thomas Jane, Billy Bob Thornton.

DGI: Chug a bear for ever bear attack.

T: The film is part dedication to the original Grizzly man Timothy Treadwell who is believed to have been killed by a bear he nicknamed as the Red Machine.

Kisha

Tangerines – Mandariindi (2013)

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Tangerines – Mandariindi (Drama, History, War 2013) (Not Rated) D: Zaza Urushadze W: Zaza Urushadze: C: Lembit Ultsakm, Elmo Nuganen, Giorg Nakashidze, Misha Meskhi 1h 27m. Estonia, Georgia.

Synopsis: War in Georgia, Aplchazeh region in 1990, An Estonian man, Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines, In a bloody conflict at his door, a pair of wounded soldiers are left behind and Ivo takes them both in.. But they are not comrades.

Tangerines landscape

Dark poetic film from director and writer Zaza Urushadze, Ivo; a farmer and father, is the true hero, rescues two solders after a short burs of combat outside of his modest home, realising they are on opposing sides, he along with his neighbor and fellow tangerine picker Margus (Elmo Nüganen) takes on the duty to heal both men and in turn gains their respect, loyalty and trust. All Ivo wants to do is harvest his tangerine crops, in a similar vein as Mr Majestyk (1974) Ivo, alike to Charlie Bronson has a dedication to fairness and fruit, except Ivo is a bit more passive with his persuasions.. Tangerine challenges the dark of humanity and groundless prejudices, in a flawless, crisp and magnificent manner, the cinematography and music perfectly enhance the deep human drama that unfolds as Ivo and his neighbour risk everything to heal both soldiers, both physically and help to heal the mental damage and restores some basic morals with the young men who adopt him as a pseudo father. The film delivers many poignant messages; it’s bittersweet, simplistic and has a novel back-story that is embroidered through the scenes of the two soldier’s colourful insults. The ignorance and often-faceless enemy of this civil war becomes very real and exposed as brittle lies and laid to rest, as a father would deal with two bickering children. All of this is presented in a gorgeous broad landscape, with so many metaphors to look out for in this profound film, I can’t praise it enough.

 10

Rating : 10/10

R: Father of a Soldier (1965), Leviathan (2014) Ida (2013), JSA (2000)

L: Selected Estonian Films, War Films, Farmers in Films, Beautiful Landscapes

Q: Ivo “Killing a sleeping man when he is unconscious, is a sacred thing too? I didn’t know.”

TIL: Always respect your elders.

BS: When the solders think their argument has angered Ivo (after they have both started to respect him) and he leaves the dinner table, then a disembodied voice assures them that Ivo is only pissing and isn’t upset. Another breathtaking scene is when Ivo is explaining how he will see the actor put on a play after the war, that gleam in his eyes as his reminiscing isn’t something you capture on film all that often and is marvellous.

5B: Lembit Ultsakm

DGI: Not really the best for drinking games however you could knock a shot for every tangerine picked and for every insult thrown for each other soldiers.

Tangerines

5 Selected – James Caan

I’ve always appreciated the hair Bronx beast’s film presence over the years, despite him being one of the few actors who seem a little too relaxed playing the bad guy. He really does have that edge of bigot but I’ve never witnessed any faults in his acting so it was hard to narrow things down to 5 selected performances out of the 120+ titles he’s worked on. So in no particular order… Continue reading 5 Selected – James Caan

Opening the Gates of Hell

I think there has been a fascination and fear for thousands of years of this little place called Hell.. In most organised religions there is an underworld and generally it’s not the top holiday destination due to some less than 5 star accommodation and bad cuisine. Despite the warnings though, someone or something usually wants to swing those gates open wide and unleash horrid things on mankind.

Here’s a list of 10 films where the main purpose is to open the gates of hell, so in no particular order.


Event Horizon

01. Event Horizon (1997)

First up is literally the first film that popped into my head, now this one sticks with me for a few of the wrong reasons. Basically I had a lot of trouble seeing the end of this film (more details in the review) but basically a missing spaceship, designed to bend time/space goes missing but comes back with some disturbing secrets. I’ll try not to give away too much as i hope my lists help other people try and find new films to watch, but there is some Latin and some hellish flashbacks. The film could have a bigger dose of gore (although i hear there are “better”extended scenes in another version), it could have had a more in depth plot, which i feel it would have gotten if it was an indie film. For Hollywood it’s a good effort. 7/10

hellraiser cenobites02.Hellraiser (1997)

Clive Barkers first attempt to take back his stories and what a beautiful dreamscape of terror and pain he created. Unearthly  pleasures are promised to anyone who can solve the puzzle box, as with all legends of this nature there is always a price. The pleasures are delivered by angels from a hellish dimension where pain is seen as a delight. Fair enough this isn’t the hell the bibles of the world tell us about but it certainly does mimic the ideas we have of hell and a gateway is certainly there to be opened so this film easily makes it into my top 10, and I easily give it 9/10

legend03. Legend (1985)

Another slightly off key version of hell is on the cards here, it’s basically a family fantasy movie but a bit of a cult classic. Everyone refers to the big guy as the devil when in fact he’s Darkness and he is in servitude of the “father” but once you get past that, Darkness is trying to unleash something dark to blot out human happiness and the sun. So candidate for a hell opening here. Despite the light nature of the film, its filled with some dark fantasy elements and fairytale creatures, one of my favourites being Meg Mucklebones, portrayed perfectly by Richard Picardo. It has a heavy dose of folklore and great imagery that I have loved since I was a child and there for 8/10

i frankenstein
04.I Frankenstein (2014)

One of the better comic to movie translations, from the noted writer and actor Kevin Grevioux. I felt the film was a bit of a let down, it could have been longer rather than trying to cram an epic into a short flick, but instead it just turned into another Underworld. (its hard not to connect the two films) It still carries an interesting version of life after Frankenstein. Basically the monster lives on into modern day and becomes a pawn in fight between good and evil. I wont tell all but there is an interesting plot in using necromancy for demons to take over the world. Another good try but only receives 6/10.

9th gate05.Ninth Gate (1999)

This film is a total love hate affair for me. I love Polanski, but can’t stand Depp, I love Langella but can’t stand the lack of a decent OST, the list goes on tit for tat. Every time I find something I love about the film its twinned with something i really can’t bare, but overall I do enjoy watching it, I love books and mysteries about the devil but thought there could be a little extra in the end or even a follow on film. Still throughout the film there is a desperate need to connect with the devil and to rule in hell.7/10

spawn06.Spawn (1997)

I think this was a fun remake of the graphic novels/Comics, but really I enjoyed the animated series more. I think this film is on the cards for a remake and despite enjoying this version with three of my all time favourite actors I suppose it could do with some improvements. There are lots of hellish elements in this throughout the film. Topped off with mega power struggles over the earth by the realms of evi!! Bwahaaahaa…hell is depicted as a MTV program break, brief flashing colours and flames. The depictions are better in the next film in the list.6/10

Constantine07.Constantine (2005)

As promised a film with better hell scenes, John Constantine, or Hellblazer (comic) often visits hell to gain footing against the demons trying to take over the earth. A potential candidate for a semi decent remake, Constantine is a giant step in the right direction for bringing a comic to life, hell is an apocalyptic version of earth,  filled with swarms of demons, slow motion smoldering and a dreamlike ambiance between the ruined buildings. This film also has one of the best Satan performances from Peter Stormare. 7/10

TheBeyond (10)08.The Beyond (1981)

One the greatest zombie, occult, horrors EVER, I have the shirt to prove it. This film is packed full of a different horror aspects and it’s all leading up to the opening of the 7th gate of hell, situated beneath a haunted hotel. The previous occupier of room 36 was a warlock who was tortured and destroyed by the local residents who were afraid of his actions but he remains in the room and orchestrates the new owner into opening the gate to hell.There is a stunning painting and all the iconic makings of a retro nasty in this film, honestly it has it all, a well manufactured gem.10/10

Double Vision09.Double Vision (2002)

 When people start turning up dead due to mysterious and supernatural causes, the Thai police force entertain an FBI officer to join the force, bringing with him his years of FBI service and knowledge he teams up with a beat down Thai officer and despite the language barrier they manage to uncover the connection of the death to the Taoist levels of hell.6/10

Hellboy10.Hellboy (2004)

 A second comic book remake, this time reproduced by one of my favourite directors Del Toro and brought to life by the ever talented Perlman. Hellboy; whose real name and purpose is the unlock the prisons of old ones who are destined to rule this realm, pretty much a opening the gates of hell scenario but in a slightly more Lovecraft fashion, and for argument sake I could also chuck in other Lovecraft inspired films like From Beyond and The Mist too.. But I’ll leave that for another list.9/10

Also, I guess i have to mention…

Little NickyLittle Nicky (2000) a comedy so I was forced to watch it while babysitting my sister one day… It’s bearable I suppose. Nicky (Adam Sandler), one of the sons of Satan has to stop his brothers from opening up hell… Tarantino has a cameo as a priest, it’s a funny family thing but there are boobies, head boobies.. it was painful to watch, possibly my own personal hell.  3/10

the Thaw (2009)

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TAGLINE: This spring the sacrifice begins…

Synopsis: A Research expedition to the arctic discovered that a melting polar ice cap has released deadly prehistoric parasite.

This is a psychological thriller from the budding director Mark A Lewis (Ill Fated), blending ecology, science, history and horror together is bound to leave a movie open for judgement, but sadly The Thaw manages to fall flat..

A research team headed by Dr Kruipen (Kilmer) ttranquilizea polar bear then discover the frozen remains of a Woolly Mammoth. As the polar bear thaws out it’s soon realised that it is a carrier of a prehistoric infestation of insects and the crew soon succumb, in the final scenes Kruipen is seen asking his daughter to come to the station. Cut Scene, Kripien’s estranged and intellectual science type daughter Evelyn (Macisaac – Last house on the left (2009)) heads up a team to go an visit her father with a few bright infection fodder teens and that’s when things start to go wrong and the team start to realize what dangers have been unleashed.

Despite Kilmer headlining the cast the film is held together by Macisaac and Ashmore, There were a lot of missed opportunities and very little sense of direction in the plot in this film, what is it trying to say? The older actors seemed to have had better reactions to the what was going on around them, I’d imagined a lot of this was green screened, but generally the scenes were simply strolled through like a walk in the park.

I was hoping for a few homage’s to the great ice station films from the past, especially in the horror categories but no tributes here, can anyone make a scene as eerie as finding the abandoned Norwegian station in The Thing (1982) Some of the highlights did include a fairly entertaining amputation scene (every infection movie has to have one). But it’s nothing on Dead Snow – Dod Sno (2009). The insects are OK, a good quality GCI but I can’t say they freaked me out in anyway.

Fundamentally it’s nothing to write home about, it has an underlying poignant message about global warming and over population but sadly no boobs and moderate amounts of gore. But it’s just not all that scary. My personal advice is to avoid and watch Blutgietscher (2013) instead.

04

 

Rating : 4/10.

R: Blutgietscher (Blood Glacier) (2013) Squirm (1976), Growth(2009), The Thing (1982) Cabin Fever (2002)

TIL: Despite your girlfriend being perfectly healthy, then contracting lots of insect bites and falling ill, there is no chance that you have the same infection it’s gotta be a STD.

BS: Amputation scene.. It’s not the most gory but it’s a highlight in this chiller of a film.

L: Infection Films, Type of Infections in films

DGI: Chug a beer every time someone gets taken out by the bugs..

5B: Val Kilmer

January 2015 Monthly movie list

Here’s what I watched in January, broke in the new year with one of my favourites and then fell in love with last of the mohicans again as well as a few other new films.

JANUARY  2015

Gladiator
The Hunter
Brooklyn’s Finest
Dead End
Robert Succo *
Carlos the Jackal
Excalibur
Ninja scroll
Kill List
Chocolate
Undisputed III
The Signal *
Get on Up
Undisputed II
Last of the Mohicans
Lord of the rings
Gone Girl *
Silence of the Lambs
Unearthed
Ghost Ship
Cloverfield
Swamp thing
Borderlands
Perfect Storm
Maniac Cop *
Last of the Mohicans
Togue
Silent Trigger *
Prestige
Hellboy
Creepshow 2
Dhamer Movie
Predator
Fracture
El Secreto De Sus Ojos – Secrets in their eyes *
Day of the dead
Chris Rock , Bigger Blacker
Kill List
Dog Pound
Herz Au Glaz *
Zodiac of the Apocalypse *
Predator
Dallas Buyers Club *
Razorback
Zatochi
Love is the Devil *
Usual Suspects
Lucky
Death Rides a Horse
Prometheus
5150 Rue De Ornes : 5150 Elms Way *
Dirty Harry
District 9
Stalker 1
Coffin Rock
Prometheus
Catch Hell *
Outpost
Love is the devil
Prey *
Deep in the woods *
Candyman
Resident Evil
Open Range
Mad Max
Fat City  *
Vault of Horror
Saving Private Ryan
Dog Soldiers
No Country for old Men
Bug
Alien Nation
Forks Over Knives *
Puppet Master
Werewolf : the beast among us *
Serbian Film
Rosewater *
Hurt Locker
Stalker 2

Total 81

New films 19
Best New film : El Secreto De Sus Ojos – Secrets in their eyes

Worst New Silent Trigger

Highlights of the month

  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Catch Hell
  • 5150 Rue de Ornes – 5150 Elms Way
  • Love is the devil
  • Serbian Film

Kisha

Newish DVD’s

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Picked up a few DVD’s from the legenary CEX. I managed to spend a record breaking 13squid on only 5 discs, which is unusal for me. Kung Fu Killer I actually brought for my mother as she’s a Donnie Yen fan, but alas I shall watch it at some point as it’s new, Rust and Bone is another new fim for me, but as I have mega crushes on Matthias Schoenaerts I cant wait to watch it. Young and Dangeous I have been before but only have part two in my collection so i might make a night of it and watch those together, I like a bit of eastern street violence now and again. Blood Glacier is one of my favourite horrors from 2013 and finally Intacto, I’ve seen a few clips from this so I finally get to see the whole film and hopefully it will be equally as thrilling as the glimps i had previously.

Kisha

Wrecked (2010)

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TAGLINE : Drama, Adventure, Mystery

A man trapped in a car wreck at the bottom of a ravine must overcome incredible odds to survive.

This was one of the last films I rented from Blockbusters before its rapid demise.

The first full length movie from director Michael Greenspan and partner in crime; writer Christopher Dodd, delivers a cold isolated thriller, in the nature of a lone man’s fight for survival after losing his memory and use of one leg following a car crash. The main protagonist, simply called Man (Brody) awakens with a broken leg, two corpses, a bag of money, amnesia, a wild dog, surreal hallucinations of Woman (Dhavernas) and is stalked by a wild cat. Through this ordeal he battles to regain his memory while traversing through the forest on the brink of starvation and fun doesn’t stop there!

It’s hard not to liken this to Essential Killing (2010), though Wrecked is far less claustrophobic and bleak, set in a lush forest utilising a broad format highlighting Brodys solitude, contrasted with gruesome extreme close shots to emphasise the detailed brutal injuries sustained from the crash.

It’s not all that bad out in the wilderness, he finds a companion, a beautiful dog who befriends him, he gets to sample the local live cuisine and takes a river ride. I’m being sarcastic, but despite the slow and quiet pace the editing keeps the story flowing. Brody has an epic screen presence which is essential in a film with such a small cast and without him the entire project would have failed.

With many trials and tribulations along the way, and a quirky twist at the end, you really feel transported along with Brody on this harrowing journey. It’s not an action film but rewards are given throughout.

Rating –  7/10

07

R: Essential Killing (2010)

L : One Man Movies, Lost

Kisha

Outlander (2008)

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Outlander (2008)

TAGLINE : It destroyed his world. He won’t let it destroy ours.

During the reign of the Vikings, Kainan, a man from a far-off world, crash lands on Earth, bringing with him an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Though both man and monster are seeking revenge for violence committed against them, Kainan leads the alliance to kill the Moorwen by fusing his advanced technology with the Viking’s Iron Age weaponry.

A debut science fiction thriller from Howard McCain, succumbs to a poor GCI monster and goofy plot. I appreaicate that a lot was done to explain the newcomer and his role and how he can seelesly meld into the viking age but apart from the costumes evrrything is very much a happy holywood story with very little grasp on reality. There is a concept underneath the Tolkienesque bravado but it comes across as an on the spot made up campfire tale. Ultimately it’s stereotypical gibberish. A strong chiefs daughter called freya, the alpha male who is abandoned by a newcomer, an angry clan chief. give us something differnent especailly with such a great cast and we will honestly lap this up. Potential for a sequel but it would have to go a long way to make up for this gibberish.

Rating –  4/10

04

 

 

R: Pathfinder (2007), The Time Machine (2002) The Time Machine (1960), Pitch Black (2000), Battlefield Earth (2000).

L : Dragon films,
R: Pathfinder
5 Best : Ron Perlamn : John Hurt : Terrifying space visitors

Kisha