The Hunter (2011)

Director: Daniel Nettheim
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor, Morgana Davies, Calian Mulvey, Finn Woodlock . Australia . 1h 42m

Based on : The Hunter by Julia Leigh

It’s not often a wild storyline produces such a masterpiece of a movie but there’s a lot to be amazed about in this redemption thriller surrounding the extinct Tasmanian tiger a biotech company and a hippy conservationist family living in the Australian sticks.

Heavily based on a book of the same title by Julia Leigh, the film managed to capture the essence of the original novel and sets it perfectly in the lush wilderness of Tasmania, it doesn’t look like the typical Australian film and is quite refined, with it’s far out story, which is empowered enough that at times it’s easy to find it plausible.

A weathered and extremely diligent mercenary, Martin David (Dafoe) is hired by a military biotech company called Red Leaf to go to Tasmania, gathers samples of the Tasmania Tiger, with a further instruction to kill all the reaming tigers so their rivals won’t be able to get ahead of them in the game. Now I’m pretty sure that the Tasmanian tiger has been extinct since the olden days, the last remaining tiger looked as if it were photographed in the late 1800’s to my untrained eye. But here we have a race to a fabled last remaining tiger and to harvest it for a lab. Continue reading The Hunter (2011)

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Lone Survivor (2013)

Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana . USA . 2h 1m

Based on : Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson.

Generally I love war movies, when I was growing up it was mostly about WWII or Vietnam but then as the world got older,  we had new wars to dramatize, mostly set in the Middle East or Africa and for wars which no one really wanted to discuss. The films became less about the action and more about the people involved. The almost poetic Jarhead (2005) saw the build up and break down of several officers as they battled themselves and each

other pent up with fear and anger fighting a war that didn’t need men to participate, the war itself mostly forgotten and the freedom to really interrogate the men involved, which pretty much summed up the situation, the point of the war was weak the people being sent out there weren’t needed or prepared. Continue reading Lone Survivor (2013)

Subterranea (2015)

 

Director: Michael Miller
Starring: William Katt, Bug Hall, Nicholas Turturro . USA . 1h 39m

This is a bit of a pointless movie, the premise sounds solid, a young boy is raised in a lone cell from a baby, he’s schooled and educated by a man who he never sees and only hears his voice, one day when he’s in his early 20’s he’s released into the world.. And then nothing happens.

Well Okay you got me, something happens. An hour of nothing really happens. First he’s disorientated and doesn’t handle outside very well, but within a few minutes he’s okay. Having been educated he’s childlike when faced with current human morals of the lack of, he meets a douchebag who takes advantage of him, then a nice lady who helps him discover who kept him locked up in darkness for all these years and why. Don’t expect a huge payoff though as this full is dull and all life and inspiration has escaped it. Continue reading Subterranea (2015)

Winchester (2018)

Director: The Spierig Brothers
Starring: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook, Eamon Farren . USA . 1h 39m

The mysteries of the Winchester house have been documented for years and while this movie is based on the facts of a true story it manages to make something mysterious and creepy very mundane and pointless experiment.

The widow of William Wirt Winchester, Sarah (Mirren) went into overdrive at the sudden death of her husband, trying several times to connect with him through spirituality she eventually started to make continuous alterations to their mansion in San Jose using the $20 million dollars inheritance and profits from the Winchester company.

Sarah’s not only working through her grief but she is feeling intense guilt for being part of the gum problem, her husbands guns were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and due to her erratic behaviour, the Winchester company send in a doctor to assess her sanity, Eric Price (Clarke) who’s a drug dependant doctor mourning the suicide of his wife, but he agrees to take on the job and becomes a resident at the home. Sarah is obviously weary of the man but as she’s totally sane, but just having to deal with spirits on a daily basis, she cleans up his act and allows him to proceed with his observations. Continue reading Winchester (2018)

Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic. UK/Ireland/USA. 2h 1m

One main thing which I have admired about Yorgos Lanthimos is that since his debut in 2009 with Dogtooth, he’s got a persistent streak to deliver his brand of cinema no matter what, his idosynchetric practice is very distinctive and each film since has been highly meticulously created, giving something different each time but with a strong je ne sai quoi which is very Lanthimos-esque.

Obviously loving the experience from The Lobster (2015) Colin Farrell returns for another darkly bizarre story this time it’s not about falling in love it’s all about a cold dish of  revenge. The film opens with open heart surgery being performed by the skilled surgeon Steven Murphy (Farrell), afterwards he meets a young boy named Martin (Keoghan) the relationship between the isn’t explained and the curiosity continues as Steven returns home to his family, Anna (Kidman) and their two children, with their idyllic and somewhat stale life in the suburbs. Continue reading Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017)

XX (2017)

Director: Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, Karyn Kusama
Starring: A bunch of people.. Canada/USA. 1h 20m

Horror anthologies can be a lot of fun, what could be wrong with a collection of thrilling stories that aim to excite, shock and thrill? Usually there is little to connect the stories apart from a wrap around. But the delight in XX is that it’s a female themed horror anthology, made by women possibly for women..it’s aim is to show that girls can make horror that is just as good if not better than the boys, but instead we have a few short films which seem to revolve around some incredibly boring women and inconsistently moan about motherhood.

Horror is generally seen as a male orientated genre and this hit back was disappointedly weak. Each segment has its moments and there’s absolutely no problem with the direction and production, but if XX is trying to make some kind of statement then it failed to make it clear.

Beginning with some artistic flare from the work of Mexican stop-motion animation artist Sofia Carrillo, who makes the wrap around that consists of a small critter that travels around a run down house slowly putting pieces together to make a child, tits just another peg in the films woman role board, all the characters are mother, caretakers etc. Continue reading XX (2017)

Solace  (2016)

Director: Afonso Poyart
Starring:Abbie Cornish,Jeffrey Dean Morgan,Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins,Marley Shelton, Kenny Johnson  USA. 1h 41m.

Solace appears to be one of the modern thrillers speeding in on the heels of the Se7en (1995) phenomenon, a group of mismatched detectives with the addition of an aged psychic are on the trail of a serial killer whose victims seem to have nothing obvious in common. Merriweather (Morgan) plays an fairly unconvincing and over friendly detective who has loosely tied together a handful of homicides together, along with his feisty sidekick Katherine Cowles (Cornis) who aims to build a psychological profile for this person but is struggling and thus causing an age of an old friend as psychic John Clancy played by the brilliant Anthony Hopkins who reluctantly aides them in their task. It’s a mish mash of mediocre thriller and cop drama cliches with some adaptive CGI from new director Afonso Poyart. Continue reading Solace  (2016)

バトル・ロワイアル (Batoru Rowaiaru) Battle Royale (2000)

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Based on: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Starring:Tatsuya Fujiwara, Takeshi Kitano, Aki Maeda, , Chiaki Juriyama. Japan. 1h 54m

Battle Royale is  Japan’s ultimate dystopian thriller,  which follows a group of junior high schoolers who are forced to fight to the death by the Japanese government. due to the ultra violent nature of the film and the age of most of the cast it was met with widespread repulsion and band in excluded from distribution in several countries.

Veteran director fukasaku,  at the tender age of 70, managed to put everything we had into this film.  and while it’s often not easy to watch, stark, angsty and the incredibly unnerving it still remains an influential genre masterpiece,  that takes place in a difficult near future, that we pray is an alternative universe to the one that we’re all comfortable with. Continue reading バトル・ロワイアル (Batoru Rowaiaru) Battle Royale (2000)

Life (2017)

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya. USA. 1h 50m

 

The lack of originality in this horror sci fi is quite disturbing, not only the story pretty basic, but it could have lead to some riveting situations, but the set up is like a b movie horror, if there was a trail of blood leading to a room of screams the cast would trip over each other running into sudden death. But there is a blinding moment at the “oh fuck” ending which really hit a personal nerve with me otherwise the film would be a total disaster.

An unnamed interstellar mission uncovers a basic life form in some soil samples from Mars. The probe is recovered by the International Space Station and their 6 member crew manage to revive a cell sample, which quickly evolves into a multi celled organism which American school children name Calvin. I can only imagine it started out as a piece of space Slime Mold (Check out the docu film Creeping Garden for a ton of info)  An accident in the lab causes Calvin to become dormant, so Hugh Derry (Bakare) tries to shock Calvin back to life, this obviously pisses off Calvin who crushes his hands an in his hostile frame of alien mind then roughs up the doctor and starts smashing up the lab. At one point he breaks into a small cage and eat one of the lab rats,  and starts to grow larger. Despite initiating safety protocol, which means isolating the doctor and Calvin, the team still decide to enter the room in order to save the doctor, (DOH!), Calvin then see this is a free lunch. This is probably one of their more imaginative attacks, as he enters the scientist body and eats him from the inside out,  but upon reappearing he is larger, which is a pretty big indication to the fact that Calvin just consumes and grows. So after eating Ryan Reynolds our boy Calvin then decides to go on a murderous rampage  in and around the ship. Continue reading Life (2017)

Curse of Chucky (2013)

Director: Don Mancini
Starring: Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Alex Vincent, A Martinez, Brennan Elliott, Summer H. Howell, Maitland McConnell, Jennifer Tilly . USA. 1h 33m

It’s hard to believe that this horror franchise is still going, but with this thrilling 6th installment there is a huge step made back to the traditional story with less of the comedy antics. The first direct to DVD movie sees Chucky arrive as a gift to the home of  the paraplegic Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) and her mother Sarah (Quesnei), later on Sarah is found dead from a stab wound and it’s ruled as suicide. Later Nica, is visited by her domineering older sister, her husband, daughter Alice and a nanny. Alice soon finds Chucky and begs to keep him, they agree, but after some googling Nica becomes aware of the history of a particular killer Good Guy doll but no one listens to her theories until Chucky is in full swing and picking off the family one by one. Buy why this family? Can Nica work out the history before Chucky comes knocking. Continue reading Curse of Chucky (2013)