First Reformed (2017)

Director: Paul Schrader.
Starring. Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger. USA. 1h 48m.

It hasn’t been that long since we saw Ethan  Hawke play a slightly different priest in the terrifying horror Regression (2015), alongside the talented Emma Watson. In First Reformed he returns, not as the same character,  but a totally different priest, a broken man who’s suffering from stress, loss of his son and the drastic effects of alcoholism while facing the void he experiences a spiritual and psychological crisis, one that he can only deal with slowly and in his own stunning and slightly confusing way.

The film opens with Reverend Toller (Hawke) writing down his thoughts in a journal, declaring that he’s going to keep the journal for 1 year then destroy it. He’s the head of  First Reformed, a 250 year old Dutch Reformed Church in Snowbridge New York. Like many churches in the area it faces dwindling attendances but receives support from a nearby “megachurch” who own and care for the historical landmark which has a special place in history as it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Continue reading First Reformed (2017)

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Warlock (1989)

Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Julian Sands, Lori Singer, Richard E Grant . USA . 1h 43m

The beauty about Warlock is the links to folklore and the sharp dressed bas ass warlock played by Julian Sands and the uber charismatic Richard E Grant as the hunter. Both Brits have amazing screen presence but were able to empower their own characters while not overshadowing each other.

David Twohy has first conceived a story about a witch being persecuted during the crazed 17th Century and was seeking revenge but the film developed into some more sinister as the writing progressed, instead of take down and revenge, we just have a evil mastermind obsessed with releasing Satan onto the earth. Continue reading Warlock (1989)

November (2007)

Director: Rainer Sarnet
Based on Rehepapp ehk  by Andrus Kivirähk
Starring: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser, Jette Loona Hermanis. Estonia. 1h 55m

I’d like to think that I don’t award too many 10/10’s although I am always searching for perfect films and I believe I have just found another one, possibly the one. There’s so much to fall in love with in Sarnet’s November, based on a deeply chrasamisc novel Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk who’s possibly one of the most influential folk writers since Estonia’s classical epic Kalevipoeg and is just as extraordinary.

The film starts out curiously, a cow skull mounted on farming tools is captured rolling and creaking across the landscape using a chain it steals a cow, by grabbing the beast and flying into the air like a folklore chopper, the mechanism lands with the cow, on a farm miles away across the forest, the owner coming out to retrieve the animal and kicks the machine away, but it talks to him, asking for more work so he gives it an impossible task and it explodes. This “thing” is a Kratt and you’ll see a lot of these throughout the movie, and you can see the Kratts screen test here (https://vimeo.com/66493993)  

The villagers find it hard to survive throughout the dark Estonian winters and often end up stealing from each other and the German nobility who are taking over their lands. In order to make a Kratt the villagers first have to go into the forest and make a pact with the devil written in blood in His book. Continue reading November (2007)

July 2018 Film List

A much better month for films after the World Cup, a few more new items added to the list including a possible contender for best film ever, and certainly one in my top 10 now..

When the Lights Went Out

Happiness

Grimm Love

First Blood

Lodger

Manborg

Pontypool

*November 10/10

*Maus 4/10

Cry of the Prostitute

Gladiator

Bronx Warriors

Red Rock West

Fried Green tomatoes….

DoA

*Devil’s doorway 3/10

Bad Milo

Dogtooth

Knightriders

They live

Mr pickles season 3

Lone wolf and cub 4

*Greasy strangler 8/10

Legend

Gangster no 1

Devil’s Doorway

28 Days later

Devil’s advocate

Another day in paradise

Underworld

*Colin 5/10

Riki oh

Full Contact

*Castle of purity 7/10

*The house on Highfield street 3/10

Roberto Succo

Gladiator

Hunger

*Chappaquiddick 5/10

Truth or die Continue reading July 2018 Film List

Belve Feroci (Savage Beasts) / The Wild Beasts (1984)

Director: Franco Prosperi.
Starring: Lorraine De Selle, Ugo Bologna, John Stacy, John Aldrich Stefania,Pinna Italy/Germany. 1h 32m.

A short while ago the Amazon delivery guy brought two films to my door, on a chilly winter morning, Wild Beasts and ROAR! I had hope for a double bill of amazing creature features and I got it.. I started the duo with this gem from the 80’s which like Roar (1981) involved the use of many large wild animals, undergoing a wild night in the city.

Half horror and half “let’s think about what we’re doing to the environment” movie, it’s scattered with gruesome animal attacks as well as highlighting ecological issues. But it’s just a normal day at the zoo when a beautiful photographer Laura Schwarz (De Selle) arrives to take some photos at the local zoo, she’s introduced to the various lives of a range of animals and procedures in the zoo, while the animals seem to be going about their normal day to day lives there are some concerns that they are “off their food”. Wrapping things up the photographer gets the cold shoulder from her young daughter who she rarely see’s day to day and is experiences abandonment issues. While the brilliant zoologist Ruper Berner ( Aldrich) retreats to his home for a shower.. Continue reading Belve Feroci (Savage Beasts) / The Wild Beasts (1984)

The Illustrated Man (1969)

Director: Jack Smight
Starring: Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom, Robert Drivas . USA . 1h 43m

Based on the Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)

A bold adaptation of an amazing groundbreaking anthology book from the legendary Ray Bradbury, really this film couldn’t go wrong, especially when you mix Rod Steiger into the mix, the classic actor is enormous in any role he puts his mind and body into and was a dramatic baluster in the many roles he played in this sometimes difficult science fiction movie.

The original book was a collection of  18 Science Fiction Stories, only 3 made it into the film, sadly the least provocative but certainly not the least shocking. The Veldt, The Long Rain and The Last Night of the World, along with some of the wrap around story were all adapted using the same three characters.  For me the movie was very influential, as a child I marveled over the amazing illustrations especially the rose in the palm, the first tattoo, although I chose a slightly different tattoo when I eventually got to that rather sensitive area myself. But even after seeing the demise of a once strong man, the lovely Felicia and her amazing mysteries still enchant audiences today. Continue reading The Illustrated Man (1969)

Angst / Fear (1983)

Director: Gerald Kargl
Starring:Erwin Leder, Edith Rosset, Josefine Lakatha, Sylvia Rabenreither.  Austria. 1h 15m

I am constantly looking for films about serial killers that aren’t total let downs and after years of searching it seems I missed the boat as one of the greatest and more accurately disturbing films was released when I was a toddler, but despite its age it really hasn’t lost any of it’s vivacity and manages to detail the gruesome slaughtering of one family by a repetitive mass murder Werner Kniesek. Continue reading Angst / Fear (1983)

La Piel Fria / Cold Skin (2017)

Director:Xavier Gens.
Starring. Aura Garrido, David Oakes, Ray Stevenson. Spain. 1h 48m.

The background of this mesmerising  thriller is reminiscent of stories straight from the imagination of HP Lovecraft, but the film is actually based on a story by Albert Sanchez Pinol with the same title. They both involve a lone man on the edge of his sanity who lives locked tight in a light house on a remote and uninhabited island, existing like a hobo and fighting off deadly sea creatures each night.

The film breaks open at sea, a fine-looking ship is being chased by dolphins as a young Irishman named Friend (Oakes) travels to this remote island in the South Atlantic to work as a meteorologist, the only inhabitant of the island is the caretaker of the lighthouse, a tough character called Gruner  (Stephenson). After a cold and abrupt introduction Gruner informs Friend that the previous meteorologist died from typhus. The crew depart leaving Friend to cosy in his new cabin he watches Gruner in his fortified lighthouse with intense curiosity, why would someone need to defend a lighthouse? Friend unpacks and finds a journal from the late meteorologist, detailing nightly attacks from strange creatures form the sea, assuming this was feverish dreams of a dying man he drifts off to sleep until a slimy webbed hand feels under the door and he finds himself under attack. He managed to fight off the intruders, the next day he tries to get Gruners attention but is ignored. He spends the day fortifying the cabin and finds a gun. Awaiting another attack but he’s overrun and in the fight ends up burning the cabin to the ground, hiding on the rocks of the beach with a blanket he spends the night hiding. Continue reading La Piel Fria / Cold Skin (2017)

10 Horror Films from 2007 Worth Talking About Volume 1

Borderland (2007)

This American – Mexican horror is loosely based on a true story about Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, a leader of a religious cult and drug lord who practiced human sacrifice, his gang kidnapped and murdered many people and this movie deals with the particulars of American University students who spend the night fighting for their lives in a foreign town and against a huge gang fuled by violence and chaos It takes a while to warm up but it’s then it’s pure nightmare fuel from there on. 7/10 Continue reading 10 Horror Films from 2007 Worth Talking About Volume 1

A Field in England (2013)

Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump

Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m

A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is,  after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write,  and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles,  and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley  who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!

But now he’s taking  an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source,  a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for,  they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley)  terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure,  while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Continue reading A Field in England (2013)