Director:Ross Hockrow, Gary Cohen
Starring: Eddie Hall, Hafthor Bjornsson, Brian Shaw, Zydrunas Savickas UK. 1h 25m
Back in the blistering 1970’s Arnold Schwarzenegger amazed us with Pumping Iron (1977), the summer of late/early 70’s was to be his final Olympia but the grimy insight into the back stage world of body building really fueled another generation. And while the sport is similar this vein of the weight lifting community is alive and thriving and this, much like Pumping Iron is an introduction to it’s hero and champions.
Born strong identifies the four strongest men on the planet and their journey to qualify for the Arnold Strongman Classic. This arm of the sport isn’t about aesthetics but in creating a body that is incredibly powerful, each of the men weight at least 400 lbs and while they are able to pull a train they can’t put on their own sock or at times successfully wipe their ass. Continue reading Born Strong (2017)
Director: Dušan Makavejev
Starring:Carole Laure, John Vernon, Anna Prucnal, Pierre Clémenti, Jane Mallett, Roy Callender, Sami Frey. France, Germany, Russia. 1h 38m
The film is like a psychedelic socio political nightmare orgy, with some kind of comedy added to cushion the blow.
Following the lives of two women, Miss Mode 1984 and Anna Planeta, both are figureheads for different movements, Miss Mode (Laure) represents modern commodity culture, while on the other hand Anna (Prucnal) is the spearhead of the failed communist revolutionary. The film opens with a glitzy show, where women around the world are aiming to win the Most Virgin competition, the winner is Miss Canada with her golden shiny vagina. Her prize is to marry Mr. Kapital, a milk industry tycoon played by the daring and often enigmatic John Vernon, losing her virginity doesn’t go to plan, despite a golden dick, she soon bribes a servant to smuggle out of the Milk Tycoons mansion after his mother tries to drown her. Miss Mode goes on to join a cult, she gets seduced by a glittery Latin singer called El Macho (Frey). Continue reading Sweet Movie (1974)
This weeks short film roundup, is heavily horror themed as these are sometimes the best and more inventive short films around, kicking off this week’s selection is…
The Moonlight Man 2
If you haven’t seen the first, I featured it here. Danny Donahue shouldn’t be a stranger to any horror fanatics out there as he creeped the internet out with his amazing short movies including Vermin and the Whisperer. He has a talent for creating the creepiest demented monsters and building insane tension mostly through camera work tight timing. This feature see’s a wouldbe thief have his plans spoiled by the moonlight man who I think just wants to play. This isn’t the most frightening of his collection but it’s part of an impressive resume, he also has a lot of “Making of” movies. 5/10
Sadly this one isn’t based on a particular hunchback but instead a son is prepping funeral arrangements with his sister as they have lost their father when he’s suddenly deafened by the sound of ringing bells, then he notices a figure moving inside his home and before you know it, he’s following a blood trail…
If nothing else the use of sounds is incredibly effective in this unusual horror movie that features a bizarre toothy monsteress. But overall it doesn’t gel together all that well, but it’s filmed and acted well and does have a few scares even if it’s a bit incoherent. 3/10
And the best for last!?
I have been DYING to see this film for ages when I missed it at the Estonian film fest and then again at Screamfest.. how unlucky can a girl be…probably not as unlucky as the girl in this charming and deadly film
Alfred J Hemlock
In the previews this character reminded me of a dodgy Johnny Depp fucked up on London Gin and I wasn’t far wrong, just add some Beetlejuice, and viola! . A young girl, named Emily is dumped on the way home by a jealous and pissed off boyfriend after an argument at a party, sobbing she says to herself that she wants to die.. and while heading home she chances on a comedy villain who identifies himself as Alfred J Hemlock who terrorizes her. while the matter is serious there’s a touch of League of Gentlemen in this charismatic thriller. I would like to see more of Mr Hemlock in the future, he’s brilliant running around dark alleys with a hatchet and singing strane songs while riding a tiny bicycle.. what more do you want from a horror villain. Lead man Tristan McKinnon who only seems to have made a few shorts, really can hold his own in a full length film and hopefully if Wyrmwood Chronicles of the Dead takes off I hope he gets a proper role. 7/10
Director: Catherine Breillat
Starring: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi. France 1h 17m
Based on: Pornocratie by Catherine Breillat
This slightly strangely off putting art house erotica drama see the plights of man vs woman and slowly discovers what we always knew, and that the sexes really are planets apart.
This taboo sequel to the equally taboo shocker Romance X (1999) see Catherine Breillat boldly challenge many more darker crevices within the sexual psyche of a woman who, in Romance was shunned by her lover, seeking love and affection then sex and kink elsewhere, while in the Anatomy of Hell, we discover more about the boyfriend, adoringly known as Man and played by porn star Rocco Siffredi, we see his reasoning behind his unusual character.
A lonely and dejected woman, whose only known as The Woman (Casar) throughout the film stalks the streets at night looking for company, stumbling into a gay bar she drinks, bumps into all the gay guys and seemly out of it, hits a new low, her suicide attempt in the clubs toilets is thwarted by a concerned stud, after rescuing her she makes him a proposition, she invites him to visit her and watch her silently for four nights while she’s “unwatchable”. Begrudgingly he agrees to continue to help and the two being a strange journey. Continue reading Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)
Director: Jeff Unay.
Starring. Joe Carman, Callie Carman, Mia Carman, Delanee Carman, Kira Carman, Norinda Reed, Clayton Hoy, Vernon Beach. USA. 1h 21m.
I have to admit that I didn’t really research this movie, and just assumed it was the Wrestler of the MMA universe, just a movie filmed in a documentary style about a fighter returning to regain some glory, but it wasn’t really until a candid scene where the protagonist Joe Carman is arguing with his father, that I realised… these people really aren’t’ acting and shit just got real!
So this awkward and insightful movie follows Joe, who allows cameras film his return to glory, the blue collar worker who breaks his promise to his family and begins his training to get back into the ring and unleash his unique brand of MMA destruction, the only problem is that Joe is 40 and is not only risking his health and life, he’s risking everything for a sport that has moved on without him. One scene sums it up, Joe is in the parking lot, turning a huge tire over and being spotted by a guy as he manhandles the rubber, “How old are you, 24? “Joe responds wistfully, “Oh I wish I was 24 again“. Continue reading The Cage Fighter (2018)
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein Rogge, Fritz Rasp, THeodor Loos, Brigitte Helm. Germany. 2h 28m
Despite the age and the various cuts of this groundbreaking movie it’s still a powerful and disturbing film, it’s one of those titles that a lot of people are aware of but haven’t really watched and I have to admit that I’ve only seen it 3 times and each time it’s been a different cut but the darkness of the story remains constant, Regardless of HG Wells comments about the plot being “silly” it’s hard not to see how it’s a forerunner for those stark dystopian projects such as 1984 (1949), High Rise (1975-2015) and dare I even say Terminator (1984).
Opening with lavish scenes of an efficient and idealist future cityscape, the Metropolis is busy and filled with beautiful people, one of these stunning hipsters is Freder (Frohlich) his father Joh Fredersen, is a rich and powerful man who basically owns the city and runs the world above and below from his penthouse office. While Freder is playing with his friends in a pleasure garden, their playtime is interrupted when Maria (Helm) intrudes with a group of children who exist in the underground, who have come to see how the other half live, Freder is bewitched by Maria’s beauty and follows her into the depths of the city, and into a world which he’d been kept apart from all of his privileged life by this rich father who just happened to own the city.. Continue reading Metropolis (1927)
I’m planning on doing more showcases of short movies as I really do adore them and think that we need to start taking them seriously as they just might be the future. I feel i have been abandoning the genre for a while and I feel quite bad about it.
This cute British short was a good start for me, the intro is so well shot, a few people scavenging for supplies sadly when the action takes over there’s a drop in style but overall it tells a pretty awesome story of friendship in a horrific future, something often skipped over in bigger productions 4/10 Continue reading A few Random Euro Shorts
Director: Christian Duguay
Starring: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin. Canada / USA. 1h
Based on: Second Variety by Philip K Dick
Philip K Dick was always ahead of his time, and as a cult writer the films adapted from his books and short stories are also usually held tightly by the same community and cherished dearly. While Screamers has a lower budget and took a bashing by the critics on it’s release it did eventually get recognised and gain a cult following, and indeed why not it has all of the elements of any PK Dick novela, machines turning on their creators, illusions, confusion of reality, corporate lies.. Really it’s quite brilliant but could have done with a bit more passion and depth.
In broad strokes this film is about two rival corporations who are mining on an alien planet. In 2078 and the planet is Sirius 6B. The beautiful thriving planet is now a toxic desert after the continuous mining and the NEB and Alliance corporate wars. Five years into the wars Alliance have developed AMS (Autonomous mobile Swords) self replicating machines with AI that hunt and kill NED soldiers all on their own. These are the “Screamer” due to the nosie they emit when they are about to kill. The idea is that they are created and shipped out and kill anything with a heartbeat. They fix themselves and keep on killing. So how do you keep your own men safe? Well they wear “tabs” which broadcast a signal cancelling out their heartbeats rendering them invisible to the machines. Continue reading Screamers (1995)
Director: Kevin Connolly
Starring: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Spencer Lofranco, William DeMeo .USA. 1h 50m
The gangsters paradise seems to have had its heyday with bold releases such as Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), the amazing rag to riches backstories, garnished with riches and savage beatings really enthralled audiences, I was one of many who assumed that this release might just make the holy trinity of awesomeness, but who was I kidding, John Travolta as the Teflon Don!? I want to say that this abysmal movie is The Room (2003) of mobster movies but the room is so bad it’s good, it has some charm and is incredibly memorable where as this crumpled lackluster effort is easily forgettable and it pains me to have to write a review. Continue reading Gotti (2018)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Tomas Milian, Henry Silva, Ray Lovelock and Anita Strindberg .Italy. 1h 40m
This movie could easily be called “Il criminale più stupido d’Italia” as it follows the misadventures of a total psychotic loser criminal who couldn’t con his way out of a paper bag successfully but his constant efforts do cause some sensational cinema.
Opening with a bunch of robbers/kidnappers, snatching a young boy, their (not so trusty) getaway driver is Giulio Sacchi (Milian) manages to kill an officer while waiting and soon the gang is being chased around the city, they manage to speed past a train which cuts them off from the cops in time for them to drop the child and ditch the cops, they find a secluded place to recoup and kick the crap out of Giulio for foiling their efforts, after threatening to castrate him he heads back into the city alone. The brute roughs up his girl for some money and kills another cop while robbing a cigarette machine, while other officers arrive to investigate he starts displaying disturbing behaviour by squaring up to Inspector Walter Grandi (Silva). Eventually the bad tempered loose cannon, devises a scheme of kidnapping the daughter a wealthy businessman, who his girlfriend works for, but with a crazed moral compass and no scruples his manages to mess up each step of the way, but just manages to stay one step ahead of Inspector Grandi but mostly by mistake. Continue reading Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare / Almost Human (1974)