Marie Antoinette (2006) Director:Sofia Coppola Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Marianne Faithful .USA, France, Japan. 2h 3m
A lot of cake was eaten in Sofia Coppola’s punktastic retelling of the life and downfall of Marie Antoninette. From her teen marriage to the King of France and their bizarre and lavish life together, offset to a brilliant pop punk soundtrack, there’s probably just enough to get help you through a GCSE but there’s very little accurate history involved but lots of analogies to just how much of a pop princess Marie was for the age.
Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta / Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)
Director: Alberto De Martino Starring:Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow.Canada/Italy. 1h 54m
Shadows in an Empty Room is a distinct 1970s crime film with mad tones of Euro grime; this De Martino might be out of place in Canada, but it doesn’t drag for a minute. Shadows in an Empty Room is what would remain if you stripped a Giallo movie of its euro trash, bumped it up with a heavy Polittesco narrative, and went full frontal.
On the campus of Montreal college a man notices his ex girlfriend having a moment with her lecturer, and suspected lover, Dr Tracer (Landau), later on that evening a prank turns into a suspicious murder, and the prime suspect is Laundau, and his student/girlfriend is stone cold. Unlucky for him, her brother is a hard ass police officer, played by Stuart Whitman and his back up is the steely eyes John Saxon and they are about to get some Canadian Justice.
Director: Christophe Gans Starring: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Deborah Kara Unger .USA/France/Canada. 2h 5m
Before the massive remake revolution audiences used to get some kind of excitement when their beloved media was about to be revamped into something new and shiny. However over the years we were battered to death by abysmal rehases that missed the plot and we all lost faith that any remake was going to be worth our time… but before we learnt the painful lesson there was some hope that Silent Hill, in the hands of Christophe Gans, might, just might make a decent horror movie. After all the games are fucking terrifying so even if you miss the mark, you’ll still end up with something unsettling and creepy right? Right?
Director: Various Starring: Various Worldwide. 1h m
Despite setting records on the Shudder platform, there’s a lot lacking from this instalment of the VHS series, however maybe there was a gap in the market, as this came out during the height of yet another lockdown! leaving it with reviews swaying from weak to the best of the series? Being a total marmite chapter lets me dive deep into it. The wrap-around for this anthology-found footage compilation follows a SWAT team stumbling on a sinister VHS cult and the underground compound, for all of the other wraps it’s one of the strangest as we don’t really see the team settling into the movies like the rest.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Starring: Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith. UK. 1h 47m
Ben Wheatley hit the movie scene with a handful of cracking gritty and unusual films which instantly gained my a cult status and loyal fans, a mix of hard british brutality, comedy and strongest flavoured his early titles and it was only going to be a matter of time before he got bigger budget movies and we all knew this was going to be a downfall for him. He proved that with Rebecca and High Rise he was able to make a movie outside of his own prescribed type cast but ultimately these films weren’t half as interesting as his other gripping and guttural work.
Director: Jordan Peele Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, LaKeith Stanfield, Bradley Whitford, Lil Rel Howery, Caleb landry Jones, Stephen Root .USA. 1h 44m
The title comes from a history of black audiences shouting “Get Out” to any black cast members in horror movies, it’s a trope that has been played to death more recently as we being to embark on the serious questions of race and stereotypes, and it’s during this brave new wave that Jordan Peele has unleashed some amazingly creepy and mind bending stories centering around the black community.
AKA Robot Jox 2 : Crash and Burn Director: Charles Band Starring: Paul Ganus, Megal Warn, Jack McGee, Eva LaRue, Bill Moseley .USA. 1h 25m
Originally being a concept for the follow up to Robojox, a much harder end of the world scenario is placed in Band’s post apocalyptic sci fi thriller. Crash and burn does recycle some aspects from Robojox, most noeably the stop motion aniated robots themselvees but it slaps a can of terminator and max mad on to it’s murder mystery plot.
The film is set several years after a global economic collapse, and after Covid it’s easier to imagine than it was in 1990. All of fears of the future from the classic writers are dropped throughout the film, global warming, nuclear poisoning and corporation control all raise their ugly heads and Crash and Burns gives us a glimpse of what it might be like to try and live with all these oppressions but there is hope, a group of freedom fighters attempt to jam TV signals and promote messages for people to rise up against the corporations. The world is pretty dismal, it’s hot, sueper desert hot all the time, there are frequent power cuts and water is hard to find and when you drink it is probably recycled only hours before. Kids learn via some kind of interactive TV and have no connection with each other. it’s life but not a happy one.
Director: Edward Drake
Starring:Jonathan Lipnicki, Avery Konrad, Timothy V Murphy USA. 1h 30m
Coming of age is a difficult time for any young girl but it’s especially troubling for Chance in Drakes power struggle vampire film with a gritty power struggle a troubled hero and s touch of je ne sai qoir but it doesn’t go that extra mile to really set itself apart from all the other TV vampire movies but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable to watch family fireworks.
Opening with a family trying to control their wayward and violent teen daughter Chance (Konrad) they send her to live with her pious grandfather and extended family on a remote estate. Slowly the easily distracted teen uncovers a family secret and her only chance of survival comes from the dead and an assassin destined to end her family’s reign.
Director: Jared Masters Starring: Grace Klich, Valerie Miller, Derrick Biedenback, Olivia Yohai, Vincent Joel, Jared Masters .USA. 1h 1m
This full on silent dance tells a story, and apparently that story is true… Jared Masters comes hot off the heels of his thriller Ballet of Blood and changes tones from blood red to whimsical Amethyst as he follows a young girl on the trip of a lifetime.
Totally silent and fully trippy psychedelic effects, this movie does manage to hold the attention through the sheer strangeness of its narrative, the cast, instead of blabbing with their mouths manage to communicate through contemporary dance and drama, which is actually more impressive than it sounds.
Director: Eran Creevy
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng, Jay Simpson .UK. 1h 26m
You could argue that the British Urban genre is still in its infancy, or at least it’s fixated on youth and troubled adolescence that it’s hard to see it in a mature sense. However debut director Eran Creevy raises the bar with this uber smart, darkly funny and engaging drama all stuck together on a meager budget. Usually the scene is something daryl troubled like Kidulthood, Cherry Tree Lane, and they all have their visceral points to make but Shifty is more chilled and less aggressive but it does highlight street violence and the grimey underbelly of our streets but it’s achievement of highlighting the friendship of two amazing friends and the characters they meet along the way will make an audience smile before smacking them with a gory ending.