Director: Fred Olen Ray Starring: Charles Napier, Ann Turkel, Bo Svenson, Ron Glass. USA. 1h 30m
I love when the smaller budgeted movies attempt to retell bigger budgeted blockbuster style stories, and this film, that spends most of its time I’m swimming in the success of other sci fi classics like Alien (1979) in fact it’s totally an Alien rip off, but all of its good intentions, seems to be another homage to cult film but plays out like another version of the fated project, The Dark(1979), and this about s successfully thrilling as Alien 2 on Earth(1981)
Director: Juan Piquer Simón Starring: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Ely Pouget, Deborah Adair,John Toles-Bey. Spain/USA. 1h 19m
If you’re a fan of underwater horrors such as The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six etc, then this film will feel really familiar to you. Often seen as a BMovie version of the movies mentioned above due to its lack of originality in the plot, the film is often praised for providing a decent entertaining sucker punch for it’s limitations. Considering that 1989 was the sterling breakthrough for deep sea thrillers involving a host of alien and mutant creatures, it’s a strange step backwards to watch Endless Descent ride on their back 2 years later, but for all its flaws it’s incredibly watchable.
Director: Fernando Di Leo Starring: Gastone Moschin, Mario Adorf, Barbara Bouchet. .UK. 1h 42m
Well famed for being the ultimate super cool, cult hit, this is the first of a trio of virtuoso politicization films, the following movies, La Mala ordina/The Italian Connection and Il Boss/The Boss, are all based on a short story collection all using the original names by Giorgio Scerbanenco. Each film stands out for their own powerful impact with straight forward stories harnessing beautiful women, treachery and tons of gratuitous violence.
AKA Hired to Kill, Manhunt in the City, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt
Director: Fernando Di Leo. Starring. Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 40m.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, Dave Catania (Silva) and Frank Webster (Strode) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A beautiful local assistant will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite a useless as everyone suspects.
Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorfi), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend/bottom bitch”in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics.But the magic of this film is that Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention, and pretty soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the “Luca show” while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail and all in his slightly comedic style.
Director: Tobe Hopper, John Cardos
Starring:William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jacquelyn Hyde. USA. 1h 32m
This could have been a real contender as one of the more imaginative bold and vibrant sci-fi thrillers of the late 70’s but it fails on a few fronts which is a crying shame. The total of it’s dismal failures is all down to a ton of rewrites as the director duo of Tobe Hopper and John Cardos scramble around trying to wedge their classic into the shadow of the other highly successful sci-fi movies like Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979).
Director: David Twohy Starring: Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Kiele Sanchez, Chris Hemsworth. USA. 1h 34m
There’s a lot to like about this thrilling mystery and there’s a lot to appreciate about a psycho thriller which delivers some really cool (hard to kill) characters set on the beautiful islands of Honolulu. Two couples are travelling and enjoying the Eden-like surroundings, fully aware that there are a pair of serial killers on the loose, each couple are highly suspicious of the other but it’s up to the audience to look for the subtle clues and piece together who just might be a pair of deadly psychopaths.
Director: Simon West Starring: Dominic Cooper, Austin Stowell, Gemma Chan, Connie Nielsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Tom Felton, Derek Jacobi. UK. 1h 34m
British director Simon West has a huge action highlight reel consisting of succulent titles such as Con Air, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Mechanic, and even the mega blockbusters, The Expendables 2. But his latest addition, a smaller scaled Brit Espionage Thriller, Stratton, seem to have all the right components of a big budget action flick but just no heart and soul, which is bound to leave many viewers feeling cheated.
Director: Robert Redford Starring:Robert Redford, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Shia LeBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Saradon, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendand Gleeson, Sam Elliot, Stephen Root. USA. 2h 5m
Robert Redford isn’t a stranger to the director’s chair, however as much as The Company You Keep is a solid well made thriller and definitely is robust with ideas, philosophy and heavy drama, it’s just not as exciting as it could have been.
There’s a lot of interesting story to get through, but there’s not a lot of on screen action to enjoy. Hanging it’s narrative on ideas of what happens to freedom fighters and activists; after their youthful antics, when they are all settled as respectful members of society. Slowly unwinding mentally and regretfully of the bank robberies and murders of the past, do they just settle into the society they were fighting against or does the fight never end?
Director: Kristian Levring. Starring. Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Douglas Henshall, Michael Raymond-James, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce.USA/Denmark/South Africa. 1h 32m.
Westerns have long been a tough genre for me, I grew up watching them with my mother and grandfather and I really started to hate them. I suppose any entertainment that makes the adults lose interest in how cute you are will do that to a child’s psyche.. the only entertainment was playing with Gramps while he slept through some of the classics. Later on in life, when I got over the trauma, I rediscovered Spaghetti Westerns and I started to accept the genre back into my life, unless there’s a Mexican revolution a haunting Ennio Morricone soundtrack and less white people attempting to make believe that America has always been white, then the better things start to get. I’ve loved the reassurance of darker and more graphic horror westerns such as Seraphim Falls (2006), Brimstone (2016) and the almost instant cult classic Bone Tomahawk (2015), which have won me over. But without having a mythical foe or a revolution, there’s a striking grasp of The Salvation which has a more believable story of two immigrant brothers just trying to get ahead in the wild west and meeting ugly adversity.
Director: Ryan Prows Starring:Nicki Micheaux, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Jon Oswald, Shaye Ogbonna, Santana Dempsey, Mark Burnham USA. 1h 36m
From the unusual opening and until it’s bitter ending, everything about Lowlife blew me away! It’s a slow amble through the seedy side of Los Angles, connecting 3 reprobate lives together as they struggle against the same foe but for very different reasons. For some it might take some time to get into the aesthetic and bat shit crazy characters, but don’t fight it just go with the flow and the movie will take you places…. Places you might not want to go..
Lowlife works as a disjointed homage to a few lively characters who each deserve some sort of Folk Hero status. Jumping around through the timeline incorporates each person deeper into it’s whirlwind plot, a black motel keeper Crystal (Micheaux) who’s an ex addict and her drunken partner, a man on the verge of giving up on life but who needs an emergency kidney transplant. Then there’s a sly gangster Teddy ‘Bear’ Haynes (Burnham) who runs a violent gang profiting from immigrants organs, the kinda guy who’s legendary amongst the worst f the worst on the streets and his loveable henchman ,El Monstruo (Zarate) who’s on a mission to protect his heavily pregnant wife Kaylee (also an addict). But the stand out are a couple of best friends Keith (Ogbonna) and Randy (Oswald) a couple of cons whose brotherly bond is spun into contention over Randy’s unusual prison tattoo.