Category Archives: Adventure

Excalibur (1981)

Director: John Boorman.
Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.

Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)

Monster Island (2019)

Director: Mark Atkins
Starring: Adrian Bouchet, Jonathan Pienaar, Natalie Robbie, Donna Cormack Thomson, Chris Fisher, Eric Roberts, Toshi Toda .USA/South Africa. 1h 29m

Trying to blend ancient folklore monsters into a modern sci-fi story just makes for a really poor Godzilla rip off seem like goldust in comparison. But coming from Mark Atkins, the B Movie god who made a slew of strange shark movies, it’s interesting to see some attempt to add in a backstory for once.

Using a mediterrainan style setting (although filmed in South Africa) there’s an attempt to make things seem exotic and distant, tropical and mysterious, but the research team who had enough warnings makes a terrible set of decisions and set themselves on a path of destruction in order to chase a giant critter that they witnessed crushing their expensive equipment, just because.

Adrian Bouchet stars as Billy Ford, who’s in charge of an advanced remote deep sea diving team, but when they witness a giant tentacle crush one of their remote machines, while setting up a demonstration for a rich backer, they decide to go in deep and investigate. Billy and his team seem to have access to everything, private choppers, boats, subs, both robotic and remote controlled but not much common sense. When they notice that the top of Reveen has vanished and is in fact a living lava blooded monster, they decide to fight back. This strange crustacean/octopus monster manages to kill a nuclear armed Russian sub but they get away and then luckily the government inspector who forced her way on board to make sure they are all working to strict guidelines, remembers that high university professor tried to teach her about these legendary monsters but she thought her tutor was talking shit, so they fly over and pick her up.. Sometimes I wish my life was this simple. Either way they awake a giant “Guardian” who isn’t Godzilla so the movie begins to not only let its audience down but things are now depressing as well.

Bouchet comes across like a cub scout leader, the tutor seems a bit away with her meds and Eric Roberts pops up from time to time as some admiral or something but all he does is shout down a phone with Toshi Toda wandering around in the background (maybe they skyped in their performances?) The special effects are terrible, when you don’t have money for good or intelligently lead CGI then just don’t go there, for a production like this I’d have been more impressed with a man in a suit, I’m an advocate for more monster men in suits if you didn’t guess.

Like all of those “terrible sharknado movies” this one is a switch off and drink a beer to make it interesting kidna popcorn flick, at times it has a few interesting links to a fake mythos but the usual abysmal rubbish that often gets served up on syfy, why i don’t know…

Rating: 2/10

R: Planet of the Sharks (2016), Sand Sharks (2012), Jack the Giant Killer (2013)
L: 20 Wonderful Made-for-television sci-fi disaster movies
5s: Mark Atkins
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The Man Who Killed Hitler and Bigfoot (2019)

Director: Robert D. Krzykowski .
Starring.Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Bigfoot, Larry Miller, Caitlin Fitzgerald. USA. 1h m.

So we have a film with the title but seems to pluck headlines from clickbait news titles and you’d be forgiven for believing that this was going to be some fanciful psychotropic romp, but instead in Robert D krzykowski slightly downtrodden epic we find a very down to earth and grounded adventure/drama, but without pop characters, huge explosions and superhero’s there’s a lot of cinema gold here and it seems to work purely because of Sam Elliott’s total coolness.

You’ll also be forgiven for believing that this film is set in an alternate reality, but the movie is set in our reality, but back in 1987, where we find the now aged Calvin Barr played by he panty dropping silver fox and his infamous mustache, which should get as much credit as whatever David Bowie was hiding in his pants in Labyrinth (1986). Continue reading The Man Who Killed Hitler and Bigfoot (2019)

Motorrad / Motorbike (2017)

Director: Vicente Amorim
Starring: Carla Salle, Pablo Sanábio, Juliana Lohmann, Emílio de Mello, Guilherme Prates .Brazil . 1h 32m

The wonderful set up for this movie is filled with mysterious characters and a mythical folkloric wonderment that builds up Amorim’s film into a pensive dark thriller just to be doused by blood and sinew by the final scenes in what could have been the premiere gore soaked Brazilian thriller of the year.

Starting out with a strange sequence that see’s a young man creep into what seems to be an abandoned workshop, he finds a rare and valuable component on a bike being worked on and attempts to steal it, it burns a pattern into his hand as he’s literally caught red handed, a wisen old man rambles on about a fabled curse on those who are willing to steal for vanity and selfish reasons but a beautiful young woman eventually takes pity on him. But is it too late for him or is this a question of the soul. Continue reading Motorrad / Motorbike (2017)

Mortal Engines (2018)

Director: Christian Rivers.
Starring.Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang. USA. 2h 8m.

This majestic story of the fight for freedom in a world where cities hunt each other, has no shortage of outstanding special effects and dazzling action scenes but it lacks in having a matching narrative, something as compelling and hard worked to really make this apocalyptic fantasy enough power to be a fulfilling and compelling movie, however I’m sure that I am not the target audience as I no longer have homework.

Christian Rivers has worked so closely with the writer, Peter Jackson on many of his epic blockbusters but it seems that being in the driving seat took Rivers out of his comfort zone as he struggled to keep this meaty beast under control. So much attention was directed in this film looking so specific but in reflection it’s hard not to see it as a Frankenstein of so many other projects but in reality it just feels like a live action Ghibli story but without much feeling applied to it. Rivers does achieve a consistent theme but that’s about it in terms of accomplishments. Continue reading Mortal Engines (2018)

Psychomania (1973)

Director: Don Sharp
Starring: George Sanders, Beryl Reid, Nicky Henson, Mary Larkin, Roy Holder, Robert Hardy .UK. 1h 35m
AKA Death Wheelers

Sadly this is the only hippy occult psychotropic suicidal biker gang musical cult horror that Beryl Reid ever made, a movie that was the final nail in the coffin for George Sanders and one which most of the actors hated making but one of the first British cult motorcycle horrors that lives in the hearts of many fans.

Australian-born British film director, Don Sharp, is best known for his deeply atmospheric Hammer movies, in the 1960s, his titles included The Kiss of the Vampire (1962) and Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966). In his early days he often appeared in B rated movies, this lead to him being adept at making the most of any meager budget, something which he demonstrated with his 17th Century based movie Witchcraft (1964) elegantly shot in monochrome and it’s follow up Curse of the Fly (1965) but his strangest picture is Psychomania. Successfully managing to combine the Hippy agenda of freedom and peace with a dark frog worshiping satanic cult, Sharp blends all of this with a tongue in cheek humor but without much of a plan as to the hows and whys of immortality and untapped power, the film wasn’t made to make sense but as a feast for the senses. Continue reading Psychomania (1973)

Come to Daddy (2019)

Director: Ant Timpson.
Starring: Elijiah Wood, Michael Smiley, Martin Donovan, Stephen McHattie .USA. 1h 33m

There comes a time in anyone’s life when they get a pang of nostalgia and have to find their roots, discover what kind of stock they have come from. Sometimes it’s just to determine medical symptoms and at other times it’s to find out where we are down the big line of success or fuck ups. Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy is such a journey but one that no one could have predicted. Continue reading Come to Daddy (2019)

Croc (Godzilla of the Swamp) (2007)

Director: Stewart Raffill.
Starring. Michael Madsen, Peter Tuinstra, Sherry Edwards. USA. 1h 40m.

In the terms of B/Indie/Lo-fi movies, this isn’t that bad.. the premises is of a huge man eating crocodile that terrorizes a Thai village, much like Jaws (1975), but with more snap than bite. In reality it’s just another Syfy movie that attempts to undo all the hard work from the decent creature features, but at least it’s a slightly more believable story unlike Sharknado (2013).

We are expected to believe in giant monstrous mutant animals despite some of the footage coming from the cutting floor of National Geographic and it just looks like an average Croc. This all comes at time when a croc amusement park in Thailand run by a foreigner becomes centre of attention when the bitten bodies turn up, he finds himself in a battle with a prominent family who want his site to develop on but while they have their land and property war, the leathery beast is chowing down on anyone who crosses his path. Continue reading Croc (Godzilla of the Swamp) (2007)

Jauja (2014)

Director: Lisandro Alonso
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby, Viilbjørk Malling Agger. UK. 1h 49m

Sometimes I watch a movie and I’m left with a feeling of nostalgia hinted with the question of did I really just watch a dream come to life on screen? There’s a rare select group of directors who can achieve this unique atmosphere but the determined efforts of Lisandro Alonso and Viggo Mortensen have made a movie which starts out quite straight forwards eventually boils down to a crazy trip in the desert, akin to any modern classic but it’s set in the past and it almost fools you into thinking that such a step into the unknown is not plausible. Continue reading Jauja (2014)

L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)

Director: Sergio Martino.
Starring. Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson. Italy. 1h 40m.

Somewhere in this science fiction fantasy horror, there is a great director who’s floundering out of his depths. Martino has some crackers under his belt including All the Colours of the Dark (1972).

Starting with a murder is always the best way to start a Giallo and Martino with all this previous experience kept to his tradition, a couple embark on a shifty night time mission to find hidden treasures, only to be met with clawed fish hands and bloody death in the (surprisingly well lit) dank caves of an unknown island, along with their mercenary crew who are slaughtered by the same hands along the shore. A short while later in 1891 a military doctor Lieutenant Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) survives not one but two shipwrecks and ends up on a mysterious island with a handful of prisoners survived with him. On this strange isle the are faced with hunger and some of the convicts meet grisley ends with the fishmen and the survivors flee into the jungle only to encounter Edmond Rackham (Johnson) who’s a sadistic douchebag who’s on a power hungry ego trip, alongside him is a stunning captive, Amanda (Bach). Continue reading L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)