Director: Nick Rowland EXE Producer Michael Fassbender Starring: Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, David Wilmot, Ned Dennehy, Niamh Algar .UK. 1h 40m
There’s a point in everyone’s life when their past catches up with them and atonement, regret and a moment of awakening can’t be ignored. But when your past is muddled with the dark underbelly of the Ireland fighting and gang scene this event usually arrives with a shed load of pain and grief and that’s what Arm has to deal with in Nick Rowlands debut movie.
Rowlands career was mostly shorts and TV segments, and I don’t think anyone would have been something this powerful coming next, but Calm with Horses is a masterclass of powerful drama and questionable characters.
Director: Scott Derrickson Starring: Ethan Hawk, Miguel Cazarez, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies USA. 1h m
Black phone does all it can to NOT be the typical horror movie, and what it achieves is something not only beautifully crafted but it will keep fans puzzling over the finer details for decades.
Initially kicking off with the troubled life of 13 year old Finney Blake (Thames) , he’s shy and spends his days avoiding bullies and amusing his adorable little sister Gwen (McGraw), their father is constantly at his wits end and often beats the kids more from anger than from being a tough parent but the family get along in their own troubled way, Finney’s best friend is the toughest kid in school, Robin a kid who’s got a mean right hand but needs Finney’s help with his math homework so they look after each other.
Director: Jon S. Baird Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Gary Lewis, Brian McCardie, Jim Broadbent, Kate Dickie, Shauna Macdonald .UK. 1h 37m
It seems to have taken the british public a while to regain their footing after Trainspotting hit the big screens, the movie became the voice of a generation, but while Welshe’s entire book collection began flying off the shelves it was a while before another book was transformed from paper to screen. There were a few shorts, a couple of TV movies but after such a success and literally acclaim it baffles why there was such a wait. The original book’s atmosphere and 90’s risque narrative seems pale when released 15 into the future.
Director: Bart Layton. Starring:Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan,Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Udo Kier, Ann Dowd .USA. 2h 0m
It’s not often that a director gets to tackle a real life event with all original faces still alive and so open and willing to partake in a project, especially when it involves such a dark chapter of their lives. But without exploiting the unwavering openness and heavy themes, Bart Layton delivers a sturdy and unusually compelling true crime thriller.
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: 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.
Director: Jesse V Johnson Starring: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbass, Thomas Turgoose, Leo Gregory, Nick Moran. UK. 1h 30m
Scott Adkins breaks away from Boyka for a moment to seamlessly blend in with the leftover cast from the Rise of the Footsoldier series to take on a slightly different London Gangster/ Prison flick. Casting a few Kung fu kicks into the story of a young gym owner who finds himself slammed into an overly oppressed prisons situation but why?
Director: Jason Figgis Starring: Matthew Toman, Emma Dunlop, Alan Rogers. Ireland. 1h 20m
Please correct me but this noisy thriller is Dead Man’s Shoes but in a depraved reversal where the gang, all twisted and desperate, are the saviours of a vulnerable lad…let me lead you down this bloody rabbit hole.
Director: Russell Mulcahy Starring: Christopher Lambert, Robert Joy, David Cronenberg, Leland Orser .USA. 1h 48m
With a recognisable cast and no budget, there’s a clear distinction between Resurrection and the movies it’s imitating, but despite its imilations it’s still a fun watch, but one which could have been extraordinarily gruesome and chilling if put in the right hands.
Christopher Lambert and Leland Orser team up as a bmovie Mills and Somerset as they hunt a deranged killer who’s emabring on a pet project to construct the body of christ, much like John Doe in Se7en this twisted mastermind is incredibly intelligent and masterfully deviant. There’s a huge strive to match the dark oppressing cityscape that Se7en is based in, but having the main officer, John Prudhomme (Lambert) painted as a superstitious cajun there’s a lot of hoops to jump through for a mainstream audience.
Director: James Glickenhaus Starring: Robert Ginty, Christopher George, Samantha Eggar, Steve James. USA. 1h 39m
Sometimes a bit of vigilante justice is glorious to watch and you don’t need to be Charlie B or Van Michael to wake a city up. In Glickenhaus’s blood action thriller, a once kind and quiet man turns full on Rambo when his friend is attacked and crippled by a bunch of goons, but getting revenge on them just isn’t enough; he’s not going to give up until all the streets are clean.
John Eastman (Ginty) doesn’t look like the human terminator that he turns out to be, the retro Russell Crow is all about the good things in life, years after being exposed to the horrors of Nam he’s just the average Joe, until provoked and he brings Nam to NYC.
The film isn’t a commentary of mindless violence, but when it gets gritty it really does swing an ugly and dangerous bat, there’s people being fed into meat grinders, and the trademark flamethrower crispy death scenes. It’s something that could have gotten real video nasty in the right hands. But exterminator it way more than just another exploitation film, and being one of the early voices to the damaging effects of the war without the moniker of PTSD being uttered, it spread a message which is still relevant today.
If you’re lying, I’ll be back.
– John Eastman
We have to assume that once the blood has been shed and the tables levelled that our hero bad guy killer is just going to go back to a peaceful life, but there’s a sequel and in my honest opinion there should have been a lot more.
Related: Exterminator 2 (1984), Stone (1991), The Soldier (1982), Shakedown (1988), Defiance (1980), Deathwish (1974), Punisher (1989)