Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes . USA. 2h 4m
There comes a time when every movie is going to be remade, no matter how cult or classic the original is. But did we really need this remake of the near perfect Michael Mann gusty thriller Manhunter (1986), Originally Brian Cox played the flesh eating doctor, but while his take on the now iconic doctor; is different from Hopkins laid back soft talker, Cox’s interpretation is very apt for the direction of Mann’s psychological dog fighting style. Is the Hopkins trademark on the character so powerful that he gets to shoulder his way through to complete his trilogy. Well, Dino De Laurentiis, producer of both Manhunter and Red Dragon and effectively the Lecter copyright holder, has decreed it. So Anthony Hopkins returns, for the final time, because after this he vowed never to play the role again and it’s not surprising as the task was given to Brett Ratner to facilitate, a director who can handle a fast paced popcorn action flick but really struggled with this type of deep psychological and powerfully cerebral thriller. If only this was an equally horrific sentimental comedy, like The Family Man, where Ratner would feel more at home. Continue reading Red Dragon (2002)
Director: Robin Hardy
Based on: The Ritual by David Pinner
Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Diane Cilento .UK. 1h 27m
In the past decade Horror Folklore as a genre has raised its curious demonic fiery head. This new dawning, pioneered by new cult directors such as Ben Wheatley, Ari Aster, Gavin Liam and Roger Eggers to name a few haven’t been able to make a movie without it being likened to the pioneering game changer, Robin Hardy’s slow-burning chiller The Wicker Man.
Looking back at it’s small budget and menial takings at the cinema, numerous cuts and actors paying for critics seats, it’s rise to cult status wasn’t a simple one but what it achieved was truly unique, not even it’s remake was able to mimic it’s true sense of dread and horror. Continue reading The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Fernando Di Leo.
Starring. Henry Silva,Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi, Mario Adorf , Luciana Paluzzi Italy. 1h 35m.
Following on from Caliber 9, De Leo hits back with another violent manhunt movie.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming syndicate boss Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, David (Silva) and Frank (Strodey) 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 local assistant, Eva will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite as useless as everyone suspects. Continue reading Italian Connection / Hired to Kill / La mala ordina (1972)
Director: Jurgen Roland.
Starring: Henry Silva, Herbert Fleischmann, Patrizia Gori, Horst Janson, Denes Torza. Italy/Germany. 1h 23m.
Two mobster godfathers walk into a bar, shoot the place up and try to assassinate each others children. It’s not a great joke but it’s the basis of this tough guy action movie with lashings of black comedy, overall it’s well plotted and there are some great scenes and a high body count but is it really such a classic?
A feisty Luca Messina (Silva) arrives in the stunning city of Hamburg, Germany with his gorgeous sculptured wife and family, looking to take over this ripe province with his henchmen and goons with the aim of establishing himself as the new top dog. Instantly his family settle into their new mansion while his gang start their mission to intimidate the locals and bully them into promising their allegiance. Most of the other Don’s back down apart from Otto Westermann (Fleischmann) he’s not going to let anyone crush his status and muscle in on his territory and the “Battle” commences as a tit for tat skirmishes break out all over the city as each gang tries to wear down the other. Continue reading Zinksarge Fur Die Goldjungen / Battle of the Godfathers (1973)
Director: George Kaczender.
Starring. Lee Majors, Robert Mitchum, Valerie Perrine, Saul Rubinek. USA. 1h 34m.
I nearly forgot when subliminal messages were a real hot topic, I remember my mother being freaked out about them but them being used on the TV and in cinemas, from what I remember, being so young, this will be marred, but it all got washed away as being a joke cos it just didn’t affect anyone.. or did it? Either way the idea of messages being slipping into commercials to mind fuck the public into doing anything is a pretty scary notion and The Agency really plays with this fear and it’s potential consequences, and re watching this recently couldn’t have come at a better time with all of the cases of media being used to change public opinion in the run up to the recent USA elections, is this a procurer to such covert control? Continue reading The Agency (1980)
Director: Yayo Herrero
Starring: Alma Terzic, August Wittgenstein, Spain. 1h 30m
The Maus seems to want to be something dark and creepy with a character that is experiencing alternative timelines something like The Jacket (2005) blended with Silent Hill (2006), but with a deeper supernatural twist, but while it becomes evident as the movie progresses, it often falls short of its own thesis which is a tremendous shame as the story has a lot of prospects. Continue reading The Maus (2017)
Director: Rick Rosenthal.
Starring.Dean Penn, Esai Morales, Clancy Brown, Ally Sheedy, Eric Gurry, Reni Santoni, Robert Lee Rush. USA. 2h 3m.
This gritty coming of age movie, set in a juvenile detention centre was an epic leap of faith, with several of the main characters having their debut in what is seen as a breakthrough piece. After his directorial debut Halloween II (1981) he got stuck into 4 episodes of Darkroom then onto this game changer,launching the career of Sean Penn and Clancy Brown among others. Continue reading Bad Boys (1983)
Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy . USA. 2h 2m
Unlike a lot of action films that are based on comic characters. Phillips takes a totally different stance on recreating his solemn and realistic Joker in a studious drama focused on a downtrodden clown on the verge of his magnum opus. Last year we had a solemn Suspiria (2018) and now we have a courtly Super Villain, not just because everyone really loved Suicide Squad (2016) but a handful of grown ups wanted something more tangible and .. grown up!?
Generally the origin of the Joker is common knowledge, it’s been revisited many time in various graphic novels and comic series of the the years, but this is the first of a new series of DC comic remakes based in a more plausible world, and this chilling story for Arthur Fleck is outstanding, not only for the new birth of the worlds most favourite bad guy but it stands as a benchmark of Joaquin Phoenix as a truly versatile actor whose masterful adoption of characters that purposely don’t gel with audiences, only make them more lovable. It’s pretty easy to see this as the DC version of You Were Never Really Here (2017) but maybe in reverse but it’s just a tad darker and outlandish with crazier people involved. But in all honesty I wouldn’t want to blend the two films as they stand alone in their own glorious and unforgettable rights. Continue reading Joker (2019)
AKA The Washington Snipers
Director: D Alexander Moors
Starring: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Rim Blake Nelson. USA. 1h 34m
A deeply atmospheric and emotive recount of the strange relationship between the unique pair of individuals who basically brought Washington to its knees in 2002. John (Washington)and his “adopted” Antigen son Lee (Richmond), are brought together out of love and necessity, but soon their turbulent relationship became needed and cold violence. A highly provocative insight into the killers from D Alexandre Moors, his first full length feature, shows incredible talent. Later on he was able to display further capabilities is his more appreciated project Yellow Birds (2017).
John is a highly strung individual, moving from sofa to sofa, from friend to favour as he rages at the world around him, hooking up with a protective friend he manages to tutor his new son in a military fashion, their daily lives are a mix of regimental and relaxing with friends, cook outs and sniper training. Continue reading Blue Caprice (2013)
Director: Eric Steel.
Starring.Various. USA. 1h m.
Worlds literally end in Eric Steel’s slightly tastefully feature length documentary which focuses solely on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. For one year the iconic bridge was filmed including every suicide that took place on The Bridge that year with candid interviews of the people left behind.
The film opens like a tourist promo, with beautiful scenes of the bridge, the crew setting up hidden cameras, vibrant wildlife is in abundance, the quiant businesses nearby are lit in golden sunshine, then suddenly a body drops, and we are initiated into the Bridge, a bold unwavering look into the jolly suicide spot.
Be afraid of what lies beneath…
Continue reading The Bridge (2006)