Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Max Hubacher, Frederick Lau, Bernd Hölscher, Waldemar Kobus, Alexander Fehling, Samuel Finzi. Germany. 1h 50m
Here is another chilling nightmare from the German home front, as the end of the war begins to loom into reality and defeat is imminent, a lone German runs deep into the woods while being chased by some overprivileged soldiers blowing horns and taking pot luck shots at him. The man manages to evade death and recapture and eventually stumbles on an abandoned car and uniform of a high ranking officer.
This crystalline black and white brutal masterpiece, possible shot in this style inspired by Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) shows that the talented director Schwentke has gone back to basic and delivered something beautifully stark and somewhat monstrous. Continue reading Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)
Director: Yō Moriyama
Japan. 6h 30m ish
This epic mini series was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Manga Ashita no Joe. It closely follows the often tragic story of Junk Dog, a young fighter who has been picked up by a trainer, Gansaku Nanbu who has fallen from grace and uses the kid to fix fights to raise money to pay off his debts.
In this future era there’s a classic sci fi set up, there are two distinct classes, citizens and non citizens, Junk Dog is of the lower cast, a non citizen who fights in the outskirts of a mega city but he dreams of making it into the Megloboxing ring as a citizen to fight the number one ranked fighter, Yūri. Who, through a series of unfortunate events turns up in Junk’s ring and the two battle it out, Junk Dog gets his ass handed to him but the young kid never gives up and this intrigues Yūri, who leaves the fight but urges the “Stray Dog” to com and fight him in the big ring. This really awakens something and soon he encourages Nanbu to help him fight in Meglabox. Nanbu is pretty useless but he strikes an all or nothing bargain with the man he already owes money to, the pair arrange for a fake citizen card for Junk Dog who renames himself Joe, and they enter him into the games. Continue reading Meglobox (2018)
Director: Erdal Ceylan.
Starring. Alyson Walker, Tony Giroux, Meelah Adams. USA. 1h 15m.
Selfie from Hell, started out as a 2 minutes horror movie that for millions of views on YouTube years ago, but now we have this full length feature that’s supposed to up the ante and the short answer is that.. “nope” it just doesn’t come across as being more frightening or more compelling than the horror short.
So some girl gets terrorised by a shadowy figure which is stalking her in her selfies, any other photo is totally fine but whenever she takes a picture of herself this dark monster begins to get closer, until one picture later and boom it’s upon her and while she’s now bedridden her “niece”? (I really couldn’t care for the relationship, the build up to this point was slow and .. boring) visits to help look after her, and starts to dig into the story and is soon hunted by the same entity but luckily she has a laptop and starts to find answers on the dark web… Continue reading Selfie from Hell (2018),
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Based on: Hold the Dark by William Giraldi
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough, Malcolm Blair, Tantoo Cardinal, Julian Black Antelope. USA. 2h 5m
With just two major titles under his belt, Saulnier’s next project, was so highly anticipated it derailed the hype train, but the resulting ambitious drama was so different from the taut thrillers, Blue Ruin (2013) and Green Room (2015) that no one could really appreciate it in the same way and it generally got panned by the fans.
This misfire isn’t a total disaster, no one can find fault with the beautiful crafting that went into the film, Saulnier is so masterful that even if you didn’t get the movie you can easily enjoy watching it, but for me it’s just a perfect shot for a different audience. I found it just as gritty and nearly as bloody as the others, but the pushing and pulling between two fundamental ideas within the movie that would either make it a thriller or fantasy doesn’t ever come to a neat conclusion, leaving a gaping open ending which is going to piss off a lot of people but for me it’s a highly alluring project which is perfect as it is. Continue reading Hold the Dark (2018)
Director: David Michod.
Starring: Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, Laura Wheelwright. Australia. 1h 53m
There is something extraordinarily authentic about Animal Kingdom, this sinister tale of a twisted criminal family is something can nervously be regarded as far fetched, but after an ounce of research into the criminal underworld of the Land Down Under, after watching this movie there’s a lingering fear that “based on a true story” might appear in the closing credits.
With characters like the notorious Chopper (2000) and the gut churning Snowtown (2011) just two pieces of projects based on real events and people, this just feels like the next step in a progression of a young country with a criminal culture that’s making up for lost time. Continue reading Animal Kingdom
Director: Alfredo Giannetti
Starring: Franco Nero, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Carlos de Carvalho. Italy. 1h 36m
A somewhat whimsical crime thriller, Blue Eyed Bandit stars the iconic Franco Nero as Renzo Dominici, mild mannered crippled and aged clerk who works for a bank, but little do his employers know what by night he transforms into a young, dynamic blue eyed criminal mastermind.
By day he shuffles around in a clever disguise, working long hours, visiting his mother in her nursing home and all the while secretly scoping out the office and waiting for the big pay day but as he ultimate heist get closer, Stella (Lazzaro); a loose member of the cafeteria staff starts to work out that there is much more to the old quiet clerk and she attempts to slide into the deal. Continue reading Il bandito dagli occhi azzurri / Blue Eyed Bandit (1980)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Sylvester Stallone, USA. 2h m
After the Rocky franchise boiled down to the beat up old man, Balboa (2006) reclaimed some of the old school Rocky glory once again for Stallone, who’s been going through some kind of midlife crisis pumping out the Expendables (2010)as if they are going out of fashion, and considering most of the cast can’t be taken all that serious anymore they are kinda out of fashion but they are fun, entertaining and raking in the cash, he touched base with a more violent older and chunky Rambo and now he’s back to Rocky to re live another chapter. It’s beautiful that he still has the heart and passion for this character and films but he seems to want to hold on to that hero baton rather than pass it on.
This emotive drama mirrors the arc of the original Rocky, there’s a humble boxer his mentor and the woman he adores who is his sound conscience and his rock. Having made the same base creed then plays around with these ideas, sometimes swinging a left hook and surprising us other times copying from the original. But after so many Rocky movies it’s not too difficult to predict which turn the movie is taking next, but this doesn’t mean that some scenes aren’t powerful enough for the viewers to not want to cheer this new hero on. Continue reading Creed (2015)
Director: Jon Keeyes.
Starring. Arnold Vosloo, Erin Marie Garrett, Michael Ironside, Matthew Tompkins, Hayden Tweedie. USA. 1h 25m
With it’s gripping cover I couldn’t miss this movie, a chance at a semi decent horror movie involving demons!? what could possibly go wrong.. well in short, everything, and yes you don’t need to remind me not to judge movies from their covers.. I’ll never learn. It’s an odd bag of events, talents and , the star of the film is terrible and his co stars including Michael Ironside and Arnold Vosloo!? Maybe i’m out of touch but they mean more to me than the rest of the cast doubled.. Alas it is what it is…
The life of a vice cop is often glamorized on the screen, through tough work and determination they eventually get the bad guys after an action packed chases and breaking a few rules usually there is a classic duo think of The French Connection (1971) and really what could make this style of film sour? The Harrowing is a far cry from this classic set up, and while it’s great to break convention sometimes the mix can marr either side, could you imagine if Gene Hackman ran into real demons while pursuing his case? although in all honesty he was fighting personal ones in the sequel but this is beyond the point. Continue reading The Harrowing (2018)
Director: Michael Pearce
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn,Geraldine James .UK. 1h 46m
Director Michael Pearce has constructed a commanding movie with a complex layered story, this deeply psychological drama/thriller is a smouldering beauty with lots of eerie undertones.The films flaming lead Jessie Buckley gives an excellent lead performance who’s beauty gives the film a touch of piercing clarity, as Pearce builds mystery with intense fascination, often revealing big scenes with fine balance as he grips the viewers attention with climatic stages.
Set in Jersey while a serial killer has murdered several young girls, the village tries to solder o while there’s a giant elephant in the room. In among the normies is Moll (Buckley) a 27 year old who’s a deeply unhappy woman and put upon daughter by an extremely domineering mother (James) she lives out her days under the total control of her mother and carrying out a soulless job as a tour guide. There is a reason for the watchful eye of Moll, she has a dark secret that manifested in her past school girl days, and in turn she’s still basically treated as a child while her siblings are on their own pedestals. Her sister manages to upstage her at her own birthday party while announcing her pregnancy, Moll, having enough of the family antics storms out abandoning her family and Cliff, a stuffy young police officer who wanted to make Moll his new girlfriend. Into the night she runs and joins another party, meeting the mysterious and alluring Pascal (Flynn). Continue reading Beast (2017)
Director: Michael R Roskam
Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Barbara Sarafian. Belgium. 2h 8m.
There is something majestically beautiful about Roskam’s savage mafia drama. That sees a man fight against his own nature using the same tools that he applies to nature for his own gains. Usually Belgium is seen as a boring country where nothing really exciting happens, but even with the crime connections in this film, they aren’t peddling class a drugs or trafficking humans, nothing that dangerous or “glamorous” instead this mafioso gang are pedding steroid laden beef, typical farmer stuff but filled with meaty treats. Continue reading Rundskop / Bullhead (2011)