Category Archives: Fantasy

Flatliners (1990)

Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. USA. 1h 55m

One question has plagued mankind since the dawn of time, what happens after death? Is there a big party in the sky, do you get to rekindle your relationships with your ancestors? But what happens if you just enter the afterlife and return, does this make you a god among mortal men? In Joel Schumacher’s science fiction thriller, the question is raised and sharply dodged as the cast fumble around personal nightmares and repetitive resuscitation scenes.

Shortly after his greatest achievements, Lost Boys (1987) and St Elmo’s Fire (1985) he came back with this pious theological piece, which is dramatic but becomes silent and empty when it attempts to give reason and answer to it’s meaning, in fall fairness it’s hard to answer what lies after death but if you’re going to make a movie about it, you really should have a theoretical process in place. Continue reading Flatliners (1990)

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)

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, Charlton Heston .USA/Canada. 1h 35m

This epic slice of classic horror and the final piece of his Apocalypse Trilogy seems to be John Carpenter’s homage to a lot of the great names in literary horror, from HP Lovecraft to Stephen King he carves out a creepy tale which every horror writer has probably dreamt of, and that’s the ability to make their horror very real and literally jump of the page and effect their readers, getting all up in their grills. Anything to stop those whiney kids to stop complaining that nothing scares them huh?

Continue reading In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

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)

Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

Director: Konstantin Lopushansky
Starring: Viktor Mikhaylov, Vera Mayorova,Vadim Lobanov, Irina Rakshina, Aleksandr Rasinsky, Iosif Ryklin, Yu. Sobolev, Vladimir Firsov. Russia/Soviet Union/West Germany/Switzerland. 2h 16m

The jaw dropping, mind bending and highly disjointed follow on to Dead Man’s Letters (1986), shows that Lopushansky has lost none of this amazing vision of the world after an apocalyptic disaster. Usually history is written by the victors but who really comes out on top when the entire planet sinks into a nuclear winter?

From it’s dark crimson opening, it’s clear that the world is a very different place in this complicated post-apocalyptic future, that carries on from living memories of Chernobyl. The world attempts to keep things moving as a tourist attempts to traverse the barren landscape to visit a museum buried deep below the ocean. Clothed in a long black coat and carrying a single suitcase he stumbles through massive piles of waste, fights through clouds of dangerous dust and catches the saddest looking train I’ve ever seen limp down a track. Eventually he makes it to his “hotel” a house run by rich elites that looks out onto a vibrant shore that leads to a hidden fabled Museum. Continue reading Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

Sweetheart (2019)

Director: J.D Dillard
Starring: Kiersey Clemons, Emory Cohen, Hanna Mangan Lawrene, Benedict Samuel, Andrew Crawford .USA. 1h 22m

I love the quote that goes something like, “you have to lose yourself to find yourself” and while it’s not the associated quote of this gripping horror, it seems to apply to the lead, Jenn a girl who doesn’t show much fear in her unusual castaway situation, but one who grows with the movie into something much stronger in this somewhat subtle new take to being stranded on an pewny island.

At first glance and in the opening, there’s not a huge amount going on in J D Dillards stomach churning thriller, but in reflection there’s a lot of social criticism a brilliant new monster and new heroine that with her faults is brilliant, brave and with some work could easily be the new Vasquez (Aliens). Dillard manages to make a lot happen on a really tiny island and with a minimal cast, but there isn’t a dull moment and he keeps a steady methodical pace. Continue reading Sweetheart (2019)

Ninjas Vs Zombies (2008)

AKA Zombie Contagion

Director: Justin Timpane.
Starring. Cory Eskridge, Okouchi, Daniel Ross, Dan Guy, Carla Okouchi, PJ Megaw. USA. 1h 26m.

Independent cinema is a minefield to navigate sometimes, there are bad films and bad bad films and good bad films, but those gems which really capture fan attention are those which no matter how bad they appear, there is a clear attempt do make something to the best of one’s abilities here and to have fun while doing it and that just might be the charm which makes this a unusual cut above the rest.

This is definitely a homemade, call in the help of some buddies and maybe a local band to get this project off the ground; but in all fairness without the years of classical training and millions of bucks it’s quite an accomplishment, although on par with the video segment from VHS 2.5. It’s strange how we take some projects to heart and ignore others, luckily though it’s small cult following there have been a few follow ups. Continue reading Ninjas Vs Zombies (2008)

Reign of Fire (2002)

Director: Rob Bowman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig, Ned Dennehy, Izabella Scorupco .UK. 1h 41m

I fell out of love with fantasy movies for the surreal back in my teens, I still enjoy the genre but I live for the way out psychotropic pop surreal that goes that one step beyond. The fantasy genre is riddled with stories of dragons, maidens, cruel giant monsters, laws and riddles but going back to the standard western fantasy realm only gets a film canned as a tiresome Lord of the Rings rip off, so many attempts to bring Fantasy into the modern realm have challenged many a cast and crew, this silly bu entertaining project from X Files director Rob Bowman is interesting but slightly cringe.

After years of working the TV circuit Bowman branched out into a lengthy feature which resurrects a modern tale of dragons and legendary heroes, blending castles and helicopters, a tale of ultimate bravery and sacrifice unfolds. Continue reading Reign of Fire (2002)