Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump
Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m
A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is, after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write, and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles, and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!
But now he’s taking an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source, a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for, they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley) terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure, while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Continue reading A Field in England (2013)
Director: Alex Garland.
Based on: Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
Starring. Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac. USA. 1h 57m.
This newest visionary delight from Alex Garland, doesn’t fit into the typical science fiction category, with other Netflix releases like Bright (2017) and Cloverfield Paradox (2018), where the effects and story are both weak in the later and jarring this side step into the cerebral is exactly what a lot of dedicated science fiction fans have been craving for so very long now. Taking on a model similar to the legendary Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979) or Solaris (1971), Annihilation plunges it’s audience into a lavish and dangerous new world to explore along with a scattering of emotive flashbacks added purely for good measure. Continue reading Annihilation (2018)
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya. USA. 1h 50m
The lack of originality in this horror sci fi is quite disturbing, not only the story pretty basic, but it could have lead to some riveting situations, but the set up is like a b movie horror, if there was a trail of blood leading to a room of screams the cast would trip over each other running into sudden death. But there is a blinding moment at the “oh fuck” ending which really hit a personal nerve with me otherwise the film would be a total disaster.
An unnamed interstellar mission uncovers a basic life form in some soil samples from Mars. The probe is recovered by the International Space Station and their 6 member crew manage to revive a cell sample, which quickly evolves into a multi celled organism which American school children name Calvin. I can only imagine it started out as a piece of space Slime Mold (Check out the docu film Creeping Garden for a ton of info) An accident in the lab causes Calvin to become dormant, so Hugh Derry (Bakare) tries to shock Calvin back to life, this obviously pisses off Calvin who crushes his hands an in his hostile frame of alien mind then roughs up the doctor and starts smashing up the lab. At one point he breaks into a small cage and eat one of the lab rats, and starts to grow larger. Despite initiating safety protocol, which means isolating the doctor and Calvin, the team still decide to enter the room in order to save the doctor, (DOH!), Calvin then see this is a free lunch. This is probably one of their more imaginative attacks, as he enters the scientist body and eats him from the inside out, but upon reappearing he is larger, which is a pretty big indication to the fact that Calvin just consumes and grows. So after eating Ryan Reynolds our boy Calvin then decides to go on a murderous rampage in and around the ship. Continue reading Life (2017)
Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Original Book : Peter Ackroyd
Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays. UK. 1h 49m
Lessons can be learnt from this gloomy victorian epic, it has all of right elements but it just lacks that little je ne c’est quoi. Characters fall flat and the mystery becomes boring and repetitive. Within the elaborate stages and cliche back streets of London, before the time of Jack the Ripper there was the Limehouse Golem, a mysterious killer who slaughtered at will for his audience.
John Kildare (Nighy) is thrown at the case as the powers that be believe the killer can’t be found, so he’s the fall guy, so without any backup and being dangled in front of the media and disapproving public he is forced into action, sparing their prized detective for other simpler cases, but Kildare jumps into the case, almost becoming obsessed; using his brilliant meticulous mind and working with his close friend Officer Flood (Mays) the two are an alternative Holmes and Watson. Continue reading Limehouse Golem (2017)
Director: Kevin Chu.
Starring. Brigitte Lin, Sally Yeh, Loretta Yang, Teresa Tsui, Sylvia Peng Taiwan. 1h 30m.
I’m not sure which came first, Golden Queen or Pink Force as they were both made in 1982(?) but these explosive action adventure Commando movies often have each other’s scenes spliced into one another. Personally I found Pink Force to be way more thrilling with its stronger western themes and total kookiness, but that doesn’t mean that this prison based flick is worse, but it has very different themes with an almost identical cast.
Golden Queen Commando opens with some Visual Kei gang leader playing cards with some street gangster types when a fight breaks out despite her fast shooting the police crash the party and she’s sent to prison, other short vignettes for other criminal women (Black Fox, Clack Cat, Dynamite, Sugar Plum, Amazon, Brandy and Quick Silver (our stunning card shark)), each with their own special skill and extreme costume all end with them being sent to the same nazi war prison.
Things being to heat up when one of the women starts to antagonise the others while getting a feeling for their strengths and weaknesses. And they slowly hatch a plan to escape and to kill the vile fat nazi warden and his henchmen and then head out to destroy a WWII nazi chemical lab. But not before they being total chaos and mayhem with their unique fighting skills, and all looking totally beautiful within the prison walls..
Control of tone is essential to any film but this is kicked into the wind and blasted to pieces, the film had no formula and that’s what makes it a marvellous and highly entertaining bonkers exploitations flick. The final act is highlighted with a soundtrack from Ennio Morricone which makes this a hash up of the Dirty Dozen (1967) / Magnificent 7 (1960)a la psychotronic style. Obviously there is a stunning finale and the scene which sees a spy outed is straight out of an X-Japan music video. All round fun and frolics that’s hard to ever forget.
R – Pink Force Commando (1982), Love Massacre (1981),
L – A-Z of Taiwan Cinema Vol 1.
A – Pink Cinema
Vs – Pink Force Commando Vs Golden Queen Commando.
Director: Can Evrenol
Starring: Gorkem Kasal, Mehmet Cerrahoğlu, Ergun Kuyucu. Turkey. 1h 37m
This surreal Turkish gory horror, directed by Can Evrenol, based on his 2013 short film by the same name, although in this blood soaked feature length debut he turns up the nightmare factor to full. Not running totally parallel it’s like a lucid dream within a dream, something more like Inception (2010) Vs Hellraiser (1987). While it’s not obviously as to what’s going on, the puzzle presented within Baskin is not something that you’ll be able to work out until the end, providing you have the stomach to get to the bitter end. There is a heavy handed dose of blood, meat, strange symbolism and a chilly silenthillesque atmosphere that is bound to entertain horror fans throughout. It’s crowning achievement is that it successfully manages to make you a passive spectator as this incredibly vivid nightmare unfolds. Continue reading Baskin / Raid (2015)
Director: Alan Parker.
Starring. Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet, Robert De Niro. USA. 1h 53m.
In the dark final scenes of Angel Heart, after you’ve picked your jaw up and shaken the last hour and 1 hour 53 minutes out of your system the sweat dries, the blood and dust settles and it’s all quite simple to understand but it certainly didn’t’ feel that way only moments before and you begin to feel silly for not seeing all the warning signs as the detective story turns into a dark occult nightmare. Continue reading Angel Heart (1987)
Director: Peter Greenaway. Music: Michael Nyman
Starring. Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Andrea Ferreol, Frances Barber UK/Netherlands. 1h 51m.
It’s impossible to mention Greenaway without Nyman, the two work so well together (until their falling out.. ) but it’s noteworthy to mention that this is the first collaboration with cinematographer Sacha Vierny and who he referred to as the most important collaborator, Vierny passed in the 1990s.
The film has lots of subtexts; the first is loss and grieving. Twin zoologists, Oswald and Oliver Deuce are at work studying animal behaviour when their wives are killed in a car tragic accident involving a large white swan which crashes through the windscreen, the eccentric woman who was driving the car, Alba Bewick (Ferreol) survives but has to have her leg amputated. Continue reading A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)
Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: WIll Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma, Taccone. USA 1h 32m
This turned out to be a slightly psychotronic and fairly deranged movie. Having an air about it similar to the legendary Buckaroo Banzai while tossed into the Twilight Zone with the Flintstones.
A space-time vortex sucks scientist Rick Marshall (Ferrell), his assistant Holly (Friel) and a survivam nut Will (McBride) into a world populated by dinosaurs and painfully slow creatures called Sleestaks. With few resources at their disposal, Rick, Holly and Will must rely on their only ally, a primate named Chaka (Taccone), to try to survive long enough to figure out a way back home. Continue reading Land of the Lost (2009)
D: David Ayer
S: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton. Noomi Rapace USA. 1h 57m
Described as the worst movie of 2017, I had to check this out, maybe it was a PR stunt but it worked, it got me looking and I was pleasantly surprised, while constantly looking for the loopholes, terrible acting and a story that I couldn’t understand I found the opposite and was a bit more confused about why this is was coined as being so bad when I was tempted to watch it again….
Not quite realising how long the film was going to be, as a lot of current films are getting shorter for the attention span of the masses, this is a bit of an marathon, being just shy of 2 hours, but it does use all that time quite wisely while being a sort of fantasy rip off of Alien Nation (1988). Instead of aliens descending upon us, this is an alternative reality where Orc’s, Elves and other mythical beings exist. Daryl Ward (Smith) is a know it all police officer who’s been teamed up with a pariah Nick Jakoby (Edgerton) who’s an “unblooded” Orc, we learn that this makes him a bit of a hipster, who’s from a long line of other hipsters who basically don’t kill, this gives him a bum status with all the other Orcs but the humans refuse to accept him as Orcs are famed for having accepting the “darker” more evil path as part of their nature so they can’t be trusted, in the locker rooms men boast about being Orc slayers.
Continue reading Bright (2017)