Director: Ti West
Starring: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Aduley .USA. 1h 39m
Without any official admission this dramatic found footage movie is obviously based on Jim Jones and the mass suicide that he orchestrated at Jonestown. In all fairness the film gives a fairly accurate playback of the terrible events which occurred in Guyana, it does have a touch of cinematic license but for me, the kick in the gut wasn’t the shocking deaths but instead the failure to really show any respect to the dead. It was never the aim to reiterate the story blow by blow, that’s what documentaries and books are for, instead the movie dives in from a found footage aspect trying to give a fly on the wall view into the largest mass suicides in living memory. Continue reading The Sacrament (2013)
Director: Albert Serra
Starring: Eliseu Huertas, Lluís Serrat Massanellas, Vicenç Altaió . UK. 2h 28m
Albert Serra, the Catalan trailblazer, always fascinates with his interpretations and adaptations of withering classic figures. Through a dusty lense he creates lavish cultured tapestries for them to play in, sometimes seeming alive now and again they seem as fragile and shaggy relics they have left behind.
His baroque mix up of pleasure meets desire in the guise of Cassanova meets Dracula combines fantasy and fiction in a flight of fancy style, at times it’s pretty grotesque while bolsters by lots of risque blush and tickles, a truly great adventure set against an unusual Transylvanian setting. Continue reading Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)
Director: Thomas Carter
Starring: Robert Sean leonard, Frank Whaley, Barbara Hershey, Noah Wyle, Martin Clunes, Christian Bale, Kenneth Brannah . USA. 1h 54m
In Thomas Carter‘s bold coming of age melodrama, three friends find themselves having to become men in a world being ripped apart by hitler’s iron hand, when all they want to do is dance the night away to Harlem jazz. Sadly they are children of a world that they didn’t make, but the free spirits find themselves in trouble and soon swinging to the mantras of a fascist regime.
Carter seems to have this habit of working on lots of TV shows then cracking out a startling film usually entangled into a taboo or some kind of controversy like his later hit Coach Carter (2005). Continue reading Swing Kids (1993)
Director: Lisandro Alonso
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby, Viilbjørk Malling Agger. UK. 1h 49m
Sometimes I watch a movie and I’m left with a feeling of nostalgia hinted with the question of did I really just watch a dream come to life on screen? There’s a rare select group of directors who can achieve this unique atmosphere but the determined efforts of Lisandro Alonso and Viggo Mortensen have made a movie which starts out quite straight forwards eventually boils down to a crazy trip in the desert, akin to any modern classic but it’s set in the past and it almost fools you into thinking that such a step into the unknown is not plausible. Continue reading Jauja (2014)
Director: Mike Leigh .
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, UK. 2h 34m.
There is so much praise I can lavish on Mr Turner but first and foremost I have to admit that the choice in leading actor is such a strange but perfect cast, Timothy Spall is such a seasoned actor with talent coming out of his arse but as for looking and being J W M Turner, he wouldn’t be a first choice but he totally embodies the persona of Turner, from what is known and how he’s been portrayed from first hand accounts he is the spirit of the great artist and that’s primarily why this movie is so successful. Continue reading Mr Turner (2014)
Director: Simon Rumley.
Starring.Terry Stone, Leo Gregory, Jamie Foreman, Roland Manookian. UK. 1h 51m.
I have to admit that I was spellbound by the cover of this lovely movie, but within seconds of the opening scene I was soon knocked off my feet that this is basically a retro version of Rise of the Footsoldier! In all fairness I really enjoyed the footsoldier movies, they started out with a purpose and were watered down but they had their own unique, balls in your face charm and a recurring cast, although a few characters are a little bit different in this war time london escapade, the most notable is Roland Manookian usually he plays the role of a drugged up loser who basically a bit of a plonker but he’s resurrected as a psychotic killer who’s not afraid to bleed. It’s pretty interesting to see him take on such a grisly role, maybe the boy will go far.
The film is based on real people and events, mostly surrounding Billy Hill and Jack Corner, again much like Rise of the Footsoldier (2007), and possibly with as much dreamy fantasties. The film looks authentic but doesn’t feel genuine in any way, it certainly feels like a modern movie but with just a cosmetic change and some different clothes, which is a shame as it could have been a real opportunity to branch out and try something an off key. The film seems to be poorly researched but the delivery is bold, a bit too forceful at times, it seems the use of shouting and violence takes the place of intense drama. Continue reading Once Upon A Time In London (2019)
Director: George Barry
Starring: Demene Hall, William Russ, Julie Ritter, Linda Bond, Patrick Spence-Thomas. USA. 1h 20m
This film seemed to have been lost for some time, but it’s more recent rediscovery has given it a new lease of life, much like the ben in question.
How scary can a bed be? I remember Singer/Songwriter Tanita Tikaram casually mentioning that she was afraid her bed was going to eat her, she possibly saw Freddy Krueger shred Johnny Depp in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) at an impressionable age. But weren’t w all scared of the monster under the bed in our infant years? So obviously a demonically haunted bed can be scary, and this adventurous psychotropic horror for me is one of the best ways to explore this outlandish piece of furniture.
Continue reading Death Bed : The Bed that Eats (1977)
Director: José Padilha
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Brühl, Eddie Marsan, Ben Schnetzer, Lior Ashkenazi, Denis Ménochet . USA/UK. 1h 47m
I think this film was made with the idea that it would be considered as a critically acclaimed masterpiece but while it’s based on a tough hostage situation from 1976 It seems to be more determined to connect the horrific events with a dance routine than to give a clear and “entertaining” account, and while the dance is interesting it feels like a failed attempt to add some art house to an already downtrodden film that in hindsight is just a series of the depressing sight of actors struggling through dreadful material. Continue reading 7 Days in Entebbe (2018)
Director: Rene Perez
Starring: Robert Bronzi, Karin Brauns, Alanna Forte, Nicole Stark, Charlie Glackin, Robert Kovacs .USA. 1h 17m
I was a bit confused about this movie, the cover made it look like Charlie B has come back from the dead to hunt a monster in the desert, and I’d buy that for a dollar. This indie film is only slightly different in that it actually stars Robert Bronzi who is an Ukranian actor who made it big as a Charles Bronson impersonator.. In this Horror Western he’s an experience hunter and tracker who is on hot pursuit for a deranged serial killer who’s been stalking women in the desert and wrecking their bodies in a similar style as a certain well known London killer. Continue reading From Hell to the Wild West
Director: Ian Bonhote.
Writer: Peter Ettedgui UK. 1h 41m
Having lived through the mastery and magic of McQueens stunning artistry until his untimely tragic death, I felt as robbed as anyone who was inspired by the brilliance that McQueen brought into the world. After reading several books and watching numerous documentaries about him and his beguiling muse Isabella Blow (another character I hold close to my heart), I thought I really knew it all, but this thought provoking film brings so much more raw emotion and in depth background to the surface, including very personal testimonies from those who lived and worked so very closely to the legend. Continue reading McQueen (2018)