Macumba Sexual (1983)Director: Jesús Franco
Starring: Ajita Wilson, Lina Romay, Antonio Mayans, Lorna Green, Jose Ferro .USA/Ita. 1h 20m
Franco’s attempt to build a provocative romp around African magic, works in as much as it combines a staggering round of art house prono with a loose story about a powerful witch princess who’s attempt to take over the world one orgasm at a time is going to plan.
A lithe Spanish real estate agent, Alice (Romay), and her partner, a French writer, are holidaying in the Canary Isands when she has a highly erotic dream about a tall black woman who walks through the desert with two human slaves on chains. That very day she’ll recieve a message from her boss to visit Princess Obongo (Wilson) for business, but soon she realises the prophetic nature of her dream and embarks on a journey of sexual awakening.
Director: J R Bookwalter Starring: Matthew Jason Walsh, Barbara Katz-Norrod, Thomas Brown, Cherie Petry, Shannon Doyle. USA. 1h 10m
Jeff (Walsh) works in a dead end job, working the night shift in a gas station. The lonely young man doesn’t have any friends and no prospect at anything more lavish in his working life than mopping floors and stacking shelves, but his home life is worse. Each morning Jeff returns home to a domineering mother, a woman.. a vampire hell bent on making her son into a cold blooded killer like herself as she feasts on neighbourhood kids and beats him into submission.
Director: Mike Leigh Starring: Katrin Cartlidge, Lunda Steadman, Mark Nenton, Andy Serkis. UK. 1h 23m
I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to spend time with Mike Leigh, sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, is he this hyper thinking character he often portrays in his films, in this case the energetic Hannah (Cartlidge) who, in this femine tour de force is a lady version of Johnny Fletcher (David Thewlis) from Naked, at least with her quick wit and attitude, she’s no much of an awkward asshole.. thankfully!
4 years after Naked (1993) Leigh returns with a less traumatic but equally charming insight into the friendship between Hannah and Annie (Steadman), once best friends at university, the two awkward characters shared their adventures and possibly even a boyfriend at one time.. Annie’s psoriasis held her back. But after a rough start Hannah begins to see the real charm and quality of the girl and their union is one of strength and genuine caring for eachother. The third wheel, Clare (Byers), the original roommate to Hannah is shoon shafted from the apartment for her abrasive nature and the girls move in Ricky (Benton) a husky austic guy who has the hots for Annie, Mark Benton’s portrayal of autism for the time was really outstanding, there’s a lot more understanding of the condition and yet the character, while not entirely accurate as being autism really highlights a person with a mix of mental conditions that we recognize without putting a finger on it.
There has been a breakthrough in modern horror anthologies, from V/H/S (2012)to Southbound (2015), Dark Tapes (2016) to ABC’s of Death (2012), there’s been a highly dedicated sense of the bizarre and foreboding squeezed in alongside a curative surreal and darkly comic backdrop of horror. With Argentina becoming the forefront of genuine wholesome and brilliantly crafted cinema lately from superb freaky titles like Terrified(2017) and Cold Sweat (2010), there’s no wonder that this combination of short dark thrillers sets a new bar in the horror genre.
A strangely beautiful and violent thriller from cult classic director Miike, who, in recent years has slowed down and mellowed a little but swinging back with this sophisticated drama with slick fighting scenes and the odd touches of animation and quirkness really elevates an already brilliant story that’s acted out to perfection.
Miikes track record of outlandish movies really made a huge impact, and after a short stint of re rebooting iconic Japanese cinematic pieces such as Seven Samurai and Hara Kiri, his approach to bigger and bolder cinema has been fine tuned. This charming little piece follows Leo, an emerging boxer who is facing the darkest chapter of his life after he passes out in the ring and his doctor warns him that he might have a brain tumor. On his way home he rescues a screaming woman who’s being chased by an unknown man and the two catch feelings.
In a heated conversation between a couple of shabby fellows after a night of debauchery, a poignant line is shouted, the definition of the film title and ethos of what you have spend an hour watching… it goes something along the lines of “meeting someone fucking their brains out and when you get bored you move on”. This dry argument is a key to Penny Woolcock’s vibrantly disturbing drama surrounding the most powerful bouts of writer’s block that Paul might ever have in one lifetime.
Director: Mike Cahill Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother. USA. 1h 32m
A ponderous piece of philosophical science fiction that features an emotive pair of damaged characters and a golden opportunity leads to a Pandora’s box of horrorful delights that remain just beyond human touch..
In a shock opening, a horrendous car crash starts the slow decline of both lead characters but their personal sorrows become eclipsed when a second planet earth comes into sight in the night sky where everyone’s doubles live. Under the shadow of this outstanding astronomical breakthrough there remains a tough pill to swallow.
There’s a necessary moment near the end of Sabastian Lelios eye opening movie where the lead is jogging with her dog, a carefree run as her favourite track plays and she can finally take a deep breath and attempt to just live the best life, like anyone else. It’s at this moment where we, as an audience, can also take a breath as the entire film is just filled with small minded petty people who do nothing to wind up anyone with a rational thinking mind as the film zeroes in on intolerance and unbiased love.
A Fantastic Woman is a strangely lighthearted take on a pretty deep and complex story. And there was definitely a vibe going on at the time as it almost duped with Disobedience an equally challenging love struggle but with a heavy religious setting. This thought provoking movie will drag you to places that you wouldn’t imagine a person would need to go based purely on their choice of gender.
Director: Frederico Prosperi (as Fred Goodwin) Starring: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr, Bo Svenson .Italy/USA. 1h 37m
After the success of The Curse (1987), an indie effort to breathe cinematic life into the classic HP Lovecraft story The Color Out of Space. An Italian/American sequel, in name only manages to cobble together a strange blend of body horror and romance and in some respects it stands strong as a very strange orphan.
Director: Jake Scott Starring: Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul, Will Sasso, Pat Healy, Amy Madigan .USA. 1h m
What starts out to be a melodrama about a woman, almost down on her luck but making the best of her life. Eventually turns into a homage to the resilience of all women, especially those mothers who have had to fight adversity and their own demons and manage to come out bigger and stronger on the other side.
Sienna Miller stars as Debra, a gorgeous thirty something year old single mother, who lives with her daughter and grandson, life is simple in their small town in Pennsylvania. Debra is forever young, she jokes around, enjoys her freedom and is more of a friend to her daughter, Bridget (Sky Ferreira), offering advice about men more than good wholesome patenting, but their bonds is strong, so when Bridget goes missing and Debra is left to look after her grandson Jesse.