Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy . USA. 2h 2m
Unlike a lot of action films that are based on comic characters. Phillips takes a totally different stance on recreating his solemn and realistic Joker in a studious drama focused on a downtrodden clown on the verge of his magnum opus. Last year we had a solemn Suspiria (2018) and now we have a courtly Super Villain, not just because everyone really loved Suicide Squad (2016) but a handful of grown ups wanted something more tangible and .. grown up!?
Generally the origin of the Joker is common knowledge, it’s been revisited many time in various graphic novels and comic series of the the years, but this is the first of a new series of DC comic remakes based in a more plausible world, and this chilling story for Arthur Fleck is outstanding, not only for the new birth of the worlds most favourite bad guy but it stands as a benchmark of Joaquin Phoenix as a truly versatile actor whose masterful adoption of characters that purposely don’t gel with audiences, only make them more lovable. It’s pretty easy to see this as the DC version of You Were Never Really Here (2017) but maybe in reverse but it’s just a tad darker and outlandish with crazier people involved. But in all honesty I wouldn’t want to blend the two films as they stand alone in their own glorious and unforgettable rights. Continue reading Joker (2019)
AKA The Washington Snipers
Director: D Alexander Moors
Starring: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Rim Blake Nelson. USA. 1h 34m
A deeply atmospheric and emotive recount of the strange relationship between the unique pair of individuals who basically brought Washington to its knees in 2002. John (Washington)and his “adopted” Antigen son Lee (Richmond), are brought together out of love and necessity, but soon their turbulent relationship became needed and cold violence. A highly provocative insight into the killers from D Alexandre Moors, his first full length feature, shows incredible talent. Later on he was able to display further capabilities is his more appreciated project Yellow Birds (2017).
John is a highly strung individual, moving from sofa to sofa, from friend to favour as he rages at the world around him, hooking up with a protective friend he manages to tutor his new son in a military fashion, their daily lives are a mix of regimental and relaxing with friends, cook outs and sniper training. Continue reading Blue Caprice (2013)
Director: Stephen Sommers.
Starring. Treat Williams, Kevin J O’Connor, Wes Studi, Anthony Heald, Djimon Hounsou, Jason Flemyng, Cliff Curtis, Derek O;Connor, Famke Jassen. USA. 1h 46m.
The 90’s was a great era for cool action flicks with questionable levels of bravado and badassness , everyone was hot with a weapon, spitting corny one liners, and pulling hot chicks is nothing but a hobby. This era was owned by a few huge names, Arnie, Stallone and Gibson to name a few but at the back end of the 90’s there was a few toys to play with, the addition of advanced computer enhanced effects really ignited something in a lot of directors who tried to break through old limitations and create groundbreaking horror sci fi action flicks just like this and despite there being a few holes in the plot and physical side to story, Stephen Sommers was certainly building his craft into something quite spectacular, only a year later he returns with The Mummy (1999) and a host of other big popcorn titles were to follow. Continue reading Deep Rising (1998)
Director: Alexandre Nahon.
Starring. Matthew Dennis Lewis, Russell Dennis Lewis, Roxanne Mesquida, Roger Guenveur Smith, Richard Edson, Julie Delpy, Sal Landi. USA/France. 1h 28m.
This is one of those films you stumble on and while you might not be able to really appreciate it in its entirety you can’t fault it’s delivery. Often the film is described in such a way that sells it so short, but without any facilities it is indeed about a man who is down on his luck and obsessed with a stripper, by chance, he meets a homeless man who’s his double who he invites him into this life. Don’t let this fool you there’s so much more bubbling away under the surface of this dreamlike fantasy film with a huge sinister overtone that plays on perception of reality.
Charlie (Lewis), is in a dead end job, flipping tables at a diner owned by a totally incomprehensible Julie Deply, often he has to skip out of his hotel window to avoid the landlady asking for overdue rents, the only reason he has no money, is that he spends every penny to see his favourite European stipper at the local club. And each day he marvels at the local kingpin, Mr Jones (Guenveur Smith) a cool latino who uses the relaxed diner as a halfway office, sat at his favourite booth with his mostly silent Frenchmen henchmen (Edson)who clearly is a character you don’t want to fuck with but they have an understanding and respect between all three of them, mostly based on fear more than admiration. Continue reading Burning Shadow (2018)
Director: Alexandre Aja .
Starring. Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, a few CGI Gators. USA. 1h 27m.
I ain’t gonna lie, Crocs and Gators have always frightened the crap out of me, Sharks are pretty scary and if I were lost at sea then they would be my biggest priority but Gators have the added bonus of being shark like and able to cover some distance on land, which means it’s harder to run from one.. long story short, all those fears eventually came flooding back in this strangely heartwarming and slightly predictable creature feature.
Alexandre Aja really astounded his audience with such classics as the blood lusty hellride Haute Tension (2003) which became a cult classic new wave of Extreme French Cinema which you can find a list of here, and in my opinion a very good remake of The Hills Have Eyes (), but something must have really affected him during Piranha 3D (2010) because he eventually came back swinging with Crawl, a water soaked adventure with a lot of predictability but some cracking scares and a super sentimental bonding story between a father and daughter which set this aside from the stereotypical creature feature where lots of mindless young people are systematically picked off by predators. Continue reading Crawl (2019)
Director: Stuart Gordon.
Starring. Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Jessica Dollarhide, Jonathan Fuller. USA. 1h 35m.
Based on The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft.
The mashed up face on the movie poster for this lose Lovecraftian movie was somewhat intriguing to me as a youngster but I imagined the film was nothing more than a Quasimodo horror, later on I discovered the DVD in CEX I actually read the back and found that Jeffrey Combs was involved therefore this must be an HP Lovecraft story and I gave it a shot. Continue reading Castle Freak (1995)
Director: Matt Allen
Starring: Brian Thompson, Ben Browder, Shoshana Bush, Cheryl Texiera, Adrienna Barbeau. USA. 1h 32m
Matt Allen follows up his Aces and Eights short movie with a debut feature HOAX! which turns out to be a quirky faux mockumentary thriller about an investigation into the existence of Bigfoot, after a spate of teen disappearances in the Colorado mountains.
It’s easy to call it just another Bigfoot movie: but there has been a recent run of lowish-budget features that have broadened the creature featutes horizons by taking things to a new place, especially the fan favourite Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012). Somehow, without many clues or prompts or evidence, it does keep the question open in order to keep the viewers guessing until the very end, but does bigfoot exist or is there an alternative reason why teens are being slaughtered in the hills? And either way why would you want to go out with limited resources to find out? Continue reading Hoax (2019)
Director: Juraj Herz
Starring: Rudolf Hrusinsky, Vlasta Chramostova, Jane Stehnova. Czechoslovakia. 1h 47m
Based on : The Cremator by Ladislav Fuks
A darkly comedic gothic misadventure into the psyche of a brilliant deranged lunatic. After being lost for several years, Cremator has been resurrected by the Brothers Quay, who painstakingly sourced the film and worked on its resurrection, this extraordinary intense meditation of the political horrors of 1930’s Europe are fantastically chilling in this early Czech New Wave film. Continue reading Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)
Director: Pascal Laugier.
Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.
Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.
The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)
AKA Hitler’s Wild Women
Director: Kenneth Hartford and David L Hewitt.
Starring. Robert Vaughn, Merrie Lynn Ross, Keenan Wynn, Aldo Ray. USA. 1h 31m.
After a sizable layoff, B movie genius David L Hewitt returns with this dreary espionage flick with tantalizing potential but an obscure approach. For some reason someone made a terribly poor Man from UNCLE movie with Vaughn himself but for unknown reasons the film wasn’t released, be it too short or just incomplete, but with Hewitt/Hartford to the rescue, the fearless duo added a strange futuristic wrap around a man in our distant future, seemingly a lone survivor who attends to “his garden” but in between working he stops in to consult a super computer which reveals the footage of the exploits of mankind including this twisted spy tale.
Rescue movies rarely make much sense, but they can work, take the two Cloverfield spin offs that were two separate projects entirely, but working with such a strange story and adding in something totally left field didn’t help in anyway but for all its faults this is totally unique! Continue reading The Lucifer Complex (1978)