Category Archives: Thriller

Black Rain (1989)

Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Kakakura, Yusake Matsuda, Kate Capshaw, Tomisaburo Wakayama. USA. 2h 5m

Michael Douglas travels to Japan with a deadly crazy Yakuza criminal, accidently releases him to his gang but then proceeds to school the Japanese Police department!? Only in the 80’s would this have worked and only Ridley Scott would have been able to make it work so well.

It can’t be ignored that the film feels half homage to at least 3 of the greatest names in Japanese Cinema, as the two cultures class, , Ken Kakakura, Yusake Matsuda, and the badass Tomisaburo Wakayama, who play both good and evil characters throughout the film. Ken is the attentive Asst. Insp. Matsumoto, who spends his time chasing around a fiesty Douglas and Garcia, partly babysitting them and taking a lot of flak from them. There is one beautiful drunken scene in a karaoke bar when the three men finally let their guards down and realise they are on the same side but cultural differences and career prospects are all that are keeping them on slightly different paths throughout this cat and mouse chase. The legend who was the Lone Wolf and Zatiochi respectively is just a highly respected gangster but his inclusion in this stylistic movie can’t go unnoticed, and most heartbreakingly this would be the final film of cult classic actor Yusake Matsuda, who knowingly went into the project with a serious cancer diagnosis, and in order to be ferocious for his role, refused to take any medication, shortening his chances of recovering even more.

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Catch Hell (2014)

Director: Ryan Phillippe
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Tig Notaro, Joyful Drake, Stephen Luis Grush. USA. 1h 38m.

Ryan Phillippe owns everything in his directorial debut, written, directed and playing the lead in this bizarre and sentimental kidnapping drama. As much as the film could be sized down to a massive ego trip, as everything revolves around Ryan, it’s also a testament to the art of one man making an independent movie, and it’s a great attempt as a debut but it does seem to drag out a pretty simple story, it still delivers something unique and different to a traditionally tough genre.

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Kingdom of the Vampire (1991)

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.

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The Aplines (2021)

Director: Dante Aubain
Starring: Mally Corrigan, Aaron Latta-Morris .UK. 1h 33m

Meeting up with old friends brings back memories of the good ole days, a chance to catch up and congratulate each other and relive old times, and the perfect setting for a rose tinted reunion is a far away cabin in the wilderness , with no distractions and no neighbors to distract or keep a watchful eye. The only problem, having not seen your old school friends for some time there’s no guarantee that everyone still has all their own marbles. Will this weekend in the Alpines be a few beers and burgers or a weekend of psychological meltdowns and digging up buried true feelings?

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Marathon Man (1976)

Director: John Schlesinger
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider. USA. 2h 5m

John Schlesinger’s classic thriller, Marathon Man is the type of genre movie that makes a few faux pa’s but through many bizarre plot choices, for the sake of keeping an audience on their toes, the movie generates a lot of massive plot holes but whether you mind them or not, you’ll still be blown away by the sterling acting and gripping story that plunges lead Thomas, better known as Babe (Hoffman), a simple inner city student, into unpredictable situations that make your teeth ache.. if you know you know..

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Relatos Salvajes / Wild Tales (2014)

Director: Damian Szifron Starring: Ricardo Darín, Oscar Martínez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg, and Darío Grandinetti. Argentina. 2h 2m

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.

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Exhibit A (2007)

Director: Dom Rotheroe
Starring: Bradley Cole, Brittany Ashwood, Angela Forrest, Oliver Lee. UK. 1h 25m

The allure behind Exhibit A is getting an insight in the raw details behind the case of a brutal family annihilation case. While Dom Rotheroe and curated a really authentic feeling found footage movie on an independant budget I feel that story is lacking a genuine USP. I personally felt cheated, thought I’d missed some fine detail, but after re watching the movie, I had to step back and look at it with fresh eyes, so often found footage relies on adding a touch of creepy paranormal or something sly and devious into the mix to make the voyeuristic audience shudder with fear and delight. Exhibit A doesn’t bend to those rules, and doesn’t really go anywhere into the deep waters of the typical Found Footage Horror, however if the systematic psychological breakdown of a middle england family is your thing then step in.

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Home Sweet Home (2012)

Director: John K.D. Graham Starring: Alexandra Boylan, Raquel Cantu, Christopehr Dempset, Lorena Segura York, USA. 1h 19m

While looking like a dishevelled mess, having lost her job, parents and apartment, Gwen has to try and regain some control but the bottom of the bottle keeps finding her. Returning to her childhood home after the death of her parents, she intends to confront her past and find a new direction.

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Shutter Island (2010)


Director: Martin Scorsese Starring:Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsle, Max Von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson, Ted Levine, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas USA. 2h 18m

Scorsese is a legendary director but more often I find I can work out his films from the get go and this one I called in the intro and then didn’t enjoy a single second of the movie because for me it was so clear what was going on. But in hindsight I can see the appeal for anyone who didn’t clique what was going on, it must have been gripping and playing on all of their emotions.

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Fatal Attraction (1987)

Director: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer,Ellen Latzen, Stuart Pankin, Ellen Foley, Fred Gwynne, Meg Mundy, Lois Smith. USA. 1h 59m

“So Andrew’s new girlfriend is turning out to be a right bunny boiler”
“A what?”
“You know.. Fatal Attraction.. “

This was the conversation that made me realise how influential movies have been on the English language. The term Bunny Boiler, referring to a person, usually a woman who’s a bit psychotic and clingy, was born from this literal potboiler that, when it really gets going, is hard to look away from.

Adrian Lyne went straight from 9 1/2 weeks (1986) to Fatal Attraction and then straight into Jacob’s Ladder (1990). He’s often quoted to be intrigued to make moves that create a discussion, a movie that’s not forgotten by dinner time and still arguing about it the next day is a winner for him and it’s safe to stay that this run of movies all hold a powerful grip on their audiences many years later. His ability to pull the carpet on an unsuspecting audience and touch on surreal symbolism is quite masterful.

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