Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Mandy (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy Olwen Fouere, Richard Brake, Bill Duke. USA. 2h 1m

Cosmastos seems obsessed with 1983, where his previous movie was also set, is there a parallel here? Same year with possible answers to Professor Arboria’s mystic drug… but nothing is laid out in a straightforward way, he keeps the viewer guessing about what is real and what might just be fantasy, eventually your not sure what you believe in anymore, questions are raised especially about the drugs involved and at times this film really pushes the envelope. Continue reading Mandy (2018)

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Fat City (1972)

Director: John Huston . Based on Fat City by Leonard Gardner
Starring. Stacey Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell, USA. 1h 36m.

There’s something magical about John Huston’s Fat City. I’m not sure if it’s the relatable characters, which are more realistic than cinema usually allows, or the detailed social dissection  by the masterful Huston himself. For years I had overlooked this believing it just is another poor relation to Rocky, but in fact it’s the opposite way around. I have always adored the Rocky story that eventually turned into an epic Saga which is still going 40 years later, a man with true grit and determination, rising up to great heights to live the American Dream and fighting with a true heart… Continue reading Fat City (1972)

Perdizioni mortali / Tulpa (2012)

Director: Federico Zampaglione
Starring: Claudia Gerini, Nuot Arquint, Michele Placido, Ennio Tozzi, Ivan Franek, Michela Cescon, Federica Vincente. Italy. 1h 24m

As dedicated nod to the 70’s Giallo movement Tulpa sees a successful business women, Lisa Boeri (Gerini) get pulled into a grotty underworld while living a vivid double life.

Opening with a gore filled sado masochistic murder. A man enters a deadly game as a dominant but soon becomes the victim of a leather gloved maniac with a wild moral compass, out of the thick bloodied and drawn out scene the story of Lisa, a ball busting,  successful business woman, well respected and admired but she keeps her nocturnal activities a painstakingly repressed, after hours she’s an eager member of a esoteric underground club, named Tulpa, owned by a strange tibetain character, a true embodiment of the hierophant played by the otherworldly Nuot Arquint . Unfortunately for Lisa, her two world’s are set to collide when her sexual partners from the club are savagely slaughtered. Continue reading Perdizioni mortali / Tulpa (2012)

Alps (2012)

Director: Giorgos Lanthimos.

Starring.  Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Verkis, Ariane Labed, Maria Kirozi. Greece. 1h 33m.

After the amazing Dogtooth (2009) project, Lanthimos was a closely watched director, but his next project seemed like an amazing idea on paper but even with his surreal approach to film, personally I felt as if he missed his own target by being too realistic and not fantastical enough, or maybe the hype train mutated my anticipations to a level that not even a great director could reach.

ALPS is part is about a group of therapists who set up a business to allow families to get through the grieving process by supplying them with “trained” actors to play the roles of their loved ones, so they can have those precious last moments with them, say goodbye or to just have the feeling that they are still around for a few days. The drawbacks are that the actors don’t look like the people they are impersonating and they have to improvise on details the families give to them, hand written scripts and a few left over clothes but they make do, as method actors are especially adapted to do. Continue reading Alps (2012)

The Meg (2018)

Director: Jon Turteltaub.
Based on: Steve Alten
Starring. Jason Statham, a giant fish, some other people. USA. 1h 52m.

Opening mid disaster was probably a good idea for this film cos that’s what it turned into. I was so psyched for a new Jaws (1975), and it’s impossible for me to see this as anything else. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t expecting it to be similar in anyway but I was hoping for a new quality shark horror movie that wasn’t just another Sharknado (2013). But this lackluster adventure, is only just above par for a Sharknado movie for me and i was greatly disappointed on so many levels, but it did have some charm, what’s not to like about a cheesy thriller with a jumbo sized shark, suitable for 12 year olds with a theme tune of Hey Mickey in Filipino!? Continue reading The Meg (2018)

El castillo de la pureza / Castle of Purity (1972)

Director: Arturo Ripstein.
Starring: Claudio Brook, Rita Macedo, Diana Bracho, Arturo Beristáin, Gladys Bermejo, David Silva, María Rojo. Mexico. 1h 41m

After seeing the epic Dogtooth (2009) by the cult director Lanthimos, I was mystified by the circumstances, the basis of the story is a man raising his family in such isolation,  their offbeat lifestyle seems so extraordinary to the eye of any outsider, the whys were never really answered the film just happens. But after a little digging i discovered that the film isn’t a remake but has a similar storyline to El castillo de la pureza, an excellent Mexican drama where a man isolates his family to protect them from “the evils of human beings”. While I thoroughly enjoy Dogtooth everytime I see it, there’s something deeper in this retro classic as it digs under the skin of the abnormal situation.

Gabriel Lima (Brook) and his gorgeous wife Beatriz (Macedo) have invented a brilliant homemade rat poison, their children all have roles in helping them manufacture this brilliant powder. Each day they get up and get to work, always in silence when working, then their father gets dressed in formal clothes and goes out to sell the rat poison to local shops and businesses, meanwhile the children have to exercise, learn and for a while they play.
Things start to breakdown, slowly at first, but as the movie builds pace it becomes a waves of crushing emotions for the disciplined and sexually driven father and more jail time for the children. Leaving their poor mother looking on at the madness. Continue reading El castillo de la pureza / Castle of Purity (1972)

Joel (2018)

Director: John R. Hand
Starring: Arnold Odo, Fernando Cano, Bri Bynon. . USA . 1h 25m

A majority of serial killer movies are based on a few well known names, which can get repetitive as directors try their socks off to make an impressive, accurate and daring movie. Sadly most of them are total rubbish, missing the point,going off key missing out important details and even fabricating events.

But in all honesty films about serial killers will never really be what the die hard enthusiasts are looking for because those insensitive details are not cinema friendly. Most of the time the killers have been executed and promoting their ideals and theologies just don’t make the cut, but in the case of Joel Rifkin (Odo), the New York Ripper, there’s so much more opportunity to make a really in depth study about the incarcerated killer and it was totally missed here. Joel is still with us and has executed some really detailed and personal interviews where he expresses more about himself and the murders he committed than his movie does. Continue reading Joel (2018)

The House on Mansfield Street (2018)

Director: Richard Mansfield
Starring: Matthew Hunt, Daniel Mansfield, Kathryn Redwood, . UK . 1h 14m

 

I’m a proud defender of found footage and was eager to see this new british indie horror, it follows Nick Greene (Hunt) who’s an amature film maker, recording his own film of his move from London to Nottingham. The Movie starts strong and has many merits but .. It’s a PG 13 and doesn’t really give the chills that I was expecting,

As he settles into his quaint miniature historic cottage, he has two weeks before he starts work, after a brief encounter with his lovely neighbour Emma (Redwood) he’s back to filming his adventures in his new hometown. Visiting some of the local attractions he’s more mystified by what’s going on back at home. Emma gifts him a small craft pouch, something that her sister makes for good luck, he’s been instructed to hang it in his home to ward of evil spirits, after hearing some scratching in the walls and ceiling, he finds a similar more pungent pouch in the loft but the noises stop… but this is only the beginning. Continue reading The House on Mansfield Street (2018)

Conspiracy (2012)

Director: Christopher MacBride.

Starring. Aaron Poole, James Gilbert  Canada. 1h 24m.

Usually found footage movies are cheap and easy to make, often addressing unusual subjects and laced with fears and shocks. Conspiracy has all of these elements along with a convincing storyline with an unusual compelling ending

The film starts with Aaron and James mocking a guy on YouTube who spends his days trapsing around  with a box, a loud speaker and a board of information, and spends his days proclaiming various conspiracy theories, while James is happily laughing at him, Aaron is intrigued by the amount of people in the comments agreeing with him (along with the usual YouTube troll patrols). It’s clear that Aaron and James are both playing “themselves” and that Aaron is the (Mulder) believer while James (Skully) is totally sceptical about all of this but he tags along for this documentary. Continue reading Conspiracy (2012)

First Reformed (2017)

Director: Paul Schrader.
Starring. Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger. USA. 1h 48m.

It hasn’t been that long since we saw Ethan  Hawke play a slightly different priest in the terrifying horror Regression (2015), alongside the talented Emma Watson. In First Reformed he returns, not as the same character,  but a totally different priest, a broken man who’s suffering from stress, loss of his son and the drastic effects of alcoholism while facing the void he experiences a spiritual and psychological crisis, one that he can only deal with slowly and in his own stunning and slightly confusing way.

The film opens with Reverend Toller (Hawke) writing down his thoughts in a journal, declaring that he’s going to keep the journal for 1 year then destroy it. He’s the head of  First Reformed, a 250 year old Dutch Reformed Church in Snowbridge New York. Like many churches in the area it faces dwindling attendances but receives support from a nearby “megachurch” who own and care for the historical landmark which has a special place in history as it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Continue reading First Reformed (2017)