Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Vanishing Point (1971)

Director: Richard C. Sarafian.
Starring. Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger USA. 1h 38m.

I have some vague recollections of watching this film as a kid, which prompted me to revisit many years ago and I totally fell in love with Kowalski his amphetamine fueled ride through the desert, in one of my all time favourite cars, a gorgeous Dodge Challenger RT 440 Magnum; taking grindhouse to the brink with some strong biblical and mythical undertones, accompanied over the radio by a blind messiah and awesome rock music, for me it’s the perfect combination. Most movie lovers will cite Steve McQueens Bullit (1968) as being one of the best car chase movies, and while I can’t disagree I think this film is brilliant contender for the top spot.

Everything about the film is under the surface, but on the face of things, it’s just a guy who’s hired to get a car from point a to point b in the quickest possible time, after visiting his dealer, he fills up on Benzedrine pills and makes a bet to be there a day sooner, hops in a Dodge and heads out on a daring adventure filled with pretty unusual characters. Continue reading Vanishing Point (1971)

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Roberto Succo (2001)

Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Stefano Cassetti .France/Italy/Switzerland. 2h 4m
Based on: Je te tue. Histoire vraie de Roberto Succo assassin sans raison
by Pascale Froment.

What exactly is a criminal? Someone who goes above and beyond to get what he wants with little regard to anyone else or the law, or a totally feckless loser who just stumbles from mess to another? Cedric Kahn manages to paint a detailed picture of a man who crosses both of these descriptions and still manages to be both comical and highly dangerous in his escapades.

In this brilliant, slightly polished adaptation of real events, a bizarre criminal anti hero is etched out as Cassetti masquerades as Roberto Succo, a mixture of Jesse James, Hitler and Norman Bates, he argues about art, nationality and politics along the way. Mr Succo, esconded form prison five years after being convicted for the murder of his parents in 1981. His death defying run of fun saw him elude police in three different countries for 2 years, spending his time woeing girls, sightseeing, killing, raping, burgling and fucking up the odd bank job. The movie is generally detested by the French police for its alleged glamorisation of a real-life killer, but it’s a testament to the accuracies within the film and highlights how useless they were to allow him to carry on for so long. Continue reading Roberto Succo (2001)

Of Unknown Origin (1983)

Director: George P. Cosmatos
Starring: Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane,Kenneth Welsh, Louis Del Grande. USA. 1h 28m.

There is a strong committed performance here from Peter Weller as he stars in George Cosmatos cinematic interpretation of The Visitor by Chauncey G Parker III, but it can’t shake off how “un-horror” and this horror can be at times. Instead the literary sense behind the film stands out strong but there could have been a huge opportunity for some gory visually to back everything up.

Peter Weller plays, Bart Hughes, a banking executive that is constantly outsmarted by a peculiar rat. While finalising big business ventures he’s also modernising an impressive brownstone apartment he’s unaware of a furry visitor making his home within the constitution. Continue reading Of Unknown Origin (1983)

The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Director: Ewald André Dupont
Starring: Robert Shayne, Joyce Terry, Richard Crane, Doris Merrick, Beverly Garland, Tandra Quinn USA/Germany. 1h 18m

One of my movie weaknesses is vintage sci fi movies, I just adore the heroism and pure wonderment and moral dilemmas they still offer, the 50’s were a golden age for the beginning of big scale science fiction, from mad scientists to space exploration, monsters and space exploration. Things might not really work how they were depicted, the same generation who were sure radioactive insect bites would only enhance a man also encouraged their kids to smoke, but sci fi wouldn’t really be sci fi without a level of taking things too far and being outlandish.

The Neanderthal man is a prime example of a down trodden scientist who pushes the envelope and takes things to the extreme The mockery of a brilliant scientist Prof. Clifford Groves (Shayne) by his peers, pushes him to the dangerous edge of self exploration, after being publicly ridiculed the professor continues his feverish work to prove that our cells remember their prehistoric past and turns himself into a Neanderthal man, his cat into a Sabretooth and his housekeeper into some scary beastly wild woman. The trio have little recollection of their primal actions and terrorise the wildlife and residents of their small town. Continue reading The Neanderthal Man (1953)

The Perfection (2018)

Director: Richard Shepard
Starring:
Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber. USA. 1h 30m

There is something surprisingly poetic about, Paul Haslinger’s unabating film, a movie which is pretty easy to fall into and follow despite it constantly throwing the audience a curved ball by rewinding time and showing things from a different perspective, it’s charming but for me there just wasn’t enough obscure strangeness, instead that was reserved until the bitter…. sweet end.

Opening with a somber tone, a woman lays wide eyed on her deathbed, her daughter looking on with a 1000 yard stare, there is a slight sign that something is not quite right , through a montage we see her getting pulled from a prestigious school to return home and look after her mother, scenes of self harming and a girl desperate to escape , but also something much darker from her past. She’s damaged but is hopeful of a better future. She calls her old mentor for help, her mother has gone and now she wants to return to Anton (Webber) the person who was painstakingly training her to be the best cellist in the world but the world has moved on and he has a new best, the stunning Lizzie (Browning) her face plastered all over the streets of Shanghai, China, she’s utter perfection but the hint of jealousy falls into lust when the two virtuoses spend a night on the town then ends up in the bedroom, something pretty strange for rivals but these girls are also striving for the best and see it in each other but this flashy romance won’t last. Continue reading The Perfection (2018)

Starred Up (2013)

Director: David Mackenzie
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend .UK. 1h 43m

There is something very bold and solid about starred up the acting is on point the choreography of the violence is brilliant a dynamic but the special jenesequa is just how realistic the film is but this is probably due to the whole project being a brilliant screenplay written by a former corrections psychologist.

Brutal and Brilliant

Starred up beings as a story of a young man Eric Love (O’Connell) forcing his way up through the grimy underside of the prison world but this youngster is displaying way too much cunning and wit about him, he’s more than dangerous, he’s potentially deadly, hence why he’s starred up. Despite a lot of the rumours being Starred up has nothing to do with bumming or other sexual acts, it’s simply a teenager who is so out of control that they get set among adults to receive some “proper prison schooling”. Continue reading Starred Up (2013)

Death Bed : The Bed that Eats (1977)

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)

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Director: Bryan Singer Writer Christopher McQuarrie.

Starring. Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Sizy Amis, Benicio Del Toro. USA. 1h 44m.

First time I saw the Usual Suspects I was lucky enough to see it alongside a piece by Mark Kermode and the film finished with a short from writer Christopher McQuarrie about how he brainstormed the story, not that I needed any more convincing that the film is totally awesome the extra depth really cemented the film as being one of my all-time greatest and one I find myself returning to from time and time again.

Starting with a dark film noir style introduction which is slightly confusing, two silhouetted men talk, light a cigarette, one is injured and the other walks away as an explosion engulfs a ship and the wounded man..  the dark undertones shift to something more gangster as the film opens and builds in two timelines, Verbal (Spacey) has been pulled into a police office to be questioned by the sly agent Kujan (Palminteri), the shifty club footed criminal is forced to give up valuable information before he’s set free, reluctantly he begins to talk but once he gets started he lives up to his name sake and the verbal diarrhea  starts to flow. After some threats from Kujan, the past is unlocked up in audacious little chapters, almost like a 50’s crime comic, it’s slick and witty, and at times it’s on a higher level of brainy than the average movie. Continue reading The Usual Suspects (1995)

Pyewacket

Director: Adam MacDonald
Starring: Laurie Holden, Nicole Muñoz. Canada. 1h m

There are so many various types of horror movies some are deeply atmospheric, other rely on fantasy or special effects, some are purely creature features and scare it’s audience by showing graphic monsters that disgust. In more modern times we have a resurgence of found footage, torture gore and this new wave of cerebral horrors that often leave audiences left feeling let down, mostly due to the fact that they didn’t SEE anything. This divides horror fans, it’s much like that of Science Fiction fans who are now heavily reliant on special effects for their kicks as opposed to those who are leaning toward LoFiSciFi.

Now I didn’t do much research into Pywacket and I just assumed it was going to be a big beastie monster in the woods type of horror, but I got a very big shock, it’s more highbrow horror than I ever could have imagined. While it has some minor faults, it could have been done with some refining and maybe a little bit more research into the mechanics but alas it’s still a very well crafted horror that has the ability to really eat into the consciousness and makes you rethink a lot of your personal philosophy. Continue reading Pyewacket

The Toybox (2018)

Director: Tom Nagel
Starring: Denise Richard, Mischa Barton, Jeff Barton Jeff Denton, Brian Nagel, Greg Cioland, Matt Mercer, Greg Violand. USA. 1h 35m.

There’s so much to like about the bare bones of this movie, a haunted RV with a dark past entwined with hints of a real serial killer, that takes a family hostage and starts killing them, you just can’t go wrong? Sadly something was definitely lost when translated to film, but I really enjoyed the film but find it hard to defend, yes it’s a BMovie, albeit slightly polished it creates a great grimey atmosphere and at times comes across as plausible but every now and again it just drops into the damned awful bin and struggles to get out.

A slightly more than average emaciated and botoxed Denise Richards heads up the estranged family heading out on their vacation in a second hand RV with a deadly past. The RV was purchased at a highly discounted price by Charles (Violand), as a promise to his now late wife, he wants to reconcile with his two sons and offers to take them and their families out on a road trip. Continue reading The Toybox (2018)