Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Gotti (2018)

Director: Kevin Connolly
Starring: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Spencer Lofranco, William DeMeo .USA. 1h 50m

The gangsters paradise seems to have had its heyday with bold releases such as Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), the amazing rag to riches backstories, garnished with riches and savage beatings really enthralled audiences, I was one of many who assumed that this release might just make the holy trinity of awesomeness, but who was I kidding, John Travolta as the Teflon Don!? I want to say that this abysmal movie is The Room (2003) of mobster movies but the room is so bad it’s good, it has some charm and is incredibly memorable where as this crumpled lackluster effort is easily forgettable and it pains me to have to write a review. Continue reading Gotti (2018)

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Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare / Almost Human (1974)

Director: Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Tomas Milian, Henry Silva, Ray Lovelock and Anita Strindberg .Italy. 1h 40m

This movie could easily be called “Il criminale più stupido d’Italia” as it follows the misadventures of a total psychotic loser criminal who couldn’t con his way out of a paper bag successfully but his constant efforts do cause some sensational cinema.

Opening with a bunch of robbers/kidnappers, snatching a young boy, their (not so trusty) getaway driver is Giulio Sacchi (Milian) manages to kill an officer while waiting and soon the gang is being chased around the city, they manage to speed past a train which cuts them off from the cops in time for them to drop the child and ditch the cops, they find a secluded place to recoup and kick the crap out of Giulio for foiling their efforts, after threatening to castrate him he heads back into the city alone. The brute roughs up his girl for some money and kills another cop while robbing a cigarette machine, while other officers arrive to investigate he starts displaying disturbing behaviour by squaring up to Inspector Walter Grandi (Silva). Eventually the bad tempered loose cannon, devises a scheme of kidnapping the daughter a wealthy businessman, who his girlfriend works for, but with a crazed moral compass and no scruples his manages to mess up each step of the way, but just manages to stay one step ahead of Inspector Grandi but mostly by mistake. Continue reading Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare / Almost Human (1974)

Just Before Dawn (1981)


Director
: Jeff Lieberman
Starring:George Kennedy, Chris Lemmon, Gregg Henry, Deborah Benson. USA. 1h 42m

While gearing up to write a review for Satan’s Little Helper (2004) I finally deciding to actually investigate who directed it and low and behold it happens to be the pretty well known director Jeff Lieberman better known for his earlier films such as Squirm (1976) and the hippy flashback from hell Blue Sunshine (1978) but while I passed through life totally oblivious to directors, I never would have connected the two as the style is so very different but in between these amazing varied classics comes another slightly different movie, a backwoods slasher with a very different atmosphere to a lot of the other genre specific slashers of the era. Just Before Dawn is a menacing thriller that takes a very sly stab from time to time. Continue reading Just Before Dawn (1981)

Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larrain
Starring: Natalie Portman, Billy Crudup. USA.  1h 40m

There’s a time when a country is on the verge of a historic event and during the run up it’s common to look back at the achievements or disasters, but with the verge of a new president this raw and varnished portrait of Jackie Kennedy arrived at a reverent time.

Concentrating on the events from the point of Jackie the film revolves around the shooting of her husband , the world was shocked but the world was talking politics, talking about men and often Jackie was totally ignored, considered a bystander having everyone assume her feelings and emotions at the time and for years after. Pablo Larrain set himself a massive challenge with his first English language film, he’s taken on a task which could offend a country but his subtle hand and sympathetic eye has assured this film will be warmly welcomed. With an event this large the film is able to jump around to and fro but encompasses the tragic and lonely situation that Jackie was left in. Continue reading Jackie (2016)

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia, Carel Struycken , Henry Thomas. USA. 1h 43m
Based on  Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Sometimes I read the synopsis of a film and then check the time and can’t fathom how someone can drag out something so simple for so long, reading about Gerald’s Game, a woman trapped along chained to a bed, the mind doth boggle how i can last for nearly two hours, but this movie is amazing in the details and revelations that incur during Jessie’s surprise and accidental incarceration.

Jessie (Gugino) and her husband Gerald (Greenwood) travel to a remote beach house to rekindle their marriage, with a bit of kink, after running into a stray dog, Jessie puts some food out for the dog incase it’s still in the area and notices that a door has been left open. Focusing on the fun she slips into a something more comfortable and Gerald pops two viagra, handcuffs his wife to the bed and dies from a heart attack. Continue reading Gerald’s Game (2017)

Lake Mungo (2008)

Director: Joel Anderson
Starring: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin  Sharpe, Talia Zucker. Australia. 1h 27m

Lake Mungo takes a slightly different approach to the world of Mockumentaries/Found footage films, there’s a gentler hand involved in this deeply personal and sentimental story of a missing teen. Often the film shocks and attempts to scare it’s audience but these are often long drawn out tension filed scenarios more than faux jump scares which is a credit to some brilliant film making, although in the attempts to make everything so very real these scenes are often displayed as terrible quality home video recordings showing phenomena in a “bigfoot” blur and the scare is often lost in the quality.

Alice Palmer (Zucker) is just like any other team girl, but one fateful day on a trip to a local camping site at Lake Mungo she goes missing. Her distraught family and emergency services  go to the limit to find her, unfortunately all this is pulled form the lake is her body. Continue reading Lake Mungo (2008)

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

AKA Non Si deve profance il sonno dei morti, Don’t Open the Window, the film officially has 15 titles, so take your pick..

Director: Jorge Grau
Starring: Ray Lovelock. Arthur Kennedy, Cristina Galbo. Spain/Italy. 1h 35

There’s a subtle Giallo twist to this unusual but gripping science fiction zombie flick, undead, mystery, giallo, car crash, sci fi horror, pesticides, it’s got so much going on but all to the backdrop of the gorgeous English countryside and littered with the creeping dead.

The film focuses on two protagonists who until their vehicle crash led two totally different lives, there’s Edna (Galbó) Who’s trying to visit her family and the brash George (Lovelock) a hot tempered and pushy individual but his drive really powers the action. Continue reading The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

In the Aftermath (Angels Never Sleep) (1988)

Director : Carl Colpaert
Starring : Tony Markes, Rainbow Dolan, Filiz Tully. Japan/Australia. 1h  25m

There is always an element of Love and Hate with this Anime/Live Action mashup, the film will captured my affection many year ago and I still enjoy watching it, while blindingly unaware of it’s origins I just assumed two directors got together to produce this mix of post apocalyptic drama/ baroque mystery, many years later I realised how this project basically butt fucked a precious classic Anime movie and turned it into a Troma movie BUT I still adore it.

So the original Anime is  Mamoru Oshii’s 1985 undefinable classic Angel’s Egg, which sees a young girl traverse an abandoned town while nursing a giant egg and entertaining a young soldier, the film dissolves into a biblical darkness that even the director himself can’t really explain. But Carl Colpaert decided to rehash the strong imagery in between new footage filmed in the hot Australian desert and brings new life and meaning to the bizarre original. Continue reading In the Aftermath (Angels Never Sleep) (1988)

The Predator (2018)

Director: Shane Black.
Starring. Thomas Jane, Boyd Holbrook, Keegan Michael Key, Sterling K Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Alfie Allen, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski, Olivia Munn USA. 1h 58m

For a while I had a lot of faith that after Shane Black’s death by the hands of the original Predator back in the 80’s cult classic jungle sci fi mayhem epic adventure, and his subsequent career as a director, that he could be trusted with this remake. But then I remembered he’s Shane Black and you cannot trust this man! To be fair Shane is totally okay and I still regained some faith but the writer, Fred Dekker was an odd choice. His previous classics are cult but for very different reasons, Night of the Creeps, Monster Squad (written with Shane Black) were high for their levels of comedy antics. Dekkers contributions for House (1986) gave the film a surreal and yet again comedic undercurrent, and his more recent work included Robocop 3 which ruined the trilogy by adding in some cute kids and morals… this is when I knew someone has fucked up. Continue reading The Predator (2018)

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988)

Director: Guy Maddin
Starring: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gotti, Angela Heck . Canada . 1h 12m

With a lot of surreal movies, I don’t assume to fully understand them, but I do find their unpredictability evocative. While this film is visually different there’s a lot to puzzle over with the linear but a bashitcrazy story.

Seemly inspired by the Directors childhood memories heightened by a DMT trip, there’s a lose connection. Madden does have Icelandic heritage and a lot of vocal history does get tainted over the years but for part it’s a realistic situation at first..

While their mother lays dying in a hospital bed, a pair of siblings are being confronted in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital by their grandmother. She tells the children a long and convoluted story about the Gimli of old, a tale about Einar the Lonely and his best friend Gunnar and the angelic Jofridur.

Einar (McCulloch) has contracted smallpox and is resting in the old Gimli Hospital when he makes friends with Gunnar (Gotti), the pair really appreciate the company in their time of sickness and the bond grows between them, but only for  a short time.

While divulging personal information with each other their tales start to get weirder and the men’s testosterone really gets them going once a sexy nurse catches their eye and they really start to outdo each other to gain her adoration.

Independent movies with a surreal flaire are fairly popular but none of them quite have the same creepy and yet riveting atmosphere as the Gimli Hospital. It’s dark and at times intensely creepy but at times it has a bit of razzmatazz slapstick.

Some scenes are filled with characters babaliese with a gentle overture and smooth poetic voice overs. Juxtaposed with the harsh black and white shadowy photography that flickers as if lit by candle, the film “feels” scary but nothing will jump out at you.. Apart from some of the most bizarre but engaging cinema you’ve ever seen.

It’s impossible to guess what’s coming next and there’s no sense in trying to look for themes, it’s erratic but yet at the same time you begin to expect the unexpected. The imagery is pretty powerful, from buttock bloody manly wrestling (not like that you fiend) and milk dripping from the ceiling of the hospital, there’s a deep motherly aspect that runs throughout the film but if you didn’t guess it’s in the strangest way.

Guy Maddin seems like a pretty laid back normal guy, and has a very fine tuned appreciation of film and the arts.It really shows in his works, the detailed attention and courageous scenes are out of bounds with what it usually attempted to be shown on film. Definitely not something easily forgotten and certainly something new, no matter what you’ve seen in the past.

Rating: 7/10

R: Eraserhead (1977), Archangel (1990), the Heart of the World (2000)

A: Where’s the fish a short and incomplete guide to surrealist cinema Vol. 1