Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Calm with Horses (2019)

AKA Shadow of Violence

Director: Nick Rowland EXE Producer Michael Fassbender
Starring: Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, David Wilmot, Ned Dennehy, Niamh Algar .UK. 1h 40m

There’s a point in everyone’s life when their past catches up with them and atonement, regret and a moment of awakening can’t be ignored. But when your past is muddled with the dark underbelly of the Ireland fighting and gang scene this event usually arrives with a shed load of pain and grief and that’s what Arm has to deal with in Nick Rowlands debut movie.

Rowlands career was mostly shorts and TV segments, and I don’t think anyone would have been something this powerful coming next, but Calm with Horses is a masterclass of powerful drama and questionable characters.

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We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021)

Director: Jane Schoenbrun
Starring: Anna Cobb; Michael J Rogers .USA. 1h 26m

In reasponse to a slew of online challenges, either real or unreal, our children have been exposed to the horrors of Slenderman and Momo, and challenged to chuck ice water over themselves to spread awareness or apparently the comitt suicide in the blue whale challnge or wishing for death in Randomnautica, and this is only the tip of the iceberg of this cyber phenomenan. We’ve already seen what an entity from the web can do to a young woman in Daniel Goldhaber’s Cam (2017), but this is something of a step in the “weird” direction..

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Black Phone (2022)

Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Ethan Hawk, Miguel Cazarez, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies USA. 1h m

Black phone does all it can to NOT be the typical horror movie, and what it achieves is something not only beautifully crafted but it will keep fans puzzling over the finer details for decades.

Initially kicking off with the troubled life of 13 year old Finney Blake (Thames) , he’s shy and spends his days avoiding bullies and amusing his adorable little sister Gwen (McGraw), their father is constantly at his wits end and often beats the kids more from anger than from being a tough parent but the family get along in their own troubled way, Finney’s best friend is the toughest kid in school, Robin a kid who’s got a mean right hand but needs Finney’s help with his math homework so they look after each other.

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Mansion of the Doomed (1976)

Director: Michael Pataki
Starring: Richard Basehart, Gloria Grahame, Trish Stewart, Lance Henriksen, Al Ferrara, Jojo D’Amore .USA. 1h 29m

Pataki was a much loved, versatile actor but during his fullfilling career he also directed 3 movies including a risque Cinderella involved a black gay “fairy” godmother who helps Cindereally meet prince charming at a blindfolded orgy, and this crazy gory mad scientst thriller.

For the most part the film rolls out as a reverse Eyes Without a Face, instead of having to replace a face, this crazed doctor is attempting to replace a girl’s eyes. Burdened with guilt the renowned LA Ophthalmologist Dr Leonard Chaney (Basehart) becomes obsessed with restoring the sight of his only daughter, who had barely survived a near fatal crash. Unable to find the willing donors or the raw materials, the Doctor’s dark basement is a gresome reminder of his now blind human experiments.

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Backtrack (2015)

Director: Michael Petroni
Starring: Adrian Brody; Sam Neil; Bruce Spence. USA/Australia. 1h 30m

Surprisingly dull supernatural thriller starring a couple of big names, refuses to make a splash despite having the makings of a depressingly creepy horror but it’s just too long winded and lacking on many fronts which is a shame as usually the cast shine above others.

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After the World Ended (2015)

Director: Tony Sebastian Ukpo
Starring: Eke Chukwu. Haruka Abe. Gabby Wong, Anthony Ofoegbu .USA. 1h 30m

This subdued experimental movie seems to tell a pair of harmonious stories, set in a bleak future where space travel is everyday and our social norms are quite alien from what we understand today.

Initially an astronaut has crash lands in a tranquil field and attempts to find help but the social dynamics is unsettling to him, families seem to be “clumped” together any male plays a father, any child adapts to the family they find themselves with that day, language isn’t a barrier, it seems everyone is adapted to all human languages and it just rolls off the tongue.

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Unstoppable (2010)

Director: Tony Scott Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee, Lew Temple, TJ Miller. USA. 1h 38m

Tony Scott and Washington teaming up for a star studded action thriller should have been more interesting and daring than this escapade, however the film does pick all of the “good” and “wholesome” boxes and remains a popular movie among fans. But for this movie addict it was good to yawn at most times.

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The Unwelcomed/The Arrival (1991)

Director: David Schmoeller Starring: John Saxon, Michael J Pollard, Joseph Culp, Robin Frates. USA. 1h 47m

Max Page’s birthday party is ruined when an uninvited metre crashes into his yard, freaking out the old guy and his guests. Later on the next day, “authorities” turn up to investigate the site and fool everyone off with a “nothing to worry about” story.

Fear is never an invited guest

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Dance of the Drunk Mantis / 南北醉拳(1979)

Director: Woo Ping Yuen
Starring: Yuwn Siu-tien, Hwang Jang-lee, Linda Lin Ying, Yuen Shun-yi, Charlie Shek, Yen Shi-kwan Hong Kong. 1h 31m

Set after the cult classic Drunken Master, the aged fighting master Sam Seed (Yuen Siu-tien) returns home to his wife after many years to discover he has a new son! This outlandish Ku fu movie is one of my favorites for it’s equal measures of clever fighting and cheeky comedy which boils down to hell of a final movie for the legendary actor Yuen Siu-tien, as he passed from a stroke soon after filming. Not only is the humor and fighting well balanced but the characters conjured up are not easily matched, the cast includes the characters, Rubber Legs , Moneybags, Foggy and Sickness Master, who all sound like some Wish version of Wu Tang.

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Filth (2013)

Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Gary Lewis, Brian McCardie, Jim Broadbent, Kate Dickie, Shauna Macdonald .UK. 1h 37m

It seems to have taken the british public a while to regain their footing after Trainspotting hit the big screens, the movie became the voice of a generation, but while Welshe’s entire book collection began flying off the shelves it was a while before another book was transformed from paper to screen. There were a few shorts, a couple of TV movies but after such a success and literally acclaim it baffles why there was such a wait. The original book’s atmosphere and 90’s risque narrative seems pale when released 15 into the future.

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