Category Archives: True Life

The Haunting In Connecticut Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

Director: Tom Elkins
Starring: Abigail Spencer, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff., Cicely Tyson. USA. 1h 40m

Originally this movie had nothing to do with the original Haunting In Connecticut and it really shows! Sadly Gold Circle, the studio behind both movies, decided to try and capitalize on the success of the first movie by bolting this on under the same title, the only connection is that both movies deal with “real life” hauntings. Continue reading The Haunting In Connecticut Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

Safe (1995)

Director: Todd Haynes
Starring: Juilanne Moore, John Apicella, Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris .USA/UK. 1h 59m

After watching Todd Haynes’s masterful macabre paperwork drama, Dark Waters I can’t help but think back to one of his more impressive and less talked about movies, Safe; featuring all of the key elements that Haynes loves to explore, showing how we are negatively affected by “forever” chemicals. He takes a more sensitive approach in this mid nineties movie before breaking the doors down years later with the harder hitting Mark Ruffalo biopic.

Continue reading Safe (1995)

Die Welle / The Wave (2008)

Director: Dennis Gansel.
Starring. Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt, Jennifer Ulrich. Germany. 1h 47m.
Based on: The Wave, by Todd Strasser

Some of the most daring and provocative dramas in modern cinema have come from the diverse experiments led by questionable scientists. In this case a loose canon of a teacher, Ron Jones who back in the early 60’s experimented the notion that a group of children could easily be led into a fascist regime after applying a totalitarian state in his classroom. He was fired once his dark social experiment was discovered but this led to a detailed book by Todd Strasser and then it’s adaption of the same name, The Wave.

Gansel draws on a gritty documentary style to his movie, with a very fluid camera and fly on the wall experiences are quickly paced and incredibly gut wrenching to see these hopeful youths fall into the abyss after being led to it by their outcast tutor. Continue reading Die Welle / The Wave (2008)

Ford vs Ferrari (2019)

AKA Le Mans ’66

Director: James Mangold
Starring:Christian Bale, Matt Damon, .USA. 2h 15m

For someone who isn’t into cars or racing all that much I have really enjoyed the small number of racing biopics that have hit the big screen in recent years. With so much energy from director James Mangold as he explores the run up to Le Mans 66 and the epic battle between two powerful car manufacturing giants from either side of the pong, he digs deep into the psyche’s of the less credited geniuses behind their success. Maybe it’s the drive and passion behind the vehicles which is more cerebral than the end race but I feverishly awaited this after enjoying Rush (2013), both movies are handsome looking and thrilling in their humanity but for die hard fans of the racing world, there’s nothing much new to enjoy but for the outsiders looking in, the film kicks into top gear and does a good job in keeping it there through to the bitter end. Continue reading Ford vs Ferrari (2019)

A Thought of Ecstasy

Director: Rolf Peter Kahl,
Starring: Rolf Peter Kahl, Ava Verne, Deborah Kara Unger, Lena Morris. Germany/USA. 1h 30m

This gentle murmur of a movie is half waking dream and half private investigation but the apparent nightmare that runs throughout its winding narrative is hidden behind a psychosexual noir.

A majority of the movie follows a bemused love sick German trailing around the American desert, in search for his estranged lover. With long sun bleached shots of the desert where naked bodies writhe together, mixed with elaborate sexual encounters set to pounding electronic soundtracks, the movie feels like a series of naughty dreams, but it’s easily missed quirk, is that the movie is strangely set in the near future, in an America going through a unusual heat wave and kind of political turmoil, this erotic thriller is science fiction as much as it’s art house, but the blend, while unusual is pretty captivating.

After finding a random book that reminds him of a heated love affair he had 20 years previous with a woman named Marie, Frank (Kahl) is spurred on by the reminder of their dark sexy fuelled romps, and immediately heads out to the USA to investigate the author. Her literary agent Liz (Unger) confirms the author is the same Marie, but has no contact details for her. Frank hangs around and meets a sex worker named Nina who sets up sophisticated scenarios with her colleague ?? and the pair record the sessions, Frank can’t help notice the similarity of Nina in both the women and becomes their cameraman in order to be closer to them, as he continues to read the book/journal about the mysterious Marie who he thought he knew but is only now discovering.

This is one of those movies where the journey is the movie, the destination is something you work out after the film had ended and that’s pretty unusual, but there’s a beautiful meandering sequence of sets and encounters to experience instead of gripping hold of a solid narrative and trying to mentally rip it apart, A Thought of Ecstasy forces it’s audience to sit back and feel and experience the delirium along with Frank.

Love is immortal. Seduction is Inevitable. Revenge is irresistible.

In-between scenes of Frank driving around the desert, reading Marie’s book, which runs like a journal of her time in the desert, his time alone is pretty dry, but once he’s with Nina and co, while she is a sex worker the movie slides into soft core porn, there’s plenty of nudity and sex, which I a lot of people were willing to trash it because of this, but accepting that it’s part of adult life the movie’s ability to shift totally is really impressive. Time seems to slow down, movements become like chorographical dance, is washed out sunny USA becomes soft and luxurious and very dark both in lighting and mood, this nightlife is very different and very seductive. You can see why Frank wants to be there, but the nagging feeling is that someone wants Frank to want to be there, and this is the big mystery which slowly unfolds to it’s resolute climax.

Rolf Peter Kahl, is the holy trinity of this project, director, writer and star, so while this is his all about him, you can only assume that the film is a perfect rendition of his original concept. It’s pretty easy to sit back and enjoy what’s put before you, it’s also impossible to just ignore that there is a bigger picture within a narrative that’s filled with naked bodies to move your attention away from the nitty gritty, or at least that’s how I felt about it.

On the surface it’s an attractive movie, but underneath all the softcore it’s a well of dark desires, death, a very distressing ending which is somewhat glazed over, but once you get it, it’s bloody brilliant if you can get through all the tits and art house it’s fully rewarding.

Rating 6/10

R: Amer (2009)
L: Desert Trip

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Blue Caprice (2013)

AKA The Washington Snipers
Director: D Alexander Moors
Starring:
Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Rim Blake Nelson. USA. 1h 34m

A deeply atmospheric and emotive recount of the strange relationship between the unique pair of individuals who basically brought Washington to its knees in 2002. John (Washington)and his “adopted” Antigen son Lee (Richmond), are brought together out of love and necessity, but soon their turbulent relationship became needed and cold violence. A highly provocative insight into the killers from D Alexandre Moors, his first full length feature, shows incredible talent. Later on he was able to display further capabilities is his more appreciated project Yellow Birds (2017).

John is a highly strung individual, moving from sofa to sofa, from friend to favour as he rages at the world around him, hooking up with a protective friend he manages to tutor his new son in a military fashion, their daily lives are a mix of regimental and relaxing with friends, cook outs and sniper training. Continue reading Blue Caprice (2013)

The Bridge (2006)

Director: Eric Steel.
Starring.Various. USA. 1h m.

Worlds literally end in Eric Steel’s slightly tastefully feature length documentary which focuses solely on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. For one year the iconic bridge was filmed including every suicide that took place on The Bridge that year with candid interviews of the people left behind.

The film opens like a tourist promo, with beautiful scenes of the bridge, the crew setting up hidden cameras, vibrant wildlife is in abundance, the quiant businesses nearby are lit in golden sunshine, then suddenly a body drops, and we are initiated into the Bridge, a bold unwavering look into the jolly suicide spot.

Be afraid of what lies beneath…

Continue reading The Bridge (2006)

Skin (2018)

Director: Guy Nattiv.
Starring. Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, USA. 2h.

Redemption is the painful process etched out in Guy Nattiv’s gortty violent drama that sees a neo nazi break away from his mythical white only family in order to be a better person with the help of someone who he would normally happily attack for no reason other than the colour of his skin. Continue reading Skin (2018)

Cruel Summer (2016)

Director: Philip Escott, Craig Newman
Starring: Richard Pawulski , Danny Miller, Reece Douglas, Natalie Martins, Gary Knowles, Grace Dixon. UK. 1h 20m

Philip Escott and Craig Newmans movie is an intensely controlled, beautifully raw and a bittersweetly acted account of the systematic hunt and brutal murder of an innocent autistic teen. Richard Pawulski plays a peaceful young man, Danny, who heads into the countryside for some camping, ethical fishing and to enjoy the solitude for this Duke of Edinburgh award, but unknown to him, an enamored Julia (Martins) has lied to a violent and jealous Nicholas (Miller) about Danny having sexual relations with his (now) ex, this lie starts to spread and grows into Danny being a pedophile to encourage another friend to help them track him down and teach him a lesson. Continue reading Cruel Summer (2016)

The Freaks (1932)

Director: Tod Browning.
Starring. Wallace Ford, Harry Earles, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates, USA. 1h 04m.

This has long been one of my favourite movies since I was a young child, I think my parents realised that I was going to be watching what I liked but my mother was always a spokeswoman for learning history and basics, so I read and watched the classics, which included The Freaks! I had a hand me down horror book which I still hold dear to my heart, I obsessed over the grainy black and white photos and was really drawn to the sideshow misfits of Tod Browning’s The Freaks which I still have to admit are a huge thing for me, not just the movie but the history and scientific research and study, encouraging me to travel the world visiting museums like Mutter and seeking out Cabinet of Curiosities worldwide.

Being one of the first and (possibly) only movie with a predominant cast of genuine “circus freaks” this tale is quite European in it’s make up, with a range of fair maidens, lost love and bitter revenge it’s something quite magical, but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security this fairy tale is grotesque and dark as fuck. Continue reading The Freaks (1932)