Director: David Michod.
Starring: Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, Laura Wheelwright. Australia. 1h 53m
There is something extraordinarily authentic about Animal Kingdom, this sinister tale of a twisted criminal family is something can nervously be regarded as far fetched, but after an ounce of research into the criminal underworld of the Land Down Under, after watching this movie there’s a lingering fear that “based on a true story” might appear in the closing credits.
With characters like the notorious Chopper (2000) and the gut churning Snowtown (2011) just two pieces of projects based on real events and people, this just feels like the next step in a progression of a young country with a criminal culture that’s making up for lost time. Continue reading Animal Kingdom
Director: Catherine Breillat
Starring: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi. France 1h 17m
Based on: Pornocratie by Catherine Breillat
This slightly strangely off putting art house erotica drama see the plights of man vs woman and slowly discovers what we always knew, and that the sexes really are planets apart.
This taboo sequel to the equally taboo shocker Romance X (1999) see Catherine Breillat boldly challenge many more darker crevices within the sexual psyche of a woman who, in Romance was shunned by her lover, seeking love and affection then sex and kink elsewhere, while in the Anatomy of Hell, we discover more about the boyfriend, adoringly known as Man and played by porn star Rocco Siffredi, we see his reasoning behind his unusual character.
A lonely and dejected woman, whose only known as The Woman (Casar) throughout the film stalks the streets at night looking for company, stumbling into a gay bar she drinks, bumps into all the gay guys and seemly out of it, hits a new low, her suicide attempt in the clubs toilets is thwarted by a concerned stud, after rescuing her she makes him a proposition, she invites him to visit her and watch her silently for four nights while she’s “unwatchable”. Begrudgingly he agrees to continue to help and the two being a strange journey. Continue reading Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)
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)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Starring: Jinpachi Nezu,Mako Hyōdō . Japan . 1h 15m
This avant grade collaboration between Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii is like a waking dream, the film has very little dialogue and what is said is as fragmented as the action within the film. The sparse plot, while linear, doesn’t really suggest a solid straight forward narrative but, but instead has a hazy, “make of it as you will” atmosphere. It’s very easy to sum this up as “Animated Art House” rather than a film with direct meaning and purpose, but it continues to inspire with its unfamiliar themes and dark visuals.
There are two main characters, a young girl who lives in an abandoned building near an abandoned town, a man appears on the shore watching a temple like orb raise from the ocean, and he descends silently into the town. Meanwhile the girl collects her giant egg, an object she protects each day by stuffing it under her dress, and heads into the eerie neo gothic town to scavenge for food and bottles to collect water in. She wanders around looking through windows and only gets startled when the man arrives on a biotechnical tank their silent glare results in the girl running away and the man slowly following after her. Continue reading Tenshi no Tamago / Angel’s Egg (1985)
Director: Gareth Evans.
Starring. Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins, Michael Sheen. USA. 2h 10m.
Gareth Evans’ Apostle is a troubled journey into the dark nature of man being forced upon the nature around him in the guise of a new religious cult who have hauled up on a remote island. Evan’s previous projects are considerably different in nature, mostly the Raid (2012) and Raid 2 (2014), which saw a lot of action and violence, although he did perfect sidestep into horror in the V/H/S 2 (2013) anthology when he co directed the Safe Haven segment but again his horror came with a fast pace. But in this epic horror, he manages to divide the film into something more brooding before it picks up speed and descends into a casserole of blood or torture. Much like Panos Cosmatos Mandy (2018). When you think you’ve “got” the movie, suddenly there’s a shift into something unexpected and there’s not going back.
Continue reading Apostle (2018)
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring: Alexander Brickel, Kateryn Winnick, Stephen Graham, Amanda Plummer, Wass Stevens, Joshua Annex. USA. 1h 40m.
I found this lesser known gem in the bargain bucket, it came as one of those double sided discs with an equally bizarre b movie, Killer X (1999), it stayed on my shelf for years until I had a particularly shitty break up and I decided to settle down with a tub of ice cream and sob into it with a terrible movie to remind myself just how shit my life was at the time but this stunning movie really uplifted my evening.
Directed by Jeff Lieberman, a meistro who lives to live life on the edge with psychedelic and wayward classics such as Blue Sunshine (1977), Just Before Dawn (1981) and Squirm (1976) under his belt, but with this modern approach to horror, he seemed to not take any aspect of this movie all that serious but it still manages to be a creepy comedy horror with some very dark undertones, totally different from this retro classics but so brilliant in it’s own quirky rights. Continue reading Satan’s Little Helper (2004)
AKA Alien Terror AKA Strangers
Director: Ciro Ippolito
Starring: Ciro Ippolito, Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Michele Soavi,Judy Perrin. Italy. 1h 32m
Before the Alien (1979) film could be fully licenced and trade marked, it obviously had a profound effect on Italian director Ciro Ippolito decided to take it upon himself to craft a unauthorised sequel, and while this film has a low budget, the scope is there for a much bigger and impressive project, but the Alien lifeform is more affiliated with The Thing (1982)– In a Cave.. and has little to do with Ridley Scott’s cult classic.
While the earth eagerly await the return of a group of astronauts, meanwhile in an unrelated television studio, Thelma Joyce (Mayne) appears to talk about Spelunking and caves but she had a terrible psychic episode and violent visions forces an abrupt ending to her interview. The spaceship arrives but the crew are missing, in theory I believe this is supposed to be the derelict Nostromo. Meanwhile a young girl playing on the beach finds a pulsating blue rock, when her mother finds her, she’s missing her face. Continue reading Alien 2 – Sulla Terra / Alien 2 – On Earth (1980)
Director: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Javier Botet. USA. 1h 30m
John Krasinski’s pensive thriller is designed to make you feel like an active participant of a family who is faced with unreal fears. The camera often swings around the characters making you feel that that your part of the conservation, tagging along as a silent witness.
Much is already been given away in the numerous trailers and it’s very clear to see that this family a living on the edge of a post apocalyptic future where deadly creatures are attracted to the noises we make every day. The origin of these deadly critters isn’t a factor in the movie, it doesn’t matter why they are here or what happened, the families journey now is all that the film concentrates on and for plot reasons only, but if you read clippings that are saved in the families basement you can work out that in 2020 within only 3 months most of the world’s population have been destroyed by large creatures that are attracted to sound and protected by armored skin. Continue reading A Quiet Place (2018)
Director : Takashi Anno, Tomomi Mochizuki
Writer: Daijiro Morohoshi
Starring : Nozomu Sasaki, Alan Marriott, Mizuho Suzuki. Japan. 1h 40m
When I first started getting in Anime Akira (1988) probably kicked things off for me, and I dug deep in powerful fast pace cyber and horror films. But one film really stood out on a few trailers. Its pale colours, still images and traditional soundtrack make it stand apart from the rest of the 90’s Manga collection.
Having a deep love of folklore and being totally mystified by the demonic creatures in the advert I was sure to get a copy ASAP and i fell in love with animated films all over again, but for very different reasons than before. Continue reading Ankoku Shinwa / Dark Myth (1990)
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)