Tag Archives: bleak

Crash and Burn (1990)

AKA Robot Jox 2 : Crash and Burn
Director: Charles Band
Starring: Paul Ganus, Megal Warn, Jack McGee, Eva LaRue, Bill Moseley .USA. 1h 25m

Originally being a concept for the follow up to Robojox, a much harder end of the world scenario is placed in Band’s post apocalyptic sci fi thriller. Crash and burn does recycle some aspects from Robojox, most noeably the stop motion aniated robots themselvees but it slaps a can of terminator and max mad on to it’s murder mystery plot.

The film is set several years after a global economic collapse, and after Covid it’s easier to imagine than it was in 1990. All of fears of the future from the classic writers are dropped throughout the film, global warming, nuclear poisoning and corporation control all raise their ugly heads and Crash and Burns gives us a glimpse of what it might be like to try and live with all these oppressions but there is hope, a group of freedom fighters attempt to jam TV signals and promote messages for people to rise up against the corporations. The world is pretty dismal, it’s hot, sueper desert hot all the time, there are frequent power cuts and water is hard to find and when you drink it is probably recycled only hours before. Kids learn via some kind of interactive TV and have no connection with each other. it’s life but not a happy one.

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Ray and Liz (2018)

Director: Richard Billingham
Starring: Patrick Romer, Richard Ashton, Justin Salinger, Ella Smith, Tony Way. UK. 1h 50m

This strangely hypnotic movie doesn’t really have a beginning, middle and an end, per say but there’s a strange introduction to characters, and they are very unusual creatures. Once you get over the initial shock of their squalid lives and attitudes the movie kinda meanders until a pivotal moment where everyone’s life changes, most notable the teller of the story, Richard, and his little brother Jason, who at one point would rather sleep rough than go home, but what would drive a child to do this?

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Dreams of a Life (2011)

Director: Carole Morley Starring: Zawe Ashton, Everyone else as themselves. UK/England. 1h 35m

What started off as a shocking headline, ending up depressing and confusing many who sparked up a conversation about the unknown woman involved. The woman was found dead in her apartment, having died 3 years earlier and had gone totally undetected for so long. The crime scene investigators turned up after bailiffs to a striking scene, with Christmas present covered in dust and the television still on, she had passed on her sofa.. but for 3 years went totally unmissed? It was always very concerning that someone would just fall between the cracks. Many couldn’t fathom how the utility or council hadn’t come for payment much earlier but what really got under the skin of the nation was that no friends or family had reported her missing or called on her in all that time.

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The Salvation (2015)

Director: Kristian Levring.
Starring. Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Douglas Henshall, Michael Raymond-James, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce.USA/Denmark/South Africa. 1h 32m.

Westerns have long been a tough genre for me, I grew up watching them with my mother and grandfather and I really started to hate them. I suppose any entertainment that makes the adults lose interest in how cute you are will do that to a child’s psyche.. the only entertainment was playing with Gramps while he slept through some of the classics. Later on in life, when I got over the trauma, I rediscovered Spaghetti Westerns and I started to accept the genre back into my life, unless there’s a Mexican revolution a haunting Ennio Morricone soundtrack and less white people attempting to make believe that America has always been white, then the better things start to get. I’ve loved the reassurance of darker and more graphic horror westerns such as Seraphim Falls (2006), Brimstone (2016) and the almost instant cult classic Bone Tomahawk (2015), which have won me over. But without having a mythical foe or a revolution, there’s a striking grasp of The Salvation which has a more believable story of two immigrant brothers just trying to get ahead in the wild west and meeting ugly adversity.

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