Tag Archives: desert

Home Sweet Home (2012)

Director: John K.D. Graham Starring: Alexandra Boylan, Raquel Cantu, Christopehr Dempset, Lorena Segura York, USA. 1h 19m

While looking like a dishevelled mess, having lost her job, parents and apartment, Gwen has to try and regain some control but the bottom of the bottle keeps finding her. Returning to her childhood home after the death of her parents, she intends to confront her past and find a new direction.

Continue reading Home Sweet Home (2012)

Curse II -The Bite (1989)

Director: Frederico Prosperi (as Fred Goodwin)
Starring: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr, Bo Svenson .Italy/USA. 1h 37m

After the success of The Curse (1987), an indie effort to breathe cinematic life into the classic HP Lovecraft story The Color Out of Space. An Italian/American sequel, in name only manages to cobble together a strange blend of body horror and romance and in some respects it stands strong as a very strange orphan.

Continue reading Curse II -The Bite (1989)

Broken Horses (2015)

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Anton Yelchin, Chris Marquette, María Valverde, Thomas Jane .USA. 1h 41m

A charming American Western style thriller centring around two brothers and the ties that bind them, Chopra has adapted 1980s Hindi movie for the American audience but it only vaguely translates for the different culture and atmosphere overall, the true sentiment of the movie really works however from time to time it just seems too melodramatic, something that would definitely work in the Bollywood industry but seems a bit too over the top for what could be a really violent thriller. Continue reading Broken Horses (2015)

Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

Director: Konstantin Lopushansky
Starring: Viktor Mikhaylov, Vera Mayorova,Vadim Lobanov, Irina Rakshina, Aleksandr Rasinsky, Iosif Ryklin, Yu. Sobolev, Vladimir Firsov. Russia/Soviet Union/West Germany/Switzerland. 2h 16m

The jaw dropping, mind bending and highly disjointed follow on to Dead Man’s Letters (1986), shows that Lopushansky has lost none of this amazing vision of the world after an apocalyptic disaster. Usually history is written by the victors but who really comes out on top when the entire planet sinks into a nuclear winter?

From it’s dark crimson opening, it’s clear that the world is a very different place in this complicated post-apocalyptic future, that carries on from living memories of Chernobyl. The world attempts to keep things moving as a tourist attempts to traverse the barren landscape to visit a museum buried deep below the ocean. Clothed in a long black coat and carrying a single suitcase he stumbles through massive piles of waste, fights through clouds of dangerous dust and catches the saddest looking train I’ve ever seen limp down a track. Eventually he makes it to his “hotel” a house run by rich elites that looks out onto a vibrant shore that leads to a hidden fabled Museum. Continue reading Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

Kid (1990)

Director: John Mark Robinson
Starring: C Thomas Howell, Sarah Trigger, Brian Austin Green, R Lee Emey, Dale Dye, Michael Bowen, Michael Cavanaugh. USA. 1h 31m

If Chilling Revenge Western were a genre then this would be its definition, and despite the heat of the blistering desert, John Robinsons thriller only takes about 20 minutes to get to the first death, he really wasn’t messing around. After beating up some local bullies and getting the attention of the hottest girl in town the tall dark handsome stranger (Howell) rents a room and goes to the local hardware store, picking up some weird supplies, the clerk asks him “do much huntin’?” The Kid replies.. Thinking about startin” and we’re off to the first kill, the one that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Continue reading Kid (1990)

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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Jauja (2014)

Director: Lisandro Alonso
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby, Viilbjørk Malling Agger. UK. 1h 49m

Sometimes I watch a movie and I’m left with a feeling of nostalgia hinted with the question of did I really just watch a dream come to life on screen? There’s a rare select group of directors who can achieve this unique atmosphere but the determined efforts of Lisandro Alonso and Viggo Mortensen have made a movie which starts out quite straight forwards eventually boils down to a crazy trip in the desert, akin to any modern classic but it’s set in the past and it almost fools you into thinking that such a step into the unknown is not plausible. Continue reading Jauja (2014)

Sand Serpents (2009)

Director: Jeff Renfroe
Starring:Jason Gedrick, Tamara Hope, Elias Toufexi, Sebastian Knapp, Chris Jarman. Canada. 1h 30m

Like a strange warped version of Monsters: Dark Continent (2014), blended with Jarhead (2005)and Tremors (1990), Sand Serpents doesn’t really feature a nest of deadly vipers as I expected instead the foes are more like miniature versions of the adorable Dune (1984) like sand worms but with a blood thirsty taste for human flesh.

A small group of US Army Soldiers become stranded in the remote Afghan desert, but against all odds and while teaming up with a father and daughter team from the local region they battle the Taliban and the epic worm like creatures from an unknown source, not something covered in basic training. Continue reading Sand Serpents (2009)

Vanishing Point (1971)

Director: Richard C. Sarafian.
Starring. Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger USA. 1h 38m.

I have some vague recollections of watching this film as a kid, which prompted me to revisit many years ago and I totally fell in love with Kowalski his amphetamine fueled ride through the desert, in one of my all time favourite cars, a gorgeous Dodge Challenger RT 440 Magnum; taking grindhouse to the brink with some strong biblical and mythical undertones, accompanied over the radio by a blind messiah and awesome rock music, for me it’s the perfect combination. Most movie lovers will cite Steve McQueens Bullit (1968) as being one of the best car chase movies, and while I can’t disagree I think this film is brilliant contender for the top spot.

Everything about the film is under the surface, but on the face of things, it’s just a guy who’s hired to get a car from point a to point b in the quickest possible time, after visiting his dealer, he fills up on Benzedrine pills and makes a bet to be there a day sooner, hops in a Dodge and heads out on a daring adventure filled with pretty unusual characters. Continue reading Vanishing Point (1971)

The Toybox (2018)

Director: Tom Nagel
Starring: Denise Richard, Mischa Barton, Jeff Barton Jeff Denton, Brian Nagel, Greg Cioland, Matt Mercer, Greg Violand. USA. 1h 35m.

There’s so much to like about the bare bones of this movie, a haunted RV with a dark past entwined with hints of a real serial killer, that takes a family hostage and starts killing them, you just can’t go wrong? Sadly something was definitely lost when translated to film, but I really enjoyed the film but find it hard to defend, yes it’s a BMovie, albeit slightly polished it creates a great grimey atmosphere and at times comes across as plausible but every now and again it just drops into the damned awful bin and struggles to get out.

A slightly more than average emaciated and botoxed Denise Richards heads up the estranged family heading out on their vacation in a second hand RV with a deadly past. The RV was purchased at a highly discounted price by Charles (Violand), as a promise to his now late wife, he wants to reconcile with his two sons and offers to take them and their families out on a road trip. Continue reading The Toybox (2018)