Tag Archives: guns

The Salton Sea (2002)

Director: DJ Caruso
Starring: Val Kilmer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Goldberg, Lusi Guzman, Doug Hutchison, Peter Sarsfaard, DB Wong, R Lee Ermey, Meat Loaf, Danny Trejo. USA. 1h 43m

Coming from the early 2000’s there’s still a 1990s fever dream running through DJ Caruso drug fueled action thriller, starring Val Kilmer as a lone wolf Danny Parker (AKA Tom Van Allen) who spends his days infiltrating a group of colourful druggies while trying to hatch an elaborate revenge plan against those who wronged him.

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Brothers In Arms / Semper Fi (2019)

Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Starring:Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock, Arturo Castro, Beau Knapp .USA. 1h 39m

It’s hard not to feel a little bit conflicted with the ending of Brothers In Arms AKA Semper Fi. The film successfully builds up a golden camaraderie between a pair of brothers Callahan (Courtney) and Oyster (Wolff) who, along with their Marine Corp Reserve Brothers, they manages to pull off the impossible and with the best intentions but in the big scheme of righter and wronger, was it really justified?

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Deer Hunter (1978)

Director: Michael Cimino
Starring: Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, Georeg Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren. USA. 3h 3m

Michael Cimino is a fairly laid back director, with only 8 titles under his belt he seems to only get out of bed to make a groundbreaking movie if and when he has something poignant to say. So 4 years after Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) he returns with this dark cult classic that will forever be etched in the minds of many cinema enthusiasts.

There isn’t much I can say about Deer Hunter that hasn’t been said already. It’s impact has been massive, but even with the parodies, tributes and deep analysis, what is the film trying to say? Is it anti war, is it purely dealing ? It is purely about the male bond of a few good friends? Whatever you get from the movie it starts with a wedding and ends with a funeral and there’s a lot of pain and torment that happens in between, which sounds like a nihilistic  analogy for life itself. I think I knew more about the movie before watching than any other film

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Milano calibro 9 / Caliber 9 / The Contract (1972)

Director: Fernando Di Leo
Starring: Gastone Moschin, Mario Adorf, Barbara Bouchet. .UK. 1h 42m

Well famed for being the ultimate super cool, cult hit, this is the first of a trio of virtuoso politicization films, the following movies, La Mala ordina/The Italian Connection and Il Boss/The Boss, are all based on a short story collection all using the original names by Giorgio Scerbanenco. Each film stands out for their own powerful impact with straight forward stories harnessing beautiful women, treachery and tons of gratuitous violence.

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Stratton (2017)

Director: Simon West
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Austin Stowell, Gemma Chan, Connie Nielsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Tom Felton, Derek Jacobi. UK. 1h 34m

British director Simon West has a huge action highlight reel consisting of succulent titles such as Con Air, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Mechanic, and even the mega blockbusters, The Expendables 2. But his latest addition, a smaller scaled Brit Espionage Thriller, Stratton, seem to have all the right components of a big budget action flick but just no heart and soul, which is bound to leave many viewers feeling cheated.

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The Company You Keep (2012)

Director: Robert Redford
Starring:Robert Redford, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Shia LeBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Saradon, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendand Gleeson, Sam Elliot, Stephen Root. USA. 2h 5m

Robert Redford isn’t a stranger to the director’s chair, however as much as The Company You Keep is a solid well made thriller and definitely is robust with ideas, philosophy and heavy drama, it’s just not as exciting as it could have been.

There’s a lot of interesting story to get through, but there’s not a lot of on screen action to enjoy. Hanging it’s narrative on ideas of what happens to freedom fighters and activists; after their youthful antics, when they are all settled as respectful members of society. Slowly unwinding mentally and regretfully of the bank robberies and murders of the past, do they just settle into the society they were fighting against or does the fight never end?

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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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Lowlife (2017)

Director: Ryan Prows
Starring:Nicki Micheaux, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Jon Oswald, Shaye Ogbonna, Santana Dempsey, Mark Burnham USA. 1h 36m

From the unusual opening and until it’s bitter ending, everything about Lowlife blew me away! It’s a slow amble through the seedy side of Los Angles, connecting 3 reprobate lives together as they struggle against the same foe but for very different reasons. For some it might take some time to get into the aesthetic and bat shit crazy characters, but don’t fight it just go with the flow and the movie will take you places…. Places you might not want to go..

Lowlife works as a disjointed homage to a few lively characters who each deserve some sort of Folk Hero status. Jumping around through the timeline incorporates each person deeper into it’s whirlwind plot, a black motel keeper Crystal (Micheaux) who’s an ex addict and her drunken partner, a man on the verge of giving up on life but who needs an emergency kidney transplant. Then there’s a sly gangster Teddy ‘Bear’ Haynes (Burnham) who runs a violent gang profiting from immigrants organs, the kinda guy who’s legendary amongst the worst f the worst on the streets and his loveable henchman ,El Monstruo (Zarate) who’s on a mission to protect his heavily pregnant wife Kaylee (also an addict). But the stand out are a couple of best friends Keith (Ogbonna) and Randy (Oswald) a couple of cons whose brotherly bond is spun into contention over Randy’s unusual prison tattoo.

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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)

Infini (2015)

Director: Shane Abbass
Starring: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Bren Foster, Harry Pavlidis. Australia. 1h 30m

Sometimes the ideas in sci-fi movies are so brilliant they are easily missed, but when dealing with advanced concepts about mimicking bodies, mutations and genetic diseases that are totally alien, there’s no real easy way to go about it. But I feel with some more attention to editing and with an actual drive to interact with an audience then this could have been more hard-hitting and some of its counterparts

I would never suggest that Shane Abbass, is actively copying any other films that I’m about to mention, but I’m willing to step up and say that I’m actually quite intrigued by what he could do with a small budget, this previous movies Gabriel (2007) managed to pull off a lot that was missed from the Prophecy film franchise, with all of his film mastery and magic however, just now and again he just can’t seem to get something quite right and I can’t quite put my finger on it. To my eye, there seems to be a really strong connection with Franck Vestiel’s, Eden Log (2007) and Pandorum (2009) and though Inifini doesn’t really step on any toes per say it appears that they are probably best watched together as a trio of great sci fi movies all connecting a similar theme. Continue reading Infini (2015)