Director: David Hugh Jones
Starring:Robert De Niro, Kathy Baker, Ed Harris, Charles S Duton .USA/Canada. 1h 42m,
Based On:Strange Snow (1982) Stephen Metcalfe
Only a mere 11 years after starting in the iconic Deer Hunter (1978) Robert De Niro is back playing another Vietnam War Vet adjusting to be an upstanding member of society while dealing with a turbulent past but there’s a deeper romantic edge poetic drama which highlights how people can change and that real friendship lasts forever but remains a complex and beautiful thing.
David Hugh Jones creates some memorable characters in his fairly light hearted approach at tackling the fallout from the Vietnam war. De Niro co starts with Ed Harris, two vets who’ve both sunk into their own personal depressions after returning without a dear friend after their tragic tour, Joseph “Megs” Megessey (De Niro) has found a new crutch to get him back into the flow of things, the once mad cannon is still lively but with a regular job, people to talk to hes slowly coming to terms in his own unique energetic fashion, but a good soldier never leaves a man behind, so filled with a new sense of pride and duty he attempts to connect with long lost bud Dave (Harris) who lives with his school teaching sister while wallowing in guilt and working on his alcohol dependence. Continue reading Jacknife (1989)
Director: Bruce Toscano
Starring: Gary Wallace, Karin Sjöberg, Robert Gerald Witt as Jack, Dean Schoepter, Les Miller, Don Donovan .USA. 1h 25m
Often described as one of the worst of the worst, this trippy sci-fi thriller is packed with a weird psychotropic atmosphere and has an interesting concept and sterling synth soundtrack but it really does write the book on how not to make a movie, while still maintaining that under-developed charm which B Movie enthusiasts really love.
It’s not entirely clear what Toscano was going for with his movie, it starts well but once the random trippiness kicks in his main character spends so little time in the real world there’s not a lot to grasp onto, the ploy is generally simple, but there’s so much imagery which really needs explaining. With attempts to blast the audience with Altered States-esque visual conundrums with alien and religious iconography. Continue reading The Jar (1984)
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)
Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy . USA. 2h 2m
Unlike a lot of action films that are based on comic characters. Phillips takes a totally different stance on recreating his solemn and realistic Joker in a studious drama focused on a downtrodden clown on the verge of his magnum opus. Last year we had a solemn Suspiria (2018) and now we have a courtly Super Villain, not just because everyone really loved Suicide Squad (2016) but a handful of grown ups wanted something more tangible and .. grown up!?
Generally the origin of the Joker is common knowledge, it’s been revisited many time in various graphic novels and comic series of the the years, but this is the first of a new series of DC comic remakes based in a more plausible world, and this chilling story for Arthur Fleck is outstanding, not only for the new birth of the worlds most favourite bad guy but it stands as a benchmark of Joaquin Phoenix as a truly versatile actor whose masterful adoption of characters that purposely don’t gel with audiences, only make them more lovable. It’s pretty easy to see this as the DC version of You Were Never Really Here (2017) but maybe in reverse but it’s just a tad darker and outlandish with crazier people involved. But in all honesty I wouldn’t want to blend the two films as they stand alone in their own glorious and unforgettable rights. Continue reading Joker (2019)
Director: J.A. Bayona
Starring : Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Justice Smith. USA. 2h 9m.
So once again we learn how dangerous dinosaurs are, and that includes mutant dinosaurs.. Because the old school variety just aren’t as scary as we thought… Jurassic World introduced a slightly different take on the “let’s make a theme park with dinosaurs”, Chris Pratt became a new lead with a group of modified raptors including his darling Blue. But the sentiment is quickly launched out the window for a fast paced non heel breaking action flick. All that pent up emotionalism returns in this even quicker paced often silly sequel.
Opening with a group of mercenaries trying to collect dinosaur bones to build more beasts, as their island is destroyed by a volcano, they are soon despatched by a few lose dinosaurs. A montage follows the world is divided, let the dinosaurs die or do they have a right to life and should we save them? Claire Dearing (Dallas Howard) is determined to save as many as she can, after hooking up with Owen they are summoned to the mansion of Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell), who was there when the first dino’s were extracted and with the help of his associate Eli Mills (Spall) they have set up a sanctuary. All Claire and Owen have to do it fly to the island, gather as many dinosaurs as possible and get them back to the sanctuary. Claire and Owen do their “thing” without their feelings get in the way too much. Continue reading Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring:George Kennedy, Chris Lemmon, Gregg Henry, Deborah Benson. USA. 1h 42m
While gearing up to write a review for Satan’s Little Helper (2004) I finally deciding to actually investigate who directed it and low and behold it happens to be the pretty well known director Jeff Lieberman better known for his earlier films such as Squirm (1976) and the hippy flashback from hell Blue Sunshine (1978) but while I passed through life totally oblivious to directors, I never would have connected the two as the style is so very different but in between these amazing varied classics comes another slightly different movie, a backwoods slasher with a very different atmosphere to a lot of the other genre specific slashers of the era. Just Before Dawn is a menacing thriller that takes a very sly stab from time to time. Continue reading Just Before Dawn (1981)
Director: Pablo Larrain
Starring: Natalie Portman, Billy Crudup. USA. 1h 40m
There’s a time when a country is on the verge of a historic event and during the run up it’s common to look back at the achievements or disasters, but with the verge of a new president this raw and varnished portrait of Jackie Kennedy arrived at a reverent time.
Concentrating on the events from the point of Jackie the film revolves around the shooting of her husband , the world was shocked but the world was talking politics, talking about men and often Jackie was totally ignored, considered a bystander having everyone assume her feelings and emotions at the time and for years after. Pablo Larrain set himself a massive challenge with his first English language film, he’s taken on a task which could offend a country but his subtle hand and sympathetic eye has assured this film will be warmly welcomed. With an event this large the film is able to jump around to and fro but encompasses the tragic and lonely situation that Jackie was left in. Continue reading Jackie (2016)
Director: John R. Hand
Starring: Arnold Odo, Fernando Cano, Bri Bynon. . USA . 1h 25m
A majority of serial killer movies are based on a few well known names, which can get repetitive as directors try their socks off to make an impressive, accurate and daring movie. Sadly most of them are total rubbish, missing the point,going off key missing out important details and even fabricating events.
But in all honesty films about serial killers will never really be what the die hard enthusiasts are looking for because those insensitive details are not cinema friendly. Most of the time the killers have been executed and promoting their ideals and theologies just don’t make the cut, but in the case of Joel Rifkin (Odo), the New York Ripper, there’s so much more opportunity to make a really in depth study about the incarcerated killer and it was totally missed here. Joel is still with us and has executed some really detailed and personal interviews where he expresses more about himself and the murders he committed than his movie does. Continue reading Joel (2018)
Starring: Stephen Dorff,Deborah Kara Unger, Johnathon Schaech, Deborah Kara Unger, Johnathon Schaech, Ben Sullivan. USA. 1h 25m
This unusual horror, loosely based on retro accounts of cults programming teens starts out well, an point of view break in results in the brutal stabbing of a couple in their bed, the culprit catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he’s wearing a mask and heads into the next bedroom, the young girl there recognises him, it seems he’s her brother, she’s concerned about the blood on his hands and runs to raise her parents, the culprit pulls down his mask and returns to the crime scene where he strangles her.
Every family buries secrets. But some secrets won’t stay buried.
Continue reading Jackals (2017)
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig.
Starring. Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie,Matt Passmore, USA. 1h 32m.
So despite being dead since Saw 3, Jigsaw is back!? But how!? He was autopsied and buried already, but 10 years after he died John Cramer is once again making people confess to their sins and redeem themselves. I had to admit that I find the gory Saw movies highly entertaining and so much fun to watch, I honestly would love the franchise to run on forever I honestly don’t’ think I could get bored of this. When it comes to murder mysteries I find the typical Agatha Christie or Priot to be incredibly dull and struggle to follow along, with the length dialogue and cold bodies, Saw is the opposite there’s usually a lot of quick thinking, snap judgements, blood, gore and raw emotions, but strangely there are similarities too, like how this one uses the same index cards placed on the bodies as Christie’s Ten Little Indians (1965) but that’s where the similarities end. Continue reading Jigsaw (2017)