Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young, Jared Abrahamson .USA/Canada 1h 35m,
For the most part this dark neo-noir thriller takes two distinctive strong men and the troubles that surround them, highlights their strengths and weaknesses, then crash them together in the mist of a brutal cash for murder in a small American town and watches the fireworks blow them apart in a spectacular and emotive fashion.
A puzzling stranger sends bloody shock waves through a close knit community, after committing three brutal cold blooded murders. In the wake of the devastation of the remote and bleak Alaskan town, a tightly wound drifter Elwood (Abbott) checks into a motel run by Sam (Bernthal) a former Rodeo star, having retired he is making ends meet with this new venture to motel keeping but he’s a deeply troubled soul. Continue reading Sweet Virgina (2017)
Director: Lee Won-Tae .
Starring. Dong-seok Ma, Sung-kyu Kim, Mu-Yeol Kim. South Korea. 1h 50m.
One of my all time favourite genres in film is the South Korean Crime Thriller, They are filled with such slick plots, crazy bloody knife fights and inhuman bad guys, often thick with plots twists around organised crime, bent cops, serial killers and a strange honour code there’s a dark sharp violence in them which isn’t easily mimicked. I didn’t get too hyped about this until the second half but I have valid reasons. With a lot of Korean thrillers, there’s often an air of strangeness the crimes and methods of solving them are usually played out under sheets of rain at night, and usually the killer is really fucking derranged and hard to track, control or kill. But in this case they catch the guy but it’s not the end of the story it’s only the beginning. Continue reading 악인전; RR: Ak-in-jeon / The Gangster The Cop and the Devil (2019)
Director: Peter Collinson
Starring: Susan George, Ian Bannen, Honor Blackman, and John Gregson .UK. 1h 27m
AKA The Baby Minder or Girl in the Dark
Often credited as the starting block for all Babysitter horror movies, this British cult classic really challenges it’s audience as much as it’s production challenges the actors. They say the best horrors are the ones where you can place yourself in the situation, and there’s nothing quite as frightening as being trapped in unfamiliar surroundings with a deranged lunatic trying to get to you while you look after someone else’s child. And this is where Susan George finds herself in Peter Collinsons cultured horror.
Collinson is probably best known for The Italian Job (1969) but only 2 years later he came back swinging with this taught thriller that verges into the Slasher territory. A young babysitter Amanda (George) settles into the Lloyd residence, the Lloyds display a lot of nervousness about their rare night out, but what dark family secret could they possibly be hiding. Continue reading Fright (1971)
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes . USA. 2h 4m
There comes a time when every movie is going to be remade, no matter how cult or classic the original is. But did we really need this remake of the near perfect Michael Mann gusty thriller Manhunter (1986), Originally Brian Cox played the flesh eating doctor, but while his take on the now iconic doctor; is different from Hopkins laid back soft talker, Cox’s interpretation is very apt for the direction of Mann’s psychological dog fighting style. Is the Hopkins trademark on the character so powerful that he gets to shoulder his way through to complete his trilogy. Well, Dino De Laurentiis, producer of both Manhunter and Red Dragon and effectively the Lecter copyright holder, has decreed it. So Anthony Hopkins returns, for the final time, because after this he vowed never to play the role again and it’s not surprising as the task was given to Brett Ratner to facilitate, a director who can handle a fast paced popcorn action flick but really struggled with this type of deep psychological and powerfully cerebral thriller. If only this was an equally horrific sentimental comedy, like The Family Man, where Ratner would feel more at home. Continue reading Red Dragon (2002)
Director: Ant Timpson.
Starring: Elijiah Wood, Michael Smiley, Martin Donovan, Stephen McHattie .USA. 1h 33m
There comes a time in anyone’s life when they get a pang of nostalgia and have to find their roots, discover what kind of stock they have come from. Sometimes it’s just to determine medical symptoms and at other times it’s to find out where we are down the big line of success or fuck ups. Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy is such a journey but one that no one could have predicted. Continue reading Come to Daddy (2019)
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: Juraj Herz
Starring: Rudolf Hrusinsky, Vlasta Chramostova, Jane Stehnova. Czechoslovakia. 1h 47m
Based on : The Cremator by Ladislav Fuks
A darkly comedic gothic misadventure into the psyche of a brilliant deranged lunatic. After being lost for several years, Cremator has been resurrected by the Brothers Quay, who painstakingly sourced the film and worked on its resurrection, this extraordinary intense meditation of the political horrors of 1930’s Europe are fantastically chilling in this early Czech New Wave film. Continue reading Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)
Director: Robert Green Hall.
Starring. Nick Principle, Mimi Michaels, Danielle Harris, Owain Yeoman, Thomas Dekker, Brian Suatin Green. USA. 1h 33m.
After the pretty dismal and tiresome start to Laid to Rest (2009), the film eventually grew on me, slowly creeping up like a Carolina Reaper, to deliver some pretty amazing b movie results. As an introduction to Chromeskull, a lone slasher type figure who kills and tortures for his own amusement, it stands as a very good set up for a series of movies. Unfortunately all the good was rapidly undone but an abysmal sequel.
Chromeskull does a great job of picking up right where the first movie finished, the survivors ride off into the distance but the game changer is that Chromeskull isn’t a deranged lone ranger like we were led to believe, he has a clean up crew, a highly strung apprentice and a personal assistant back in his “base of operations” it seems as if the attempt to explain the clean up process for the chilling Chromeskull actually makes the movie less plausible and for me ruined the mystery. Continue reading Chromeskull : Laid to Rest 2 (2011)
Director: Robert Green Hall.
Starring. Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Sean Whalen, Johnathon Schaech, Thomas Dekker, Nick Principle, Richard Lynch, Lena Headey. USA. 1h 30m.
A woman, only known as “The Girl” wakes up in a coffin with limited memory and bizarre memory loss, she attempts to call 911 for help making as much sense as a troubled 3 years old, when a mortician (Richard Lynch) tries to unlock the door for her, he’s brutally stabbed through the eye, the woman, now even more distraught manages to escape from the maniac with a camera strapped to his shoulder and a chilling chrome mask.
She’s picked up by a trucker called Tucker (Gage) who takes her home to his adoring wife Cindy (Headey) they try to calm the girl down as their family car is now out of petrol but they’re expecting a visitor who will help them get to the police station in the morning, but things don’t quite go to plan. The assailant from the house of rest has followed them and for the rest of the film Chromeskull, a sadistic torture fiend and deadly killer will be hot on their heels. Continue reading Laid to Rest (2009)
Director: Osamu Dezaki. Japan . 1h 31m
I’ve never really been swept off my feet by Bond movies, although I did get sweaty palms over some of the wonderful toys and gadgets. But the actual bond character changed with every incarnation and while everyone brought their own twist I couldn’t really find him all that believable. In contrast we have Rambo (stay with me here) Rambo is the toughest man alive (no question about it) a tough hombre who little kids wanted to be when they were all growed up, but then I discovered Riki-O (1991) a amazing invincible tough guy who makes Rambo look like a pussy. In the same vein Golgo 13 makes Bond looks equally pussified. He’s an assassin who is always one step ahead of the game, women falling over themselves willing to die just for one night with him, no shot if ever off and he’s like teflon in hand to hand combat. There really isn’t anyone better than Golgo 13.
With that mighty introduction, what else is left to say? You now have the opportunity to see the toughest man alive do bossanova things.. Get going.
Continue reading ゴルゴ13 / The Professional : Golgo 13 (1983)