Director: Alvin Rakoff
Starring: George Kennedy, RIchard Crenna, Nick Mancuso, Victoria Burgoyne. Canada. 1h 31m
Death Ship could easily be labelled as another prime example of how the horrors of World War II still plague the minds of modern man, with acts so cruel, barbaric and insane that the strong cinematic belief that this pinnacle of human shame has the power to infect and infest. Time and time again movies find the dark depraved experiments and human torture so hard to portray on screen that it’s analogiased as a demonic haunting, let’s face it, witnessing world War ii is like peering into vignettes of hell.
I wouldn’t want to say this was the blueprint for future ocean horrors but it so easy to see its effects in the tangled mess of Triangle (2009) and the palatable Ghost Ship (2002) the mechanics of this salty horror have more in common with Outpost (2008) and Christine (1983) and in my humble opinion Amityville (1979). Continue reading Death Ship (1980)
Director: Thomas Carter
Starring: Robert Sean leonard, Frank Whaley, Barbara Hershey, Noah Wyle, Martin Clunes, Christian Bale, Kenneth Brannah . USA. 1h 54m
In Thomas Carter‘s bold coming of age melodrama, three friends find themselves having to become men in a world being ripped apart by hitler’s iron hand, when all they want to do is dance the night away to Harlem jazz. Sadly they are children of a world that they didn’t make, but the free spirits find themselves in trouble and soon swinging to the mantras of a fascist regime.
Carter seems to have this habit of working on lots of TV shows then cracking out a startling film usually entangled into a taboo or some kind of controversy like his later hit Coach Carter (2005). Continue reading Swing Kids (1993)
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch .UK/Ireland/USA. 1h 58m
Italian director Paolo Sorrentino emerges with some triumph as one of the masters of modern cinema with this English Language film This Must be the Place, starring Sean Penn as a Robert Smith inspired aged rock star Cheyenne. Retirement doesn’t bring as much action as the rocker passes his time living a non existent life in Dublin spending his days alone in his mansion or with his best friend Mary (Hewson) while his American wife (McDormand) is content with her job as a firefighter.
The approach is superbly elegant and has a mix of looming camera movements and bursts of dynamic action mixed with Penns dry humor that sinks into a hallucinatory landscape, which at points is so massive swallows up the characters. Continue reading This must be the place (2011)
AKA Hitler’s Wild Women
Director: Kenneth Hartford and David L Hewitt.
Starring. Robert Vaughn, Merrie Lynn Ross, Keenan Wynn, Aldo Ray. USA. 1h 31m.
After a sizable layoff, B movie genius David L Hewitt returns with this dreary espionage flick with tantalizing potential but an obscure approach. For some reason someone made a terribly poor Man from UNCLE movie with Vaughn himself but for unknown reasons the film wasn’t released, be it too short or just incomplete, but with Hewitt/Hartford to the rescue, the fearless duo added a strange futuristic wrap around a man in our distant future, seemingly a lone survivor who attends to “his garden” but in between working he stops in to consult a super computer which reveals the footage of the exploits of mankind including this twisted spy tale.
Rescue movies rarely make much sense, but they can work, take the two Cloverfield spin offs that were two separate projects entirely, but working with such a strange story and adding in something totally left field didn’t help in anyway but for all its faults this is totally unique! Continue reading The Lucifer Complex (1978)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier~
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Macon Blair . USA . 1h 35m
Here’s another gorgeous piece of gore from the invigorating direction Jeremy Saulnier, the director who likes to use colours in his film titles. After the success of the brutal revenge movie Blue Ruin (2013) he returns with a punks vs nazi horror flick that hold back no punches.
In the UK there was a similar but tamer film that ran into a mini series called This is England which showed the peaceful Skins get tainted by psychotic politics and there was a divide as the Nazi’s tried to take the scene over. This pales in comparison to the night of hell this alternative band is about to experience in the Green Room but it’s equally important to make a note of the difference of opinions between punks and nazi’s..
Seemed to be the next on the list of taboo scenarios that attracts the attention of Saulnier, Punks vs nazi’s has been an age old battle. But what’s really interesting is Saulnier’s choice of cast, it seems the unlikely bunch, Patrick Stewart, especially after his years with American Dad just doesn’t “sound” like a neo nazi leader but being such a brilliant actor he performed so well, as does the small role by the main star of Blue Ruin (2013), Macon Blair who’s the cutest and most polite fascist ever. But let’s start at the beginning… Continue reading Green Room (2015)
Director: Kevin Chu.
Starring. Brigitte Lin, Sally Yeh, Loretta Yang, Teresa Tsui, Sylvia Peng Taiwan. 1h 30m.
I’m not sure which came first, Golden Queen or Pink Force as they were both made in 1982(?) but these explosive action adventure Commando movies often have each other’s scenes spliced into one another. Personally I found Pink Force to be way more thrilling with its stronger western themes and total kookiness, but that doesn’t mean that this prison based flick is worse, but it has very different themes with an almost identical cast.
Golden Queen Commando opens with some Visual Kei gang leader playing cards with some street gangster types when a fight breaks out despite her fast shooting the police crash the party and she’s sent to prison, other short vignettes for other criminal women (Black Fox, Clack Cat, Dynamite, Sugar Plum, Amazon, Brandy and Quick Silver (our stunning card shark)), each with their own special skill and extreme costume all end with them being sent to the same nazi war prison.
Things being to heat up when one of the women starts to antagonise the others while getting a feeling for their strengths and weaknesses. And they slowly hatch a plan to escape and to kill the vile fat nazi warden and his henchmen and then head out to destroy a WWII nazi chemical lab. But not before they being total chaos and mayhem with their unique fighting skills, and all looking totally beautiful within the prison walls..
Control of tone is essential to any film but this is kicked into the wind and blasted to pieces, the film had no formula and that’s what makes it a marvellous and highly entertaining bonkers exploitations flick. The final act is highlighted with a soundtrack from Ennio Morricone which makes this a hash up of the Dirty Dozen (1967) / Magnificent 7 (1960)a la psychotronic style. Obviously there is a stunning finale and the scene which sees a spy outed is straight out of an X-Japan music video. All round fun and frolics that’s hard to ever forget.
R – Pink Force Commando (1982), Love Massacre (1981),
L – A-Z of Taiwan Cinema Vol 1.
A – Pink Cinema
Vs – Pink Force Commando Vs Golden Queen Commando.