Director: Michael Feifer
Starring: Corin Nemec, Andrew Divoff, Tony Todd, Debbie Rochon .USA. 1h 32m
This was Michael Feifer’s first, bold attempt to retell the bloody history of a serial killer. Chicago Massacre follows the childhood and killing spree of one of America’s most deranged individuals, Richard Speck. This debut saw Feifer pair up with Corin Nemec, playing the lead role of a prominent killer. A year later the two would reunite for Bundy: A Legacy of Evil (2008). This could have continued with Nemec playing Gacy, Gein and even Kemper if the duo had the desire but it seems this is all we’re getting folks!?
It feels that the movie was conceived with a lot of promise, a couple of well known names were thrown into the mix, Todd and Divoff , who seemed eager to help as law enforcement officers trying to understand and track a man who single handedly slaughtered a number of women in july 1966, but their acting expertise is often overshadowed by the need to show Speck not killing people, they could have been the B Movie versions of Somerset and Mills, however the focus is on Speck and not the people tracking him, although their scenes are quite special, but always seem like some kind of pensive Film Noir.
Continue reading Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck (2007)
Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Starring: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Ely Pouget, Deborah Adair,John Toles-Bey. Spain/USA. 1h 19m
If you’re a fan of underwater horrors such as The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six etc, then this film will feel really familiar to you. Often seen as a BMovie version of the movies mentioned above due to its lack of originality in the plot, the film is often praised for providing a decent entertaining sucker punch for it’s limitations. Considering that 1989 was the sterling breakthrough for deep sea thrillers involving a host of alien and mutant creatures, it’s a strange step backwards to watch Endless Descent ride on their back 2 years later, but for all its flaws it’s incredibly watchable.
Continue reading The Rift – Endless Descent (1990)
Director: Richard Billingham
Starring: Patrick Romer, Richard Ashton, Justin Salinger, Ella Smith, Tony Way. UK. 1h 50m
This strangely hypnotic movie doesn’t really have a beginning, middle and an end, per say but there’s a strange introduction to characters, and they are very unusual creatures. Once you get over the initial shock of their squalid lives and attitudes the movie kinda meanders until a pivotal moment where everyone’s life changes, most notable the teller of the story, Richard, and his little brother Jason, who at one point would rather sleep rough than go home, but what would drive a child to do this?
Continue reading Ray and Liz (2018)
Director: Jim Klock
Starring:Jim Klock, Mike Capozzi, Chad Ridgely .USA. 1h 26m
This is quite a tidy moody piece of theology noir, as two investigators embark on a spiritual journey while searching for a missing police officer.
After watching the officer pass through a door while answering an emergency call he’s never seen again and his distraught wife asks for additional help to find him. Jim and Mike answer the call, each at different ends of the spectrum of religious belief, although Mike, while pious, had the remarkable skill of being highly psychic, and is reluctant to take this particular job but goes along to help his bestest bud. Continue reading Red Letters (2019)
Director: Antonia Bird
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Guy Pearce, David Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Jeremy Davies, Stephen Spinella, Nail McDonough, John Spencer .USA/UK/Czech Republic. 1h 41m
Through all the beautiful landscape shots and bloody battles, Ravenous is a poetic journey of one man dealing with the mental conflicts of honour and cowardice set in a allurgin remote mountain location and having to deal with one of the most ferocious Algonquian legends. The film raises tough questions on how heroes are perceived and the effects on the individual, what if a moment of bravery is pure accidental luck, how can a man continue to live the lie before he’s found out?
After their first two initial weeks of filming the original director Mick McCluskey was sacked and leading cast member Robert Carlyle called on an old friend Antonia Bird to complete this prestigious project. Antonia had previously directed him in a brilliant English council estate mobster film called Face (1997) where Carlyle stars alongside Ray Winstone as an average Joe socialist who forms a gang to rob a bank, the movie still has a strong cult following and is highly rated along other Brit classics such as the highly acclaimed Nil By Mouth (1997) and really cemented burden Carlyle in the memories of dedicated fans. Continue reading Ravenous (1999)
Director: Vlad Yudin .
Starring. Rich Piana. USA. 1h 38m.
The world of body building has it’s heroes and villains, those huge names that belong to huge men that inspire others to build better bodies, and then there are the bad guys who cheat and disgrace the sport. Rich Piana rose to fame as sitting neatly between the two, he openly admits to using steroids to get to his impressive size, but advocates that there is a safe and heathy way to do this, however this is costly and ultimately he paid the price for this way of life, but Rich wasn’t just about living the physique, he was, or arguably still is a message about striving for the best within.
Continue reading Rich Piana Chronicles (2018)
Director: Rob Bowman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig, Ned Dennehy, Izabella Scorupco .UK. 1h 41m
I fell out of love with fantasy movies for the surreal back in my teens, I still enjoy the genre but I live for the way out psychotropic pop surreal that goes that one step beyond. The fantasy genre is riddled with stories of dragons, maidens, cruel giant monsters, laws and riddles but going back to the standard western fantasy realm only gets a film canned as a tiresome Lord of the Rings rip off, so many attempts to bring Fantasy into the modern realm have challenged many a cast and crew, this silly bu entertaining project from X Files director Rob Bowman is interesting but slightly cringe.
After years of working the TV circuit Bowman branched out into a lengthy feature which resurrects a modern tale of dragons and legendary heroes, blending castles and helicopters, a tale of ultimate bravery and sacrifice unfolds. Continue reading Reign of Fire (2002)
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: Noel Marshall.
Starring.Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall, Melanie Grifith, Zakes Mokae, Will Hitchins, Jerry Marshall. USA. 1h 42m.
I have so many issues with this “movie” and I can’t say it’s something I settle down with and watch with glee, I fully understand the allure in making something like this, anyone who lives with big cats will appreciate the love and danger of any situation, Tippi Hedren herself did live with many large cats in her home and for her this was a “natural” environment, but even she admitted in interviews after the movie that what started out as a great idea eventually became the worst decision of her life after watching the end result.
The most dangerous movie ever made.
Continue reading Roar (1981)
Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Stefano Cassetti .France/Italy/Switzerland. 2h 4m
Based on: Je te tue. Histoire vraie de Roberto Succo assassin sans raison
by Pascale Froment.
What exactly is a criminal? Someone who goes above and beyond to get what he wants with little regard to anyone else or the law, or a totally feckless loser who just stumbles from mess to another? Cedric Kahn manages to paint a detailed picture of a man who crosses both of these descriptions and still manages to be both comical and highly dangerous in his escapades.
In this brilliant, slightly polished adaptation of real events, a bizarre criminal anti hero is etched out as Cassetti masquerades as Roberto Succo, a mixture of Jesse James, Hitler and Norman Bates, he argues about art, nationality and politics along the way. Mr Succo, esconded form prison five years after being convicted for the murder of his parents in 1981. His death defying run of fun saw him elude police in three different countries for 2 years, spending his time woeing girls, sightseeing, killing, raping, burgling and fucking up the odd bank job. The movie is generally detested by the French police for its alleged glamorisation of a real-life killer, but it’s a testament to the accuracies within the film and highlights how useless they were to allow him to carry on for so long. Continue reading Roberto Succo (2001)