Jiu long bu bai (original title)
Director: Fruit Chan
Starring: Jin Zhang, Anderson Silva, Kevin Cheng, Suet Lam .Hong Kong. 1h 25m
The UFC is an absolute goldmine not only does it make super fighters, but it and generally if you can nurture a dynamic Hong Kong action movie with at least one big name you’ll take in cash.. But blend the two poorly and you’ll end up with this disjointed mess, that feels as if the producers knew what they wanted to do, but wrote any bull in to make it happen.
What starts as a really engaging crime thriller following a determined gun happy cop, Officer Kowloon (Jin) who opens the film boiling in a cooking pot, in a seedy backstory restaurant, Lam Suet taunting him as the two compare Dragon tattoos, fortunate that our hero has a better back story featuring an adorable (brightly coloured cgi) Dragon that he met as a child…after the bonding he shoots Lams hand off in a function room and gets suspended, this becomes a trend with Kowloon even while investigating a spate of murders targeting female police officers he manages to fudge the operation, not only letting the only suspect go, but losing his fiancee\fellow officer. Continue reading The Invincible Dragon (2019)
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Starring:Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison. .USA. 2h 20m
Back in 2011 the warrior was quite a breakthrough movie for the time. While it remains an emotive glance into the lives behind the men in the ring, as does for MMA what the Wrestler did for.. wrestling I do wonder what the movie would be like if made today after the UFC explosion of talent and headline grabbing antics. Continue reading The Warrior (2011)
Director: Ugezu J Ugezu
Starring:Frederick Leonard, Queeneth Hilbert, Tana Egbo Adelana, Chinyere Wilfred, Ugo Spunky Obioha. .Nigeria. 4h +
Frederick Leonard stars as a man who has it all, and this puts him in the front running and he’s hit on daily by many beautiful women, but he’s an honourable man and only has eyes for his darling wife Cindy (Adelana).
His overbearing mother is intent on ending his marriage and for him to marry a girl that she chooses, seeing the current union as going against her will and therefore null and void, she spends her waking hours, actively running schemes behind their backs to shroud their marriage in doubt and fear, and doesn’t think twice about telling Cindy that she would like to see her dead… charming! Continue reading My Wife My Life (2020)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Anna Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandrro Nivola .USA. 1h 35m
Writer : You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames.
Sometimes simple is best, and there’s not a lot of pfaffing around in Lynne Ramsay’s hypnotic and sometimes deeply savage drama that follows a few days in the life of a volatile man who lives to protect women. The Scottish director returns from her disturbing cult classic from 2011 We Need to Talk About Kevin, with an equally challenging movie. Ramsay’s ability to tell a straightforward story with incredible backstories, undercurrents that twist and turn really enforces her powerful approach to storytelling.
Joe (Phoenix) is deadly to everyone around them and possibly himself, by day he spends his time comforting his charming mother (Roberts) and being a wonderful upbeat son, there are signs of something more disturbing lingering somewhere behind his cold stare he suffocates himself for kicks when alone in his room and plays with knives in a Damoclesian fashion. When night falls, Joe spends this time smacking bad guys with hammers and rescuing damsels in distress. After picking up a job from a desperate senator, searching for his daughter (Nivola) Joe finds himself tangled in a web of conspiracy and danger, while things spin wildly out of control he might just get his wish for death fulfilled. Continue reading You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Director: Dan Bush
Starring: April Billingsley, Kelsey Scott, Conal Bryne, Rhoda Griffis .USA. 1h 41m
An interesting idea with lots of character twists and turns in Dan Bush’s courageous drama that taps into the bond of blood of a particular family with uncanny powers. For the most part what seems to be a challenging time for one woman in a mental institution eventually creeps into a much more powerful action drama that has all the making of a really decent sci-fi fantasy drama but doesn’t come across with as much power as it might have if handled differently, but it did keep me glued while it transformed into something deeper and more meaningful, maybe there will be a chance to break this story open in a sequel? Continue reading The Dark Red (2018)
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Starring: Rupertt Evans, Anatonia Campbell-Hughes, Hannah Hoekstra, Kelly Bryne. UK. 1h 32m
A paranoid love story inflames within the confined walls of a haunted house, but not just any ghost is lingering in the shadows, it’s the ghost of a violent killer. This is enough to make any film spooky but Canal just end up dragging out the age a repetition of the same old suspense scenes and delivers little else. Written like a gothic novel and presented as a bleak drama with added Ring (1998) style ghostly scares, and The Red Shoes (2005) style red herrings, the film attempts to blur the lines between the supernatural and a genuine psychological thriller.. Shrouded in the historical mysteries of the house and deluded paranoia, the film packs a punch (be it a weak love tap) on two sides of the horror spectrum simultaneously, this can easily be mistaken as a confused Continue reading The Canal (2014)
Director: Irvin Berwick.
Writer: John Buckley. Starring. Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson, John Harmon, Randy Echols, Dorothy Bennett, Mary Ellen Christie USA. 1h 27m.
This is a strange concoction between Hitchcock’s Psycho and any generic sleazy 1970’s exploitation with hints of real life serial killer shenanigans, what a perfection mix of madness and murder! Most of the movie is as obsessed with Howard (Gribbin) as he is with his prey. For the most part Howard us a pleasant clean cut young man, he’s polite and dedicated to his mother and his job, which involves driving around picking up and dropping off people’s laundry but he’s a good Samaritan and will pick up lonely single women who are trying to hitch a ride. Depending on their reasoning for hitching, they might make it to their destination or they become the next victim of a one of his violent sexual tension and murderous rage. Continue reading Hitch Hike To Hell (1977)
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: Matthew Holness
Starring: Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong .UK. 1h 25m
There’s a place that some dark artist like to go, it often involves gloomy and eerie aspects from a fuzzy past that are easily recognised but often pushed back to those obscure corners of our minds, like a suppressed memory Possum manages from slither its way out of the dank interior of an old English home, and hides itself in the brown bag carried by a disgraced children’s puppeteer as he embarks on a journey to confront his stepfather and his own inner demons.
The film opens with Philip (Harris) wandering aimlessly around a remote area of Norfolk with his bag clutched tightly to him, after some atmospheric art house scenes backed by a heavy Radiophonic Workshop soundtrack. He spys a few teenage boys on a train he tries to talk with one but he runs away from the creepy man, Philip returns to his home, a dank rundown home with a disheveled garden, here he opens his bag and chucks the contents into a metal barrel with the promise to destroy the leggy creature, eventually we are made aware of Maurice (Armstrong), a sly and controlling character who seems to want to encourage Philip to keep his puppet, while constantly keeps asking if he’s going to burn it, which Philip agrees to but then never does. Little by little Maurice exerts control over Philip and suggests different places for him to visit, while the puppet is slowly revealed and each time the effects on Philip get more disastrous. As a news story about a missing school boy flourish in the news, questions are raised over Philips possible involvement. Continue reading Possum (2018)