Sunday, 27 July 2014

Welcome to the Punch (2013)

A so, so British crime thriller that tries to follow the American trend for gloss, lots of glass and neon rather than the usual UK gritty backstreet littered with broken glass.

This seems to work pretty well with nice lighting and some excellent camera work including some stunning aerial shots of London at night. The rest of the film was a little mundane with a simple, easy to follow plot with no twists and no character development.

Mark Strong is top-notch as usual and Johnny Harris gives a great performance with little to work with. Andrea Riseborough on the other-hand was totally wasted; a great actor relegated to secobnd fiddle to a lackluster James McAvoy.

Could have been great but comes out just ok'ish.

Original letterboxd review

Step Up (2006)

Please don't tell anyone but I quite liked this. Shhh....

Original letterboxd review

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (2012)

Stacy Peralta's followup to Dogtown and the Z Boys. I love the first doc so much as it reminds me of when I started skating back in the 70's when we made our own boards from planks and Flyer rollerskates.

This doc, whilst really good, didn't seem to have the focus of the first film. It did capture the personalities in the Bones Brigade skate team though with Rodney Mullen and Lance Mountain shining though. Alva makes a few brief and welcome appearances and unfortunately so does Fred Durst. Covers the movement from skateparks to half-pipes and the new tricks this enabled.

If you're into skating and was either there in the 80's or wanted to know what the superstar skate scene was like back then you really shouldn't miss this.

Original letterboxd review

Dark Skies (2013)

Paranormal Activity crossed with Fire in the Sky. Filled with cheap jump scares and irritating characters.

Original letterboxd review

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Indie Game: The Movie (2012)

A great doc that focuses on three independent video games: Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez. A shame it didn't give a little background on indie games but keep watching for some demo game play of several games in the credits.

Original letterboxd review

Friday, 25 July 2014

Red Dawn (2012)

Whatever happened to kids walking down rail tracks in search of a dead body. I've a feeling that this is how Michael Bay would direct a coming of age film. Jingoistic crap, but sort of fun.

Suck my fat one, you cheap dime store hood!

Original letterboxd review

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Carrie (2013)

The remake of de Palma's Carrie (1976) is pretty much the same as the original but now with added "Social Media" and, to be honest, is a pretty soulless affair.

They really missed an opportunity to make a film about the pressures that young girls are still under; to have the perfect figure, to wear the pretty dresses and make-up, to submit to the male in a relationship, to follow the pack. This could have been "the" film for the freaks, the misfits and everyone else that doesn't conform. Instead we get the same old story; you will go to the prom, the dashing young prince will rescue you and if you do anything else you will be called a freak and be shunned by your peers.

The addition of the video the "bucket of blood" scene was unnecessary and the reaction of the audience was hard to believe - do you really believe that an entire room full of teenagers would laugh at something like that? Stop tarring an entire generation with the same brush!

And to everyone who says that Chloe Grace Moretz is too pretty to be Carrie - what, pretty girls can't be abused? Plus what does that say about the beautiful and talented Sissy Spacek.

And finally; thank god they didn't try and recreate de Palma's wonderful split-screen prom finale.

As Generation Y would say... meh.

Original letterboxd review

Monday, 21 July 2014

Life of Brian (1979)

Either this or Young Frankenstein is the funniest film ever made - I tend to change my mind depending on which I've seen again most recently. Crap review, great film.

Original letterboxd review

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Either this or Monty Python's Holy Grail is the funniest film ever made - I tend to change my mind depending on which I've seen again most recently. Crap review, great film.

Original letterboxd review

Natas: The Reflection (1986)

An hour and a half for a bunch of kids to work out that Natas backwards is satan. This film sucks, not in a good "Plan 9" sort of way, but in a set your own body on fire and wait for someone to our a bucket full of rancid shit over your head to put out the cleansing flames sort of way.

Original letterboxd review

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Fuck Peter Jackson! This is what we want! Is it as good as the '68 film - no, no NO! Is it as good as it closest relation (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes) - no, it's better. Far too many exclamation points! Out!

Original letterboxd review

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Toolbox Murders (1978)

Pretty poor excuse for a slasher/serial killer movie. Chock full of logical errors, poor plotting, dreadful acting, dull effects and unnecessary and looooong exposition. I'm giving the film 1.5 and an extra 1/2 star due the entertainment value of the various cock-ups throughout the movie. Maybe, one day, I'll list them all.

Original letterboxd review

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Shocking, brutal and depressing. This film juxtaposes cruelty from "civilized" journalists with that of a primitive Amazonian tribe and asks us which is worse? We are constantly asked "do you really want to watch this". Are we no worse than the sensation seeking film crew?

Does the film need animal cruelty and sexual violence? I'm still in two minds. Will I watch it again? Yes. but not for a while.

The ultimate found footage film.

Original letterboxd review

Black Sabbath (1963)

Arrow Blu-Ray. A three story anthology from Italian maestro Mario Bava.

Superb direction, editing and photography. An absolutely stunning use of colour that would influence Dario Argento's films. Boris Karlof hamming it up. What more could you want from a Sunday evening movie?

If you get the chance make sure you watch the "Twice the Fear" comparison between the Italian and US versions of the film. Very interesting.

Amendment; "The Telephone" makes an interesting giallo short.

Original letterboxd review

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Maniac (1980)

A brilliant film that is way above the usual slasher movies of the period.

This review is for the Blue Underground Blu-Ray, uncut version.

Spinell's performance is exceptional as Frank Zito, a man who kills women and scalps them. But why? Slowly we are introduced to Frank and, via implication and non-intrusive voice-over flashbacks learn of his background and motives. Is he evil? A born psychopath? Can we feel sympathy for a killer?

The effects are possibly Savini's greatest work. There is no no humour just quick, nasty and ever so bloody death scenes. Spinell's whimpering and growling remind you of a dog that has been kicked and beaten it's whole life. The blu-ray quality was a little off. The out of focus camera and grimy film-stock I can cope with but it seemed over soft in places.

Far too good to be labelled a mere exploitation or slasher flick.

“I’m just going to keep you so you can’t go away ever again”

Original letterboxd review

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971)

Great folk witchcraft story that will sit on your shelves happily between Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man. Stunning photography, great music and believable dialogue. Much darker than the usual fayre of the time. Even the effects were pretty spot on - the skin slicing being particularly gruesome.

The film was only let down in two places: the cut between the young man hiding in an attic and then suddenly being bound and in the woods was very direct and confusing for a few seconds. Secondly, the reveal of the devil was a little disappointing.

A classic British horror film that doesn't take the easy route of cheesy campness that so many films of the time did.

Original letterboxd review

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Strangers (2008)

Home invasion flick. It was okay but there's so much better out there: Cherry Tree Lane, Ils, You're Next. Not really anything to dislike but nothing new either.

Original letterboxd review

The Punk Singer (2013)

A terrific, honest and lively biog of Kathleen Hanna, singer of Bikini Kill, feminist activist and all round good-egg. Made with Kathleen's full cooperation and it shows; unlike so many biogs this one is choc full of current interviews with the subject about many subjects including her bands, feminism, the riot grrrl movement and, at the weepiest part, Lime disease and how Kathleen coped with not performing for many years.

Other contributors include: Joan Jett, Carrie Brownstein, Adam Horovitz, Kim Gordon, Kathi Wilcox and Jennifer Baumgardner.

I sat down and watched this with my 13 year old daughter and she loved it. I think it's important for girls to have great positive role models and who, in this age when girls look up to women like Beyonce and Rihanna, could be better than Kathleen Hanna?

Girls to the front!

Original letterboxd review

Monday, 7 July 2014

Evilspeak (1981)

The uncut extended Anchor Bay version. Note that the "extended" pieces of film are in a noticeably worse condition than the rest of the film and that they do not contain any extra gore, blood or sex.

Really enjoyed this movie. It's really a 70's devil worship film crossed with an 80's computer goes wrong film. A great omen-a-like soundtrack and pretty terrific effects (even the computer graphics/animations) for a cheap 80's movie. Go on, give it a watch.

Original letterboxd review

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Island of Death (1976)

I'm not really sure what I've just watched. Once of the most bizarre on the UK video nasty list. Most of the gore is off screen with very little blood but the rest? Sex, lots of sex, gay, lesbian, older/younger, golden showers, incest and bestiality! An insane film with some excellent photography and editing. The soundtrack is pretty decent and the acting is fine, apart from the director's cameo which is truly awful. Worth watching at least once just so you can say you have :)

Original letterboxd review

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

An absolutely beautiful film with some of the finest cinematography you've ever seen. This is how you make a three hour film without fucking robots!

Original letterboxd review

Thursday, 3 July 2014