Friday, 24 March 2017

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Steve G was right, this was really good!

Letterboxd Review

Star Wars (1977)

I was once talking to a colleague and made the mistake of saying that I didn't think that Star Wars was the greatest film ever made and that George Lucas was an overrated director. After spluttering for a good 20 seconds he responded "that's because you weren't the right age when it came out". In 1977, I was ten and queued around the block to see Star Wars when it was first released and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also read all the books, including "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" and watched the first two sequels at the cinema when they came out. I'm pretty sure that I was exactly the right age. My colleague, on the other hand wasn't even born in 1977!

Funnily, I'm pretty sure I enjoyed Battlestar Galactica even more because that was in Sensurround and it made your seats shake! I guess, that's kids for you :)

Important, influential and fun but not the greatest film ever made. George Lucas is still overrated and a cynical dick to boot.

Letterboxd Review

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Painting of Horror (1994)

An ultra-low-budget SOV short, less than 20 minutes long.

In a grotty apartment, a woman dresses in sexy undies. The same woman starts to remove sexy undies for a customer. Another woman, in a completely different location, dances on a table. The first woman takes a shower. I think I can see a theme here! A box is delivered. First woman lets her towel fall. Back to the second woman dancing on a table, this time with a fat man watching. First woman gets dressed again. There's definately a theme here! Well, that's well over half the film gone and all I've seen is a box and someone getting dressed and undressed a few times. More table dancing. Another woman enters the apartment. Now, either woman two is wearing a wig or this is woman three... I'm pretty sure this is woman two. They discuss the box, open it and pull out a painting. At last! They then move another painting to a different position, discuss which way to hang the new painting and at long last hang the fucking thing. Five minutes to go. Woman one leaves the apartment to take over the job of dancing but this time not on a table but on a very small stage. Woman two (remember, she's in the apartment) is strangely drawn towards the painting... well she stares blankly at it and gets up off the sofa. The painting bulges towards her hand in a cheap Videodrome, hand poking from the other-side sort of way. A rubber dick pops out of a gash in the painting which then grows, grabs the woman around the neck and pulls her into the painting! The painting burps. Two minutes to go. Woman one is now dancing behind a parasol while stripping. The film then just ends. I'm sure something must have been cut at the end but it was probably more dancing, dressing or undressing.

If you think that because of the multiple dressing/undressing and table dancing, that this is a sexy little short, you couldn't be more wrong. It's not. At all. Nope.

If you really want to watch it you can find it here.

Letterboxd Review

Monday, 20 March 2017

Fatal Deviation (1998)

A low-budget, Irish, martial arts movie?

If the best actor on set is Mikey from Boyzone then you really need to visit the local Drama groups and rustle up a few performers other than multiple Catweazle lookalikes and thick-eared farmer's boys.

Still, it's really not as bad as it sounds. It has structure, the shots are relatively well chosen, all the martial-arts and action tropes are present and correct, from training montages (including Van Damme's trademark splits), tournament fighting, gun-play, bar fights, car and bike chases, one-liners. It's a lot more professional and effective than Samurai Cop!

The film ends with a series of Jackie Chan style out-takes.

Good fun and nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Letterboxd Review

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000)

A complex story of politics, religion, mysticism, treachery, revenge, prophesy and revolution. Sci-Fi Fantasy on a grand scale.

Dune is my second favourite sci-fi book after Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama" but while this miniseries sticks closer to the source than David Lynch's film, the production values don't do it any favours, with poor effects and a second-rate cast.

The performances are all over the place; P.H. Moriarty as Gurney Halleck is terrible, Baron Harkonnen, Feyd and the Beast do not instil any sort of terror. Paul is played pretty well by Alec Newman, starting off as an arrogant, petulant child before becoming the devotion inspiring Mahdi. It's been a few years since I read the book but I'm sure some of the dialogue was "modernised" and didn't seem to have the elegant and archaic language of the book.

Effects-wise: the Shai-Hulud were okay and you got a good feel for their huge scale but it's best to ignore the shoddy green-screen work. The ornithopters didn't look anything like what I thought an ornithopter should look like.

The costumes and set-dressing, although cheap-looking, had that ostentatious Machiavellian/Borgia/Renaissance/Age of Enlightenment feel that runs throughout the book. I loved the fascistic Samurai look that they gave the Harkonnen and disguised Sardaukar shock troops. However, the stillsuits were baggy and pretty poor (David Lynch made a much better go of them). The Spacing Guild members with their pointy hats seem influenced by the cover of the old paperback I read as a child.

The Petra styled desert sietches with stone furniture and hanging plants contrast well with the ostentatious Imperial and Harkonnen sets. The Islamic and Christian references from the book are present and correct and Paul has a real T.E. Lawrence feel to him.

Would I recommend it to someone new to Dune? Although this adaptation is far less confusing than Lynch's Dune I'd still say you should read the book first as the story is complex (just look at how many names and titles Paul has: Paul Atreides, Muad'Dib, Usul, Mahdi, Kwisatz Haderach) and the miniseries is very long (4:39 hours).

Note that the Australian Umbrella blu-ray has hard-coded French subtitles for the infrequent Bene Gesserit dialogue. English subs do not exist for these brief sections :(

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable, if flawed, miniseries.

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Letterboxd Review

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Accountant (2016)

Well, they shoehorned as many traits as possible and it does nothing to dispel the idea that Aspies are emotionless, would-be killers (even if in a good cause) but it was still good fun, if a little flabby in the second act.

Still, as they say, if you've met one killer with autism, you've met one killer with autism :)

Letterboxd Review

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

I'm a Lazy Bugger

I've been extremely slack about logging my reviews here and that must stop! I have had a few issues with executive functioning and the review process reducing my enjoyment of films and as a result my film watching activities were almost brought to a halt (I need to take notes and as I cannot write and watch at the same time, a 90 minute film can end up taking 3 hours to watch). I did start writing again but my reviews were shorter. I debated whether to bother posting them here as well as on Letterboxd but in the end I relented and will slowly start to copy them across.

So, most future reviews will be on the short side, although I may still splurge and write a longer piece if I feel the need.

UPDATE: All of my Letterboxd reviews are now on Tormented Imp!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Doctor Strange (2016)

Benedict is rather good as a wizardly ego-maniacal otter surgeon with a god complex.

Letterboxd Review

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Demonic (2015)

Yet another horror-lite featuring annoying young shits in a haunted house told with flashbacks and found-footage. You're left counting the minutes until their inevitable and not very scary demise. The good stuff: the police parts with Detective Frank Grillo and Maria Bello as a Doctor of Stuff. The worst: Bryan the arsehole and that bloody psychic girl.

Letterboxd Review