Whilst attending the scene of a crime two paramedics have an encounter with a drug that has bizarre, otherworldly effects : Moorehead and Benson’s latest slice of cinematic originality exceeded all my expectations and like Resolution, Spring and The Endless their newbie SYNCHRONIC blew my mind : like their previous endeavours this film has you talking, it’s a real humdinger of a story that involves time travel, it’s consequences and the bond between two friends that is tested to the max : Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan give strong performances as Steve & Dennis respectively who are not only best friends but are also working colleagues that stumble upon this drug, Steve has recently been told by a doctor that he has a brain aneurysm which will likely end his life sooner rather than later so decides to take one of these pills to see what happens… : their’s some terrific work behind the camera with New Orleans painted with a style and haunting beauty that it deserves, I also love the chemistry between the two leads, whether it be knocking a golf ball around or walking through those deserted streets the heart to heart moments involving Steve and Dennis are great in a bromantic kinda way, I love Hawkings and wasn’t too happy at what happened there and I love the mysterious X-Files tension that Ramiz Monsef’s character Kermani gives to the movie, that scene in Steve’s house is some crazy shit right there : Overall Synchronic is a movie that will no doubt divide, my view is that it’s originality, tension driven storytelling is someting that all movie fan would like more of, it’s a film that’s full of intrigue, carries a dynamic score, good performances and a fitting location to boot : THUMBS UP from this mad hatter ★★★★½
A teenager uses her wits & survival skills to fight for her life, and help those around her against a group of terrorists : Don’t you just love it when you discover a new film that you haven’t seen any promotional material for, not even a poster or trailer? Kyle Rankin’s RUN HIDE FIGHT really got under my skin, from it’s creepy protagonist and alarming relativity to the film’s dark and twisted narrative, realising that this could happen to you or your loved ones really gave this Die Hard-esque action movie one helluva kick : I love the way Rankin sets the tone early with Isabel May’s Zoe going all Nic Cage on a deer whilst out on a hunt with her dad played by Thomas Jane, the film’s backstory is given an early gut punch too as we get to discover more about Zoe’s state of mind and those touching scenes that involve Radha Mitchell who plays Zoe’s mum are quite sublime : loved the small roles from some of my favorite actors of yester-year including Barbara Crampton who plays Mrs Crawford and Treat Williams turn as the Sheriff, Rankin’s story is tight and ramped with tension and hats off to debutant Olly Sholotan who’s superb in an eye catching turn as Zoe’s bestie Lewis : overall Run Hide Fight is a gritty, disturbing and violent action movie that tackles the ugly reality of domestic terrorism in an ever so slighlty unrealistic movie sort of way : EXCELLENT ★★★★
A young woman seeks vengeance against those who committed an unforgiveable act to a friend from her past : Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut Promising Young Woman is one of the most relevant, impactful and though provoking movies that I’ve ever seen : WOW the colors, the quaint coffee shop and the Britney Spears vibe HOOKED ME and it’s darkness and originality and that devistating final act that really caught me offguard, that left me fighting for breath, cold and SPEECHLESS : with iconic roles in her rear view mirror such as Irene in Drive, Daisy in The Great Gatsby and Cathy in Never Let Me Go Carey Mulligan never ceases to amaze me with her ability to make a character her own and in Cassandra she teases, she smiles and ultimately destroys you with her actions and although the film has some flashes of humor and lighter romantic moments such as Mulligan & Burnham singing along to Paris Hilton’s Stars are Blind in the convience store it’s the way the film delivers it’s key moments such as when Cassandra visits Dean Walker at the school, a squeaky bum scene delivered with the impact of a freight train, I was like WTF hands to the mouth whispering to myself she’s not has she? and that cafe scene with Madison and what follows, Alison Brie is growing into quite the actress and what follows is truly terrifying yet rewarding in a bizzare fuck you sort of way : LOVE Jennifer Coolidge & Clancy Brown who are PERFECT as the parents and Laverne Cox is fabulous as Cassandra’s friend and boss at the coffee shop but essentially Promising Young Woman is all about Carey Mulligan and it’s WICKIDLY good story about ACCOUNTABILITY ★★★★½
Although the great Burt Lancaster has been dead for over twenty six years his movies hold a special place in my heart as one of the true film legends of the screen, an iconic presence, cheeky smile and steely eyes that could melt or pierce a heart at a thousand paces : starting his career back in the late 40s in Robert Siodmak’s fantastic noir film The Killers Burt Lancaster went on to have a glorious movie career acting with Hollywood legends such as Kirk Douglas, Gary Cooper, Deborah Kerr, Lee Marvin, Claudia Cardinale and so many more : my absolute top four is a small sample in the excellence of his work and in truth I could name so many more movie gems that I consider bonafide classics, films such as The Professionals with the great Lee Marvin, 1968’s The Swimmer, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral alongside Kirk Douglas, Sweet Smell of Success with Tony Curtis, Sydney Pollack’s wonderful Castle Keep and John Frankenheimer’s The Train : my absolute favorite and it’s a Burt Lancaster film I’ve watched more than any other is 1960’s Elmer Gantry directed by Richard Brooks, the film went on to win 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Burt taking home the Best Actor that year : so if you’ve not seen many of his movies and fancy a trip back to time when acting legends were truly that then take a peek at some of the films mentioned : Hope you enjoyed another of my Absolute Top Four till the next one….
A couple get stranded in an abandoned 6-meter pool alongside a deadly Crocodile that has recently escaped captivity : I love watching world cinema and recently discovered the work of Thailand’s Ping Lumpraploeng an excellent writer/director who’s latest work THE POOL captured my imagination, so without further ado here’s my movie thoughts : Theeradej Wongpuapan is one of Thailand’s most popular stars and his performance in The Pool is one of the main reasons the movie is so damn watchable, from it’s opening shots of Wongpuapan’s character Day slowly opening his eye’s to find himself in the depths of the drained pool and as he tries to fend of the jaws of this gnarly crocodile with a bucket I knew instantly this would be my movie jam : what I really look for in a good survival movie is whether it’s filmmaker can bring something new to the party and keep the film from being the same old…. well Lumpraploeng’s The Pool is certainly not stale, it’s inventive and for it’s 90mins runtime your truly on the edge of your seat : I love the way the film shifts it’s dynamic and goes from Day’s crocodile attack at the beginning to “6 Days Earlier…” it’s quite brilliant as we not only discover how Day and Koi find themselves at the bottom of this abandoned pool but we also get the build up to the events of those opening survival shots : along with it’s cast and location another triumph in creating the film’s high anxiety levels is the film’s sound, of course the growl of the Crocodile or the crack of thunder is effective and nerve jangling but it’s the atmospheric score that really does ramp up the tension levels : some of my favorite moments in the movie include that scene with an injured Day crawling through the underground drain tunnels and manages to get through an adjacent manhole… also that moment when Day tries to retrieve the tape from the open jaws of the basking Crocodile is nail biting… in these type of movies you can usually call a few things before they happen but I have to say that what happens to Lucky the dog absolutley floored me, it came right out of the blue and what followed straight after was insane and tough to swallow : so if you love your survival movies then look no further than Ping Lumpraploeng excellent THE POOL it’s SUPERB and highly ENTERTAINING ★★★★
Two former baseball players find themselves alone, fighting for survival against zombies in an apocayptic world : As you can probably guess from my website and social media nothing pleases me more than watching a movie made with a low budget that are usually refreshingly original and from filmmakers I’ve never heard of before, so when a friend first recommended I check out 2012’s THE BATTERY by Jeremy Gardner I had to take a peek : apparently the movie only cost $6,000 to make with Gardner and a bunch of friends helping to finance and bring it to the screen : The Battery follows a rather simple yet engrossing storyline centered around two ordinary guys Ben & Mickey who find themselves thrown together in a world ravaged by the undead, watching this strained relationship take a road trip of sorts across Connecticut is all kind of messed up fun with Ben seeming quite content moving from place to place killing any zombies that cross their path (and seeming to enjoy it too) and Mickey a virgin in the kill department (frankly a bit of a moaning pussy) just shutting himself off from reality by listening to music through his headphones, which slowly but surely annoys Ben to the point of some rather delightful WTF senario’s including the moment he locks Mickey in his bedroom with a zombie to hilarious consequences and the time Ben steals Mickey’s headphones is so out there, other scenes that tickled me sideways for different reasons include Mickey’s masturbation scene that had me in hysterics (don’t judge until you’ve seen it) and Ben singing Anthem For The Already Defeated whilst under the influence which I didn’t see coming but was rather superb : overall The Battery really is one for the ages, a creatively fun take on the genre that I can highly recommend with Gardner’s humor, acting chops & musical score really adding so much to it’s memorability ★★★★
A devout community suffering from a plague is torn apart by a beautiful young woman and the forces of witchcraft and possession : I do love me a good folk horror movie, with the likes of Witchfinder General, Blood on Satans Claw, The Witch amongst my favorites in the genre, films that oooze the occult, darkly bewitched by supernatural elements, carry the stench of an evil force fighting against or part of a religious group and there usually set in some sort of rural farm community or isolated island in the middle of nowehere : Thomas Robert Lee’s The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is another such movie, one that evokes a slow burn foreboding with flashes of unsettling scenes alongside it’s dark and eerie setting : the story in the movie is fine but does get a bit messy in parts and some it’s characters are a little underused but nevertheless there’s a trio of very strong performances from the likes of Catherine Walker who plays Agatha, Catherine was excellent in Liam Gavin’s very scary horror movie A Dark Song, Jared Abrahamson who was last seen in American Animals and Jessica Reynolds in her movie debut gives a haunting painful display as Audrey : I really felt for poor Bridget in the movie played by the wonderful Hannah Emily Anderson, she first looses her child and then this hideous curse is placed upon her to devistating effect, the tooth scene, shaving blade and that moment with the sheep is very upsetting : the idea of transporting Audrey in a box as not to be seen by the towns folk was terrific, as was the idea of Agatha’s land only producing crops, I also found the film’s sets and lighting superbly effective throughout : so overall if your a fan of these slow building, folk horror movies then The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw will thrill and chill your bones : LOVED IT ★★★★
A woman and two men find themselves on the run in the Irish countryside after a heist gone wrong : OK in this incredibly pc world of ours if your offended by two young English actors in Olivia Cooke and Ben Hardy playing the lead roles in an Irish dark humored heist movie then get over it, Barnaby Thompson’s rollocking new movie is a low budget gem that not only showcases the beauty of Ireland but entertains and will definitely give you a giggle or two : PIXIE is my kinda movie jam, from it’s quirky characters including the typical and not so in Colm Meaney playing the typical Dermot O’Brien and Alec Baldwin who plays the not so typical Father Hector McGrath, both actors look like they had a blast with their small yet pivotel roles and THAT church shootout scene is totally and utterly box office : Ready Player One’s Olivia Cooke plays Pixie the clever manipulative lead in the story who’s out for revenge, cause a little chaos and hopefully nab a ticket to San Francisco in the run in, the fun she has with the two lads Frank & Harland played by Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack is superb and the scene with the gas attendent is downright hilarious and cute to boot : so if like me you love a good IRISH film, with some gorgeous scenery filmed by John de Borman, a dark & humor filled script by Preston Thompson and yet another devilishly good turn by Ned Dennehy who plays an Irish hitman then you’ll wana check this one out : THUMBS UP from this crazy cat ★★★★
Today the world of film has lost Tanya Roberts aged 65 : I will always remember Tanya for the beauty she gave us in two films that came out whilst I was in my early teens, 1982’s fantasy movie The Beastmaster where she played Kiri opposite Marc Singer and in 1985 she starred alongside Roger Moore in A View to a Kill playing Bond Woman Stacey Sutton : on the small screen Tanya starred in over a dozen episodes of the TV show Charlie’s Angels as Julie Rogers and in recent years playing Midge Pinciotti on That ’70s Show : she will be missed !!
It’s Chicago in 1927 and tension’s are rising as Ma Rainey and her band are about to record a song at a a recording session : Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a sublime character study that delves deep into our history and follows a group of black recording artists and their struggles with religion, race and exploitation : Viola Davis once again shows us why she’s regarded as one of the modern greats, and although the wonderful Maxayn Lewis lends her moaning vocals for Ma Rainey it’s Viola’s appearance and mannerisms that gives life to the Mother of Blues, she truly steals the show with her swagger and those big eye’s staring at those around her, she’s a strong woman and those scenes that involve an altercation with a police officer outside the recording studio, Ma demanding that Sylvester gets paid on his own and that Coca-Cola moment before continuing with her set is testiment to her character and belief : the picture is also a poignant reminder of the immense talent of Chadwick Boseman, his turn as troubled trumpet player Levee Green leaves you cold, a chilling virtuoso that has you pondering what could have been, it’s not really a surprise to anybody that knew Chadwick that he actually mastered the trumpet for his part and what a superb performance he turns in, that moment he tells the rest of the band what happened to his mother is so fierce you could hear a pin drop : the rest of Ma Rainey’s band are not too shabby either, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo and Michael Potts who’s roles as Toledo, Cutler and Slow Drag respectively add so much depth and balance to the film’s storytelling and along with it’s fine tuned script written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, costume & set design that adds authenticity and it’s searing renditions of Ma’s songs will make your toes tap & heart sing : overall George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a wonderful picture that doesn’t drag it’s heels with unnecessary narrative yet delivers it’s message and gives us the gift of two incredible performances and a small sample of Ma Rainey’s wonderful tunes ★★★★½
Sometime in the future, prisoners housed in a Vertical Self-Management Center watch as inmates in the upper cells are fed while those below starve : Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s directorial debut The Platform is a trip into the depth’s of madness, a disturbing dystopian gem that’s not for the faint hearted : the movie follows Goreng a normal guy who has agreed to spend 6 months of his life in this prison centre for the promise of a diploma on the outside world, of course this is dependant on whether he makes it through his term as each 30 days spent in the center the residents are transfered to another cell on a new level, the higher the cell number the more chance of survival : the story written by David Desola is fresh & downright scary and the work by Iván Massagué in & Zorion Eguileor in bringing Goreng & Trimagasi to life respectively is paramount to how the movie plays out, I could not keep my eyes off the pair of them, it was like watching some sort of depraved stage show, the desperation and brutality in surviving their term is absolute bonkers : the woman travelling up and down the food lift looking for her kid is messed up, that dog scene and Baharat’s attempt to climb a level had me feeling utterly nauseous : overall if your looking for something new & nasty in the horror genre then look no further than The Platform it’s a white knuckle ride that had me rocking in my chair praying for some kind of merciful resolution ★★★★½
A woman who believes that she will die tomorrow spreads her thoughts to others around her in a small town like a contagion : I’ve seen a bunch of strange movies this year but Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow takes the biscuit : from it’s flashing colors, dreamlike images and a cover of Mozart’s Lacrimosa playing on repeat, Seimetz’s picture is both haunting and strangely captivating as we find ourselves witnessing some highly irregular characters going about their daily life talking about the sex life of Dolphins, wanting to come back from death as a leather jacket and rivers flowing with period blood : I’m not sure I got what the movie was trying to say but it’s cast especially Kate Lyn Sheil who is quite mesmerising as the free spirited Amy, who loves nothing more than pouring out her emotions by the touch of a wall or floor board as she slow dances in her own space and the PJ wearing, confused Jane played by the tremendous Jane Adams makes She Dies Tomorrow insanely gnarly, utterly watchable and without question thought provoking : overall this movie will divide many with it’s unusual plot line, tackling the likes of anxiety, death etc and believe me it’s not an easy watch but as a movie fan I highly recommend you give it a go, it’s original story telling which is rare these days, colors that engulf the screen creating this alternate reality appearance, the fabulous ensemble with Josh Lucas, Chris Messina and Michelle Rodriguez in minor roles and the fact that Amy Seimetz’s talent and voice needs to be explored more in the future makes this movie essential viewing ★★★★
Diana lives the normal life among mortals in the 80s : she maintains her low profile by curating ancient artifacts, and only performing heroic acts incognito : but after the magical Dreamstone goes missing Diana will have to come out from the shadows to save the world we know from the greed and cunning of Max Lord and the evil Cheetah : WW84 sees it’s director Patty Jenkins reunite with stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine for yet another round of insanely seductive superhero fun that may lack the 80s vibe I was hoping for but delivers everything else from it’s Lasso twirling energy, the enthralling Themyscira games that open up proceedings, the robbery at the mall is a hoot, Diana & Steve’s off the chart chemistry and the emotion it carries, Hans Zimmer’s thunderous score, THAT Golden Armor, Pedro Pascal’s crazy villain reminding me of Donner’s Lex Luthor and a spicey turn by Kristen Wigg as Barbara Minerva, bringing shy and ditzy to her character with screen owning brilliance : WW84 may not be quite as good as it’s trailblazing and much loved original but for me Patty Jenkins has delivered another bold spectacle that’s bright, infectious and hugely exciting to watch ★★★★