During a vacation in the Catskills, an author and a stranger from a neighbouring cabin are thrown together after a power outage strikes the area : Both decide to pass the time by telling ghost stories which leads to chaos and their ultimate fears slowly starting to become reality : Josh Ruben’s Cabin in the Catskills horror movie SCARE ME is certainly my kind of movie jam, a slice of original horror that showcases the ability to scare whilst acting almost theatre like with it’s sharp and smart dialogue that’s executed in a fresh and creative style : Ruben and his co-star Aya Cash who’s energy matches the display she gives as Stormfront in the television show The Boys are outrageous, both feeding off each other like piranah’s with the movies ultimate payoff being delivered with satisfying style : I really dug how Ruben utilises the sound effects in the movie to enhance the visuals creating this scary vibe that’s deliciously atmospheric and adds so much to it’s horror telling, you just know something’s going to happen and it’s fun finding out when….. a low budget gem and one I feel would benefit from multiple viewings ★★★★
On her Birthday I’m remembering the beauty and talent of 30s Icon JEAN HARLOW who starred in films such as The Public Enemy alongside Jimmy Cagney, Frank Capra’s 1931 comedy Platinum Blonde, alongside Clark Gable in Red Dust, Howard Hughes war drama Hell Angels, Victor Fleming’s romantic comedy Blond Bombshell and her delightfully funny turn in Dinner at Eight : although Jean was taken way to early she made her mark in Hollywood as one of the funniest, sexiest and sweetest actresses of her era…. she was born on this day in 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri and was the first movie actress to appear on the cover of Life magazine : Jean Harlow made 36 movies and appeared alongside Clark Gable in six of them, she died aged 26 whilst making the 1937 movie Saratoga in which her last line spoken was “Good-bye” : her Hollywood star can be found at 6910 Hollywood Blvd….
It’s with a heavy heart that we hear of the passing of one of the screen’s brightest and funniest stars in Cloris Leachman : for me her more memorable roles came with playing the likes of Ruth in The Last Picture Show for which she won the Academy Award, the hilarious Maw Maw in Raising Hope, her scene stealing film debut in Kiss Me Deadly, Madame Defarge in History of the World, Part I and of course my personal favorite Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein : Cloris had a wonderful and varied career including eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated awarded actress in Emmy history : she will be sorely missed down here, but up there a party is about to begin….
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
What can I say about the lovely DEE WALLACE who was born on the 14th December 1948 : what an actress, what a scream queen and what an impact this gal from Kansas City had on me, who lit up my favorite genre with superb turns in movies such as The Howling, Alligator II, The Hills Have Eyes, The Frighteners, Critters and the best of the bunch Cujo a Stephen King adaption that still scares me even now : the first time I remember watching Dee was back in 1982, when she played Drew Barrymore’s mum in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. and what a fabulous performance in such a great movie : luckily for us Dee Wallace is still knocking out the films and was seen recently in 2017’s Death House, 2019’s 3 from Hell and 2016’s Aussie Horror Red Christmas : me personally I hope Dee’s around making movies for another 30ys : such an ICONIC movie presence
One of my favorite Dee Wallace quotes : “Cujo was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s the film I’m proudest of. You know, how far can you break down? When do you break down? How do you break down? It was just relentless”
A filmmaker seeks solace from her down spiraling career in a remote New York lake house, hoping to find some good old fashioned inspiration : It’s only fitting in the strangest of years that we should have one of the strangest of movies : BLACK BEAR is certainly that, mixed with it’s weird and mind bending plot Lawrence Michael Levine’s film is incredibly frustrating, thought provoking and full of the most unlikeable characters in a movie this year, but somehow Levine pulls it off Albeit with the help of it’s stunning location and engaging cast including Christopher Abbott’s Gabe, Sarah Gadon’s Blair both of whom are annoyingly bodacious in that first segment, to say their relationship is stormy is putting it mildly and last but not least Aubrey Plaza who plays the lead role of Allison, along with Ingrid Goes West and Safety Not Guaranteed this is Aubrey Plaza at her captivating, irresistible best, especially in the movies second half where she finds herself as the lead actress, a bit of a diva in a feature film being directed by Gabe : Black Bear is one of those rare movies that I don’t quite understand what went on, although I’m guessing it went something along the lines of a washed up artist who is struggling to find work decides to take a break in remote Long Lake New York to reinvent herself and hopefully find some inspiration so in the movie Levine shows us what’s actually manifesting in Allison’s mind and how certain things may have played out…. it’s only my interpretation of the goings on in Black Bear but nevertheless the movie certainly scores extra points for the performance level and it’s intriguing narrative, as days later I still find myself thinking of what went on in that lake house and what happened to Allison and that big Black Bear ★★★★
Yesterday we lost a giant in Daria Nicolodi : her contribution to the horror genre and Italian Cinema can only be described as immense : her legacy will live on through her work, starring in films such as Deep Red, Tenebrae, Opera, Paganini Horror and Inferno and her partnership with horror maestro Dario Argento she also co-wrote Suspiria and provided the voice of Mater Suspiriarum, Daria also wrote the Argento classic Inferno : her work has played a huge part in me growing into the Cinephile I am today and my enjoyment of her work will continue to play on until I too find myself in the arms of whatever comes next RIP x
It’s always tough when listing any Top Movie List but as this will become a steady feature on the site I have decided to start Our Top Four with the enormous talent that is Grace Patricia Kelly : I started my obsession & collecting movies during the early 80s, films from all era’s & genre’s, facinated in general by anything and everything movie orientated and I remember watching Dial M for Murder one afternoon whilst home from school and being mesmerised by this screen goddess, this lady that oozed sex appeal yet had this commanding persona one that filled the screen with a kind of movie magic, I guess Grace Kelly became my first movie love and what a magnificent yet short career this American Sweetheart gave us : I hope you enjoy my ramblings….
Born on the 12th November 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania GRACE KELLY not only had the beauty & elegance of a Hollywood Leading Lady but also had the acting chops of a high quality veteran working & becoming goods friends with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock on three occassions, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief and also winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in the wonderful George Seaton picture The Country Girl, this was viewed as a major shock, many thought Judy Garland would win that year for her turn in A Star is Born : in her short Hollywood career Grace would star with Gary Cooper in the acclaimed western High Noon, William Holden in The Bridges of Toko-Ri and Clark Gable in Mogambo : in 1956 Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier ending her love affair with the screen until her death in 1982
One of my favorite Grace Kelly quotes : Mr. Hitchcock taught me everything about cinema. It was thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes
Number 8 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : The evil spirit of a slain killer seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his death : A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is the epitome of terror and Wes Craven was the master of serving it up, he knew what scared his audience and delivered a fearsome, bloody nightmare which has since spawned eight movies and a dreadful remake : In 1984 I was barely a teenager when Wes Craven gave us the iconic FREDDY KRUEGER, with his trademark hat, red & green sweater and a glove with razors for fingers, this demented killer not only petrified me and gave me sleepless nights back in the 80s but still does to this day : in 1984, and to make his movie Craven needed an actor to play a deceased child murderer built from the fires of hell, he needed a villain with menance & pure evil in his eye’s so they turned to Robert Englund a charasmatic actor known for bit parts in movies such as Galaxy of Terror, Dead & Buried and Eaten Alive to turn this monster into horror icon : like Carpenter’s Halloween Wes Craven’s movie also needed a heroine, a teenage girl who was innocent, beautiful and smart, a girl who would be Freddy’s equal on the horror battlefield, so after an extensive search Craven discovered Heather Langenkamp she would be the film’s Nancy and the perfect fit for Craven’s horror masterpiece : but why is A Nightmare On Elm Street still scary after all these years? well unlike Craven’s Scream the killer is supernatural, for me there’s something brutal about the way Freddy goes about his business of killing his victims, the death scenes are terrifying and made more squeamish due to the not seeing of who’s performing the act, you see the blood, the mutilation and you know it’s Freddy but you don’t see him and that’s where Craven excels, Tina’s death scene is the best example, as her boyfriend watches on she’s sliced open and then thrown around the cealing of her bedroom like a rag doll, blood draining from her body as she crashes back to her bed and the way Johnny Depp’s character Glen, like a vaccum cleaner is sucked into his bed and then spat back out pureed, the room awash with his remains, I found the scenes when Nancy wakes up from her nightmare in the Katja Institute bringing back Freddy’s hat and her arm sliced to be alarming and I still find the boiler rooms scenes particulary scary, the steam and the darkness only lit by the reflection of the flames engulfing the oven to be so unnerving, you just know Freddy is lurking somehwere in the shadows : from it’s chilling score written by Charles Bernstein, the wonderful John Saxon who plays Nancy’s dad and sheriff of the town to Wes Craven’s script that was turned down by Universal & Paramount Pictures back in the day but thank god for New Line Cinema who showed their trust in the filmmaker and was rewarded with a box office smash A Nightmare On Elm Street is essential Halloween viewing and even after all these years will turn your stomach and make it hard to sleep when the lights go down…… One two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three four, better lock your door. Five six, grab your crucifix. Seven eight, gonna stay up late. Nine ten, never sleep again ★★★★★
Number 21 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : The film follows a married couple that haunted by a series of mysterious occurrences after the death of their young child : I’ve never had children but everytime I revisit this grief stricken horror movie I can’t stop thinking about it for days after, it’s truly haunting and it’s not just the death of the young child it’s pretty much everything about the film, from it’s dubious looking characters, Daphne Du Maurier’s dark & mysterious story, the down trodden city of Venice that gives the movie it’s atmospheric look just as Corwall did for Du Maurier’s ghostly Rebecca, the twisting narrow streets and murky canals of the Italian city are brought to life, in haunting and surreal fashion by frequent Roeg collaborator Anthony Richmond and Julie Christie & Donald Sutherland with two of the most authentic, enriching performances I have ever seen, their onscreen chemistry is beautiful to watch : Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now is one of the most memorable, shocking & scary horror movies that’s graced the screen & if you get the chance may I recommend the Criterion Edition as it’s utterly gorgeous and contains lot’s of fabulous extras too ★★★★★
A city is infected by a mysterious virus, which causes it’s people to spiral out of control. Two survivers struggle to survive in an isolated apartment complex from those infected with the virus : Jo Il-Hyeong’s Korean thriller ALIVE is everything you’d like from a new movie in the Zombie genre, utilising the digital age in a smart, inventive way and has a whole shit load of savy special effects that make your eye’s twitch with nervous excitement : Yoo Ah-in is bloody brilliant as the gamer kid Joon-Woo who lives for his technology but fails to converse much with the outside world, that is until one day he has too, his dopey appearance & care free attitude endears himself to the viewer and his tag team partner Park Shin-hye’s Yoo-bin is my type of girl, fighting off the undead with everything from an axe, gun and home made killing trolley and oh yeah did I say that these zombie’s are not slow either but more like the hyperactive speed demons from World War Z, Won-ho Son’s work in capturing these delightful creatures rampaging through the apartment blocks is glorious & a sight to behold : ALIVE is SMART, INSANE and FLESH EATING FUN ★★★★
It was tough but here it goes : Christopher Nolan’s Top 8 Movies in order : (1) MEMENTO : 2000 : Nolan’s least pretentious movie, was shot for $9 million in less than a month, it’s story is exciting, fresh & edge of the seat and to this day it’s the filmmaker’s finest achievment with great turns by Guy Pearce & Joe Pantoliano : (2) THE PRESTIGE : 2006 : a hidden gem that I like to annually revisit & then think about for days after : Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman are immense as is Rebecca Hall who gives a stella turn playing Borden’s wife, from the sets, sound & story the film’s pure magic : (3) INCEPTION : 2010 : It’s been 10yrs and I still find myself marvelling at the effects, the rotating sets & Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s gravity fight scene which is so awesome to watch : breathtaking cinema built around a beautiful love story : (4) INTERSTELLAR : 2014 : Nolan’s ambitious scifi thriller blew me away whilst tugging at my heart strings from start to finish, the scene of Coops as he watches the clips from back home are tough, that enthralling docking sequence & the enormity of the tidal wave scenes are stunning : Hoytema’s work on this is quite simply wow : (5) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES : 2012 : Darkness rains down on Gotham & I for one loved the chaos & the ride Nolan brings to this trilogy ending masterpiece : in Tom Hardy’s Bane Batman has met his most demented nemesis & that delicious Talia twist in it’s finale gave the franchise the explosive ending it deserved : (6) INSOMNIA : 2002 : showcases the masterclass that is Al Pacino, his performance captures every essence of Will Dormer and it’s up there amongst the actors best work : Of course Wally Pfister’s DP and his canvas of British Columbia doesn’t help either – a tense, character driven remake that still holds up well today : (7) BATMAN BEGINS : 2005 : has sheer depth, towering action scenes, Liam Neeson & Cillian Murphy’s villainous pair, Michael BLOODY Caine, a cameo by Lucy Russell & of course Nolan’s ace in the pack Christian Bale who’s easily the “best actor” that’s played our Caped Crusader : (8) THE DARK KNIGHT : 2008 : Heath Ledger’s Joker waddling out of the hospital dressed in nurse atire as it explodes is one of many highlights from Nolan’s stupendous action packed sequel : lots of love here for Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent & Batman’s custom made bike is craaazy good too !! (also worth mentioning that I really enjoyed Dunkirk, Following and of course Nolan’s latest Tenet)
Aweful News : the Iconic Movie Star Olivia De Havilland has died aged 104 : in my eye’s they don’t come much better than Livvie, a Golden Age Beauty who graced the screen in over forty feature films, winning two Academy Awards and starring alongside some of the very best in the movie world : One of my favourite quotes of hers was in 1999 where she commented over Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother “I want to follow her example and live many years longer. I consider every birthday a victory” well Livvie you sure did, rest in peace Legend……
Since I had the pleasure of catching a breathtaking performance from her on the Westend in The Children’s Hour alongside Kiera Knightley back in 2011 Elisabeth Moss has quickly become one of the best character actors on the big screen : her versatility & charisma has lent to film roles of a gritty and exciting nature, a bit like the great Jodie Foster she can turn her hand to pretty much anything : she can play the victim of abuse turned mobster in The Kitchen, play a cranky drug taking old writer in Shirley or rock the stage as Becky Something in the brilliant Her Smell : she is an incredibly unique, quirky and utterly mesmerising actress : Here’s Our Top Four Movies : 1. Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry) : 2. Shirley (Josephine Decker) : 3. The Kitchen (Andrea Berloff) : 4. The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell)
A young housewife in what seems to be a perfect marriage develops the irresistible urge to swallow objects and material – WOW just WOW Carlo Mirabella-Davis !! Swallow is a facinating directorial debut that gripped me from the getko, the energy that flows through Haley Bennett and into Hunter her onscreen persona is quite simply astonishing : When Hunter starts to Swallow my first impression was “Please don’t do that” I was angry, confused at why this young lady would do such a thing, why she would risk her life? But it got me thinking Hunter is trapped, innocent, has no friends or family and has nobody there to hug her close and tell her everything will be ok : If her lowlife controlling husband, bad inlaws and the swallowing wasn’t bad enough Hunter then decides to track down William a rapist from her past who’s played brilliantly by Denis O’Hare, their confrontation in William’s kitchen is so bloody TENSE I felt my heart pounding ready to burst out of my chest like something from Ridley’s Alien movie, such a simple, emotionally charged scene with these two brilliant actors nailing it : Overall Swallow is one of the darkest and most liberating movies of 2020, it’s a real thought provoking picture that will no doubt upset many, terrify others and quite simply blow the majority away with it’s raw, quirky style and captivating subject matter ★★★★½