A girl born into an all-female cult following this messiah-like-figure who calls himself the Shepherd : I’m not really a big fan of movies that revolve around cults, the mere thought of people brainwashed into following someone’s else’s believes makes me sick to my stomach, however there are occassions when a movie moves me in a particular way and Małgorzata Szumowska’s THE OTHER LAMB is one of them films : I think what makes this film more intriguing is it’s coming-of-age story of Selah one of the Sisters as she starts to question her role in The Flock whilst herself becoming a women, having her first period and slowly starting to see things within the group as they really are : Michał Englert’s beautiful cinematography, unusual camera angles, it’s Irish backdrop and the costumes worn by the wives and sisters in the movie adds so much to the horror and depth of The Other Lamb and although this may not be your conventional horror film, it’s scares lie with it’s intelligent narrative, slow build up, unnerving performances and a subject matter that dances around religion, patriarchy and sacrifice that sent shivers down my spine ★★★★
A kid who was once celebrated in his local town, given the key to the region and free Ice Cream for life for solving local crimes is now 31, he has low self-esteem, his popularity has decreased and has become the butt of most jokes, but then a chance arrises from a client who’s boyfriend was murdered and it’s upto The Kid Detective to solve his first real case : ORIGINALITY in film is rare these days so when a movie comes out that truly blows your socks off with it’s dark humor, wild and WTF scenario’s and a new take on the private detective in small town USA then you have to pay attention, you have to rewatch it as the film’s that bloody good and then you have to find some way of telling your family and friends… “listen, this may not conform with some of your believes, it may embarrass, it will make you laugh and it will certainly make you feel uncomfortable, but hell The Kid Detective is certainly worth the watch” : what struck me most about Evan Morgan’s movie is it’s serious story arc about murder, kidnapping and adults abusing their power, it’s told with humor that’s close to the bone as you follow young Abe Applebaum through his days of youth, happiness and town stardom to this washed out, guilt ridden 31yr old who’s self pity and attitude makes you question everything about him, as the story unfolds you find yourself not agreeing with alot of his choices but somehow your still rooting for him, cheering him on nevertheless : I felt Adam Brody is outstanding, for me it’s his best role yet and along with Morgan’s original and edgy script, enjoyably quick pace, perculiar town’s folk and the flashbacks of a young Abe solving petty crimes that’s cute as a button The Kid Detective is one of the brightest films to hit our screens this year : it’s BRILLIANT ★★★★½
An ex-private investigator is hired to look into a suspicious death in the town of Wander : First film I’ve seen by Canadian filmmaker April Mullen and hopefully not the last : WANDER is one of them small town, nothing is quite what it seems type of movie that I found engrossing from the start, those early scenes of conspiracy theorists Arthur played by Aaron Eckhart and his faithful sidekick Jimmy played by old timer Tommy Lee Jones sat in the desert recording their latest deep web podcast that goes out live under the stars had me hook, line and sinker : with his bushy beard, big wide eyes and a limp Aaron Eckhart gives Wander it’s beacon, a lighthouse of a performance that shines throughout, he shows us the pain and trauma of his character who was once a family man, had everything going for him until a car accident kills his young daughter and leaves his wife in a comatose state : Arthur now lives in a camper van in the desert, in the middle of nowhere and spends his days looking after his dog Charlie, pod-casting with Jimmy and visiting his wife in a nursing facility…. one day he receives a visit by a women who wants to aquire his services as a Private Investigator, hiring him to look into her daughter’s suspicious death and so starts the domino effect, paranoia blurred with reality…. Arthur is down the rabbitt hole and he’s scrambling to get out : Wander is one of the better movies to come out of this crazy year, a small time GEM that’s well directed by April Mullen, well acted by it’s superb cast and has some beautiful New Mexico photography, it’s 90mins of character driven intrigue that delves into mental illness, the feeling of loss whilst touching on government cover-up, conspiracy and murder : ENJOYED very much ★★★★
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 ★★★★
Number 29 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After Amelia looses her husband she and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when a creepy children’s book titled “Mister Babadook” manifests in their home : Aussie Jennifer Kent wrote and directed THE BABADOOK after securing it’s budget of $2.5 million via Kickstarter : I must confess after seeing the movie for the first time I was terrified and struggled sleeping for days after, the imagery and the darkness that consumed the screen throughout the movie tugged deep into my soul and I couldn’t stop thinking of this poor family desimated by the loss of a father & husband, the mum then having to cope by herself with her imaginative & energetic young son was scary in itself, let alone this hideous, life sucking creature that invades their world : Essie Davis & Noah Wiseman give the film it’s heart, their chemistry playing mother & son is downnright believable, the old house in the movie was specifically built for the film and it’s fair to say that Jennifer Kent was influenced by the style of old horror movies and maybe even the Lon Chaney era whilst filming : along with the possession and what follows, one of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the Amelia visits the local police station to report being terrorised by someone or something, watching Essie’s performance in this scene her head swimming with fear and paranoia is quite special, like a character from an old Hitchcock movie : The Babadook is not only one of the finest horror movies I’ve seen, with one of the scariest adversary‘s but it’s also a draining experience, a hard watch that concerns the welfare of a young child, the evil that lurkes and the battle of a family torn apart by with what life has dealt them : interestingly Babadook is an anagram of A bad book ★★★★½
A rock climber tries to save the day when a mysterious white gas envelops an entire district in Seoul, South Korea : EXIT (Eksiteu) is the directorial debut of Sang Geun Lee and having just watched it I can hardly wait for his next one : If like me you love Korean Cinema then this slice of movie heaven will make you laugh uncontrollably at it’s witty Korean humor whilst giving you heart palpitations watching some of the most fabulous, heart in the mouth action scenes around : the lead characters in the movie played by Jo Jung-suk and Im Yoon-ah are infectious and the story & special effects are stupendous : my favourite moment in the movie (and there are many) is watching Yong-nam smash through a hotel lobby window and go all Tom Cruise by diving out in crazy fashion in hope of reaching the rooftop of the hotel : It’s easy to see why EXIT topped the Korean Box Office, the film is really good at doing what the Korean’s do like no other and that’s insanely ENTERTAIN and by god Sang Geun Lee’s movie does this and more….. LOVED IT ★★★★½
Ana Lily Amirpour’s A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT follows a lonely vampire going about her business in the Iranian ghost town of Bad City – I have now watched this movie 12 times (maybe more) and for me it sits comfortably in the bracket of essential viewing : from it’s mesmerising black & white style that sucks you in to the movie’s narrative, hypnotising and seducing you until it’s final scene, with it’s atmospheric backdrop’s of Oil Derrick’s, the deserted streets, the buildings and the Girl’s bedroom decked out with posters of pops stars of yesteryear, with Lyle Vincent’s photography descibed in two words “utterly stunning” : I also CRAVE the film’s soundtrack, it’s the GOAT with tracks from Federale, Radio Tehran, Bei Ru, White Lies and more…. that scene where White Lies “Death” is playing is one of the film’s coolest moments, I felt it had a really 80s tinge during that scene and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise like a python : Amirpour’s casting of Sheila Vand as the Girl was a masterstroke, Vand is like a magnet, her eye’s and demeanour engulf you allowing you to feel her character’s sadness but also her power, Arash Marandi’s performance as the guy who falls hard for the Girl is superb, the scene’s he shares with his onscreen dad are excellent and Mozhan Marnò gives a vulnerable & touching turn as Atti, the local prostitute : A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is one of them movies that you just have to see, it’s an acquired taste and not your conventional Vampire movie but it’s full of interesting themes, shot in gorgeous black & white, has subtitles for it’s Persian dialogue and includes a side portion of weird : Overall it’s one of them movies that I would certainly place high on my list of favourite vampire pics and would advise any film fan to BUY & WATCH this GEM on rewatch for 2,191 days : ps….. (if you like this pic then check out 2016’s The Bad Batch by the same director….. it’s sooooo goood) ★★★★½
SUMMER OF 84 : François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer, Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Gruter-Andrew
Didn’t know a great deal about Summer of 84 until I watched it and WOW now I wana watch it again and come on guys get a sequel rolling – Young kids riding bikes, walkie talkies, insane atmospheric soundtrack and nonstop 80’s nostalga dripping from each scene like a personal trip down memory- lane this movie has the lot and is so much fun to watch – I mean what can I say about the kids in the movie apart from HOLY SHIT you guys rock every SINGLE scene, Tiera Skovbye is a fabulous young actresses and as CUTE as a button playing the kids crush Nikki and what about Mad Men’s Rich Sommer isn’t he just perfect as the creepy neighbor – I really did enjoy this movie so much and as for those last 20 minutes… sheeeeet me what a brilliant dark turn it all takes, my finger nails took a battering and now I’m looking a little more closely at those around me – SUPERB MOVIE ★★★★
ROSY : Jess Manafort
Stacy Martin, Nat Wolff, Johnny Knoxville & Tony Shaloub
Interestingly ROSY came totally out of the blue having not seen a poster or watched a trailer and sometimes these little things make a movie more fun and certainly more interesting (not knowing what is coming) – So without spoiling things Jess Manafort’s directorial debut is pretty bizzare yet it somehow manages to captivate, from it’s haunting score that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Woody Allen pic to it’s slow burning narative and wonderful performances from it’s cast – Nat Wolff gives a career besty playing Doug a guy with a few bolts loose who lives on his own but he has a plan and this plan involves Rosy an aspiring young actress played by the wonderful Stacy Martin who gives a GIGANTIC performance that’s sexy, funny and downright crazy – Rosy’s coming together with Doug is alarming, yet by the end of the film you start to think that there’s some chemistry between them (well I did anyhow), everything about the films premise is not quite right but somehow it works and it’s filmmaker Jess Manafort deserves the plaudits for not only her direction but for an exciting, original script – absolutley superb ★★★★
I LOVED THE SHIT out of Duncan Jones latest MUTE – what a terrific story that’s totally immersive with some stunning visuals & a whole gaggle of TOP performances – from Paul Rudd playing looney tune Cactus with panache, Justin Theroux’s creepy as f@ck pervert surgeon, Robert Sheehan’s epic turn as Luba and what can I say about True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård as the films lead apart from holy shit-balls – what I love most about the movie is how it’s story weaves a good old fashioned mystery in this case a girls disappearance to that of a futuristic setting, a striking visual feast of neon lit buildings and the darkness that inhabit them – this is the fourth movie for Duncan Jones behind the camera and I for one can’t wait for his next, he’s a writer/director that’s not afraid of taking a risk, creating something different and I like that – MUTE is an excellent way of spending 2 hours in front of the box allowing your imagination to run wild it’s a movie that takes you to some very dark places and is certainly not for the squeamish – I for one can’t wait for a rewatch !! ★★★★
It may not have the first movies ambition or the second’s intensity but The Cloverfield Paradox is actually a shit load of crazy ass fun – firstly if your a fan of 2008’s Cloverfield and it’s sequel of sorts 2016’s wonderful 10 Cloverfield Lane then I’m pretty confident you will find something in Paradox that will appeal to your movie loving heart and although the films coupled to the others in the franchise it most certainly has it’s own identity, very dark at times with a side order of light hearted Evil Dead humor – like most low budget scifi Paradox unashamedly takes from other classics in the genre and why the hell not, one minute you will be reminded of Alien the next Aliens and Event Horizon and with a genius cast that includes David Oyelowo & Gugu Mbatha-Raw, some pretty neat effects and an atmospheric score by Battlestar’s Bear McCreary it’s a movie that really does warrent enjoyment (in a popcorn style movie kind of way) and secondly it’s on Netflix so it’s free (well sort of) ★★★½
John Wick is forced into returning to the criminal underworld after a former associate requires him to to repay a marker debt – whilst back in familiar territory he discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life and all shit is about to rain down on him and those in his path
Keanu Reeves reunites with director and former stunt man Chad Stahelski for their sequel to 2014’s explosive action thriller JOHN WICK – the exciting cast also includes Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne….
The only way I can describe how I felt whilst watching John Wick: Chapter Two was like I was playing a shoot-em-up on my game console – the action is high intensity, brutal & relentless and contains countless scenes of close quarter kills, hand to hand combat, explosions and falling and fighting down stairs that make Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables look like a bunch of pussies – Common’s bodyguard Cassian adds spice to this sequel, his fight scenes with Wick are EPIC both characters not giving a quarter and that tube train moment is one to savour, Scamarcio’s crime lord D’Antonio is a well connected Italian mobster who will eliminate anyone who gets in his way and Laurence Fishburne plays the Bowery King reuniting him with his Matrix co-star Reeves for some intriguing albeit brief screen time – unlike many films before it this action packed sequel may be even better than it’s original, Stahelski gives the movie a more realistic feel than many others in it’s genre, yes it’s violent and yes it contains a hefty body count but it’s also a film that’s dripping with black humor, colorful interesting characters, blazing original soundtrack all set to a backdrop that not only looks fantastic but is well used in the context of each scene – from the Catacombs to the Enter the Dragon influenced Mirror Scene John Wick: Chapter Two is full of memorable blood soaked moments, it’s an enthralling, pulse racing action flick so if you enjoyed 2014’s original or you just love getting your ass nailed to a seat not wanting to leave in-case you miss something then you will eat this shit up and be hungry for desert afterwards – Keanu Reeves looks so f@ckin cool in action Full Stop!, his tall stature, angry facial hair and Kung-fu moves are totally bad-ass so if your looking to get high on that drug we call Badass Movie Watching then this sequel will blow your freaking mind….★★★★½
In my lifetime The Movies have consumed my life they have become hobby, my passion and at times my infatuation and along that journey of countless films collected, hundreds of books read and the endless number of movies watched there has been one constant that stands above all others an actor by the name of Issur Danielovitch aka: Kirk Douglas a giant of a man not in height but in the way he has conducted himself, his film career is nothing short of remarkable, I’m not talking awards, box office success or personal gain I am talking of the many varied roles he has portrayed in his career from being the hero to villain, colonel to slave for me Kirk’s dedication to his craft, his granite stature & movie presence is unequaled, an actor not afraid to take chances on a role & make that role his own whether it be a boxing hero in Champion, the troubled artist Van Gogh in Lust for Life, a slave who goes up against the might of Rome in Spartacus, a cunning self centered reporter in Ace in the Hole and a cowboy just doing his job in Lonely are the Brave Kirk Douglas is without question a living breathing bona fide Movie Legend and although first & foremost I will always think of Kirk Douglas as an actor he has also inspired millions with his writing penning numerous novels and blogging into the 21st Century some of this work has been equally as stirring as some of his most famous pictures and in 1964 showing the measure of the man along with his wife Anne, Kirk established The Douglas Foundation that not only donates countless millions but work tirelessly in helping the less fortunate in building a better future for those in most need – Happy 100th Birthday Kirk Douglas your quite simply a LEGEND…..
I wasn’t totally convinced by Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake but his latest the low budget thriller Don’t Breathe is a different animal – I’m sure my heart actually stopped for a brief second whilst being terrified by this darkly intense and at times brutally twisted horror movie – Alvarez really makes use of the house interior, his camerawork adds so much to the scares and along with Stephen Lang’s deranged victim come tormentor this is one creepy ass movie that will scare you senseless – do yourself a favor and don’t miss this on the big screen….
Daniel Ragussi’s directorial movie debut IMPERIUM is a solid, well written thriller with two good performances from Radcliffe and Collette and one exceptionally creepy one from True Blood’s Sam Trammell – the film’s subject matter is no doubt disturbing and is handled well by Ragussi but it’s darkness is too often conveyed by flashing images, often thrown together in a serious of video montages instead of being built into the film narrative, these montages work to a degree but for me personally I never felt Radcliffe’s character was in any serious danger and his cover looked more routine than it should have been – Overall Daniel Ragussi’s Imperium is a good watch and even though I felt slightly unsatisfied with it’s conclusion I would recommend it and look forward to seeing more from it’s director in the future !! ★★★½