Archive for July, 2012
Tags: Dune, Dune 2000, Dune Miniseries, Frank Herbert's Dune, review, sci-fi
Tags: Guy Pearce, James Mather, Lockout, Lockout Review, Luc Besson, Maggie Grace, movie, movies review, reviews, sci-fi, science fiction, Stephen St. Leger
Lockout is a straightforward, entertaining, sci-fi actioner that proves Guy Pearce can turn his hand to just about anything.
Tags: Dylan McDermott, Hardware, Mark Northover, review, Richard Stanley, sci-fi, science fiction, William Hootkins
After revisiting Dust Devil I thought I’d take another look at visionary Richard Stanley’s 1990 offering Hardware…
Parts of a faulty military robot, Mark 13 are found in the post- nuclear desert wasteland by an old-timer, nomadic scavenger. The Nomad sells the head to to a cyborg who in-turn gives it as a gift to his girlfriend who soon finds that the robot is far from dead.
Director Richard Stanley offers a plausible grim, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi fantasy, which borrows a few visual elements from Blade Runner and Terminator. Hardly surprising it’s also reminiscent of Judge Dredd’s Cursed Earth as Hardware was inspired by comic-book ‘2000 AD’.
Robot Mark 13; once it re-makes itself sometimes looks menacing enough with a cool factor but other times it comes across less ominous. Moses played Dylan McDermott hams it at times in the drug induced scene but play it straight for the most part. There’s an unevenness to some of Michael Fallon’s and Stanley’s dialogue. Moses’ friend Shades (the usual solid John Lynch) is at times like “Stiles” from Teen Wolf (1985) rather than Cyberpunk. Stunning Stacey Travis gives a good performance but sadly she has to don a Rambo-like bandanna in the closing segments. Lengthy sex scenes aside there are few nice touches in Stanley’s screenplay, Motorhead’s Lemmy as a river taxi driver who introduces his own ‘Ace of Spades, Iggy Pop as a DJ voice-over and there’s Mark 13 killer injections and a severed hand. The desert setting bookends the film, the city scenes ooze atmosphere, you can taste the sand and dirt. However, these scene’s are few and far between with the majority of the film confined to one one well dressed flat set.
The crude stalker sub-plot is vulgar yet adds to the story elements of control, hopelessness and the faults of humans.The social control, DIY culture, new experimental drugs reflects the time it was made. That said, Hardware offers sophistication, like Mark 13 technology to get its point across. With a mix of elements it pulls the story in different directions but remains focus on humanity versus technology which with Stanley visuals gives it an art house, music video feel, ambiguous yet focal possibly due to Steve MacManus and Kevin O’Neill’s narrative.
Given it’s modest budget and producers, Hardware in retrospect may have benefited from a heavier edit, possibly with the re jigging of the creepy, voyeur Linc (William Hootkins) element concluding earlier with the discovery of what the Mark 13 is (by the reliable actor Mark Northover) inserted later. With a mixed bag of special effects and sound design the ending annoyingly has endings on endings like many an 80’s thriller.
Stanley’s direction has bursts of energy and he skilfully creates an apocalyptic world as it strives to deliver on its great concept.
Tags: Andy Rodoreda, Carlo Ledesma, Horror, review, Steve Davis, The Tunnel, The Tunnel movie
An investigation into a government cover-up leads a Sydney journalist and her crew into a network of abandoned tunnels and it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.
Whereas the likes of Grave Encounters (2011) played out a like an episode of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures or Most Haunted gone awry, The Tunnel takes the Documentary approach with footage and interviews. Director Carlo Ledesma delivers a well made P.O.V and static film. The contrasting interviewee segments are particularly crisp and come across as authentic.
The actors are solid, Andy Rodoreda, Steve Davis as Steve Miller are note worthy, however, as they explore the dark tunnels there are few chills but sadly an atmosphere killer is the jarring inserted interviews (with the people who were there).
The Mocumentary idea dates back to This Is Spinal Tap (1984), A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and before. The Tunnel while reminiscent of The Fourth Kind (2009) in structure to its credit does try to be slightly different – removing itself from the Paranormal Activities and REC films to name a few.
By comparison The Tunnel is light-years ahead of Tape 407 (2012) or The Amityville Haunting (2011) and is genuinely eerie at times. Although well made with a standout creepy neck breaking sequence the shock element of who lives or dies is taken away due to the viewer knowing that the interviewees are going to survive. This hampers the film and causes The Tunnel to become redundant. Still it’s worth watching if only for camera operator Steve Davis’ truthful performance.
Tags: Horror, Michael Mann, review, The Keep