Archive for March, 2018

Dr. Paul Kersey is an ER surgeon burning for revenge, to deliver justice for his family’s assailants.

Eli Roth’s Death Wish is arguably more satisfying than revenge films The Equalizer (2014), Oldboy (2013) and on par with the great stylised John Wick (2014) in term of entertainment. Bruce Willis makes a triumphant return to top form as Paul Kersey in this fitting and timely remake of Death Wish. Willis reminds us he can act and not just turn up, this is a well produced on location feel action, unlike his recent low-par films and cameo-like performances.

Eli Roth offers one of his most conventional Hollywood-like movies to date, but includes his staple gore in a few moments throughout mostly dished out by Willis’ slayings and some unconventional use of everyday weapons. The action thriller is fast paced with plenty of shootouts. Likeable Elisabeth Shue is fittingly cast as Kersey’s wife, along side Vincent D’Onofrio as his brother. Notable are actors Camila Morrone is as Kersey’s daughter and Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris is cast as warm Detective Kevin Raines.

From a solid screenplay by Joe Carnahan based on Death Wish (1974) and Brian Garfield’s Death Wish novel the film works within its own logic, the doctor come vigilante Willis character has an arc and manhunt aspect where the media debate whether he is a guardian angel or grim reaper gives weight to the intense drama. You could fit on a postage stamp what it has to say about gun crime and it socially sits on the fence, with Roth leaving it for the audience to decide what’s right or wrong.

At the end of the day, it’s an well made action revenge flick. Overall, one of Willis memorable roles to date, recommended.

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In Thailand, a drug trafficker’s icy mother sends him on a mission to avenge his older brother death.

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives feels more like his Valhalla Rising (2009) rather than the more conventional and mainstream Drive (2011). The music is mesmerising, stirring the uneasiness of The Shinning (1980). It’s atmospheric, stylish, quiet and yet ultra-violent, with the beats of an opera. It echoes elements of Diva (1981), Collateral (2004), Subway (1985) and David Lynch’s dream-like quality to name a few.

Ryan Gosling plays Julian Thompson, an American criminal who lives in Bangkok. Gosling smolders (with limited dialogue which appears to have become his trademark staple) Julian speaks less than 20 lines throughout the film. Kristin Scott Thomas shines as Crystal Thompson, Julian’s mother, a merciless and terrifying mafia godmother, probably her most memorable role. The star though is Vithaya Pansringarm as the imposing Lt. Chang/The Angel of Vengeance.

Refn remains visually stylish thoughout with natural location shoot, he adds enough subtle narrative smarts and horrifying underworld characters to ground its beautifully filmed depravity.

The film’s characters are non-people; reminiscent of Revolver (2005) the things they say to each other are non-conversations, the events of neon-drenched nightmare are like some piece of French cinema which purposely plays differently to mainstream good taste. It’s slow, edgy and gripping as the extreme violence basic plot plays out.

Only God Forgives has some quirky casting and interesting visuals on the background of the seediest sides of Bangkok. If you like artsy, its dedicated to director Alejandro Jodorowsky which should give you an idea what to expect then this is for you.

Thor Ragnarok PosterThor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop the ruthless God Hela.

Director Taika Waititi offers more fun than the overlong, padded majority of Marvel films than it should, Thor Ragnarok has plenty of humour (maybe a little too much). From the special effects to costume design and colourful characters including actors Chris Hemsworth, whose Thor goes through a few changes certainly looks wise right up until the end. There’s a welcomed on form return of Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston’s sly Loki, Mark Ruffalo, who gets plenty to do with his dazed Banner and there’s more Hulk action, with Anthony Hopkins’ nonchalant Odin and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange who both cameo.

New comers to the series evil Cate Blanchett, who is not just a ‘end level baddie’, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster and Karl Urban give more than the stereotype unsavoury characters, there’s also a few twists and turns. Tessa Thompson is also noteworthy and excellent Clancy Brown voices Surtur. Waititi also voices the memorable Korg.

There’s the obligatory end credit scene, here two of them. Interestingly where as the Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” is overused Mark Mothersbaugh’s music and the score is fitting to the 80s vibe throughout, sadly Magic Sword’s epic tune “In The Face of Evil” appears to be omitted from the feature, only appearing in the trailer. Still Mothersbaugh’s music has a similar feel.

Overall, Ragnarok’s strength lay in its entertainment value, thanks to some relaxed writing, likeable characters and story beats. Highly recommended.

Warning: Spoilers

Five contract workers have taken on the task of tracking a huge old sanatorium for hazardous waste before demolishing. However things go bump in the night as the enormous building has much darker secrets and possible paranormal activity.

Like with the recent Spanish horror revival director Pål Øie does the same for Norwegian filmmaking offering a well-made filmactic feel is which sells the plausibility, thanks to the acting and large creepy location, the music adds tension.

The premise is interesting even though the story beats, shadows in the dim corridors, figures on camera, jump scares etc are what we’ve seen before Pål Øie’s execution and serious tone makes it worth watching the scares play out. There’s a few bodies, blood, gore, twists and turns, doctors and WWII elements.

Overall, better than the abundance of bad acted English language slasher and horror films doing the rounds at the moment. Recommend.