Posts Tagged ‘Film’

Truck driver Frank Sheeran tells his story of how he gets involved with Russell Bufalino, climbing the ranks to become a top hit man and also goes to work for Jimmy Hoffa.

Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese and written by Steven Zaillian this offering from the legendary director is based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. It long run time has perfect pace, but don’t go expecting the roller coaster ride of Goodfellas or Casino, this echoes classics like The Godfather’s and Once Upon A Time in America’s pacing with the feel of JFK to name a few.

It’s poignant, funny and the violence boldly plays second fiddle to the characters and their relationships. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are on fine form along with Harvey Keitel (whose screentime is limited) with their ageing special effects holding up for the most part (Pacino looks a little off at times). A casual viewer probably wouldn’t notice as they age from the 1950s onwards, it touches on many periods with great recreations.

For completion, it’s only crime is not including Ray Liotta and Johnny Depp.

Highly recommended.

As he walks the streets of Gotham City Arthur Fleck is isolated, bullied and disregarded by society causing him to descend into madness turning him into the anarchy iconic criminal known as the Joker.

Channeling the likes of Taxi Driver, American Psycho with a dash of The King of Comedy director Todd Phillips offers an outstanding Joker origin film, so much so and Oscar worthy it feels too good to be a mere DC superhero movie.

Joaquin Phoenix is mesmerisingly outstanding, making Fleck both sympathetic and menacing. The Wayne/Batman connections are weighty and dramatic enough not to induce eye-rolling. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher delivers the atmospheric grit of the late 70s into an early 1980s set Joker.

The psychological aspect is reminiscent of American Psycho with a play on what is real and what is not. Its intriguing throughout watching Fleck’s metamorphosis into something quite edgy and creepy during the briskly paced running time.

Phillips expertly injects violence that is hard hitting, that emulates the simmering and brutal kills of The Godfather, Goodfellas and the like with a tragic character and dark comedy at its core.

It’s a must see, if anything, it’s arguably too well made to be a comic book movie.

An expert hitman is pitted against his own clone run by a government sanctioned security service Gemini.

Director Ang Lee offers a solid fun actioner with an injection of science fiction that echoes the likes of Assassins (1995) and the 6th Day (2000) with a feel of John Woo’s Face Off (1997).

With a notable supporting cast that includes the likes of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Douglas Hodge, Benedict Wong and (somewhat wasted) Ralph Brown you’d think it would be a entertaining dramatic hit however everyone feels so relaxed that there’s no real sense of danger. With paper thin motive the Jason Bourne-like government conspiracy scenes never quite hit the mark lacking some much needed weight.

Even though the whole film seems an excuse for Will Smith to face off against the parallel universe Fresh Prince of Bel-air assassin, Smith is great in the duel young/old roles along side a menacing Clive Owen. Smith, however, like the reset of the cast feels flat, even during the emotional highs, possibly due to the colourful locations, cinematography and Ang Lee’s general directing style.

The CGI de-aged effects are a mixed bag at times as excellent as the wacky fight setups but at others not as effective as the young Sarah Conner in Sky Dance’s other release Terminator Dark Fate.

With global-trotting fights, chases and shoot outs throughout there plenty to like right up-to a little clone twist in the closing act along with a surprise death.

Overall, Gemini Man is a lot better then the trailer makes it out to be but it’s odd tonally flawed entertaining action film.

In Mexico City a young woman named Dani Ramos becomes the latest target of a cyborg assassin, Rev 9, from the future sent by ‘Legion’.

Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) offers a standup Terminator outing correcting Genisys working as a sequel to Terminator 2. However, opening with Endoskeleton Terminators which are wiped out because of the events in T2, a young John and (excellently CGI rendered young) Sarah Connor – it then takes a sudden story turn to present day. Miller flashes forward at times to a possible or inevitable future (never clarified in Dark Fate if it can be prevented as in T2). These snippets introduce a Salvation like future with bizzare fast moving tentacle Terminators and the creation of an technologically augmented super soldier.

It has better casting than Terminator 3 (namely poorly cast Danes and Stahl). But don’t get too excited though as it barely has the grit or grounded practical feel of The Terminator nor the substance and style of the second. Frankly there’s too much CGI which takes centre stage ripping you out of the action. That said, as a CGI driven modern action film younger viewers may find it more appealing, but this is where the likes of Halloween (2018) and also Mexican themed Rambo: Last Blood have a slight edge over Miller’s loud big outing as the aforementioned focus is on the characters not just the effects.

Emotionally the film belongs to it’s cybernetically enhanced soldier Grace brilliantly played by Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton, who returns as Sarah Connor. Both actors have great chemistry. Hamilton is great here, Miller keeps it refreshingly female orientated.

Gabriel Luna’s advanced Terminator model whose skin and skeleton can function as two separate bodies is interesting but his incognito infiltration element, to blend into any surrounding is wasted as he blatantly goes on wacky outlandish killing sprees in plain sight.

Schwarzenegger lights up the screen as Terminator but it leaves very little impact, it’s a pitty he didn’t show up in the flesh in Salvation. His 101 model has some good lines and generous amount of screen time. Many elements are rehashed from T2, others echoing the underrated Salvation, Dani Ramos (played by Natalia Reyes) is the new the Sarah Connor but with a welcomed little twist on the story.

Miller and writers thankfully keep it coherent compared to the last outing, but they never really explore the time travel whys and what. Also Kyle or Ginger never get a mention from Sarah’s lips, given her subtler scenes with both leads it felt like a missed opportunity.

Overall, with less CGI it could have been great, never the less it’s an enjoyable Terminator film, maybe coming from an analog age it’s just not my Terminator film.

While attempting to save her father during a hurricane, a woman finds fighting for her life against a group of hungry alligators.

Alexandre Aja (director of the underrated Maniac and overlooked Pyramid) offers a excellent exciting creature feature flick.

The glue here though is a good performance by Kaya Scodelario as Hayley. Barry Pepper is also on his usually form as her father Dave. The premise is simplistic enough. There’s moments reminiscent of The Shallows, Rouge and 47 Metres Down to name a few.

Where Aja excels is with the practical and digital effects, as looters, police and other fodder are devoured on the rising waters and storm backdrops. The tension at times is as well executed as the alligators themselves especially the setups where Hayley is trapped in a house.

Overall, it’s no game changer or as visually ground breaking or clever as Aja’s other works but it is a recommend creature feature, especially thanks to Kaya’s dedicated performance and alligator moments.

A boy named Harley and his family attends a taping of The Banana Splits TV show. However, when the show is cancelled the stars go on a killing rampage through the studio.

Director Danishka Esterhazy offers viewers The Banana Splits gang, a vest-wearing headstrong mother heroine, over the top gore and Hostel Saw-like torture, mixed with Rob Zombie’s Hell 31 (2016) on a low budget.

Like the recent similar tones of the Puppet Master: Littlest Reich (2018) reboot, Esterhazy film lacks a cinematic look and quality, its straight to home-video feel stops it becoming a cult classic. That’s said, there’s plenty to enjoy. Fleegle and Drooper are particular menacing as the majority of adults are killed off. The child actors are good, actress Dani Kind does her best Linda Hamilton as a Sarah Connor type and Naledi Majola is notable as studio manager Paige.

While this movie is packed with borrowed elements from better films writers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas’s story holds up with a few twists, including a programming Frankenstein creator, robotic Banana Splits with a topical A.I. gone wrong reminiscent of Small Soldiers and the recent Child’s Play remake.

For die hard ‘Splits fans Cuckoo is possibly the psychological damaged fiancee (which sets up a sequel) but the ‘head on the wall’ from the original series appears to be omitted. Nevertheless, there’s blood, elaborate deaths throughout the rundown grime ridden studio setting and the showdown with good robot Snorky versus evil Bingo robot is a hoot.

This tone shift will split The Banana Splits fans but old school Banana Splits lovers who like horror should watch even if only for the novel adult tra la la slasher fun.

SPOILERS!

When a faulty Kaslan Buddi doll is returned to a store due to its red eyes, a mother gives it to her 13-year-old son as an early birthday present unaware of its potentially evil nature.

Directed by Lars Klevberg the Child’s Play remake is a crowd pleaser with a handful of over the top Saw, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Puppet Master-like gory graphic kills.

Tyler Burton Smith’s writing is only novel if you’ve not seen advanced the tech toys in Small Soldiers or integrated App controlling in Terminator Genisys to name a few. Here the A.I. Buddi doll from Kaslan Cooperation has been reprogrammed and it’s safety restrictions removed by a disgruntled Vietnamese worker who shortly after commits suicide. Later after bonding with Andy the ‘learning’ Chucky goes on an over protective rampage.

Smith borrows heavily from Joe Dante’s aforementioned Soldiers and Don Mancini’s Cult of Chucky especially in the closing where Chucky takes control of a variety of toys and the latest line of Buddi Dolls.

As Chucky slashes and stabs his (preferred way of killing) way through the paper thin plot (gone is the supernatural voodoo aspect of the original) Smith also throws in an E.T., Goonies group of kids which also echoes the popular Stranger Things to cover all bases. The cat versus Chucky feels a little too nasty. In addition, the Texas Chainsaw gag and skin mask nod is so outlandish and early on in the film, it steals any real credence to the derivative proceedings. The pervert in the basement is a mashup straight out of Hardware and The Resident.

Mark Hamill is fine as the voice of Chucky, complete with a well delivered catchy Buddi song. Hamill offers a serial killer calm and sinister edge to Chucky but arguably he’s less menacing than his predecessor Brad Dourif. Gabriel Bateman’s Andy Barclay is solid enough even if reminiscent of the child in The Predator but never is truly fearful of Chucky even after finding his mom’s boyfriend’s face. Through no fault of actor Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay, the slutty mom thing stops you really caring for the character. Likeable Brian Tyree Henry’s Detective Mike Norris feels wasted. The death of his mother is too circumstantial for you to buy into his brief investigations.

While this 2019 unoriginal version is well put together, briskly paced with great effects, Klevberg vision doesn’t have the weight, wit or tension of the original Child’s Play. It’s feels like a studio property money making exercise (that it does successfully) for the common denominator and demographics. Nevertheless, it’s worth watching once if only for the Hamill and the FX.

SPOILERS!

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must come to terms with loss, first love and team up with a new superhero to take on new elemental threats while on vacation.

Director Jon Watts delivers one of the best Marvel sequels, more impressively, one of the best Marvel films in my subjective book. This is cemented by Michael Giacchino’s music. Oddly, the characters are so endearing due to Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers’ character writing and one liners that at times it almost doesn’t need the big action setups.

Watts and crew capture much of comics tone and thanks to Tom Holland’s performance that hones Peter Parker’s teenage years perfectly it makes it a joy to watch. Again, not since Nicholas Hammond’s 1970’s stint has an actor echoed Parker in a likeable fashion. For fans (and those of a certain age) Far from Home also goes back not just to the original comics by including Mysterio but brings back memories of the 1960s cartoon.

Although elements of plot feel a little recycled from Iron Man 3 there’s enough comic rapport, teen romance and superhero action for it to have its own legs. This MCU addition hit’s home especially thanks to the top returning cast that offers character development and expanding relationships. Although lacking the vocal gravitas for Quentin Beck a.k.a Mysterio the master of trickery and illusion, Jake Gyllenhaal is a great addition to the cast offering plenty of weight.

It goes out of it way to address the five year ageing issue that Endgame caused. It’s a pity it wasn’t more of a stand-alone film. Hopefully with Fox now under Disney/Marvel Spider-Man can be reunited with the X-Men for the first time.

There’s a mid and post credit scene, the first which reveals Spider-Man’s true identity and (while not bringing into cannon) is a nod of sorts to Sam Raimi’s outings by including J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. The second puts a twist on Far from Homes events and connects the outing to Captain Marvel with a Ben Mendelsohn cameo.

Overall, as with many of the Marvel outings it may not have rewatch longevity, but it certainly is fun, has heart and is more enjoyable than many of its predecessors. A must see for Spidey fans.

A detective apprehends a serial killer who after his electric chair execution returns to haunt the police man from the grave.

As a stand alone story, House III: The Horror Show ticks all the 80s horror boxes, practical and optical effects, stunts, rock music and a fitting score by Harry Manfredini.

Just like House II: The Second Story its tame predecessor, producer Sean. S. Cunningham and director James Isaac’s only failing with this instalment is that it’s not really in the spirit of the original House. That’s said, thankfully it’s for the most part a serious offering with A Nightmare on Elm St (1984) tone, Freddy-like quips and a furnace to match. It’s also reminiscent of the Prison (1987) and echoes Wes Craven’s Shocker (1989).

Trying to keep his sanity Lance Henriksen gives one of his best straight performances as Detective Lucas McCarthy. Brion James gives his staple larger than life delivery but with genuine menace and weight as Meat Cleaver Max. Interestingly Day of the Dead’s Terry Alexander briefly appears as Henriksen’s partner Casey and Dedee Pfeiffer encapsulates that 80s brat pack persona as Bonnie McCarthy.

Overall, overlooked House III: The Horror Show has suspense, gore with surreal dreams and splatter effects. Everything a fan of 1980’s horror could want.

On the research station lab on the planet of Xarbia a flesh-eating mutant is loose that feeds on the dwindling scientific group who created it.

With the same vibe as Galaxy of Terror (1981), Roger Corman’s Forbidden World a.k.a Mutant is an excuse for director Allan Holzman to put some cheap icky specimen effects, jumpsuits and scantily clad actresses on screen. It also comes complete with some disco/electronica music from Susan Justin and a little robot called SAM104 who looks as if he should be in sci-fi films Silent Running or Saturn 3.

June Chadwick’s blonde Barb bloody life form encounter scene is short but impressive. Jim Wynorski fingerprints are all over this, Brunette Dawn Dunlap lights up the screen screaming with unnecessary skimpy outfits throughout taking off her clothes whenever the script calls for it. Hammy Fox Harris doctor is entertaining enough, reminiscent of, but predating Brad Dourif’s Alien Resurrection performance. There’s also an interesting desert scene which echoes an episode of Star Trek in terms of style and execution.

Forbidden World is as clunky as some of ‘Subject 20’ effects, editing and dialogue. To its credit and inconsistency aside many scenes are well lighted and a handful of the practical special effects including the cocoon and kills are not too shabby. It’s common knowledge that some sets and footage is recycled from other Corman productions, including Battle Beyond the Stars and Galaxy of Terror but it’s all seamless unless your already privileged to the knowledge as it fittingly looks as if it belongs to this low budget production.

Overall, it’s energetic and amusingly gruesome even if at times for all the wrong reasons.