Posts Tagged ‘movies’
Tags: Aaron Poole, Brian Cox, Donald Sutherland, Forsaken, Jon Cassar, Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Wincott, movies, review, reviews, western
Tags: In a Valley of Violence, movies, review, Taissa Farmiga, Ti West, western
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A drifter is left for dead and returns to the town that wronged him and his dog.
After a spate of disappointing low budget westerns including two featuring Scott Eastwood, In the Valley Violence is entertaining crafted with care. While it’s no Hateful 8, Unforgiven or Tombstone to name a few, known for his atmospheric horrors director Ti West offers a solid off beat modest Western.
With opening credits that are reminiscent of Sergio Leone’ Dollars trilogy and story beats which echo, John Wick and Rambo, West offers a Western in the vain of High Plains Drifter. It’s a dusty grim dead silver mining town, there’s no hustle and bustle. It’s a low key affair with a small cast including John Travolta as a tough mediating marshal who steals the show. Burn Gorman is notable as an intoxicated Priest. Ethan Hawke’s Paul is quite fleshed out, wanting to forget his past and get to Mexico. His dialogue with Taissa Farmiga’s Mary-Anne rings true. It’s really a James Ransone’s Deputy Gilly Martin versus Hawke’s Paul rather than Travolta versus Paul yarn. Abbie (Jumpy) the dog deserves a mention. Karen Gillan is worthy of note along with Eric Robbins’ cinematography who masterfully frames the makeshift town.
Although past West collaborator Jeff Grace’s score can be intrusive it oddly works better when it’s not channelling Ennio Morricone. Bloody and violent in places with a few shoot outs, a hanging and slit throat, Grace along with West build some effective tense moments and to Ti’s credit he also offers some humour that gives In a Valley of Violence a refreshing push.
It’s a pity that West’s marked as an army deserter Paul, didn’t emulate the Man With No Name rather than try hard to avoid clichés as the homage in context of the tale may have elevated the story more and satisfy fans looking for a resurgence of the Eastwood style.
While it’s paint by numbers stuff and won’t shake the genre, it utilises the emptiness in contrast to the big budget Westerns and wisely makes the small cast ensemble and empty town part of the story. Recommend.
Tags: action, action star, actor, Films, Jason Statham, Killer Elite, movies, review, Revolver, Safe, The Mechanic
Dubbed a Bruce Willis clone, Jason Statham former French Connection model was born 12 September 1967 and came into the limelight in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. I don’t believe anyone could have predicted that football fan, cockney sparrow Statham would go on to be the next Hollywood action star. That said, the amount of dedication to his physic and skills he fully deserves the title.
Although he’s starred in some unsatisfying flicks – it’s usually the production that’s the problem, Ghosts of Mars, The One, The Bank Job and remake The Italian Job were all muddled in tone. In Name of the King, a star studded cast but that no amount of talent could redeem. There’s nice cameo in Collateral and The Expendables was a well received blockbuster. And Cellular (2004) is arguably underrated. Transporter, Death Race (remake) and Crank are notable in their own right, it’s just a pity the sequels didn’t deliver the goods.
Statham has showed he’s not a one trick pony either and while not Oscar wining he’s not a bad actor, for example take his lesser well received but excellently made Killer Elite and Revolver .
As a tribute to the man who shrugged off Kelly Brook and cracked on with things (a testament to his character) with Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley here’s a few thoughts on a handful of his outings.
Ex-cop and cage-fighter after his wife is killed contemplates ending it all. However, a chance meeting with a little girl holding information for the mob allows him a chance of redemption.
After Jason Statham’s weighty and drama driven performance in Killer Elite (2011) he returns to familiar Transporter style force in this action packed tale. Director/writer Boaz Yakin knows how to deliver high-octane action and his lead has perfected high kick and punches in his sleep. Like many on location shot films it makes everything more palatable and the Safe certainly has a budget.
It’s violent and bloody, despite being packed with clichés corrupt cops, Russian Mafia and Yakuza it’s fresh enough to remain entertaining. Concept wise it is reminiscent of Mercy Rising (1998) but where as Willis’ outing failed to deliver the Safe surpasses expectations being a bar above the average action flick. There’s a Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing play off against each crime syndicate but it all adds to the entertainment.
Notable is the ever reliable James Hong and Anson Mount gives a menacing, memorable performance as Alex. Chris Sarandon as the Mayor deserves a mention along with bent cop Captain Wolf played by Robert John Burke redeeming himself after Robocop 3. Although the relationship between the young girl Mei played adequately by Catherine Chan and Statham’s Luke Wright isn’t fully explored no doubt to avoid comparisons with Leon (1994) there’s enough emotion to make you care for the characters.
Statham is on form and overall the Safe is an engaging entertaining action film worthy of mention.
Killer Elite (2011)
One of Britain’s Elite Special Air Service is forced out of retirement to undertake one last mission but soon finds he is a pawn in a bigger game.
What maybe deemed at glance as just another action film turns out to be a multi- layered action, drama and true story. It comes with a few twists and doubling crossings. There’s a fair share of shootings, fights, explosions and stabbings but director Gary McKendry handles the scenes in a realistic fashion, possible best described as a mix of Patriot Games, Syrina and Munich with the action similar to Bourne. Killer Elite is a very hard hitting violent drama set within 1980s.
The 80s backdrop and globetrotting on location filming gives the film creditability. Due to the source material and some interesting griping writing by Matt Sherring the characters are all shades of grey which adds to the appeal. This action thriller benefits from some big named actors giving their best and most subtle performances. Jason Statham is perfectly cast as Hunter’s (Robert De Niro) protégé Danny. Notable is Clive Owen in a solid supporting role and an almost unrecognisable Dominic Purcell gives an award deserving performance.
Killer Elite is an underrated ex-special ops story that highlights some of the shady dealings of countries governments and mercenaries. Highly recommend.
The Mechanic (2011)
An assassin’s abilities are tested when he takes on an apprentice, but things get complicated when he finds he’s been used on his last job.
Entertaining assassin/mentor yarn which tries to avoid clichés. Donald Sutherland puts in a welcomed cameo but is missed throughout the rest of the film. Jason Statham is hit man Arthur Bishop, while he can do these roles action roles blind folded Statham is subtler and more complex than most previous parts he’s played. Ben Foster gives a hard hitting performance giving an edginess and weight to the character of Steve McKenna and corporate bad guy Tony Goldwyn is notable.
Some logic aside the Mechanic stands head and shoulders above the mass of recent cheap and big budget flicks due to it’s 1973 source material, smart writing and Simon West’s gritty direction. The wonderful locations give it an air of realism and the soundtrack complements the setups.
With some thought out character development, twists and well executed action scenes it’s a pleasing above average hit-man thriller.
A revenge-seeking trickster guarantees victory when a confidence trick is applied to any game of wits. However, he’s running out of time as could be ‘rubbed out’ by the corrupt casino boss first.
Don’t expect a rehash, the humour or the structure of Mr Ritchie’s earlier films Lock Stock and Snatch. This is Ritchie’s Mulholland Drive. This film makes more sense on a second viewing or when you’re satisfied what this 115 minute marvel has given you for your cash. This film is not for a lazy audience. And while the style of filming or the story is not entirely original the way the film is put together is.
If you’ve seen it and think Zach (Vince Pastore) and Avi (André Benjamin) aren’t real or that Mr Jake Green (Jason Statham) is Mr Gold you may want sit down, watch the movie again and rethink your move. Or stick with what you originally thought. Whether it’s taken as it’s about symbolism, psyche, mysticism or take it at face value the themes are greed, tackling fear and egos to name a few. It’s up to the viewer to decide and it can be interpreted differently each time it’s reviewed. All the loose ends are tied up however you take it – just dig deeper. That said, admittedly this may put off the casual viewer who want a straight forward gangster flick.
The acting and whole production is above average. It has a strong cast ensemble, great dialogue, acting and locations. The music and colour scheme add to the retro surreal feel and set the mood in each scene. The end product is fantastic and not pretentious.
This film could be destined for a future large fan following.
A bold move for Ritchie.
Tags: Alien, Film, Horror, LV 223, LV-426, movie, movies, Prometheus, review, Ridley Scot, sci-fi, Space Jockey
The near future 2089 Earths historical artifact’s and ancient paintings prompt an expedition into space to find our makers but puts the crew of the Prometheus in grave danger when they land on LV-223 in 2093.Veteran director Ridley Scott gives Prometheus its own unique look and rightly so as the action, suspense takes place on LV-223 not LV- 426 as in Alien(s). Without getting bogged down with Alien (2122A.D) comparisons, this is a science expedition not a mining vessel. This change in location allows Prometheus to sit as a stand alone film.
Questioning our origins in a reasonable intelligent way the story written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof is intriguing and makes this film stand above your average sci-fi. That said, Prometheus does raise more questions than it answers yet it’s ambiguity is what makes this film special and allows set-ups for future instalments.
It’s excellently cast and includes international actors Guy Pearce (who is sorely underused) Idris Elba as everyday man Janek and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Charlize Theron is astounding as Meredith Vickers, a hard nosed corporate mission director. Notably is Michael Fassbender as David who is every bit as interesting as Bishop and Ash with added a quirky ‘fondness’ for Peter O’Tool. Main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw played by Noomi Rapace is not your typical Ripley clone and carries much of the emotion for the film.
The effects are first rate, with the Space Jockeys, scenery, ships and Aliens wonderfully realised and rendered. Some of the effects are practical and look organic for the most part. The location and environment feels real and makes everything more palatable. A nod should go to Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography and Pietro Scalia’s editing.
Scott delivers a few standout creepy scenes some particularly gut turning, notably the arm breaking, infection and decontamination scenes- it captures some xenomorph magic.
Marc Streitenfeld’s music score is an effective mixed bag although is a little over used. Both writers and Scott ensure to include a few character twists and wisely incorporate some elements from the Aliens series (in keeping with that world) whether it be a vehicle, a line or setup to possibly appease die-hard fans but for the most part it feels fresh. That said, some character motivations need to be teased out by the viewer for clarification, not all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted.
The film took the Alien series in a direction I was not expecting. As a long-time fan of the Alien series, and with this new Prometheus course I can say I’m satisfied, it’s edge of your seat, gory-suspense – director Ridley Scott is on pretty good form.
Prometheus tackles themes of origin, mortality and biological warfare to name a few and although it feels a little rushed it’s a grower just like the spores themselves.
If you have any burning Prometheus questions head here for answers.
Tags: action, Bladerunner, dark, director, Film, film short, free film, guns, independent film, indiefilm, movies, sci-fi, science fiction, Sean P. Parsons, Syntrifica, Terminus, THEO JOHNSON
The not so distant future, Chinzera a war veteran is diagnosed with PTSD but shows no signs of the disorder. Find out why… Before 2019 and Bladerunners there was Chinzera and Syntrifica.
Watch it here:
Please check the following site for cast interviews and news on the film: http://www.seanparsonshome.com
Tags: Alien Undead, b films, b movies, Blood Dolls, Carnival of Souls, Eaters, Film, grave encounters, Horror, hunter prey, low budget, Messiah of evil, Micro budget, Mission X, movies, Puppetmaster, review, The dark lurking
Below – like Barry Norman on speed or Jonathan Ross with a haircut I’ve put together a few of my little pleasures, those films that unless a film geek like myself points them out they may slip under your radar. Some are wonderfully constructed, some are cult classics, some have entrainment value, some for sheer effort and some just deserve to be seen.
Of course I can’t review my very own 2010 art house vampire, hi-jinks drama Terminus- that would be cheating but here’s a full three minute clip in case you’re curious…
Virgil is biological inventor and his latest creations are the BLOOD DOLLS, who he uses to kill his enemies! There’s a ‘little person’ for a butler. Four leather-clad rock and roll girls-in-a-cage that play on Virgils command.
William Paul Burns as Mr. Mascaro leaves a lasting impression, Phil Fondacaro is on his usual underrated fine form as Hylas, however, the stars of the show are the dolls themselves created by the late Mark Williams.
The movie has B written all over it, it’s like a rehash of Charles Band’s own 80’s killer puppet movie Puppet Master (1989). There’some flamboyant acting, good doll designs and imaginative special effects.
If you like B movies and killer dolls with hearts, it’s not terrific, but it’s fun and does rate outlandish cult status.
Scottish mercenary veteran Ryan goes on a revenge mission with a group of guns for hire and a student camera-man on tow.
The world is devastated by an epidemic and is overrun by hordes of living dead. Three men, Igor and Alen, hunters of dead and a scientist, Gyno try to find an answer to what has happened to the human race.
Oozing atmosphere it’s a creative and unnerving film that concludes with a common place twist but back in ’62 it was ahead of it’s time, a true cult classic.
Alien Undead, The Dark Lurking (2010)
Also known as the marketable Alien Undead Gregory Connors offering is an overlooked interesting piece of low budget film making.
Although borrowing an assortment of ideas and dialogue from many sci-fi’s, heavily from Aliens, The Cave and Event Horizon, Connors film has an odd alluring charm. Underneath the overpowering score uneven script and badly delivered dialogue there’s plenty to like. The effects, make up and gore are for the most part effective. Stark white sets, grim corridors, rain drenched foliage and computer control rooms all add to the films interest. While some of the set ups are less effective than others and The Dark Lurking throws too many ideas in the pot it does for the most part deliver especially in atmosphere.
The cast are a mixed bag, notable are Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy and Ozzie Devrish as Kirkland.
There’s some well executed gun play, great lighting and camera work. Connors and the editor are wise not to linger too long. When the relentless imposing score is working it compliments the many great visuals perfectly.
Although lacking pace and originality its one of the better low budget sci-fi’s and certainly worth viewing.
Tags: 80's film, Alternative Seasonal Winter Films to get you in the Mood., chirstmas, die hard, movies, P2, screamers, The Shining, The Thing, winter
Tags: Anthony Hopkins, entertainment, Film, Fracture, Hannibal Lecter, Hollywood, movies, Nixon, Odin, Port Talbot, Remains of the Day, Richard Burton, The Edge, thor, Wales, Welsh, Welsh Star
Tags: actress, Anna Friel, bathory, elizabeth bathory, Erzsébet Báthory, Famke Janssen, Film, film review, film reviews, gothic, Horror, horror film, Juraj Jakubisko, movie, movie review, movies, sexy, vampire, vampires
Tags: A.M. Esmonde, Ben ChaplinEddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, David Thewlis, entertainment, Film, film review, gangster film, Keira Knightley, London Boulevard, Matt King, movie review, movies, Ray Winstone, Sanjeev Bhaskar, thriller, Tim Plester, William Monahan