Tuesday, 21 August 2018

MANDY (full review at Screen Realm)

In 2010 first-time director Panos Cosmatos created a surreal and grotesquely beautiful science fiction movie by the name of Beyond the Black Rainbow. Cosmatos crafted a movie with a superficially retro appearance, which, upon inspection, contained a depth of startling visual originality...

And while Beyond The Black Rainbow was certainly not for everyone, it found appeal among those who like to look in the dark corners and around the smudged edges of cinema for something a bit different. Even if you don’t agree that Black Rainbow succeeds in its mission, you can’t name another movie like it… until now.

...Red (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) live an idyllic life together in their home in California’s Shadow Mountains, until one day they cross paths with a religious cult led by Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). Jeremiah decides he must possess Mandy and enlists the help of a monstrous trio of L.S.D.-bent bikers to take her by force.

...Mandy is dark and weird and unhinged, and very, very good.

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IMDB: Mandy

THE MEG (full review at Screen Realm)

After years in Development Hell, The Meg, based on the book by Steve Alten, arrives on our screens with the irresistibly high-concept formula of Jason Statham + Giant Shark. It has thus ramped up enthusiasm to giddy heights for those of us who consider ourselves connoisseurs of both the large-creature-runs-amok oeuvre, and the filmography of Mr Statham.

The plot involves an offshore, hi-tec science lab, dedicated to exploring the depths of the ocean. More specifically a team of scientists lead by Zhang (Winston Chao) and financed by Morris (Rainn Wilson) set out to prove the floor of the famed Marianas Trench is merely a deep sea cloud protecting a realm of undiscovered sea life. It begins as a forgotten world yarn in the grand tradition of Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Think 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Journey To the Center Of The Earth, The Land That Time Forgot. But in a similar plot development to Alexandre Aja’s feral Piranha remake, the scientists accidentally loose a gigantic prehistoric shark, or Megalodon, upon the modern world and it’s up to burly, expert rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) to stop it.

Read the full review at Screen Realm:

IMDB: The Meg

Tuesday, 7 August 2018


French writing/directing team Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani follow up their acclaimed neo-gialli Amer and The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears with their third feature, Let The Corpses Tan (Laissez Bronzer Les Cadavres). Corpses… is a stylish and bloody crime noir that also takes influence from Italian cinema - this time in form of spaghetti western and classic Italian ‘poliziottesco’ crime films.

A criminal gang, led by Rhino (Stéphane Ferrara), uses local artist Luce’s (Elina Löwensohn) remote studio residence as cover to undertake an early morning gold heist on a coastal road outside an unnamed town. Returning to their hilltop hideaway, with a couple of hitchikers in tow, the gang plans to lie low until the furore around the robbery has died down. Unfortunately, two local motorcycle cops call in on a routine check and the situation quickly devolves, resulting a bloody stand off as both cops and criminals find themselves under siege.

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IMDB: Let The Corpses Tan

Saturday, 14 July 2018

ESCAPE TO VICTORY (full review at Screen Realm)

Escape To Victory (or simply Victory if you are more familiar with the prosaic US and Australian title) is a 1981 World War II / sports movie meld from legendary director John Huston. Or to put it another way, Escape To Victory is the greatest sports movie ever made.

Loosely based on a 1962 Hungarian film by the name of Two Half-Times in Hell (Két félidő a pokolban) aka The Last Goal, the story has its roots in a remarkable real-life series of games known as The Game of Death aka The Death Match, which took place in 1941 and saw F.C. Dynamo Kiev trounce a team of Nazis.

Read the full article at Screen Realm:

IMDB: Escape To Victory

Sunday, 8 July 2018

SEE YOU UP THERE (AU REVOIR LA-HAUT) (full review at Screen Realm)

In 1918 as the First World War edges to a close, on verge of armistice, Edouard Péricourt (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) and Albert Maillard (Albert Dupontel) are ordered, along with the rest of their company, to undertake one last foray into No-Mans Land.  Their commanding officer Henri d'Aulnay-Pradelle (Laurent Lafitte), sends his charges into the firing line of the Somme, where Edouard saves Alberts life. But as the two prepare to retreat Edouard is injured in an explosion which tears away the bottom of his face, leaving him permanently disfigured.

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IMDB: See You Up There

Thursday, 14 June 2018

THE LEISURE SEEKER (full review at Screen Realm)

Will and Jane Spencer arrive at their family home one morning to find their parents, John and Ella (Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren) have absconded in the family Winnebago, the Leisure Seeker. They want to hit the road one last time, to have a final vacation in the trusty vehicle of their family holidays, and to allow John, a retired English professor, to finally visit the house of his idol Ernest Hemingway.

Paolo Virzi’s, The Leisure Seeker, is a road movie which forgoes the usual odd-couple conflict, in favour of a couple who know each other very well. Long married and embarking on what they both know is likely their last holiday, because Ella is sick, and John is battling dementia. Which leaves an underlying sense of sadness to The Leisure Seeker, as we get to know John and Ella, we share the sorrow of their mutual deterioration.

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IMDB: The Leisure Seeker

Thursday, 7 June 2018

OCEAN'S 8 (full review at Screen Realm)

Freshly released from prison, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) teams up with her best friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) with a plan to pull off an elaborate jewel heist. Having spent the past five years plotting every aspect of their perfect crime, Debbie and Lou set about recruiting a team to steal an extremely valuable necklace from famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the prestigious Met Gala in New York.

Ocean’s 8 is threaded into the Soderbergh iteration of Ocean movies as Bullock’s character, Debbie Ocean, is the sister of George Clooney’s character Danny. It’s worth it as an excuse to see Elliot Gould cameo as Reuben, but beyond establishing a thin continuity with the previous trilogy, it’s not that necessary. Soderbergh’s version (itself a remake of the 1960 Brat Pack movie) and the sequels, although fun, are unlikely to have left anyone believing the movies to be sacred ground. In fact, in these times of superfluous remakes, the Oceans series actually looks like a perfect candidate for reinterpretation.

Read the full review at Screen Realm:

IMDB: Ocean's 8