Monday, 19 March 2018

THE ENDLESS (full review at The Reel Word)

The Endless is Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead’s follow up to 2014s unique body horror romance Spring. The Endless made its Australian debut at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival, ahead of a broader release this month.

Benson and Moorhead also take on the leading roles, as Justin and Aaron respectively, two brothers who have escaped from a UFO cult and spent ten years trying to adjust to life outside the compound. They work cleaning jobs, struggle to make friends and Aaron, being too young to remember negative experiences with the cult, is resentful of how tough they have it in ‘normal’ society. Aaron longs for the familiarity and comfort of their former home. So when a mysterious video tape arrives from the cult, Justin relents under pressure and agrees to visit for one day. Upon arrival, they are immediately welcomed at Camp Arcadia and reunited with old friends. The cult subsists on the profits from their popular homebrew, and having obviously not committed suicide, as Justin had claimed, the simple country life of the cult begins to look a lot more appealing to Aaron than their hand-to-mouth existence back home. However the longer the brothers stay at the compound, the more they start to notice strange and inexplicable events.

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IMDB: The Endless

Monday, 5 March 2018

ANNIHILATION (full review at The Reel Word)

Lena (Natalie Portman) is a biologist and former soldier, who arrives at a research base in Area X following the reappearance of her husband Kane (Oscar Issaac), who had gone missing
on a classified military operation. As Kane slips into a coma, Lena agrees to join a team of other scientists on a journey into The Shimmer, an unknown area of alien origin which is rapidly expanding to cover everything surrounding it.
The team’s mission is to reach the centre of the anomaly to collect whatever data they can, and Lena is joined by Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny) and Josie (Tessa Thompson). As they travel further into The Shimmer they experience the strange effects of the alien zone, from memory loss to technology failure to the wild mutations of the plants and animals.

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IMDB: Annihilation

Sunday, 4 March 2018

THE RITUAL (full review at The Reel Word)

After a experiencing a tragedy, four friends Luke (Rafe Spall), Phil (Arsher Ali), Hutch (Robert James-Collier) and Dom (Sam Troughton) attempt to cope with their grief by embarking on a hike in Northern Sweden. When Dom injures his leg, and anxious to get back early to the hike lodge, the group elects to take a short cut through a forest. Upon entering the forest they are subjected to nightmares, strange events and a malevolent, unknown evil.

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IMDB: The Ritual

Friday, 16 February 2018

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (full review at The Reel Word)

After an incident aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou results in the United Federation of Planets entering into a war with the mysterious and vicious Klingon Empire, disgraced former First Officer, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), finds herself amongst the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery. The Discovery is a prototype ship, a one-of-a-kind, because it hosts an experimental spore drive (derived from fungus). Under the guidance of Chief Engineer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) it allows Discovery to use an intricate mycelial network (similar to the roots of a plant) to transport itself, undetected, to almost anywhere in the universe. Instantaneously.

Beginning life on Discovery as a pariah, Burnham strives to regain the trust of her new crewmembers and former shipmates.  Under the command of Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs), and with the friendship of Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), Burnham begins her path to redemption, as the Federation battles for survival.

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IMDB: Star Trek: Discovery

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

ALTERED CARBON (full review at The Reel Word)

To try and concisely summarise the plot of Altered Carbon, Netflix’s latest big budget foray into your living room, would likely take as much space as the housebrick of a novel on which it is based. But the gist of it, adapting Richard K Morgan’s 2002 sci-fi opus into ten tasty increments, is thus…

In the distant future human beings are equipped with a device at the base of their skull known as a stack. Acting as a sort of hard-drive-for-the-soul, the stack stores a person’s life, memory, and identity, known as Digital Human Freight (DHF). If a person’s stack remains intact when they die then it is possible to place the stack in a new body, or sleeve, and for the person to carry on living with all the same memories, emotions and experiences. The technology, although available to all, is unsurprisingly controlled by the super-rich. This wealthiest one per cent, having cheated ‘real death’ for generations, are known as Meths, after the Bible’s oldest man Methuselah.

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IMDB: Altered Carbon

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 (full review at The Reel Word)

S. Craig Zahler’s second movie Brawl In Cell Block 99, like his intense debut Bone Tomahawk, bypasses Australian cinemas and arrives direct-to-dvd on 31 January. But be under no misapprehension about its quality. Cell Block is a blisteringly violent prison movie, and its tough guy sensibility has swaggered right out of the 1970s to sock you square on the jaw.

Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn) is laid off from his tow-truck driver job. His marriage to wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) is under strain, and he finds himself with little other option than to become a drug runner for local dealer Gil (Marc Blukas). As can be deduced from the title of the movie, things do not go well and Bradley finds himself in the clink. On his first day inside, rival drug dealer Eleazar (Dion Mucciacito) contacts him to offer a terrifying ultimatum. In order to save Lauren and their child he must kill a fellow inmate.

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IMDB: Brawl In Cell Block 99

Monday, 22 January 2018

THE FLORIDA PROJECT (full review at The Reel Word)

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project draws us into the lives of residents of the Magic Castle Hotel, living on the fringes of the Florida tourist district, just beyond the reach (and wealth) of Disney’s iconic theme park. It highlights the cruel disparity between ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’, and those that live in poverty just down the street. The wealth, affluence and manicured utopia of Disney versus the brightly coloured, unofficial motels and tourist trap gift shops.

The slice-of-life approach to the storytelling invites us to delve into the experiences of 6 year old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her best friends Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and Jancey (Valeria Cotto), as well as Moonee’s mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) and hotel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe).

It is the summer holidays and Moonee and her friends are running wild around the hotel and local area. Our introduction sees them getting into trouble for spitting on cars, mouthing off at adults and scrounging ice cream money from passersby. Halley has no inclination to get work, preferring to hang around at the hotel, or sell knock-off perfumes to country club patrons. But this only makes her weekly struggle to make rent a lot worse. Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the hotel manager, does his best in a demanding and unappreciated job, he doesn’t take any shit and he has to enforce the rules, but he also casts a protective arm around his residents and the kids in particular

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IMDB: The Florida Project