Friday, 21 April 2017

Fled (1996)

KABOOM! 'splotions! Chasing! Shooting! THE 90'S!


Fled

A-Typical 90's action flick, Fled, starts with hacker, Dodge (!) and, um, criminal, Piper (!), breaking free from a road gang, and fleeing the law. What follows is 98 minutes of action. Cars explode on impact. Guns wielded at funny - yet extremely effective - angles. All meetings happening in strip clubs. Floppy disks. Yes. Floppy disks.

For it being about escaped convicts however, it couldn't be more of a buddy-cop movie.

Stephen Baldwin and Laurence Fishburne star as the two escaped convicts. Baldwin trying to carve an action man niche for himself, and Fishburne sitting comfortably in his. Baldwin has a mixed career, going well until the mid-nineties (starring in Bio-Dome in the same year, ouch), and then slowly drifting towards straight to DVD obscurity. Sadly, I mostly know him for the latter, so could have given this a miss, which would have been a shame. Fishburne is always likable, and his performance here reminds me of his role in 92's Deep Cover opposite Jeff Goldblum. As leads they're both capable and carry the film well.

The supporting cast is large, but not overly memorable, with the exception of always great Will Patton, and the sudden appearance of RuPaul, bizarrely.


Lawrence Fishburne / RuPaul


The film is as you would expect it to be. It has a little Lethal Weapon. A lot of generic 90's action. There are certain aspects drawn from earlier Die Hard II, which leads to comparison.

None of this is a bad thing. 

It is what it is. 90's action. Well enough made, and enough explosions to sate any Michael Bay fan.

If you've not seen it and want a fun action flick, go see it now. It's as good as any other of the period.










Friday, 14 April 2017

Bunnyman (2011)

The IMDB synopsis for this movie is: A couple of dimwitted teens get chased by a killer dressed in a bunny suit. 

I shit you not.


He's behind you!

This is a strange, strange, movie. The synopsis is surprisingly accurate, however, before we get to the couple there were six.

Six lonely travelers in a car doing twenty.

With no dialogue to speak of, which is not a bad thing because of the quality of the acting, six friends (whose names are so unimportant we aren't given them, nor do we know where they're going) get driven from the road by a large, lumbering truck - that they could have sped away from should the driver have known how to drive. They are then picked off by a man in a bunny suit.

BUNNYMAN.


Scary.

Trying its hardest to be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and failing miserably, Bunnyman is simply a man in a bunny suit offing 'teens' with a chainsaw in the forest. A couple of the gore effects were okay, and I put that down to them being practical rather than CGI.

The acting is terrible, the direction as base as it can get, the screenplay non-existent, and the killer was in a bunny suit.

Says it all really.

Starring Cheryl Texiera (Girl Meets World) and Matthew Albrecht (The Eves) as the two final 'teens' and Carl Lindbergh (Director of Bunnyman) as Bunnyman, the movie hardly has a reason to be good. It tries, which is something, but comes off as a group of friends mucking about at the weekend with a camera.

It also spawned two sequels, which I now have to watch.

I can't recommend the movie, however, I feel a one star rating is a dupe. Only for hardcore bad horror fans, this one.






Friday, 7 April 2017

Lights Out (2016)

I might have pooped. Slightly.


Lights Out

To say too much about the movie is just a spoiler nightmare. Opening with the death - by possible supernatural forces - of Paul, it appears that a curse of sorts has befallen the family. The son is seeing the same force. The mother has a 'friend'. I'm trying to be vague.

A superior horror film is made, and of course, none other than producer James Wan is present. The man largely behind Saw, The Conjuring, Insidious etc. Of course it's good. The man has had a hand in most of the best horror movies of the decade so far.


Billy Burke as Paul
 
Based on the award winning short of the same name, below (2013), I honestly wasn't expecting much. Sure the trailer (below-er) is scary. But I couldn't see how it could be made...real. Feature length. It seemed too good to be true.

The short is nothing less than fucking terrifying. Here:






Anyway.

The movie is a distinct step aside from the short, but while offering a little plot, is a simple film destined to scare. 

Acting is well done. Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman do a solid job. But this film's secret lies with direction and editing to make it scary. Director David S. Sandburg does a stellar job. He was the mind behind the short, and this is his first feature length presentation.

Good job, man. 

So what's the film about? It's a...ghost?...story. It doesn't matter. The film rates up there with The Conjuring, and Insidious. It betters The Babadook, in my opinion. 

It's new. Different.

Scary.







Friday, 31 March 2017

Tunnel Vision (2013)

Cristos. Is. A potato.


Do. Not. Watch. This. Film.

According to IMDB:

When a jury fails to convict the serial killer who savagely murdered his family, one man must rise above his desire for revenge and descend into the deranged world of a sadistic predator to uncover the truth and finally get justice. What begins as a classic revenge tale takes a dramatic turn into a haunting land of horror and murder.

Cristos (yes, just Cristos) plays the lead in Cristos vehicle, Tunnel Vision. Written and produced by Cristos, Cristos is Gabriel, a man/potato who rides a motorcycle...a lot...a man/potato who jogs feebly after serial killers...a man/potato with all the charisma of a bag of pickled onion flavored chips.

This film is so laughably bad, I'm trying to entertain myself while writing this.


Artist's Depiction of Cristos

Okay, so basically Gabriel is a bike mechanic (I think. It's not really made clear). While working one night, and riding the oh so long ride home, his house is broken into, his wife and kid murdered, and when he finally arrives, he's boshed over the head with a rusty pipe. Or something. I don't know, the cinematography didn't exist.

Later, after much moping - you know, dead family and stuff - he thinks he sees the killer in the local DIY store (!) and takes chase! It's stunningly uninteresting. Want to re-create it? Roll a potato down a wide alley.

Gabriel completely fucks up the court case, gives shoddy evidence and the guy is unsurprisingly let go.

What follows is 45 minutes of boring melodrama that doesn't go anywhere. Culminating in Cristos and the only police officer who believes him (played by Ion Overman - the best actor in the film by far), tracking down the killer - from the DIY store - and laying down justice. It sounds better than it is.

The problem is that the film doesn't know what it wants to be. The trailer, below, is cut together like a horror movie. It isn't. It has, in fact, every scene in it that isn't talking. The poster looks like an action film. Potato in an alley. I'm not even sure why it was called Tunnel Vision.

With no budget, and sadly little skill on show, the film comes off as little more than a student film.

Check out the trailer for some sweet, sweet, Cristos on a bike action.





Friday, 24 March 2017

Get Out (2017)

Damned white people.


Get Out


So this film is good.

Underlined by a deceptively simple horror premise, Get Out subverts genre norms, and plays the game a little differently. Chris Washington is going to meet his girlfriends parents for the first time. Troubling for all young men, I'm sure, but she hasn't mentioned he's black. But I'm sure it'll be fine.

Creep factor to 10 when the two of them arrive.

It soon appears that the girls family is racist, but in a strange way. Odd until the reveal. For the most of the running time you're just left with strange unease. Then the reveal comes just before the climax.


Star: Daniel Kaluuya

The genius of the film comes with the choices made by writer/director Jordan Peele. Firstly, not having major Hollywood star power involved allowed the viewer to be sucked into the film. Even Bradley Whitford playing the patriarch of the family was almost unrecognizable. Withholding the what-their-doing-and-why until the last moment is singularly genius. 

The sunken place is something we've never seen before.

Some of the acting is standout: Daniel Kaluuya as Chris is great, and Caleb Landry Jones gives his best performance to date. LilRel Howery as the comedy sidekick has perfect timing.

It's horror with no blood to speak of. It has a few jump scares, but the performances build stark fear by playing hard on the foreboding.

By far this is a step forward for the genre as far as being different. And I'm glad it's making money. I don't normally review films still at the cinema, but as it's still there, go and see it.

Now.








Friday, 17 March 2017

Don't Breathe (2016)

See. This is how you make a film.


Don't Breathe. Really. Don't.

Writer/director Fede Alvarez (who you'll remember directed the excellent Evil Dead remake) brings stark and satisfying horror in the form of Don't Breathe.

Basically a reverse home invasion movie, Don't Breathe is the simple story of three young criminals who decide to rob the home of a blind ex-military dude, who is sitting on a fortune (in cash - reasons) after being awarded recompense for the death of his daughter.

You can see where I'm going here, can't you?

Said dude is totally a skilled mercenary type (Blind Justice!), and the three criminals have to fight for their lives to survive. Nice.


Stephen Lang

The win here comes in two forms. Firstly is Alvarez. He deftly manages to make you root for the criminals. Well, two of them, anyway. I mean, they're robbing a blind guy. Why did I root for them? And the second is the excellent three main leads, Stephen Lang (The Blind Man according to IMDB) and two of the criminals, Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette. 

The story is simple to the point of not being there. But it doesn't matter. It's all in the acting, cinematography, and direction.

Until the third act.

If you've not seen this movie, then I must warn you about the final act of the movie. It gets nasty.

Really nasty.

Look. I'm not spoiling it. But you'll need a strong stomach suddenly. Alvarez ramps the ick factor with the flick of a switch, changes the balance and the tone of the movie suddenly, and then everything is different. 

And it makes it even better. 

The sudden third act twist will ensure this goes down as classic horror, and sets it aside from other similar movies such as The Purge or The Strangers. (I particularly liked The Strangers. Where's my sequel?)






Friday, 10 March 2017

John Wick (2014)

John Wick. Oh.


John Wicke

So it's light on plot. Who cares?

Reeves protrays John Wick, a retired mob hit man. His wife dies in the first few minutes of the movie of unmentioned natural causes, and delivers him a puppy on the day of her funeral from beyond the grave. Well, courier, anyway.

John must put his life back together.

The son of a Russian mobster takes a liking to Wick's car, breaks into his house, batters him, kills his new dog, and steals his car. This is the first 10 minutes of the film.

John Wick kills 77 people. This is the rest of it.


John Wick kills people.

Stuffed with outstanding performances (noticeably,  Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe, and Ian McShane) and stunningly directed action scenes, John Wick may be the best action movie in years. The world placed before us has some interesting ideas - hotels for assassins, assassin currency, etc - but by and large, this is action the way it should be done.

And bloody good, it is.


John Wick kills more people.

Laced and littered with spot on humor, Reeves makes his best film in years. He stoically guns down people like he's playing whack-a-mole. And he should be. Supposedly the best hit-man in history. Not a man to piss off.

I can't praise this highly enough for being exactly what it is. Keanu Reevs cooly killing people for the whole running time. Massive kudos to the Director, Chad Stahelski (who has no previous directing credits, but was a stunt co-ordinator).

This is old school action. No jump cuts. No flash camera work. Just a great movie. Just great.