Friday, 27 January 2017

Kill Me Three Times (2014)

Simon Pegg is famous for two notable things. Scotty, and playing whatever Edgar Wright says. While this is neither, it's closer to an Edger Wright character than not. This is not a bad thing.


There's another Hemsworth!

Kill Me Three Times is a fairly simple story. It is told with a non-linear narrative which ultimately serves little purpose, but allows the tale to be told from multiple perspectives, and thus a few twists.

Fundamentally an action comedy, KMTT is a Pegg star vehicle. The tale of a cheating wife, insurance fraud, illegal gambling, and a hitman. Pegg is hired to hit Alice (Alice Braga) the adulterous wife of club owner Jack. When he arrives locals Lucy and Nathan are having a botch at doing it themselves.


Charlie Wolfe. Slightly shit hitman.

While Pegg falls into his Corneto trilogy persona here - and thus he takes great glee in his own performance - most of the rest of the cast play it for deadpan. It makes Pegg standout. The murderous Lucy and Nathan (Teresa Palmer and Sullivan Stapleton) are excellent. The rest of the cast amble along, which is fine. Pegg alone is so over the top in places that a calming influence from some of the cast helps balance it out.

The story is good, and the odd narrative is well done, and not, as it can be, confusing. 

It's funny. The action works. Pegg gets stabbed in the hand. Again. (But not by Peter Jackson donning a Santa suit this time.)

Worth seeking out, for sure.






Friday, 20 January 2017

Antiviral (2012)

What did I just watch?


Antiviral

I had high hopes for 2012's Antiviral. It sure seemed like an interesting concept, and it seemed that director, Brandon Cronenburg may have been following in his father's footsteps. Sadly, this is more of a mis-step.

Set in the near future, people have the ability to purchase, and contract their favorite celebrities diseases. Syd, a worker for one of the clinics practicing this is dodging the system. Taking risks to sell the product on the black market, and eventually infecting himself with an incurable disease, leading to a bizarre murder mystery. It sounds good satire on today's infatuation with celebrity. It sounds Cronenburgian.

Sadly the direction hits too heavily on the weird, and not enough on the narrative. A hard road to walk, but one Cronenburg Snr. has managed deftly in the past.


Malcolm McDowell / Caleb Landry Jones

Cast largely with younger actors (and McDowell, who let's face it, gets in everywhere) the delivery of the bizarre materials is done pretty well. The special effects are good. I think conceptually it is a solid movie.

It is simply lies at the feet of Cronenburg that the pacing is jarring, and the surreal is laid on so thick that in places the film is hard to follow. The ending is not satisfying. Five years on, and he is yet to release anything further.

I hope he has been fine tuning his art.

This is sadly not for any mainstream audience, and even for myself, a fan of horror, body horror, bizzaro and such, this wasn't for me. It never came across as intentional. Just experimental.




Friday, 13 January 2017

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

Brother and sister. Tail end of the craziest family you ever heard of.

The People Under the Stairs

From Wes Craven The People Under the Stairs is a bizarre film, a journey into the minds of crazies as seen by Fool, a 13 year old boy trying to help his family. Fool (Brandon Quintin Adams) needs money to buy medicine his mother needs and is taken on a burglary by Leroy (Ving Rhames). They, accompanied by Leroy's partner attempt to burgle the house of Fool's family's landlords (credited only as Man and Woman).

But inside the house they find far more than they bargained for.


GIMP!

"Man" and "Woman", as we are led to believe are brother and sister, live together - we assume - in an incestuous relationship. Man wears a gimp suit. There is an abused young girl living there who believes herself to be their daughter, but who isn't. There are people living under the stairs. There is a young man living in the crawl space with no tongue.

I would say that it only sounds weird on paper, but I'd be lying.

True, the film is inherently strange, but it is also monumentally watchable and enjoyable.


Brandon Quintin Adams and Ving Rhames
   
Writer/Directer Craven gives the viewer a taste of what's to come in Scream four years later. Spattered with dark humor and splattered with blood, the tale twists to the very end. It's creepy, without doubt.

The acting is good, especially from Adams, as such a young and inexperienced actor. Everett McGill as Man, shines. Even the dog is good.

It's a disturbing story when you sit back and think about it. The connotations of the actions suggest far worse things than are presented on screen. But the film is comedic with a deft touch.

If you like horror and comedy, this is for you.


 



Friday, 6 January 2017

Malice in Wonderland (2009)

Johnny Depp eat your heart out.


Malice in Wonderland

A twist on Alice in Wonderland (!), Malice stars Maggie Grace as Alice, who after running out in front of a taxi cab and getting knocked out, loses her memories, and goes on a magical journey in Wonderland to try to get them returned.

Sounds pretty normal, right?

Nope.

The taxi driver, Whitey (Danny Dyer), is clearly suffering from some mental issues (honestly, as are most of the cast), the magical journey is the result of taking "substances" given to you by someone you just met, and the present for the Queen of Hearts is a tie.


A Thai


Drug-fueled, and very adult in places, Alice runs from pillar to post in a dark gangland version of Wonderland, full of murder, drugs, and mobile prostitution. Director Simon Fellows does a solid job, although has little on his resume. Star Maggie Grace does a fantastic amnesiac Alice, although you do wonder about her motivations sometimes. Grace, of course, having a solid TV career both before and after with the likes of Lost and Californication.

That leads me to the UK cast. The supporting cast of Matt King (Peep Show), Gary Beadle (Eastenders), and Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones) are all great. They play off-kilter fantasy versions of traditional English mobsters.

But that leads me to Danny Dyer. Dyer gets a bad rap largely. Sure he's done some pretty bad films, but he's always good, and he has done some pretty good films. Like this one. Leave the poor lad alone. And follow him on Twitter. He's great.