October 18, 2021

The Last Duel

The Last Duel seems to have died a death at the international box office making $9 million worldwide in it's first week against a budget of $100 million. Despite great turns from Matt Damon, Jodie Comer and Adam Driver and super direction by Ridley Scott it's a hell of a tough sell. Based one a true story it's a muddy, bloody, two and a half hour long story about the rape of a woman and it's after effects told in the style of Akira Kurasowa's Rashomon. It's a fine film but audience indifference to it is going to be yet another nail in the coffin of this type of big budget adult film making.

France. 1386. Jean de Carrouges (Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Driver) are two squires fighting in the One Hundred year war against England. Count Pierre d'Alençon (Ben Affleck rocking an N'Sync haircut and a nu metal beard) has been named their overlord by King Charles VI and a wedge is driven between Jean and Jacques when Pierre takes a liking to Jacques. War taxes are levied on landowners and Jacques is tasked with collecting them, leaving Jean in a precarious state financially. To acquire more wealth he enters into a marriage with Marguerite de Thibouville (Jodie Comer), collecting a large dowry from her father as a wedding gift. With his finances back in order and a new wife at hand he sets about fathering a son but is once again forced to fight for his country. On his return Margeurite informs him that she has been raped by Jacques and now the only way he can get justice is a trial by combat. Because god says the righteous can never lose.....

He can get justice. Not her. Him. It's all about him. His pain. His disgrace. His name tarnished. In the 14th century women existed to create sons for men like him. Weddings were transactional, wives were property and Ridley Scott's new film never ever shies from the horrors of medieval life for women. It's a story told in three acts, the same story from each viewpoint. The first is the truth according to Jean, then Jacques and finally Margeurite. There's subtle and not so subtle differences between all three but every difference is telling, each speaking to the mindset of the point of view we are seeing them through. Scott flits through the timelines ensuring we rarely have the see the same things repeatedly, except the pivotal moment itself, the rape scene, a gruelling act of violence we see perpetrated on Margeurite twice. It's not exploited but it's tough going each time and thankfully it's never played ambiguously, it's a violation. In the eyes of Jacques though it's only a violation of property.

Each chapter was written respectively by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener and it's her chapter that really gets to the crux of the story, toxic masculinity and the problems it breeds regarding expectation and privilege. Earlier moments shown to be charming are really shown to be predatory, facts become lies and embellishment, glances bring fear not enjoyment. A trial where the victim is painted as a harlot and a seductress shows how far society has not come in the 700 years in regards to it's treatment of women. Now we have politicians, priests and respected members of the community ling up to shake a rapist's hand. Back then the victim could be burned at the stake if the accused was found not guilty. We'll watch this and shake our heads at the horror of it all while knowing that not much has changed at all. #Metoo

The duel of the title? It certainly lives up to it's name and reminds us of how good Scott has always been at depicting the crunching physicality of medieval warfare. People will complain that it's gruelling, graphic brutality pushes Comer out of the way in the film's final act but it once again proves the film's ultimate point - to it's detriment, society will always care more about the plight of "wronged" men than anyone else. It was true 700 years ago and painfully, it's still true now.

The Last Duel is in cinemas now. It's a powerful watch but jesus it's tough going. Be warned.

October 17, 2021

Midnight Mass

A couple of weeks back twitter was buzzing with talk of Mike Flanagan's latest horror series for Netflix. I had watched a few episodes of his Haunting Of Hill House show a few years back and hated it so had no interest in watching this at all. Of course twitter being twitter the spoilers were flying and eventually I'd heard so much about the show I didn't feel the need to watch it.

At 7pm this evening I got the urge to watch something creepy and realising my failing brain had forgotten the spoilers I'd read I popped on ep1 of Midnight Mass, fully expecting to nope out after 20 minutes.

As always with the best TV I come in way behind the pack.

4 and a half hours later its still on. It's fantastic stuff. A story about a small island community and two men who arrive on the same day. One a disgraced prodigal son returned after 4 years in jail for vehicular manslaughter and the other, a new catholic priest sent by the diocese to cover for the regular PP who's fallen ill. It's a strange place, insular, everyone knows everyone else and their business. There's secrets, there's grudges, there's some very very religious folk who look down their noses at others. And now there's something else, something odd, something that really doesn't like the feral community of cats on the island.

It's great stuff, slowburning with a horrible sense of dread and carried by fantastic acting from familiar faces like Annabeth Gish, Zach Gilford, Kristin Lehman and Elliot himself, ET's best buddy, Henry Thomas, as some of the inhabitants of the town we get to know. If you've read much Stephen King you might get a familiar feel as Flanagan lets us get to know the town, how it's people live and interact, some of the everyday darkness lurking underneath before he pulls the rug out from under us ever so slowly.......

The only problem now is being able to turn it off and not watching it until 3am. Hmmmm.

Halloween Kills (your spirit)

 #Evildiestonight

Halloween's new hashtag.

Ya, but it doesn't though does it. The fact that we know there's another film coming renders that hashtag pointless.

Michael Myers has survived again. Quelle surprise.

He leaves the fiery trap that the last film ended on and walks out into a garden full of firemen who he decimates with a prying bar and a consaw. 

Everyone thinks that the Fast and Furious franchise heading into space was the stupidest thing you'll see in a film all year.

Ha.

That was a sad ha by the way. 

The 11th Halloween film will make you sad. In so many ways.

Sad at the waste of talent.

Sad at the dearth of originality in mainstream horror cinema.

Sad about the fact that series figurehead Jamie Lee Curtis spends 50% of the film unconscious and most of the rest of the time lying in bed talking sadly to the dude from Armageddon.

Sad that an interesting director like David Gordon Green has been reduced to this.

Sad that Donald Pleasance's corpse has been dug up once again.

Sad that John Carpenter's masterpiece is once again being pissed on from a great height.

Sad that Michael Myers definitely has carpal tunnel syndrome from all the stabbing he's done over the past 43 years.

Sad that the writers of this film think so little of their audience.

Sad that that Jim Cummings who wrote Thunder Road and The Wolf Of Snow Hollow gets wiped out after 30 seconds of screentime.

Sad that it's shamelessly crowbarred in attempt at social commentary will make you want to punch yourself in the face repeatedly.

Sad that a film that calls itself horror isn't remotely scary.

Sad that idiots being gutted left, right and centre has somehow become boring.

Sad that you had to read this.

Sad that I wasted time writing it.

Sad.

Loads of people get murdered. Some with axes, others with the old reliable kitchen knife, others with bulbs, one even gets his eyes gouged out. It earns it's 18 cert easily. But at the end of it nothing has changed. Except your self respect.

Ugh.




 

October 16, 2021

16 films on TV this week that you need in your eyes

Mona Lisa   Sat   16/10   Talking Pictures TV @ 21.00

An ex criminal gets work driving a call girl from job to job and finds himself swiftly disgusted by the sordid things he sees playing out in London's black underbelly. Bob Hoskins and Cathy Tyson are fantastic in a dark blend of love story and crime drama and surprisingly enough there's even a few laughs in here too to leaven the harshness. It's well directed by Neil Jordan as always and a chance to see the vile side of Michael Caine.

Bobby   Sat   16/10   TG4 @ 21.40

June the 5th, 1968. Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy is about to give a speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after being selected to run for president. His night doesn't end well. This ensemble piece from director Emilio Estevez is all about the people working in the hotel that night and it's a well put together history lesson packed with famous faces like Helen Hunt, Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Hopkins, Freddy Rodriguez, Sharon Stone and many more.

Crawl   Sat   16/10   Film4 @ 23.20

Florida's about to get hit with a massive hurricane and Haley's father still hasn't left his house. She goes to find him but find him but instead finds their town flooded and the floodwaters full of alligators. Hungry alligators. Alexandre Aja's 2019 creature feature is massively over the top but it's also hugely entertaining as woman takes on nature in a battle to the death. Kaya Scodelario does well as our heroine.

Stanley & Iris   Sun   17/10   RTE1 @ 01.45

Tragedy has made Iris decide to never love again. Stanley is a bloke who's never taken a chance with love. Can you see where it's all is headed? A cliched plotline aside it's a nice, warm, gentle, intimate watch that doesn't condescend to it's audience or rely on mawkish drama. Jane Fonda and Robert De Niro are perfect as a mismatched pair tiptoeing around each other. Record and keep for the long, dark nights ahead.

Bronson   Sun   17/10   Great! Movies Action @ 22.55

Charles Bronson. No not that Charles Bronson. This Charles Bronson was once Britain's most dangerous prisoner and he liked nothing better than taking prison guards hostage in his cell. Here is his story. Before Tom Hardy became Hollywood's king of mumbles he used to make interesting films and this gripping crime drama from 2008 was one of them. It's a unique look at a very unique individual.

Young Ahmed   Sun   17/10   BBC4 @ 23.30

A young Belgian teen finds himself under the influence of a man preaching religious extremism. Soon he's keeping family and friends at arms length and eventually comes up with a plan that may ruin his life. In 85 minutes the Dardenne brothers weave a captivating and quite terrifying story about the horrors of modern day life. Idir Ben Addi is a magnificent lead.

Enemy Mine   Mon   18/10   Talking Pictures TV @ 02.40

After a battle in the dodgy end of the galaxy two soldiers find themselves stranded on a hostile planet. One of them is a man. The other is an alien. Both are mortal enemies. A diverting slice of 80's sci-fi here and one that eschews cheesiness and bombast (mostly). It tells a touching story and carries a hopeful message about trust and friendship. Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr are both excellent in their parts.

Inside Man   Mon   18/10   TG4 @ 21.30

When a so called perfect bank robbery goes sideways, a cop, the robber and a power broker have to negotiate a way out of the problem to save lives. Spike Lee's twisty, turny thriller is an immensely enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Nothing is what it seems and if you haven't seen it before you won't have a clue how it will all end. Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen all hit the spot.

The Guilty   Tues   19/10   CH4 @ 01.55

Asger's job is to dispatch help to those who need it, be it an ambulance or a cop car or a fire brigade but the latest call he's answered will see him fighting against time to help the voice on the other end of the line all by himself. Remade recently and effectively for Netflix, this claustophobic thriller might have way more talk than action but you'll still be absolutely glued to it. Jakob Cedergren is a hell of an effective lead.

The Last King Of Scotland   Tues   19/10   Film4 @ 23.20

A young Scottish doctor played by James McEvoy finds himself wildly out of his depth when he begins working in Uganda and enters into a friendship with the infamous Idi Amin and suddenly his loyalties and principles are pushed to their breaking points. Forest Whitaker is masterful as Amin with his deservedly Oscar winning performance driving a film that's exciting, disgusting, funny and tense as hell. 

Ghost Stories   Wed   20/10   BBC2 @ 23.15

Professor Philip Goodman is skeptical about the supernatural and now he has three cases involving ghouls and ghosts to solve. Record this and keep it for Halloween night. A very potent trilogy of terror, especially for anyone who grew up in the 80's. A film that makes the mundane seem terrifying and the terrifying seem truly outlandish and one that's all cleverly tied together. Andy Nyman and Paul Whitehouse do strong work.

Men Of War   Thur   21/10   Great! Movies Action @ 00.40

A group of mercenaries are hired to clear an island full of precious resources of its natives so it can be strip mined. That's the plan anyway. From 1994 comes an action thriller written by the great John Sayles that was all but ignored on release but it's a film that deserves re-evaluation being full of nicely crafted bloody action and intriguing asides on human nature. Dolph Lundgren, Charlotte Lewis, BD Wong and Tiny Lister lead a decent cast.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes   Thur   21/10   Film4 @ 14.55

Lorelei and Dorothy are a pair of showgirls looking for love but only on their terms. They're on their way to Paris to be lusted over but someone's on Lorelei's tail, someone suspicious of her motives. A fun bit of screwball escapism that would have been considered surprisingly racy on release back in 1953. Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and director Howard Hawks weave some memorable magic together.

Halloween   Thur   21/10   BBC4 @ 23.00

Michael Myers has escaped the psychiatric hospital he's spent his life in and he's heading home to finish what he started as a child. Laurie Strode is a babysitter who's night is about to get scary. John Carpenter's best known film is still a brilliantly effective watch 43 years after it's release. There's some serious suspense and some very effective scares here without the need to rub your face in blood and guts. Jamie Lee Curtis nails the part of Laurie, modern horror cinema's first scream queen.

Ulzana's Raid   Fri   22/10   TG4 @ 21.30

Ulzana, sick of mistreatment by the US government, has escaped from his reservation and him & his gang are murdering their way across the state of Arizona. Army Scout McIntosh is tasked with stopping him. Part of the raft of brutally dark Westerns made in the early 70's and influenced heavily by the Vietnam war this isn't easy going stuff but fine performances from Joaquín Martínez & Burt Lancaster will keep you watching until the credits roll.

Mom and Dad   Fri   22/10   The Horror Channel @ 22.50

Life in America is hard for kids and gets even harder when parents across the country start turning on them in a murderous rage and the Ryan family are about to have one of those days they might never forget. Nicholas Cage's manic performance rules the roost in a deliciously dark comedy horror that definitely will not be to the taste of most people but catch it in the right mood and you'll have a fun time. Selma Blair as Mrs Ryan adds to the chaos wonderfully.

Retweets are always appreciated. Thank you.


October 15, 2021

Venom : Let There Be Carnage

Venom : Let There Be Carnage is more entertaining than it's dull predecessor but that's the definition of damning something with weak praise. It's a fitfully funny watch driven by an entertainingly gonzo Tom Hardy performance but it's best actor (Michelle Williams) is once again painfully underused, it's bombastic ending is something you'll forget 30 minutes after you leave the cinema and worst of all it's PG-13 rating (a very very baffling 15 cert here) means it's title is an absolute lie. Carnage? Pah. Let There Be Mild Violence And One Use Of Strong Language more like.

Eddie Brock (Hardy), a San Francisco reporter, and Venom (Andy Serkis), the symbiotic alien living inside him are an odd couple. Eddie wants to lead a normal life but it's proving hard to do when you've a brain craving visitor from outer space sharing your body. Things are getting tense in this shared sack of meat and they get worse when a visit to a serial killer called Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who's crimes are being investigated by Eddie, goes wrong and Cletus gets infected by a drop of Venom's blood. Now he's got his own symbiote called Carnage and both have some scores to settle.

The first Venom had some memorable moments (lobsters) but it's final act was mess, reeking of recutting and studio interference. That ain't the case here, with a nice low stakes story designed to fit into a 90 minute running time. Yup, 90 minutes, a comic book movie that for once won't give you a literal pain in the hoop. In those 90 minutes we get two love stories, one platonic (?) between Eddie and Venom and the other romantic, between Cletus and his life long amour Frances (Naomie Harris) who he breaks out of prison to reunite with. Surprisingly both relationships give to the film instead of taking from it, one adding domestic chaos, bonkers humour and some priceless internal monologuing, while the other manages to create an odd feeling of pathos for two psychopaths courtesy of a eerily animated slice of backstory.

All love stories need a bit of tension and this sequel gets it when Eddie and Venom part ways during after a particularly crazy scuffle and it's here we get the opportunity to spend a bit of time with the symbiote off doing his own thing, jumping from host to host, gatecrashing a party, becoming a hit on the underground scene. He's a fun creation to spend time with and yet another CGI character given life by wonderful voice work from Andy Serkis. This poor hulking alien carnivore, he's just misunderstood god help him.  Unlike Carnage. Carnage sucks. His motivations are never explained. He's fierce dull for an alien beastie who can shred a prison in seconds. He's yet another CGI bad guy in a field riddled with them. At least when he's Cletus you can laugh at his hair.


There's a lot to like about this film. Chickens called Sonny and Cher who started as a potential food source but became loved. Eddie and Venom's deal with local shopkeeper Mrs Chen (Peggy Lu) to keep them supplied with a vital resource. Hardy's face every time Venom goes off on a rant only he can hear is the kind of thing that would never not be funny. But so much of it is squandered too. That bleugh climax. The aforementioned Michelle Williams gets maybe 5 minutes of screentime as Eddie's ex Anne and only 30 seconds of those are worthwhile. Naomie Harris is almost equally underused. Venom himself, while fun, deserves a film where the character can really cut loose, his signature move is biting off bad guys heads after all. He needs a film away from the restraints of a family friendly rating. Deadpool got that freedom, so did Logan. Look at the box office megabucks they raked in. Why not Venom? Could it be about to tie into something even more family friendly..... stay in your seat to find out.

Venom : Let There Be Carnage is out in cinemas everywhere from today. 

October 13, 2021

Normality

There's 4 new films out in the cinema this Friday. Halloween Kills. Arracht. The Last Duel. Venom 2. It's been literally years since this happened.

Huge sci-fi makes a return next Friday with Denis Villeneuve's adaption of Dune.

The new Edgar Wright film Last Night In Soho comes out the 29th of October as well as the long awaited Antlers.

Then Marvel returns on the 5th of November with The Eternals which is always a sign of confidence in cinemas.

A NEW CLINT EASTWOOD WESTERN - CRY MACHO. Cannot fucking wait for the 12th of November.

Then more Marvel with Spiderman and then the new Matrix film in December.

I dunno folks, it's starting to feel like things are coming back to normal in the world of movies. Blockbuster movies at least.

It's not much in the bigger scale of things but it's enough to give you a much needed buzz.

October 11, 2021

Leave it in the past

I'm watching a vampire comedy film on youtube called Love At First Bite starring George Hamilton as Dracula. Years ago I taped this off the TV and me and my brother watched it over and over again and loved it so as part of the #31daysofhorror viewing challenge for October (which I'm failing miserably at btw) I decided to revisit it.

The films you love as a child are, with rare exceptions, shite. This one ain't an exception. I've somehow blocked out all the badness and turned one funny moment into my entire memory of the film. It's so bad I can't stop watching it. 

Help me.



October 10, 2021

Old Henry

The romanticised stories of the wild west have always made for great cinema. Wyatt Earp's famous ride to take down the outlaw Cowboy gang. The aces over eights in Wild Bill Hickok's hand when Jack McCall shot him down in Tom Nuttall's Deadwood tavern. Butch and Sundance's final moments in Bolivia. Who actually killed Johnny Ringo and did Jesse James really know what would happen when he turned his back on the coward Robert Ford. But the west wasn't like that. It was a brutal, stark, unforgiving place where no one could be trusted and life was cheap. Old Henry tells it like it really was, but then changes direction in a manner suggesting a story that wants to have it's cake and eat it too.

A manner that will make you punch the air with unrestrained glee.

Father and son Henry (Tim Blake Nelson) and Wyatt (Gavin Lewis) lead a miserable existence on a dirt farm in the middle of the Oklahoma territory. Wyatt can't believe his father is content with this life and wants out as soon as he becomes a man and Henry has made peace with the fact that he'll probably die alone but his discovery of an injured man on his land stirs up their quiet corner of the frontier. The wounded man is Curry (Scott Haze) and his claims to be a lawman make Henry sceptical and his suspicions rise even further when three more men led by the nasty sumbitch Ketchum (Stephen Dorff), also claiming to be the law, appear on his doorstep. Sensing danger is close and fearing for his son, Henry starts making plans and well.....to say any more would just be fuck-acting.

One of the best feelings you can have as a film fan is discovering a film you've heard nothing about and then falling for it hard. For the first hour of Old Henry you'll be bombarded with distinctly familiar feelings, especially if you're a western fan. Vile lawmen with no regard for the rules they claim to police. Homesteaders content to do their bit. Youngsters champing at the bit to handle firearms and experience life. Porch confrontations that could turn violent at any second. A glimpse out of a front door so blatant that John Ford's lawyers will start twitching. All the genre conventions are laid on thick, especially that old favourite, the man with a mysterious past. Watching Henry and how he handles things you get the sense he's done it all before, that confrontation is old news to him, he's haunted by the things he's seen and it makes sense he wants the quiet life for him and Wyatt. But like the pots on his range everything eventually comes to a boil and when it does...

Oh man. Like I said before, glee.

Tim Blake Nelson is one of the most unassuming actor's you'll ever seen onscreen. Best known for dopey but lovable Delmar in O Brother Where Art Thou, he not an actor you'd ever imagine cheering for but here he'll grip you instantly. The droopy eye and yard brush moustache. That opening narration laid over director Potsy Ponciroli's camera gliding above the misty landscape he calls home, glimpsing his wife's grave on the hill overlooking his land, our sympathies building when you realise his stern demeanour is all about protecting what he loves and then the absolutely believable manner with which he takes care of business. Stephen Dorff's Ketchum gives him a fine villain to play off, a real nasty piece of work, one of those bastards you just can't wait to see take a slug. It's his meaner side that kicks off this film's climax and it's one of the most enjoyable final acts of any film released this year. That's no hyperbole either, this is the pulse racing stuff Bob Odenkirk's film Nobody should have aspired to be. 

Old Henry is streaming now on the US google play store where you can view it if you use a VPN. No doubt it will hit the Irish store soon. If you enjoy the odd western you'll like this. But if you love the genre this subversion of the stories you know well will really hit the spot.


October 09, 2021

Deadly Cuts

The boogeyman of modern day society has long been portrayed as a young lad in a blinding white tracksuit and rocking a haircut that would give you a headache at 50 yards. Deadly Cuts tells us the real truth. All societal ills can be traced back to one place, a hellish sandbox of rich folk obsessed with anal sex and sabotage. That place.....is south of the Liffey.

Michelle (Angeline Ball), the owner of Deadly Cuts is having an awful time lately. Her business is being threatened with demolition to make way for the gentrification of Piglinstown, the suburb she calls home while a local gang, led by the reprehensibly scummy Deano (Ian Lloyd Anderson) is demanding protection money that's eating into her profits massively. One of her hairdressers Stacey (Ericka Roe) is having her own issues too, she wants out of Piglinstown, away from it all the crime and the bad memories, and her plan is to win the Ah Hair hairdressing competition so her absentee mother, living it up in Spain, will see her success and ask her to live the sea and sunshine life with her. To win Stacey will need the help of Michelle and her co-workers Chantelle (Shauna Higgins) and Gemma (Lauren Larkin) but a late night run in with Deano is threatening everything they hold dear.

There's a refreshing lack of morality in Deadly Cuts that many will take issue with but if you can get onboard with it's simplified way of solving life's bigger problems you'll probably have a great time with it. Yeah it's broad as hell ("Me back box!") and yes it does delve into Irish stereotypes in a way that makes Damo & Ivor look subtle but come the end you'll be grinning and laughing like a fool. In a time when every ounce of Dublin's charm is being stripped away to make room for yet more hotels it's urban renewal subplot feels extremely timely but unfortunately real life can't be dealt with Deadly Cuts style so here you'll have a chance to live vicariously for a while. BTW, I'm not condoning anything in this film :D

It's all built around a plotline that feels like it fell out of a dark 1980's comedy but it's the performances and chemistry created by them that gives Deadly Cuts it's bucketload of charm. Stacey's the one you'll empathise with most, abandoned, wanting to better herself, torn between loyalty and her future and Ericka Roe make a fine job of her part while Ian Lloyd Henderson's blisteringly hateful Deano is so effective that you'll cheer when you see how he ends up. Victoria Smurfitt, Louis Lovett and Pauline McLynn come into play in the latter half of the film when the action moves to the hilariously overblown Ah Hair competition and play their parts of South County Dublin bullshitters so hammily that you'll think you've landed in a Mrs Brown's Boys sequel but luckily a couple of inspired plot zig zags save the day come the end. Zig Zags that aren't just deus ex machina plot tomfoolery either, the ground work is laid throughout with little asides that feel like nothing at the time adding a clever touch to the silliness.

Deadly Cuts is in the cinema at the moment and it's a funny and worthwhile alternative to the Bond film showing in every other screen of your local picturehouse. Plus you'll learn how to go from brunette to platinum blonde in one step without causing any hair loss and that's always a good thing.

16 films on TV this week that might make you laugh/stress/cry/hate me for recommending it to you

Game Night   Sat   Sat   9/10   BBC1 @ 22.35

Every week a group of friends meet up for a night of chat, wine and boardgames. One night real life adds a shocking twist and the friends find themselves up to their necks in all manner of trouble. This is an entertaining Saturday night watch, a wacky blend of screwball madness, weird neighbours, sibling rivalry and competitive friendship. Rachel McAdams, our own Sharon Horgan and a delightfully odd Jesse Plemons all do well.

Call Me By Your Name   Sat   9/10   RTE2 @ 23.45

Elio, a teenager lives a carefree life in the early 80's Italy. Until he meets Oliver, an American man hired to work with his father and his life gets rather complicated when he starts to feel attracted to him. Lead Timothée Chalamet does his drippy thing as usual but here it suits the film. It's a heartfelt look at the pain and angst and discovery of your formative years. Michael Stuhlberg and the actor we don't talk about anymore also do strong work.

Train To Busan   Sun   10/10   Film4 @ 01.40

A zombie apocalypse hits South Korea and a father and daughter find themselves fighting for their lives on a train out of Seoul. Yes it's another zombie flick......no no come back......but seriously it's a wicked watch. It's full of heart, you'll genuinely care about the characters being menaced, it's really clever and the attack scenes are absolutely astounding. Yoo Gong & Su-an Kim as Dad and Daughter are aces.

Valerie   Sun   10/10   TCM @ 16.45

Set during a murder trial in the old west, three very different testimonies are heard but which one is the truthful version? An unusual blend, a mystery western noir with a touch of Rashomon would be one way to describe it. Sterling Hayden and Anita Ekberg as the leads are mighty, Hayden his usual briary persona and Ekberg as a woman who isn't what she seems. OR is she? Or is he? Or are they? What? Who knows? A bleak, compelling and surprising film.

The Last Tree   Sun   10/10   CH4 @ 23.30

Femi is struggling to find his place in life. As a child he was fostered and grew up in the idyllic rural surroundings of the English countryside but as a man he's gone home to London to live with the woman who bore him. A stirring, glorious looking and moving look at what it means to be black in modern day Britain. Sam Adewunmi is a powerful lead and an actor to keep an eye out for in the future.

Countess Dracula   Sun   10/10   The Horror Channel @ 23.00

Countess Elisabeth has discovered the secret to eternal youth. Instead of radox bubble bath she's been using the blood of virginal women to bathe in and the increasing amount of missing villagers is starting to be noticed. This Hammer horror take on the legend of Elizabeth Bathory is trashy but intriguing look at the lengths people will go to to defy the aging process. Ingrid Pitt is potent in the lead role. 

Kiss Of Death   Mon   11/10   Talking Pictures TV @ 21.00

After a failed bank robbery a thief gets jailed and keeps his mouth shut to protect his accomplices. When one of them betrays him he decides to help the cops as his way of getting revenge. But he didn't reckon for Tommy Udo. Richard Widmark's Udo set the bar for screen psychopaths back in the 40's when this film noir was released and his performance is still unsettling 74 years later. A lean and mean thriller that will grab you fast.

The Glass Castle   Mon   11/10   TG4 @ 21.30

Jeanette Walls had an unconventional childhood. Led by her nomadic & arty parents, life as a child was tough & sometimes poverty stricken. Decisions she makes as an adult disappoint them. Brie Larson does satisfying work as the lead in an often upsetting story that takes a rose tinted look at the mistakes parents make when they put their own desires before that of their family. Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts make for a very effective pair of muppets

The Little Stranger   Mon   11/10   Film4 @ 21.00

Just after the second world war a doctor is called to a crumbling country mansion to tend to a patient. It's a mansion his family has been long connected to and there's secrets lurking behind the walls of the old family home. Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's 2018 gothic chiller is a sedately paced affair but it's atmospheric twists and finely tuned turns from Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson and Will Poulter will hook you in quickly.

The Mother   Tues   12/10   BBC4 @ 21.00

When her husband dies May takes a leap into the unknown and reinvents herself instead of fading away as her family expects. She even takes a lover. One half her age. All is well until people start noticing her smile again. A touching, intelligent and provocative look at a relationship you rarely see portrayed onscreen. Anne Reid creates a wonderfully drawn lead character and gets able support from Daniel Craig and Steven Mackintosh.

Blindspotting   Wed   13/10   Film4 @ 22.45

With 3 days left on his probation Colin is nervous. He's a black man in a land of trigger happy police, his best friend is prone to instant trouble and the town they called home is being gentrified by coffee shops and vegan diners. A comedy drama about friendship that also manages to be a burning, angry look at race relations and the state of modern day america. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal rock the leads.

The Conjuring   Wed   13/10   BBC2 @ 23.15

The Perron's have moved into their new home but all is not well. They hire a pair of paranormal investigators to cure the sickness in their house and it isn't long before all hell breaks loose. A really effective old school haunted house film that's grounded by some superb showings from Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston and Vera Farmiga. This is one to record for Halloween and watch in a dark, quiet room with the curtains pulled.

The Caine Mutiny   Thur   14/10   Great! Movies Action @ 16.45

The U.S.S Caine is a minesweeper sailing the Pacific during WWII. It's captain is Francis Queeg. Captain Queeg is acting a bit off and Lieutenant Marik is feeling the pressure. A tense and claustrophobic story of madness, bravery and doing the right thing despite the outcome. Humphrey Bogart is as always excellent as Queeg and Van Johnson does fine as Marik. A highly influential movie here, you'll recognise plenty of it even if you haven't seen it before.

Mulholland Drive   Fri   15/10   TG4 @ 00.05

A fresh faced ingénue looking to be a star and an amnesiac woman recovering from a car crash meet and lean on each other to find answers in a sinister Hollywood. David Lynch's startling LA set drama/horror/thriller is a film you'll either love or despise but it's one that will worm it's way into your head and set up camp for days. Laura Harring and Naomi Watts lead a stunning cast. Don't watch this one while imbibing in any mind altering substances. If you do say goodbye to your weekend.

Primal Fear   Fri   15/10   RTE2 @ 21.45

A Chicago arch bishop has been butchered and the prime suspect is a quiet young man with psychiatric problems. Flashy lawyer Martin Vail wants to prove the youth is innocent but he hasn't a clue what he's dealing with. Edward Norton's film debut is what will stick with you from this solid legal thriller. It's the very definition of a career making role. Richard Gere and Laura Linney add good things to the mix too.

The Mission   Fri   15/19   RTE1 @ 23.35

Jesuit priests head in the Amazon rainforest in an attempt to convert the tribes within to Catholicism. They want to bring civilisation but to no one's surprise civilisation brings with it pain and destruction. Remembered as the film that gave us Gabriel's Oboe, Roland Jaffe's 1986 drama is a amazing looking and beautiful sounding look at man's inhumanity to man led by a couple of hefty turns from Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro.

Retweets are always appreciated :)


October 07, 2021

A perfect pairing of sound & vision - Marion's fateful drive in Psycho


Marion Crane has just robbed $40,000 from the real estate office where she works and now she's on the run. A split second decision has changed the course of her future and as she drives west from her life in Arizona towards California all the scenarios play out in her head while Alfred Hitchcock's camera keeps her face centre of frame to allow us to watch her face as she works through every permutation of what's happening back home. Her boss, his client who owned the money, the used car salesman she bought the vehicle she's driving from, the cops questioning him, all their voices overlapping in her head. It's a maelstrom of thought. You're on edge already watching her journey and Hitchcock wants you to stay there and Bernard Herrmann's powerful score is just the ticket.


You want impending doom? You got it. You want a piece of music to put a knot in the pit of your stomach? Well here it is. Swooping, driving, propulsive, lulling and then terrifying. It won't let you relax, it puts you in Marion's shoes, gives you a sense of dread, the feeling that things aren't going to have a happy ending and just like that, just as it ends, so does Marion's  journey. Outside the Bates Motel....

Magnificent. Hitchcock and Hermann worked together many times but nothing else comes close to this.

Previous Pairings

Beetlejuice


October 06, 2021

Rise Of The Footsoldier : Origins

Fuck.

Cunt.

Fucking cunt.

Dodgy haircuts.

You slaaaag.

You bawstahd.

You fucking baaawwwstaaahd.

Cocaine.

Brasses.

Beatings.

A pathetic attempt to make scumbags sympathetic.

Cunt.

More dodgy haircuts. 

Fucking cunt.

Another attempt at poignancy involving a man who's just beaten a skull in with a pool ball.

Bawstahd. 

Cocaine, weed and now heroin. Good jaysus.

Oh wait, a claw hammer in the gob.

The end.

The 4th sequel/prequel to a film made with the sole purpose of creating an alibi for men accused of the 1995 Rettendon murders in Essex really wasn't needed but the spectacle of the same actors playing the same parts while they are 15 years older in a story set 30 years ago just has to be seen to be believed. This time around it's Tony Tucker getting an origin story. What started in the Falklands ended with a shotgun blast to the head down a country lane and after watching this shite you'll realise it was well deserved. Terry Stone is so bad in the lead role you'll wish it was you the gun was pointed at.

The wigs. Oh god the wigs.

The acting. Oh dear lord the acting. Vinnie Jones and Craig Fairbrass would never be accused of fine thesping but here they've given up totally.

The English underground hardman genre has reached it's nadir here. I hope.

To quote the kids of today, I can't even.

This profane muck is out to stream now on google movies. Watch it if you feel like punishing yourself.