The quote on the poster sums up Combat Shock perfectly. The film has been described by films makers such as John McNaughton (Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer), Richard Stanley (Hardware), Scott Speigel (Evil Dead 2) and William Lustig (Maniac) as one of the most influential films of the 80s. There is no denying its impact. Its one of the bleakest and most depressing films there is. It tells the story of a Vietnam vet who has returned to America as a destroyed man. He has been affected by Agent Orange which has caused his child to be grotesquely deformed, he lives in extreme poverty and is haunted by tormenting flashbacks of atrocities he's committed in war. So utterly grim is this film that no distributor would dare release it except for Troma who even had to trim it down drastically. Fortunately some 20 years later it was given a deluxe dvd re-release which includes the original uncut version which is harrowing and ugly. It's difficult to watch with gruesome acts of barbarity and matricide and one hell of a powerful ending that leaves the viewer gutted... and after all of this it makes you wonder WHY is this film worth watching? Good question and I guess it's because it feels as though its an important and personal film from a director who had something to say at the time. It sure has influenced a lot of film makers over the years and I reckon its a belter!
I'm hesitant to post my thoughts on this film because it's practically impossible to come by. My copy is a screener provided when I was helping with the Sexy International Film Festival. I just dug it out and thought I've revisit it. It takes place in 1905 and is set in an Austrian brothel. At first it seems like it's going to be a smutty softcore kind of porno but it soon turns into a really powerful drama about a prostitute who succumbs to syphilis and befriends a troubled young girl who is also infected. The film gives what I imagine is an honest and fairly accurate portrayal of the sex trade in those times and its filmed really cleverly. The budget would have been minuscule and yet the shots are so well framed and the costumes seem authentic and it manages to hold up as a film worthy of any world arthouse cinema. The dvd may be available from European online retailers but I can't imagine it will be easy to find. Good luck if you try. It's worth it!
The Way Back is Peter Weir's latest film and it tells the story of a group who escape a prison camp in Siberia during the second world war and trek 5000 miles across Russia, Tibet, China and into India. Based on a true story its one hell of a survival they're recreating. I don't know anything about the actual story and so i have no idea what is factual and what is not... but it makes no difference. The performances are great and the cinematography is beautiful. I actually think its amongst Weir's best. Watching it I was reminded of the recent movie Essential Killing and Van Diemen's Land which gives a good idea of what to expect. If I have any criticism it's that the time lapse isn't smooth. Days and months may have passed but there's no immediate indication to keep the viewer up with the film... of course I might just be a little slow myself. LOL. Again it didn't ruin the movie at all. Excellent stuff.
I just watched a new slasher movie called "Blood Night: The Legend Of Mary Hatchet". Its you're basic run of the mill slasher movie taking a lot of notes from classics like Halloween and Prom Night. But for what it's worth, its a fair bit of fun. The gore is great, the story is decent (a bit predictable) and the script is actually quite good. And hey, its always good to see Bill Moseley on screen, plus the added treat of Dannielle Harris. Sex, violence and alcohol equals a winning formula in my books.
No doubt Clint Eastwood is amongst the greatest filmmakers of our time and after a long string if brilliant films he gives us Hereafter... this is a hard one to digest and I'll be processing it for a while. It tells of several seperate lives who are each touched by death in some way or another and suggests an unknown tranquility on the other side. It never fully takes us there nor does it offer an explanation, but it leaves a whole lote of thought with the viewer. I can't say i enjoyed it but I was definitely fascinated by it and I will definitely watch it again. I suspect it will gain power with multiple viewings and i'm feeling like there's more to it beneath the surface. A strange movie experience for sure. But a good one.
A mate of mine has a hard-on for Steven Seagal and tonight he inspired me to chill out with one of his flicks. As I was sifting thru some of his decent ones I remembered that I hadn't shared my thoughts on Machete yet. Perfect!
This character's first feature length movie is long overdue. His origins date back to Desperado and carried on in a watered-down version in the Spy Kids movies... and now in an elaboration of the pseudo Grindhouse trailer comes his long awaited opus. This movie is total fun and it's packed with an awesome cast of supports such as Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin and Michelle Rodriguez. More impressively are several familiar faces of old like Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey and of course Steven Seagal. The movie is packed with severed limbs, entrails and splatter. Its sensational grindhouse fodder and it delivers what it promises. I've seen it three times now and reckon I'll see it a few more times still. In my opinion this is DeNiro's best performance in years.
If you recall my reviews you will remember that I considered the first two films in the Millenium Trilogy amongt the best thrillers of the past decade. Now comes the conclusion which picks up directly after the events in The Girl Who Played With Fire. It tells of Mikel's ongoing efforts to clear Lisbeth's name and of the desperate political coverup to silence all who know. It plays out differently to the first two as it's working to bring her story to a close. Most of it takes place in a hospital and then a court room but it never lets up as a totally absorbing story. My first reaction to the final credits rolling was that I want to go back and watch all three again, in one marathon sitting. I guess we'll get to see it all over again with David Fincher's upcoming American remake... and I'll willing to give it a fair go.... BUT its hard to see anything surpassing this great trilogy. Loved it.....
Note: we're discussing the film/s not the books. =)
The Collector is an insanely intense, depraved and ferocious slasher film... well, it crosses into that whole torture-porn sub-genre really. It was originally written as a prequel to the Saw franchise but the producers quickly scrapped that idea and opted to kick start something new instead. That was a smart decision because this movie shits all over the Saw sequels. While it remains true to formula it still manages to throw some new things at us and dishes up some really creative and ingenious carnage. The movie plays out like Richard Ramirez starring in Home Alone. There are booby traps everywhere and they're all fucking nasty. The camera doesn't flinch and I even found myself cringing at some of this stuff. I ♥ d it!! To top it all off, The Collector is genuinely creepy as well as violent.
I'm still baffled as to why exorcism movies are made at all. An unatainable pinnacle was reached with Friedkin's The Exorcist and almost all exorcism movies since have been pale imitations. Add to that the fact that Anthony Hopkins really bores me. He's such a mundane actor who has very little range and never truly pushes himself... well not anymore at least... And so this movie is pretty cliched and uninspired. It's all been done before and even more lame is the "based on a true story" branding at the start. Meh... that tactic used to work but these days its used in every other horror flick and essentially acts as a warning beacon to the weary viewer.
Hope was deminishing for the Farrely Brothers. Once meastro's of comedy they had slipped into mediocracy over the past few years... but now they're back with a winner. Hall Pass wins. The laughs aren't as slapstick as most of their previous films but they're dirty and they're hilarious. Normally Owen Wilson is intollerable but I really enjoyed his performance in this... two guys given a week off from their marriage to do whatever the hell they want.... simple premise with lots of room for gags. Wide mouth vaginas, Australian kisses, fake chowder, king-kong donkey dicks, explosive diorrea and a sandtrap drop-off are just some of the things I saw tonight!
Feedback about Eat Pray Love has been mostly negative. I've had customers complain that it was too long, boring and pointless. I reckon they might have missed the point. It is longwinded and meandering but this is part of it's charm. Julia Roberts plays a woman who reaches a breaking point with her life and so she packs it in and leaves for 12 months. Its a movie about a woman rediscovering herself and she spends her time in Italy, India and Bali. No doubt it was an appealing concept to drag Julia Robert out of hiatus because its basically a working holiday for her... but the performances are solid and the characters are well grounded. Richard Jenkins is one of my favourite actors and he put most of the heart into this movie. Well worth it in my opinion.
My Soul To Take is another Wes Craven slasher.... it's a dud. Its basically Scream all over again with a really convoluted plot which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The killer is cliched and again its basically the Scream killer with a different mask (he even calls some of his victims on the phone moments before the kill) and there's nothing really holding this thing together. Wes Craven really needs to challenge himself more... after he made the fantastic Red Eye, this movie resembles a stool sample.
Beastly is a modern take on the Beauty & The Beast story. It's made for the tweeny crowds who masturbate to Twilight and its basically a cliche riddled, sappy pappy piece of fluff... but strangely it worked for me. It plays out in a fairy tale way with witches and magic spells seeming to be the norm in modern Manhattan. Um... o...k........ but if you can accept that then the movie offers a quirkyand alternative romance that doesn't tug on too many heartstrings. As if the message of "beauty is on the inside" isn't obvious enough, its really forced upon which I found kind of patronising... but I guess the tweenies these days are denser than ever before so they need that kind of sledgehammering when it comes to simple things.
Shit title but a surprisingly entertaining movie. I Am Number Four is a teen sci-fi flick that seems like the love child of Smallville and Buffy.... not surprisingly written by the Smallville dudes AND one of Buffy's writers... Its based on the first of a six part series of young adult novels which tells of a battle on Earth between two warring alien races. The tone of the movie is similar to Tomorrow When The War Began and so if you enjoyed that you will enjoy this. Shit title but....
I wasn't expecting this movie to be as heavy as it was. It deals with a woman trying to cope with the loss of her 3 day old baby daughter while dealing with a maladjusted 8 year old step son. Natalie Portman again proves to be one of the finest actresses of our time.. she's so amazing in everything. This is a great sleeper film. Aparently it was shelved for a couple of years and only released after she won the Oscar for Black Swan. Huh? why would they shelve a film like this when so many other cruddy ones are pumped out? I dunno... but at least it made it to my screen!