Archive for August, 2015

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My Month in Films: August 2015

August 31, 2015

Showgirls

22 films, 13 first time viewings

Best first time viewings
1. Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven, 1995, USA/France)
2. The Bad Sleep Well (Akira Kurosawa, 1960, Japan)
3. Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs, 2015, USA)
4. Two Women (Vittorio De Sica, 1960, Italy/France)
5. Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Jacques Tati, 1953, France)
6. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929, Soviet Union)
7. Mistress America (Noah Baumbach, 2015, USA)
8. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie, 2015, USA/Hong Kong/China)
9. The Gate of Heaven (Vittorio De Sica, 1945, Italy)

Best rewatches
All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979, USA)
Pickup on South Street (Samuel Fuller, 1953, USA)
Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata, 1991, Japan)
Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986, Japan)
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942, USA)
One from the Heart (Francis Ford Coppola, 1982, USA)

Worst
Awaiting (Mark Murphy, 2015, UK)
Demonic (Will Canon, 2015, USA/UK)

The-Bad-Sleep-Well

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FrightFest 2015: Awaiting (Mark Murphy, 2015)

August 31, 2015

Awaiting

There are a number of character actors whose mere presence in a prominent part can at least partially redeem even the direst material for the briefest of moments, or, preferably, elevate a bad movie to a status of passable entertainment. With Awaiting, the second feature by director Mark Murphy, Scottish actor Tony Curran’s swerve into hamming it up provides the briefest moments of redemption, but it’s sadly not enough to salvage a horror film where the only tension is in awaiting it ever getting good…

Click for the full review for VODzilla.co

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FrightFest 2015: Demonic (Will Canon, 2015)

August 30, 2015

Demonic

Demonic, the second feature from director Will Canon, bears a resemblance to many of the horror movies from director James Wan, whose producing credit for this film is slathered all over its marketing. In the vein of Wan’s first two Insidious films and The Conjuring, Demonic is a slick-looking ghost story involving characters who deliberately investigate the paranormal, with recognisable DNA from ghost movies past and a couple of respected actors in prominent parts (here Mario Bello and burgeoning genre favourite Frank Grillo, of The Purge: Anarchy and the Captain America sequels).

The presence of the likes of Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor in the Wan films does wonders to help forgive some of their many shortcomings, and Grillo, in particular, acts as that same sort of anchor in Demonic. The trouble is that there’s even more shortcomings. Demonic doesn’t so much raise hell as it does flatline on the fright front…

Click for the full review for VODzilla.co

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When Animals Dream (Jonas Alexander Arnby, 2014)

August 28, 2015

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With a narrative that recalls Canadian and Mexican horrors Ginger Snaps and We Are What We Are, the feature debut of Danish director Jonas Alexander Arnby, When Animals Dream, joins the burgeoning list of contemporary coming-of-age films with a framing device rooted in the macabre…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages

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TV Review: ‘Show Me a Hero’, Episode 2

August 24, 2015

Show-Me-a-Hero-Ep-2

If parts of Show Me a Hero’s opener perhaps felt a little too calculated, Episode 2 feels much looser and chaotic, as the proverbial excrement hits the fan for both new mayor Nick (Oscar Isaac) and a couple of the non-politicians we were introduced to in Episode 1…

Click for the full review for VODzilla.co

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The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, 2015)

August 19, 2015

The-Wolfpack

The Wolfpack profiles six homeschooled brothers who’ve lived their entire lives as shut-ins in a Manhattan housing project, a DVD collection their only connection to the outside world beyond occasional supervised local trips maybe once a year. Raised in social isolation by a hippie mother and alcoholic, controlling father, the Angulo brothers, who remake their favourite movies for fun, prove interesting subjects and not all that different from many geeky teenagers, extraordinary living circumstances notwithstanding.

One wishes, however, that debut documentarian Crystal Moselle made any attempts towards exploring this scenario beyond the boys’ affability…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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Colors (Dennis Hopper, 1988)

August 19, 2015

Colors

Three years before Boyz n the Hood portrayed social problems in inner-city Los Angeles, Dennis Hopper’s Colors took a look at actual East LA gangs and the LAPD ‘CRASH’ unit trying to quell the violence. Robert Duvall is on fine form as an experienced cop with a more nuanced understanding of how to approach ghetto residents than his rookie partner, Sean Penn’s reckless and rather racist hothead. A young Don Cheadle, meanwhile, plays the gang leader they’re trying to stop…

Click for the full Blu-ray review for The Skinny