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The Nightingale (2018, Australia) Sundance London 2019 Review

The Nightingale (2018)

The Nightingale follows Clare, an Irish convict who is regularly abused by vile British officer Hawkins, eventually resulting in her husband and new-born infant being murdered in front of her while she is being gang raped in an excruciatingly long and graphic scene. When Hawkins abandons his post due to the drunkenness of his men and journeys up north to apply for another post, Clare sets out to exact her own revenge. She brings along a native guide named Billy, who she treats unfairly. Billy is the only character who prevents this film from being a period based I Spit on Your Grave

“Her song will not be silenced.”

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Apollo 11 (2019, USA) Sundance London 2019 Review

Apollo 11 (2019)

“Hey, we missed the whole thing!” was Buzz Aldrin’s quip to Neil Armstrong as the first men to walk on the Moon watched a recording of the TV coverage of the Apollo 11 mission while sitting in quarantine following their return to Earth. Now, fully half a century after the event, Mr Aldrin and the rest of us can see more of “the whole thing” than ever before thanks to Apollo 11, director Todd Douglas Miller’s astonishing new documentary. Miller and his team have created a cinematic experience whose scale and impact are worthy of the momentous events it depicts.

“A cinematic event 50 years in the making.”

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Family Game Night (2018, Canada) Review

Family Game Night (2018)

Mandatory family game night is usually when we “make sure that we take time out of our busy lives to take part in the magical time,” you know? Hot food, maybe some wine for the adults, a few family games – Monopoly for example – and a blood sacrifice to Satan… Just remember what the one rule at the dinner table is: “No cellphones.” Directed by Nicholas Ferwerda, and written by Ali Chappell and Jon Kohan, Family Game Night is a short 12-minute comedy/horror film that explores the awkward bonding of a middle-class family. “So, what kind of games do you play on family night?”

“Murder for Ages 8+”

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Karate Kill (2016, Japan / USA) Review

Karate Kill (2016)

Japanese wannabe actress Mayumi is abducted by an absolute nut-job called Vendenski and his hysterically seedy cult – Capital Messiah. They’re feared throughout the criminal community for reasons that are beyond me, but nobody seems to be able to touch them, until Mayumi’s brother, Kenji, travels over in search of his missing sister. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Kenji is a Karate Master, wouldn’t you just know it? This now sets the wheels in motion for Kenji to stroll around L.A. all brooding and a fish out of water, but cracking skulls as he’s doing it.

“He is no Mr. Miyagi.”

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Killer Friends (2016, USA) Review

Killer Friends features a spectacularly god-awful human being and his best friends’ attempts to put him out of their misery. These attempts, being amateurish and unplanned, backfire in various slapstick ways and the viewer is invited both to sympathise with the frustrated would-be homicides and wonder when they’re going to get their cackhanded act together and put the little shit down. It becomes apparent, however, that their potential victim knows more than he is letting on… Even now, thinking about him, I can feel my blood pressure rising.

“I’m here to love and support my girlfriend… and kill Scott!”

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B&B (2017, UK) Review

B&B (2017)

B&B takes as its inspiration a court case that received quite widespread publicity about six years ago for being the sort of thing that makes you go, “seriously, in this day and age?” The set-up is that a homosexual couple have fought and won a court case against a bed and breakfast that discriminated against them by refusing them a double room – a legal battle which really did take place and which was eventually decided in the Supreme Court, because there seems to be a disappointing abundance of legal funding for bigoted wankers.

“They made their bed… Now they have to die in it.”

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Other Halves (2015, USA) Review

Other Halves (2015)

The more our technology improves, the harder it is to make some classic horror tropes believable. The main culprit here is the cell phone. Everyone has one, and they are constantly in use. For those of us with smart phones, we are able to control almost every aspect of our lives through this little device. As our technology evolves, so must the horror genre evolve to incorporate its use. With smart phones giving us easy access to the internet and a seemingly unending number of apps to choose from, it’s no wonder that dating apps have become so popular.

“It’s a killer app.”

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Genre Movies That Changed Film-Making: The Matrix (1999) Re-Examined on its 20th Anniversary

Genre Movies That Changed Film-Making: The Matrix (1999) Re-Examined on its 20th Anniversary

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that The Matrix is a great science-fiction movie, but there is more to it than that. For its 20th anniversary I’m going to take a look at all the elements that made The Wachowski’s movie such a cinematic milestone and how it raised the bar for all subsequent genre movies. When The Matrix was released in 1999 it opened up new vistas of imagination in screen science-fiction – a domain of cyber existence that no film had yet explored. It was a sci-fi movie that changed the genre. It was, in fact, a movie that changed film-making in general.

The fight for the future begins.”

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Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair (2017, Brazil) Review

Charles Bukowski once said “Some people never go insane. What horrible lives they must lead!” Clearly this is not the way for the characters in Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair, as whilst they seem to act and look crazed and insane their lives are blighted by horrors all around them. Their insanity is reflected in Gurcius Gewdner’s film which is somewhat of a strange piece of underground genre cinema, art house horror, b-movie monster horror, and deliberately maddening genre flick that is deliberately frustrating and uneasy to pin point as to what it actually is about. The plot, if there is one to focus on, follows Carlos who is constantly vomiting…

“You won’t be coming home!”

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Don’t Let the Devil In (2016, USA) Review

Don't Let the Devil In (2016)

John Harris works for a property/land development firm in New York City. After his wife Samantha has a miscarriage, his life begins to change. This unfortunate event has traumatized her and John thinks that some time away from the city would do both of them a world of good. Writer/director Courtney Fathom Sell created a film that is less about shocks and horrific moments and more about building an imposing sense of fear. From the moment the Harris’ move into their new house, there is an air of unnerving trepidation.

“What kind of sick people would do something like this?”

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Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark (2017, UK) Review

Quiet Places by Jasper Bark (2017)

When you pick up Jasper Bark’s short novel Quiet Places, know that you’ll be holding a stick of dynamite in your hands. It’s got a slow-burning fuse, but when it goes off, you will be completely blown away. Billed as cosmic folk horror, a classification of genre fiction heretofore reserved for this book alone, so far as I can tell, Quiet Places tells the story of Sally, her lover David, and the Scottish town of Dunballan.

“Then there were the bodies she had to pull from crashed cars, and the corpses that had fallen from ladders, or scaffolding. They had to be disposed of and there was never enough time to do that…”

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There’s No Place Like Home: Class, Conflict and Violence in Ils (2006) Part 3: Violence and the Victim

There’s No Place Like Home: Class, Conflict and Violence in Ils (2006)

The most gratuitous violence we witness is at the hands of those positioned in the role of victim. Clem leaves Lucas to look for a way out and is chased by one of the assailants through an unfinished room containing a number of hanging plastic sheets, another metaphor for the social divisions and obstacles that exist between the couple and the youngsters. This culminates in her being pursued through an attic space; so far, no physical violence has been directed from the youngsters towards the couple.

“They wouldn’t play with us…”

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