Monthly Archives April 2015

Child 44

Child-44---posterDirector: Daniel Espinosa

Writers: Richard Price (screenplay), Tom Rob Smith (novel)

Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent Cassell

Cert: 15

Running Time: 137 mins

Year: 2015

 

The Lowdown: A slap happy Daniel Espinosa directs Tom Hardy at his bruising best, hunting a serial killer in Stalin’s Russia; while a supporting cast including Vincent Cassell and a criminally sidelined Gary Oldman bark ineffectually in distracting accents. State oppression and child slaughter aren’t designed to illicit titters but this is breathtakingly bleak and gulag grim.

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The full verdict: Inspired by real life serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, this gloomy adaptation of the first novel in Tom Rob Smith’s Agent Leo Demidov trilogy, should be a taut, compelling cat-and-mouse thril...

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Rigor Mortis

Rigor-Mortis---posterDirector: Juno Mak

Writer: Jill Leung, Philip Yung

Cast: Siu-ho Chin, Anthony Chan, Kara Hui, Richard Ng, Hee Ching Paw, Billy Lau

Cert: 18

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2013

 

The lowdown: The Hong Kong “hopping vampire” movies of the 1980s are spliced with old-school J-Horror in Juno Mak’s imaginative debut. In a dilapidated apartment block, Sui-ho Chin plays himself as a washed up movie star, possessed by troubled spirits after a botched suicide attempt. But, these spirits are not the only ones going bump in the night in this sombre, visually inventive spooker. Hong Kong film fans will enjoy watching Mr Vampire alumni Siu-ho Chin and Anthony Chan pay homage to the horror favourites they appeared in thirty years ago.

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The full verdict: You don’t have to be familiar with the Mr Va...

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers---Age-of-Ultron---posterDirector: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby (characters)

Cast: Robert Downey, Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Elisabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Andy Serkis, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Thomas Kretschmann, Stellan Skarsgaard, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba

Cert: 12

Running time: 141mins

Year: 2015

 

The lowdown: The gang reassemble in this sequel to the 3rd biggest box office movie of all time. Warped A.I. in the form of tyrannical tin man Ultron is the big bad here, joined by other fan favourites, the mind-meddling Scarlet Witch and her brother, human lightning bolt Quicksilver...

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The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

The-Town-That-Dreaded-Sundown---posterDirector: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Earl E. Smith (1976 version)

Cast: Addison Timlin, Anthony Anderson, Travis Tope, Veronica Cartwright, Gary Cole, Edward Herrmann

Cert: 15

Running time: 84mins

Year: 2014


The lowdown: Slasher horror gets a bloody enjoyable makeover in American Horror Story co-creator Gomez-Rejon’s do-over of the 1976 original. Nicely balanced between black comedy suspense and guffaw gore, it also cannily blends the actual, unsolved 1940s murders that inspired the first film, that film itself and a modern day detective plot for fun thrills. There’s life in the unkillable slasher yet.

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The full verdict: If you want to remake a slasher movie, you’re always better off avoiding the household names...

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Blu-Ray Review: Blood and Black Lace

Blood-and-Blace-Lace---Arrow-Blu-ray-coverDirector: Mario Bava

Writer: Marcello Fondato, Guiseppe Barilla, Mario Bava

Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Mary Dawne Arden

Cert: 18

Running time: 89mins

Year: 1964

Blu-ray region: A+B

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The lowdown: Mario Bava’s magnificent giallo receives the home video treatment it deserves with Arrow Film’s stunning Blu-ray. A killer is stalking and slashing models in an haute couture fashion house, which doubles as a hotbed of blackmail, drug addiction, infidelity and betrayal. Hugely influential, the film redefined big screen murder-mysteries, paved the way for the slasher movie and, 51 years later, remains a key example of how to shoot a thriller in bold, near hallucinogenic colour...

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Woman in Gold

Woman-in-Gold---posterDirector: Simon Curtis

Writers: Alexi Kaye Campbell, E. Randol Schoenberg (life story), Maria Altmann (life story)

Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany

Cert: 12A

Running Time: 109 mins

Year: 2015

The lowdown: Based on a true story,National Treasure’ Helen Mirren fights for her rights against Third Reich crimes with a callow Ryan Reynolds in tow. Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) tries to create cinematic alchemy between his likeable leads but despite compelling subject matter and another puissant performance from the indomitable Dame, the effect is ultimately lacklustre.

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The verdict: Although not the first time Nazi pilfering of priceless paintings has received the Tinseltown treatment, unlike 2013’s misjudged comedy caper Monuments Me...

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Fast & Furious 7

Fast-&-Furious-7---posterDirector: James Wan

Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson (characters)

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey

Cert: 12A

Running Time: 137 mins

Year: 2015


 

The lowdown: Paul Walker’s death inevitably hangs over Fast & Furious 7, but the film stands as moving tribute to one of recent Hollywood’s most likeable leading men. Insidious director James Wan moves from chills to thrills, successfully steering the seventh instalment of the frenetic franchise. Carnage ensues as ‘Legitimate English badass’ Jason Statham pits his pecs against fellow glabrous growlers Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. Disengage your brain, let logic take the backseat and join the gear-crunching crew for more vehicular mayhem...

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John Wick

John-Wick---Keanu-Reeves,-posterDirector: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, Adrianne Palicki, Lance Reddick, John Leguizamo

Cert: 15

Running time: 101mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Keanu Reeves’ latest is not so much style over substance, more style is the substance. A boilerplate story of a retired hitman pulled back into “the life” to exact revenge when a gangster’s son does him wrong, John Wick offers no surprises plot wise. But, stuntman turned director Chad Stahelski can do action and there is grisly fun in watching Reeve’s reticent hitman unleash Gun-Fu mayhem on his enemies. Watch it with brain fully disengaged and eyes wide open.

John-Wick---Keanu-Reeves,-gunfightJohn-Wick---Alfie-Allen,-Michael-Nyqvist

The full verdict: While Sean Penn embarrasses himself with midlife crisis action movie The Gun...

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