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Blade Runner, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull, Ridley Scott, Wake up time to die

Blade Runner (The Final Cut): A retired replicant hunter (aka a Blade Runner) must return to track down four fugitive android impostors in 2019 Los Angeles. It’s unbelievable to think that this was released in 1982 as everything about it looks and feels like a ‘modern’ movie: it’s still breathtaking, brimming with scenes and imagery that are nothing short of pure spectacle. Almost every shot is striking; and the scale/intricacy of the sets & worldbuilding is unbelievable. Despite all of this, Ridley isn’t above some tremendously naff product placement: Coca Cola billboards, Budweiser signage, Atari holograms, and a final fight illuminated by a humongous neon TDK sign… classy! There’s also a questionable sex scene and dubious mis-use of midget actors – to give the film a little edge and distraction. If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery; you know that Blade Runner is a top-drawer sci-fi, as the future-metropolis aesthetics and theme of ‘what makes us human’ are echo through pretty much every subsequent Sci-Fi classic: Ghost in the Shell, The Fifth Element, Minority Report, The Matrix, Dark City, Total Recall, Brazil, Looper, Akira, Ex Machina… the list is endless. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the starting point for the movie (Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dear of Electric Sheep?” is a SF masterpiece). Overall, Blade Runner is a parodically boilerplate pulp/noir story; yet the world created & proto “cinema du look” style paired with the outstanding source material & sci-fi twists, propel this film into classic territory.

Score: 9/10

Blade Runner, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull, Ridley Scott, Wake up time to die

Blade Runner, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull, Ridley Scott, Wake up time to die

Blade Runner, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull, Ridley Scott, Wake up time to die

Blade Runner, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull, Ridley Scott, Wake up time to die

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The Villainess, Ak-Nyeo, 악녀, 惡女, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun, Sung Joon, Kim Seo-hyung, Jo Eun-ji, Lee Seung-joo, Son Min-ji, Kim Yeon-woo Jung Hae-kyun, Park Chul-min,

The Villainess(aka Ak-Nyeo, 악녀, 惡女). an elite assassin goes on a rampage to win back her freedom. This opens with one of the most intense and enjoyable rip-roaring action sequences in recent memory, where no fewer than 50 henchmen are dispatched in a 6-minute point-of-view frenzy of shooting / stabbing / and kick-punching – think of the Oldboy‘s infamous corridor scene, but from Hardcore Henry’s perspective! The film also ends with an equally-impressive action finale involving a bus and a lot of great stuntwork / choreography. It’s peppered throughout with shorter bursts of ultra-violent, and undeniably ‘cool’ blood-spurting over-the-top moments. As you’ve probably guessed, the action scenes are second-to-none… however, they only total around a quarter of the 120 minute runtime; which is a shame as the film if being sold as purely an action film in the same vein as The Raid (the UK poster namechecks Kill Bill, Nikita, John Wick, Hardcore Henry, and Hong Kong Era John Woo!!!). The problem with these comparisons are that – as an overall film – The VIllainess nowhere near as strong as those classics. It’s also lacking in originality in that you can see where shots / scenes / characters have been lifted wholesale from the aforementioned movies; for example, the lead’s backstory is identical to Oren Ishii’s of Kill Bill. The story jumps around the timeline in a manner that is unnecessarily confusing until the final act, where it all kinda (?) fits together. Despite being built from bits and pieces of other action flicks, the action scenes in The Villainess are still inventive, great fun to watch and the spectacle (+ “how did they do that!?” factor) of these alone should entice genre aficionados. It makes it all the more frustrating that these scenes are lost in a flabby, overlong, underwhelming, and melodramatic plot – which could have done with losing around 30 minutes to make it a tighter and more focused / straight-forward action film.

Score: 6.5/10

The Villainess, Ak-Nyeo, 악녀, 惡女, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun, Sung Joon, Kim Seo-hyung, Jo Eun-ji, Lee Seung-joo, Son Min-ji, Kim Yeon-woo Jung Hae-kyun, Park Chul-min,

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Let’s just start with that title, “the 4th awakens”… that’s a Star Wars reference, right!?!? But other than a couple of subtle riffs, there’s literally no connection to that franchise… Who the fuck is naming these movies!?!? The film begins – five years after Sharknado 3:Oh Hell No – in Las Vegas with a 15-minute action scene (that’s completely unrelated to the rest of the movie). It’s a shoddy ‘setup’ with almost no explanation and crammed with some of the worst CGI in the franchise so far (a fake shark-themed hotel, and flying car) and that’s saying something! Of the four movies, this one is by far the least cohesive and has the worst continuity… it essentially feels like a bunch of ‘that would be cool’ ideas very vaguely stitched together.  New characters appear, but are never introduced; the Grand Canyon is blown up and nobody seems to care; Tara Reid (how is she even still in these and Cassie Scerbo isn’t) ends up flying around with superpowers shooting lasers and shit; there’s a ton of sloppy references to things like Action Comics #1 / Alien / Wizard of Oz – all for no apparent reason; an actual advert – in the movie – for speech recognition TVs; everyone has a classic car for no obvious reason, and, most unforgivably, the film hops around from city to city (Kansas, Las VegasSan Fran, Arizona, Texas, Chicago, Ohio, Niagara Falls) where the real Eiffel Tower (What. The. Fuck?!!?) makes the best cameo in the movie. All in all; Sharknado 4 spectacularly fails to up the ante as much as the previous installment, and feels like idea has been stretched to the absolute limit.

Score: 3/10
B-Movie Score: 4/10

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,
LIST OF CAMEOS – doesn’t include half of the z-listers, competition winners, family members etc.

Carrot Top (So-called comedian), Corey Taylor (Slinknot / Stone Sour frontman), Jedward (Irish dancing twats), Gilbert Gottfried (croaky / shouty comedian), Dog bounty hunter + family (peace be with you brah), Seth Rollins (Sports entertainer), Steve Gutenberg (Lavalantula & 2 Lava 2 Lantula Star), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxie’s dad. Troma founder), Gary Busey (Even he is better than this!), Gena Lee Nolin & Alexandra Paul (original Baywatch babes), Roy Nelson (professional punchkicker), Vince Neil (Motley Crew), Patti Stanger (Millionaire Matchmaker), Frank Mir (professional kickpuncher),

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,

SHARK DEATHS

  • Chip n Dale punch
  • Cutlass / Swords
  • Fireworks
  • Ship’s Wheel
  • Fin-punch
  • Train Signal Pole
  • Chainsaw Family
  • Flaming Tree Logger
  • Tennis Racket
  • Treecapitation
  • Shotgun’d
  • Rifle’d
  • Chainsword
  • High-kicked
  • Mecha suit

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,

Sharknado  –  Review

Sharknado 2: The Second One  –  Review

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!  –  Review

The Love Witch Banner Poster Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Eva

The Love Witch: a modern-day witch is testing her potions on handsome men in a quest to find true love. I don’t think I’ve seen a more accurate and loving homage to retro-cinema… the saturated colours, audio fidelity, camera techniques, soundtrack, editing, clothes, lighting, stilted dialogue, and general B-movie tackiness… it’s all there, and it’s all immaculate; to the point where it’s difficult to accurately date. There’s also no other way to describe the fantastical / surreal / dreamlike / kitschy aesthetic than a “luscious eyegasm”. It is, however, disappointing that the actual content of the film is wafer thin: there’s a lot of super-shallow and tedious “but what IS love” type chatting and, more generally, it sticks far too rigidly to the 60s B-movie structure without adding or updating a single point. Picking up a 15-rating, it’s also a touch on the timid side for what could (and should?) have been a great gore-fest or sexploitation romp. The final complaint is that – although it’s absolutely gorgeous – the film is 30-minutes too long: the entire final act (renaissance fair / musical numbers) really tries the viewers patience. I’m not 100% sure it’s the feminist piece it’s being championed as (it’s a mental woman on a killing spree) but I will say that this is pure catnip for goth/burlesque/alternative people. The Love Witch is a film that puts everything in to its style and vision; leaving the rest of the film feeling slight… although blimey Charlie, it doesn’t half look beautiful.

Score: 4/10

The Love Witch Laboratory Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Evans

The Love Witch Interior Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle EvansThe Love Witch Pentagram Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Evans

Aftermath, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Judah Nelson, Larry Sullivan, Jason McCune, Glenn Morshower, Mariana Klaveno, Martin Donovan, Hannah Ware, Christopher Darg

Aftermath [mild spoilers]: follows two men after a fatal airplane collision that changes their lives forever. The film starts with a relentlessly grim and drawn-out opening act in which both leads deal with the shock of their situation, frequently tipping over into forced melodrama; it’s all very burdensome and somber. Where the film really fails to deliver is after a 70 minute gloomy setup; the ‘climactic payoff’ is far too brief, and then we get a post-script ‘years later’ scene that you could see coming a mile off. Stylistically, the film is equally austere, with a grayed out colour palate; it starts at Christmas for no real reason than to crank up the sorrow-o-meter; and contains some rather clunky imagery & parallels between the leads’ lives. Strangely, the movie takes a powerful real-life story and changes core elements that ultimately lessens the story’s impact in the fictionalized movie version. I’m a huge Arnie fan – and think he’s a better actor than he’s generally given credit for – however this film asks a little too much of him: there are moments where you can see him struggle with the emotions. Scoot McNairy is rather good, but doesn’t get a lot of gears to change through. From the director of Bltiz (a solid police action/drama) the lack of action and tunneled focus on tragedy feels like a huge – but just-missed – leap. Aftermath is by no means a bad film, but it is a very heavy film about a very heavy subject that you’d need to be in a particular mood to watch.

Score: 3/10

Aftermath, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Judah Nelson, Larry Sullivan, Jason McCune, Glenn Morshower, Mariana Klaveno, Martin Donovan, Hannah Ware, Christopher Darg

The Autopsy of Jane Doe Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Kelly, Parker Sawyers,  André Øvredal

The Autopsy of Jane Doe: two small-town coroners investigate a fresh “Jane Doe”, whose cause of death becomes increasingly difficult to pin down as they learn about the body. This film is the embodiment of tight and efficient: a brief 15-minute setup; 30 mins of live/real-time autopsy, and the last half the film shifts gears into a full-on supernatural horror / thriller. Not for the faint-hearted, parts of this are horrifying to watch; the autopsy is shown in all of it’s snapping, sawing, scalping glory, and is coloured with buckets of crimson – this will definitely root out the weak and the woozy. Although there are a couple of big (and cheap) ‘modern’ jump-scares the majority of the film’s tension comes through the satisfyingly old-school method of very slowly building a sustained and overbearing sense of dread; the film lets your imagination run wild, and shows some incredible restraint – a couple of moments even stray into ‘pure terror’. As mentioned above, it’s a very tight movie: tight script (tons of subtle clues that tie in together nicely); tight setting (claustrophobic, well-established, and inherently creepy morgue); tight cast (Hirsch and Cox are a great/safe pair of hands, with fantastic chemistry). In fact, the only thing that minorly lets the film down is the ending, which is good, but doesn’t do justice to the slow-cooker setup. A completely unrelated follow-up to the fantastic TrollHunter, Norwegian director André Øvredal is proving himself as a very strong and competent film-maker – once again his direction is meticulous, without being the slightest bit ‘auteurial’ or flashy. Few things excite me less than ‘modern horror’, yet because of its throwback sensibilities ‘Autopsy’ feels more a John Carpenter picture than the ‘Paranormal Conjuring 27’ films modern audiences are being served up.

Score: 7.5/10
The Autopsy of Jane Doe Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Kelly, Parker Sawyers,  André Øvredal

“Every body has a secret”

The Autopsy of Jane Doe Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Kelly, Parker Sawyers,  André Øvredal

De Palma - Brian De Palma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Lauren Minnerath, Matt Ma Sisters, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchable

De Palma: two directors plonk a camera in front of legendary director Brian De Palma, and he discusses his turbulent career, warts ‘n’ all. This kicks off with a brief history of his journey into cinema; starting as an indie director through to his studio system break alongside Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese, and Coppola. The rest of the documentary feels like De Palma defending his stinkers and bigging up the films that initially underperformed, but have been subsequently lauded. My main issue with this documentary is that I don’t know who it’s supposed to be aimed at: the 2-5 minute recap of every single film is too high-level for De Palma nerds like me – even with the odd anecdote – yet it pretty much spoils the best parts of every film that ‘De Palma n00bs’ won’t have seen yet. As it’s just De Palma talking, it feels a touch self-indulgent – massaging his own ego – and coming over as a tad weird, bitter, & unhinged by the end. This is capped off with a final few minutes that turn into the biggest self-congratulatory handjob; where De Palma states that he is the only director keeping Hitchcock’s notions of “pure cinema” alive! This is the only time I’ve ever though that what I was watching could have benefited from more talking heads lending different perspectives and additional context. Don’t get me wrong, De Palma is one of the most under-rated directors out there; and although he’s had some stinkers, he’s also made some of the greatest movies of their times… but this isn’t the tribute that I was expecting; or that a masterful director like Brian De Palma deserves.

Score: 3/10

If you really want to explore De Palma, scrap this and go watch Blow Out, Femme Fatale, Scarface, or The Untouchables to see the damage this guy can do with a camera.

De Palma - Brian De Palma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Lauren Minnerath, Matt MayerSisters, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables