Spring Breakers Bikini Hot Pants Cutoffs Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James Franco

Spring Breakers: to fund their Spring Break, a ‘curvaceous quartet’ of gals rob a diner, which leads them to a decadent gangbanger rapper called “Alien”. Not one to watch with your parents, this opens with some terrible dubstep, and bikini babes partying (and a record-breaking 30 seconds ‘til the first slow-motion beer-covered tiddies). Despite being so sensational in parts the runtime hopscotches between a) surreal mix of “poignant & brilliant coming-of-age moments” (some of the most authentic-feeling ‘college girl’ insights) and b) “handheld/realistic/hedonistic Girls-Gone-Wild-type shenanigans”. It uses a very peculiar – non-standard – cinematic language that takes a while to tune in to; feeling almost dream-like, or stream-of-consciousness. Something more akin to a music video or (trying my hardest not to sound like a wanker here) “Liquid narrative”. There’s a heavily saturated / neon-drenched / golden hour colour palette that bumps already strong imagery up to the next level. Although it sells the film short; Spring Breakers feels like Michael Bay, Gaspar Noe, and Nicolas Winding Refn (content, narrative, cinematography respectively) got together to create a subversive alternative to the coming-of-age genre. The pairing of director Korine and legendary cinematographer Benoít Debie has produced something so sensorial and peculiar that it’s impossible to articulate. Is Spring Breakers a great film? Doubtful. Is it an important film? Possibly. Is it an interesting film? You bechurass it is!

Score: 7/10

Spring Breakers Neon Dock Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James FrancoSpring Breakers Bikini Arrest Handcuffs Cops Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James FrancoSpring Breakers Balaclava Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James FrancoSpring Breakers Bikini Line Up Bra Panties Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James FrancoSpring Breakers Title Card Neon Poster Logo Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James FrancoSpring Breakers Bikini Court Arrest Harmony Korine, Benoît Debie, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, James Franco

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Train to Busan (부산행,  Busanhaeng), Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Ma Dong-seok, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Gwi-hwa, Jung Suk-yong, Ye Soo-jung, Park Myung-sin, Yeon Sang-ho

Train to Busan (AKA 부산행,  Busanhaeng): follows a ragtag bunch of commuters as a zombie outbreak sweeps through South Korea – and their Train. Mostly killer and very little filler, this is about as fun and enjoyable as a zombie apocalypse film can get. All of the populist and barnstorming zombie staples are there – namely hoards of ultra-twitchy and energetic zombies gorily ripping their way through everything and everyone in their path. Not unlike Snowpiercer, the train is a great way of offering up a diverse cross-section of society, which leads to some light social commentary and comedy moments. It’s a tight and straightforward film that has a punchy setup, then revels in the crimson spectacle of a drawn-out zombie attack. The action is all well-handled and there’s some nice dramatic moments thrown in for some respite and balance. The only minor niggle is that it loses it’s way a little in the final act and gets a bit too Hollywood / 28 Weeks Later. Overall, this has all of the prime cuts that you want from Zombie film, and none of the offal (except for buckets of brains and guts!)

Score: 7.5/10

Train to Busan (부산행,  Busanhaeng), Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Ma Dong-seok, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Gwi-hwa, Jung Suk-yong, Ye Soo-jung, Park Myung-sin, Yeon Sang-ho

Train to Busan (부산행,  Busanhaeng), Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Ma Dong-seok, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Gwi-hwa, Jung Suk-yong, Ye Soo-jung, Park Myung-sin, Yeon Sang-ho

Get Out 2017 Tear Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Erika Alexander, Richard Herd, Jordan Peele

GET OUT [Spoilers]: when a girl takes her new boyfriend home to meet her family, he gets way more than he bargained for. As a white metropolitan elite male, and part of the liberal media (a blog counts, right?) the moments of sleight racism, underhand stereotypes, and low-key comments about ‘form’, ‘structure’, ‘genetics’, etc were the hardest bits to watch. The strongest aspect about this film is that it skillfully uses the ‘language’ of horror cinema (jumps, isolation, string score) to emphasize the uneasy and odd parts of the plot. Even white people talking normally about Tiger Woods, Jessie Owens, and Obama sounds creepier through the ‘horror’ lens. The final 10 minutes see a major tone shift into exploitation & schlocky B-movie cheese, with some crowd pleasing gore – although it does feel like it’s been heaped on for good measure – a highlight being a ‘reverse American History X headstomp’ homage. There’s a few other missteps like the ‘gentrified’ help coming over more “robotic” than ‘transplanted’, and the TSA agent friend is purely in there for some cheap comic relief. The best thing about Get Out is that everything mentioned in the first half fits together perfectly for the reveal and finale; however, the flip side of that is that there’s no subtlety, and you get pushed down a particular path, which the film sticks religiously to; which feels too straightforward in a time where you expect more from top-drawer horror.

Score: 7/10

Get Out 2017 Chair Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Erika Alexander, Richard Herd, Jordan Peele

Get Out 2017 Dream Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Erika Alexander, Richard Herd, Jordan Peele

Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen, Susse Wold, Lars Ranthe, Anne Louise Hassing, Bjarne Henriksen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Ole Dupont, Thomas Vinterberg

The Hunt (aka Jagten): a nursery teacher’s life is pulled from beneath him when one of his very young students falsely accuses him of a sexual act. The film has a highly naturalistic, almost documentary-style (think Dogme 95) which creates a very realistic world and really gives you the impression that this could be any guy in this position. Being in almost every frame, the film puts a lot of stock in to Mads, but it pays off as he delivers an absolute powerhouse performance – he’s an everyman, but not like the other men around, and we see enough of him to empathise with his new fate. The middle act is particularly moving & emotional, and feels like a critique of the “guilty until proven innocent” society we live in at the moment. It’s even more interesting re-watching this through the 2017 ‘scandal of the week’ lens in this post-Weinstein abuse era. There are some very tough scenes like child counselor meeting and Lucas trying in vain to reason with his closest family and friends. Raw, emotional and affecting, The Hunt is a modern classic, and will no doubt be one of Mikkelsen and Vinterberg’s career highlights, no matter what else they go on to do.

Score: 9/10

Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen, Susse Wold, Lars Ranthe, Anne Louise Hassing, Bjarne Henriksen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Ole Dupont, Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen, Susse Wold, Lars Ranthe, Anne Louise Hassing, Bjarne Henriksen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Ole Dupont, Thomas Vinterberg

Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, José Luis Fernández, Alf Junco, Jacqueline Luis, Mara Lorenzio, Paula Romo, David Silva, Héctor Martínez, José Legarreta

El topo: a surreal wild-west-type cowboy tale that’s heavy on the religious symbolism and appeared to have been conceived (& filmed) whilst on all of the drugs. The biggest thing this film has going for it is reel after reel of top-shelf insanity and phenomenal imagery: attempting to put some of the scenes into words wouldn’t do them justice – but suffice to say that the locations, landscapes, characters, and overall visuals are absolutely remarkable. Beyond the aesthetics, the rest of the film feels like a hodgepodge of themes, styles, and ideas. The tone continually bounces around from jarring “Texas Chainsaw” style, straight into to a Russ Meyers type shoe-sniffer: from po-faced religious moments through to Blazing Saddles levels of stupidity. It’s also – unfortunately – a film of two halves, that gets tangled up after the initial “mission” and really loses the head of steam (and patience) that the first have had built up. The foley work is particularly terrible – the film is shot outdoors, but most of the speech and effects appear to have been recorded in a boxy echo chamber. There’s also a lot of violent (although reddest blood ever) and exploitative stuff in here too, like the misuse of religion, lesbians, and midgets & disabled people for no real reason. Bizarre and easily one of the strangest & most overlooked cult movies ever made, El Topo is the most peculiar of beasts, that’s only worth watching for it’s sublime and visionary aesthetic.

Score: 5/10

Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, José Luis Fernández, Alf Junco, Jacqueline Luis, Mara Lorenzio, Paula Romo, David Silva, Héctor Martínez, José Legarreta

Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, José Luis Fernández, Alf Junco, Jacqueline Luis, Mara Lorenzio, Paula Romo, David Silva, Héctor Martínez, José Legarreta

Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, José Luis Fernández, Alf Junco, Jacqueline Luis, Mara Lorenzio, Paula Romo, David Silva, Héctor Martínez, José Legarreta

Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, José Luis Fernández, Alf Junco, Jacqueline Luis, Mara Lorenzio, Paula Romo, David Silva, Héctor Martínez, José Legarreta

 

LOGAN 2017 WOLVERINE Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, James Mangold

LOGAN [Spoilers]: as Professor X’s health deteriorates Logan has to keep him – and the first new mutant in years – safe from all the bad guys. This is unlike any other big superhero film you’ve seen: grisly, balls-out, 15-rated (borderline 18!). There’s lots of “Fucks”, gratuitous boobs, and exploitation-level gore; with claws hacking up limbs & digging in to skulls etc. It’s also a film where the titular hero spends the majority of the runtime hobbling, coughing, and lumbering around like a broken man. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give an absolute masterclass in character and acting, supplemented by a star-making performance from Dafne Keen. I wouldn’t want to be the actor that has to follow Jackman when the inevitable X-men reboot goes ahead – after 17 years in the role, he is Logan. The action scenes are sparse, but next-level-superb throughout – the highlight being the first time were introduced to Laura (a 10 minute fight-chase). As for flaws, there are only a few minor ones: Stephen Merchant’s horrific accent brings you right out of the film; and it spends a bit too much time introducing and building some minor characters. One of the main criticisms leveled against this is that it’s too “depressing” or “downbeat”, which I assume came from the same people who would prefer to see robots leveling cities. Logan is a character-driven road-trip western film (that happens to contain superheros) rammed with pathos and peril – what’s not to love?! It’s brutal, dark, raw, emotional, and – for me – this is the new standard for ALL future Marvel / Superhero / Comic Book movies.

Score: 9/10

LOGAN 2017 Xavier Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, James Mangold