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Green Room: when they witness a murder in a remote neo-nazi music venue crusty-punk band “The Ain’t Rights” have to fight their way out. It’s the sort of weird blurb that you’d expect from a shitty B-Movie, but this one is anything but that. The setup is a great portrayal of the Punk/DIY scene and touring life in general; whereas the main chunk of the film switches to a tense, claustrophobic cat-and-mouse thriller as the band are trapped, and the balance of power inside/outside the room shifts back and forth. The final act changes gears yet again into more of a generic hillbilly survival horror story; yet keeps up with the breath-holding, seat-grabbing set pieces. The film is littered with moments of ultra-violent ultra-gore; limbs being slashed, people being gutted, graphic gunshot wounds… which are offset with some wonderfully wicked black/morbid comedy moments; like fighting off a dog with a mic stand and getting ridiculous feedback from the PA system. Visually, the film is very slick and the director skillfully keeps the majority of the runtime confined to a the small, grotty, bar: unsurprisingly, all of the green colours have been popped out, giving it a vibrant – almost neon – wash. The entire cast is solid; it’s a great turn by Yelchin in one of his final roles, and it’s fantastic to see someone straight like Patrick Stewart play a proper ruthless peesashit baddie. Green Room exceeds all expectations for a film with its niche plot, and is handled exceptionally by the cast and director, creating a solid and effective thriller.

Score: 7.5/10

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List of bands mentioned / referenced: I’m sure there’s more!

Fugazi, Dead Kennedys, Dillinger Escape Plan, Misfits, Black Sabbath, Simon and Garfunkel, Prince, Madonna, Slayer, Iggy Pop, Minor Threat, Distillers, Dare to Defy,

green-room-nazis-jean-luc-pickard-anton-yelchin-alia-shawkat-joe-cole-callum-turner-imogen-poots-patrick-stewart-macon-blair-mark-webber-kai-lennox-eric-edelstein-samuel-summer-david-w-thom

green-room-confederate-flag-pout-bomber-jacket-anton-yelchin-alia-shawkat-joe-cole-callum-turner-imogen-poots-patrick-stewart-macon-blair-mark-webber-kai-lennox-eric-edelstein-samuel-summer

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Die Hard Air Duct Zippo Vest John McLean Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, De'voreaux White, William Atherton, Hart Bochner, James Shigeta,“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…”

Die Hard: European terrorists hold up a skyscraper and are issuing a lot of bogus demands; unbeknownst to them, NYPD’s biggest badass is crawling around in the air-ducts. John McClane is undoubtedly one of cinema’s greatest action heroes – the cheeky chap with so many timeless quips that have been ingrained into the general consciousness. For some reason, against all of the cut/paste Communist/Russian terrorists in 1980s movies the fact that the Die Hard baddies are German feels inspired. The film contains everything that was great about that era’s action films – right down to the male toplessness, black/white cooperation, violence, and a boss-fight within a perilous industrial setting. Most interestingly, although you couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the lead roles, this was both Willis’ and Rickman’s first big movies – and McClane had previously been offered to Arnie, Sly, Ford, Gere, Reynolds, Eastwood – so the casting director is an absolute hero. Decades later, this is still one of the best examples of a timeless action movie; and the re-watchability factor alone makes this an instant classic. Not just the best Christmas movie ever, but one of the best movies ever. If you don’t like this, I don’t like you!

Score: 10/10

Human Centipede 2 - Martin - Laurence R. Harvey, Maddi Black, Ashlynn Yennie, Kandace Caine, Dominic Borrelli, Lucas Hansen, Lee Nicholas, Dan Burman, Daniel Jude, Georgia Goodrick, Emma Lock, Katherine Templar, Peter Blankenstein

The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (Not for the faint hearted): A car park security guard becomes obsessed with his Human Centipede DVD, and sets about creating his own pet with 12 people instead of 3 – and no medical knowledge, or tools… The premise is interesting, very post-modern and ‘meta’. But getting down to business: on a shock/gore/filth level, director Tom Six promised to make the first Human Centipede film look like “My Little Pony” when held up against this – and much to my disbelief, it genuinely does. Unlike the first one, where the horror is all off-screen and in your mind, in THC2 everything is laid out on the table, in glorious HD: torture, mutilation, teeth bashing, skin slicing, stapling, hacking and shitting – it’s hyper-graphic and positively gut-wrenchingly, toe-curlingly, vomit-inducing. The final 30 minute gory climax is absolutely beyond excessive, beyond boundaries, beyond taste, and beyond the thinkable – and that’s with 2mins 30secs of cuts. Gore and controversy aside, there are actually some things to like about this film. The main guy Martin – Laurence R. Harvey’s feature debut – is an outstanding genre-defining bad guy. His bug-eyed physicality is amazing, coming across as a truly deranged, demented, creepy and repulsive person, without saying a single word. Between the killings, kidnappings and gore, the film’s tone and direction are jaw-droppingly arthouse – as opposed to the cliche’d run-of-the-mill horror/B-movie cheapness & lazy non-efforts you’re used to. Filming in black and white make sense given all of the physical SFX – and even gives Tom Six the chance to insert an absolutely ridiculous Schindler’s List joke with dark orange projectile diarrhea. In the end, The Human Centipede 2 it’s made by someone who clearly knows and loves everything about the horror/extreme/torture genre, and most surprisingly, knows how to direct, well. I’ve not seen “A Serbian Film”, nor do I particularly want to – but I would still bet that this is one of the nastiest and most extreme pieces of ‘film’ anyone could legally get their hands on. As with the first one, this is absolutely not for everyone, but if it’s even possible to like the sound of it, or you fancy an endurance test, give it a spin.

Score: 4.5/10
B-Movie: 7/10

Human Centipede 2 - Centipede - Laurence R. Harvey, Maddi Black, Ashlynn Yennie, Kandace Caine, Dominic Borrelli, Lucas Hansen, Lee Nicholas, Dan Burman, Daniel Jude, Georgia Goodrick, Emma Lock, Katherine Templar, Peter Blankenstein

NSFW/TASTELESS/EXPLICIT DETAIL WARNING: According to Wikipedia: the stuff that didn’t make it in to the UK cut “Martin masturbating with sandpaper around his penis; graphic sight of a man’s teeth being removed with a hammer; graphic sight of lips being stapled to naked buttocks; graphic sight of forced defaecation into and around other victims’ mouths; Martin with barbed wire wrapped around his penis violently raping a woman; a newborn baby being killed; and the graphic sight of injury as staples are torn away from individuals’ mouths and buttocks.”

Human Centipede 2 - Tools- Laurence R. Harvey, Maddi Black, Ashlynn Yennie, Kandace Caine, Dominic Borrelli, Lucas Hansen, Lee Nicholas, Dan Burman, Daniel Jude, Georgia Goodrick, Emma Lock, Katherine Templar, Peter Blankenstein

End of Watch: two of LAPD’s finest end up with a bounty on their heads after accidentally disrupting the activities of a brutal cartel. From the opening car chase this feels very realistic, shot primarily on dashboard / surveillance / handheld cameras etc. This style not only lends itself to authenticity – glamour is played down throughout – but heightens the drama and urgency of action sequences. Both leads (Gyllenhaal and Peña) are superb, the naturalistic script makes them genuinely feel like friends, and their performances make you believe that they are regular guys – the fire scene in particular shows us that they are real heroes. What sets this aside from most cop films is that the antagonists are painted as being so ruthless and violent that there’s a genuine sense of danger that simmers throughout the film, hitting boiling point at the climax. My only major issue is that because the overall style is ‘handheld’/’genuine’ footage, characters in the middle of drive-by shootings / full-blown firefights / intimate moments are always carrying a camera/phone etc; even when there’s plenty shots in the film that aren’t handheld, so it seems a bit stupid. Also, if the penultimate scene had been cut, the ending would have also been so much more powerful. Niggles aside, End of Watch is a stunning cop film, with a strong ‘buddy’ vibe, real threat and two great performances at its heart. This is easily the best cop film in years, and arguably ever.

Score: 9/10

Rumble in the Bronx: whilst visiting his uncle in New York, Keong fom Hong Kong finds himself in the crosshairs of several gangs. The premise is basic (like the far East’s rebuttal to Black Rain – the West is full of uncivilized, violent punks!), the plot twists are silly and the acting’s borderline woeful, but this film has Jackie Chan; and an on form Jackie Chan of that! The action set pieces are still among the best you can find today; the shop fight, back alley fight, car park chase, and the superb gang den fight… action doesn’t get any better than this: strength, acrobatic skills, timing, planning, intuitive use of space & objects – it’s almost unbelievable. I could genuinely watch these scenes on loop all day and never get bored. The biggest stunts have a timeless jaw-dropping quality, mostly because they’re real and well-edited: you want to pull down a building? Lets build one to demolish! You want a hovercraft/car chase scene? Lets make it happen on real streets! Jackie Chan jumping a large gap between to 10-storey buildings? CGI boring and waste of money! Above the eye-blasting stuntwork there’s a lot of camera-friendly graffiti, clothes, cars, buildings and other such eye candy. There’s a couple of bizarre slapstick scenes that stick out like sore thumbs, but other than that, it’s all gravy. Sure it will never be on a Criterion or AFI “best films of all time” list, but Rumble in the Bronx is entertainment in one of its most pure and watchable forms, and they just don’t make ’em like this any more.

Score: 8/10

The Next Three Days: When his wife is sent to prison for a murder she didn’t commit, an everyman embarks on a long-winded jailbreak from the county’s most secure prison. The brunt of the film is Crowe scoping out the prison and dealing with Pittsburgh’s criminal underbelly – making it essentially the Russell Crowe show; which is great because he’s Russell Crowe, but bad because he’s one of those superb actors that manages to elevate otherwise average films above their natural place (see State of Play). The tone jumps up and down, with up to 30 minutes of slow-moving planning, then Crowe getting his action on for a minute or two. When you’re watching it, most of it seems plausible at a stretch, then you think back to everything that a sleepy English lecturer actually did… and feel violated! Also, unless I’m an idiot, they didn’t reveal one question: how did the blood get on to the back of her jacket?!  Despite being pretty well made you get the sense that everyone here’s underachieving, and that it’s a film for the sake of being a film, with some big names… for the sake of having the big names (Neeson is in one scene, yet gets 3rd billing.) It’s also more about The First Three Years than The Next Three Days!!

Score: 4/10

RED: (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) A retired Black Ops soldier is targeted by a hit team, so he calls a favour on his old-time buddies to get to the bottom of it all. I guess the best thing about this newfangled trend of adapting the shit out of every comic ever made is that – on the whole – the source material is usually good, and abundant. Because of this, RED is watchable enough as the story predictably lurches forward, however the way it’s all presented on the big screen is nothing new – peppered with gratuitous fights, action and explosions. They must have known the story was ten-a-penny before they pulled in such a heavy-hitting cast: Malkovich steals every scene with his familiar oddball routine, and the only other person that turns in something good is the determined agent Karl Urban. Everyone else, including Bruce Willis, is on cruise control, and despite being OK, everyone seems more interested in making a quick buck than doing anything noteworthy. There’s a couple of ‘hostage humour’ laughs as Willis tries to win over a girl that looks half his age, and the overall script is decent. Between the massive cast and unusually low certificate for an ation/spy flick (all violence and most swear words are edited out or covered up) this is clearly all about getting as many bums on as many seats as possible. RED nowhere near as good as the sum of its parts – and ends up being nothing more than a Bourne/Salt/A-Team re-hash, with marginally more interesting than average geriatric characters.

Score: 5/10