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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 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

The5ObstructionsBlogathon1This post is part of the The 5 Obstructions Blogathon over at MyFilmViews; a series where Nostra challenges film reviewers by issuing limitations and rules for five film reviews over five months. The first month’s challenge is to “write a positive review of a movie you don’t like, or write a negative review of a movie you love.” Here goes.

Barb Wire Pamela Anderson Lee Xander BerkleyBarb Wire: It’s 2017, the 2nd American Civil War rages on – this film shows how everyday people struggle to make ends meet – by mixing lapdancing and bounty hunting. When people talk about culturally important movies you never hear Barb Wire – this pisses me off. This story is a re-telling of one of cinema’s finest: Casablanca, which sets a high bar for this film – although Barb Wire vaults over that daunting monument with ease. Pamela Anderson, bounces seamlessly from TV and into the movies, cashing in on her trademark look – and transforming herself into a cinematic icon with bodacious curves, blonde hair, skimpy leather outfits and gallons of water for that signature ‘wet look’. The director further complements this by making every single shot about her (and ensuring she flashes a tit every 10 minutes) – not to mention casting Pam as the only sexy person in a world full of freaks and mutants: she truly stands out, and delivers her lines with the cold, jaded authenticity of a bounty hunter that really has seen the horrors of war first hand. She’s supported by some big names, including Udo Kier, Xander Berkley, and Steve Railsback – not to mention a talented Bon Jovi lookalike – who all fit right in with this calibre of movie. The movie is crammed with bold striking imagery and iconography, creating a totally believable futuristic landscape by fusing together the visuals from distinctive eras like WWII, the American Civil War, and Cyberpunk classics, which are expertly stitched together with a Noir look and feel. Despite being 1996, this has the explosions and action of an 80s blockbuster. Barb Wire is a film that has it all: a sexy, dangerous leading lady, on-form supporting cast, action, plot, direction, and most of all re-watch-ability. A criminally overlooked studio classic that will hopefully be seen for the cultural masterpiece that it is within my lifetime.

Score: 9/10
Real score: 1/10

Barb Wire Pamela Anderson Lee Xander Berkley2

Poster The Evil Dead, Book of the Dead, Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Sarah York, Sam Raimi, The Coen Brothers, NecronomiconEvil Dead: five friends go for a remote, relaxing break at a cabin in the woods… where they accidentally unleash an angry daemon. So I’ve seen this film about ten times, yet it still gives me the willies: from the outset there’s a lot of weird, floaty camera movement as it sweeps through the woods; something spooky or shifty happens about every 2 minutes; and you couldn’t have picked a more eerie set of locations: rickety house, basement, woods. The film’s packed with masterful moments of suspense, and the old school horror soundtrack gives it a timeless quality – screeching strings. There’s a few funny bits (and black humour thread throughout), but it’s definitely more horror than comedy. Whilst Bruce Campbell isn’t the best actor in the world, his presence is something else. The film builds towards a gore filed gory gore-fest of an ending – that will satisfy the hardest of horror fans. Essentially a B-movie, made on a shoestring budget; it has more than enough going on to totally distract you from the fact that it’s so cheap and brimming with continuity errors. The Evil Dead has more atmosphere, tension and impact than 20 empty, modern, derivative horror knockoffs. Proper horror cult classic.

Score: 9/10

The Evil Dead, Book of the Dead, Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Sarah York, Sam Raimi, The Coen Brothers, Necronomicon

A Single Man: [Blu Ray] – Follows an over-educated, depressed homosexual suicidal lecturer! The role could have been totally melodramatic Oscar Bait, but was played realistically by Firth. Stunning performance, well-earned gongs. He’s simply great to watch, and is the intense focus of every scene. The colouring / sound mix playfully tweaks with what you see and hear for around the first hour, but by the end it’s overused with some ridiculous gray = sad / colour = happy scenes. For being such an intense story, it’s very slow burning – with a few dramatic peaks to keep staleness at bay – I feel the drama could have been milked a little more. It’s undoubtedly well directed; every shot is stylish and looks cinematic, even scenes like a man on the toilet! The Blu Ray isn’t very watchable: much of the film has a stylistic (read as: shitty) diffusion / grain to the picture to set the era and tone. Overall, it’s quite a plain non-eventful story, boosted by a brilliant central performance.

Score: 6.5/10

Survive Style 5+ : I wish I was in the meeting when this was pitched! The fun & upbeat DVD menu / opening credits do their best to prepare, although I don’t think anything could. It’s so amazingly colourful, the music’s beat-tastic and the pace is nothing short of rapid – this is totally fresh and original. The only way I can remotely describe this is an enjoyable ‘Punk Film’ if that makes sense!? Above the style, the characters are also memorable and unique: an outrageously hot wife that keeps getting reincarnated, a hip-thrusting tiger-obsessed hypnotist, a hitman who kills anyone who’s ‘function in life’ is unnecessary, a man that thinks he’s a bird and 3 gay burglars (‘Come baby, come come baby’ is ingrained in my brain). Despite the crazy ideas and characters all five stories are connected and, although it’s fragmented, the narrative makes sense. It grinds to a halt in the last 20 minutes, other than the last scene, which is the only fault I have on this. The most fun I’ve had watching a film in ages. Modern Japanese cinema at it’s very best!

Score: 8.5/10