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AMF_3574 (140 of 194).NEFThe Iceman: biopic / mobster film based on the notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski – who has killed over 100 people (believed to be nearer 300). This is definitely a post Killer Inside Me / Killing them Softly type film, a real focus on keeping things real, and when they need to be, graphic. The biggest problem is that film is that it’s essentially an indie re-telling of the Goodfellas story arc, but based on a hitman – so when the focus is on his life collapsing in the last act, you don’t care much because… well… he’s a hitman, and he should be in jail long before then; the film seems to make him a little more sympathetic. Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard Mobster piece, that doesn’t stray far from the path – other than a random scene of political opinion thrown in for no good reason (Vietnam war). Seriously!? Who the fuck casts David Schwimmer as a badass gangster? As soon as he opens his mouth, BOOM, character ruined! Quick note for Ray Liotta – change it up bro, this is getting hella boring. Winona Ryder’s decent, but flaunts her boobs an awful lot (distracts from her good performance). Chris Evans is really good – could have done with more of him. But the biggest, and most obvious, outcome of this is to cast Michael Shannon in as many films as possible – he can, and does, act with every single muscle in his face and body. In the end, The Iceman is a decent enough gangster film that focuses more on the hitman himself than his actions – but Shannon keeps this watchable with a captivating depiction of the cold-blooded mobster.

Score: 6/10

Iceman 2 Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, James Franco, David Schwimmer, Stephen Dorff, Erin Cummings, Robert Davi, Weronika Rosati, Ariel Vromen

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Kill List: after taking a break from contract killing, money problems force a hitman back into the game, but this list isn’t as simple as it first looks. Never before has a film rattled my cage like this. There’s a very heavy sense of doom heaped upon you, primarily through a clever soundtrack that’s part classic horror and part ultra-modern – white noise & distortion while all digetic (in picture) sounds are muted – a great effect to keep the audience unsettled. I was genuinely scared in parts and had to take deep breaths now and again for no real reason other than it was so tense; very strange for a film to get this reaction. It’s an unbelievable display of what a good director (Wheatley), and good actors (Maskell & Smiley), can put an audience through The story is intriguing from the first frame of the symbol, and plenty of hints dropped through the runtime, without much basil exposition. The only disappointment was several aspects of the ending; after 70 minutes of slow-boiling, grim, ultra realistic, impending danger, the final 20 minutes feel a bit wild, and the scream/costume effects (from the tunnel scene in particular) don’t match the rest of the film. Despite some minor niggles, Kill List is a superb film: tense, unsettling, uneasy, ultra-violent (guns, hammers, knives)  – it’s not for everyone, but this is without a doubt one of the best thriller/horror I’ve ever seen.

Score: 8.5/10