Killer Joe: a young redneck with bad debts finds out that his mother has a $50,000 life insurance policy, so he contacts the world’s dodgiest cop – Killer Joe. While this is pitched as a thriller, it’s more like a deep-south trailer-trash crime-caper, which was a nice surprise. More surprising, is the absolutely wicked streak of very, very black humour that holds the movie together, providing an unexpectedly high number of laughs. Better still is the perfectly selected cast, all of whom portray brilliant – memorable – characters, but it’d be wrong not to single out Juno Temple (for her no-holds barred performance) and McConaughey, for his portrayal of a scary, twisted, stickler-for-manners-and-the-rules dirty cop – he’s unbelievably good. A few scenes (the dinner date in particular) feel overlong and lifted directly from a play – because this is based on a play, doh! There’s tons of nudity, a jarring/uneasy synth soundtrack and a totally subversive ending that you couldn’t begin to predict. Not unlike The Killer Inside Me, this is a difficult one to recommend: it’s unbelievably dark and uncomfortable to watch in large parts yet it works so well as a piece of entertainment, with some great laughs: above all else, this is a stunning performance piece from all actor involved… including Emile Hirsch!!! (And Gina Gershon, and Thomas Haden Church…)
Piranha: (Piranha 3D – 2010) Spring break is ruined as an earthquake releases a massive school of 2 million year old cannibal super-piranhas into a party-lake!! The movie’s divided in to two parts: set up (nudity-fest and just enough gore) and bloodbath (gore-fest and just enough nudity). The cast is a who’s who of B-movie stars, all typecast and wafer thin characters; in saying that, Christopher Lloyd’s great fun, Ving Rhames is Ving Rames, Kelly Brook is ball-tighteningly hot and porn stars Gianna Michaels / Riley Steele also get their 3D lungs out – no complaints with any of that! The gore‘s decent enough; most of it is real effects so looks pretty good but the CGI is a bit rubbish and the underwater scenes look very dark with the 3D glasses on. The 3D itself is generally good if a tad sloppy – they clearly spent the most time on the buxom booty and a few cheap ‘poke outs’ and not enough time on the piranhas themselves, but on the whole it was decent. There’s a bunch of nice nods to Jaws, from the poster through to ‘the dolly shot’, when Brody realises what’s happening, and even the casting of Dreyfuss. My biggest complaint is that for the robbery extra cost of seeing a 3D flick it’s very short – although given that Piranha barely sustains itself for 75-80 minutes this may be a godsend! All-in Piranha’s everything you expect it to be: shallow and camp, but bulging with entertaining gore, red dye and constant nudity… what more could you want from a B-movie? Guilty pleasure of the summer.
Hell Ride: Biker ‘Pistolero’ is out for revenge after a rival gang had his lady killed years back. Scene one: guy lying on the ground with an arrow in his stomach. Scene two: some chick being beaten, tied, throat slit and burned. Rest of film: bodies dropping right, left and centre. This my friends, is ‘Bikesploitation’ – bikes, babes, beards and beer tediously linked by a wafer-thin plot. The casting is just as poor, especially Michael Madsen, who is 100% Budd from Kill Bill, Vinnie Jones as another badass, and remember cyber nerd Milo from 24, just pretend he’s really mean. The dead men walking supporting cast were so indistinguishable (hairy, shades and stupid names) that it was pretty hard to follow who was who, although they all got killed, so meh! It’s good to see Dennis Hopper and Dave Carradine on screen again. It had so much potential and although I wasn’t expecting much it still disappointed; it really is one of those films that is so bad it’s… bad. Note to Tarrantino: please stop presenting shite films!
Together: set back in 1975, it documents the make ups and break ups of a crowded hippy commune in Stockholm – doesn’t sound great but this is one of the best drama films out there, easily. Other than a few zooms there are no fancy tricks to this film, leaving everything to come from the characters; vegetarians, homosexuals, hippies, confused teenagers and alcoholics under one roof – it’s basically a scrip-writer’s wet dream. There are no main roles, just an ensemble of credible characters that you can relate to – from the uneasy teen to the textbook socialist – which makes the story very absorbing. There’s some nice subtle and awkward comedy hidden there too. It may be a tad slow for some but has one of the best endings that I can remember. All in, it’s a simple feel good tale about the ups and downs of living with people. This is was only Moodysson’s 2nd film, and between this, Fucking Amal and Lilja-4-ever he definitely started his career with a bang. We’re better together.