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Prisoners 2 Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Dylan Minnette, Zoë Soul,

Prisoners: When two six-year-old children go missing the local detective and one of the parents try to solve this with two completely different methods. This has a great cast, and leads with Jackman and Gyllenhal, who are both in great form; one as an unconventional detective, he other as a pragmatic father with everything to lose. I feel rather sorry for Paul Dano however; he only ever appears to get cast as creepy and/or insane and/or perverted characters. The film’s mood is beautifully crafted: it’s slow, brooding, and intense with lots of sustained anxiety – child abduction is a heavy enough subject, but when you add torture and a potential creepy cult into the mix it’s serious stuff; it reminded me of watching Kill List and feeling suffocated in parts. The city and the suspects are perfectly shot to look grimy, grotty, dilapidated and repulsive. Although it centers on a ‘micro drama’, there are plenty of larger questions and ideas lurking in the background, challenging your viewpoint and making you choose who’s wrong, who’s right, who would you be in this film? Prisoners is a completely gripping and compelling thriller about ordinary people in extreme situation; and while it’s not an ‘enjoyable’ film per sé, it’s completely immersive.

Score: 8.5/10

Prisoners Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Dylan Minnette, Zoë Soul,

 

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Chopping Mall Killbots Julie Corman, Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Angela Aames, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller

Chopping Mall (aka Killbots): it’s the near-future, where mall cops have been replaced by security robots, and “absolutely nothing can go wrong,” but a couple of lightning strikes later… yuuup, things are going wrong for a bunch of “teenagers” stuck in the mall overnight. If one thing defines this film, it’s the knuckle-chewing levels of cheese present in every scene. All characters are hyper-generic (nerd, wallflower, hunk, party boy) and the dialogue / delivery is terrible across the board – even the cool and quotable lines like “Let’s go send those fuckers a Rambo gram!!” The film plods through as a by-the-numbers pedigree b-movie, that’s not quite bad enough to be so-bad-it’s-good – but everyone seems to know how bad it is, and rolls with it anyway. Shopping centre boffins will note that this looks very similar to the one from Commando!! Chopping Mall just isn’t as shocking, gory or violent as the ‘slasher’ title would suggest; it just ends up feeling like a 1950s sci-fi film with a 1980s face-lift.

Score: 3/10

Chopping Mall Killbots 02 Julie Corman, Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Angela Aames, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller

It’s like Krieger’s robot and Cheryl/Carol from Archer!

Chopping Mall Killbots 03 Julie Corman, Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Angela Aames, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller“Where the shopping can cost you an arm and a leg”

Live and Let Die: after 3 British agents are murdered by a sound, a snake and a funeral precession (!!) James Bond gets sent on the case, leading him into a world of underground drug crime and voodoo.

Starting as he means to go on... ridiculously

Apparently Roger Moore though that the idea of a world-class spy being so easily recognised by terrorists, and being known by name (and drink) in every bar around the world was absurd. Between this school of thought, and the fact that it was the 1970s James Bond soon found himself as the embodiment of camp; calling everyone darling, acting through his eyebrows, and cranking up the innuendo to the max. Moore’s Bond is essentially a cheeky detective, not a ruthless spy. Despite adapting these traits the chauvinism is still in tact – conning a tarot expert into bed rendering her useless and in danger… you just can’t teach a new Bond new tricks!

The price of losing against James Bond, your vagina!

All of the baddies and henchmen are African American, and there’s a real ‘Black Vibe’ to the this film – it’s set in Harlem, New Orleans and Caribbean Islands, there’s a 1970s soul music soundtrack, urban colloquialism, a ‘brotherhood’ against Bond, afros… you name it, pretty much every black stereotype is rampant in this one. To balance it out we also get a ridiculous redneck cop, who’s got to be one of the worst minor characters in the franchise.

That's no way to treat a lady James. (Had to crop the afro)

 

Unlike any of the other films before it this is when Bond starts getting really risque, treading a fine line between racial stereotyping, there’s the first round of implied heavy-duty swearing (including a well edited mother f…), and the crime gang aren’t scheming world domination, but pushing heroin – a real social issue.

 

Baron Samedi - Theatrical but memorable

Solitaire - Just plain ol' memorable

Live and Let die bursts out the blocks with 3 of the most memorable assassinations in the series, followed by one of the biggest-sounding songs. The rest of the film is spent boosting an intriguing story with mysterious voodoo, and some exotic locations. The action is top-drawer – including the now legendary boat chases – and the watch/magnet/saw is one of the best gadgets yet. Despite a new Bond, and new take on the tried and tested formula Live and Let Die is memorable for all the right reasons.

Super crazy magnet watch!!

Super crazy circular saw watch!!

Score: 7/10

What happened to the silhouettes of naked women in the credits?!?!

TOP TRUMPS
Villian: Kananga / Mr Big – pretty smart and ruthless. 7
Henchmen: Hook hand Tee Hee, Whisper, Baron Samedi – none of them die!! 9
Bond Girls: No neckline Solitaire can read my cards any time! Useless agent Rosie Carver. 7
Action: bus chase, assasinations, plane crazy, crocs, legendary boat chase. 8

Easily the most annoying minor character in history... WTF!?

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