Blood Father

Mel Gibson, eh? He’s a bit of a lad. An action hero with genuine acting chops, a hit with the ladies, a writer, a director, and a man with any number of successes and awards to his name. Then it all went a bit wrong. Since then, Gibson’s career has been on an upwards trajectory again. Sure, the kids don’t really know him and he hasn’t donned a cape or CG suit to go arsing about with the rest of the Marvel cowboys but he has been at it from the 70s and not a decade has passed without him contributing to a masterpiece of some sort. Gibson returned to acting acclaim with the little seen Jodie Foster film The Beaver followed by a strong of commendable action flicks, all culminating in Hacksaw Ridge – a successful return to directing. Blood Father was released in the same year and is another violent and grim outing for the star and isn’t without a certain sly sense of humour and style.

The film opens by following a junkie girl buying a bunch of ammunition at a gun store – her boyfriend is part of a Latino gang and they are heading to wipe out a family they believe stole from them. Lydia is offered a gun and forced to stand watch, interacting with a couple of kids at the property until her boyfriend Jonah asks her to prove her loyalty and love by killing one of the tenants. Refusing, the accidentally shoots him and flees. Meanwhile, her ex con father John is living in a remote desert trailer park, keeping out of trouble and giving the locals tattoos. They have been estranged for a number of years, but when Lydia calls him he heads to pick her up, thus beginning a rekindling of their relationship as they flee across the country from cops, gangbangers, and bikers. Plot-wise there is nothing you haven’t seen before and on the surface it’s a straightforward action thriller. The quality is raised by having a terrific cast – Gibson as John lends a grizzled class and backstreet philosophy to the character, and William H Macy, Diego Luna, and Michael Parks lend credibility. Erin Moriarty gives another full-blooded performance as Lydia, a sly and messed up kid with an almost hopeless future and a worse past. Rounding out the group is Jean Francois Richet, a director known for handling action and tension well, but not someone who has directed regularly enough to become a household name.

Where Blood Father excels beyond expectations is in the little character moments – Gibson has a rapport with Moriarty and you get the sense that these characters exist in a tangible world with their frayed relationships and encounters. Gibson whips out his chopper (ahem) and travels the little known dusty trails of the US in search of ways to protect his daughter – turning both to ex convict pals still in prison and nazi-loving bikers. The characters are aware of the irony in turning to these groups for help, and the tongue in cheek delivery and tone downplays the hopelessness of it all, keeping things fun and fast moving. The action is never prolonged and follows a recent trend of rapid-fire set-pieces which get the point across with minimal fuss. From a trailer park shootout to a desert bike chase to the valley set climax, action is seen to be quick and bloody rather than stylized or glorified. Action fans may be disappointed that there isn’t enough of this, but the character pay-off makes up for any lack of action in my eyes.

Blood Father isn’t going to change anyone’s world or set a new precedent in the genre, but it is a reminder that Gibson is one of the industry’s greatest manic screen presences and can handle swathes of dialogue as well as a pistol or bike and it remains an entertaining romp with more style and class than most straight to DVD and a nice diversion from the billion dollar efforts which we can’t escape from on the big screen.

Come And See

Trawl any list of ‘Best WWII Movies’ and you’ll find everything from Award Winning masterpieces like Schindler’s List and The Pianist, to old school epics such as The Bridge Over The River Kwai and The Great Escape, and even notable modern movies including Dunkirk, Son Of Saul, and Black Book. Come And See is not one you often see included (if it is, it’s probably number 1), despite its near universal acclaim and almost every review calling it one of the best War movies ever. On the surface, it seems the primary reason is that it is a Russian movie which received little exposure in the West but in today’s world of instant easy access you can find the uncut film for free on YouTube. While the film shares similarities with many of the films above, it should be viewed as a standalone, because I’m not sure there is really anything like it out there.

In Come And See, we follow a young boy in Belarus during the Nazi invasion. The film opens with him and another child playing at war on a desolate endless beach. Flyora finds a rifle buried in the sand, and this discovery seems to be the final key in his decision to join the local partisan resistance group. His family do not want him to leave but when the army comes knocking at his door, he joins them on the march and soon finds himself task with menial jobs. He isn’t impressed, but he isn’t great at the work. The partisans decide to leave him behind and he heads home depressed, meeting a young nurse on the way. This kicks off a chain of events leading to increasingly grim encounters and discoveries as the we witness the true horrors of war through the eyes and mind of a child whose limited faculties are shell shocked beyond salvation.

There is an episodic quality to Come And See which made it feel to me like a series of shorts. This does little to temper the unrelenting nightmare of what is shown but to me it mimics the newsreel ending – these are snapshots of moments of war. They are simultaneously irrelevant and all important – moments that could be happening to anyone because they were happening to everyone, moments of increasing savagery with survival dependent on increasing reliance on the whims of fate. There is also an initially perplexing dreamlike quality, with long shots which seem to dwell on nothing only for some semblance of an answer to come a few scenes later. There is an ambiguous beauty with the destruction of the countryside acting as a metaphor and twin to the destruction of the self. Cliches are turned inside out and war is shown with no hint of glory – it is nothing more than pointless ugly death, hysterical, monstrous, and beyond understanding. There is a scene where Flyora forces himself through a muddy marsh, struggling to keep afloat as the stink drags him down – your typical movie would see the protagonist coming out the other side stronger and metaphorically ready to stare down any challenge with renewed hope. This is not your typical movie, and there is no hope to be found.

And yet, I had my problems with it. The film contains far too many close up facial shots and moments of uncomfortable laughter or grimacing which tread the line between unintentionally humourous and unwatchable, to plain annoying, to recalling Lynch. These tend to go hand in hand with unconvincing performances leaving the viewer unsure if the acting is too real or merely atrocious. As a seasoned viewer of foreign cinema I have encountered my fair share of films with similar moments and actors, but an audience too used to the gloss and budget of Hollywood will likely switch off. By the end, these early moments do feel more intentional and you will be more forgiving, and they contribute to the hallucinatory quality. Special mention must go to the editing and sound departments, as they too work off each other to make this clanging, scattershot din, with ringing sounds to echo the post-explosion numbness and off screen mumbles, laughs, and screams enforcing an all-encompassing maelstrom. Much of the violence happens off-screen or just in the background, with characters regrettably looking over their shoulders like Orpheus to catch a horror which will forever haunt them, or with the aftermath of events being stumbled upon by chance.

Come And See is not an easy watch. At times it made me wish I was watching Son Of Saul instead, and at others I couldn’t look away. While I’m not sure a cleaner look, a bigger budget, or more professional performers would have made the film better, I think those improvements would help the film reach a wider and more accommodating audience. Taken as it is, it remains as stark and harrowing a depiction of human evil as you’ll ever find, merging real life events with sequences and stylistic choices which disorient and serve to make you more than a mere observer, but feel and taste the disgust and revulsion we all should feel. I can’t say that it is one of my favourite war films, but it’s certainly unique, people more knowledgeable than me have proclaimed it a masterpiece, and given that it’s easily available to watch online it should be considered a must see.

What did you think of Come And See? Let us know in the comments!

Dumplin’

Watching this, it definitely felt like a Young Adult adaptation. It wasn’t until after I finished watching that I checked online and saw that yes, it was in fact based on a YA book. That’s not always a bad thing, and for the purposes of this review it’s little more than a lazy way to frame this introduction, so joke’s on you.

Dumplin’  is the coming of age story of a teenage girl who lost her father at an early age (I think… it wasn’t really mentioned much) and was mostly raised by her Dolly Parton obsessed aunt. Her mother, a former local beauty queen was too busy organizing beauty pageants to look after her, beyond so embarrassingly calling her Dumplin. She is apparently comfortable with being overweight, is in school, has a fast-food job, and has a ludicrously pretty, equally Dolly obsessed best friend. When her Aunt dies, she looks through a box of her old things and finds that in her youth had wanted to entire a local pageant but chickened out. To honour her memory, Dumplin’ decides to enter one of the shows, but unexpectedly her best friend and a couple of outcasts join her in her journey.

Knowing now that the film was directed by Anne Fletcher – a dancer and choreographer – it makes more sense that it included numerous dance scenes, a lot of music, and lacked a unique style. The film is highly comparable to both Ladybird and Little Miss Sunshine, but while those films had a vision framed by the director, Dumplin’ eschews this in favour of clever casting and a Netflix style. Jennifer Aniston is the mum, who really only shows up in the second half of the movie, while Danielle Macdonald and Odeya Rush are Willowdean ‘Dumplin’ and best friend Ellen. If you ever wanted to see Michael from Lost dancing in drag or Bex Taylor-Klaus wearing unnecessary, hilarious, and ridiculous prosthetic teeth, then this is the film for you. The film takes some slightly odd steps – while Willowdean’s falling out with Ellen is the exact conflict you get in every one of these films, it leads to Willowdean doubting herself and going in a mini cycle of destruction which the film completely fails to sell or give the character any reason to do so. One minute everything is wonderful, and the next she’s in crisis mode for zero reason. The performances are all fine – Aniston doesn’t do a great job with the accent while love interest Bo looks about twenty years older than Willowdean.

There are many reasons why I shouldn’t like this – it’s kind of a romantic comedy, it is filled with Country music (a genre I abhor), and it is set in the world of beauty pageants – something so foreign to anyone outside of the USA that every single one of us thinks it must be a joke. It is a joke though, right? You… you don’t genuinely take these things seriously, right? In Northern Ireland, a talent line up is where you stand facing a wall while a man in a balaclava decides which one of you to knee-cap (shoot in the leg) first, while a beauty pageant is watching the sixteen year olds fall out of the pubs at 1.30 am in Belfast before vomiting onto a rat. Yet somehow I did like it. Well, I watched it at least. It hits precisely every note you expect it to, it ends exactly as you know it will, and it is as by the numbers as any film you’ll ever see. I think the only cliche missed is that no-one in the group of pageant girls is ‘the bad one’ who tries to ruin Willowdean’s plans – everyone is so sweet and kind and helpful, making her aforementioned lapse into self-doubt all the more bewildering. Yet the charming cast carries it through and the occasional gentle laugh stops it from being a generic Hallmark movie. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it more than Ladybird, but it’s essentially the same film – even multiple cast members appear in both – and I probably enjoyed it just as much.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Dumplin!

The VVitch

Few horror films of recent years have seen the acclaim that The VVitch has received. Maybe only The Babadook has reached those heights, and of course The Conjuring movies from a moneys perspective. It’s often a crutch when a genre film receives such adoration – fans expect greatness, it’s hyped as the greatest thing since Regan turned her head 360, and many are left disappointed. We know these things, so it’s always prudent to ignore hype, good or bad publicity where possible, and watch the film on its own terms. I dream of living in a fascist state where we are forced to consume entertainment on Day 1 with no spoilers. Or like things used to be in the good old days, dagnammit. Speaking of the good old days….

The film is set in the grimy, desolate wilderness of New England in the 1600s. A Puritan family is expelled from their village for some religious reason, and is forced to squeeze out an existence on the outskirts of a nearby mammoth forest. One day, their newborn baby seemingly vanishes during a game of peekaboo with daughter Thomasin, kicking off a series of unnatural events which causes the already fractured family to suspect one another of witchcraft and fall apart. As far as plot goes, there isn’t a lot on the surface, but the rites of passage, fear, and sexual tension bubbling underneath barely scrapes the surface of everything else going in.

The debut by Robert Eggars is one of the most startling in recent years, showing an assurance and skill most directors never achieve. Eggers wrote the story too, so his familiarity with the characters and with tone already places him at an advantage for telling the tale, but he makes the whole experience so visionary and cinematic too. While the Witch itself only appears in a few scenes, her presence is ever-felt – in the wind, in prayers, in shadows, in the characters’ whispers, and via the woods themselves as a metaphor. Eggers shoots with a looming distance – these small, inconsequential people on the verge of massive and ancient unknowns, giving their existence over to one God while a more malevolent opposite stalks them with efficient glee. The film is shot in near darkness and like Kubrick before him, he went for an authentic approach with respect to lighting, using only candles and the stars. Likewise, costume and soundtrack are sparse, and the casting sees British stalwart Ralph Ineson playing the frustrated patriarch over Anna Taylor-Joy in her breakthrough performance. The performances are worn and ruined wonderfully, the casting picking English talent with distinct features and voices who have an authentic air of having ‘been through some shit’. While the score is sparse, it is also punctuated by a sound design filled with air and the burden of silence and space.

Horror fans looking for blood and guts or obvious scares may be disappointed, but those of us who also enjoy a story expertly directed and descending towards the enraptured layers of hell will adore this. Anyone who has lived outside of suburbia or who has walked through the countryside at night will understand the inbred fear of darkness and the unknown when the sun lays its head – modern technology and knowledge has taught us that there is little to fear, but hundreds of years ago when light was your only protection and a Bible verse your only armour, isolation and darkness and weather were all-pervading issues of concern to overcome. Throw in a murderous supernatural enemy and things go from bleak to apocalyptic. Eggers harnesses these fears and this atmosphere perfectly, creating a film experience unlike anything else in recent memory.

Nightman’s Favourite Films Of The 2000s – Stats Roundup

Greetings, Glancers! So, older readers of my Oscars posts may recall that I tried to give some stats at the end of the year. It became too difficult to gather metrics and I become too lazy, and lo the posts migrated to the Hades Of Blogs like so many before. The same will likely happen to these summary posts – where I give some ‘interesting’ stats on my favourite films of each decade. It doesn’t mean anything, you won’t gain any insight or pleasure from reading them, and they will be painful to write. Why do it? Well shucks, I’ve always had a thing for hurting myself. ‘Enjoy’!

Note – I wrote this before realizing I’d missed Pan’s Labyrinth, and I’m too lazy to update the figures now. Yay!

Number Of Best Picture Nominees: (Out of a possible fifty) Six

Number Of Best Picture Winners:  (Out of a possible ten) Three

Number Of Movies In The Top Ten Grossing of The Year: (Out of a possible one hundred) Eleven

Number Of Movies Which Were The Top Grosser: (Out of a possible ten) Two

The number of films nominated for Best Picture this year, and the number or Top Grossing films, are way down this year. If anything, the Noughties was the decade I just stopped caring what The Academy was picking (and my interest in the first place was fairly low anyway) and by the end of the decade I wasn’t really going to the Cinema on a regular basis anymore. The number of sequels and of comic book and animated movies earning big bucks increased, while on the flip side I started to watch and enjoy less of those movies. The Academy was playing it too safe, picking your standard dramas, one off hits, or gimmick films and avoiding actual quality, daring, film-making. Making the Academy numbers look marginally worse is the fact that in 2009 they finally increased the numbers of nominees from five to ten – that year I still only picked one of the nominees. I assume this trend will continue into the next decade, though the number of films I’ve seen from 2010 onwards is much lower. This will likely be the last Stats post I do until I get caught up with more movies from 2010 onwards.

Movies By Country In My Top 10:

USA: Fifty Eight

UK: Fifteen

Japan: Eleven

France: Thirteen

Germany: Eight

Poland: Two

Brazil: One

Italy: Three

New Zealand: Two

Hungary: One

Spain: Two

China: Three

Hong Kong: Five

Singapore: One

South Korea: Seven

Mexico: One

Czech Republic: One

Taiwan: One

Denmark: Two

Liberia: One

Sweden: Two

Canada: Three

Thailand: One

Norway: One

Australia: One

The USA dominates again although the numbers are drastically decreased from previous decades.

Movies By Director:

Quentin Tarantino: xxxxx

 

Jean Pierre Jeunet: xxx

Chan Wook Park: xxx

 

Takashi Shimizu: xx

Zhang Yimou: xx

Peter Jackson: xx

Robert Rodriguez: xx

Frank Darabont: xx

Christopher Nolan: xx

Sam Raimi: xx

Takashi Miike: xx

Christopher Guest: xx

Lars Von Trier: xx

Kim Jee Woon: xx

 

Shusuke Kaneko: x

Disney: x

David Lynch: x

Luc Besson: x

Zach Snyder: x

David Slade: x

Oren Peli: x

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: x

Kong Su Chang: x

Martin Scorsese: x

Christopher Smith: x

Kevin Lima: x

Jaume Balaguero: x

Paco Plaza: x

Pierre Morel: x

John hoo Bong: x

Jean-Stephane Sauvaire: x

Bruce McDonald: x

Matt Reeves: x

Sylvester Stallone: x

Wilson Yip: x

Tomas Alfredson: x

Yojiro Takita: x

Pascal Laugier: x

Sion Sono: x

Tommy Wirkola: x

Satoshi Kon: x

Frank Miller: x

George Lucas: x

Judd Apatow: x

Mike Judge: x

Edgar Wright: x

Stephen Sommers: x

Bill Paxton: x

Larry Clark: x

Alfonso Cuaron: x

Alexandre Aja: x

Roman Polanski: x

James Wan: x

The Pang Brothers: x

Jaume Collet Serra: x

Andrew Lau: x

Alan Mak: x

George A Romero: x

Hideo Nakata: x

Fernando Meirelles: x

Bernardo Bertolucci: x

Len Wiseman: x

Mel Gibson: x

Kurt Wimmer: x

Yoji Yamada: x

Danny Boyle: x

Eli Roth: x

Shane Black: x

Ridley Scott: x

Tim Burton: x

Cameron Crowe: x

Karyn Kusama: x

Michael Dougherty: x

Gore Verbinski: x

Larry Charles: x

Martin Campbell: x

Craig Brewer: x

Neil Marshall: x

Takeshi Kitano: x

Brad Anderson: x

Kinji Fukasaku: x

James Wong: x

Ang Lee: x

Bryan Singer: x

David Twohy: x

M Night Shyamalan: x

One hundred films, 86 directors. Tarantino is the clear front runner, which surprises me more than you. I’m by no means a Tarantino super-fan and Reservoir Dogs is still my favourite of his, but it looks like this was a great decade for him. Disney had a bit of a shocker – the mainstay of my lists each decade only grabbing a single vote here. Elsewhere it’s foreign films which garner the most multiple votes with my only two triple votes being outside of the US and six or seven of my double votes being beyond Hollywood. Those getting single votes range from newbs and a wide array of past masters who have received multiple votes over multiple decades.

As always, check out my individual year posts and let me know what your favourites are in the comments!

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 2008

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

First, so close, so sad: Son Of Rambow. Wall-E. Ponyo. The Informers.

10: Johnny Mad Dog (France/Liberia) Jean-Stephane Sauvaire

9: Pontypool (Canada) Bruce McDonald

8: Cloverfield (US) Matt Reeves

7: Rambo (US/Thailand) Sylvester Stallone

6: Ip Man (HK) Wilson Yip

5: Let The Right One In (Sweden) Tomas Alfredson

4: Departures (Japan) Yojiro Takita

3: Martyrs (France) Pascal Laugier

2: The Dark Knight (US/UK) Christopher Nolan

1: Love Exposure (Japan) Sion Sono

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: One (The Top Grosser)

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: None

2019 In Film – A Preview – May

The Kid

Another Indie flick directed by Vincent D’Onforio, this time it’s a Western about Billy The Kid and Pat Garrett. We’ve seen that story on screen countless times now, but it looks like here it’s viewed through the eyes of some random child. For an Indie film there are a couple of big names starring – Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt.

UglyDolls

This sounds like it could be terrible – an animation by Troublemaker Studios with voice ‘talent’ including Pitbull, Kelly Clarkson, a Jonas etc, based on a toy fad from 20 years ago. The music in the trailer is atrocious…. and that’s about it. One for the kids.

The Hustle

A remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Well, I didn’t like that film and it’s being directed by a semi-popular English stand-up comedian that I’m not too interested in. He’s starred in TV shows over here too, but none I’ve seen. Looks like they’re going the Ghostbusters remake and making it about the ladies. That worked well last time. Why not just create an original story? The only reason the original was interesting was because it was about old guys. This time it’s about the young and pretty. I have no reason in the world to see this beyond saying I’ve seen it.

Detective Pikachu

This caused a bit of a ruckus though? Not sure why. I’ve never played a proper Pokemon game so I have no attachment. It’ll probably be bad, but they might go The Lego Movie route and get lucky.

My Son

French film about a man searching for his son, directed by Christian Carion. He starred in Tell No One which I liked, and he directed Joyeux Noel which I liked. Plus, Melanie Laurent is in it, along with Guillaume Canet. This is actually a 2017 film, getting a US release now.

Wild Rose

Scottish singer dreams of being a star in Nashville. No thanks. I like Sophie Okonedo, but everyone else and everything thing else about this screams ‘avoid at all costs’ for me.

The Third Wife

So, the poster is supposed to be a bleeding vagina, right? Set in 19th Century Vietnam, which is something new to me and it’s about a young girl about to be married. Don’t know anything else about anyone involved.

John Wick 3

I haven’t seen the second, I liked the first, and I’m usually up for anything Keanu wants to do. More guns, more bad guys getting blasted to pieces, what more do you need?

The Sun Is Also A Star

The synopsis simply reads ‘a teenager finds love at a difficult time in her family’s life’. Directed, written, and starring mostly women I’m not familiar with so possibly a unique perspective or possibly more of the same.

Ad Astra

This one has been talked about for a while – a sci-fi thriller with Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland heading a large extended cast. It’s James Gray’s follow up to The Lost City Of Z which I thoroughly enjoyed so I’m hoping for more adventure and soft philosophical ruminations.

Aladdin

Another Disney remake and more howling of ‘why’ at the sky. I don’t see how they can improve upon the original, but that’s not really the point is it. This is nothing more than Disney showing off how rich they are, how fancy they can make a world look, and how much more money they can make off us. No doubt it will be perfectly serviceable, but why they would give a Muslim love story of magic and wonder to Cockney hack Guy Ritchie, who hasn’t had a hit in ever, is anyone’s guess.

Booksmart

Olivia Wilde’s feature directing debut. Unfortunately the plot sounds terrible – two smart girls realize they spent their time in school studying instead of ‘having fun’ and decide to pile in all the fun in one night. In other words – I don’t care.

Bright Burn

So, I’m writing all these Preview posts on the same day and in one of the later or earlier months there’s an X-Men spin off where I mention how superhero and horror movies seem like the perfect – no, that’s not the right word – seem like the correct crossover. It looks like we’re getting a few of these this year, with Brightburn looking like another. If studios are all playing this game then of course it means it’s going to get saturated pretty quickly, but this will be one of the first. Lets hope it’s not cheapened and they go full horror. I’m not a huge fan of Elizabeth Banks and don’t have a definite opinion on the rest of the cast, but I’m hoping for something good with this.

Minecraft: The Movie

I’ve never played the game, but you’d have to have been living under a block (heh) to know exactly what it is. I’m surprised it’s taken till now to cash in with a movie, but I’m also fairly certain there’s already been a TV series/movie on it. Surely the only question here is how bad it can actually be?

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

I need to go back and watch Godzilla and Kong Island again – I liked them at the time but can remember very little about them. A director I like, a cast I like, and the trailer makes it look huge. lets hope the story is good and not just an excuse for big beasties to knock lumps out of each other.

Rocketman

I never liked the original… it was boring, too nicey nice. Only joking, this is Elton John we’re talking about, not the superhero. I’m not an Elton fan either so I’ll pass. Is this going to be the next thing – bios of 70s pop rock stars – after that Queen one? How long until they get to someone I’m actually interested in, like Alice Cooper or Led Zep? Never? I’m fine with that, cheers.

The Rosie Project

This has a long history, which has become gradually less inspiring – originally Jennifer Lawrence was attached, dropped out, Linklater was due to direct, turned it down, and now it’s all people you’ve never heard of. It’s a romance based on a hit Australian novel about a scientist who is useless with women who decides to make a questionnaire to assess how suitable each woman he meets is for him. In other words, this should be a horror movie, not a romance. Then again, we already have Audition, so good luck topping that. Won’t be seeing this.

Let us know which of the above movies you’ll excited about seeing!

2019 In Film – A Preview – April

Shazam!

David Sandberg joins the comic world takeover….. I don’t really know what this is. Again I’ve heard bloggers and people on Facebook talk about it but I don’t know anything about the character. I thought he was meant to be some sort of joke? No idea, I’m sure I won’t see this for many a year.

Pet Sematary

King’s book is one of the most legitimately horrific books in history, utterly heartbreaking, bleak, and horrible. Everyone knows the original movie, with its great make-up and one-liners. I have a feeling this will be more tame, but you can be sure I’ll see it anyway. If it really goes for the throat, it could be a classic, but mainstream horror these days usually avoids going full dark, though there has been a turn in the tides somewhat. I’ve no idea who the directors are, so I don’t have high hopes.

Farmageddon

It’s Shaun The Sheep. These are usually funny and charming enough.

Hellboy

The Hellboy movies, and those comic book movies in general which don’t form part of some extended universe are always more interesting to me. There’s no concern about what’s going to happen next and no as much worry about pissing hardcore fans off. That being said, I don’t think this needs to be rebooted and even though it’s Neil Marshall directing and Milla Jovovich, I can’t get too excited. This should have been part three of the original trilogy with Perlman and Del Toro, but alas.

Missing Link

It’s stop motion animation so at least it might look different from the norm, and the cast is interesting enough, but how often are these none Disney/Dreamworks movies any use?

Breathrough

It seems to be another one of those religious movies which have been getting more popular recently. In other words – no chance I’m seeing this – not until they make a good one.

Little

Okay… ex Nascar driver directs a movie based on an idea by a fourteen year old child actress from a TV show I’ve never seen. Indeed.

The Curse Of La Llorona

I’ve kept tabs on this for a while – set in 70s LA with a primarily Latino cast, dealing with Mexican supernatural folklore – sounds right up my alley. Then again, these are rarely better than watchable… hopefully it goes for more than generic jumpscares and loud noises.

Under The Silver Lake

It’s A24, it’s David Robert Mitchell, and it concerns missing people and conspiracy theories – there’s no reason I shouldn’t like this.

After

Apparently New Adult Fiction is a thing. The purist in me is really struggling not to say something like ‘so it’s for people barely intelligent enough to graduate from YA and with the emotional maturity of a brick’ but every so often I read shite like this. If there’s zombies. This doesn’t have zombies, but it does have a story about ‘a good girl’s relationship with a bad boy’. People are idiots.

Avengers: Endgame

Haven’t seen anything past the first Avengers movie so don’t care about this, at least not until I catch up with the other four hundred Marvel movies I haven’t watched yet.

The Intruder

A couple buys their dream home, but the previous owner isn’t happy. You’ve seen it a million times, but here it’s brought to you by Dennis Quaid and Deon Taylor who always seems on the verge of making something good.

The Best Of Enemies

Normally a title like that would be enough to turn me off, but it stars Taraji P Henson and Sam Rockwell and it’s based around the relationship between a Ku Klux Clan guy and Civil Rights activist. Should be good, not sure when I’ll get to it. With North America in the state it’s in now (read – the state it’s always been but only owning up to it once again now) this should be a timely drama – lets see if it has the balls to go the distance.

Peterloo

 I’m not the biggest Mike Leigh fan, but at least he makes stuff that you don’t usually see. I’ll see it as long as it doesn’t go down the overly dry, stiff route because the cast is strong. Seems like another timely one as Britain is facing a shitstorm just as bad as whatever mess the US is in, though to be honest I know nothing of the history of this event.

Teen Spirit

On principle alone, being a huge Nirvana fan, I’m outright refusing to see this. Yes, I know it has nothing to do with Nirvana but you seriously think they didn’t pick that name by association? By all means use that title for an interesting film, but using it in what seems to be yet another story of a pop stars rise to fame? Fuck right off. Right now.

Girls Of The Sun

Yes. Sold. Mostly female cast with female director about the women fighters in Iraq? This should be on everyone’s list ahead of the latest Marvel attempt at action. Of course there’s every chance this could be terrible too, but at least it has a hook.

High Life

Claire Denis does sci-fi. Fair enough, I’ll give it a shot. Throw in Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche and I’m double sold.

Rafiki

A Kenyan movie about a lesbian relationship. Already banned in Kenya, because of course it is, this should hopefully give hope to anyone there who manages to see it. I don’t know anything else about it, but can’t say I’ll ever see it unless it does big business and gets a wider release.

Which films of April are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

2019 In Film – A Preview – January

Greetings, Glancers! 2018 was a year in which some movies were released. I can’t remember which, but that’s only because most of them were crap and I’m still drunk from Christmas. 2019 will see the release of even more films to be excited and bored by, and just like every other stinking blogger out there who craves the anonymous approval of people they’ll never meet, I’m here to finger the internet (look on Wikipedia) to see which upcoming movies might interest me. A lot of films won’t have been announced yet and my list most likely won’t include minor releases, straight to DVD or streaming, or foreign films (which tend to be the ones I’m most interested in). Today, it’s the first month of 2019 – Krocus (January)!

Escape Room

We kick off the year with what will most likely be a forgotten horror movie – that’s fine with me as even the most forgettable horror is more interesting to me than most of the recent Oscar Bait. Escape Rooms are all the rage these days – cheap mobile phone games turning into fully fledged hen-do entertainment. Hell, even Belfast has a few of these. Not that I’ve been to any. it was only a matter of time before someone made a movie about this fad, even though similar ideas have been shown on screen before. Best hope for this is that it becomes a Saw/Cube knockoff. The cast doesn’t really contain anyone I’m overly interested in and the director hasn’t done anything I’ve loved – he wrote the worst Paranormal Activity entry and directed an Insidious movie which I haven’t seen yet, though I did enjoy The Taking of Deborah Logan. The trailer is fairly standard as far as modern horror trailers go – it basically shows the entire movie with no spoiler warning – and what’s with the use of all the shitty old timey songs? I assume it’s meant to be creepy, but it never is and just annoys me as the songs are invariably crap. I actually like the idea behind this – mazes and puzzles have always fascinated me, and movies concerning them I’ll always give a chance, but I can’t say I have high hopes. I’ve talked enough about this movie which I probably won’t see for a few years.

A Dog’s Way Home

I’ve always wondered how these types of films get made. I mean, does anyone go and see them? January is usually a dumping ground as no-one can be arsed freezing their arse off to go and watch something which doesn’t feature a Stan Lee cameo, but these sweet and harmless movies seem more suited to the small screen. It’s about a dog who gets separated from its owner and begins a journey home. I know you read about these things in the news from time to time, but in reality 90% of these end the same way – the dog being hit by a car, starving to death, or being picked up by a warden and then euthanized after a few days of starving. Why doesn’t anyone make a movie like that? Oh, right. Lets give it some credit – it stars the great Ashley Judd for some reason, and it’s directed by Charles Martin Smith who I’ve always enjoyed as an actor (and who of course directed the pilot episode of Buffy). I can’t imagine I’ll ever see this.

The Upside

Well, it’s a remake of the hit French film so we’re already on shaky ground, and it’s an idea we’ve already seen before in films like Scent Of A Woman. I can’t imagine anything new or interesting here – it’s like a buddy cop movie without the action. And with that cast, probably without the comedy. Plus, it has been delayed for a year already, so lets not pretend this is going to be anything but balls. I like Bryan Cranston, I like Nicole Kidman, but I can’t take Kevin Hart seriously as a lead actor, or a comedian, or a human…. I think I’ll pass.

Glass

Now we’re talking. Unbreakable is my favourite Shyamalan movie and he has been on an upswing recently. I enjoyed Split and although I’m apprehensive about how this will all work as the trailer made things look too action packed, I’m still fully on board. It’ll be good to see if Willis actually pulls his fist out of his ass and does something worthwhile too.

The Kid Who Would Be King

There has been a rejuvenation of all those 80s kids adventure movies recently, thanks to the success of Stranger Things – that’s not where it started, but that’s likely what has enabled so many to go into production. It’s exactly the sort of movie I would have loved growing up so I’m hoping for some nostalgic charm here rather than generic member-berry stuff. The story and cast seem so-so, but I have always like Cornish since the Adam and Joe days. Hopefully something good here, but again I don’t have high hopes. Andy Serkis’s son is the lead in his debut – I’m generally not a fan of such nepotism but it’s ridiculously prevalent in the business and always has been. Which reminds me, I must write a post about that.

Serenity

It’s not Joss Whedon, so I’m already depressed. This sounds like one of those cheap ‘sexy’ 90s thrillers where the only thing less shocking than another hackneyed double cross was the sight of an A-Lister in a thong. I like the cast though none of them are must sees for me, though Knight is generally a talented writer. I already know I’ll probably never see this unless it hits Showgirls levels of dirt but I’m sure someone out there will get something out of it (a quick fap).

The Aspern Papers

I’ll admit I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my list. I like the idea, though the fact that it stars various socialites and members of the Redgrave clan has me on edge. Also, I’m not a big fan of costume stuff.

Sgt. Will Gardner

This looks interesting; again it’s an idea we’ve seen before – a military vet comes home only to find an internal war which affects his daily life and relationships. These films are always interesting to me though they rarely go beyond that to something more, and although it’s a subject often tackled in films it’s one that isn’t discussed enough in reality and leads to devastating multi-generational harm – something that is likely to get worse with the Warmonger-In-Chief. It also looks like a road movie, and I love me a good road movie. I do have a couple of concerns – first, that it will be too patriotic, something I can’t stand or understand (COuntry music shite in the trailer), and second that it looks like a passion project by Martini who writes, directs, and stars. Oh yeah – Martini almost always plays a soldier or military dude in movies – what’s that about? I do love the cast though – Robert Patrick, Gary Sinise, Lily Rabe, Dermot Mulroney, JoBeth Williams, Liz Rohm, are all performers I admire.

The Heiresses

At first glance I thought this was a costume drama, at least a foreign costume drama which usually trumps Hollywood’s stuff for me, but one second glance that’s not the case. It looks like a story about two wealthy friends suddenly rendered poor and how they cope. I’ll probably never see it.

An Acceptable Loss

See, the problem I have with films like this is that they feel that they could have been, and already have been covered in a single TV episode. Person Of Interest deals with stuff like this all the time. However, I’m all for keeping Jamie Lee Curtis busy as she is a vastly underrated and underused actress. Tika Sumpter I don’t know much about while director Joe Chappelle is known more for his TV work than his crappy horror movies. Actually, looking at his TV credits, that pretty much confirms my original point.

Adult Life Skills

See, the problem I have with quirky indie movies like this is that people like this don’t really exist in real life and when they do, they are seriously damaged individuals. Of course there are many people out there who like to claim they are quirky in this manner, but that’s emotional damage of another sort. I have no qualms admitting my own damage and the fact that I often hate myself for my quirks, but they I don’t go around making a show of them. That along with the fact that the humour in these films almost always doesn’t work for me is pretty much ensuring this will be a no no. The positive risk with this though is that when these films do work for me, I love them and they become an all time favourite. The fact that this was made in 2016 doesn’t bode well.

The Standoff At Sparrow Creek

Now, this is more like it. This has been getting rave reviews on the festival circuit, and it looks and sounds fantastic. It has a cast featuring non-A-Listers that I love including Patrick Fischler, Chris Mulkey, James Badge Dale, and it seems like a limited set seige thriller. That set-up is of course one of my favourites, with films like Assault On Precinct 13. Reservoir Dogs, and the original Dead Trilogy all winning examples. I have high hopes for this one, but I’m sure it won’t be anywhere near a Cinema near me.

King Of Thieves

Where siege movies are intriguing to me, heist movies usually don’t I admire the cinematic touches, but they too often follow tropes I don’t like and most annoyingly they glamourize the whole thing. Thieves are scumbags – I don’t care what the motivation is, I don’t care how stylish they make it look, or how nifty they (always) look in suits – they’re scumbags taking money from the rest of us and they don’t deserve our attention. You already know exactly what this will be like, ignoring the fact that it’s based on a true story and has the unique quality of featuring a bunch of old guys. It’s good the cast it still getting work, and most of them I like, but for me when I’ve seen one heist movie, I’ve seen them all.

The Wild Pear Tree

Another films receiving rave reviews since Cannes, this one I have no doubt will be good, but again it’s subject matter I can’t get overly invested in. It looks both gorgeous and dank, Ceylan certainly has a unique voice, and his stuff is different from the usual Hollywood fare. I just need to be in the right frame of mind for it.

Which January releases interest you? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 2005

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

Close, but you’re way off: Corpse Bride. The Devil’s Rejects. A History Of Violence. Serenity.

10: Land Of The Dead (US) George A Romero

9: Hostel (US) Eli Roth

8: A Bittersweet Life (SK) Kim Jee Woon

7: Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (SK) Chan Wook Park

6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (US) Shane Black

5: The Descent (UK) Neil Marshall

4: The 40 Year Old Virgin (US) Judd Apatow

3: Revenge Of The Sith (US) George Lucas

2: Sin City (US) Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino

1: Batman Begins (US/UK) Christopher Nolan

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Two

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: None

*Update – I forgot Noroi from Japan was released in 2005 and that would have made my list, knocking off Land Of The Dead.