Director: Paddy Considine
Writer: Paddy Considine
Brutal, physically and emotionally, British drama about a lonely old self-destructive man named Joseph (Peter Mullan) meeting Hannah (Olivia Colman) through a chance encounter. She runs a Christian themed shop and is in a horrible abusive marriage. The two are lost souls from opposite sides of the track who form a bond. Colman, from the British series Peep Show, really surprised me. Really good performance from everyone, but I guess after seeing her on Peep Show seeing her in this really was unexpected. It is on Netflix Instant and worth checking out!
Director: William Friedkin
Writers: William Friedkin (Based on a novel by Gerald Walker)
A very dark and strange crime tale from writer/director William Friedkin. Al Pacino infiltrates the homosexual underworld in NYC to investigate a series of S&M themed murders. Really grimy. Just a dangerous feeling movie. Nothing like this would be attempted today. Not a great movie but one I am glad I watched.
The Specials (2000)
Director: Craig Mazin
Writer: James Gunn
Ah why can’t I find a good picture for this!
Love the concept. Execution is iffy. I feel like right now would be a great time to remake this.
The Toxic Avenger (1986)
Directors: Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman
Writers: Joe Ritter (Story by Lloyd Kaufman)
Tromadance is going to be in Asbury Park this year and James Gunn and Ti West are going to be there so to prepare I am going to take in some good old trashy Troma flicks. This was actually my first time seeing this. I think I might have seen it when I was way too young but I really had very little memory of it except for the guy getting his head crushed by the weights in the gym.
Instead of going to see the documentary Bully people should instead show this to High School students to show them the negative effects of bullying. Set in the New Jersey town of Tromaville The Toxic Avenger started as average nerd Melvin Junko until one day the town Jocks tease and mock him into jumping out a window and accidentally into a vat of toxic waste. Of course the radioactive sludge does not kill him but instead mutates him in the monster know as the Toxic Avenger (no one actually calls him that in the movie but whatever).
The movie then proceeds to have multiple scenes of gratuitous violence as people in the town of Tromaville are shown to be pretty rotten. Teens get together to drunk drive and run over kids for fun, rob fast food joints, and pick on the weak and defenseless. The Toxic Avenger, armed with a mop, the proceeds to rip off arms, smash heads, and rip out the guts of those who prey on the weak. The violence is over the top and trashy but works well given the overall grungy and low budget vibe of the movie. There is also even a romance sub-plot involving a blind woman falling for Toxie (get the tissues!)
By no means a well made movie but still enjoyable if you are into this sort of thing. A lot of times these types of movies are so low budget that you have to sit through a lot of boring scenes with shitty characters before you get to the violence and special effects but this movie keeps the goo flowing pretty much throughout its quick 80 minute run time. All four of the Toxic Avenger films are on hulu.com right now for free!
Director: Josh Trank
Writers: Max Landis (Story by Max Landis & Josh Trank)
This was really good! The setup sounds like some Hollywood douche bags pitched something like “OK lets take the gritty real world Dark Knight superhero tone and mix in with this found footage thing everyone is loving right now” which would kind of make me roll my eyes, just Fox studios chasing some trends but this really turned into something special I think.
The setup is pretty classic superhero stuff, three guys stumble upon some mysterious seemingly alien asteroid in a deep hole in the middle of the woods. They come into contact with it and then discover they are developing telekinetic powers. The movie moves quickly but definitely succeeds in the character development department by taking well known characters and standard of the genre but adapting them into something that feels fresh.
The story is told through the found footage style where the characters themselves are filming the action. At points the movie seemed to struggle to find a reason as to why the cameras would be rolling at certain moments or how there are multiple cameras going in a scene to give the director more coverage but during the last act of the film there are some pretty thrilling and unique first person POV action sequences that were very exciting. I think the movie could have been done with a more traditional style and still worked but the found footage genre is dominated by Horror movies so seeing a Sci-Fi/Action movie using it was new and interesting to me.
This was Trank and Landis’s feature debuts and I am definitely interested to see what these two turn out next. For what is reported to be only a $12 Million budget Chronicle is pretty impressive and Trank proves he can get a lot of bang for his buck. Word is that he is developing a new take on the Fantastic Four for Fox and after seeing Chronicle I can see why. Check it out!
Red Dawn (1984)
Director: John Milius
Writers: Kevin Reynolds and John Milius (Story by Kevin Reynolds)
Double dose of Swayze!
Actually very surprised by the tone of this movie. Because of the cast and that it was released in the 80s I had the expectation that this was going to be a cheesy movie that only people who saw it as a child like it purely for nostalgic purposes. But then I saw Milius’s name in the opening credits and after the opening scene I realized I was wrong.
Red Dawn takes place in Colorado at the start of World War III as Cuban and Soviet forces decide to invade the United States. The opening scene of the film has paratroopers landing and attacking a school. Some students get away and hide out in the woods but begin to realize they must fight back in order to survive and they become a guerrilla group known as the Wolverines.
The movie does not feature a broad scope look at the war, it never really leaves the Wolverines view point, there are no scenes of Presidents moving pieces around on a board or anything like that. The characters are pretty thin, nothing really to hang on to, but I enjoyed the intensity and seriousness of the story.
Not an especially great movie but I dug the story and I was surprised at how not “80s” it was. Studios really like to remake already great movies but this is the kind of movie that seems like it should be remade, an interesting story but just not totally there in terms of quality. I know MGM did remake this a few years ago but because of their bankruptcy issues it sits on a shelf in limbo. Hopefully they get it sorted out and released soon as I am now more interested in it. The same thing happened to The Cabin in the Woods (also a casualty of the MGM bankruptcy) before it was picked up by Lionsgate after having been done for years so hopefully we will see it soon.