Thursday, 26 June 2014

Unseen: Danger Word

"A 13-year-old girl and her grandfather, hiding out in a wooded cabin after a plague, meet the challenge of their lives when her birthday trip to a trading post goes horribly awry."

Starring Frankie Faison (The Wire) and Saoirse Scott (One Life to Live) and adapted by Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, Danger Word is a short film. A short film with zombies. 

Directed by Luchina Fisher it tells a simple tale of survival. It talks in broad strokes about death. It is a little different, and more than a little awesome.

Saoirse Scott was actually 13 when this was filmed. She carries a great deal of story in her eyes alone. You believe the world that they are in, carried along by the sadness and despair of Scott, and by the extreme gravitas that the excellent Faison bring to the screen.

Running at a mere 19 mins you are handed a plate of pain, horror, and a vision of the future, or even present that is hard to conceive. 

I don't of course expect you to take my word for it, so here...

...uploaded by the Director to Youtube, herself.

Cutting, tear-jerking, terrifying, wonderfully acted with an amazing crew. Danger Word is fantastic. You can visit the website of the project here:

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Roger Corman: Creature from the Haunted Sea

"A 007 type with a fake mustache to die for, bluffs his way onto the villain's boat who is transporting Cubans (for...reasons), eats his radio made out of wieners (helped by a man who uses animal sounds to communicate) and is attacked by THE COOKIE MONSTER"

Before I start, if you haven't seen this, it's a must. It's also out of all copyright now, so you can watch it. For free. You know... here:

So, watched it?


Then I shall begin.

A spoiler filled look at 1961's Horror/Comedy Creature from the Haunted Sea. If you've seen Roger Corman, you'll know...

I find older movies interesting when it comes to plot. These days it's easy to say that it's been done before, I've seen it done, oh it's just like [insert movie here]... but really? Most of these plots were new, to the screen at least.

Sure, this plot lifts (mostly) from Creature from the Black Lagoon, but when you watch it, what do you see? I saw Bond, without doubt, Philip Marlowe, 'Allo, 'Allo, even a little Pirates of the Caribbean. But you have to take it for what it is. In this case: Fun. Sure the plot wavers over the not-too-discerning, moving quickly over points to get to the action. Namely: monster on a boat.

I'd love to say it reminded me of Alien. But no.

OM NOM NOM... Ripley
So the point of it surely,  is to get to the monster mayhem?

Well, no. It barely features the monster:

And it does have a musical number in the middle. (Did I mention Corman?) The point is, is that it plays a wonderful story out. It's cheesy, it's harmless, but it kills just over an hour well.

The acting is pretty good, for what it is. It stars Antony Carbone, a legend from that time of film making, but if you're into more modern film, Robert Towne (who wrote the screenplay for Cruise vehicle MI and MI:2, and directed Tequila Sunrise).

Primary photography is an issue in many scenes, where within the reflection of the water you can clearly see shadows of landmarks (when they are in the middle of the ocean).

Special effects? Um. Yeah.

And as a 'WTF Moment': When they land towards the end of the movie, wtf is with the telephone stuck on the cliffside on the beach, in the middle of nowhere?


It's a fun watch. The comedy added stops it from plodding, especially when you're not expecting it, the acting holds up well enough, and it has pedigree. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Forgotten: Dredd

Dredd (2012)
Starring: Karl Urban
Directed by: Pete Travis

You've forgotten this already, haven't you? Shame on you.

Dredd is a classic movie. It was a brave move to give the fans what they wanted, but Pete Travis and Karl Urban did. So why has it already been forgotten?

The simple answer is Stallone.

I'm not getting into that debacle: The Stallone vehicle "Judge Dredd" is what it is. Dredd (2012) is a very different movie. But that's not what the customer thought. Did you know a lot of people thought Dredd (2012) was a remake of the Stallone film? Did you know people have never heard of 2000AD, the comic book that has been around for as long as I have?

That's why it is forgotten.

But it's a gem.

Okay. First off I have to say Dredd is for adults. If you saw the Stallone one, it' like that. It's hyper-violent. It's also hyper-awesome. You know. Like the comic.
I want to touch on the budget. It's worth saying. It's low budget, and to be honest, most people would see that term and cower away from the "cheap" movie.
You wouldn't know. It's far superior to the likes of say The Expendables or it's sequels. (No, I'm not purposefully having a pop at Stallone. I love the guy's movies).
I like to stay spoiler free, but the plot is standard action fare, Dredd (Urban played pitch perfect) and his rookie partner for the day, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby, again, a flawless performance), get into a game of cat and mouse with Lena Headey's terrifying delivery of Ma-Ma.
The film is great.
It terrifies me that the future might look like this.
It terrrifies me more that people haven't seen this, and it's struggling to get a sequel.
Especially as it is widely available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Hell, it's less that $10 on Blu-Ray at Amazon.
Did this come off as more of a rant? You decide.
See you in the lobby, film fans.