Friday, 26 August 2016

The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)

This exists and must be seen!

Roger Moore (Cannonball Run / The Man with the Golden Gun) stars in this competently weaved thriller, with elements of the supernatural. Yeah. Just think about that.

Harold Pelham (Moore) is coming home from work one night when he is involved in a car crash. On the operating table the heart monitor shows two pulses briefly, and then all returns to normal. After his return home things change up.

Running at only 94 mins, the narrative leads the viewer down the rabbit hole: Is Pelham mad? Does he have multiple personalities? Is there another?

Moore, who is outstanding, portrays a stiff family man, and philandering double crosser, where stuffy Pelham suddenly finds himself in affairs, cheating, gambling, and even dabbling with corporate espionage.

It's damn right Hitchcockian. (I wouldn't have been surprised to see his name in there someone)

It's a subtle movie, a slow descent into confused madness. Focusing solely on Moore's character, although not a long film the viewer never knows what is happening. Cleverly POV'd from the protagonist, you don't get the satisfaction of getting answers until it is given to Pelham himself.

It's chilling, edge of the seat stuff, from start to finish.

And it's available on Blu Ray.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

Well, this is a change-up.

So I really liked Wolf Creek. It's a sort of, Texas Chainsaw Massacre-y gore feast. Mick Taylor (John Jarrett) was utterly terrifying as the lone mass murderer in the outback. It was great.

And I'm always worried by horror sequels.

Wolf Creek opens with Mick, once again played with excellence by John Jarrett (Django Unchained / Australia), taking down two traffic cops. No spoilers, but they sort of deserved it. It serves only to re-introduce Mick, and remind us of his brutal nature. We hit the opening credits, and then the rest of the cast.

Wait. I mean victims.

Starring Ryan Corr (The Water Diviner / Where the Wild Things Are), Shannon Ashlyn (Devil's Dust / Dripping in Chocolate), and Philippe Klaus (Thicker Than Water / Home and Away) the film veers into a different direction than the first.

The first was set very much in a single location - Mick's farm - where he takes a group of young people to pieces. Kind of literally. This movie plays more of a road movie. It's very reminiscent of The Hitcher.

Don't get me wrong, it's good. However, the "teens" for lack of a better word, run a relay race, passing the "victim" baton between them. It makes for a fun film, fast paced, and across several locations works, but you get little time to become related to the protagonists. In fact, you could say the movie plays very much in the POV of Mick, the antagonist.

The ending of the movie, the last twenty minutes or so, are fantastic. The ending is very unexpected. It ties together well, sequels well, if differently.

I seriously recommend it, for those with a stronger stomach. And I see from IMDB the third film is coming.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Feast (2005)

A monster that eats its dead, humps, and gives birth in less than sixty gory seconds. Yeah.

Not many people will have seen this. Not surprisingly. On a $3mil budget, it stars Balthazar Getty (Lord of the Flies / Young Guns II, and all grown up now), Henry Rollins (Lost Highway / Bad Boys II) and Jason Mewes (Clerks / Jay and Silent Bob), with stellar turns from Navi Rawat (Numb3rs / The Collection) and Krista Allen (Final Destination / Liar Liar).

Basically, a masterclass in story telling, when there is no story to tell. To sum it up entirely, a bunch of people are trapped in a bar in the middle of nowhere by monsters. And that's it. 

It fires so many bangs for the buck, it's hard to keep up. 

The movie starts with a car crash. POV running. Cut to a bar. 

And then everything hits the fan. 

For a short, claustrophobic, horror, it has a big cast. Filmed in one location, and running in at 95 minutes, director, John Gulager, uses a technique I've never seen before or since, flashing up "title cards" to introduce the characters quickly and effectively. Before offing them in extremely gruesome measures.

The film isn't really scary, per se, but it is gory to the max. And it's largely practical effects too. So, win.

It's paced frenetically. There's nary a moment to take in what is going on, and flatly, no one is safe.

Navi Rawat, cast only as "Heroine", does a fine job of being an action hero and emoting wonderfully at the same time. Between her performance and that of Krista Allen, "Tuffy", they could have literally carried the movie as a two woman stand-off, however, if that had happened we would have never seen the great performances of other players.

Henry Rollins is excellent (but isn't he always?), as the smarmy life coach, and the turn of Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction) as bar owner, "Boss Man", is wonderful.

The catch-all for me is that the monsters are never explained. They're just there.

And monsterous, they are.

Not for the faint of heart, Feast is thrill ride gore-fest, and definitely needs more love.

Sequels, Feast Two: Sloppy Seconds, and Feast Three: The Happy Finish, I watched some time ago. They missed the mark badly for me, and hence, I won't be watching them again for review.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Silver Hawk (2004)

We're labeling this one under unseen.

Okay, so I picked up a bundle of DVD's for 99p on Ebay. 14 of them. So you know you're getting quality. (Actually ,with titles like Training Day, I was pretty impressed with the lot.)

It included Silver Hawk. I'd never heard of it. I looked at the back of the box. Luke Goss? Okay, could be worse. Michael Jai White. Okay. And, of course, Michelle Yeoh. I knew the name, couldn't place it.

One trip to IMDB later and yes, she's co-starred in a number of films I've seen, but not been the star. (For me, most notably, was Danny Boyle's, Sunshine.)

So it's a superhero film. Low budget. Mostly English language, but heavily martial arts inspired. Released in 2004 with an estimated budget of $15mil, it crashed, burned, and made no money. But why?

It's damned good.

The plot is...well, she's female Batman, (Lulu Wong lives a double life - part urban social butterfly, part vigilante superhero(!)) Luke Goss is Alexander Wolfe (Um, the bad guy), and there's some nefarious plot to take over the world or some such, and a lot of punching and kicking.

It's a martial arts, super hero, science fiction, action fest, with an unnecessary love story thrown in for good measure. All at just over 95 minutes.

It's a certificate 15 in the UK and PG-13 in the US, but there's virtually no blood. Only one marked death, and that was as off-screen as they could make it.

Overall, it's pretty kid friendly.

With a few flashbacks to ascertain characters without messing about with actual character development in the film, it comes across a little like a TV show pilot. Which is a shame. With a larger budget and a longer running time, it could have easily matched other films out that year.

Coming out the same year as Hellboy and Spider-man 2, the super hero genre was in full swing. With the likes of Catwoman and Blade Trinity (which I liked, but no one else did, apparently), it could have done very well.

Because it's fun, fast, and keeps your eyes on the screen. Between the fights, the bike chases, mustachio-twirling villains and low budget effects, it's a cracking time.

The verdict? Drink a beer, and have a laugh.