Archives For American Cinema

Stake Land II (2016)

September 2, 2017 — Leave a comment

In the 2010 film, a young teen, Martin (Connor Paolo) is taken under the wing of Mister (Nick Damici) after his family is butchered by vampires. Turns out America has been flooded by vampirism, turning the country into a wasteland where survival of the fittest runs deep. As Mister and Martin search for a place called New Eden, they encounter numerous other stragglers whilst avoiding vampires and religious zealots, The Brotherhood. Episodic in its narrative – you can tell it started off life as a potential web series – Stake Land managed to at least build a fairly cohesive universe. Its box office may have been small, but its fan base was legit. As such, the surprise isn’t that it has a sequel, but that it’s taken so long to arrive. And has it been worth the wait?

Stake Land II: The Stake Lander catches up with Martin several years after his time with Mister. He’s settled down in New Eden with Peggy (Bonnie Dennison), the plucky woman he met in the dying embers of the first film. Now a father who recalls his time with Mister as fairytales for his daughter, Martin’s happiness is cut viciously short when, again, his family is brutally slaughtered by a reassembled Brotherhood, led by a powerful new vampire known only as the Mother (Kristina Hughes). With his world in tatters, Martin goes in search of Mister hoping that he’ll assist him on his quest for revenge. Spoilers: he finds him and the two are soon on the road again with the smell of vampire blood in their nostrils.

Read the rest of the review here.

Sky (2016)

August 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

Having fled from her abusive boyfriend during a US road trip, Parisian Romy (Diane Kruger) continues her travels across Nevada in this drama about reawakening and restarting your life from director Fabienne Berthaud (Lily Sometimes). At least, that’s the idea behind Sky, what it provides is instead something of a headscratcher.

Films of this type usually have a particular DNA to them: the hero throws off the shackles of oppression – boyfriend, bad job etc. – before embarking on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately shedding the skin of her previous life. With Sky, it’s unclear whether we should be cheering Romy on or encouraging her to fly back to Paris for her own safety.

Read the rest of the review here.

Emile Hirsch plays Austin, a medical technician who regularly assists his coroner father, Tommy (Brian Cox), with autopsies at the local morgue. Prior to the events of the film, we learn that Austin’s mother passed away. Something which Tommy refuses to dwell on, throwing himself into solving the mysteries of the cadavers that are laid before him. It’s for this reason alone that Austin appears to anchor himself to his hometown, whilst simultaneously cutting off his nose to spite his face. Austin wants to look after his father, and perhaps even help him address his issues, but in doing so, he’s stopping himself from spreading his wings and move to bigger and better things with his girlfriend, Emma (Ophelia Lovibond).

It’s whilst Austin is preparing for a date with Emma, that Tommy is visited by the local Sherriff (Michael McElhatton) who has a complicated body on his hands. Investigating the house of a gruesome homicide/suicide, the sheriff has found the body of a twenty something woman half buried in the basement. Aside from being completely devoid of clothes and life, there’s nothing unusual about the Jane Doe, which is what makes the Sheriff so suspicious. He entrusts the matter to Tommy, hoping that the veteran coroner will be able to shed some light on her cause of death.

And that’s when things start to unravel. With Emma and the Sheriff out of sight, the father and son duo are left to begin the autopsy of Jane Doe.

Read the rest of the review here.