Archives For Film reviews

October Film Round Up

November 4, 2017 — Leave a comment

Here’s everything that I wrote/published in the month of October!

About Love. Adults Only (2017, Dir: Nigina Sayfullayeva, Pavel Ruminov, Yevgeniy Shelyakin, Natalya Merkulova, Rezo Gigineighvili, Alexey Chup) – ‘However, for all its talk of modernity, Adults Only is surprisingly old fashioned.’ Full review at FilmInk.com.au

Arrhythmia (2017, Dir: Boris Khlebnikov) – ‘Whilst the film tries to suggest Katya or Oleg are equal in their misery, it does at times seem to favour Oleg and his man-child ways.’ Full review at FilmInk.com.au

Ben Elton: The Man from Freo – ‘I mean, even the love story is a little bit jagged. It does compare folk music fans to Hitler fans!’ Full interview at FilmInk.com.au

Blockbuster (2017, Dir: Roman Volobuev) – ‘Underneath the screwball comedy and stylised violence, Blockbuster has something it wants to say; feminist themes run throughout, but don’t necessarily run deep.’ Full review at Filmink.com.au

Chicago Rot (AKA Rot, 2016, Dir: Dorian Weinzimmer) – ‘What could have been a by-the-numbers grindhouse flick of two violent men in pursuit of each other, blossoms into a patchwork quilt of minotaurs, demons, aliens, and people sewing their victims flesh onto themselves.’ Full review ar horrornews.net

Closer to God (2014, Dir: Billy Senese) – ‘The film is so serious and portentous that it almost feels languid.’ Full review here

Demon Hunter (2016, Dir: Zoe Kavanagh) – ‘Demon Hunter feels like a relic from the 90s; as if Razorblade Smile and The Matrix had a baby and didn’t buy it a pony when it really, really wanted one.’ Full review at Horrornews.net

Detroit (2017, Dir: Kathryn Bigelow) – ‘Through its expert craftsmanship and recounting of the events, Detroit demands you sit up and realise what is happening around you, right now, in this century.’ Full review at thereelword.net

Dogs Are The Best People: Interview with Mary Zournazi – ‘The film really is this journey of the people and the animals in this time of crisis, and in this sense, I feel a huge responsibility to convey how people experience their lives in difficult times.’ Full interview at filmink.com.au

Dogs of Democracy (2016, Dir: Mary Zournazi) – ‘Engaging and thought-provoking, go see Dogs of Democracy for the wet nosed mischief makers, but stay for the uplifting philosophical discussion.’ Full review at Filmink.com.au

Goosebumps (2015, Dir: Rob Letterman) – ‘…goes down the route of a traditional narrative, culminating in a showy finale that appears to be the prerequisite of all blockbusters currently. It’s not as bad as it sounds.’ Full review here.

I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013, Dir: Steven R. Monroe) – ‘…vicious, nasty, soul crushing story.’ Full review here.

K-11 (2012, Dir: Jules Mann-Stewart) – ‘Reminiscent of the bunched up fist that was Scum…’ Full review here.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017, Dir: Matthew Vaughn) – ‘…having only scratched the surface when it came to the world of the Kingsman, director Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman literally blow that all up so they can world build again with The Statesman.’ Full review here.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, Dir: Matthew Vaughn) – ‘The film’s light misogyny comes to a head in a final scene joke that attempts to satirise the typical ending of a Bond movie, but instead manages to rewrite Eggsy character unnecessarily.’ Full review here.

Return of The Killer Shrews (2011, Dir: Steve Latshaw) – ‘Neither funny or scary, The Return of the Killer Shrews biggest scare is the threat in the end credits of an oncoming third film.’ Full review here.

Spacewalkers (2017, Dir: Dmitry Kiselyov) – ‘Engrossing, nerve rattling and patriotic without turning into parody…’ Full review at FilmInk.com.au

Ten Non-Horror Films to Creep You OutFull list at thereelword.net

The Cobbler (2014, Dir: Thomas McCarthy) – ‘The problem lies with the tone of the film that battles itself to be either a knock about comedy or a social drama laced with magic realism.’ Full review here.

The Convent (2000, Dir: Mike Mendez) – ‘Yes, The Convent may well be bleak, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.’ Full review at horrornews.net

The Pink House (2017, Dir: Sascha Ettinger-Epstein) – ‘What makes The Pink House so fascinating to watch is that it doesn’t try to sugar-coat their existence with attempts at titillation, instead it revels in the normality of their existence.’ Full review at FilmInk.com.au

Viking (2016, Dir: Andrei Kravchuk) – ‘…a vicious and sexual biopic that may shock those expecting a by-the-numbers period drama.’ Full review at FilmInk.com.au

What If It Works? (2017, Dir: Romi Trower) – ‘Whilst What if It Works? may not have the most complex of plots and secondary characters do seem light on exposition, this simply gives us the opportunity to enjoy the company of our heroes.’ Full review at filmink.com.au

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We Go On (2016)

August 21, 2017 — Leave a comment

Miles Grissom (Clark Freeman) is a freelance editor and full-time walking bag of phobias. There’s not much that he isn’t scared of – cars, heights, clowns (probably) –  but the phobia that weighs him down the most is his fear of death; a fear crystalized after he witnessed his father dying in a car accident at the age of three. Deciding he can no longer be ruled by his fears, Miles sets out to find out what happens when we die. Are we food for the worms? Or is there something bigger out there? After all, with definitive proof of whether there’s an afterlife or not, we would probably all do more with our lives, wouldn’t we? Whether you’re a hardcore atheist or lifelong believer, the answer to the ultimate question would most certainly alter your world view. In Miles’ case, it would mean his fear has no control over him.

Read the rest of the review here.

Life (2017)

August 20, 2017 — Leave a comment

Life was a film that limped into theatres, rather than one which kicked the door down and demanded we all take notice. Its faltering movements perhaps brought on by the baggage it carried. Take, for example, the strange rumor that began to circulate which suggested Life was a really a covert Marvel movie about everyone’s favourite symbiote, Venom.

Taking into account that Life is written by Rhett Reese and Paul Vernick of Deadpool fame, and stars Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame, you can see why some were quick to call this was comic book film. However, that wasn’t what crippled Life before it came out. If anything, that probably got a lot of people frothing at the mouth more than they should have. And whilst nothing hurts a film’s reception than disappointment, that wasn’t its main problem.

Read the rest of the review here.

Extract (2009)

July 12, 2017 — Leave a comment

Extract is the story of factory owner, Joel (Jason Bateman) trying desperately to be bad, but failing miserably at every corner. His plan to get a gigolo to sleep with his wife, so he can sleep with a co-worker, goes wrong at every turn. Except for the gigolo sleeping with his wife part. That bit goes really well. So, with a cheating wife and potential lawsuit on its way being led by Gene Simmon’s rabid lawyer, Joel ends up getting caught up trying to relive his youth through Ben Affleck’s loser best friend and the seductive nature of Mila Kunis.

Like Office Space and King of the Hill, it’s the dialogue that sparkles. I like Mike Judge. I think he’s one those underrated comedic screen writers that I hold dearly to my heart. Yes, it’s a grandiose claim, but I stand by it. The characters are believable whilst being equally absurd. A special mention to David Koechner, who tones down his usual loud man schtick seen in films such as Anchorman; his annoying neighbour bringing new meaning to the word tenacious. Unfortunately, his story arc ends in a dark manner that somewhat clashes with the general ‘zaniness’ of the other 90 minutes.

Extract is neither life changing or life affirming, but it does bring a lot of laughs. Even if those are unintentionally because of Affleck’s wig; the likes of which haven’t been seen since Paul McGann in Doctor Who: The Movie. Yeesh

Busted (1997)

July 11, 2017 — 1 Comment

Corey Feldman’s first and only attempt at directing was this 1997 softcore porn/screwball comedy written by Maria James and Ronald Jacobs. Largely forgotten by many, those who have done any reading up on Busted will know it as the film that saw Feldman having to fire his co-star and good bud, Corey Haim. Despite that, and the fact Haim’s scenes largely sit on the cutting room floor, attempts were made to sell this as a Two Coreys movie in the same breath as Licence to Drive and Dream a Little Dream. I’m sorry to report that Busted isn’t even Dream a Little Dream 2.

Essentially Police Academy meets Naked Gun, Busted revolves around the Amity police department who are struggling with the distinct lack of crime in their town. Apparently, times have been hard since their town was attacked by a shark… Yes, Busted is also a sequel of sorts to Jaws. No, really. Anyway, in order to make ends meet the Head of Vice, David (Feldman), opens up their station as a brothel; allowing the sex workers to stay safe and for David and his team to siphon some much needed cash into the station. A spanner is thrown in the works when Captain Mary Mae (Marianna Morgan) is requested by the Mayor of Amity to look into unusual goings on at the precinct. Cue lots of bare breasts, simulated sex acts and grown worthy jokes that even your dad wouldn’t want to say.

Working on an extremely limited budget is no excuse for the poor effort on display, with numerous scenes appearing to be the product of the first take. Lines are rushed, cues are missed and Busted highlights itself as not being funny enough to be classed a comedy, or even sexy enough to distract from this fact. Hell, a cameoing Elliot Gould does nothing to save this utter mess. Perhaps one for the self-hating Two Coreys completest, the only truly surprising thing is how progressive the film is towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Well, as progressive as it can be for 1997.

Keanu (2016)

July 10, 2017 — Leave a comment

When photographer Rell (Jordan Peele) is dumped by his girlfriend, his self-pity party is immediately cancelled when a stray kitten turns up at his door. Taking it and calling it Keanu, Rell finds a new lease of life in his furry companion. However, returning from home after a night at the pictures with his friend Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), Rell finds his house ransacked and, more importantly, Keanu missing. And so begins the two friends’ journey into the darker side of town to get the little kitty back which sees them cross paths with murderers, gangbangers and Anna Faris.

Directed by Peter Atencio, who headed up all the episodes of the sketch show Key and PeeleKeanu follows a similar path to films such as Pineapple Express and Hot Fuzz, where every day folk get caught up life-threatening situations. Cue lots of screaming, shouting and wondering how to use handguns.

What makes this film stand out from its peers is how dark the film goes so quickly. Starting off with a bloody shootout in an abandoned church, Keanu contains a surprising amount of violence. Take the scene where, after being mistaken for a couple of assassins, Rell and Clarence find themselves caught up in a drug deal that quickly turns into a bloodbath. The scene would be truly shocking if it wasn’t balanced out by Clarence teaching a bunch of gang members about the virtues of George Michael’s Faith.

It’s this dichotomy that works so well in Keanu’s favour; the absurdity of these two middle class men completely out of their comfort zone. Typical of the humour found in their sketch show, Key and Peele deftly switch between jokes about racial politics and the absurdity of action movie tropes. The jokes might not always stick, but there’s always the promise of another one just around the corner.

If you’re a fan of their show or just having a good time in general, then Keanu is certainly one to check out. A laugh out loud comedy, it’s a shame that, at the time of writing this, Keanu didn’t receive a better release in Australia before been shoved straight onto DVD and digital download.

Recovery (2016)

July 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

We’ve all become quite dependent on smartphones, haven’t we? Look at the anger the public is willing to hurl at Apple after their recent decision to go cold turkey with headphone jacks; there’s probably still someone crying about it now. Smartphones are our gatekeepers to our social lives. If they don’t work then how are we supposed to get on Facebook and twitter, let alone make a simple phonecall to tell people we’re alive! The aforementioned life drainers play an uncredited part in Recovery, a new horror film by Darrall Wheat (Slumber).

On the eve before her high school graduation, Jessie (Kirby Bliss Blanton) discovers through Facebook that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Looking to get over him, she plans a night on the town with smooth dude Logan (Samuel Larsen), irritant little brother Miles (Alex Shaffer) and brand new friend Kim (Rachel DiPillo). When Kim goes missing with Jessie’s phone, the use of a ‘find my phone’ app helps the remaining friends track her down. Unfortunately, it also puts them in the crosshairs of a murderous family intent on doing incredibly nasty things to each of them.

Recovery has that 90s teen sheen to it that will appeal to fans of the Scream franchise. Whilst the plot is pretty straight forward – hunt, find kill, repeat – it still manages to tear you rug from under you. Perhaps it’s because we think we’re all so knowing when it comes to slashers, when one tries a something a little old school we don’t end up seeing the wood for the trees. We expect there to be a grandiose revelation where the killer’s motives are exposed for all to see! Either way, this critic didn’t see the twist until the last second.

And yes, whilst it certainly might not be the most revolutionary film in the horror genre, there’s enough here to guarantee that  is liable to be a staple of midnight screenings at sleepovers. After all, what’s a little screaming amongst friends?

This review previously appeared on earlybirdfilm.com.