Nicolas Winding Refn directs Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas and Vithaya Pansringarm in this Thailand set gangster revenge thriller.
I know this is not a popular film and many find it boring. For me it is a satisfyingly absorbing, unpredictable mood piece. Refn impregnates every scene with a lurid, illicit sense of unavoidable doom. It is sensual. Visually distinct. Sounds like a heart attack. Unsettling. Cool. The bursts of violence have an almost orgasmic impact. The boldly sketched characters are Shakespearean and pulp novel nightmares. There was every chance this wasn’t going to hold up on a second viewing, away from the cinema, away from the shock of the new. Really sure now, on revisit that I think Refn outdoes Lynch and De Palma at their most depraved and playful.
François Truffaut directs Jean-Pierre Léaud, Marie-France Pisier and Patrick Auffay in this mini-sequel to The 400 Blows, originally part of the international anthology film Love At Twenty.
Antoine Doinel matures (slightly) from disillusioned little rebel to lovestruck gawky independent. He works at Philips Records, goes to concerts and stalks a hottie who just wants to be friends. More great Paris location photography and some attention grabbing nebbish physicality from Léaud.
Sam Raimi directs Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz and Marcus Gilbert in this horror comedy where Ash is transported back to medieval Britland to fight the Deadites.
As much a dry run to Xena and Hercules as an Evil Dead sequel… the focus here is very much on heroics and silliness over scares and gore. Really the cast list should read Bruce Campbell, Bruce Campbell and Bruce Campbell the Chin fights so many incarnations of himself. Evil Ash, Diddy Ashes and conjoined Ashes. Raimi gets full value out of his matinee idol gurner, allowing him to ham it up regally. This is the Ash everyone remembers when they think about Campbell… well above taking the fantasy adventure cliches seriously, out for himself and full of looney catchphrases. The character is finally set in stone, ready for the eventual joyously daft TV series. After a lot of larks, the final siege goes on forever and there’s clearly a point in filming that epic sequence where the FX budget was suddenly tightened. The Deadite quality level noticeably drops before the finish line. But I enjoyed this as much as its ever growing cult reputation suggested. Probably haven’t seen it since I was a teenager and it was funnier and pacier and more cheapo spectacular than I remember. I chuckled my sweet butt off. “Gimme some sugar, baby.”
Chinatown writer Robert Towne clearly thought he was making the next Casablanca and while the star power is certainly there it all pours out flat like tainted champagne. Everyone looks beautiful but you could only hand on your heart say Raul Julia manages to make the words of the script come to life. I get the feeling Towne didn’t allow his top billed beauties to do anything more than recite his precious but clunky dialogue as accurately as possible. It doesn’t ignite and the lengthy marina ending goes around in circles. Some strange sex scenes and classy cocaine era fashions save this forgotten misfire.
Makoto Shinkai directs Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi and Aoi Yūki in this animated Japanese teen body swap romance where two kids spend random days in each other’s bodies… enjoying their different cultures and helping each other’s love lives.
That’s only a third of Your Name’s plot… the cosmic narrative leaps the rails a couple of times in ways that are discombobulating but pay off massively. The seamless animation and hyper detailed design are stunning… transporting you to both the overwhelming sparkle of Tokyo and a glorious pastoral coastal town. Tourism porn really for those of us trapped in our flats. Comedy, magic, adventure, mystery and sci-fi are threaded into the base hook in exciting ways. It is a restless, enthusiastic film that never quite settles into being any single thing. The emotional reward at the end is hard earned and quite effecting. A bright, poppy treat – possibly the closest any international culture has got to recreating the multi-genre joys and slickness of Back To The Future. And I don’t type that particular commendation lightly.
Adam Robitel directs Taylor Russell, Deborah Ann Woll and Logan Miller in this horror thriller where six strangers have to escape a series of lethal puzzle traps.
Better than its reputation. At least two of the constant ticking clock set pieces are intense and inventive. It may crib a fair amount from Cube and Saw but it does so with a glossy visual flair. You care about the two lead actresses a lot more than the men thanks to sympathetic performances from Woll and Russell.
Abel Ferrara directs Tom Berenger, Billy Dee Williams and Melanie Griffith in this crime thriller where the thugs who run a stripper agency based around 42nd Street find business dries up when a slasher starts mutilating the girls.
If only a movie could live up to its first five minutes. As the opening credits roll through the sleazy streets of Manhattan, we hear an actual New York Doll singing about New York Dolls and peak Melanie Griffiths stripping and gyrating and thrusting while a baying crowd lap up every neon-lit revealed curve of her flesh. You feel hot and sticky… there’s an anonymous freak cutting his way up to the star girl… suddenly the strip bars are deserted and girls are pulling out… the mafia wants action… And nothing really happens. It just kinda idles in the electric puddle milieu. I don’t mind hanging out in this era and this location but it is a long wait until the eventual happenstance alleyway fight that wraps things up neatly. The killer remains uncredited.
Robert Aldrich directs Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Keith Carradine in this Depression era action movie where the unofficial king of the hobos, A-No. 1, wants to ride a rail line policed by the deadly conductor Shack.
Barneys, stunts, bum humour, scruffy period dress, breathtaking locations and choo-choos. Either you wanna watch dirty Marvin and nasty Borgnine old man fight on top of a speeding train with chains and 2by4s or you don’t. Don’t waste my time if you are the latter! “Stay off the tracks. Forget it. Its a bum’s world for a bum. You’ll never be Emperor of the North Pole, kid. You had the juice, kid, but not the heart and they go together. You’re all gas and no feel, and nobody can teach you that, not even A-No.1. So stay off the train, she’ll throw you under for sure. Remember me for that. So long, kid.”
David Michôd directs Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris in this dark retelling of Henry V’s battles with France.
From a director not shy of darkness and frenzy, I want to be able to pinpoint more reasons why I couldn’t enjoy this beyond the winsome and flat Chalamet. But I can’t. He’s just a wet, unconvincing presence as always. This feels like Game of Thrones cosplay, wasting a strong cast who are subservient to a wafer thin lead. Robert Pattinson makes the best impression as a punkishly arrogant Dauphin, proof that there is a way out of the pretty boy ghetto. I doubt wee Timothée will ever reconfigure himself as someone you look forward to being cast though, he really is just a wan face… After a while I was opening side windows to look up actors and check my emails… there was no way to fully engage with Michôd well staged vision when we kept returning to such an unlikable anachronistic drip leading the charge.
Kōji Fukada directs Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui and Kanji Furutachi in this Japanese mystery where a strange loner moves in with a family, pulling at their quiet existence with insidious intent.
Slow burn and open to multiple interpretations, Fukada’s domestic thriller explores the unspoken secrets between people who should have nothing hidden from each other. The whole movie pivots on a shocking incident in the middle so I don’t want to say too much. Don’t expect set pieces or resolution… this is very much an exploration of the sides of ourselves we do not show even to those we share our lives with. Strong acting from Asano and especially Tsutsui. Fukada lays a strikingly simple red and white colour plan onto the often eerily unpopulated suburban world.